In search of a tactical torch

This month’s column looks at flashlights. I had to convince my editor that an article on flashlights is relevant to firearms. Yeah, yeah, I know. I write the Firearms Tactics column. OK, this month, I’m testing light cannons. How’s that? (Editor’s...

You should know dozens of lights fall under the Quark trademark with various qualities and aspects that distinguish them. All of the Quark models are compact and designed for tactical use. I will leave it up to the officer to pick one.

The beam on the Quark emanates from a textured, deep dish reflector. The center beam’s undefined edges and generous spillbeam allow for a syringe grip where the user holds the light at the web between the second and third (or third and fourth fingers) and presses with the palm of the non-trigger hand. This method is normally reserved for compact lights that don’t usually have this kind of output.

The Quark Series of flashlights have rewritten the paradigm. They even come with a hand grip accessory for opening doors and changing magazines. I’ve had a year to play with this light and I can’t find anything that doesn’t say “swear me in.”

Leupold MX modular light: MX 431

Someone at Leupold R&D was sitting at a board meeting one day and wondered, “I know we build some of the most durable rifle schools in the world… What if we applied what we knew to making flashlights? What would they look like?”

I’ll answer that: These flashlights would look like a thing right out of Modern Marvels. It has a sapphire lens, which is recessed twice in the head. You know, sapphire, the stuff that Rolex uses for their watch crystals. The bezel switch, where one can select strobing, dimmed output and even SOS, uses a magnetic switch. It goes “snick, snick” in the hand, like the sound of wing doors on a Lamborghini. It’s threaded for optically correct Alumina filters. The lights have replaceable modular bezels, tail caps, main-tubes and an array of accessories. The 6061 aluminum used in the products is hard anodized and the units are waterproofed to four atmospheres.

The MX-431 has a 180-lumen output using an efficient regulated circuit. The beam is, as one might have guessed, flawless and huge. It has a terrific feel, if not a little bezel heavy. The price is amazingly affordable, considering it will last a career.

There are many suitable lights not on this list. However, these particular lights boast unusual features. BOLO for the follow up article on off-duty and special purpose lights.


Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer and military small arms trainer. He teaches criminal justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, Calif., and welcomes comments

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