I have used a number of different little lights over the years and have had decent luck with the 2AA maglights and even a 4 AAA LED light given to me by Randy Hunter a couple years ago. That little LED light is very bright and lasts a long time. However it always seems my batteries are low when I need them and I'm too far from town to buy them when I'm in the bush. A torch or flashlight is a very important part of my kit in Africa and in the USA. It seems game is always knocked down right at dark and the light is very important. So here are my thoughts on this. Any input or suggestions would be great.
My needs for a light are to search for blood right after dark, follow tracks right after dark, work in and around the truck gathering gear to carry to the lodge, and to find my way out of the bush after tracking or following up an anmal.
The desired objective: Use up to a 2 battery 2C size or smaller. 2 settings for brightness, or a dimmer switch. One low for walking out of the bush and gathering gear. The other as bright as possible to see blood and tracks. This should extend battery life. The light should work a solid hour on the bright setting and much more then that on the dim setting. Say 2 hours or so.
Rechargable battery pack charged from 110VAC or a 12VDC lighter plug. Waterproof, durable and unbreakable lens. The use of regular batteries if the rechargeables are flat. The ability to charge from a stand or plug. It should not have to be taken apart to charge. The spare battery pack should also be rechargable without being in the light itself. Made of high impact plastic or aluminum. Preferably not perfectly round so it will not roll when set down on a flat surface. Also in a bright color( not camo) so it can be seen easy when set down on the ground.
Any other ideas or thoughts on where this light can be purchased?
Except for it being round, it's a easy call the Stinger XL there about $85 with a 110V & 12V charger you don't take the light apart to charge it slips into the charger, they have a adjustable beam, (like the maglight), they will last 1 hr without a charge there 35,000 CP there about 6" long, they are one brite little light, will fit right into a pocket and lightweight, I think every cop in the states uses one.
Here is what I have found so far, the two best made nearly perfect answers to the original question are the Surefire and the streamlight.
These two companies make nearly identical quality and performance equipment and have a huge reptation behind them. They make every kind of combination of size and battery type. The best value seems to be the light called the stinger by Streamlight. Its rechargeable from the car and the house without removing the batteries, 15,000 candle power for an hour, spare batteries available to give you 2 hours runtime, only 7" long too! This is about the best deal going although expensive, it's about 1/2 the cost of the similiar Surefire light.
When you buy a Surfire light it seems that the status of the light is as important as the brightness. I just cannot imagine paying $255.00 bucks for a light that Streamlight is selling for $94.00. Granted you will have that Surefire light as a level of status few will achive but does it help you see in the dark that much better with the same brightness rating and run time? $94.00 bucks is expensive enough for the "cheaper one" by streamlight!
The Streamlight includes both the truck mount 12VDC charger and the 110VAC wall mount charger. You can buy a seperate charger for the spare battery or pull out the battery and charge the spare in your light. It's 7" long and has 15,000 candle power for 1 hour. This is the brightest light made today for it's size.
I have not found anything better yet, but still looking into dive lights. One other concern I have is the companies which use Lumens to measure light, and not candle power or watts. Lumens are a measure of brightness at the bulb not projected light, or radiated light. Candle power is a measure of radiated light or the efficiency it is transmitted. Why do so many people use Lumens for flashlights? It's fine for a video camera or a flash. For a flashlight candle power is the way to judge a beam of light. Check this site out if you're interested in the physics behind lighting.
I'll vote for Surefire.. the 6p or 6z model...takes 2 DL123a camera batteries and is brighter than the highbeams of a car.Has about a one hours battery life but is "bulletproof" as far as reliability is concerned.The batteries are expensive if you buy Duracell from the local store, but if you check gun shows/swap meets you can usually find a dealer selling sleeves of 10 for around $15 dollars.The lights themselves go for about $60 dollars around here.
"The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental."
You guys have some good ideas for America but for Africa rechargable is the only way to go for me. I just don't have access to batteries in the Bush.
It must be rechargable from the car's 12VDC or the 110VAC power source I have.
JJHack, I understand what you are saying rechargeable vs battery. I can also see a use for a lithium back up flashlight, that sits in the kit until you need it one year or 5 years later. Lithium batts supposedly have a shelf life of 10 years. I know I have a few that have laid around for a time and when I pick em up and flick the switch....light! Anyways, the US military uses Surefire as do many SWAT teams across the US. Good luck in your search.
"Hunting is not killing, hunting is living."
Like I said in my 2nd PM to you I have both a stinger and a surefire, and without a doubt I would take the stinger over the surefire for hunting and the main reason is cost and being able to recharge 12v vs Bat. like I told you surefire sells 12 batterys for $15 + shipping, and I always take both with me and spare bats for the surefire, there both great lights, but you have to buy your own batterys they are not provided like military and I would think law enforcement.
If you decide on the stinger buy the XL as the on button is in the end, and is way more handy then the top front
The pelican looks like they have some good lights also what are the prices like on M-9 it's the rechargeable 3 nicad-C light.
I have nt checked prices for awhile, but I know all the flashlights are high quality. You cant go wrong with any of them. My first rechargable was a "Magcharger" pretty big light. I've used pelicans and surefires but nothing rechargable in a small package. I am kind of a gadget man and if you look in any of my packs, trucks of house you will find a light of some sort!
****On the net the M-9 is around 54.00 ********
"Hunting is not killing, hunting is living."
Ok, have had the chance to play with and test a few different lights this past few days.
The Surfire aluminum rechargable is the brightest and most well made light on earth. It comes at a large cost and with a couple considerations. It has no beam focus, very expensive bulbs(16-30 bucks each) and mine only lasted 40 minutes before a noticable reduction in light. The Aluminum model is bullet proof! The best price I found for the light an the chargers was 179.00 bucks The poly or plastic model was a bit less but still very durable and probably would provide a lifetime of use.
The Next light was the Streamlight Stinger. A little less bright then the Surfire, but with a spot or flood function by rotating the bezel. It gave me over an hour of light before getting dim. The construction is solid. So long as your not hammering nails with the butt end it should out last any normal use a flashlight should provide for a lifetime. The charging system is brilliant. The lights snap tightly into the charger and cannot over charge when left in full time. The Poly or plastic model although not as tough as the Surfire is a real durable and tough light. The Aluminum stinger model "kit" which includes both auto and home charger can be found for $79.00!
The other lights I tried don't compare to these two or even close to the level of quality. My conclusion is the Streamlight is so close in brightness and lasts longer that for 1/2 the price I can't see buying the Surfire rechargeable. For a light that is not rechargable the Surefire wins. You can purchase two streamlight stinger lights and one set of chargers for the same price as one Surfire rechargeable system. Having a whole light as backup! The construction of the Stinger is flawless. It's at least as well made and durable as a Maglight, although it has a better made on/off switch. Spare bulbs are only 6 dollars too!
I'm keeping the Streamlight Stinger. The others are good but the value in my opinion is with the stinger. It's small, bright and fantastic value. If I was buying the poly model and not the aluminum I would choose the Surfire as the construction of the Surefire plastic light is a bit better then the stinger. It's also 3 times the cost. Light output is no different from the aluminum to the poly construction.
I did not get a chance to test the Pelican and would have liked to. They fall in between the Surefire and the Streamlight for price. Over all if you need a light any of these rechargables will provide what you need. I'll be buying a few more of these stingers for the vehicles in Africa. It was a fun and educational bit of research on lighting.
Have you ever tried the white LED lights. You can get 200 hours of run time off of three AAA batteries. Then you can get a small solar charger and be able to go a couple hundred more hours at a time. That should do the job. I have seen some mini mag lights converted to LED. The light is very white and will not yellow as the battery power runs down.
LED's don't have the brighness needed for blood tracking. However I would like to know more about the retrofit of maglights with LED's for general use lighting. LED's use very little power so they make a decent daily( nightly) use light. Thanks
The retrofitted mag light was made using a LED bulb in the original socket. Then three N Cell batteries were used to as a power source to acheive a 4.5volts of power. The N cells are slightly narrower than the AA so a sleeve is made for the cells out of some none current conducting material, usually card board. The N cells are avaliabe in the camera department. The LED can be had at an electronics store. The electrods on the LED must be trimmed to match those of the mini mag light bulb.
If you need more info send over any questions.
If you check the SUREFIRE website they have their LED lights listed: they re claiming 50 hours on low setting an 5 hours on hi setting @ 15 lumens.
"Hunting is not killing, hunting is living."