If you’re in the military, in law enforcement or security, you’re putting yourself in a situation where you can come into physical conflict with another human being. You’re at risk every time that you clock in, so you definitely want to have a flashlight with you that is tough, durable, that will hold up to extant weather conditions and is bright enough to let you see what you need to see. What are some flashlights which are dependable enough, and tough enough, and bright enough to be useful to these professions?
Well, let’s start with security because that’s the simplest flashlight to talk about. Security personnel spend a lot of time on their feet. They’re walking around in the dark. They need something that’s light, that hangs easily from the belt or in a holster, and they need it to be bright. They probably need a lot of flood. They want to be able to see as much of their immediate environment as they possibly can. Anything they’re looking for is likely going to be close quarters. Now, I’m generalizing. That’s not always the case. If you’re patrolling outside, you might need to see through a chain-link fence or something like that. But, generally compared to the other two professions, you’re looking at a greater likelihood of needing to illuminate a large area just in front of you.
Now, one great light for security work is the Klarus XT11GT. This is an extremely bright light even by handheld LED flashlight standards. It’s 2,000 lumens on its maximum setting. I would venture to say that most security professionals are not going to need the 2,000 lumens continuously because that’s a tiny sun basically. You’re not going to need to illuminate things to that level all night, so you’d be using it likely on a lower setting. If anything happen which drew your attention, you heard something, then you might use the 2,000 lumens at that time to give you total situational awareness. But, if you’re just looking to have light while you’re going about your patrol, putting it on the 400 lumen or so setting is nice.
If you are interested in our reviews, check out our Top 10 Best Tactical Flashlights Reviews.
What’s also nice with the XT11GT … I mentioned that I can’t generalize too much about security work. There’s a wide array of environments that someone could hypothetically be watching over. What’s great about the GT is it’s got the program ability to adapt to a wide range of environments. What the Klarus XT11GT has is three different user mode which we map the buttons and functions. In your classical tactical mode, you’ve got access to strobe and also different brightness levels.
In terms of functionality, it’s probably the most complex and rich of all the possible modes, but that might be too much going on if you’re thinking to yourself that you want instant access to some of the more extreme modes, and that’s why there’s also the assault tactical mode, and this is a true tactical mode. This could also be good for the other professions, but I’ll come to them when I come to them. In the assault tactical mode, you lose access to your other brightness settings. You’ve just got yourself the 2,000 lumen setting and you’ve got your strobe. Like all real tactical lights, the XT11GT does come with a strobe function, and its rear dual switch allows you to easily access either the normal continuously light or strobe whenever you need them.
Now, lastly, the XT11GT has what Klarus calls outdoors mode and what’s significant about outdoors mode is that it does not have the strobe function. If the strobe is not your jam, if it’s something that in your situation you feel would only serve to blind you, you’d rather have just access to those different brightness settings and use the strobe button as a way to easily access your very low brightness setting for quick reading and that sort of thing, then definitely you’d want to use that mode. You don’t necessarily have to just pick one. It only takes a few seconds to change between the modes, so depending on what you need, you have a pretty wide range of selections there for how you’re going to use the Klarus XT11GT, and that’s part of what makes it a really great choice for security work.
Now, some people don’t want a light that complex. They want something very straightforward for their work. For those people I would say in the other direction. You’ve got a great light made by Streamlight. It’s called the PolyTac and the PolyTac is a much cheaper option and a much more straightforward option. It doesn’t get as bright as the XT11GT. At its highest setting, you’ve only got 275 lumens, but that’s likely going to be enough to show you whatever you need, especially if you’re in an outdoors or in an indoors environment.
It’s got a good grip. It feels good in your hands. It’s got a pocket clip. It’s got pretty much all the stuff that you’re going to need in order to do your job. There’s not really much else to say about it because it’s such a simple straightforward light and that’s what’s great about it. It’s right there in the name, PolyTac. If you’re thinking you would like to go with a cheaper option, a more straightforward option, something where you don’t have to fiddle with any modes or anything, you just need a very clearcut flashlight for your security walk around, then I would definitely take a strong look at the Streamlight PolyTac.
Now that we’ve talked about security a little bit, let’s move on to law enforcement. I think the first big difference for law enforcement and security, that law enforcement has a higher likelihood of running into somebody that they have to get into a serious physical confrontation with who may have to show considerable level of restraint for. If a security person runs across someone and they have to go in some sort of conflict with that person, that someone is a trespasser, that is a total stranger sneaking around in the dark, so ideally a security professional is not going to have to hurt anyone. But, if they do, that is pretty understandable. Police, on the other hand, are there to keep peace in a community and part of their job is interacting with unruly individuals who need to be dealt with in a way that gets them under control but for many reasons as little damage needs to be done as possible.
What I’m getting at with all that is that more and more law enforcement professionals are looking at the strobe function on tactical flashlights as an answer for this. It’s definitely no replacement for, say, mace, but what’s great is that it’s got an instant disorienting effect. You put a 2,000 lumen flashlight like the XT11GT, which I just mentioned, in someone’s face and you hit that strobe button and they don’t expect that to be coming, you’ve blinded them. You’ve definitely bought a few seconds while they deal with their surprise, deal with their lack of sight. It’s a fantastic effect and, like I said, more and more police are looking into using this as an answer to finding nonlethal means of controlling unruly people and suspects in a way that does as little damage as possible.
There’s a lot of tactical lights that have that feature that police should definitely need to consider. I mentioned the XT11GT. I mentioned that as a possibility for security. I think it’s also an excellent possibility for law enforcement. Many police started using the Klarus XT11GT.
Another great Klarus item that police can consider is the XT20. I think police often like is a flashlight with a little bit more heft because a bigger flashlight gives you the possibility of using it as a blunt instrument in a struggle and, unfortunately, that is a real consideration that police have to have. One last thing with the Klarus XT20. 2,000 lumens just like the XT11GT head, but also it’s a full sized flashlight, not handheld. This is a flashlight that’s 218 millimeters long. It’s definitely something being a tactical flashlight that will also stand up to strikes. It’s impact resistant so it’s something that can be used against a suspect without breaking the light.
Of course the classic example of a tough flashlight before the modern LED tactical light industry have even sprouted is the Maglite. It’s the flashlight’s version of Kleenex. It’s almost a brand name that has become synonymous with big, tough lights. Maglites are still around today after all these decades. They’ve switched over to LED, and so you can find LED Maglites. They’re massive lights by the standards of today’s tactical LED lights, about a foot and a half long which seems almost ridiculous, but they’re still very bright. I’m holding right now the Maglite LED flashlight. At this time, it can hold an LED that’s 412 meters so that’s a great distance and it’s 168 lumens which is not the brightest. That is not necessarily something that is going to wow your friends if they know about LED flashlights but, in the dark, absolutely. That is going to let you see what you need to see in the room that you’re in.
Since we are talking about this light in the context of law enforcement and I made such big bones about what a big deal the strobe effect is for law enforcement flashlights, I should mention though that the Maglite does not carry the strobe function.
Let’s move on to our last category and that’s military. If you’re looking for a military flashlight, that’s another class of flashlight overall. Military flashlights have to be super incredibly tough, have to be super incredibly bright, have to be adaptable. You want to be able to use this light for long distance sighting. You want to be able to use it for clearing rooms, for close quarters so it’s very difficult to find a flashlight that fits the extremely rigorous necessity of military life.
One flashlight that I would strongly recommend looking at for that is the XT30R. The XT30R has a lot of Klarus’s best traits in there. It’s a fourth generation light so they’ve really been able to iron out a lot of the bugs from this. It’s extremely bright, 1,800 lumens so just a little less bright than some of our crazier brighter ones that we’ve been talking about, but it also has incredible range so it’s got 820 meters on. That’s fantastic for sighting. Its one inch diameter body means it’s great for mounting on riffles, so this is a fantastic light to use in a tactical sense.
What’s great about the Klarus XT30R is that it’s especially tough even by tactical flashlight standards because you’ve got that impact resistance that you’d expect from tactical lights, one meter. You’ve also got some extreme waterproofing. It’s rated IPX8 which means it’s totally waterproof, submerge up to two meters. That’s a depth of water that’s greater than the height of most people. As long as the water is not over your head, it’s probably not going to hurt your XT30R.
Another thing is that Klarus has devised a way to make this light even more impregnable to the elements and that’s with its magnetic charging system. Now, this is a proprietary technology that Klarus has been trying. No one else is on this yet. What it is is that instead of being charged through a micro-USB power port like most rechargeable flashlights, the Klarus XT30R has a metal ring, a metal magnetic ring, and the cable is hooked up to that ring and just passes through that metal.
Now, what that does is that illuminates that critical weakness in a lot of other waterproof lights even other IPX8 lights where you’ve got a rubber flap covering that vulnerable power port. If anything happens to that flap, if one day after charging you forget to close it all the way, if for some reason it gets ripped off, then that waterproofing no longer applies. You’ve got a gaping hole where all the power needs to go into in your light and you could no longer depend on it to be waterproof. Flashlights that use the magnetic charging technology from Klarus like the XT30R are a fantastic way to completely eliminate a final weakness in the waterproofing that most lights have.
That’s it for my description of flashlights for military, law enforcement and security personnel and anyone else who had the job which could possibly put them at constant personal risk. I hope you take a look at a lot of these and consider them for keeping yourself safe and good luck out there.