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How to Buy a Tactical Flashlight

Jul 23, 2008
A reliable tactical flashlight is an important addition to anyone's collection of bag of gear for hunting, fishing, camping, or hiking. This article will describe what features to look for, and what to avoid, when shopping for a tactical flashlight.

Light Output
A tactical flashlight really only has one job -- provide illumination. That suggests that one of the most fundamental specs to look for is actual light output. Light output in tactical flashlights is measured in standard units called lumens. How do those translate to candela (or candle power)? When most people refer to lumens they're actually referring to lumenous flux, or the sum total of light emitted. Candela are actually luminous intensity, or total light emitted as measured in a specific direction. The bottom line on both cases - more is better.

You should look to buy a tactical flashlight that emits at least 90 lumens. 100 is great, 120 or over is fantastic. The tactical light should be able to produce full brightness for at least 60 minutes, and low or medium light for two to three times aslong.

Preferably, your tactical flashlight will have LEDs instead of a conventional light bulb. LEDs last hundreds or thousands of times longer than conventional bulbs, and are much more durable and rugged when it comes to shock, water damage, and moisture. If you have the option, look for a flashlight with multiple sets of colored LEDs to help maintain light control. Hunters will appreciate other-than-white LEDs since animals normally have trouble detecting anything but white light.

When you find one you think will meet your needs, look up the manufacturer and find out what type of warranty it carries, and what, if any, replacement parts are available. Is the company reputable? Is it a brick-and-mortar establishment that will offer acceptable customer service if you run into warranty or return situations? These are all questions that you'll want to research before spending possibly hundreds of dollars on a tactical flashlight.

Finally, look at the materials that are used to build the tactical flashlight. Is it metal or plastic? Are there rubber or neoprene seals at all joints to keep water and dust out? What size of batteries does it run on? Can you get rechargeable batteries? Are they a size that's readily available? Ideally your flashlight will run on batteries that you can pick up at a corner store or gas station in the middle of nowhere. All these specifications should play into your choice when purchasing a tactical flashlight.
About the Author
Allen Wright is a freelance writer who follows whatever topics hold his interest. Look for more information on your tactical flashlight here:

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