Lights for law enforcement

Discussion in 'Tactics and Training' started by watchmaker, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. watchmaker

    watchmaker Guest

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    LIGHTS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT:

    This post will try to show how different lights used in law enforcement compare with each other, and will clarify the difference between the lumen ratings used in Luxeon (LED) lights and incandescent lights.
    In short, I will show (through pictures) how Luxeons lack definition when used at increased distances.

    I have maintained for a long time that LED Luxeons don’t have the range over the incandescent to really be helpful for law enforcement. They are excellent lights to use inside the house; their beams are very clean, white and with substantial flood, and in the average house, that is all you need. However, when taken outside to the backyard, woods, or large structure and the distance to the target is 25 yards or more, they lack definition (as they lack the red spectrum of light), and their poor penetration of fog or rain makes them inefficient to clearly identify what you are seeing at that distance.
    Moreover, when the subject being illuminated is an animal with a light-drinking fur (depth of texture), the blending effect of the LED’s (against the background) will cause the observer to lose perspective.

    LOW LIGHT FOR WRITING

    As the maker of Black Bear Flashlights, I have had the input of hundred of police officers that tell me what they really need to perform their functions at night.
    What those experienced officers want are three lights that will cover specific illumination chores.
    First, when writing a ticket at night, or looking for a dropped pencil in the floor of their own car or any other close up chore, they want a flood light in LED form: small and with an output of 20 lumens or less (LED lumens), and preferably with a clip incorporated to free both hands for holding the pad and writing.

    LEO’s that have used my Fenix LOP (1 AAA) consider this light ideal (except for the lack of a clip). Another favorite is the ARC AAA. These lights can be held in the mouth without any discomfort.

    Fenix has put out a bigger light (1 AA) with two stages output, and the lower output will be also ideal for these chores.

    THE BELT LIGHT

    Those same officers want to have a good light on their belt. Some prefer the two cell 123’s lights like the Surefire 6P, G2, or C-2 for their better flood beam over the more tightly focused Streamlight Scorpion, TL-2 and Night Fighter II (it is important for them to be able to cover an average room with the light, without the need of panning it).
    They look for a run time of one hour and an output of 65 lumens.
    Some opt for more intense lights like the Surefire 9P or the C-3 with their 105 lumens and one hour run time.
    The Streamlight TL-3 is a little too tightly focused for clearing rooms, but it will do fine in an average backyard.
    In LED form (Luxeon V), the Surefire L-4 is a good contender due to the excellent flood light that it puts out at medium range inside a house.

    The main thing is that the officers want to avoid losing precious seconds by panning a light when entering a room. That is why the Surefires are preferred over the tightly focused others brands.

    THE CAR LIGHT

    These police officers wear a light holder in their belt (a plastic and leather ring). On exiting their cars, they slip in the ring one of the powerful rechargeable lights, most commonly the Magcharger (200 lumens) or the Ultra Stinger (295 lumens) and those that favor my products, a BOREALIS 1050 lumens.

    Those are ideal lights for search, clearing houses, backyards, warehouses etc. Being rechargeable, they are always used with a maximum run time (taken out of the charger at start of the shift), a thing that you can not do with 123 batteries unless you are willing to dump half-used batteries at the start of a shift.

    Their large diameter (2 inches) reflectors put more light at a longer distance than any of the belt lights. Even though some of the belt lights approach 200 lumens, they do it with reduced run time and much reduced throw, due to their small diameter reflectors.
    A Magcharger will put a spot of light at 150 yards, as will the Ultra Stinger and a BOREALIS, which has the capability of illuminating the whole road for 250 yards.

    Those lights are ideal for traffic stops, accident sites and the ones with major lumen output can even illuminate through heavily tinted windows.


    Lets start with the popular Surefire G-2 (or 6 P) at 65 lumens, the target is the 8 by 12 tool shed at 30 yards.
    We are going to pit the Surefire G-2 65 lumens $35.00 against the Surefire Digital Lumamax L-4 (also 65 lumens and with a price tag of $160.00).

    Surefire G-2 65 lumens

    [​IMG]

    Surefire L-4 Luxeon V, LED, 65 lumens

    [​IMG]

    And now we are going to pit the Surefire 6 P with the P-61 120 lumen lamp (20 minutes run time) against the best Luxeon LED thrower that I have (similar to the cree LED).
    This is a Mc Gizmo PR T head with a TWOJ bin Luxeon doing 120 plus lumens.

    Surefire Centurion C-2 (same as the 6P) with the P-61 lamp, 120 lumens.

    [​IMG]

    And the PR T with TOWJ bin Luxeon, (LED) @ 120 lumens

    [​IMG]

    And now we are going to show a belt light of 200 lumens (The Surefire Centurion III with the P-91 lamp, 200 lumens, 20 minutes run) and three cars' lights of 200 lumens plus and beyond.

    Surefire Centurion C-III, 200 lumens P-91 lamp.

    [​IMG]

    And here the Magcharger also 200 lumens, with its bigger reflector and tighter focus will throw the light at 150 yards, while the Centurion III range will stop at 45 or 50 yards.

    Magcharger 200 lumens (40,000 candlepowers)

    [​IMG]

    And here is the Ultra Stinger, the most powerful of the rechargeables from Streamlight with 295 lumens and 75,000 candlepower.

    [​IMG]

    And now the BOREALIS, the light that I provide my customers, with the format of a 3 D (12 1/2 inches long) outputting 1050 lumens for 50 minutes.

    [​IMG]

    And even that they have been there all along thru the shootout of the lights, you can see them for the first time. My assistant is at the left of the tool shed, leaning on the second tree, and the Bear's head is hanging from the tree to the right of the shed.
    Do I need to say anything about the importance of a powerful light when clearing a backyard or wooded area?

    Best regards,
    Watchmaker
    a.k.a.
    black bear
     
  2. mikey

    mikey Guest

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    Flat-assed amazing photos you have there, watchmaker. My thanks to you for posting them.

    I'm still mulling over mounting a flashlight to my home defense shotgun. It would PROBABLY be most needed if there were trouble outside, since I live in a very rural area, and I usually keep my house's interior well lit anyway (and I also have two big, cranky dogs roaming the house at night - pretty good deterrent effect).

    I was thinking a 65 lumens light might be a nice fit to the shotgun, and provide enough illumination to do the job, but judging from the photos I'm not so sure now.
     

  3. watchmaker

    watchmaker Guest

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    If you have a sporting shotgun (Like my Mossberg 500 at the top of the picture) a small Weaver base screwed and epoxied to the forearm, will hold a 1" flashlight in a inexpensive Weaver ring.

    The light I am using in my pictured guns, is a 105 lumens TACM III with an integrated remote pad pressure switch.

    I like them when certain distance is involved, because they throw a long beam (70 yards) by virtue of their smooth reflector (no Orange Peel to diffuse the light) and bigger diameter reflector than the Surefire 6 P.
    The light is smaller than the 6p or G-2 and I have tested it with heavy load (slugs) with no issues.

    If you have a dedicated home defense shotgun, (military type) special mounts using a Picattiny rail are available.

    [​IMG]

    If you have a Surefire 6 P or G-2 handy, you will need a cable remote switch, Tac Star makes one, like in this picture. Also pictured is the special Z-32 shock absorbing bezel that is used to protect the lamp from the heavy recoil of shotguns, depending on the amount of shooting you do, you may or may not need it.

    [​IMG]

    You can see in the pictures that I also incorporate a laser, I highly recommend it, (mines are units that cost about $50 or $60).
    With a laser you don't need to bring the shotgun to your face and shoulder and you can shoot from behind barricades hardly exposing yourself.

    Sometimes a pistol is more convenient when you have to investigate some noise or disturbance, if you are going to use a pistol, then a more powerful light makes more sense, as it have the capability of blinding an oponent.

    My BOREALIS 1050 lumens light (the longer one) or the Black Bear 720 lumens (10 inches long) make terrific companions to my .45 Gov't equiped with a Crimson Trace laser grip.
    Here is the picture.

    [​IMG]

    The same apply here to a laser equiped pistol, you don't have to bring it to your face to adquire the sights, you can do it from the hip or from behind a barricade, I have practiced at night against water filled containers using the BOREALIS and the lasered pistol, and achieved hits at 20 yards.

    By all means I recommend you put a light on your shotgun, have fun.
    Respectfully
    Watchmaker
    a.k.a.
    black bear
     
  4. mikey

    mikey Guest

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    While mine’s an 870 rather than a Mossy, you’ve obviously given some careful thought to a setup that’s very similar to what I’m looking for.

    So, my thanks to you - your posts were really helpful!

    And yes, I hope to be having “some fun” with my 870 in the weeks ahead. :D

    mikey
     
  5. watchmaker

    watchmaker Guest

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    MORE LIGHTS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT




    As a continuation of the first post and for whatever value it has, I am going to do some more shoot outs of a mix of popular Luxeon lights and incandescent ones.

    The first order of things is to change the target area, to make it a little more interesting to my viewers.
    Consequently I replaced the tool shed target with a deer and bear mount.
    The deer head mounted on the tree is exactly 26 yards from my second story window from where the lights are shinning.
    The bear head in the fence is only six more feet further away from the tree.

    In the summer I have plenty of bushy cover in the area, but this time I had to be creative and cut and nailed to the tree and fence, some branches from a pine tree, not to hide the animals from view, just to provide a natural blending effect, like they were coming from a natural habitat.

    The camera was placed twelve foot away from the tree (and eighteen feet from the bear) in a solid tripod, and the night camera mode used (this mode shows in pictures the same light values that I am seeing with my own eyes).

    The close proximity of the camera is for the viewer to see the target with clarity; if I were to place the camera 26 yards away the target will be awfully small.

    Here it is the target area and how it looks in daylight.

    [​IMG]

    And here are the contenders, but before I describe them, let me voice my opinion that some manufacturers of Luxeon lights label the output in lumens in quite a wild way.

    [​IMG]


    From left to right: # 1 Fenix L1P at about 40 lumens, # 2 Nuwaii Q III at 75 lumens (yes, sure!) # 3 Surefire L-4 Digital Lumamax at 65 lumens (this is a Luxeon V which is quite a flood light but with little throw).

    # 4 Streamlight Task-Light 2 L (two Lithium 3 volts batteries, high and low output,
    Cost is about $77.00) This is billed at a High Flux Luxeon III. With 75 lumens, which I think is about right.

    # 5 is the Streamlight Pro Polymer 4 AA with a Luxeon I, billed as 40 lumens (3,500 candlepower according to the advertising) which I think is quite wrong, as it appears to me to have about 70 lumens or more, this light has a bigger and deeper reflector than the others lights and the beam is concentrated more than the others. This is a great light for the price of about $40.00

    # 6, this is a PR T Luxeon III head done for me by master modder McGizmo, it is set on a Surefire E2e body and I am using two rechargeable 123’s with a voltage of 4.2 volts in it.
    This light is my best Luxeon III light and up to two years ago it was pretty HOT STUFF, today the cree LED’s are approaching it in intensity, although it has not been overpower by any other Luxeon, yet.
    My friends told me I have two of the Integrated Sphere Spectotometers just above my nose, those spheres are telling me that this light makes 120 to 130 “real” lumens.

    # 7, this is A Surefire Centurion II in black with the P-60 lamp (65 lumens) this represents all the others Surefires lights that use this lamp, G-2, 6P. Z-2. etc.

    # 8, this is another Surefire Centurion II, but in Hard anodized, it wears the HOLA lamp. The P-61 with the output of 120 lumens for 20 minutes.

    # 9 this is a Surefire Centurion III (3 cells) this is usually sold with the P-90 lamp that makes 105 lumens for one hour, but in this case is set up with the P-91 lamp for 200 lumens for 20 minutes, as you will see in the picture later, the floodlight effect is great at 26 yards. All those P’s lamps start to lose range at about 45 to 50 yards, this is because the reflectors are fabricated to produce a good flood so police officers can clear houses with them.
    I took this particular light out of my Remington 742 rifle, where it sits in the special quick detach mount in a Picattiny rail.

    # 10, this is the BEAR CUB, this light weights 13 oz and measures 9 inches long, it works with two Lithium Ion computer batteries, and produces 220 plus lumens for 90 minutes. Thanks to the big and deep 2 inch mirror-like reflector, this light concentrates the beam like a laser and has a throw of 120 to 150 yards.
    So the 26 yards distance is like child play for the Bear Cub and the light is so intense at the target that they had to close their eyes!

    # 11, (last on the left lying in horizontal position next to the Bear Cub) this light is a KL-1 head Luxeon I of three years ago, it is set up in a Surefire Outdoorsman body and the lumens output is no more than 20, consequently I decided to strike it out from the competition, there is no room in my stable for weaklings and I will present it to my nephew on his birthday quite soon.

    And now let’s go to the pictures:

    Fenix L1P (40 lumens) Luxeon I

    [​IMG]

    Nuwaii Q III (advertised at 75 lumens in a website, which I don’t believe) Luxeon III.

    [​IMG]


    Surefire L-4 Digital Lumamax (65 lumens) this is very flood light and the lumens spread in a very wide area, so it cannot be expected to have a good throw at 26 yards. (Luxeon V ~which are 4 of the one watt together)

    [​IMG]


    Streamlight Task Light 2 L about 75 lumens on high, works on two 123’s batteries and has two levels of illumination. High Flux Luxeon III. About $77.00

    [​IMG]

    Streamlight Poly Pro 4 AA Luxeon. This light has a deep and bigger reflector, the Luxeon is I, according to the manufacturer, is listed at 40 lumens, but to my eyes is doing about 75 lumens.
    For the price of $40.00 this is a great light, and very battery friendly as it uses regulars AA.
    I feed this light, rechargeable Nimhs AA of high current (Powerex 2700 mah) that hovers around 1.4 volts for weeks consequently it costs me nothing to operate it.


    [​IMG]


    Mc Gizmo PR T head on Surefire body, Luxeon III, TWOJ bin,
    My best Luxeon light putting out 120 to 130 lumens. This is a collector’s item and was state of the art, less than two years ago.
    I have found nothing new that can approach its power, except the new cree 7090 that is getting close.

    [​IMG]

    Surefire Centurion II in black with the P-60 lamp (65 lumens for one hour)

    [​IMG]



    Surefire Centurion II in Hard anodized with the P-61 lamp (120 lumens for 20 minutes)

    [​IMG]

    Surefire Centurion III in hard anodized, with the P-91 lamp (200 lumens for 20 minutes) as you can see it is a great flood at 26 yards.


    [​IMG]


    BEAR CUB running for 90 minutes on two computer Lithium Ion batteries, driving a Xenon Magnum Star bulb for 5 cells pretty hard at 8.4 volts at a conservative 220 lumens (which make it a very white light) with a reach of 120 to 150 yards, even surpassing the Ultra Stinger.

    [​IMG]

    Best regards
    watchmaker
    a.k.a.
    Black bear