LED Tactical Flashlights for Law Enforcement

Issaquah WA Police Car - (Public Domain) ImageFor law enforcement professionals, LED flashlights are more than just handy gadgets – they’re crucial tools for investigation, applying non-lethal force and accurately aiming firearms. Tactical flashlights may be integrated into weapons, but most of the time police officers and other law enforcement personnel carry separate LED flashlights, which can be used for everything from non-lethal crowd control to checking the sobriety of a driver.

The bright beam of an LED flashlight in the eyes is often enough to stop a criminal in his or her tracks. Perhaps law enforcement experts’ most critical use of LED flashlights is in illuminating high-risk situations. If you’re pursuing an armed assailant, an LED flashlight can make a life-or-death difference. Below is a look at how law enforcement professionals can benefit from LED flashlights.

1. Pure, consistent light.

When your life could depend on properly seeing what’s going on in front of you, you don’t want to mess around with weaker incandescent flashlights. Dim, inconsistent light could put your life or your job as a law enforcement professional at risk. For instance, the news is rife with cases in which a suspect pulls out an object such as a wallet and law enforcement officials mistake it for a gun, fatally shooting the suspect. LED flashlights help prevent this sort of situation by providing bright, reliable, consistent light, thereby enabling you to more accurately perceive your surroundings.

However, remember that not all LED flashlights are created equal. Some manufacturers build more quality and durability into their models. The more reliable law enforcement LED flashlights are tactical. They cost a bit more than the layperson’s LED torch, but tactical LED flashlights are made to withstand daily use by cops, firemen and others. Quality makes a big difference here. Some makers of high-end LED flashlights design special optical systems that just can’t be found in your average flashlight. For instance, if you look straight into the beam of the HP7 model from COAST, you’ll notice what appears to be a lens within a lens. This expert design makes for more consistent light output.

2. Superior ergonomic design.

Many law enforcement professionals use their trusty LED flashlights every day. Tools that are used on such a regular basis should be comfortable to hold. High-quality tactical LED flashlights such as the HP7 are designed to fit perfectly in the palm of your hand. The all-aluminum construction of the HP7 (save for a few gaskets and wires, of course) makes for a solid, sturdy feel. A precise, easy-to-use power switch at the base makes for confident use.

3. More versatile light settings.  

Whereas lower-quality LED flashlights tend to boast a single brightness setting, tactical LED flashlights typically offer several. IN the case of COAST’s HP7, you can choose between two brightness settings: 251 lumens or 58 lumens. Because flashlights that deliver more lumens will shine farther, higher brightness settings are ideal for when you’re chasing a suspect or need to scope out far-away objects. When on the 251-lumen setting, the HP7 can shine a distance of 643 feet. To give a sense of context, 643 feet is equivalent to the length of two or three city blocks. That sort of reach is extremely helpful when pursuing a suspect.

However, this extremely bright light would be too bright for your average DUI test. Shining a 251-lumen flashlight in someone’s eyes to test for normal pupil dilation might even get you in trouble in court. The lower 58-lumen setting is better for close-up work, including traffic stops. Another advantage: Lower lumen settings require less power, so you’ll go through batteries less quickly.

4. Long run time and high battery efficiency.

Reliability is key for law enforcement professionals. Nothing’s scarier than the idea of flicking on your torch, only to realize it’s run out of batteries. Tactical LED flashlights should offer longer run time and improved battery efficiency than run-of-the-mill flashlights. Getting back to our example, the HP7, this model can run for 5 hours, 45 minutes on the high setting and 10 full hours on the low setting.

5. Extremely bright spotlight and usable perimeter of light.

Many tactical LED flashlights include light-focusing technology. For instance, the HP7 can be adjusted to deliver more scattered light over a larger area or a very bright spotlight in a smaller beam. COAST’s Pure Beam Focusing Optic in the HP7 actually creates a lighter halo around a very bright spotlight. This is helpful for law enforcement professionals, who may choose to keep the spotlight on the suspect while also monitoring the surrounding area by way of the halo. One thing cops and other law enforcement professionals should look for: a focus locking mechanism, to ensure that their LED flashlights remain at exactly the right setting in tense, delicate moments. In the HP7, the focus setting may be locked in place.


[Photo by: KDavidClark, on Flickr via CC License ]

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