Thursday, November 10, 2016

Selecting A Flashlight

The flashlights of my childhood had the single screw in incandescent bulb and were usually powered by a couple of D-cell batteries. If your flashlight was really fancy you had a replacement bulb in the bottom cap under the spring. They weren’t bright at all in comparison to the models today, but in the dark we thought they were awesome. Then sometime around the early 80’s the Maglite started appearing. This was a revolution in flashlight design and capabilities and everyone wanted their own. The Maglite was very bright and cast a long beam, but it was so heavy though (you needed 4 D-cells) that it could also be used as a weapon or to hold up your car, that they weren’t really practical for more than sitting in that kitchen cabinet or being stored behind the seat in the truck.
I have carried a flashlight for over 20 years. When I first started to carry one it was the mini-mag. It was an incandescent, 2 AA battery powered, aluminum bodied wonder. It used to come with a Cordura pouch holster that I never used. It has a spare bulb in the battery compartment cap which is convenient. It was 14 lumens and one usually lasted me at least 5 years. I found many uses for it and now won’t be without a flashlight. Then came the new millennium. Names like Fenix, Surefire, and Streamlight came out with bright, rugged, and tactical flashlights. These lights have features such as one-handed operation, belt clips, bezel edges, and others. They are small and light, yet rugged.
The technology has come a long way since my little mini-mag. LED bulbs and higher lumens have made tactical flashlights a much more common item to obtain.
I carry a Coleman brand CT-24 model flashlight.
I love my Coleman! I’ll say that from the beginning. I have had Surefires and Streamlights and although I like these brands, I love my Coleman. I was searching for an EDC light that was slim to fit in my pouch, and had at least 200 lumen power. I also preferred a 2 AA battery power. I found it in the Coleman CT-24.
It has three settings, High 240 lumens, Low 25 lumens, and strobe at 240 lumens. It is powered by 2 AA batteries, has a single push button, onehanded switch, and bezel edges. It’s body is made of aluminum and weighs 4.6 ounces. The problem is that Coleman stopped making this light and didn’t really replace it with a comparable model.
Before buying a EDC flashlight, you need to determine some things. How will you carry it? How will you use it? Will you use it for more than one thing?
As I said above, my criteria is:
Small and slim but prefer it long enough to fit in my whole hand.
At least 2 AA (AAA is just too small for me)
Tactical bezel (some type of sharpness)
One handed operation on/off switch
Aluminum body, no plastics (would consider a composite)
At least 200 lumens
At least two settings for bright and less bright is nice.
A belt clip would be good but I’d like one that I could remove if needed
Why do I talk about carrying a flashlight?
There are many reasons including the obvious, for light.
Self-defense. I’ve never learned any specific self-defense moves, but using a Kubaton would be similar.
To identify threats or targets. Is that noise in the back yard a burglar or a cat? And before you shoot, make sure of good target identification, you may shoot your neighbor.
When you lose the remote. Really, you will be amazed at the number of times you will reach for your flashlight that you never thought of. Even my family now instinctively says “Dad, let me see your flashlight” when they need to find something. That and looking down throats to make sure someone does not have a raging case of strep throat. Flashlight tag… millions of potential uses.
I will never be without a flashlight in my EDC again. I love it!

Semper Paratus
Check 6