New on the market this year is a three-watt Luxeon LED tactical "Flex Head" light ($30). The flex head pivots in a 45 degree plane. The light uses three AAA alkaline batteries, but the product sheets don't give an expected runtime or light output figure. The switch is in the tailcap.
Also from AITEC is a one-watt Luxeon LED Pen Light ($24). It uses two AAA alkaline batteries. The switch is a simple on/off click in the tailcap.
The Tactical Baton ($30) uses a three-watt Luxeon LED and is powered by three AA alkaline batteries. As with the other lights from AITEC, the switch is in the tailcap and is a simple on/off.
The rear switches power on with a very light touch, and they can't be locked off to prevent them from getting bumped on and draining your battery power. Mike Hill of Coast reports that the included nylon belt pouches will be redesigned to incorporate an internal plastic cup at the base, so that when the light is slid down into the pouch, the rear switch will be protected from accidental activation. So as long as you keep your mini-light in a pouch rather than in a pocket or pack, and as long as you always place the light rear-end down, you might still have a battery when you need it. Suggesting this is a Mickey Mouse solution really insults the mouse.
Nano Tac ($12), the smallest light in the series, measures 75mm in length and is driven by four AG5 batteries. It comes with either a blue or a white LED.
Mini Tac Torch ($15) is available in four casing colors: silver, blue, red, and black. It comes with a white or blue LED. Mini Tac is powered by four AG13 button batteries. Mini Tac measures 75mm in length.
Micro Tac Torch ($20) is somewhat larger, 92mm in length, and is powered by a single AAA alkaline battery. .
Turbo Tac ($25), the biggest of these miniature lights, runs on a single AA battery and measures 98mm in length.
Another interesting introduction was a headband light weighing less than one ounce and powered by a single AAA battery. The prototype bore the name "JoggLED," but product reps explained that the lamp will probably be marketed under the name "Head-Lite." The headband uses Velcro to adjust for size, and features two blue LEDs in the rear so the wearer can be easily seen. In the front, a high-intensity white LED can be adjusted to different elevations. Retail price will be around $20.
David, an attractively smooth stainless tactical torch, was another prototype seen in the Coast booth. David's light source is a 1.25-watt white LED, powered by a single AA alkaline battery, and should throw out approximately 65 lumens. The prototype measures 100mm in length, and the anticipated MSRP should be in the $70 range.
The final new product seen at the Coast booth was a prototype so new it didn't have a name yet. The interesting thing about this light was the rear switch, which was a micro-processor controlled optical sensor which recognizes when the user touches a thumb to it. The sensor also controls dimming and blinking functions. Some kind of a lock off feature will be incorporated into the design, although that wasn't part of the prototype yet. It uses the same 1.25 watt LED and reflector prism that is in Coast's current Power Chip lights.
Cyclops 1WF Flashlight is a one-watt LED tactical light which burns at around 30 lumens for up to 8 hours. Powered by two 123A lithium batteries, the light measures 95mm in length, 18mm in body diameter, and has a bezel diameter of 31mm. The tailcap switch features both momentary on and positive on options. It comes with a nylon carry pouch, and retails at $50.
Cyclops 3WF Flashlight features a three-watt Luxeon LED, producing 80 lumens over a burn time of 3 hours in a water resistant body. It has a regulated circuit so the light will remain bright throughout most of the battery life. The light is powered by two 123A lithium batteries and, like the 1WF, the 3WF has a tailcap on/off switch which features both momentary on and positive on options. The light measures 130mm in length, 18mm in body diameter, and has a bezel diameter of 31 mm. The MSRP is $80.
Atom, a tiny headband light, weighs a single ounce and is powered by two CR2016 lithium coin cell batteries. It gives 1.8 lumens of light over 15 hours of burn time. Advertised as weatherproof – which translates to water resistant but not waterproof – the little light has a magnifier lens on the front for a more focused beam. It measures approximately 25mm across the bezel and has face plate roughly 40mm across. The light can be tilted downwards as needed, and the strap comes in 6 different colors. Retail price is $10.
Made from machined aluminum alloy, EGear's Tactical Torches come in black matte or titanium finish, and are water-resistant. They've got a regulated circuit for a longer bright runtime (at the expense of the long 'tail' of dim light typical of LED lighting). A tailcap switch provides both momentary on and constant on options. The collimated lens provides a smooth, tightly focused beam. The bodies are lightly knurled. A nylon lanyard and holster are included.
The One-Watt Tactical Torch is powered by two AA alkaline batteries, with a runtime of approximately 2 hours. It is 163mm long, and has a bezel diameter of 28mm. It weighs in at 169g including batteries. The light source is a Luxeon Star one-watt LED, and provides 30 lumens of light. Retail price is $45.
The Three-Watt Tactical Torch is powered by two 123A lithium batteries and has a runtime of three hours. It is 127mm in length, has a bezel diameter of 30mm, and weighs 159g including batteries. A Luxeon three-watt LED provides 65 to 80 lumens of light. Retail price is $65.
The One-Watt 2-in-1 LED Light is a brighter version of EGear's bestselling 2-in-1 Stretch Light. It has a diameter of 48mm and an overall length of 167mm. It weighs 230g with batteries. The batteries, six of them, are AAA alkaline cells, and the bulb is a single one-watt LED. The body is made of silver anodized aluminum, while the head and tailcaps are black polycarbonate. With three levels of brightness and an emergency flashing mode, the run time depends upon what you've been doing with the light. If used only at 100% power, runtime is 2.5 hours, while at 25% power you can expect a runtime of around 12 hours. Suggested retail price is $45.
The EQ Hands-Free Multi-Light is a one watt LED on a slim headband, which can be easily removed from the band to be used as a handheld or clip-on light as well. It weighs less than 1 oz (less than 28.34g) with its two CR2032 coin cell lithium batteries in place. The light is rugged and water-resistant. A magnifier lens provides a focused beam, while the base clip can be positioned to any of nine elevations. With twist on/off functions, the light is unlikely to be accidentally activated in pack or pocket. Suggested retail price is $15.
T1, the smallest light in the series, is a 1.5-watt handheld with a 35 lumen output and an advertised runtime of 1.5 hours. Measuring 117mm in length and 25mm in diameter, it uses a single 123A lithium battery and retails at around $50.
A light press of the tailcap switch gives you momentary on, while a firmer touch clicks the light to constant on. The tailcap features a lock-out option, allowing you to back it off slightly so the switch cannot be bumped on in your pack.
These are solidly-built little lights, featuring aircraft-grade aluminum with surprisingly thick walls and an anodized scratch-proof coating. Like most the other lights in this series, the T1 is shock-proof, crush-proof, and water-resistant. Knurling on the flashlight body definitely does the job of preventing slippage, but it is not at all obtrusive and is comfortable in the hand. There is a lanyard opening near the tailcap end of the T1, T2, and T3 lights.
The concentric rings of the patented TIROS lens is advertised as producing up to 90% light efficiency, and renders a beam pattern with a well-defined hot spot surrounded by a less-defined but still bright periphery.
T2 offers almost all the same features as T1, but in a larger, two-watt format. Powered by two 123A lithium batteries, it produces 40 lumens over a 5-hour runtime. It measures 150mm in length, with a diameter of 25mm. Retail price is $60.
T3 features a 3.2 watt LED and a runtime of two hours. It is powered by two 123A lithium batteries and produces 85 lumens of output. Unlike the smallest two lights in the series, the T3 features a flared head design. The body is 159mm long with a diameter of 25mm. T3 retails for $80.
T4 is a four-watt LED rechargeable, featuring a mid-body switch rather than the tailcap switch common to the smaller lights in the T series. A light press of the switch produces momentary on, while a firmer press clicks the light into constant on mode. Powered by a single lithium-ion battery, T4 puts out 100 lumens over a two hour runtime – nearly twice that of a standard rechargeable flashlight. Though it is not necessary to fully discharge the battery before it may be recharged, it takes three hours to recharge the battery once it has been fully discharged.
T4 is solidly built of aircraft-grade aluminum with an anodized coating. It is shock-proof and crush-proof, but not water-resistant. Like the light itself, the T4's recharge cradle is small and solidly built. It features spring-powered rollers rather than flimsy clamp arms, making it less likely to break during use.
T4 is 203mm long, 30.5mm in diameter. Retail price is $130.
T5 is superficially very similar to T4, but is not rechargeable. A four-watt LED powered by three 123A lithium batteries, the flashlight measures 222mm in length, and 28mm in diameter. Like the T4, the T5 features a midbody switch with both momentary on and constant on options. It produces 100 lumens of output, and has an advertised runtime of three hours. Retail price is $100.
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Contributing Editor: Kathy Jackson
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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
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First Published: February 11, 2005
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