Confused about which weapon light to purchase from the big collection out there? They come in different shapes, designs, and sizes, leaving you at sea.
When you are off to choosing a weapon light, you need to take account of various factors. As these weapon lights serve multiple goals, you need to choose one that suits your individual situation or needs.
Once you know what the light will do for you, choose the features aligned with your needs. Examples of features include material durability, brightness levels, power source, lumen output, and more.
Just like the ones we have mentioned, there are many other tips for buying a weapon light. These are just the tip of the iceberg.
Without any further ado, let’s dive in to learn more!
Know Your Purpose
A weapon light has many applications, such as military purposes or self-defense, hunting, survival, and camping. Despite the many uses, it is mainly aimed towards tactical (military or police) use. Therefore, many weapon lights are devised to allow them to be mounted to any weapon for dim-light shooting and if required, self-defense.
You must be curious to know what the difference is between a weapon light and any regular flashlight. It moves way back in history, where the weapon light was initially developed to help identify targets in dark areas.
Shooters used them together with a firearm to shoot. For better aiming purposes, a weapon light was attached to the pistol rather than a separate flashlight.
Apart from its use as a dim-light shooting tool, a weapon light is versatile as it can serve an array of different purposes.
Usually, people recommend taking a powerful weapon light when you step out alone due to its strobe modes and brightness. Both these can disorient any offenders momentarily, giving you the chance to escape or attack.
Its durability offers long-term use. Other uses include signalling for help during any kind of emergencies and shattering through windows or glasses.
No matter where you go, you can always carry a weapon light. Its powerful light and small size make it a perfect tool to carry along.
Ensure The Quality You Need
The first thing you need to crosscheck is the quality of your weapon light. There is always an ongoing debate on whether Surefire or Streamlight is the best among the weapon lights. Both are budget-friendly weapon lights, without any sacrifice in quality.
The best 8 high-quality weapon lights you can purchase are:
- Surefire X300U
- Streamlight TLR 7
- Streamlight TLR 6
- Surefire M600 Scout
- Steiner Mk4 Battle Light
- Surefire DSF
- Streamlight TL Racker
- Olight PL Valkyrie
The Lumen or Light Output of The Weapon Light
Lumen is a measurement of the visible light that comes out of the weapon light per unit time.
The higher the luminous flux or lumen has, the more overall visible light it produces. How correctly the lumen is used is determined by the light’s file projection, which impacts the brightness.
Most weapon lights range between 20 lumens (this is very low) to 1000-2000 lumens.
Some weapon lights boast even higher lumens, but to efficiently and adequately reach anything shinier, the weapon light becomes rather large owing to the batteries and heat sinks to support the power.
It’s best if you go for variable lumen output, as most weapon lights feature this. Depending on your situation, you can select the preferred lumen output.
As the weapons lights are incredibly bright, their high power can drain a battery really quickly, so the variable modes will allow you to choose. Between battery swaps or charges, they give prolonged use.
When you deal with light output, focus on three factors in the following category – beam distance, temperature, and beam type. Let’s check them out in detail for a good purchase!
To correctly figure out where your enemy is standing, you need your light to be able to reach a certain distance. Consider a home situation where the enemy can be 10 yards away from you, and your beam distance quickly identifies it. This is what you must look for in a weapon light!
Generally, the units for a beam distance are either feet or meters. It is the distance the weapon light travels without getting diminished.
Simply put, this is a measurement of how far ahead you can see using your weapon light.
Two light dispersals exist – one that casts light widely and another that sheds lengthwise. This highly depends on the lens you are using.
Weapon lights with a wide area tend to cast shorter beam distances. If you are a person who prefers close-up activities, you can give this a whirl!
In any case, if you need your light to travel a significant distance, you should pick one that “tosses” light (longer reach) instead of “flooding” (more extensive territory). Individuals choose this kind of electric lamp for exercises that include significant distances, like hunt, trekking, late evening climbing, and so forth.
The light appears to be highly bright at a close range. The reflection alone can hurt your eyes, making your aim faulty.
Types of Beams
When it comes to “tossing” or “flooding” the weapon light, check the lens that determines how the light is dispersed. When you purchase, you will have 4 beams to choose from.
If you want your beam to be dispersed throughout a vast area but not a wide distance, you can choose the flood beam. For tasks near you, you can use this light source.
This can be great for DIY, indoor use, camping, walking, mechanics, and other activities.
In terms of length, this probes long distances. Also called focus beams, it is good to target further away and fast-paced activities.
So, if you want to trace down fast-paced targets or notice what is happening a hundred yards away, spot beams are what you need. When focusing in close situations, the light spot will be a minimum diameter of intense light, leading to too much reflection on your eyes. Nonetheless, when you try to shine the weapon light into a tight region, it will come of use – like a deep spot or a hole.
Want to gain complete flexibility on adjusting beams? With the adjustable beams, you can just do that.
This is an excellent choice as it cuts down the weapon light’s utility value depending on the beam type.
If you are wishing to use both spot and flood beams, do not fret. This type of weapon lights got you covered. This dual beam offers you the chance to lighten up the entire region while illuminating your target distance as well. Even more, it eliminates “tunnel vision.”
The Temperature of Your Weapon Light
Moving on to our tips for buying a weapon light, we have the temperature. Weapon light temperature refers to its color. When you go on to check the temperature of any weapon light, you will come across these 3 terms – cool white, neutral white, and warm white.
It lies on the spectrum’s higher end, giving off a strong white hue with a hint of blue. If you are looking for the brightest light color, this cool white is what you should go for. It also affects the color of any objects you look at.
Neutral white lies somewhere between the warm and cool tones, where neither of them dominates. For you to understand its color properly, it has the hue of the sunlight.
This is a fantastic color for any project-based lighting and clarity.
This stays on the lower edge of the color spectrum. It emits a yellowish tinge, just like that of an incandescent light bulb. Its color temperature is a more therapeutic light, one that you would use for your living room interior light bulb.
Therefore, you will like to focus on both the color temperature and beam intensity when you examine the light output of your weapon light.
Generally speaking, anyone would go for a high-output light. It allows you to recognize the immediate surroundings and your target, no matter what the ambient lighting conditions are.
Since this weapon light will be for tactical purposes, you might want one with a light output of over 300 lumens. As stated earlier, any good weapon light will come with flexible brightness levels, creating it a useful tool for several activities.
Let’s take a gander at the various levels of illumination and what they can be applied for:
150-299 lumens: Compared with other weapon lights that emit thousands of lumens of light, this looks like a tiny amount of light output.
Nonetheless, it is brilliant enough to light up a room in split seconds, and its lens offers a decent beam range as well. Its dazzling brightness might disorient people for some seconds. For an average weapon light, this light output can prove to be sufficient.
300-699 lumens:It marks the tactical area. This brightness level can cover a vast area efficiently.
700+ lumens: Campers, military, trekkers, and rescue parties use these weapon lights with a range of 700+ lumens. Quite easily, they can shed light over a vast region.
Even though this may suit your need, weapon lights have a yield of 2000+ lumens, which can be utilized when maximum brightness is needed. Be careful about weapon lights that claim better quality than they actually are.
With expanded lumens comes the need to appropriately cool and power the LEDs. Little, handheld weapon lights have restrictions or can just give max lumens of that level for exceptionally brief timeframes.
Weapon lights also come with 2 kinds of brightness adjusters:
One is a basic model, where 2 to 3 brightness levels are available: high, medium, and low. When you need the brightest light, you can shift to the strongest lumen output.
Otherwise, you can switch to the low-level option when you need to preserve battery power or require less light.
Dimmable Weapon Lights
People usually select this kind as they have a wide range of brightness levels, moving up to ten levels having dials that allow continuous change. If not, there is a press and hold function to change the light output variably.
Many adjustable levels might be used to get the perfect output – from moderately dim to stunningly bright. This can happen alongside stating the life and power consumption of the battery.
Types of Bulbs
A weapon light can use 3 types of bulbs, each having different uses and features. Due to the light’s longevity and brightness, most weapon lights employ only LED bulbs.
When compared to fluorescent or incandescent light bulbs, LEDs are more efficient.
Some of the reasons why you must keep an eye out for these bulbs are:
- Energy efficiency
- Instant complete illumination
- Wide range of colors
- High intensity and brightness
- Directional lighting
The other 2 types are fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. When buying a weapon light, it is rather good to avoid them despite being prevalent among regular lights.
Below are some reasons why they would not be an effective choice for your weapon light:
- Energy inefficient
- Omni-directional light
- Produces low lumen per watt
- Short lifecycle
The power source that you employ also plays a major role in deciding your purchase. It determines the power and efficiency of your weapon light.
- Disposable Alkaline: Most standard batteries use them in weapon lights. The standard AA, AAA, C, and D sizes offer long shelf life, easy availability, and greater energy density.
One massive advantage is its portability, which is due to the smaller weight and size.
- Disposable lithium: It is almost the same as the previous one, except for higher power output and longevity. One drawback is that it is slightly expensive than the other ones.
- Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries: Having the ability to recharge, these batteries provide great power output. They come with a charger to prevent the batteries from running out.
- Integrated Rechargeable batteries: Directly with a USB socket, the weapon light batteries can be charged. Its only disadvantage is that it does not work in a place with no power socket.
That’s a wrap for now! We hope you found our tips for buying a weapon light helpful. So, what are you waiting for? Gear up to take down your target, now!