I love gadgets! I have no idea why I am such a gadget person but I have always had this desire for items that were different, unique, functional and fun. There was a time in my life that my friends would say “if it has buttons, Jack will buy it”. I used to laugh but upon reflection that sure seems to be fairly accurate. Over the years, I have amassed quite a collection of items that “have buttons”. Mobile devices are recent acquisitions to my collections but I have always had a desire for tools and flashlights. Whenever I see a different and unique flashlight, I always grab it and more often than not my wife will say, why do you need that one?
Most of you know that I have had the unique opportunity to spend half my time in Maine and enjoy the wonders of the Maine Coast. It has been an extraordinary experience and with that has come a myriad of opportunities to not only discover the coast but to garner new friends and experience new and different facets of life. Becoming involved in community and giving back has always been part of my being and living in Maine is no different. I have become an active member in our fire department and have gone through the required training each year to maintain my status. I would never have imagined that I would have done this with such fervor but then I thought about it for a while and realized that there are a heck of a lot of “buttons” on the fire engine. Maybe my friends were right about me so many years ago….
Each month we have mandatory training and last month was no exception. With the end of winter approaching and the breakup of ice on so many lakes, it was time for our cold water rescue training. This year we tried several different scenarios and training at night was part of this year’s agenda. Part of the gear we all carry in our turnout gear is a spare flashlight but I have never been happy with what we carry. It’s a spare, it’s small and does the trick in special situations and even though its size is a major factor, its inability to survive rough treatment is a major disadvantage. We carry a great light that is fixed to our Helmut but having a spare to use in that special circumstance is more important than you can imagine.
has a light that is the toughest flashlight that you will ever need. It’s weatherproof, will survive abuse, and has a 125 degree rotating head and 5 different light modes. It definitely looks “rugged” and has some unique features that will serve me well.
The case is made from a rugged ABS polymer that has a rubber coating offering shock protection as well as a non-slip grip. The main body has six Philips screws securing the sides together. I did not take it apart but I can only guess from the superior construction that there is a rubber gasket between the two halves providing protection from water making the device very water resistant. On either side of the main body there are stainless steel side guards embedded flush to the body adding a higher degree of protection. The side guards are securely attached with two torx screws.
The back side of the main body has a built-in Hold-Fast clip that is very strong and can easily grip the outer pocket of my turnout gear and remain secure. The front edge of the main body has two of the three buttons used for turning on the different LEDs. Below the Red/Blue buttons the body is indented for secure (and easy) griping of the light.
Attached to the top of the main body secured by two ABS plastic Torx screws is an adjustable swivel head containing 4 LED lights (Red, IR, Blue and a high intensity White). There are four locking positions for the head allowing for set angular adjustments. There is significant “play” on one of the positions allowing for a myriad of adjustments for direct focusing of the light beam. The rotating head uses five screws securing the two halves and like the main body it has a rubberized coating. The lens shatterproof and as you would expect, there are water resistant gaskets sealing the rotating head.
The bottom of the light, below the main body consists of two parts: A rotating switch for infrared lighting and a twist off cap for battery replacement. At the very bottom on the twist-off cap is the On/Off push button switch for the White Light LED. The switch is rubberized for moisture protection and is recessed to prevent accidental turning off (or on). The rear of this cap has a sliding lock that has a twofold purpose. Not only does it serve to lock the cap from accidental removal but also locks the rotating IR switch. When unlocked, you can see how the rotating IR switch function as you turn it. There are embedded spring loaded balls that lock into place when the switch is turned completing the circuit and enabling the IR light.
The circuitry is such that if either of the Red, Blue or White LED are on, enabling the IR switch will turn off those lights and enable the IR light function. It is a simple easy process that makes the use of the light easier.
Ease of Use
The light is clearly designed for ease of use with an unprotected hand. The question I had was how well it would work wearing gloves especially the gloves we wear with our turn out gear. Limited testing has shown that the design fits for the varied environments I have been in and I expect that it will prove to be superior as more use follows. You can experiment to determine if something might suit your needs but it is the real life situations that count. So far, the light has performed well above my expectations and I am sure that in time it will prove to be an invaluable auxiliary piece of equipment to carry.
The four LED Diodes emit White, Red, Blue and Infrared. An additional feature is the IR will strobe which can be useful in certain environments. I was happy with the amount of light given from the Red and Blue and was amazed at the power of the White light. It has been more than what I expected in a small portable light giving me a brighter, more intense light than the standard issue lights we carry on a scene.
Unfortunately I have not been able to test IR light with our night vision equipment. It appears that the type of equipment we use does not pick up the IR. I expect that we will try it with another type of night vision goggle. However, it is important to note that it does work. When turning the IR on, if can readily be seen with a camera as you can see with this screenshot. When I had the strobe working, I could easily see it reflecting off my monitor onto the wall behind me. It is actually very eerie because it was reflecting off my wife and she could not see it.
Initial testing has given us cause to rethink what type of supplementary lights our firefighters will carry. The different light modes, intensity of the light, as well as the weight, size and design has made this a desired accessory to carry. The impact resistant, steel plate bolted sides provide extreme durability and the swivel head provides the ability to illuminate areas easily. In particular, the ability to stand the light on its own and have an adjustment of 85 to 210 degrees makes it very versatile in the extreme environments we find ourselves in.
It is weather proof, water resistant, durable, and very adaptable for particular environments. The battery is expected to last between 8-70 hours which is a quite a range. If it lasts up to 20 hours, we will be more than satisfied. All this coupled with a lifetime warranty; this will prove to be a great investment for us.
to see the different variety of flashlights available.
MSRP: Prices vary by reseller. The best price I have seen is here at BotachTactical.com for $59.99
What I Like: Light weight; Durable Construction; Locking Mechanism for IR
What Needs Improvement: Location of White Light main switch