Low-End Off-Brand Tac Light Review
Informal Review Of Compact Tactical Flashlight
Manufacturer: Coast Products PO Box 5821, Portland, Oregon 97228. Telephone #: 1-800-426-5858.
Website Address: http://www.coastcutlery.com/
Model #: 7438 - Tactical Focus Beam - Coast LED Lenser Optoelectronics
Maximum Wattage: 3.44
Power Switch - In Tail Cap - Rubber Covered - Momentary & Constant On.
Gold Contacts on all internal battery and switch contact surfaces.
Batteries: Three (3) Standard AAA Penlight Batteries.
Battery Life: 85 hours
LED Life: 100,000 hours
Length: 5.0 inches
Approx. Diameter: 1-1/16 in. (barrel)
1.25 in. (lens hood)
Included Accessories: Nylon Cordura Belt Pouch, Lanyard Clip, Lanyard Rope, Small Black Carabiner Style Spring-Clip, 3 AAA Batteries installed plus 3 Spare AAA Batteries
Purchased From: Loews Home Improvement Store
I was in the market for a small, compact, relatively bright belt or pocket flashlight. I noticed this model while shopping at Loews. The flashlight's hard shell theft-resistant packaging includes a plastic lever enabling you to "test" the flashlight by turning in on. Anticipating that installed batteries have a "shelf life" and the fact that customers may be routinely "testing" the light on the shelf, I thought the inclusion of a new set of fresh, spare AAA batteries was a thoughtful touch.
I was impressed enough by the brightness of the light in broad daylight inside the illuminated store to purchase it. To tell the truth, I wasn't really looking for a purpose-specific "tactical" flashlight but I think this one may serve the purpose fairly well. Not so much, perhaps, for room-clearing purposes, but at least for temporarily dazzling the eyeballs of a potential Hostile.
Shortly post-purchase I had occasion and need to wait for someone's arrival in a relatively dark parking lot at night. I was in a position where pedestrians first came into view from an approximate 20-foot separation distance. Eight different people approached before the party I was waiting to meet arrived. In all 8 cases, a brief press of the momentary switch on the tail cap of the flashlight aimed at the pedestrian's faces produced a severe flinch and eyes-squeezed-shut squint in the approaching person - sometimes with eye-guarding by the hands - from 20 feet away. Looking directly into the hand-held beam myself, I did find it quite visually painful.
The housing appears to be constructed of aluminum alloy, black anodized, with a non-slip, finely knurled section on the hand grip area and a knurled ring on the tail end cap to aid unscrewing it. The rubber-covered tail-cap switch feels to be solid and well-made and functions well in both momentary and constant-on mode. The tail cap threads are water-sealed by a rubber O-ring.
When the tail cap is unscrewed, the circular battery holder assembly easily slides and drops out of the barrel. The receptacle for each of the three AAA batteries is very clearly marked with a battery symbol, positive and negative polarity symbols, of good size and clearly visible, marked in white print against the black background of the battery holder, making it very easy to quickly insert batteries in correct polarity position even in very dim light.
The flashlight beam is focusable from spot to flood. In spot mode, the bright-white, slightly bluish tint beam has zero "artificats" or dark spots. When the lens hood is rotated to the variable flood position, there are some "artifacts" (if you want to call it such) but they are extremely minimal and not "spotty". The artificats in floodlight position essentially amount to little more than a hardly-noticeable, slight reduction in the intensity of the beam's brightness.
My large living room is approximately 20' by 30' and for room-clearing purposes the "spot" mode covered roughly half the room without fanning the pointing direction, and covered slightly more than 3/4 of the room in "flood" mode. Not as "super bright" as some of the high-end tac lights, perhaps, but seeming serviceable enough for general civilian applications. The combined distance across living room and family room den is slightly over 50 feet in length and this little flashlight afforded reasonable enough and serviceable enough illumination for my aging mid-50s peepers at a 50-foot distance.
There are only 3 "complaints" I could have concerning this light and none of them were enough of an "issue" for me to induce a decision not to purchase: (1) Neither the forward edge ot the lens hood or the tail cap have protruding "skull crusher" ribs on them. I don't consider this an issue because if I'm close enoght for serious H2H combat and skull-crushing I'd probably be resorting instead to the BUG or knife. (2) It does not have anti-roll flats on the barrel housing. Not an issue for me because I don't anticipate much of a need of having to put the flashlight down while lit on a hard surface. I have other means of hands-free lighting if-when called for. Including the neatest little baseball-style cap with bright LEDS incorporated and recessed right into the forward leading edge of the hat's sunshade brim bill. (3) The included belt holster is of the "soft" type, not the rigid, hard-molded type. Hey, the belt holster was an included freebie, and serviceable enough until my spare mag carrier-flashlight holder combo arrives in the mail.
The flashlight has a Lifetime Guarantee against defects in materials or workmanship for the life of the Purchaser, exclusive of wear & tear, abuse or neglect.
The price cost was $49.97 plus sales tax. Perhaps a bit "pricey" for some, for a 60-lumen light? Well, the way i look at it, I'm a civilian, not LEO, so my needs and desires are dictated accordingly. Frankly, if there's one thing I'd hate, it'd be having to lay out a large sum of $ for the "famous maker" tac lights whose bulbs have high heat, ridiculously short usable life-spans and be additionally locked into constantly purchasing pricey specialty batteries and-or sustaining down-time during battery rechargings.
I love the idea that I can buy a brick of standard AAA penlight batteries at cheap cost. or, (most significant to me), find AAA penlight batteries at just about any supermarket, hardware store or convenience store countrywide when I'm out and about traveling.
I can say this much . . . while I'm not as "flashlight fanatic" as some, I detest laying out $ for junk and am highly appreciative of a well-made, serviceable product. I had merely misplaced, but thought I had lost, the first one of this model flashlight I'd purchased. I missed it enough that I bought another one for carrying on the person. That one usually resides in the pocket of a cover garment usually worn when I'm riding a motorcycle, which is 90% of my transportation year-round here in FL. Then just the other day I yielded to one of those be-good-to-myself impulses and bought a second one just to keep & have in the pickup truck at all times. Then, I located the original one I thought I'd lost. This first one had an appreciable amount of use on the installed battery set prior to being musplaces, and when found again months & months later, it was still serviceable, indicative of minimal battery drain even after an extended period of non-usgae.
So now I have one usually included in the daily-wear load-up, one for the truck, and one for bedroom nightstand to supplant the humongo 5-D-Cell Maglight baton for yard & property searches. In other words, I wouldn't have bought three of 'em if I didn't think it wasn't one of the best, handiest little general-purpose and low-end 60-lumen tac-light I've come across thus far.
I admittedly have little experience with the high-end famous-maker tac-light products, simply because low bulb-hour life, pricey batteries and recharing down-time goes against my grain & preferences. So, in short, this Coast product "works for me". FWIW, and YMMV.
Apologies for lack of pics, but i've not yet subscribed to any web-based pic-hosting site and seem to be having some trouble embedding or attaching pics to a thread posting.
I imagine you can eyeball a pic on the manufacturer's website. By the way, the little products pamphlet included in the packaging indicates that simply by visiting their website, you can obtain a FREE Coast keyring flashlight, and they claim to share personal ID or address info with NO ONE.