Best flashlght for Law Enforcement Use

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frosstyx
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Best flashlght for Law Enforcement Use

First off I am new to these parts so, hello Laughing.  I am graduating Basic Law Enforcement Training here in a couple of weeks and am on the search for one of the most important pieces of equipment for a LEO, a flashlight.  This will be by far the most used piece of equipment on my duty belt and the chances are I will be working 3rd shift.  I am looking for a light that can be deployed by my off hand and be able to be comfortably held while holding a firearm strong side(one with a tactical tail switch is prefered) .  That being said what are my best options?  I know I would like a light that runs off of rechargables, I have read good things about the 18650 protected cells so maybe an XML driven light(again just guessing)?   I am wanting something with a good throw(more light the better) that has 3 intensity modes with maybe a strobe function and memory so I dont have to constantly switch between modes.  I know its asking a lot but any advice is greatly appreciated, and if this is like anything else I get into I will probably end up with a LOT of torches before its over.  I would like to stay in the $50 range, with a cops salary the cheaper the better, while still being dependable ofcourse.  Anything I get I will be getting 2 of and lots of extra batteries with a car charger(two is one, one is none).

brted
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I think a Solarforce L2p host is a pretty good choice. The standard reverse clicky works well with multi-modes like you want. I don't know if Solarforce makes a 3-mode XM-L, though Manafont sells one for about $17. Solarforce definitely has a 3-mode XP-G which might be a better way to go even though it's not as much light, simply because you will get better runtime and better throw than with XM-L. True throwers don't put out a lot of light, they just send a thin beam a long way, so I don't know if that's what you're after unless you'll doing stuff outdoors mostly and need 100 yards plus of throw. The XP-G is a good balance between throw and flood and is still about 300 lumens. I don't see a problem with using rechargeable batteries. Match the drop-in with the batteries, so get a 4.2V max drop-in if you'll be using the 1x18650 Solarforce L2p. You might take advantage of the group buy in the Budget Light Forum Deal Alert section to get some good quality XTAR batteries for a reasonable price if you don't have some already.

I know police officers will spend a LOT of money on Surefire lights, but the Solarforce is very solid and much cheaper. Good idea to have two so you will have a backup. I'd get two L2p's with 3-mode XP-G drop-ins and then buy the Manafont 3-mode XM-L drop-in to see how you like it. Plus the XTAR batteries.

L2p host, $17.99:

http://www.solarforce-sales.com/product_detail.php?t=FB&s=7&id=17

3-mode XP-G drop-in with memory, $14.99:

http://www.solarforce-sales.com/product_detail.php?t=RB&s=10&id=207

You could also get this combo of host, 3-mode XP-G, 2 Solarforce batteries, and holster for $49.99:

http://www.solarforce-sales.com/product_detail.php?t=LF&s=31&id=154

tbenedict
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I'm sure I'll catch a bunch of you know what, but if I were buying one main light and some kind of backup, I would buy something made by 4Sevens, Fenix, Olight, etc.  The 4Sevens Quark Tactical or Turbo come to mind (or one of their Maelstroms). 

Besides the probability of better QC around the solder joints and such, I would think the idea setup would be Max (or strobe) and a low mode for reading drivers licenses.  There are several lights that have a forward clicky for momentary like the Surefire but also can have a low mode if you twist the head.

Don't get me wrong, I like Solarforce and budget lights in general.  I just would just worry about a connection coming loose when I needed it most and I doubt you would want to cycle through modes.

I think you can get one of the Quark Tacticals for around $55 in whatever battery flavor you prefer.

brted
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If you're going to use it one-handed, I wouldn't want to be messing around with trying to twist the head. Keep it simple with the only control being the tail switch. Quark and Fenix make great lights, but most policemen seem to carry versions of the Surefire 6P which the Solarforce is based on. The Solarforce will also outhrow the more compact Quark Tactical because P60's have a bigger reflector.

The Maelstrom is a $150 light, so I don't even know why you would mention it. The $75 Quark Turbo has almost as big a reflector as the Solarforce, but it doesn't take 18650's.

Fightin14
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I carry a gladius blackhawk (bought it prior to knowing anything about flashlights) on my belt, and I carry a fenix ld20 clipped in my pocket. I really never use the Gladius.  Alot of guys at work carry fenix lights the smaller p series lights on thier belt in a kydex holster. We have a guy that works with us that will custom make a Kydex holster for anything. Keep the bigger light in the car so that you don't a have to lug around something big all the time.

Langcjl
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I have been through a lot of lights on my belt and seen everything that my co-workers carry for over 25 years. Right now on my belt I carry an L2P with the SF tactical switch and the kaidomain 5 mode U2 dropin. This combo has incredible high for lighting up dark urban areas and large rural environments. The low is really nice and low. The strobe is fast and high. Excellent and useful strobe, many are not. You really need the forward click switch though. Usually that's not the best choice for multimode lights but you have to have momentary on. I have a friend who owns the blackhawk mentioned above and it is a nice light. The interface is the best. Expensive though and doesnt have the output of the XML. You can throw a million scenarios out here but you want one light that does it all and that you feel comfortable with. Momentary on, in my opinion is a must have though, along with a balls out strobe. I have ordered from manafont the UF dropin with strobe to try out. It is driven a bit more conservatively and I think the quality will be better. One more thing, an ITP EOS for your shirt pocket.

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

trooplewis
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I would get a Solarforce L2p, then I would buy a Nailbender or maybe a Thrunite drop-in for it. I like cheap dropins from S/F and MF, but if I was a LEO or firefighter, and my life depended on my light, I'd pay more for a Nailbender drop-in just from a quality-control standpoint.

I would also buy an extra tailswitch for the Solarforce, and I might buy a Solarforce Mini for a backup.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

brted
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Langcjl wrote:
One more thing, an ITP EOS for your shirt pocket.

I like that idea. The backup backup. Still a lot of light, but very small and light.

agenthex
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I think a Solarforce L2p host is a pretty good choice.

 

The standard l2 has a better bezel to stab suspects with. Seriously, the solarforce p60's are nice lights. They're same (or imo better) than the pretty common in LE surefires.

Reading this makes you smarter: http://lesswrong.com/

RedForest UK
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Remember to ensure the drop-in is well packed in with copper tape or foil for good heatsinking if you go for a P60 host. I would probably go for a complete light though for day to day use. You're requirements made me think of the new Jetbeam PC25 and the Olight M20 Warrior, though I think they're a bit over budget for you.

 

For use with a firearm the Shiningbeam S-mini may be a surprise contender. 3 modes, good quality, budget price with a reverse clicky at the tail with a good mode memory function. It is probably the smallest 18650 cell light out there and could be held in a finger grip while keeping both hands on the pistol for better aim.

 

brted
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RedForest UK wrote:

For use with a firearm the Shiningbeam S-mini may be a surprise contender. 3 modes, good quality, budget price with a reverse clicky at the tail with a good mode memory function. It is probably the smallest 18650 cell light out there and could be held in a finger grip while keeping both hands on the pistol for better aim.

 

The S-mini isn't a bad idea at all if you want something more compact that still uses an 18650. 3 nicely spaced fixed modes. Very compact. It is available in a (kind of) neutral tint which I'd recommend. Only problem is it doesn't have a clip.

agenthex
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LE is probably one of the few instances where strobe and maybe even sos would be useful.

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Fightin14
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Strobe in an LEO situation is effective when making entrance into a dark house. Did a training rotation with the super secret ninja guys(swat) and one of them came in with a strobe , disoriented the shit out of me and next thing I know he was behind me. I bought one the next day.
frosstyx
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So would the L2p with the forward clicky be the way to go if I want the ability of a momentary on.  They have the l2P in the package below with the forward cliky included.

http://www.solarforce-sales.com/product_detail.php?t=FB&s=7&id=112

Also with the UF drop in from manafont, how does it compare to lets say a nailbender xml 5-mode drop in?


trooplewis
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Yes, a forward clicky will give you momentary-on without actually "clicking" the light on. Also, you change modes to the one you want before you "full click". 

The Manafont dropin is Chinese made and soldered. The Nailbender one is custom soldered and tested by a guy who is not mass-producing them. In your line of work you do not want the soldering to crack or come loose on you at the wrong time.  Thrunite dropins are supposed to be great as well, Malkoffs are pricey but are supposed to be the best.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

brted
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Forward clicky gives you momentary On, but it is a little trickier changing modes. Some people have gotten the forward clicky and haven't liked it for that reason. Since the light changes modes if it is off for less than 3 seconds, if you use momentary on and then use it again quickly it will change modes on you. If the light is already on and you want to change modes you have to click the light off and then back on. So it's just different. The nice thing with the Solarforce series is you can buy different tailcaps, though the anodizing doesn't always match. There is good post around here comparing all the different Solarforce switches.

agenthex
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The whole point of the fwd switch is the momentary on. Since there's no momentary on to be used to with modes since the two features coincide/overlap in control scheme, it's only useful for 1-mode dropin's

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trooplewis
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I've used it with 3-mode dropins, you just have to select the mode you want before you click full on.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

agenthex
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Yeah, I'm just saying that there no benefit to using one like there is in a modeless light, and in fact somewhat more confusing/annoying.

Reading this makes you smarter: http://lesswrong.com/

sixfink
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Lots of valuable advice has been given here already.

there are two principles to follow: Murphy's Law and K.I.S.S.

So, concerning the first, redundancy is the key. One is none, two are barely enough. Carry three lights at least. The first one almost always gets dropped (usually whilst being turned off). The second one almost always develops some case of bad cell or funky driver malfunction. Or both.

On a side note: the stainless head, still available through solarforce, works perfectly with $ureFire's tactical V70 speed holster. I use this combo on a regular basis for about half a year now.

SolarForce L2P is, very much, an improved version of the $urefire 6P at half the price. I own and value both, but the L2P wins over the 6P big time, from every point of view.

 

frosstyx wrote:


Also with the UF drop in from manafont, how does it compare to lets say a nailbender xml 5-mode drop in?

 

A Nailbender? Sorry, I cannot tell, I simply don't have the dough for one. But I can tell that the Manafont 1-mode XM-L T6 4.2max powered by a fully charged XTAR 18700 Li-Ion performed absolutely flawlessly last night around 01:30 AM when we were searching for a heavily alcoholized person staggering around on a local highway, confused and disoriented. Let's just say it was far brighter than anything else that had been brought along, incl. the squad car's searchlight.

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sixfink wrote:

But I can tell that the Manafont 1-mode XM-L T6 4.2max powered by a fully charged XTAR 18700 Li-Ion performed absolutely flawlessly last night around 01:30 AM when we were searching for a heavily alcoholized person staggering around on a local highway, confused and disoriented. Let's just say it was far brighter than anything else that had been brought along, incl. the squad car's searchlight.

link please

 

Joel

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RedForest UK wrote:

http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/cree-t6-1mode-memory-led-dropin...

Thanks, but I just did the math.  2 x 3 > 4.2 so I would blow this with 2 x CR123.

Is there something like this for 2 x CR123?

Joel

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Welcome, frosstyx. Good to see someone out about that profession here, and good to have someone with whom an exchange on certain topics could be mutually beneficial.

 

I don't like the idea of a 1-mode light, because cops have the ugly and indimitating habit of shining flashlights directly in peoples' eyes... for extended periods of time, too.

 

This is something guys learn in boy scouts not to do. And, I mean, by accident. Pullover cops do this to regular people on purpose. To me, it borders on harrassment. No, it IS harrassment in my opinion. If any bloke came up to me with a powerful flashlight and cornered me and wouldn't take that light out of my face, it would be harrassment, maybe battery?, although no touching is required. Certainly wouldn't be appreciated. At scout camp, boys knew better than to shine their stuff at me, and I endeavored to teach them some courtesy and restraint on the topic.

 

I think cops do this for several reasons: one, so you can't see their face. They want to see yours, they want theirs to be obscured. Kind of a CYA thing, I figure--if they never know who you were, and can't recognize, you, even better. Another, your vision is going to be impaired if you then try to attack them. However, that also means your vision isn't going to be all it would've been when you skiddadle after he decides to not tow your vehicle. Another thing is it humiliates the driver, because they have to look up at the cop's invisible face in a sea of darkness outside the dazzling white spot. It's like he's tempting you to complain about the light being in your eyes, and how rude that is, and thus an impairment upon civilized conversation. Normally, humans, if they can't see the person talking to them, will look away, even if dialoging. However, we suspected perps and mere mortals often have heightened manners while being pulled over by a guy with a gun, handcuffs, a faster car, and a radio to lots of his buddies. So, at least I pretend the light stuck in the eyes doesn't bother me (the only time i ever would), and pretend I can see his face just fine. And have "eye contact" with the faceless master. Whatever you call it (safety, abuse), it's humiliating and unpleasant, even painful.

 

Reader, have you ever had a cop shine a big Mag-Lite in your face from a couple feet away or less? Remember how bright that was? That was probably only 36 to 50 lumens, MagLites' standard brightness (varies with batteries, i think). Either way, a pittance compared to 18650 flashlights discussed here. An XM-L can do 800 lumens and beyond. That's just downright dangerous. Many manufacturers warn to not shine in the eyes. Even eyesight sensitivity being logaritmic isn't gonna do much. Sure, that MagLite was probably focused. But most LED flashlights today have a reflector and clear lens which produces a hotspot of its own.

 

Another thing: it's harder to use a Surefire knock-off to bash someone's skull in than a Mag Lite. I remember in the 80's they used to (may still) sell rear battery tube extenders made out of solid metal, specifically for the purpose of weaponizing your MagLite. That was used mostly by LEO's. More officers carry pepper spray now though.

 

As for recommending the L2P, ironically that is the one which does not come with the otherwise-ridiculous crenelated bezel. This is one application I'd want to have that bezel... especially if I used a holster, which I probably would. I'm sure many would be happy to donate their own Smile .

 

So yeah, if you're going to be dazzling people in a premeditated way, stay away from that 1-mode XM-L and do your neighbors and countrymen a favor. (Manafont now sells an Ultrafire 5-mode, and 2 different Ultrafire 3-mode drop-ins.) Work your job so as to project that "mild government" so often refered-to and hoped for in the Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Papers and discussions of our founding fathers. Would it be in any way productive to request that LEO's stop participating in highway robbery? Total conflict of interest, where their agencies are funded in part by the bounty they reap off of mundane traffic tickets. Which themselves are door-openers to searches of persons and possessions. They are now apparently training dogs to sniff around your vehicle, and alert every time, even if there is nothing, and never has been, any contraband in your car. Ask me how I know.. Just watch when it happens to you, reader. They reward the dog immediately when he alerts (whether they find something later or not). Which gives them "probable cause", and permission to enter your vehicle, and they claim they're not violating your civil rights. If they don't find anything, there's no apology, even if they or the dog damages your car. The attitude is that something must be or must've been in there, so--tough luck, as if you kind of deserved it anyway, since you didn't get caught. We've handed over the weighing of our 4th Amendment (which comes to you by grace of the Anti-Federalist Papers, btw) to animals! Animals which only care about biting on a rubber toy as their sole pay.

 

We didn't learn anything about Prohibition in the 20's. The solution remains worse than the problem. The only difference is modern-day Prohibition has been far more destructive in its unintended (or perhaps intended, or at least financially interesting) consequences. That, and in 1919, Congress chose the wrong drug-and therefore associated ethnic & social groups-to pick on.

- Circumcision, regardless gender, by definition causes sensation loss, and thereby usually causes difficulty later in life. Oppose amputation of children's genitals. ALL children. http://tinyurl.com/haszs6o

frosstyx
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I really appreciate all of the help, I am still looking for just the right setup but this information is very helpful.  Riddle me this, is there a better 5-mode LED drop in option for the L2p out there that would maybe throw a little better than the XM-L while being a little more efficient on the battery life and maybe put out  300-400 lumens instead of the 700-800 that the 18650 driven XM-L will produce?  What I am thinking is maybe go with the one mode L2P with the standard reverse clicky for the car(and for instances where that much light is needed) and maybe get a L2P setup with a little less light in it with a little more run time for my general use(2 of em).  I would like to stay with a setup on both ends that can run off of one 18650 so I can just get half dozen batteries, a car and house charger and be ready for w/e comes my way. 

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frosstyx wrote:


Also with the UF drop in from manafont, how does it compare to lets say a nailbender xml 5-mode drop in?

Hi frosstyx

On the Nailbender, I have the 3 Mode XM-L 3.1 Amp Thermally Potted D26, By far the best dropin I have purchased to date, Rock solid construction, Shock protected, Approx. 650-700 Lumen OTF  I absolutely love this Dropin Love

It is in an SF L2X with the A001 head for thermal management, because it does get quite warm after about 3 minutes on but with the potting and solid construction I have never felt worried about the LED getting to hot even running for over 20 minutes on high! . Good Luck on your search and career!

C

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joelmyer wrote:

RedForest UK wrote:

http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/cree-t6-1mode-memory-led-dropin...

Thanks, but I just did the math.  2 x 3 > 4.2 so I would blow this with 2 x CR123.

Is there something like this for 2 x CR123?

Joel

Yes, visit

Solarforce-sales.com

You will find a section of bulbs for sales there, just pick one that matches your voltage requirements. Some are 3-6v, some are strictly 4.2v, I'd opt for one that can handle up to 8.4v then you can use rechargeable cr123's.

Oh, and buy one with a smooth (SMO) reflector and you will get better throw.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

RedForest UK
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Yes, solarforce-sales should have what you're looking for. I would also recommend the up to 8.4v ones above the 3-6v even just for primary cell use. The ones rated 3-6v are often linear drivers, which can take 6v but put anything above the vf of the led into waste heat, so only just above half of your power even goes through the driver! The 8.4v and above rated ones however should be 'buck' regulated and therefore make much more efficient use of the higher voltage provided by two primary cells.

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frosstyx wrote:

is there a better 5-mode LED drop in option for the L2p out there that would maybe throw a little better than the XM-L while being a little more efficient on the battery life and maybe put out  300-400 lumens instead of the 700-800 that the 18650 driven XM-L will produce?

Hi frosstyx. Good instincts. Not sure how far your knowledge goes, this is kind of beginner stuff but may benefit newbies who find this on a web search. What you describe would match 2 kinds of Cree LED's, both of which are commonly available, and cheaper than XM-L:

- Cree XR-E R2 (usually referred-to simply as "R2"--use this term when searching). The R2 is the most efficient version of the older XR-E LED die. It is a small but bright emitter, which makes for good throw. They usually only ever pull in the lower 1.x amps or so tops (3-4 watts), whereas an XM-L is like 3-4 amps, around 10+ watts. Basically, you'll get the same/similar brightness of hotspot as an XM-L, but just a smaller hotspot. So, again, my statement about shining in peoples' eyes would stand esp on high. BTW, if you ever see "Q5 and "Q3" etc, those are lower brightness ratings of the same XR-E format. I own a cheap host with a 1-mode R2 drop-in. It doesn't get much use; I use it mostly for working on cars when I need a bright spot and generally good runtime. If I had to have a 1-mode which could do longer runtimes, it's a good choice. You get your throw and ok spill for only 3-4 watts, pretty good deal. Having multi modes not really so important with these lower draws (which used to be considered high, actually), I'd just practice good pointing procedures/etiquette. With peoples' eyes it's about lux (how much focused light on a particular area, like a pupil) more than lumens (total light output). 1-mode R2 would be true KISS.

 

- Cree XP-G (of any brightness bin--they're all good in my opinion). This one was developed in-between the XR-E and XM-L. All of these are nice LED's, just different. XP-G has a bigger surface area which is not as bright per amount of surface area, but nevertheless puts out more light because it's bigger. As a result, the light is better for floody applications, kind of like XM-L, but is good all-around, like XM-L, just not as powerful nor as power-draining. It's basically a smaller version of an XM-L. Ones driven pretty hot go up to about 2.5 amps (8+ watts or so). The R2 with a tight focus is still going to have a hotter hotspot, even though it puts out overall less light. I have all these, and conclude: the XP-G is best for "walks" (walking around). Puts a nice, more even light. Probably good for 'cop stuff' in terms of writing or general walking around. Will be bright, but not as harsh if you nail people in the eyes as an R2 driven at the same level ,due to more distributed light. Will not 'throw' as far, but it depends how far you need. R2 still rules 'spear' type 'dedicated throwers' but... those things are unitaskers. You could get one later (you WILL buy another light if you get into this) and keep it in the car if you need to shine on a perp hiding in a wheat field.

 

Few things in this hobby are more personal than reverse vs forward clicky. You get far more options in reverse though. The main reason mfr's like to use them, is, it's easier to change modes with reverse clickies. Reverse offers momentary off. Forward provides momentary on. In other words, it'd be a lot easier to send 'morse code' signals with a forward clicky. Multi-mode drop-ins change mode by sensing that the power was turned off briefly, then back on. So a 'momentary off' press equals a mode change. I prefer to have momentary on (forward), because I don't usually use lights for long periods of time, and often need them for just short burts. But, I think more prone to accidental turn-on (in pocket or bag). When holstered, less of a concern. The standard L2P comes with a switch which is fully shrouded and has a firm resistance. By nature, not as easy to activate, but very unlikely to go on accidentally. For a beginner who wants a forward clicky I'd recommend buying a ready-made solution (whole tailcap or flashlight) rather than trying to mod your own tailcap, unless you're handy and like that stuff. Shiningbeam.com sells Romisen brand forward clicky tailcaps which are reputed to work with Surefire/Solarforce threading. Whether they're "professional" quality, is opinion and I don't own one so have no comment. As you read, Solarforce does have forward clicky lights.

 

If you're planning on getting a number of batteries, I don't know if you saw the guy on here who's selling 10 sanyo 18650's for around $20 delivered, but they're unprotected. I number all my similar batteries with a sharpie marker, and now and on some put a dot every time I charge. Larger unprotected li-ion batteries make me a little nervous, though I own a mix.

 

My humble opinion, not a recommendation here: If I were a LEO doing night patrol, and were pulling people over, I wouldn't want to mess with 5-mode. If I needed some special infrequently-used feature, like super throw or a special strobe, I'd keep a separate light for that. I'd try to practice KISS. If I had a multi-mode, I'd do a 3-mode high-med-low or 2-mode non-strobe, and they are hard to find in cheaper, budget-oriented drop-ins. Most notable exception is the Manafont-sold genuine Ultrafire 3-mode XM-L which changes modes extremely well and appears to have a 0-drain memory? Really depends how budget you want to go. Don't have any Nailbender items, but I'd seriously think about it in your shoes. You need to decide how many modes you want, the kind of throw you really need in a holstered light, and how much of a jerk you want to be with the shining in peoples' eyes. Do some experiments on yourself when your eyes are night-adjusted. XM-L is a nice less-spotty light and on low modes wouldn't be any worse than anything else--I'd just be worried about 'forgetting'. With 2-mode, it's more difficult to make a mistake. I like the flexibility 3-mode provides. High for bursts when I need it, Medium for most stuff, and low for close-up things.

 

Another option... I personally have come to like the twisty/momentary (non-clicky) tailcap system used in older Surefires, but most don't. Surefire (belatedly) responded to the explosion of 3rd-party clicky accessories for the 6p, so now it looks like it's mostly if not all clickies from Surefire (from my memory of their site). If you manage to get an older genuine Surefire 6P twisty tailcap, mine at least works perfectly on the Solarforce L2P, and mixed results with other models, and the plastic Surefire G2 tailcap doesn't work on any host I have, fyi. You might be able to sucker a colleague with an older twisty Surefire 6P into a tailcap trade for a cheap clicky Wink . Or at least try his on yours and see how you like it (maybe trade for awhile--they'll probably interchange).

 

This is an important decision for you, but you're not limited to 1 decision. The thing is, though, the fact you're posting here almost guarantees you'll be buying a number of flashlights (and accessories) in the next year! It's worth having the discussion, and although fundamentals are repeated and it gets old for some of the seniors, I've never actually seen a thread of a LEO flashlight newbie asking advice on a budget duty light. Smile I'd try a couple competing solutions, see what I liked, and mix and match! That's the main advantage of the so-called "P60 host" system (Surefire 6p-derived designs). No better market for used flashlight gear than colleague leo's anyway, probably. Pretty soon you'll be training THEM i think.

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SirJohn
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Contact Miles at Xtar and see if you can get a deal on the Xtar R01 I review here:

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/2828

If you want rechargeables, you can use an 18650 and can actually recharge them in the light. (And you can recharge it on the road in the vehicle) If you want primaries, you can still use 2xcr123a in it, but you can't use the in light charger obviously. The driver can handle up to 8.4 volts according to spec so you can also use 2x16340, but do not try to use the charge feature with two of these in it or it will likely explode on you. Its a forward clicky so it has momentary on and with some very basic soldering you can get rid of any of the modes you don't want. I can't speak to its long term durability but it seems to be able to do everything you need.

Miles info is via this thread here:

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/2186

Write him and tell him you are a blf member and are interested in the A01 deal and aks if he would be willing to give you a price on the upgraded R01 XM-L instead and see what he can do for you. Also ask about having him throw in a few of the Xtar 18700 2600ma as well as he may cut you a break on those too since you would already be getting the light.

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Thanks guys, all of this information is and will continue to be very helpful.  So I took the plunge on a few "test lights".  I ordered 2-L2X hosts(I just like the look and think the machining will lend itself to a better grip then the L2P).  With those 2 hosts I ordered one 5 mode solar force XM-L drop in and one single mode R5 XP-G drop in and a S8 switch to try it out on both lights to see if I like the monetary on capability for either.  With these I hope to get a little better understanding of how things are going to work and I can build on this.  I also ordered 6 trustfire 2500mah 18650(protected) and a charger from amazon.  This will probably turn into an obsession and will not end well for the bank account, lol.

Something as bright as the XM-L will only be used when I am doing building and other searches where people shouldnt be in the places the light is shining to begin with, then if they get hit with 600 lumens in the face, well thats to my advantage.  I am hoping I will like the XP-G and if so and the L2x is what I want I will get a few more of the hosts and then I will look for some higher end drop ins if I feel it is necessary to do so to ensure reliability, I will be sure to put the ones I do decide to use through the wringer, so much so I plan on losing a few as casualties.  I have heard a lot and I mean a LOT of people try to justify spending loads of cash in gear by saying "just how much is your life worth", the fact of looking for a light in the price range I am looking in has nothing to do with how much I think my life is worth, it has more to do with the fact that paying $100 for a light that is just as susceptible to damage and problems as the ones I am currently looking at just seems silly to me, not to mention I can have 2 lights for that price in the current set ups I am looking at.  If I get into this and feel like I need to purchase more expensive gear, I will but until then I'm sure its gonna be fun and I am sure the hosts if nothing else will remain useful.  I will post my findings here once everything arrives and I get a chance to test them out, thanks again guys it has been a big help!

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