All-Star Flashlights: Let there be light!

Posted: December 7, 2014 in Gear
Tags: , ,

There are few things in this world as important as light.  “Let there be light” is the third verse of the Bible!  Accordingly, this is an essential component of your EDC.  Everyone should carry a knife and a flashlight, period.  Here are some great options for light.  Don’t be caught without light, and with these great options there really is no excuse!  Do you have any idea how many patients I have treated for injuries where they were walking around in the dark?  Too many to tell.  A $30 flashlight would have saved them thousands of dollars (needs to be on your person).

foursevens_logoIntro to flashlights:

Lumens – a measure of intensity of the light, aka brightness

Bulb – produces the light, these are all LED.  Superior brightness, life and battery usage efficiency.  No need to get anything else.

Bezel – the face of the light where the light comes out.  Some lights have tactical bezels which are scalloped and slightly sharp for striking in a defensive role.  This adds utility and let’s be honest is just plain cool.  Tacticool!

In general I like to go with AA or AAA flashlights as these are the most common and cheapest batteries.  Your rechargeable batteries will also work.  You are most likely to find these batteries at a store.  Good to go with common.

Put good alkaline batteries in your emergency lights, Energizer or Duracell.  Better yet put Energizer Lithium batteries in your emergency lights.  They are the most powerful with the longest life.

Panasonic Eneloop batteries are great for frequently used lights.  These are the best rechargeables out there.  They don’t self discharge very much at all.  Self discharge means that most rechargeable batteries lose their charge very quickly and are dead within a few days (They eat themselves, ewww!).  They drain themselves over time.  Regular alkalines don’t do this very much at all and are very shelf stable.

See the gear list for links to Eneloops and a great charger for them.  You really want a good charger so spend the money up front.  The charger that comes with the Eneloops is junk and “dumb”.  It will ruin the batteries much quicker.

All-Star Flashlights: 

These are all amazing lights at least 9/10 on my scale.  Most are 10/10

  1. Foursevens Preon 1 – this one just might be my absolute favorite flashlight.  It is just amazing.  It is just slightly (and I mean JUST slightly) larger than a AAA battery.  It puts out a whopping 84 lumens on high.  This thing disappears in a pocket.  If you are new to carrying a flashlight get this, it will make the transition easier.
  2. Fenix E12 –  Single AA light with 130 lumens.  Not nearly as size efficient as the Preon 1 (but nothing is).  Meaning, that the flashlight is a bit bigger than just the AA battery (not much though).  Nice grippy surface (knurling).
  3. Foursevens Preon 2 – this is more like a penlight.  It uses 2 AAA batteries.  Think of a longer version of the Preon 1 flashlight. If the added length and weight is tolerable to you (it should be, it is still very small) you get much more light.  It puts out 192 lumens.
  4. Streamlight TLR-3 – this is a weapon light.  This sits on the rail of my Glock handgun.  It will mount on really any gun with a rail.  I have more expensive weapon lights but this one is probably my favorite.  Factoring value and function this light is awesome.  Simple, bright, rugged, durable, you can’t go wrong.  If you own a handgun you need a good weapon light.  Target acquisition and confirmation are essential for defense and safety.  You have to see what you are shooting at.
  5. Foursevens MMR-X – This is more of a full-szed tactical flashlight.  That being said it isn’t terribly big.  It puts out a whopping 800 lumens.  Still light-weight at 5.2 ounces.  It has a lithium-ion battery which gives you great output and it is rechargeable.  It comes with a little USB adapter to charge it.  Tactical bezel for striking and defense in a pinch.  You can wear this on a belt.  It would fit in a pocket but is a bit big for me to use it that way.  I typically throw this in a gear bag.  It can also be mounted on a weapon with an adapter.  Great all around light with multiple uses.
  6. Streamlight Protac – This is a good value flashlight.  Rugged, tactical, bright.  Decent size and weight.  You can get it in AA or AAA.  Both are great.
  7. Blackdiamond Spot – this is my current go to headlight.  This is my main backpacking light.  Headlights cannot be beat in terms of utility and flexibility.  It makes your life so much easier to have your hands free.  Backpacking, I take this and my Foursevens Preon 1 as backup.  Last trip my buddy whipped out his light, while we were pitching our tents in the dark, only to find his batteries dead (seriously man, c’mon!).  Luckily for him (and me) I had my backup and loaned it to him.  I was seriously tempted to tell him tough crap to teach him a lesson (I didn’t!).  BUT the lesson here is often you need to be prepared for other people.  Most people aren’t going to be as well prepared as you.  Sometimes spares and backups are for others!

Wrap up:

There are a lot of great flashlights out there.  The above are some of my favorites.  I have carried all of these lights in different capacities and have put them through their paces.  You may have noticed that I recommended a lot of Streamlight, Foursevens and Fenix.  This is because I think they are right in the sweet spot of quality and value.  I like to buy good quality stuff at the best prices.  Most of us aren’t Navy Seals where a light failure means death.  These guys carry things like Surefire flashlights which tend to push $200-$300.  They are great lights but a bit pricey for most folks.  Some of you may look at the above recommended lights and think “holy cow, even these are expensive!”  (Just remember I didn’t recommend the $300 Surefire!)  Again, you get what you pay for.  I tried to provide you with the best value.  Quality isn’t cheap.  Spend a little more to get a good quality light.  You’ll thank me later!  May your path be iluminated!

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Comments
  1. Lucy Stern says:

    Good workup on flashlights…. I am a bit of a flashlight junkie and I have many… Thanks

    Like

    • Preppermann says:

      I am a bit of a flashlight junkie too! As if that wasn’t obvious already. What is your favorite?

      Like

      • Lucy Stern says:

        Actually my favorite flash light I got at Harbor Freight and it only cost me $2.99 + tax… It has 21 LEDS and it has a magnet on the back and a hook for hanging..The hook curls around and fits snugly to the flash light… I keep one in my ham radio “go kit” and have them all over the house. as well as in the car..This year I bought one for every one of my kids and 2 of my grandkids… They are so inexpensive and they put out lots of light… Sometimes I can get them free with Harbor Freight coupons… I also have flashlights that are solar powered and I have battery operated lanterns. During Hurricane IKE I used the lanterns on the dining room table to illuminate the whole room…

        Like

      • Preppermann says:

        I have that exact flashlight. I like it too. Can’t beat $3 or free!

        Like

  2. Lucy Stern says:

    Exactly….

    Like

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