1. Are you a current member with account or password issues?

    Please visit following page for more information

    Dismiss Notice

Need a cheap, but good quality tactical light!

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by tonester, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. tonester

    tonester Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,231
    Likes Received:
    786
    1) Short Essay Question: What do you intend to use this light for?

    im gonna be using this light in my up coming night combat shooting for the police academy. the light needs to be black, able to operate with one hand, needs a clicky, needs a holster that can fit on a duty belt, looking for something that has a decent run time… so maybe two cells? doesnt matter what kind of cell really. i would like to keep it as close to 30$ as possible, i am low on cash right now. thanks!


    3) Price Range: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest!
    [ ] $1-15
    [X ] $15-30
    [X ] $40-60
    [ ] $80-$120
    [ ] I have no limit!


    PART B
    Length:
    [ ] 1-2 inches. (Keychain sized)
    [X ] 2-4 inches. (Pocket carry)
    [X ] 4-9 inches. (Holster carry)


    6) What batteries do you want to use? Alkaline batteries are easier to find and less expensive but don't pack as much stored energy and are don't work well in cold temperatures. Lithium batteries have long shelf life (10+ years, great for stored emergency lights) and are not as affected by cold but must be kept dry and are more expensive. Rechargeable start expensive, but if used frequently pay off quickly.
    [X ] I want common Alkaline batteries. (AA, AAA, C, D)
    [X ] I want lithium batteries. (coin cells, CR123, AAA, AA...)
    [ ] I want a rechargeable system. (an investment, but best for everyday use)

    7) How much light do you want? Sometimes you can have too much light (trying to read up close up with a 100 lumen light is impossible).
    [ ] I want to read a map, find a light switch/keyhole, or get around the house at w/o disturbing anyone. (5-10 lumens)
    [ ] I want to walk around a generally paved area. (15-20 lumens)
    [ ] I want to walk unpaved trails. (40 lumens)
    [X ] I want to do Caving or Search & Rescue operations. (60+ lumens)
    [X ] I want to light an entire campground or dazzle an intruder. (100+ lumens)


    9) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims (like some LED lights). but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries. Understand that runtime is a function of brightness and capacity of your batteries. If you want 6 hours you'll either have big batteries or dimmer light, they haven't made a setup yet that lights up like the sun, runs all night, and fits in your watch pocket. ;)
    [ ] 20 min. (I want the brightest light for brief periods)
    [X ] 60-240 min. (1-2 hours)
    [X ] 240-360 min. (4-6 hours)
    [ ] 360+ min. (More than 6 hours)

    10) Durability: Generally the old phrase “you get what you pay for” is very accurate for flashlights.
    [ ] Not Important (A “night-stand” light.)
    [ ] Slightly Important (Walks around the neighborhood.)
    [X ] Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box.)
    [X ] Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Self-defense, Survival.)

    11) Switch Type:
    [ ] I don't care.
    [ ] sliding switch (Stays on until slid back.)
    [X ] clickie switch. (Stays on until pressed again.)
    [ ] momentary switch. (Only stays on while held down.)
    [ ] rotating switch

    12) Switch Location:
    [ ] I don't care.
    [ ] I want a push or sliding switch on the body near the head.
    [X ] I want a push switch on the back end of the body.
    [ ] I want a rotating head switch.
    [ ] I want a rotating end-cap switch.
    [ ] I want a remote control.

    13) Operational Modes: Check all that apply.
    [X ] A simple on-off is fine for me.
    [X ] I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
    [X ] I want multiple light levels. (some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
    [ ] I want a strobe mode. (blinks to show location.)
    [X ] I want a tactical strobe. (Flashes rapidly to disorient an opponent.)
    [ ] I want S.O.S. flashing

    14) Is it important whether the body is metal or plastic/composite? In this case "plastic" and it's variants does not mean "cheap" or poorly made. In many applications a plastic bodied light is preferable, hard use and water resistance comes to mind; think caving or lights that get dropped or abused.
    [X ] I don't care.
    [ ] I want a metal-bodied light.
    [ ] I want a plastic/composite light.

    15) Special Needs: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Circle any below or write in your own comment(s).
    [ ] Red (night vision preserving) filter
    [ ] Other filter colors (Amber, Green, Blue, _________)
    [ ] Waterproof – how deep: _____________
    [ ] Non-reflective/dark finish (stealthy/hard to find)
    [ ] Polished silver or brightly colored finish (for easy locating)
    [ ] Corrosion resistant or hard-anodized finish
    [ ] “Hybrid” light (bright incandescent combined with long running LEDs)
    [ ] Built-in second (or spare) lamp or filament
    [ ] Belt/Jacket clip
    [X ] Holster
    [ ] Wrist/Neck Lanyard
    [ ] Kuboton/self defense features
    [ ] Non-sparking Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments
     
  2. SALT

    SALT Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Messages:
    918
    Likes Received:
    35
    There is no point in spending money on cheap stuff you will have to replace. In law enforcement, there are only a few light manufactures I would trust my life to.

    The cheapest best quality light I can think of would be a surefire g2 led. I would guess they could be had somewhere in the 60-70 range. They also just released a g2 pro model that is a little cheaper. This is a Worklight, don't be tempted by the million lumen no name brand, you will be disappointed and it will not work when you need it most.

    If that is too much, check the forums and eBay for used surefire lights or barrow one from someone else in the department. Just my 2 cents
     
  3. RGNY

    RGNY Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Messages:
    583
    Likes Received:
    15
    my duty light is the SF E1B "Backup". the only thing i -don't- like is the clip, but it's a minor complaint. doesn't come with a holster, but there should be tons of generic nylon out there for it.

    the G2 seems like a good choice as well, i just haven't used it personally.

    i have other lights (too many), with all sorts of levels/interfaces, but the E1B is all i'll ever need in my duty kit. and you'll have it for the rest of your life.
     
  4. iacchus

    iacchus Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,344
    Likes Received:
    628
    4Sevens Quark 2x123 tactical.
    They are good lights;available in AA format too.
     
  5. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    8,035
    Likes Received:
    8,227
    A variation on SALT's advice . . . SureFire G2X tactical model (the single-output version).

    Towards the top-end of your budget. But worth it. 200 Lumens out the front.

    Sounds like you're actually going to need a tactical light for work. If it was air-soft, you could cheap out a bit. But this is for something more serious. My 2nd choice would still be a G2 variation. Easily available through Lowes hardware stores, the G2L w/ KX4 head. (Or, the new version of the G2L since SureFire discontinued the P60L drop-in.) 120 lumens out the front. The G2X is brighter, but the G2L is no wimp in terms of output either. I recently bought a G2L, and was impressed. The 120 lumens you get from SureFire are far more impressive than the 120 lumens you generally get from other flashlight companies.

    Hope this helped.
     
  6. VinnyP
    • In Omnia Paratus

    VinnyP Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    612
    Likes Received:
    112
    +1 on the Quark or the cheaper (But less fully featured) Fenix E21. Both of these have the big advantage that they don't go schizo if you hold the switch in or click it on and off in quick succession. They are reliable and tough enough for LE use and bright enough. Outside the skys the limit but for clearing rooms I think you can actually have too bright. The only thing I think is not so good for tactical use is that neither of them can be set up for genuine momentary as it will latch if you press too hard on the tail cap.

    For tactical use I still like my aging Surefire L2 for it's floody beam shape it, like the G2, is a true momentary that you need to twist to lock on and I chose my EDC Nitecore EX10 because it is easily set up to use as a momentary.
     
  7. twin63

    twin63 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    873
    You mentioned wanting a strobe. I don't have hands on experience with the Surefire G2 series, but I'm thinking that they lack that feature (although they look like great duty lights otherwise).

    If a strobe is a must, then Quark may be your best bet in a solid, pro quality light that's close to your budget. Check out 4Sevens' website. They are discounting some of their lights right now.
     
  8. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    8,035
    Likes Received:
    8,227
    If strobe is a no-compromise, absolute Must . . . Olight M20 Warrior model.

    You can set it to switch on in strobe mode as the default setting. Worth the extra money involved if strobe is indeed a Must.
     
  9. tonester

    tonester Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,231
    Likes Received:
    786
    thanks for all the input guys. i wish i didnt have a limit on how much i could spend on a light, but going through the academy has really put a dent in my bank account, other wise i would have no problem buying the best light that is out there.

    strobe is not a must(i think). i cant see using the strobe during night combat shooting. thanks for the help guys and if you have anymore suggestions please let me know!
     
  10. StealthChaser13

    StealthChaser13 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    472
    Likes Received:
    8
  11. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    8,035
    Likes Received:
    8,227
    For use on the job, as an LEO? No offense, but with flashlights; you really do get what you pay for.
     
  12. seeker_two

    seeker_two Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    For LEO duty use, I still think the best is the Streamlight Scorpion LED. Tough as heck and more affordable than the Surefires. For off-duty/low intensity use, I like the Coleman LED's sold at Wal-Mart, esp. the one with the green-red-white LED's. I've used them in a variety of situations, and the Colemans haven't failed yet.

    Hope that helps.....
     
  13. jp2515

    jp2515 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,650
    Likes Received:
    94
    Must have a new, magical circuit that allows 3xAAA to power the light on high at 220 Lumens for 4 hours! I wonder if that means 220 Lumens for the full the 4 hours, makes you wonder about that. But seriously, unless someone took one and measured it with the right equipment, the specs are a bit hard to believe.
     
  14. amacman
    • In Omnia Paratus

    amacman Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    Messages:
    3,026
    Likes Received:
    3,186
    Solarforce L2P. Its works with a huge range of Surefire compatible drop ins, has a HAIII finish, and is a well respected host for the DIYers here and on CPF. The body without drop in can be had for about $20. Spend anywhere around $25-30 for a multimode XPG drop in to get you into the 200 lumen range and your set. With the right batteries you can go nuts with multi XPG or SST-50 drop ins. They are all over ebay or from a US seller here http://www.lighthound.com/search.asp?keyword=l2p&search=GO.
     
  15. jp2515

    jp2515 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,650
    Likes Received:
    94
    Just got to be aware of the fact that most of their tailcaps do not allow for momentary operation, its either on or off. You will have to pickup a separate tailcap for the momentary operation.
     
  16. lowes48

    lowes48 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    2
    I vote for G2 led or Scorpion led. I have both and they are excellent lights!
     
  17. jp2515

    jp2515 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,650
    Likes Received:
    94
    The OP mentioned wanting a strobe, so the next best thing would be a Surefire Z2-S but that would be way out of his budget. The Streamlight PT series also has a hi/lo with strobe.
     
  18. tmedina

    tmedina EDC Junkie!!!!!

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    6,108
    Likes Received:
    7,732
    Strobe is a debated topic - some people swear by it; others at it.

    For purposes of academy work, the Fenix E21 is a good compromise - the only problem is, the flashlight body is very slim which might be a concern with gloves and tactical situations.

    At the outer edge of your budget is the Fenix TK11, at $75. Two modes, runs on CR123s.

    The Fenix TK20 was actually adopted by a police department in Calgary, I believe - and is squarely at $45. Two modes, runs on AA batteries.

    If you're hurting for cash, I'd recommend the Fenix TK20 - large enough to handle even with gloves and feeding it AA batteries will be a lot cheaper than CR123s.

    A third option is to browse Ebay - you can usually find the "plain jane" Surefires like the 6P and G2 fairly cheaply. But keep in mind, feeding the beast will prove costly in the long run.

    -Trevor

    ETA: For that matter, there's a guy selling a G2L in the BST forum for $40.
     
  19. Bullosa

    Bullosa Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think the Fenix TK15 might fit your bill. I run it with rechargable 18650 Ultrafire 2400mAh to keep running cost low. The performance is great for it's price.

    All the best.