Tactical Light - Everything You Need to Know
Flashlights have come a long way since the 1890s when it was invented by Conrad Hubert, founder of the American Ever-Ready Co. Tactical Light plays an important role in our life. Be it for a tactical mission, recreation, or survival scenario this tiny light can be a life saver. Unlike traditional or normal flashlights, a tactical flashlight comes with many more features than an ordinary flashlight.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything about tactical light and what to consider when you’re choosing a tactical flashlight for your camping or outdoor life.
What is a Tactical Light?
A tactical light is a flashlight specially made for tactical use. Though initially it was only made for military and law enforcement personnel, today everybody can buy it for their personal use. Tactical light can either be EDC or full size. EDC lights are compact, produce higher lumens, are made of quality materials, have longer battery life, and are durable.
Tactical light can either be EDC or full size. EDC lights are compact, produce higher lumens, are made of quality materials, have longer battery life, and are durable.
Most EDC tactical lights can be mounted on guns or can be used as a defensive weapon in times of need. Other than that, it can also be used for everyday use, during camping trips, hiking, or trekking. Full-size tactical lights are bigger in size, as the name suggests. This large tactical light is known for its lumens output and longer beam throw. Unlike a traditional torchlight, both EDC and full-size tactical light come with many inbuilt features depending on the brand and area of use.
Types of Tactical Flashlight
Tactical light comes in all shapes, sizes, lumens powers, beam styles, and more. Depending on where and how you want to use it, you will find all sorts of tactical flashlights on the market.
1. EDC Tactical Flashlights
EDC stands for everyday carry. As the name suggests, EDC tactical lights are small in size that can be carried anywhere with you. This type of tactical flashlight can be as small as a human thumb. Penlight and keyring lights all fall into the category of EDC light.
2. Full-Size Tactical Flashlights
This is a bigger torchlight mainly used by police, traffic, and security guards during the night. Full-size tactical light resembles a classic torchlight in comparison to size. Yes, they are big, lengthy, and weigh a couple of pounds but they’re also powerful. Most full-size lumens start at 1000. Despite the size, many prefer this type of tactical light because of the light it produces and the beams it throws.
3. Specialized Tactical Lights
Apart from the normal EDC tactical flashlights, there are also special types of flashlights that are made for a specific purpose.
● Spotlights - This is a type of tactical flashlight that has a piercing illumination that covers a long distance. This type of flashlight is mainly used by law enforcement officers while chasing a suspect. Firefighters also prefer to use spotlights because the light can pass through thick smoke and dust.
● Headlamps - Headlamps are mostly used by miners, cave divers, and technicians to mention a few. The light that you see attached to a helmet with an elastic band is called a tactical headlamp.
● Lanterns - This one is similar to classic flame-burning lanterns except for the power source. Traditional lanterns produce light using actual fire but modern tactical lanterns use batteries and LED to produce light. Tactical lanterns are best for reading maps during tactical situations or camping and hiking.
● Weapon Light - Weapon light can either be handheld or mounted to different weapons. Handheld Tactical Light: I am sure you have seen in a movie, a super cop holding a 9MM pistol in one hand and a flashlight in another. Those flashlights are called handheld tactical lights. This type of flashlight is not only for the military but it can be used by anyone for everyday use. Rifle Mounted Weapon Lights: This is a type of tactical light that you see mounted on rifles. They come in all sizes, have maximum lumen output, and offer several mounting options for comfortable positioning. Pistol Lights: Pistol tactical lights are very similar to rifle lights, the only difference is in the size. Pistol lights are compact and mostly come with an ambidextrous switch. Some have green or red laser light for accurate aiming.
Why Should Every Individual Carry a Flashlight?
Since the flashlight was invented it has become a part of our life. Though today most people use a mobile flashlight to light the dark, that doesn’t mean torches are not required anymore. A tactical flashlight not only provides lights but there are many reasons why people still choose them.
The first and top reason why you should carry a flashlight is that it helps you unleash the dark. Dark alleyways can pose a threat and that is where you need light the most. Most people think that they can rely on their phone flashlight but in most situations, you can’t. You can’t use your mobile flashlight for a longer time during hiking, camping, or even during a power outage. Other than that, mobile flashlights are not intense and you also risk draining your phone’s battery if you’re in an emergency.
As Tactical lights are primarily designed for law enforcement, security, and military professionals, they can be used as an improvised weapon when you need them the most. Most tactical flashlights are made of quality metal, some are even designed with a crenelated bezel making them the perfect non-lethal self-defense weapon. You can use the tactical light as a self-defense tool by either blinding the attacker temporarily or by striking them in the most vulnerable areas.
The lumen between 600-2000 is strong enough to blind someone temporarily. And the metal body can knock most people unconscious if it strikes at the most vulnerable parts such as the face, neck, collarbones, ribs, and head. The combination of blinding and striking techniques can make a tactical flashlight one of the deadliest self-defense weapons. Depending on the situation and how you use the light, it could also be a lifesaver.
It doesn’t have to be a tactical flashlight, just any ordinary flashlight can help you identify threats lurking in the shadows. But there’s an exception for tactical lights, unlike normal flashlights, they are more powerful, produce more light, and have a longer light throw. That means if you’re able to see 100 feet with a normal flashlight, with a tactical flashlight you can see up to 300 feet and more. This type of light is best used during camping and hiking trips. It scares away animals and won’t bother coming near you when you’re holding a flashlight.
Signal for Help
Imagine you’re stuck on an island with no means of communication. The only thing you have is a tactical light. It’s 8 pm and you see a ferry passing by a little distance away. In this situation, your voice might not reach them but the strong beam from your tactical flashlight will surely do. Or imagine being lost on a hike and needing someone to find you, or your car broke down on a dark country road and you need to signal your location for help. A tactical light is a better way of signaling rather than yelling for help.
Use with a Firearm
Tactical light can be mounted to a rifle or pistol or held with one hand while firing the gun with another hand. With the help of weapon light you can deter an attacker, optically disorient them, or be use as a blunt force self-defense weapon.
From small to large, there are hundreds of weapon lights that can be perfectly mounted on most weapons. And, whether you’re military personnel, a city cop, or a hunter, you’ll need a flashlight at one point in time.
What Makes a Good Tactical Flashlight?
A good tactical flashlight not only makes a good defensive tool but also makes a better option for everyday use. So, what should you look for while buying a good tactical light?
A tactical flashlight should be able to produce enough light to blind an attacker temporarily. Lumen output anywhere from 600 and above is the best option when we take light into consideration. Watch out for the LED. The more LED a flashlight has the more light they’re capable of producing without draining too much battery.
Also, make sure to look for the beam distance, some tactical flashlights shine very bright but they can’t cover the maximum area. So, make sure to look for a torch that throws maximum light, covers maximum distance, and has an adjustable beam (both flood and spot beam).
Another quality that you should look for while buying a tactical flashlight is its durability. You don’t want something that gets broken at one strike. A tactical light is something you want to carry with you every day and wherever you go. It should be able to withstand any climatic conditions and should be waterproof and weatherproof.
If you can’t rely on your flashlight it’s not worth buying. When ordering or buying from a physical store, make sure to also look for impact-resistant with FH1 standards! It should not be impacted by drops, scratches, moisture, and corrosion. There are lots of pretenders out there, you should keep your eyes open. Go for branded tactical lights such as Odin Mini because these types of lights are built out of military-grade anodized aluminum and feature stainless steel components.
Another very important component that you should look for is the battery. Always go for a flashlight that can last longer than an ordinary flashlight. Also don’t miss out on the type of battery a tactical light uses. The battery types greatly affect the runtime, light output, and overall performance of a torch.
Some of the common types of batteries used in flashlights are disposable batteries, rechargeable batteries, built-in batteries, and renewable batteries. The type of battery you should aim for is a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. Let's not forget the regulated and unregulated flashlight. In a regulated flashlight, the beam brightness remains the same throughout the life of the battery until the light suddenly shuts off.
In an unregulated flashlight, the bream starts at its brightest point and consistently keeps getting dimmer and dimmer as the battery drain. Most tactical lights come with a battery level indicator but always opt for an unregulated flashlight because you get a double indicator option on when you need to recharge your weapon light.
Tactical light should be small in size because it's something you will carry with you everywhere. It should be small enough to fit your pocket without getting noticed and it should not be bigger than the size of your palm.
Though a small size is better, that doesn’t mean a smaller size is all you need. Depending on how you want to use it, the size could matter. If you prefer a handheld light over mounted, the size doesn’t need to be small. If you are looking for daily use flashlight a full-size tactical light can sometimes be a better option than an EDC flashlight.
EDC tactical flashlights are small but most of the time they won’t beat the light output of full-size tactical flashlights. So depending on your needs, you should make the decision.
The type of switch you should choose depends on how you plan to use your tactical light. Are you using it to mount on a weapon or are you using it handheld during tactical situations? Or are you using it as a self-defense tool or for everyday use? The whole purpose of a switch control is to make the flashlight easy to operate and intuitive to use.
Press Button - This is the most common type of switch system you’ll find in most tactical lights because it’s easy to press for “on” and easy to press again for “off”. During tactical operations, this might be the most convenient switch option you can have.
Slide Button - You’ll see this type of switch button in an old-school non-tactical flashlight. The light turns on when you slide the button forward and turns off when you slide it backward. This is not the most convenient switch if you’re planning to use it as a self-defense tool or for tactical situations.
Rotating Bezel - This is another cool switching option that you’ll see in some modern tactical lights. Rotate the bezel right and the light turns on, rotate left and the light goes off. A bezel allows the operator to turn the light on and off silently, avoiding any undue attention. The only problem is sometimes the bezel could rotate itself due to fractions and cause the light to turn on accidentally, potentially wasting battery life.
Features You Should Look For
There are many different types of tactical light in the market with many different features. The feature of each tactical flashlight is what makes them unique from each other. Here are some features that you should look for if you want a tactical flashlight that is superior to others.
Battery Indicator - This is one best features that every tactical flashlight should have. The indicator helps detect the percentage of battery level remaining in a flashlight. During tactical situations, you don’t want to run out of battery and risk your life.
Heat Warning - Sometimes flashlights tend to get hot especially when you’re using high light output mounted on a gun. A heat warning gives you an indication that you need to either turn off your light or use it at a dimmer level. This helps to protect the internal parts from burning and ensures the best performance.
Light Color - Tactical light also comes in different colors and wavelengths of light. If you need a multifunctional flashlight to go for red, green, or blue-colored light. Red light is best for nighttime hunting, green light is good for tactical stand hunting purposes and blue is good for reading maps and charts. If you can find a tactical light that has all 3 lighting options, go for it.
Light Modes - Generally tactical flashlight comes with either beam light, spotlight, or both. Tactical light that provides both beam and spotlight that can be used interchangeably is the best option to go for.
SOS Mode - This mode is not important to everyone but it's always good to have an SOS mode because you never know when you need it. This feature helps you send signals to your friends and families when you have no other way to communicate with them.
Strobe Mode - This is an important feature a tactical light should have. A strobe mode can be used to send a signal when you’re in an emergency or to defend yourself in a non-lethal way. Always look for a tactical flashlight that has at least 500 lumens and a straight-to-strobe function for instant access to strobe mode.
Quick Access Buttons - This feature makes a tactical light easy to use. Some even have a double button system switch for easy and fast access. Look for a torch that has a button on a more natural spot when you grab onto it. A flashlight with a side switch and a tail switch are better options.
Proximity Sensor - This feature helps automatically drop the brightness of the light when it gets close to any object when the light mode is at high, turbo, or strobe.
Integrated Lasers - With the help of green laser light you get better target accuracy. A laser can be either green or red or combined that can be used interchangeably.
Lockout Mode - If you don’t want your kids to mess around with your tactical light, a lockout mode flashlight would be a better option. This feature helps to disable the main output to save battery and accidentally burn your leg with a high-output flashlight.
Weapon Mounting - Not all flashlights can be mounted on a weapon. And the one that can be mounted on a rifle might not be compatible with a pistol and vice versa. If you’re purchasing a mountable light make sure it can handle the shock that comes with a weapon.
Strike Bezel - A strike bezel not only looks cool but can be extremely useful while dealing with an intruder. With the help of this bezel, you can strike someone unconscious or break a glass when you need to do so.
Anti-roll & Textured Grip - Never ignore the grip! You don’t want your flashlight to slip often from your palm. A strong grip gives you much control over the hold and how you use your flashlight.
Tactical Tailcap - This is another popular feature in most tactical light. This switch helps to operate the light easily even with closed eyes. The tail cap switch is also ideal for use in conjunction with a weapon. There are many techniques to using a tactical flashlight, many of which rely on the power switch being on the tail.
A tactical light is a must-have item and these features are the life-saving features a tactical flashlight should have. What’s your favorite tactical flashlight feature?
How to Use Tactical Flashlights as Weapon Light
With the introduction of modern flashlights, many self-defense techniques have come to the surface. Some of the most common techniques are mentioned below.
1. The FBI Technique
FBI Technique is best for situations when you suspect someone is going to aim at you. In this technique, all you have to do is hold your flashlight some distance away from your body, out and up with your other hand. Doing this will confuse your opponent and make it difficult to figure out your location.
2. Harries Technique
This technique is for people who love hunting. This trick involves holding the tactical light below the firearm. Grab the flashlight with your supporting hand and wrap your palm and fingers around the body of the flashlight. This technique provides extra stability to the shooting hand while providing extra light.
3. Neck Index Position
This is an advanced version of the FBI technique which involves bringing the flashlight to your chin as you take your shot. Once you finish the shot, you hold out the flashlight with one hand as you’ll do in an FBI technique.
4 Reasons to Have a Pistol Light
A pistol light doesn’t matter whether you have a rifle or a pistol, it will be hard to use as a self-defense weapon in the dark. To use it as effectively as the day, you will need an artificial light that you can use with your pistol.
Identify Targets At Night
This is obvious! You need pistol light to see through the dark. But compared to normal flashlights, weapon lights are more powerful in terms of lumens and light throw.
Easier to Shoot
Using a handheld tactical light while shooting is not as easy as it looks in Hollywood. Even if you’re an expert shooter you could miss the target while trying to shoot with one hand. With a light-mounted gun, you get better accuracy, faster reloading, and greater speed at finding targets.
Have you ever noticed how the muzzle of the pistol slightly goes up when you’re shooting? Every time the muzzle climbs, the shooting gets a little slow. Using a weapon light adds weight to the pistol and acts as a counterweight allowing faster follow-up shots.
More Convenient To Carry
What is more convenient, a handheld tactical light hanging in your belt or a light that is directly attached to your pistol? With mounted pistol Light, you don’t have to hide to mount the light in tactical situations and emergency shootouts. As you have it mounted, all you gotta do is aim and shoot. During tactical situations, a matter of seconds could lead to the death of life situations. Why take the risk, when you can mount the light beforehand?
Odin Mini Tactical Flashlight
This is one of the best Olight tactical flashlights that can be used as an EDC flashlight or weapon flashlight. Whether you need it for tactical situations, for self-defense, or for daily use, this multi-function tail cap flashlight is a complete solution provider.
Apart from many Olight tactical lights, this particular brand new innovative tactical light has marked a huge breakthrough in the tactical light industry. This small and compact flashlight offers so many unique features which you won’t find in most flashlights.
Odin Mini tactical light can change the way you use to look at tactical flashlights! Let's talk about each specification this flashlight has on a deeper level.
The size Odin Mini is 4 ½ inches long and a mere one inch in body diameter making it the best tactical light for any tactical situation. Its compact size makes it easy to carry wherever you go.
Don’t judge this small flashlight by its size, regardless of its size it can produce 1,250 lumens and 14,400-candela beams of pure hot white love from its innards. It can throw light beams up to 240 meters making itself a new trend in the WML market.
This weapon flashlight has a built-in locking latch that can quickly attach and detach to the M-LOK rail mount and other third-party Picatinny and KeyMod Mounts. It also has a rotate-to-lock slide rail mount feature for easy flashlight adjustment and preferred positioning.
Odin Mini has long wires that make the mounting easy and flexible to personal holds and needs. The light attaching and detaching is as simple as turning the lock to its unlocked position, pushing the lock knob, and sliding the light out of the mount.
Tailcap Pressure Switch
Another best thing about this weapon light is its tail cap pressure switch. It comes with a magnetic pressure switch that provides precise control of the light right at your fingertip. Tapping the switch quickly multiple times gives you continuous-on mode, strobe, and other light options.
The tail cap not only helps to control the light but is also a charging point. You can use it for magnetic charging, tactical handheld operation, and remote switch compatibility.
Odin mini tactical light uses a 2,040 mAh Olight-branded rechargeable lithium-ion 18500 battery. The MCC3 USB magnetic charging cable ensures fast charging provided you’re using a standard 5V 1.5A power supply.
A fully charged Odin Mini Weapon light can run up to 6 minutes at its 1,250-lumen maximum output, after that the light will drop to lower outputs to keep the heat production down and battery life up. A fully charged battery can last up to 5 hours with steady 200-lumen output.
This tiny tactical flashlight is encompassed in a sturdy aluminum alloy, impact-resistant, and IPX8 waterproof frame making the Odin a robust flashlight you can count on under the most precarious situation. The Olight Odin Mini was a masterpiece among WMLs. It is designed for both weapon and handheld use and places night operations at the forefront of its design and functionality.
It has a complete flashlight solution that everyone is looking for. Be it light output, battery, size, mounting option, or specialized functioning, you get it all in this tiny super powerful tactical light. Olight is quickly rising above the unwashed masses with an outright horde of innovative, proficient illumination solutions.
Should You Get a Tactical Flashlight?
Yes, it’s that simple. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a law enforcement officer or an elite member of the military, tactical light is for all. As much as it works for military personnel, it should also work effectively for the general public. By now you should have had a better understanding of what exactly is a tactical light, what to look for while buying one, and the features to look for. Now you decide what to do!
Before you leave, a few final takeaway notes. Always go for the highest quality even if it is designed for professional use because any tactical light is ideal for everyday carry or to keep around the house.
Weapon lights are suitable for anyone interested in efficient self-protection. However, a weapon light does not replace a traditional flashlight. It is an excellent idea to have both at hand and transition from one to the other as the need arises.
Don’t forget to train and practice using your weapon light. Test it, learn to shoot with it at various distances, and practice regularly under low-light conditions until you can shoot as well as you usually can during the day. Thank you for your reading!
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