We present an excerpt from Daniel Espinosa at armas.es, about the world of tactical flashlights.
According to mysteryaround, the tactical flashlight is what gives us a strategic advantage over a clear objective. However, there are some tactical tools that are blurred by a huge sea of data and features. This is the case of tactical lanterns, a marshy terrain in which, after many years of development, the “more, the better” still prevails. Who does not have in his mind the prototype of security guard with a flashlight of biblical proportions? Maybe that thought kept in our brain and powered by the imagery of Hollywood is the culprit that, when it comes to acquiring a flashlight, we make blunders.
Therefore, we will dedicate this article to the 2 basic mistakes that make us waste tactical advantage: “power” and usability.
Do We Know WHAT ARE THE LUMENS?
The field of lighting and in particular the lanterns, has evolved remarkably in recent years. The costs and consumption have been reduced, the power has increased, the quality of light is increasing with less effort … however, does that mean that any flashlight deserves the appellative tactic? As you will see, there is a huge confusion in the market …
Ten years ago, when someone wanted to buy a flashlight for something more than home use, he would run to a specialist store and look for a model with good power. To do this simply select a model with a high watt indicator, which “ensured” that the accessory would produce a good amount of light. Of course, those who remember the institute, will note that the watt in this case is the measure used to calculate the energy expenditure for the flashlight to work properly. And of course, at the time the easiest thing was to think that more consumption of watts, more amount of light … of course, nothing further from reality, as we will see below.
Today there is not a single bulb that is sold, without waving ahead the amount of lumens it develops. The lumen is the unit of measurement for the luminous flux, ie the amount of light perceived by the eye, coming from a source. Thanks to the development of light technology, especially the advances in LED technology, the current emitters of light consume less and less energy and emit more and better light. That yes, this fact does not mean that any current torch is worth for everything, but rather the opposite. The shelter of manufacturers in the lumens has made that when buying, consumers only notice this indicator … because if a flashlight develops many lumens, it should emit more light, right?
Once again, we make the same mistake we made 10 years ago with the power of the flashlight. It is true that lumens are a better measure than watts, but it is also clear that the luminous flux is a rather subjective quantity which may depend on many factors and is merely indicative. There can be perfectly 2 identical flashlights that develop the same lumens and yet show clear differences in the quality of their lighting. So what is the solution to know what a good flashlight is according to its illumination?
LUMENS As Approximate But Unreliable Measure …
300 LUMMES Vs 200 LUMMES, Only 5 Meters Away
Technically, the only reliable way to know the performance of a light emitter, just by reading its instructions, is to know the value of the illuminance, ie the ratio of lumens developed per square meter of distance (lum / m ²) . However, almost no manufacturer indicates this value in their products. Unfortunately, the only way to get closer to the answer is to do a field test and test the flashlight at different distances. Obviously having good knowledge can help us do our calculations, but let’s be clear: most of the time, when we buy a flashlight “we are in the dark”. Therefore, never use lumens as a fixed measure, infallible, but as what is, something orientative, approximate and, of course, manipulable. See if not the little experiment that we present, in which we faced 2 lanterns of marks of first line, of 300 and 200 lumens, to only 5 meters of distance of a objective. As you will appreciate, the supposed 300 lumens flashlight begins to lose sharpness as soon as we separate a few meters, while the 200 lumens maintains a bright and clear halo. What if they were 100 instead of 5 meters? The unmasked lumens!
What’s Right Is Tactical / MORE Is Not Better
Having delved into the problem of lumens, let us return to the tactical path and ask ourselves, why do we need a tactical flashlight? This simple question has ended with the illusions of more than one professional, for not having raised it well. Let us return to the definition of tactical: if a tactical flashlight is one that gives us strategic superiority in a particular situation, what should one offer, for example, a police officer? To achieve the above mentioned operational superiority, a service lantern must be easy to handle, so it must be small in size, with good range, possibly in burst mode and, above all, it must have adequate power. Everything that does not meet these conditions is a mere “camping lantern”.
When a police officer makes a log / raid, it is usually in narrow, narrow places or even on small tracts of open ground. Many agents usually choose 800/1000 lumens flashlights for the simple fact that it is only 20 euros more expensive than the most restrained options.And of course … for 20 euros we take 600 extra lumen, so the business is served. Error!
Let’s take an example to illustrate: today we go hunting with our rifle and we have bought a brand new visor to help guide our shots against the terrifying wild boar, which we will hunt at most 50 meters. In the store there was one of 4 magnifications and 24 mm bell, but for only 100 euros more we bought one with 24 magnification and 50 mm bell.
Kill mosquitoes with cannon! Do you now understand the ridiculousness of the matter? The flashlight stops being a tactical accessory to become a hyperbole of what should be. The luminous flux that is usually the correct measurement for police is an average of 120 lumens, an amount that if true, reaches perfectly at distances of 100/150 meters with some guarantee and what is more important: it does not consume as much battery, something Fundamental when we speak of a professional who must operate the accessory repeatedly during the performance of his service.
MORE Functions OR MORE Reliability?
Then there are police lanterns with 20 different methods of use, including burst, halo power control, and other trinkets that can be useful to an agent at any given time. However, remember an advertising campaign for the Surefire brand of lanterns in which an individual suffered a mishap and died, because he could not operate his flashlight with innumerable modes of use. Because … what kind of tactical accessory is difficult to operate?
Of course, this does not mean that a flashlight with an indicator higher than the recommended or a long list of functionalities can not fulfill its function, but we are talking about a piece of equipment that most professionals have to pay for themselves, in addition to That is not imperishable and will lose qualities with the passage of time: spending more or less is only the buyer’s decision, but we emphasize:? It is not necessary to buy a light cannon to do our work well.
We face 2 True Tactical Lanterns: LedSite VS Walther.
Ledlites (Led Lenser) And Walther, Two Secured Quality Marks
Time to put on the lab coat and put theory into practice. Let’s keep thinking about the performance of a regular agent of the State Security Forces. The first thing, and indispensable detail in our article, is to select articles that fit the size, that any professional can afford, so our cap is located at 35 euros. We have placed the ideal luminous flux range between 100 and 150 lumens, so we will select in this case the LEDLITES E7 torch 120 lumens, one of the most sweet products of the German manufacturer Led lenser for the striking price of 24.95 Euros; In addition, we know that despite having exposed the disadvantages, there will be the one who still wants a flashlight with a higher luminosity flow, or even polyvalent. That’s why we use the Walther Tactical 250 lumens flashlight in our comparison, an accessory that surprises in any challenge to which it is submitted, available for 32.95 euros.
Checking the brightness
The light beam of LEDLITES (120) and Walther Tactical (250) at 30 meters
We test our lanterns in illuminated terrain and in total darkness. The first thing we notice is that both tools have perfect lighting, fulfilling both with their brand of light flux. In the case of Ledlites, we see that the halo is concentrated, generating a zone of clear and bright light.As a differential we focus a target at 30 meters in total darkness, getting the effect we see in the image, and then see the result in a target at 100 meters with medium illumination. Result? Your user will never have to worry about not detecting threats to medium / long distance. A 120 lumens real flashlight that has nothing to envy to other models of greater luminosity (checked).
By testing the Tactical 250, the first thing that is clear is that the flow of luminosity is realistic. The beam of light is not only powerful, but also shows us something even better: it is clear. The quality of the light emitted by this flashlight is such that no matter what we focus on: the halo remained a perfect circumference of clean white light. In addition, the aperture was excellent, achieving a surprisingly large field of light both short and long distance.
We’ve already talked about the basics in a flashlight, now let’s look at the details that end up turning a normal example into a tactical flashlight.
Examining the tools, we realize that both are less than 13 cm long, something very important to not hinder their manageability. Of course, both are made of anodized aluminum, so they are supposed to have good resistance, a flawless aesthetic finish and good resistance to heat. While the LEDLITES has the body covered with safety micro grooves, the Tactical 250 has separate grooves in 2 comfortable parts, which make grip easier. However, one point in favor of the LEDLITES is the presence of an inner portal ring that shines by its absence in its opponent.
As far as the accessibility of the switch, both perfectly fulfill the mission of offering a soft and fast pulse. To put a but, maybe the Ledlites sins of sobreprotectora hiding the button in the grip, complicating a little the task in the case of wearing gloves of service little sensitive, but without getting to bother too. Another important detail is the feed, where Ledlites is the absolute leader, with a container adapted to 3 AAA flashlights, which guarantees a decent supply of energy and long life of the load. In contrast the Tactical 250 uses 2 AA batteries that are inserted in the classic conduit in the body of the flashlight, which without being a defect, is still a detail that could have been optimized a little more.
As you can see, it is not necessary to leave the salary to have 2 good tactical tools, but rather to know where to look.
We hope that after reading the article, you can escape the tyranny of the lumens and that choosing a tactical/service lantern is like going to the supermarket.