Extreme Beam's Alpha Tac

Up until I took the Low Light Instructor class in 2000 I had always believed that a flashlight was good for when the power went out. I hated having to do things in the dark and ANY light was good enough if I could see what I was doing. AFTER I took the Low Light Instructor program I realized just how powerful the light was in the dark and how much of an advantage one could gain if one controlled the light. The challenge for a long time was the technology challenge: getting enough light to be effective out of a package small enough to be convenient / comfortable. With the advent of LED-driven lights and increased efficiency in power delivery through digital circuitry, that challenge has been met and then some. Now it's really a matter of choosing your functioinality, size and output to select which light you carry. Enter the Extreme Beam Alpha-Tac SAR7.

The Alpha-TAC SAR7 is quite a high-performance handy package. Measuring 3.375" long and using only one CR-123 3V lithium battery as its power source, this little light produces a reported 120 lumens of light for up to an hour. Now, I've long considered 65 lumens the bare minimum for a tactical light, but I've also always maintained that more is better. 120 lumens is more than sufficient for tactical work. With that amount of light you can easily perform search functions and/or identify your target at handgun engagement distances.

Extreme Beam's website (linked below) states that the light projection from this light has been measured as far as 150 yards / 450 feet. In my own low-light testing I found it to be more than sufficient at the typical handgun range of 25 yards / 75 feet and sufficient up to 50 yards / 150 feet. While I don't question that it "throws" farther than that, my eyes are not good enough to consider using this particular light for target engagement at 100 yards (or more). Another change I'd like to see Extreme Beam make is to the activation switch - but there may literally not be enough room. The tail-cap on/off switch is click-on, click-off. No touch pressure activation option. It'd be nice to be able to touch it on and when I released the pressure it went out rather than having to click on or click off.

What I do have to comment very positively on is the size to performance ratio of this light. Using only one battery and being as small as it is (it measures only .85" wide) producing 120 lumens of light for an hour is pretty darned impressive. Of course, you pay for such performance. MSRP on the Extreme Beam website is $145.95. A simple Google search found me the same light for under $100 through various dealers.

So, all in all, a very handy high-performance little light. I drop it in my pocket almost every day. Check it out!