The first thing you notice, when you pick up this tactical flashlight, is that it is better quality than you’d expect for the price. I see the price and at that point, I’m expecting a flashlight that’s either much smaller or much shoddier, but the construction of the Beacon is solid. You can check the price here. In my opinion, the FlashlightZ Beacon is the best tactical flashlight for the money under $50.
It’s the same anodized, aircraft-grade aluminum you find in tactical LED lights at a much higher price shelf, and it’s also shock-resistant and weatherproof. Being shock-proof means that it can absorb the recoil from a semiautomatic rifle, making this a true tactical flashlight. Surprisingly, this is a light that’s built to actually take some punishment, so, color me…not impressed, exactly, but pleasantly surprised? Definitely.
The more I check over the Beacon, in fact, the more it surprises me. The single LED, for instance, gives out 1000 lumens – which is the same as many higher-priced lights. The beam is a cool blue, with a very wide hotspot for maximum light dispersal. And if you miss the hot spot, here’s a nice thing: it’s got adjustable zoom. The head extends from the body, providing a spectrum of zoomable positions which give the user total control. It’s a fantastic tool for customizing your vision while the gun is mounted, or when you’re just outside sighting in the dark. Plus, the Beacon also sports an aspherical lens, maximizing beam throw. The maximum distance for the beam of this light is 800 meters. That’s more than the length of eight football fields. So the beam, the first thing everyone worries about when they’re examining a new tactical flashlight, I have no complaints about.
The interface is really good, and it’s also a little wonky. Sort of depending on what kind of flashlight user you are. Let me explain: the Beacon uses only one switch, located, as mandated by Tactical Law, on the tail. And the method for switching between brightness modes is ultra simple. Just keep turning the light on and off. The Beacon cycles from High, to Medium, to Low, to strobe, to S.O.S., and back to High. After three seconds or so in the “off” mode, the cycle resets so the light always starts at “High.”
I wasn’t sure I liked this at first. But the more I think about it, the more I get FlashlightZ’s approach here. The interface is something us tactical flashlight nerds love to talk about, but for a less intense grade of buyer, it’s not really something you think about. Most people won’t know what you mean when you say “interface” in the context of a flashlight at all. They just want something that lights up and that they can understand how to work pretty much instantly. That, the Beacon definitely does. Plus, I have to admit it’s basically idiotproof, which is always a tactical plus. The fact that it always starts at the highest setting means it’s consistent. The biggest downside, of course, is that it takes a minimum of seven presses to get to the strobe. That’s not exactly convenient in a high-stress situation, but again, this light is about experimenting with trade-offs, and for a casual user this may very well be worth it.
Another thing that’s nice about the Beacon is its size. It’s just the right size for a handheld light, shorter than the length of your hand and fingers but still with that one-inch diameter that’s so important to keeping it compatible with most gun mounts. I personally prefer shorter, handheld tactical lights even for mounted tactical use. They’re lighter and just as bright, and with the Beacon especially, I don’t have to choose between beam throw and flood.
As far as the design on the body, there’s a lot of nice touches you might not expect on a more affordable tactical light. There’s grooves on the head for anti-roll, and a pleasant slip-resistant pineapple texture on all three sections, head, body and tail. So it’s easy to keep your grip on the light, and it just feels good in your hand.
The Beacon’s design does have a weakness, however. Although the light is totally weatherproof, this changes when you extend the head to utilize the zoom function. Since the naked charge port is located on the now-exposed neck, it’s instantly vulnerable to rain or splashes. So you can’t use the zoom function in the rain, which is a little rough.
As far as accessories, the Beacon also comes with a titanium steel clip for every day carry, as well as a tactical ring. I wish the tactical ring were a hair less pointy, as it’s really the only thing keeping the light from being utterly comfortable in your hand, but otherwise I have no complaints here. Plus, between the clip, the tactical ring, and the grooves in the head, the light probably has better anti-roll than most other tactical flashlights of its size on the market. It’s the little things. In the Super Bundle, it also comes with a USB wall adapter, a USB car adapter, USB charge cord, 18650 lithium battery, and a MINI USB light.
Overall, I really like the FlashlightZ Beacon and it has earned it’s place as the best tactical flashlight for the money. The goal was clearly to cut down the price, which for a tactical light is normally around $70-$90, while still offering something that was quality. I think FlashlightZ succeeded. Interface junkies will sneer at the simplistic cycling system, but noobies will cheer for not needing instructions to get the full potential out of their purchase. It’s the full 1,000 lumens of other high-quality lights, it’s got adjustable zoom and an aspheric lens for long beam throw, a good feel, great anti-roll, and an interface so simple a child can grasp how it works. If you’re a beginner with tactical flashlights, or you just want a totally straightforward tactical LED light at the expense of being slightly rough around the edges, than I believe you need to check out the FlashlightZ Beacon.