The first tactical flashlight I actually owned was a Surefire G2 Xenon bulb flashlight. I was very impressed with how bring it was, considering, the previous tactical flashlight I had was a D battery USGI flashlight with different lenses. High output was pretty cool, but those Xenon bulbs did not last very long and I did not like the idea of a flashlight that needed bulb replacements as much as battery replacements. Eventually the LED conversions came out and I upgraded to that and then I was really impressed at how much a the technology had improved. I have always been a fan of varying output flashlights. I still go back and forth about whether or not it’s good to have a rechargeable or battery light, but even that has changed and there are a growing number of flashlights that have both options.
The G2x is basically the new version and has a slightly different body, but with a 320 Lumen output with a 15 Lumen low. Once most people start using these lights, they quickly realize they don’t need all that output in most circumstances and 15 Lumens is enough to get you around in the dark the majority of the time. Surefire Flashlights have an excellent reputation of being sturdy even though there are less expensive flashlights out there. We still the vast majority of Law Enforcement are sticking with Surefire and Streamlight due to their warranties and durability.
I really don’t know what the whole story was with this holster but it was a long time coming. We knew it was in the works over 4yrs ago and has only been out for less than 2yrs. At first glimpse this is a huge holster, definitely not a CCW holster but an excellent LEVEL 3 holster. If you don’t need LEVEL 3 then don’t buy it, but if you want a secure holster that holds a Surefire X300U then all the sales data we have on these gives us a reason to stock them. Blackhawk seems to be slow at making holsters for Sig Sauer which we’ve gotten a lot of requests for and are only making them for large frame Glocks like the Glock 17, Glock 22 and Glock 31 and the Glock 20, Glock 21 and Glock 37 firearms as well as the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm,40 and 45.
It’s always an issue for us to match a customers needs with a holster and find out who makes it, so it’s real simple, if you have a large frame Glock or a Smith & Wesson M&P then the Blackhawk Epoch Level 3 holster is an excellent light bearing level 3 holster. Blackhawk has a very diverse holster product line for other Duty firearms but isn’t that friendly toward customers looking for gun holsters with tactical lights unless you have a Xiphos weapon light, and to date, we’ve never had a customer tell us they do. Great holster for Glock and M&P but come on Blackhawk, make more gun options.
There have been many improvements across the board with various flashlight companies. Ever since LED technology advanced, you are getting flashlights with the same SKU, UPC Code, and price that you got it for 4yrs ago but a much better light. I think there is a ceiling for many of these advancements. there is absolutely such a thing as too much light. The real thing to consider is if you are using a firearm indoors, or might be using it for outdoors. Recently I was attending a low light shoot. I watched the majority of people use flashlights in the 110-200 lumen range and at 50yds, it was good at lighting up a target. I took my LWRC M6A1 with me and tested out my Streamlight TLR-1 which is 300 lumens and even though it didn’t have the beam I would like to have, it really did an excellent job of lighting up a wide field in front of me so I could see just about everything I wanted it.
For indoors over 200 lumens can be an annoyance and somewhat of an inhibitor because you will get so much reflection off of shiny objects that it can actually ruin your vision in low light. You want the light to light up what you are pointing at, and not a whole bunch coming back at you. One thing I’ve known for a long time is have just enough light to see an object is better than lighting up everything, you have to give you eyes time to adapt to the lighting changes and given the majority of most people’s needs, 200 Lumens is a good. There are several Surefire Flashlights that are considered hand held lights but they actually make excellent weapon mounted lights, one of the main reason I say this is they have hi and low power settings, I don’t know why Surefire and Streamlight haven’t incorporated this into the X300U and TLR-1 lights but I think once you get to that 300-500 Lumen range, you might be better off with having the ability to drop down in power the majority of the time, and only use full power when needed, probable outdoors.
They are all coming out now and it’s something we often warn people about. The benefit of being an authorized dealer for many of the products we sell is that we get the NEW stuff. There is a lot of technology in the products we sell, from Body Armor to flashlights and even footwear. Things can change like the weather and I’m not talking about the gimmicks and fads with all of the AR15 accessories. We see things come and go, but when I look at how much output some of these new flashlights are putting out, the value of something like the Surefire Scout M300 Flashlights that are now putting out 300 lumens, you are getting a light almost 3x’s what it was 3yrs ago and an excellent mount in the $300 price range.
Always call or email us about Surefire product pricing because they have a very strip MAP (minimum advertising price) for online sales and we are aggressively marketing Surefire Weapon Mounted lights since they are increasing in value due to technological improvements. We here people say all the time that they buy a lot of this stuff at better prices on Ebay or Amazon, but you really have to check the technical specs of what you are buying because it may be outdated products or old inventory and we are seeing it all over. We have some good closeout prices on the Surefire M300 200 Lumen light without the Tape Switch for a discounted price.
There definitely has been a trend away from using pressure switches and if you didn’t know, Surefire uses the term “tape switch” which is the same thing. I’ve played around enough with the various Scout lights from the M300 Flashlights to the M600 Flashlights to know that I prefer not to use any tape switch because that brings in a whole issue with the way I presently have my primary M4 Carbine setup. You have to mount pressure switches properly or they will pop off, tear off, or be exposed to bending and twisting that will inevitable cause a break in the communication between the pressure pad and the light. Everyone has different hand sizes and the way you prefer to activate any device on your firearm is your call, but it looks like Surefire Inc. has noticed the trend and removed the “tape switch” from some of their weapon mounted light packages.
One of the problems many run into when putting lights on a firearm is the mounting system, the Streamlight TLR1 and the Surefire X300 are easy picks, but if you don’t like those platforms and prefer a light with a push button activation, the Surefire M300 Mini Scout is our next best selling light due to it’s size and the mounting system. We recently found out that some of the Surefire Flashlights like this have gone through another output advancement and will eventually be a 300 Lumen light. 2yrs ago this light was 110 Lumens, then 200 Lumens and 2015 production will be 300 Lumens, all this out a single CR123 battery. Run time is always something to consider, but if you are looking for something with a proven track record and has gone through several upgrades will will have these available online and in our Pennsylvania Showroom shortly to check out.
It’s very rare that things in this industry go down in price, but the truth of the matter is that technology can become old and sometimes things are so much easier to make, the free market will cause certain products to go down. Look at software companies and what the prices are when new products hit but after time, different versions come out and the original version is so out dated that sometimes people wouldn’t want it. Think of it like this, would you rather pay $120 for a 60 lumen flashlight or a 300 lumen flashlight? What if you get your hands on a dirt cheap Xenon bulb weapon mounted like from Surefire, would you put it on your gun knowing that LED technology and outputs 100%-300% better than they were 8 years ago? I remember converting all of my xenon bulb flashlights like the Surefire G2 years ago because it just made so much sense to upgrade it. Now that a 200 lumen flashlight on it’s highest setting is actually on the low end of what flashlights are doing these days.
A shocking price drop occurred with some of the Surefire G2 Flashlights this year because they are less expensive to make and even though it may be one of the best, simple to mount, weapon or hand held Surefire Flashlights out there, there are more powerful flashlights to consider that are about the same size. There seems to be trend toward the Surefire X300U over the Scout models because now Surefire X300 puts out a powerful 500 lumen light and pressure switches don’t have the life expectancy that toggle switches tend to have. There are plenty of flashlights out there that can get the job done for you, but we get the least complaints from people that run Surefire flashlights on firearms as far as longevity and durability.
All gear has it limits and it’s tolerances and not everyone will push gear to the limits, but in this industry, we have so many different lines of work that report back to us that it’s always part of our job to listen so we can relay that to our customers, as long as it passes our bull shit meter. You get what you pay for and Surefire Flashlights are not in the “cheap” or “inexpensive” category although their history in the Military is well known and complaints about the cost are the only thing we hear that are negatives. You have to read the product specs and what a flashlight is designed to do to understand what you are paying for when you are shopping for an LED Flashlight for your M4 Carbine, M16 or Remington 870 or Mossberg 590 Series shotguns. Having a hi and a low power setting means longer life of batteries and be careful you don’t just buy a light based on the lumens. A 320 Lumen flashlight is going to burn faster than one that can be set to 15 Lumens and only use what you need to use.
Flashlights, just like lasers are often not used properly and I would also highly recommend getting a red or blue flip up lense at the end of any weapon mounted light because there are more times than none, going to be situations were you don’t want high output because shining a 200 Lumen to 600 Lumen light in low light or darkness is like turning the sun on and it is true that you may more likely draw attention to you which can give a burglar, home invader or prowler or felon a return firing point. The Surefire Flashlights like the Scout Model went from 110 Lumens to 200 lumens and considering how small and lightweight it is, I’d highly recommend that you pay attention to the pros and cons of using pressure switches because they do break and it’s also recommended that you keep spare ones close to you incase of failure. We’ve seen a big up tick in the sales of the Surefire X300 Ultra due to the fact that this is easy to put on a handgun or a rifle and doesn’t require a pressure switch to activate.
We learned several years ago that the reason so many of your Police and Military customers are buying Streamlight and Surefire flashlights was because of the Warranty services that they offer. When you are shopping for a flashlight, you really need to pay attention to all of the product features, and not just what the run time and output is. We’ve had several customers tell us they stick with Surefire handheld lights because the screw on cap battery contacts have a better longevity that some of the click-able flashlights. I have to admit that I have seen this but this is after years and years of use. Just like firearms all have barrel life, not everyone is going to put 15,000 rounds through a barrel and wish they got a barrel that lasted 25,000 rounds. LED has been a great improvement for people that need a flashlight for work, so battery usage has been decreasing, but durability is something you have to pay for and many of the none name brand flashlights may put out some ridiculously high lumens but they just won’t last.
The Surefire G2 has many products in it’s family and we can’t say it enough, pay attention to production dates when you are shopping for any of the Surefire products because they all increased in their output by about 90% in the last 2yrs and people are still cleaning out old inventory. Some of the G2 Flashlights out there are in the 130-150 Lumen range when they all should be 320 Lumens if they are the new ones. The Beauty of the Surefire flashlight line is what you are using for a handheld light can easily be attached to a shotgun or carbine if you pick up the proper mount. I’ve always felt that 200 Lumens was about an ideal output for any weapon mounted light and now, even the Surefire Scout M300 is a 200 Lumen light, not the 110 that it use to be. You are getting more from your money than you would have 2yrs ago sure check out all of what they have to offer.
We often get customers that want us to tell them what will work for them, “is this a quality item” we often get asked and if we sell it to them and there is a problem, it’ll come back on us. It’s very rare that we will endorse a product and as a retail business in the tactical industry, we really can only give you options to choose from. We listen to the operators that are using various optics and weapon mounted lights and they almost always can tell us where the Fail Point is with them. There different levels of durability but no flashlight or electronic devices has a zero failure rate in all conditions. I haven’t used Pelican flashlights but we hear good things about them, but for personal flashlights, CCW flashlights and different grades of weapon mounted lights, we narrow it doesn to Streamlight and Surefire flashlights.
Both manufacturers offer good warranties and we often hear of very good customer service from Streamlight. The Streamlight Protac 2L far outsells the smaller Protac 1L for CCW but besides the Streamlight TLR1s flashlight, the Surefire flashlights get far fewer complaints on weapon mounted lights. Many of our Law Enforcement and Firefighters are using the Streamlight flashlights while Pelican, Surefire and Streamlight lean more towards the Military preferences. It’s not our call, it’s your call on what you want. Stick with the name brand manufacturers and not the high lumen cheap Chinese knock off flashlights you see at Gun Shows for a good price. People will laugh at you if they see NcStar on your M4.
Unless you are lucky to have a really good gun shop that moves a lot of tactical clothing, flashlights and modern gun accessories, you might end up with products that are out dated and not up to modern standards. We pay attention to the recalls on firearms every year and on why certain accessories fail. We’ve seen several Generations of Magpul magazines and accessories and not all of them have been launched with initial success. We have cleared out lots of Magpul Gen 3 magazines in recent months and put a hold on some of their magazines until we are confident they have the manufacturing in order. Some of our distributors have had floods of Pmags coming in but didn’t weed out the faulty production that nobody seems to want to admit to.
In the past 3 months we had to do our own inventory monitoring on Pelican, Streamlight , Surefire and many more products. We’ve seen product flaws with Trijicon optics that were sent back as well as some completely out dated Surefire flashlights as well as Streamlight flashlights. Flashlight technology has grown from 85%-90% with some brands and if you buy a flashlight that has been collecting dust in a gun store that doesn’t move inventory, you might be getting a flashlight that is 2 or 3 generations out dated without knowing it. Not all product codes change from manufacturers when they do the updates to it’s really a good idea to keep an eye on all of the modern specs and get the most out of your money.