The current crisis is an opportunity to examine products that arrived before it. Time to shed light on some gear to help you get around in darkness and another item to assist in illumination of another sort.
While the grid is (still) up, it’s easy to forget you may need to have illumination tools near to hand. As we’ve seen some recent violent storm activity unrelated to human illness, it’s a good time to check out your various emergency lighting provisions; fresh batteries all around and charging those that are rechargeable. Consider that emergency radio too . . .
The most recent light additions to the stock include a more-or-less standard form factor tactical light with an incredible amount of illumination power, a “carry-everywhere” rechargeable penlight and a rather strange flat flashlight with considerable promise.
The first light is the Fenix PD35 TAC LED, this one wearing a Cerakote finish called “Patriot.” Apropos for the current ‘wartime’ sentiment, the “battle worn” American flag pattern is provided by BlownDeadline. While the Cerakote gives the light an interesting appearance, it’s the 1,000 lumens output that’s striking. Likewise, the light seems to be quite well made. It’s powered by a single 18650 battery (not included) or by 2 CR123 lithium batteries. The light functions through a tail switch in the end cap of the light. A mode switch is on the side of the light’s barrel. In outdoor mode, the light can provide the maximum, 1,000 lumens, down to ‘eco’ mode at 8 lumens – the latter running for around 140 hours!
The tail switch functions as a momentary switch or can be ‘clicked’ constant on. Flats machined onto the sides of the tail cap and the front housing unit prevent rolling when the light is laid upon a surface. The light is ‘waterproof’ rated to IPX-8 standard, underwater up to 6 1/2 feet for 30 minutes.
The Fenix PD 35 TAC LED is 5.4” long, an inch in diameter – like many competing tac lights. Empty weight is just over three ounces. The light is supplied with a nylon holster, a lanyard, spare O-rings (I’m glad someone thought of this) and a spare “rubber boot” switch cover. The finish is appealing, the utility is thus far as good as it gets. It’s something to look at if you’re ready for a new light.
The Stylus Pro USB arrives with a (welcomed) holster as it's big for a penlight. It's big in capabilities too, as it's rechargeable through it's protected mini-USB port, below.
One of my favorite “handy” lights has been from the Stylus line of Streamlight Inc. The newest is the Stylus Pro USB penlight. Upgraded to 350 lumens with a slimmed down barrel, the rechargeable light has a forward-sliding protective sleeve for the charging port, a micro-USB.
Very similar to earlier efforts, the new light has high (350 lumens, 1 ½ hour runtime, 109 meter beam throw) and low (90 lumens, 58 meter distance, 3 ½ hour runtime) modes. The light is therefore useful for lighting up a room or for trying to find a lost pin or spring on the floor. You can charge through the micro-USB port using the supplied cable by simply plugging into a 110VAC plug adapter, from the port on your computer or from a larger battery source.
Measuring only 5.95 inches long, the Stylus Pro USB weighs only 1.8 ounces. It is water-resistant and impact-resistance tested to one meter. The battery reaches a complete charge in around 2 ½ hours. The Streamlight Stylus Pro USB retails for $98.31, and is supplied with a USB cord, removable pocket clip and holster.
In the “very interesting” category, an alternative format flashlight, there’s the SureFire Stiletto. I’ve had this one a while and it bears explaining. Back many years ago, I was rounded up, along with Mike Boyle (Cpt., NJ Game & Fish) and several others by a company wanting to delve into flashlights. The message from us, as a group, was to “deep-six” the nonsense; cops want something easy to use without complexity. The more “modes” one has, the less likely they’d have the right mode for the right time. This didn’t set well with marketing types. One of our number – and I have no recollection of who it was, but it was brilliant – said that the battery set the form factor for the light. Want to design a semi-auto pistol? First have the magazine, then you can build the gun around it.
Same with flashlights; the battery drives the envelope. Build a flat battery, he said, and you can have an outstanding light. SureFire’s come dangerously close with the Stiletto. It’s flat, see the image. It has a pair of switches, the admin switch on the side and the “tactical switch,” a momentary high-only, where the end cap would be on the ‘pipe bomb’ style flashlight. It’s rechargeable through a micro-USB port. It has a pocket clip and is the relative form factor of a modern one-hand opening knife.
The body of this light is polymer and the lighting element receiver is aluminum. A similar SureFire light that has an aluminum body (with slightly more weight and a higher price) available in the “Pro” model.
Light modes are 5-lumens (“I dropped my keys”), 250 lumens (“I need to see the room”) and the high output 650-lumens. At its highest output, assuming a fresh charge, you can expect up to 1 ¾ hours of runtime. You get two hours in the mid-range and up to 30 hours at low output.
I love the design and the concept. Wearing it inside the waist – as I sometimes do a knife – I get some “white light NDs,” indicating the side-switch is too easy to activate. Conversely, the tail switch takes some strength to reliably activate.
This is an early example of the breed and they made have straightened it out in recent production. It’s clearly a great idea and a wonderful future for flashlights design – I applaud the effort.
Another form of “illumination,” is to broaden one’s mind. In keeping with that, available from the Gun Digest Store, we have the Tactical Gun Digest: The World’s Greatest Tactical Gun Book. Like Gun Digest traditionally but geared to the operational use of the firearm, there’s product coverage and plenty more.
The gear covered includes rifles, shotguns, optics and support stuff. The 400 page volume (192 pages in color) includes pieces on concealed carry handguns, ammunition, shotguns, long-range rifles and carbines. We have some of our favorites writing the articles, including (but not limited to) Tactical Wire’s own Tiger McKee, Dave Workman, Mas Ayoob, Pat Sweeney, Scott Wagner and Yamil Sued.
Articles include “Perspectives on Home Defense Shotguns” by Massad Ayoob, a piece on “CCW Insurance” by Dave Workman, “Zeroing the AR” by Tiger McKee and a great “Photo Essay: Inside the IDPA” by Yamil Sued.
While I’ve got you, I took some gear in to a local gunshop today. There was a young couple, the young lady component of which was buying a sidearm. No other customers were around but the shelves showed that the crowd had already been and gone.
While “Mothers Demand Action” apparently demands that governors shut down gun shops in the states during the current emergency (according to an account on social media), the young lady I saw was taking a step to take care of herself and her family.
That’s a much better plan than making demands on politicians.
- - Rich Grassi