I’m still debating on what EDC light to choose, but I thought the lights that were suggested by WTBGU! readers would be a good place to start, especially considering they suggested 2 of my 3 favorite EDC lights.
Surprisingly, the lights broke fairly neatly in to 2-3 groups in each of the dimensions.
Length: Pocketable ~3.5″ and Tactical ~5.5″
That 2″ difference is very important and allows the smaller lights to lay in the bottom of a pocket and the longer lights to be used in any of the common flashlight grips. The longer lights are forced to be carried upright and the shorter lights are narrower than the width of a hand. The longer lights are long enough to be considered a kubaton!
Width: <.75″ and >1.0″
Just like with pistols thickness can be important for the comfort of carrying a light, but once they get under an inch they can be a bit awkward to use.
Weight: <2.0oz and ~4.0oz
Weight and width are very closely correlated and allow the lights best suited to be used tactically with a pistol, to be used as impact weapon, a kubaton or to fill a fist. The smaller less tactical lights are less noticeable in your pocket.
Lumens: <50, 80-110, >190 (Let’s call these practical, tactical and radical?)
|Streamlight Microstream||3.5″||0.6″||1.04 oz||28||2.5||1-AAA||19.99|
|Streamlight Stylus Pro||5.3″||0.6″||1.64 oz||48||6.25||2-AAA||24.99|
|Streamlight Pro Tac||5.6″||0.7″||2.00 oz||80 / 10||1.5 / 30||2-AAA||29.98|
|Fenix PD22||3.5″||0.8″||1.50 oz||190 / 8||2 / 97||1-CR123A||58.95|
|Streamlight PT-1L||3.4″||0.9″||2.00 oz||110 / 12||1.75 / 14||1-CR123A||55.99|
|Maglite XL100||4.8″||1.0″||3.68 oz||83||5.25 / 202||3-AAA||29.99|
|Surefire E2D Defender||5.4″||1.0″||3.70 oz||200 / 5||1.9 / 76||2-CR123A||154.99|
|INOVA Bolt 2A||5.5″||1.0″||4.44 oz||107||3.66||2-AA||41.99|
|Surefire G2X Pro||5.2″||1.3″||4.40 oz||200 / 15||2 / 45||2-CR123A||81.42|
|Olight M20||5.5″||1.4″||4.25 oz||275 / 9||2.5 / 150||2-CR123A||95.95|
Practical lights are all you need to look for lost keys, find change under a car seat, check a cable or read an auto manual in the dark.
Tactical lights are bright enough to affect an attacker when shined into their eyes. It will illuminate an average interior room but it won’t adversely the user with the brightness of the splash.
“Radical” (It’s bad but I wanted an “ical” for symmetry) these lights are the fun ones to talk about. I like to show people the “spotlight effect” it has when you shine it upwards at night. It is pretty good at lighting up the treeline across the street, but I consider it too bright for use indoors.
Runtime, Batteries and Price are all closely related as well and you need to decide if you want to use easy to acquire batteries that you need to replace more often, or harder to find ones that need replaced less often.
Of the ones I the list I am fond of 3 for EDC (with an astrisk)… I would have different criteria for a truly tactical light.
The Streamlight Microstream strikes me as a Ruger LCP of the list. It is not the light you would pick if you really knew you were going to need it, but it is better than nothing and it is the most likely for you to slip in your pocket.
The Streamlight Pro Tac is the Glock 19. It is large enough that you have to be fairly dedicated to carry it but it can do just about anything you ask of it. It is a nearly perfect kubaton, it has my 80 lumen minimum for a tactical light and as a $30 Streamlight you don’t have to care what happens to it.
The Surefire E2D is a great light (*minus those crenelations) and it is like a USPSA Open Gun. It does what it does really well… and not much else, but it is really cool, fun to play with and show your friends. (If I could choose a light that isn’t on the list I would pick the Stream Light Pro Tac 2L).
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