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ATEX and IEC Ex Flame-proof Explosion Proof Lighting & Equipment
Explosion Proof Lights
Explosion Proof Motors - Motors for Hazardous Locations
Industrial and Vaporproof Emergency Failsafe Lighting
Industrial Cord Reels and Tool Taps
Industrial Work Area Heaters
Machine Vision Lights
Megatower™
QC Series Industrial Portable Lighting - Quick Change Mount
Rig Lights
Stadium lights
String Lights and Temporary Light Stringers
Tank Cleaning Lights
Three Phase Motor Soft Starters
Vapor Proof LED Lights
Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs)
Vehicle Mounting Plates
Workboat Light Fixtures & Lighting Equipment
Yacht Engine Room Lights
Color Changing LED RGB Lighting
Explosion Proof Cord Reels
GOLIGHT Spotlights
Larson FUTURE - Lease Lighting
Remote Area Lighting and Scene Lights
Utility Bucket Mount, Receiver Hitch & Trailer Mount Lighting
Aevum Control Lighting and Equipment - IIoT
Butane and Solvent Extraction Room Lighting and Equipment
DC to DC Transformers and Power Supplies
Explosion Proof Fans & Blowers
Explosion Proof Paint Spray Booth Approved Lights
Explosion Proof String Lights
Explosion Proof Switchgear & Controls
Fleet Service Lights and Lighting Equipment
Industrial Equipment Trailers
Industrial Handlamps & Droplights
ISO 14644/FS-209E Clean Room Lighting
LED Blasting Lights
Night Time Fishing Lights
Portable AC Power Supply Units
Portable Power Distribution Panels
Power Distribution Panels with KVA Transformers
Self-Contained Lighting
Service Pit Lighting
Solar Generators & Solar Powered Lighting
Agricultural Farm Equipment Lighting & Beacons
Explosion Proof Cameras & Surveillance Systems
Explosion Proof Emergency Lights
Explosion Proof Heaters
Garage & Gas Station Canopy Lights
LED Grow Lights
LED Lights
NDT Ultraviolet Lights
Portable Hazardous Location Lighting
Radio Communication Towers and Equipment
Salt Water Processing Equipment
Shelter & Tent Lighting
Thermal Monitoring Cameras and Systems
48V LED Equipment Lights
ATEX Rated Explosion Proof Lights
Automotive Lighting
Class Rated Signals, Alarms, and Systems
Hazardous Location Area Lights and Portable Lighting
HID Equipment Lights
Hot Work Permit Lighting and Equipment
Hunting Lights
Industrial lasers
Industrial Transformers
Light Towers
Outdoor Lighting
Remote Security and Surveillance Systems
Temporary Construction Lights
Vehicle Mounted Spotlights
Equipment & Heavy Machinery LED Light Package Fitouts
Phase Converters - Single to Three Phase
Marine Shore Power Cords and Equipment
24 Volt Military Lights
Disaster Relief / First Responders / Search & Rescue Lighting
Plastic Handcuff Key
110/120 Volt Flood Lights
Post Mount Spotlights
Magnetic Work Lights
Crank-up Light Masts
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Intrinsically Safe Lights
Military Flashlights
LED Waterproof Lanterns
Work Area Lights
12 Volt Flood Lights
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Boat Spotlights
New Boat Lights
HID Boat Lights
Boat Dock Lights
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Remote Control Lights
Control Lights
Tow Lights
Magnetic Control Lights
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NEW Lights and New Products
Evaporative Coolers
Police Equipment
AC/DC Transformers
Power Supplies
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Military Spotlights 24V
Infrared Filters, Covert Covers, and Blackout IR Lenses
Military Equipment
Ultralife Batteries
Remote Control Pan Tilt Base
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Larson Electronics Spotlights
Larson Electronics Parts
Replacement Lamps
Cords - Brackets
Portable Wheeled Generators
Non-Hazardous Location Extension Cords / Plugs / Outlets
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HID Work Lights
HID Dive Lights
HID Off Road Lights
Acro Lights HID Lights
Halogen Lights
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Acro Light Flashlight
Xenon HID Flashlights
Powerlight Flashlight
HID Flashlights
Xenon Flashlights
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LED Status Lights
Forklift Lights
Tractor Lights
HID Post Mount Lights
Roof Mount Lights
Post Mount Light parts
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Flashlight Holder
Magnet Spotlight Base
Tripods-Magnetic Base
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Recharging Spotlights
Fire Rescue Lights
LED Street Lights
Utility Lights
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Hazard Lights
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Strobes & Beacons
Strobe Light Bars
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Headlights - Headlamps - Hard Hat Lights
Flashlights
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Suction Mount Lights
Magnetic Spotlights
12/24 Volt Spotlights
Gifts For Men
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New 12 / 24 Volt Lights
Explosion Proof Accessories and Replacement Parts
Explosion Proof Lighting
Explosion Proof Hand Lamps (Drop Lights)
Explosion Proof Lights - Stand/Dolly
Explosion Proof Tank Lights
Explosion Proof Phones and Intercoms
Explosion Proof Extension Cords
Black Friday & Cyber Monday Specials
Crane Lights
Explosion Proof Light Rentals
General Light Rentals
Light Tower and Light Plant Rentals
Power Distribution Rentals
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Power Plant Lighting
Refinery lights
Environmental Services Lights
Aerospace Lights
Chemical Plant Lights
Food Grade Safe Lights
Film and Entertainment Lights
Handheld Meters and Devices
Waste Water Treatment Lights
Mining Lights
Ship Yard Lights
Work Site Lighting
         

   
06/02/10 Tactical Light Design

Although there are several commonly accepted definitions of what constitutes a tactical light, the most prevalent explanations consider them to be high powered lights that can be used in conjunction with a firearm in low light conditions to aid in targeting and identification. Further considerations center on these lights ability to act as a source of non-lethal force, capable of temporarily blinding and or disorienting individuals. Most lights fitting these descriptions fall into the handheld category and feature characteristics that tend to enhance the simplicity and ease of their operation. Other lights fitting this category include models designed to be mounted on firearms that project a light beam parallel to the gun bore. These latter examples are excluded in this article due to their specialized nature and limited functionality.

Tactical lights generally tend to be constructed with military or police operations as their primary design parameter considerations. Especially in the case of handheld tactical flashlights, their designs center on providing powerful illumination in a small and easily maneuvered unit that can be operated with as little interference with other equipment such as firearms as possible. These lights usually incorporate push button switches located either near the lamp at the head of the unit, or at the base of the unit. These positions allow the operator to easily turn the light on and off using only a thumb or pointer finger without needing to shift positioning of the light or the firearm.

Since the 1930’s most police training programs include instruction in the use of tactical flashlights, and the most common emphasis is on the proper operation of a firearm in tandem with a flashlight. To this end, these lights are usually small, less than ten inches in length, and feature a slender body that allows the light to be held next to the firearm with minimal interference. The usual methods of deploying the light with a firearm involve a two handed firing position, with one hand acting as the main support and control of the firearm, and the other providing additional support and control of the flashlight as well. Since there is limited room available in a two hand grip for additional equipment as well as the firearm, this makes smaller size preferable in a tactical light.

As well as ease of operation and small size, a tactical flashlight must also provide a powerful and well directed light beam. Traditional flashlights were often a compromise between size and power, as creating more lumens or candlepower usually meant that more or larger batteries were necessary to provide sufficient electrical energy. Recent developments in LED technology have greatly reduced the need for such compromises and tactical flashlights are now available that are not only powerful and small, but far outlast their predecessors in battery and charge life. Because LEDs produce light at far greater efficiency levels than filament based bulbs, they can produce greater amounts of light with far less current draw. This has allowed tactical flashlight designers to produce units that are small, powerful, and can operate for extended periods of time without the need for recharging or battery replacement.

Tactical flashlights are also subjected to serious extremes in environmental and physical abuse. Professionals who employ them in their official duties are often called upon to perform in weather conditions that can pose serious problems for unprotected electrical equipment. Hot and dusty conditions as well as windy and wet environments can force water and contaminants into sensitive electrical components, leading to the corrosion and eventual failure of exposed equipment. Because of these problems, tactical flashlights are usually constructed much more ruggedly than contemporary civilian flashlights. Aluminum and high impact plastics and composites are used extensively in the construction of these flashlights bodies due to their durability, resistance to corrosion, and light weight. To seal out contaminants such as water and dust, connections and joints are often designed with rubber O-rings and epoxy sealants that form a watertight seal when the parts are joined together. In many designs, a final outer covering made of hard rubber is often used to provide an even greater level of durability to the unit as well as improving the overall grip of the user.

In modern tactical flashlights, maximum durability is realized with the development of LED technology that has allowed designers to incorporate the latest LED designs into their tactical flashlights construction. Early LEDs were hampered by their relatively weak output and tendency to produce poorly focused light and saw limited use in the professional fields. New LEDs developed in the last five years have overcome these shortcomings however and are now capable of producing light beams on par with some of the best traditional bulbs available, but with the added benefit of being impervious to shocks or impacts. In traditional bulbs the filaments are susceptible to breakage when exposed to sharp impacts or violent shocks such as those encountered when discharging a firearm. LED’s with their solid state design have no filaments to break and can withstand repeated impacts with no loss in efficiency or reliability.

Rounding out the basic design of tactical flashlights are the lenses. Due to their intended usage in unforgiving environments glass is rarely used and instead unbreakable polycarbonate is utilized instead. This adds a further degree of protection against bulb breakage or contamination when the unit encounters impacts or shocks. Larson Electronics’s  LED-PL5S-LED Tactical Flashlight demonstrates all or most of the design features mentioned here. In addition to possessing the most important features of an effective tactical flashlight, this unit also incorporates a few extras that enhance its tactical aspects without detracting from its beneficial qualities. Instead of simply switching on and off, this particular unit also offers three different operational settings. It can be switched fully on, providing maximum light output, operated at low power, increasing the operational life of its batteries, or switched to a strobe mode which can be useful in law enforcement or military applications.

Further adding to the LED-PL5S’s versatility, a UV lens cover can be attached, making it useful for crime scene investigations and other related applications. In normal applications, at full power, this tactical flashlight produces 200 lumens of light and can project a useful beam of light up to 700 feet. Using a three watt Cree LED, this flashlight can operate for four hours and is compatible with rechargeable 18650 batteries as well as the standard CR123A batteries it is equipped with.

As can be seen, there is a great deal more that goes into designing an effective tactical flashlight. Most of the design and construction is based on input gained over the years from authorities with experience in the field that has become the standards which are applied today. Even for those not involved in the professional services, tactical flashlights like the Larson Electronics LED-PL5S can provide an excellent alternative to the standard lighting equipment normally used for hunting, camping, and outdoor sports and activities. Their rugged construction, high power and long life make them well suited additions to any accessory kit, and their small size and light weight ensure they will be unobtrusive and welcome companions in any activity as well as on the job.





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LED Flashlights
LED Tactical Flashlight - 200 Lumen - 200 Meter Beam - 3 Modes - 3 Watt CREE LED
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