HID Flashlights Provide Non Lethal Force|
The search for new and more effective non lethal tools for control of individuals has led to major advancements in the design and production of tactical equipment used by police and security professionals. The premise behind non lethal force is to be able to disarm or disable subjects without the need to resort to weapons or tactics that may cause permanent injury or death. One of the first such tools to be considered as a non lethal means of incapacitating a subject is the handheld flashlight carried by most police and security personnel. Although it is widely known that large metal flashlights can indeed be wielded as a highly effective weapon if necessary, it is the flashlights ability to interfere with a potential attacker’s vision, or even cause temporary blindness that is considered its most desirable trait.
Prior to the advent of the LEDs and HID lamps that are now revolutionizing the tactical flashlight industry, the mainstay of tactical lighting was the metal bodied flashlight which contained three D cell batteries and used an incandescent bulb to produce light. Although advancements over time improved on the basic capabilities of these lights, their ability to act as a non lethal source of force was highly limited and overshadowed by their usefulness as an effective improvised club. These flashlights are very limited in the intensity of the light they are capable of producing which limited their ability to interfere with vision, and are prone to frequent battery and bulb failures which necessitates frequent maintenance of the light to ensure reliable operation.
Such problems were once commonplace and the flashlight received little attention as a true means of applying non lethal force. In order to be effective, these flashlights must be able to cause disorientation and even blindness in a subject at some respectable distance, which their low intensity beams were simply not capable of doing. The incandescent bulbs used in these lights were the main factor limiting their ability to produce an intense light beam, and later krypton and halogen bulbs represented only minor improvements. It was with the development of small HID lamps that truly powerful flashlights began to hit the security lighting markets and gain true consideration as effective sources on non lethal force. The best incandescent flashlight could produce only 45-90 effective lumens of light, while these new HID bulbs were capable of producing two to three times that amount in a unit of the same size. With further development and advances in battery technology, HID’s soon became capable of producing over 3,000 lumens of intense light, more than enough to be considered an effective tool for application of non lethal force.
A side benefit of these HID flashlights is their durability and longevity. While the incandescent bulbs used in the traditional flashlight are known for their filaments breaking if the light is dropped, especially when the light is dropped while switched on, HID bulbs have no such problems. HIDs create light by using two electrodes to ignite gases contained within the sealed confines of the bulb. This creates an intense beam of light that is much more efficient than an incandescent bulb, and just as importantly, is less susceptible to damage from impacts. This means that an HID equipped flashlight can withstand a great deal more abuse than a traditional flashlight and yet remain reliable and effective; no worrying whether or not that last bounce on the pavement means it’s time for a new bulb with an HID lamp. No filament in their construction also means that regular maintenance intervals are also reduced as the HID bulb lasts significantly longer than an incandescent. The typical lifespan of an incandescent flashlight bulb may average 900 hours, while an HID can be expected to average over 2,000.
Rounding out their advantages over incandescent bulbs, HIDs also represent improved efficiency, requiring a high initial current to ignite the gases contained within their bulbs, but needing very low current to maintain that ignition. This results in a light that is not only bright, but allows longer run times on a single battery change or charge. This is especially important for law enforcement and security professionals as they must be able to depend on their light to operate when it is needed, and the longer run times mean they can count on their light to operate for extended periods if necessary.
HID flashlights like Larson Electronics’s HID Flashlight - Dual Mode - 7000' Beam - 4700 Lumen - 35/50 Watt HID represent the culmination of technological advancements, resulting in highly effective tactical flashlights for use as sources of non lethal force. Capable of running at both 35 watts and 50 watts, this flashlight produces 3,200 lumens of light and a beam extending 5,000 feet in 35 watt mode, and 4,700 lumens and a beam extending 7,000 feet in 50 watt mode. Runtime in 35 watt mode is almost 2 hours at 110 minutes, while 50 watt mode still produces 70 minutes of runtime. Although this light is a true tactical flashlight well suited to police, security, or military offensive applications, it is also an excellent tool for use in situations requiring non lethal force.
Even when operated with the lower power setting, the 3,200 lumens of light produced by the 35/50 Watt HID is more than capable of blinding any potential attacker and keeping them disoriented. If operated in 50 watt mode, it is a virtual certainty that any aggressive movement towards the operator will be seriously discouraged if not outright ended immediately. The intense beam produced by this HID flashlight has exceptional range, which is an important consideration in the application of non lethal force. Professionals using HID flashlights can maintain significant distance between themselves and potential aggressors while still being able to apply non lethal force from that distance if necessary, giving the operator valuable extra time to further deal with a potentially dangerous situation.
Non lethal force has become a common buzzword when it comes to the subject of law enforcement and professional security. While tasers may be the most sensational item that comes to the public’s mind when it comes to non lethal force, the introduction of serious high powered flashlights promises to provide yet another option that is even less dangerous or harmful to potential aggressors. Flashlights require no physical contact or penetration of an aggressor’s body to be effective, and the blinding effects are for the most part temporary. For security and law enforcement professionals, these are benefits that not only protect against possible injury to themselves or suspects, but also reduce the chances of litigious entanglements associated with the use of force in the performance of their duties.