Why do none of the LED flashlights have an adjustable beam?

Why do none of the LED flashlights have an adjustable beam?

This is a discussion on Why do none of the LED flashlights have an adjustable beam? within the Related Gear & Equipment forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; For about 12 years now, I've carried a keychain Maglight, the single AAA battery one. After a couple of years, either the lens gets clouded ...

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Thread: Why do none of the LED flashlights have an adjustable beam?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array SpringerXD's Avatar
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    Nov 2007

    Why do none of the LED flashlights have an adjustable beam?

    For about 12 years now, I've carried a keychain Maglight, the single AAA battery one. After a couple of years, either the lens gets clouded or the bulb weakens or something and they don't have the output they once did so I replace them.

    So, I recently went looking around at the newer LED types. There are some nice ones out there, but out of the 20 or so I looked at, none of them had an adjustable beam. This is a feature I've always loved about the Maglights. I'm talking about how you twist the cap on a Maglight to make the beam spread or narrow. I'm amazed that a little $2-3 Maglight has a feature that the $20-60 LED lights don't.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but on an adjustable-beam flashlight, isn't it just the lens shape or distance that you're adjusting? And if so, why aren't any of the LED lights adjustable? I love the brightness of LED's, but I can't seem to be satisfied if I can't focus the beam.

  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    LED lights are built with the light-generating widget on a circuit board, with a plastic hat on it which focuses the light. Thus the focusing is done using lenses rather than reflectors.

    Some focusing would be possible with the "spill" from around the edges of the assembly, but the majority of the focusing is already being done for you by the lens.

    One MIGHT be able to do some focusing with an additional lens in front of the existing lens, but the losses might make it impractical.

    Bottom line? I'm afraid you have to live with it. Perhaps go and buy another handgun to cheer yourself up?

    Last edited by Paymeister; December 9th, 2007 at 01:14 AM. Reason: added sketch

  3. #3
    Member Array GrizzlyAdams's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Just buy more maglites? They work for you so why not keep going with it.
    "A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes"-Mark Twain

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  5. #4
    Member Array Gun Loving Liveral's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Bennington, Oklahoma
    I don't know for sure about the mini-mag lights but a full size mag lite led bulb will still focus. I have changed all my maglites over to led. One in each vehicle, one by each door one on each side of the bed. Ok, so I've got a flashlight fetish. The led bulbs will not go out if dropped, batteries last longer and the led will outlive me.
    In Oklahoma, even we liberals like guns!

  6. #5
    Member Array LastManOut's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Emmaus, PA
    I carry a Novatec EDC 85P, although not adjustable to your specs, it does have an adjustable light intensity output using some sort of built in computer thingy.
    It work great for me.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    May 2006
    Michigan's U.P.
    Checkout any Surefire model, regular or LED, against a Mag Light. The beam out of a Surefire has no concetric rings in it, the Mag Light beam has a lot of them requiring a focus adjustment to get the max out of it. There really is no comparison between the two lights. A Mag Light does make an extra weapon and it is a good light for the cost.
    Les Baer 45
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  8. #7
    Member Array RTC1911's Avatar
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    Mar 2007

    Coast Focusable LED Tac Light

    I found a focusable LED at Loews Home Improvement Store. Manufacturer contact info appears near end of post.

    Make / Model Name: Coast LED Lenser
    Model # LL7438

    Light Output: 60 Lumens
    Power Supply: Three AAA batteries.
    Dimensions: 5" overall length, 1" diameter barrel, except for the wider bezel head which is 1-3/8 in length with a 1-1/4" diameter.

    Handy little pocket flashlight, comes with cordura belt pouch, installed batteries, a spare set of 3 AAA batteries,
    lanyard clip, wrist lanyard, and a small carabiner type spring-clip.

    All internal electrical contacts are gold-plated. Rubber-covered activation switch is located in the end tailcap. Switch feels to be of positive, durable quality, half-press for momentary on, full press for constant on, switch is not finicky at all between momentary-constant, allows ease of control.

    Construction is of aluminum, grip portion of barrel is very finely knurled, threaded end-cap is O-ring sealed, lens is of optical-quality thick glass.

    One nice touch: When you unscrew the tailcap to change batteries, the entire 3-AAA battery holder slides right out. When you remove the batteries from the holder, the three battery receptacle slots are marked with a thick, bold, bright white battery pictogram with negative-positive polarity very easily visible-readable even in low light or for those with aging peepers. So it makes inserting new batteries in correct-polarity-position fairly easy even in low light.

    Assessment: With 60 lumens output, I find it adequate enough for a low-end tactical flashlight. Consistently results in severe eyeball dazzle & squinting on anyone I've ever face-lit with it at night, out to 20-25 feet distant which is the farthest I've tested the "dazzle effect" thus far.

    I am highly opposed to the notion of major-maker proprietary & expensive tac light bulbs with ridiculously low lifespan-hours, and I've always disliked specialty batteries and rechargables. I like the idea I can find AAA batteries in just about any grocery, hardware or gas-convenience store in the nation. I'm not LEO, so the 60 lumens being enough to dazzle as is "works for me". I have a house with some pretty huge rooms - for example about 25 feet wide by 50 feel long across the undivided living room and adjacent family-den room - and I've been comfy enough using this light for house-clearing purposes. I find it adequate for exterior night general use. More than a few friends & acquaintances have been impressed enough to inquire where I got it etc.

    Crisp white light, slight bluish tint. At tight focus, there are zero artifacts in the light beam cone. At wide focus, there are no dark spotty artifacts at all - just a very slight overall dimming, hardly even noticeable. Width of the wide-angle focus is a tad less than what you'd get with a C or D-cell Maglight, but it's still better than having no focus at all. Per recall, the LED life is rated at 100,000 hours. I haven't "timed" the durations of AAA battery lifes, but in "fairly regular intermittent use", batteries at 2 months age are still going strong. AAA batteries are fairly cheap anyway.

    "For what it is", my only complaints could be it doesn't have anti anti-roll flats to prevent rolling when placed down on a flat surface, and neither the bezel head or tail cap have ribbed "skull crusher" protrusions. Also the barrel knurling is relatively fine and smooth, for knurling. Neither aspect is an "issue" for me.

    "Personal Satisfaction Assessment": Packaging includes an activation lever so you can eyeball output pre-purchase. (I suppose that's why they include a fresh spare set of 3 AAA batteries, which I thought was a nice touch). At time of purchase I was impressed with light output even in broad daylight & brightly flourescent-lit dept store to buy the 1st one. Then I merely misplaced (but thought I had lost) the first one bought. Missed it enough to buy an identical replacement. When doing so, I bought two instead. Then as luck would have it, I found the 1st original one. So now, one stays in the pickup truck all the time (which I seldom use - usually travel via motorcycle). One stays in the pocket or on the belt whenever I go out, and one stays on the nightstand to supplant the 5 D-Cell Maglight baton. So I could say it works well enough for me that I've bought three of 'em to make sure one's always around if-when- wherever needed. Would never buy 3 of anything if I didn't think it was a good product / good buy.

    Manufacturer: Coast Knives & Tools

    Mail Address: P.O. Box 5821 Portland, OR 97228

    Physical Address: 8033 NE Holman St. Portland, OR 97218

    Customer Service: 800-426-5858

    Link to website product page - (Model discussed is the 1st flashlight shown, top left corner of the pic grouping):


    Also, if you "Google" search "Coast Flashlights", you'll see a group of several large-scale distributors many of whom reportedly give discounts.

    Hope this helps your query.
    "He who allows another to take his life, who hath no authority for that purpose, when it might be preserved by defense, is guilty of Self-Murder, for God hath enjoined him to seek the continuance of his Life, and Mother Nature teaches every creature to defend itself".

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