A interesting discovery about tactical lights...

A interesting discovery about tactical lights...

This is a discussion on A interesting discovery about tactical lights... within the Related Gear & Equipment forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I got started with handheld tactical lights with a SF (SureFire) 6Z, then a C2, then an M3, and then a A2 (Aviator - 3 ...

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Thread: A interesting discovery about tactical lights...

  1. #1
    Senior Moderator
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    A interesting discovery about tactical lights...

    I got started with handheld tactical lights with a SF (SureFire) 6Z, then a C2, then an M3, and then a A2 (Aviator - 3 low power LEDs around a Xenon bulb). My A2 has red LEDs. And some where along the way I picked up an StreamLight M3 WML (weapon mounted light) and a SF X200. All these lights have one thing in common, a blinding bright, sharply focused beam.

    Then last Spring my projects class, as a project, evaluated 20 tactical lights for intensity and rundown characteristics. But more impressive to me was the subjective tests. The students got in a dark room here at school, turned on tac lights one at a time and each student ranked the lights according to what they saw.

    All but one student gave the SureFire L2 a poor ranking because it wasn't as sharply focused as the others. I couldn't get that one student's opinion of the L2 off my mind (which I disagreed with BTW), and also because it is a dual intensity LED light, I started carrying the L2 as a personal light.

    I carried it regularly and used it for just about all my lighting needs. I often "examined" a dark room before I turned the lights on just to see what I could see with the broadly focused L2. I regularly compared the low intensity and high intensity beams.

    Then one night, I decided to revert back to my Streamlight TL2 LED for its compactness and more intensely focused beam. The first time I turned the TL2 LED on in a dark room, I was surprised that my reaction was, "I can't see with this light!" The beam was full brightness, focused as always, but the problem is, it has very little light in the "lobes". In other words, it only illuminates the area covered by the focused beam. I had grown accustom to the L2's broad beam that really lights up a room, "wall to wall".

    That's when I realized the L2's broader focus was much better than a tighter focus indoors or at shorter ranges. I got the same effect when I switched on my X200A this weekend. It is a tightly focused beam and I quickly noticed how narrow the beam was - just like most other tactical lights.

    So as a result of about a year living with the L2, I have concluded that the broader beam is generally better for "inside" and short ranges. BTW, the L2 does have an Achilles heel, if you run it for 20 - 25 minutes continuous, it will overheat and get so hot you can hardly hold it and it starts blinking.


  2. #2
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    Personally, i feel the narrow beam, is brighter at longer distances, therefore better if you can use it before someone gets close. I can live with the narrow focus drawback.

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    It is certain that tactics, etc. generally must be driven by the particular situation. If I'm in my house, the broader beam is demonstratably a big plus. I can simply see more, better. If I'm past 30 feet or so a tighter beam may be a bit more appropriate, again depending on the particular situation. Longer distances certainly favor the tighter beam.

    I guess it comes down to are we expecting to use our lights primarily in close or distant situations. For me, neither does best at both. If a tight beam is called for, a broader beam is a poor substitute; if a broad beam is called for, a tightly focused beam is a poor substitute.

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    Membership Revoked Array HappyGunner's Avatar
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    I converted my M2 to a LED head just so I could have this broader coverage and the longer battery life. Many time a really bright tight beam in a small room is not what is really needed.

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    Member Array DDGator's Avatar
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    Yep, that is why I have different tactical lights for different applications. Still looking for the one light that does it all.
    DDGator (Duane)
    www.RealWorldCarryGear.com

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    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    Most people IMO want/expect their little lights to do some kinda "damage" to the BG. I teach that you should not expect this. IMO the little lights that some people carry shoud be used for targeting only. Use the light to that advantage. For this application I would suggest a wider beam that not only lights up the BG but also throws some(if even dim) light on the surrounding area. This,especially indoors.(Disclamer >>I am not a lighting GURU)--------

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    Member Array DDGator's Avatar
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    I agree you can't expect that. However, when I am in a "no firearms" zone, I always carry my 120 lumen SureFire, hoping the blinding effect at night would at least buy me some time to run or hit the guy if appropriate.
    DDGator (Duane)
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  8. #8
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    Still looking for the one light that does it all.
    Ahhh - the luminary Nirvana Duane

    I favor on balance pretty much what my lil' LED head E1e does - good core intensity which gives reasonable reach but useful edge bleed diffusion - which in real dark does spread enough to pull in some peripheral detail.

    Small, not ''up there'' with the big boys but - easy to tote and enough for my needs.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    Member Array DDGator's Avatar
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    I may have told you this before, but I have same light and it gets more use than any of the others -- because it is so small. And yet, it cranks out a lot of light. Mine has the green filter.

    I have some new SureFires and Digilights coming in a few weeks though.. :)
    DDGator (Duane)
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  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    DDGator, With respect sir,this is what I try to teach my students not to expect outta their light. I don't care how many lumens. It would be better served as an impact weapon. If someone presents a gun or knife to you,you'd better think of something to do besides shine a not so bright light in their eye and expect them to fall to their knees. If your in a "no firearms zone" carefully choose a blade or impact weapon. I am not a impact weapon sorta guy but train with guys that are. They say that if the BG is close enough to you that the light emitting from your little light will even start to hurt their eyes or cause them any great degree of "night blindness" stick the light in their eye socket, don't try to shine 'em with it. ------

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    I use a Streamlight M3 on my Glock 22 & Remington 870, a Surefire M951 on my Rock River A4, and a Surefire G2 on my raid belt during raids. The Raid Team that I am on uses our lights as a means to light up the room when we enter it during a raid. Broad beam, narrow beam is does not matter as long that we can see what’s in the room and control the threat. The M3, G2, and M951 are good lights for what we do.

  12. #12
    Member Array DDGator's Avatar
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    Well, the point RSSZ, the light functions at a distance that a contact weapon cannot. It is also no level of force (legally speaking) whatsoever, and may be tactically appropriate when gouging someone's eye out is not.

    I have experimented with the 120 lumen lights in dark environment, and I think they are pretty effective for what they are -- it is not going to stop a determined attacker, but probably can't do any harm when trying to create distance and preparing to fight if he can close the distance. It also has the effect of lighting up the attacker to better assess his weapons if any, and may help draw the attention of bystanders.

    In no way am I suggesting a flashlight is an incapacitating weapon. Then again, neither is a pistol, necessarily. ;)
    DDGator (Duane)
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  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    Another thing to consider is..... if you want to shoot a person holding a light, the light beam is a good place to start. Put a couple, a foot or so above the center of the beam and you'll probably center punch him. For me a light is for target ID and something to put my front sight on. --------

  14. #14
    Member Array Optimistic Paranoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDGator
    Yep, that is why I have different tactical lights for different applications. Still looking for the one light that does it all.
    Doesn't SureFire make an accessory called a "Beamshaper" that provides that wider angle? Just like the colored filters but a Fresnel Lens or somesuch, and flips out of the way when you need the tighter focused beam for distance.

    Anyone tried one of them yet?
    Regards
    John


    Life Member - American Society of Armed Political Malcontents

    Question Authority. Hang As Necessary!

    In God I Trust. Everybody Else Keep Your Hands Where I Can See Them!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array gregarat's Avatar
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    I try to teach my students not to expect outta their light. I don't care how many lumens.
    So very true.

    I have learned from personal experience at work. That the light is a outstanding thing to make someome flinch as a distraction, to be followed up quickly with another action.

    For me the ideal light would be, to have an high output bulb for the E2D . Untill then I think a 9P with a high output bulb is best for my line of work.

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