It scares me to think that nearly a decade ago I took my first low-light operations course. That was when I got my basic education about the power of light and how to best use it in high risk or unknown risk situations. Above and beyond all concerns I learned one thing: cheap flashlights should not be trusted with your life. So, when I get lights to test, one of the things I do is abuse them pretty well. The latest victim of my abuse is the TAC24 from Extreme Beam. Let me tell you how well it survived.
First I guess you should understand that with the exception of the polymer bodied flashlights on the market today, the large majority of "tactical" lights are machined from aluminum. Some companies sell it as "aircraft grade aluminum" and others push it as "military spec aluminum", but no matter what the sales talk is, it's essentially high density aluminum. A crenelated bezel is also becoming more and more common and many manufacturers have switched over either exclusively to LED lamps or at least have put some of their product lines in a dedicated LED portfolio. There's a reason for that: LED lamps are far harder to break than incandescent bulbs. Given the intended "tactical" use it only makes sense that these lamp assemblies be difficult to break.
Second, you need to be aware that different light manufacturers measure and market their lights using different descriptors for the light output. For instance, you might have one light that is 2,000,000 candlepower, another light that is 350 lumens and another one that is 24,000 lux. Candlepower, lumen and lux are all terms used to describe light output. However they all mean different things. I've always found lumen to be the most useful term of measure. While candlepower provides awesome numbers that sound wonderful, the light itself may prove useless for certain applications because of how it delivers that light or the power pack necessary to create that light.
The Extreme Beam TAC24's published specifications state that it produces 24,000 LUX @ 1 meter or 300 lumens. It also says that the light outperforms most lights at 500-700 lumens in projection. I'm familiar with a 500 lumen light and at CQB distances (inside 20 yards) it's bright enough to make a person turn their head to keep the light out of their face... even with their eyes closed. So if the light will ourperform 500-700 lumen lights, it'd be darned impressive. Did it? Let me share.
Put simply, this is a darned bright light. Inside that 20 yard distance this light is certainly bright enough to make people turn their head to avoid it being shined in their eyes - yes, even with their eyes closed. On the range I had no problem using it to identify and engage targets with my handgun out to 25 yards on a no-moon night. On the rifle range it was sufficient for me to engage targets out to my maximum available range of 150 yards. The published specs say that it will project out to 330 meters or nearly 1,100 feet. That's about the maximum qualification range for the M16 for some branches of our armed services so I consider it more than sufficient.
The light itself is delivered with a holster, a recharger, and two rechargeable batteries. If you lose the rechargeable batteries or simply don't have time to recharge them, the light will also run on two CR123 3V lithium batteries. Still, that 3V lithiums are the back up plan. Having a tac light that runs on rechargeables and a company that has enough foresight to provide two batteries means you should always have one avaiable for use.
Just to get them all listed the published specs are:
- Weight with one battery: 6.6 ounces
- Length: 6.25"
- Main Body Width: 1.02"
- Head Bezel Width: 1.775"
- Upper Body Width: 1.125" (right below bezel)
- Max Run Time: 2.5 hours on full power
Everything else was covered earlier.