Over the time that Borelli Consulting has been performing and writing equipment reviews for Officer.com, we've covered a lot of different lights. It occurred to me this past week that out of that entire collection of lights, there are a precious few that I still have and depend on. Realizing that, I thought it would be beneficial to the community to go over the lights that are still performing and have proven reliable. While this review is titled "Tactical Hand Held-Lights," there will also be a few weapon-mounted lights included, and it's important to realize that several of the hand-helds can be readily mounted to weapons--specifically long guns. In fact, one of the tidbits below describes how a collection of contemporary warriors used duct tape and SureFire 6Ps to create field-expedient weapon lights under emergency circumstances.
Let's start out looking at the line of handhelds from Night-Ops, part of the BlackHawk Products Group. A couple of years back, Night-Ops exploded onto the tactical lighting scene with their revolutionary Gladius. Driven by two 3V lithium batteries behind an LED lamp assembly, the Gladius' hidden strength was in the versatility of the tail cap. The patented turning selection switch allows the operator to choose from three functions:
- Touch on/Touch off: by pushing the tail cap, the light comes on and stays on. Touch it again to turn the light off. In this position the operator can also vary the light level produced. By touching and holding the activation button, the operator can turn on and then dim the light down to as low as one lumen. By releasing and then touching and holding again, the light can be "dialed" back up. Anywhere in the process, if the operator needs the full power light, he just releases the tail cap, touches it to turn the light off, and then quickly touches it again to turn the light back on.
- Strobe: the center position provides the operator with a strobing LED light for as long as the activation button is pushed (or, obviously, until the batteries die). What's cool is that the strobe rate is specifically set to cause disorientation in humans when the strobe is shined in their eyes. For law enforcement professionals, this adds another layer of non-lethal force. If you're dealing with a subject in a low-light situation, just turn on the light and shine it on his chest for general illumination and to make sure you can see his hands. With the light on, turn the tail cap one click to the center position. Now if you need to "ramp up," you can push the activation button and the light will start strobing. Of course, if you have to go to strobe you should be putting the light directly into the bad guy's eyes.
- Pressure on: the third position lets the operator produce light from the Gladius only while the activation button is pushed and held down. Many operators prefer this method of operation.
After taking the market by storm with the Gladius, Night-Ops followed up with more contemporary incandescent-driven six volt and nine volt lights they called the Falcata. The Gladius and Falcata marked Night-Ops' entry into the industry in a way no new light company has done. It was smart of them to make sure that the bezels of their lights fit most common filters and caps, and they produced their own holster system for the lights, the Mod-U-Lok. Not only does the Mod-U-Lok system hold their own lights, but because of industry standardization, it fits most of their competitor's products as well. I have two Mod-U-Loks on my gun belt and recommend all law enforcement officers do the same. As most police shootings occur in low-light circumstances, it only makes sense to insure we bring light with us. Using the old military axiom that "two is one and one is none," then it behooves us to have two decent flashlights on our person.