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The Latest in Weapon and Handheld Lights, Part 1 of 2

A wide variety of weapon-mounted and handheld lights were presented during the 2009 SHOT Show. Some were from newly formed companies, and some by the old favorites. The words to describe this year’s lights are “white and bright LEDs.” Incandescent, halogen, and xenon bulbs are virtually a thing of the past. Both disposable battery and rechargeable lights using LEDs (light emitting diodes) are now whiter in color and have an increased lumen output. Competition is good for the consumer, so let’s examine what is new from just a few of the nearly 40 outfits that make tools to light the night.

5.11 Tactical Series®

Truly an innovative light, the model 53000 Light for Life™ UC3.400 uses no batteries but rather a “capacitor” that can be fully recharged in 90 seconds. Just slip the LFL into its charger, and 90 seconds later you get a flashlight that can produce 270 lumens in strobe mode or 90 lumens in standard mode for one hour after which it will reduce to 25 lumens for an additional 30 minutes.

Using three LEDs good for 50,000 hours, the Flashpoint™ Power system is rated for 50,000 discharge / recharge cycles. The Light for Life should see you through your career and be a hand-me-down to the kids. Future plans are to bring the technology down in size as well. Expect a compact version of this light by this year’s IACP convention.

See the February 2009 Buyer’s Guide issue of LAW and ORDER for more coverage on this unique flashlight. This coverage is also available online at under Resources, Article Archives.


ASP had its Triad® series of lights on display. The Triad Elite 2 is a 120 lumen light that measures 5.5 inches in length. The Elite 2 uses three LEDs, each with its own parabolic reflector, which are powered by two CR123A batteries. With a one-hour run-time, this flashlight has a constant on, momentary and constant off (locked) switch system. The Triad Elite 3 is a 9-volt three cell, CR123A flashlight that also produces 120 lumens of light and has the same ASP Softouch® Activation System.


Beamshot-Quarton USA had its PD3 Tactical Flashlight on display. This 4.6-inch aerospace aluminum body LED flashlight uses one CR123A lithium battery and puts out 150 lumens of peak light. The PD3 has a strobe function with a double click of the switch, as well as multi-brightness settings. By pressing and holding the switch, you can cycle through the different light levels.

Beamshot makes rail mounts for Picatinny or Weaver frame rails, as well as barrel mounts. The PD2 is a two AA battery flashlight that still produces 120 lumens of light. The switch is set for strobe function, full power or quarter power. The TD4 from Beamshot uses two CR123A batteries and produces 240 lumens of peak light. The base-cap has three buttons: momentary switch, strobe switch and constant on, which can be adjusted from 1 to 240 lumens.


This Norfolk, VA company has a mission of covering today’s police officer and military personnel from head to toe and backing it up with high quality. Besides being some really nice folks, they have a track record of producing sound designs of high quality. Since the introduction of the Gladius®, they haven’t rested on their laurels. New for 2009 is a redesigned Gladius called the Gladius Maximis™.

Now at 120 lumens, the Gladius Maximis sports all the options the original handheld flashlight had including thumb-activated rotary control dial with momentary, constant on, strobe, and dimming high-output LED. Additional models include the polymer Legacy™ X6-P with a 65-lumen Xenon bulb. The Legacy™ X9-P model is polymer body light powered by three CR123 batteries and a Xenon bulb that delivers 120 lumens of light. The Ally™ XTR has a 3-watt CREE™ LED, delivering 12 lumens in a small package.

The Sentinel™ PL3 XTR is powered by one CR123 battery but delivers 65 lumens for about one solid hour of runtime. The new Sentinel PL3-AA XTR is a 6-inch-long flashlight that is powered by two AA batteries. It delivers 60 lumens (equivalent of a six D battery light). Model Ally™ PL3x XTR is a two 3-volt CR123 battery light that has two light settings: 85 lumens and 12 lumens, which can be activated by clicking the end cap switch.

The Ally™ PLR is a new rechargeable light that is perfect for today’s lawman. Supplied with both an AC and DC charger, this flashlight puts out 120 lumens. The Legacy™ XHR7 is another rechargeable light that features a Xenon-Halogen bulb system that produces 350 lumens of light. BlackHawk has also redesigned its Xiphos™ NT weapon light, increasing the lumen level output to 90.


The lawmen-owners of Brite-Strike have been working at new technologies for 2009. Displayed at the SHOT Show was the Tactical DLC™ (Duty Flashlight Camera), which incorporates a color video camera into an LED flashlight. The rechargeable light produces 170 lumens for up to five hours of runtime on high (eight hours on the low setting).

The camera records up to 90 minutes of color 3GP video, which can be downloaded directly to a computer with a USB cable. The system, which should be produced this year, is set to come complete with a flashlight / camera, an AC/DC charger, a USB cable and a hard case. It should cost about as much as a standard high-quality flashlight. This is interesting technology for officers to protect themselves from unmeritorious civil suits, as well as gather evidence for DUI or other prosecutions.


Energizer Holdings is known more for its batteries and civilian products, but it has developed a couple of excellent products suitable for police, military and rescue workers in its Hardcase Tactical® line. The HCTHLU11L is a small light powered by one 1AA lithium cell that has two visible LEDs—white and blue, eight different intensity settings, and integrated IR. This unit comes complete with a helmet or MOLLE mount.

The HCT2GU21L is a swivel head flashlight that is powered by two AA batteries. Pushing out 70 lumens of light, the unit has four visible LEDs—high-intensity white, blue, red and green—integrated IR, 130-degree rotating head, and it is made from polymer. Both lights are well designed for tactical police, rescue or military operations.

First-Light® USA

First-Light is the company that brought you the innovative design of the Liberator®. Representatives were at this year’s SHOT Show featuring their new Tomahawk®. The Tomahawk is a 100-lumen flashlight designed to be held by the index finger of the non-gun hand. Powered by two CR123A batteries, this LED light is good for two hours of continuous light at the highest setting and 60 hours at the lowest. Options include strobe function, secondary colored LEDs—red, blue or green, IR. Also available is a mount to affix the Tomahawk to a MOLLE vest.

Insight® Tech Gear

Insight has come out with the new Handheld X-treme Series. The HX120™ Proxima is a small (one DL123 battery) light that produces 120 lumens and has constant, momentary, strobe, dimming and morse code S.O.S. switch capabilities. The HX150 Arcturus uses two DL123 batteries and provides 150 lumens with the same switching.

The HX150R™ Arcturus is a rechargeable flashlight that is good for three hours at high (150 lumens) after a full charge. Model HX200™ Regulus uses three DL123 batteries and kicks out 200 lumens of light. Insight’s Handheld Classic series include the: HC120™, HC150™, HC150R™, and HC200™. The primary difference is the advanced switching options and extended runtime of the X-treme series.

Laser Devices

The manufacturer of visible and IR lasers for both pistols and long guns, bore-lights, Laser Devices also manufactures the Operative and Operator flashlights. The Operator OP-6 & OP-9 are 6- or 9-volt flashlights that can also be weapon mounted. Available in either an incandescent bulb (OP-6 is 95 lumens; OP-9 is 125 lumens) or LED (150 lumens for both). The Operative is a handheld flashlight that comes in either a 95-lumen incandescent or a 150-lumen LED. Switching is a tail-cap push button constant on or momentary.

Published in Law and Order, Apr 2009

Rating : Not Yet Rated

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