As most of you know, the tactical is what gives us a strategic advantage over a clear objective. However, there are some tactical tools that get blurred by a huge sea of data and functionality. This is the case of tactical flashlights, a swampy terrain in which, after many years of development, “the more, the better” still prevails. Who doesn’t have in mind the prototype security guard with a flashlight of biblical proportions? It may be that this thought stored in our brain and enhanced by Hollywood imagery is the culprit that, when purchasing a flashlight, we make blunders.
Do we know what lumens are?
The field of lighting, and specifically flashlights, has evolved remarkably in recent years. Costs and consumption have been reduced, power has increased, the quality of light is greater with less effort… however, does that mean that any flashlight deserves the tactical name? As you will see, there is a huge confusion in the market…
10 years ago, when someone wanted to buy a flashlight for something other than home use, they would run to a specialized store and look for a model with good power. To do this, we simply had to select a model with a high watt indicator, which “assured” us that the accessory was going to produce a good amount of light. Of course, those who remember high school will notice that the watt in this case is the measurement used to calculate the energy expenditure for the flashlight to work properly. And of course, at the time the easiest thing was to think that the more watts consumed, the more light… of course, nothing could be further from the truth, as we will see below.
Today there is not a single light bulb that is sold, without wielding ahead the number of lumens it develops. The lumen is the unit of measurement for the luminous flux, that is, the amount of light perceived by the eye, coming from a source. Thanks to the development of lighting technology, especially advances in LED technology, current light emitters consume less and less energy and emit more and better light. Of course, this fact does not mean that any current flashlight is worth everything, but rather the opposite. The protection of manufacturers in lumens has meant that when buying, consumers only look at this indicator… because if a flashlight develops many lumens, it must emit more light, right?
Once again, we are making the same mistake we made 10 years ago with the power of the flashlight. It is true that lumens are a more accurate measure than watts, but it is also clear that luminous flux is a rather subjective quantity that can depend on many factors and is merely indicative. There can perfectly be 2 identical flashlights that develop the same lumens and yet show clear differences in terms of the quality of their lighting.
So, what is the solution to know what is a good flashlight according to your lighting?
Technically, the only reliable way to know the performance of a light emitter, just by reading its instructions, is to know the illuminance value, that is, the ratio of lumens developed for each square meter of distance (lum / m ²) . However, almost no manufacturer indicates this value on their products. Unfortunately, the only way to get close to the answer is to do a field test and test the flashlight at various distances. Obviously having good knowledge can help us do our calculations, but let’s be clear: most of the time, when we buy a flashlight “we are in the dark”. Therefore, never use lumens as a fixed, infallible measure, but as what it is, something indicative, approximate and, of course, manipulable.
There are many types of tactical flashlights on the market but today, green laser tactical light is the most popular one…
Choosing the best green laser sight is simply a matter of doing some research and learning a little about what makes one brand of laser sight better than another. There are plenty of red and green laser sights on the market, but green laser sight models may have some advantages over red laser sights including visibility, power consumption, operating temperature, aiming adjustment possibilities, and size. In general, a green laser sight is going to cost more than the more common red laser sight. For some situations and applications, the green laser sight can provide a tactical advantage over other types of targeting systems.
The visibility of a green laser sight in different light conditions is superior to the typical red laser sight. The reason for this lies in the photoreceptor nerve cells in the eye that convert light into electrochemical signals that are transmitted to the brain. These photoreceptors can see visible light from the red end of the spectrum at one Ned (about 700 nanometers) to violet at the other end with a wavelength of about 400 nanometers. Green is in the middle of this range of visible light, and is best seen by humans. This is why green laser sights are better than red laser sights, especially at long ranges, in direct sunlight, and in low light conditions as well.
A technical challenge with green laser sight technology is the operating temperature range. Green lasers are very picky about temperature and the environment around them, so heat and cold can have a negative effect on the performance of the filtering process that converts the infrared beam to a green beam. Take a careful look at the technical data of any green laser sight, and make sure that the laser will perform optimally within a certain temperature range. This range can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and will likely affect the price for units operating in higher temperature ranges.
Precise mounting and orientation adjustment are important for any weapon, but they are critical for any type of laser or tactical sight. The actual size of the green laser sight is something to consider, as it is more complex, takes up more space, and requires more power and possibly a larger battery to operate. Cheaper laser sights will typically be bulkier, have less precise targeting mechanisms, and may even leak harmful radiation. More expensive green laser sights, made by the best quality manufacturers, will use better materials and offer better performance in almost any orientation or tactical conditions.