The brainchild of two police officers, Glenn Bushee and Jon Neal, Brite-Strike Technologies Inc. is a relatively new entry into the police flashlight market. That is not to say that its entrance is lacking. Far from it. The Brite-Strike
lights tested were certainly up to the task. According to Brite-Strike reps, they utilize only the latest Luxeon® LED and EMP chip technology. Luxeon is a trade mark of Philips-Lumileds Corp., and according to information from Philips, its high-quality manufacturing process produces a high-quality white LED (light-emitting diode) that does not have the blue ring that so many LEDs are known for. It is truly a white light. Models Tested
From Brite-Strike’s Tactical Blue-Dot™ Series, I tested the RL-198-HLS and the RL-180-MH. Both flashlights are constructed from a solid bar of aerospace-grade aluminum. These CNC machined lights are finished with a proprietary finish that exceeds MIL-SPEC standards. The claim of a highly durable finish certainly seemed accurate as I attempted and was unsuccessful in scratching the surface with a knife. Both lights are designed to be waterproof and shockproof.
Brite-Strike lights come complete with pocket clips that can be affixed to a front pants pocket, shirt pocket or inside windbreaker pocket. Additionally, both lights come with a black nylon belt holster. Brite-Strike has designed these lights with tri-sided barrels, which were specifically engineered for a better grip.
The front and rear crowns incorporate scalloped edges, which Brite-Strike refers to as tri-strike crowns. These tri-strike crowns were specifically design as striking tools if necessary in an emergency. The Luxeon LEDs are rated to last more than 100,000 hours, which means a lot of light over a lot of time. (That equals 12,500 eight-hour shifts full of light).
The RL-198-HLS (HLS stands for high, low, strobe) is a 198-lumen capable flashlight. This 5-inch light is powered by two 123A lithium 3-volt batteries. Press the tail-cap button once, and you can get 198 lumens of bright white LED with a max runtime of two hours from a fresh set of batteries. Press the switch again, and you get 90 lumens of light for a runtime of four hours.
A third press of the switch gives you a blinding strobe of 198 lumens of light to distract or disorient a suspect. Bright enough to be a patrol officer’s primary light, the RL-198-HLS is still small enough to fulfill the role of backup light in a “Mr. Murphy” kind of world. Additionally, both these lights are small enough to be used by detectives and plainclothes personnel, fitting easily inside a jacket pocket or clipped to a pants pocket.
Next up is the smaller (3.5 inches) RL-180-MH. MH stands for Momentary, High. Powered by only one 123A 3-volt lithium cell, this light is by no means small in the amount of light produces. With some manufacturers, lights of this size producing penlight amounts of light. The RL-180-MH produces an astonishing 180 lumens of white light.
In comparison, this light is vastly brighter than the four-cell D battery heavy metal flashlights I carried on dark nights long ago. With a momentary (or morse switch as some call it) and lock-on capability, you have a well-designed, rugged and bright light in a very small package. Accessories for these lights include remote pressure switches that allow both lights to be mounted on long guns for high-quality, white light in a very durable package.
A novel design from Brite-Strike is the Tactical Ball™, a hand-thrown round LED light. Several years ago, a fellow trainer advised of a way to illuminate rooms, attics or basements by throwing small key-chain-sized LED lights. The idea was that the low-cost lights could be thrown into darkened areas from cover and the room cleared as much as possible before entry. The problem with the key chain lights is that they are not that bright and usually not that well made.
Brite-Strike has solved that problem with its Tactical Balls. These round lights (about the size of a ping-pong ball) come three to a pack in a self-contained black nylon case, complete with a belt clip. The balls have two bright LED lights powered by two small (CR2032) batteries. With a push-on switch, the balls can be rolled or thrown into a room.
Since the LED portion of the Tactical Ball is lighter than the rest of the device, the balls will end face up unless they land on something soft. Even then, because of the wide lens area, they will still light up a room. Designed to be thrown, all three Tactical Balls tested survived being dropped down a set of concrete stairs. Throwing the balls into a 10x20-foot room was sufficient to illuminate most of the darkened area.
Brite-Strike Tactical Illumination Products has combined solid design aided by two veteran police officers’ input with high-quality LED technology to come up with lights that any officer would be reassured in carrying into a dark place, and that says a lot. When you go into harm’s way in the dark, Brite-Strike flashlights and Tactical Balls offer well-designed tools to find your way and your bad guy while protecting your derriere.
Kevin R. Davis is a full-time officer with 25 years of experience. Assigned to the Training Bureau, he is a former team leader and lead instructor for his agency’s SWAT team. Visit his Web site at www.advancedtacticalconcepts.com. He welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.