Photo credit: Safariland
Photo credit: Safariland
Way back in the day - I’m talking 1980s when I first entered law enforcement – there was a popular flashlight that had a rotating bezel with which you could adjust the focus of the beam. The benefit was that you could spread the light out to see more area or you could tighten it up to focus in and see better farther. The downside of the light was that it was, essentially, a heavy metal battery filled nightstick. That wasn’t its intended purpose, but that was often how it ended up being used. Recently I was introduced to another flashlight with a rotating bezel feature: The Safariland Individual Light System 2 – or ILS2 for short.
The ILS2 is what I could call a handheld tactical light. The LED lamp assembly produces a maximum of 450 lumens of light (according to specifications published on Safariland’s website). The handy versatile feature that I like – in addition to the rotating bezel – is that the touch pressure tailcap activation switch has four buttons: a large center button you can use via touch pressure or “click on” to activate the light at full power, and three smaller buttons around the outer edge face that activate the light on low power – producing about 15 lumens of light.
As I experimented with the light I found that the light can be turned on by activating either power level. You can push one of the outer buttons to get low power or the center button to get high power. If you turn it on low power and then push one of the small buttons again, it turns off. If you turn it on low power and then push the big button you get high power. I continued playing with it to learn what button combinations worked how. The following examples are the best way I can present the information. Activation is shown in BOLD; result is shown in italics.
- Big button = high power; small button = low power; big button = high power; big button = off.
- Small button = low power; big button = high power; small button = low power; small button = off.
- Small button = low power; small button = off.
- Big button = high power; big button = off.
- Small button = low power; big button = high power; big button = off.
The bottom line is that to turn the light off, you have to push the same button twice: once to turn it on and once to turn it off. Once the light is on, in either power setting, pushing the button for the other power setting will only change the power setting.
The bezel has two features: one is the rotating focus which works at either power level. Turning the bezel to alter focus moves the reflector in relation to the lamp itself, widening or tightening the beam dependent on which way you turn it. At a distance of about five yards the widest diffused beam is estimated at 20 feet in diameter. At that same distance with the most tightly focused beam, the hot spot is about two feet in diameter with the dimmer corona looking to be about 10 feet. Those measurements are best guesstimate as I viewed them. Turning the bezel to change the focus CAN be done with one hand, provided it’s not cranked too tight in either direction. It’s MUCH faster to just use two hands, circumstances permitting.
The second feature of the bezel is the removable scalloped crown. The light is delivered with the scalloped crown in place and if you anticipate use of the light as a less-lethal impact / defensive weapon, I’d suggest leaving it in place. If, for whatever reason, you don’t want that scalloped crown, just unscrew and remove it.
Most flashlights that produce this kind of light are powered by the ever-hard-to-find and often-way-over-priced 3V lithium CR123 batteries. The ILS2 has an internal battery barrel system that holds six AAA batteries. The power provided by these much-cheaper and easier-to-find batteries allows the light to produce 450 lumens of light for up to 75 minutes.
The ILS2 body design incorporates common contemporary construction and three almost required by the industry features. The light is manufactured from hard anodized aircraft aluminum (common contemporary construction) and the body diameter is approximately 1” so it will fit into the large majority of mounting rings (first industry standard feature). Near the tailcap is a rubber grommet that wraps around the body and allows use of the Rogers technique for shooting with a flashlight in hand (second industry feature). Finally, the light is equipped with a removable pocket clip. Now, this light measures 7.5” long and the bezel is 1.5” wide. That’s big enough that I don’t consider it convenient to clip into a pocket UNLESS we’re talking about a decent size cargo pocket or “bucket” pocket on a pair of tactical pants. This isn’t a light you want to put in the hip pocket of your favorite pair of jeans.
MSRP for the ILS2 is $120, which is a good price for a light with these capabilities. It’s a better price when you realize how much you’ll save on batteries in the long run. I had no luck finding any for sale online but you should, based on previous experience with similar products, be able to find the ILS2 for less than the MSRP. It would certainly make a good Christmas gift or stocking stuffer for your favorite public safety employee or military service man or woman.