24 Sep Choosing THE BEST Weapon Mounted Lights for Shooters
Choosing THE BEST Weapon Mounted Lights for Shooters
Having a weapon mounted light at your disposal can be a very powerful tool. And if you are looking for one, well then you’re here at the right place because today is all about weapon mounted lights.
But before we dig into this subject, make sure to subscribe to our blog page by filling in the form. Also Make sure to visit our Youtube Channel by clicking the button. Also have a look at our store shop.reconbrothers.com for your quality tactical stuff. And amongst those you can find our preferred lighting solutions.
Why do you need a weapon mounted flashlight?
Besides calling for Batman, there are 3 main reasons:
- The first one is to light up dark areas or rooms. Without blinding yourself of course.
- The second one is to ID your targets
- The third one is to be used as a blinding tool that can give you or your team a tactical advantage.
Flashlight Terminology & their meanings
The first thing that comes to mind when choosing a tactical flashlight is the amount of lumen. The lumen expresses the total amount of visual light emitted per second.
But this means 2 lights can have the same amount of lumen but not necessarily have the same beam profile. One can be more center focused while the others can be more widespread. This has more to do with the lens and the optics rather than the lumen amount.
As just shown in our demonstration the amount of candela is as important as the amount of lumen. Unfortunately few people know this and that is why the amount of lumen is often misused as a marketing trick.
Lumen marketing tricks
“The raw Lumen trick”
One of the tricks some companies use is the following; instead of measuring the exact amount of produced lumen by the flashlight, they make their calculation by multiplying the amount of leds they have and the amount of lumen one led produces.
This is in fact wrong and this is what we call the raw amount of lumen. The effective amount of lumen is the actual measured amount of lumen produced by a flashlight. And this is affected by the lens, the efficiency of the optics, the accuracy of the power regulator and the thermal performance of the heatsink.
Take for example 2 flashlights, one states to emit 400 lumen and the other one states to emit 500 lumen. Obviously you would expect the 500 lumen one to have a higher output than a 400 lumen one, but it is possible that the 500 lumen one is a roughly calculated amount of lumen, while the 400 lumen one shows the actual effective measured amount of lumen.
And thus it is possible that the 400 lumen one has a higher output than the 500 lumen one.
The best tip we can give you here, is to look at the reputation of the brands when looking for a flashlight.
“The Lumen drop trick”
Another trick some companies apply, is to create flashlights that do indeed emit extreme amounts of lumen when you turn it on, but just a bit later it drops to half the amount of that or even lower. This because the higher the amount of lumen emitted by the flashlight, the higher the amount of heat emitted by the flashlight as well. And then you would literally burn out your light. And in practicality you are actually running a flashlight that has less lumen than stated in specs.
Now that we explained everything you need to know about lumen, let’s have a look at the candela.
The candela expresses the peak beam intensity at a given angle of the light beam. In other words the brightest point of your light. The higher the amount of candela, the brighter the center of your light.
BE ADVISED!: do notice that the amount of candela and lumen shown on the box are the ones emitted by the flashlight on its highest mode.
Besides all of these scientific terminologies it is also important that you know how you want to use your flashlight.
How do you want to utilize your flashlight?
For example, if you want to use your flashlights in hundreds of meters of distance, you want to have a flashlight with a high candela output. This to have that narrow and bright beam.
If you are doing lots of close-quarter stuff, you rather want something with a more widespread view to identify what’s going on inside the room. So the candela amount is better lower.
Also since candela and lumen are related to one another you might also want a flashlight with lesser lumen to not blind yourself or your teammates. This is especially important in white painted rooms and that is something we experienced ourselves.
On the other hand there are also flashlights that thrive for a balance to be used in both cases. So picking a flashlight really depends on what you need it for.
Having fully talked about lumen and candela, we will now have a look at another spec which is the beam distance.
Maximum beam distance
The beam distance shown on the specs is always the maximum beam distance of the flashlight. This also gives you an idea of how far you can use the lights to light up an area in the dark. However don’t expect to blind anyone at this distance.
Batteries & runtime
The first thing you need to know is the higher the mode, the lowered runtime obviously. The second thing is there are two types of batteries;
The ones that are rechargeable and the ones that are a one-time usage. Do note that the rechargeable ones lose charge over usage and thus in time your flashlight will have a lower performance and you still need to get a new battery.
Another good thing to know is that some flashlights have a so-called “multi-fuel feature” which allows you to use different type of batteries in one and the same light. However do notice that using different type of batteries will result in a slightly different performance of the flashlight but at least you can use your light.
Next up, let’s have a look at the weapon mounted flashlight types there are these days.
Types of Weapon Mounted Flashlights
Tactical weapon lights can be divided in 4 main groups, namely the ones that are handheld but mounted onto an AR, pistol lights, AR lights and special ones for example, the ones mounted in the fore end of a shotgun.
The rifle lights are mostly only compatible with the MIL-STD 1913 rail systems which are a build in low profile system.
The pistol version is usually available with various mounts so it can be mounted on different handgun models.
Mounted handheld lights
On the other hand, mounting handheld flashlights to your weapon is not as straightforward as the ones just mentioned. Since they often require a 3rd-party universal rail adapter. They also bring the disadvantages of being heavier in weight, bulkier in design and being less convenient in use than the other ones.
The difficulty with pistol flashlights
A difficulty you do need to be aware of with pistol lights, is finding a holster that fits both your pistol and your light. Most manufacturers only make holster solutions for the most common setups out there, but that might not help you out. Here custom kydex holsters are mainly the only solution to get one that fits.
There are mainly 2 options when it comes to activating your flashlight. One is an external pressure pad and the other is a button on the flashlight itself.
As for a pistol light this is almost always with an ambidextrous back switch, but there are some exceptions.
As for the rifle light this can be done by using the button on the back of the light itself or with an external pressure pad that can be mounted on the handguard for convenient use.
Some flashlights even allow you to activate the light through a rail mounted laser system if you require both. Besides that, very important to note is that the flashlight needs to be easy to manipulate when you are wearing gloves as well.
The use of colored lights
Another thing you can sometimes buy with your flashlight are filter caps. These filter the usual white light into a specific color and each color has its own advantage for a specific usage.
- A green filter creates a less noticeable light beam, especially sideways, and it heightens your contrast in the dark.
- A red filter on the other hand preserves your natural night vision and for the hunters amongst you, some animals can’t see red light.
- Blue filters can be used with night vision
- IR Filters can be used with devices that detect IR light such as night vision goggles and IR cameras.
Let’s talk a bit about the programming and the modes some flashlights come with. Most flashlights have various intensity modes such as turbo, high, mid, low and some also feature strobe and SOS signals.
Nowadays it is more common to find flashlights that are programmable, which allow you to customize the button functionalities to your preferences. And it also allows you to adjust your priority mode.
A good flashlight always has an IP rating which stands for “Ingress Protection” followed up by 2 digits. Whereas the first digit stands for protection against solid particles and the second one stands for protection against water. These digits can go from 0 all the way up to 9, whereas 0 means it has no protection and 9 is the best protection you can find.
Besides that, it can also show an X which means that it is not tested. A flashlight is usually only rated for protection against water and it is recommended to at least have an IPX4 rating for your flashlight and your pressure pad so it can at least withstand rain.
An important thing to notice is that your IPX rating can differ for both your flashlight and your pressure pad even if it comes from the same manufacturer.
Now that we are talking about ratings, it is also important that your handheld flashlight is recoil resistant when you want to put it on a weapon.
Another thing that is very important is a temperature range in which your flashlight needs to function, obviously for this you will have to dive into the specifications of the flashlight to find out what suits your needs.
Besides all of this, you best look into brands that have spare parts available or even repair services, so you can use your flashlight for another few years even after it has been broken.
Thanks for reading our blog
“Choosing THE BEST Weapon Mounted Lights for Shooters”
So guys that was it for this blog, we hope you learned something to choose a proper flashlight for your shooting needs.
If this blog helped you out, make sure to share this content by using the share buttons on your left.