The Shining Path: Hi-Tech Flashlights

The Shining Path: Hi-Tech Flashlights

Joel Pirela
Aug 31, 2010

We're not here to start a revolution but rather talk about the new world of high-efficiency, modern flashlights. At one point, we were stopped at the airport by a nice TSA officer and after finding the Surefire Defender model in our luggage, he inquired, "What do you need this for?" We simply replied, "To see in the dark". That's the sole purpose of a flashlight.

Have you tried looking at the engine compartment at night or changing a tire when is dark? Or maybe the power is out and you hear a noise downstairs. Yes, a flashlight comes in handy more than what you would think.

The market is saturated these days with plenty of manufacturers pumping out the next big thing in illumination tools, but there's a flashlight company to rule them all: Surefire. Surefire is the leading manufacturer of rugged, powerful and compact illumination tools for tactical applications. They cater to a very specific target: military, law enforcement and rescue personnel. You can check our previous review here of the Surefire 6P LED Flashlight.

The G2 LED, is a compact high-output flashlight featuring a body made of tough, corrosion-proof Nitrolon polymer and an aluminum bezel. It uses a virtually indestructible power-regulated LED and a precision micro-textured reflector to produce a smooth 120-lumen beam—six times the light of a big two-D-cell flashlight, and more than enough to temporarily blind and disorient an aggressor by impairing his night-adapted vision. The tactically-correct pushbutton tailcap switch provides secure, ergonomic activation control: press for momentary-on, twist for constant-on.

The M3LT, A large-diameter Turbohead, a Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens, and an ultra high-output 4-die LED emitter come together to produce a powerful, focused beam suitable for spotlight/searchlight applications—yet the light is less than 9 inches long. The high-performance LED is virtually immune to failure since there is no filament to burn out or break, and it provides a far longer runtime per set of batteries when compared to incandescent lights of similar lumen output. They come standard with a tough aerospace aluminum body with a Mil-Spec hard-anodized finish for extreme durability.

Inova, creators of the Microlight, an ingenious precision engineered micro LED flashlight with surprising performance. From its tough polycarbonate construction to its multi-function switch mechanism to its LED lamp, the Microlight is subtle but very effective. Powered by 2-2016 Lithium coin cell batteries the Microlight offers advanced design and engineering in a key holder-size lighting instrument with up to a 50-foot effective range and up to a one-mile signal visibility. The Microlight also features four lighting functions and a water-and-crush-resistant body, plus a stainless-steel universal clip that attaches easily to keys, zippers, purses, backpacks, military gear and any number of convenient locations.

Also the 24/7, the multipurpose, multifunction 24/7 satisfies the strictest engineering requirements. Its polymer case is rugged, water resistant and can endure temperatures from -20° to +50°C. Utilizing advanced LED technology, this model provides users the option of eight steady and signal functions. The eight light modes are available with an easily accessible single-handed rotational octagonal designed dial. Powered by 1-123 lithium battery, its cluster of 8 LED lamps projects a forceful flood beam up to 75 feet and provides up to a 1.25 mile signal visibility.

With new high output LED, the Bolt Series, with aerospace-grade aluminum, a graphite colored anodized body geometrically designed to prevent rolling, the Inova Bolt Series of LED flashlights has more than a rugged design look and feel, it has rugged-grade toughness that makes it the perfect hand held lighting tool for the workshop, garage, building site and more.

Streamlight have been busy creating some incredible flashlights with the MicroStream, HIGH-POWERED LED PERSONAL FLASHLIGHT features Proprietary Micro Optical Systems with "Battery-Booster" electronics to provide a super-bright beam.

The Pink 2AA ProPolymer, to which Streamlight will donate $1 to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation for each flashlight sold, making a difference in the fight against breast cancer.

Also we have very small companies (1 man show) that design and create custom masterpieces in solid titanium with state of the art electronics... for a price! Like this flashlight: SPY Tri-V CPF.

The Tri-V is programmable...very programmable. You can make it into the light you want by selecting any set of emitters and power levels on any of the six switch positions. There are even multiple configurations to store and recall but more on that just a little later. If programmed by the user to its higher settings, the Tri-V is capable of pumping over 12W of power into the emitters. This should be thought of like you think of an exotic sports car. It is capable of big things but it must be understood and respected in order to be used to its fullest.

If you choose to crank this light up to its higher power levels it will run at those higher power levels for a little over 30 seconds and then it starts slowly backing down to a 4W level. This keeps the light from getting too hot and it will save your batteries too. Understand, if you crank it up it will heat fast.

Seeing in the dark always comes in handy when there's no power around or the areas are poorly lit and we need to see what's around. Better be prepared. Try to keep one flashlight on each car and each nightstand... for those times when you will need them.

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