FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Handheld EDC Lights

    Welcome back to Friday Night Lights, where we will be continuing our weekly series on illumination related subjects. Today we will talk about some options for handheld everyday carry (EDC) flashlights.

    Among the items you typically carry on you everyday, do you carry a flashlight? Many people do not: They usually use the flash on their smartphone and while that can get the job done for most typical low light illumination needs, the smartphone flashlight is a poor EDC light for other purposes. Speed, brightness and offensive capabilities are lacking in a smartphone light.

    SureFire King Of The Handheld EDC Light

    When you think of quality handheld illumination, SureFire is the king of lights. Their Illumination Tools are hard used the world over. Recently SureFire has been shifting their focus back to their line of handheld lights and have come up with some very potent lights that do not break the bank.

    In the past few years, SureFire lights have increased in price often reflecting how many lumens the light produces. 300 lumens? Get ready to pay $300. There were more affordable options like the G2 Nitrolon series of polymer bodied handheld lights. But those lights share similar dimensions of the original 6P flashlight. The body is 1″ in diameter. Pocketing a 1″ flashlight is doable but not ideal. Most of those lights do not even have a pocket clip so getting the light quickly out of your pocket is cumbersome.

    So what characteristics should one look for in a quality EDC light?

    • Size
    • Lumen Output
    • pocket clip
    • method of activation

    SureFire has three great lights that function well as EDC. Their newest light is their Stiletto. It is a Multi-output rechargeable pocket LED flashlight. Many of our electronic devices are rechargeable and typically utilize a USB cord to recharge them. The Stiletto is a USB rechargeable flashlight and has a respectable 650 lumens.

    Features

    • High-performance LED and MaxVision Beam® reflector projects a wide flood beam ideal for situational awareness
    • Primary switch activates high, medium and low light output for a wide variety of tasks
    • Tactical switch activates high output and an optional tactical strobe when white light is used as a fighting tool
    • Programming switch unlocks activation sequences to choose between tactical and/or task illumination preferences
    • Integrated MICRO-USB rechargeable lithium polymer battery is environmentally friendly and reduces the cost of operation
    • LED Fuel Gauge for tracking battery charge/discharge status
    • Mil-Spec hard anodized aluminum head assembly is corrosion resistant and durable
    • Melonite® coated, spring steel pocket clip for bezel up, everyday carry quick access
    • Compact, lightweight polymer body passes IPX7 water testing to one meter for 30 minutes
    Output/Runtime — White Light
    High
    650  Lumens / 1.75 Hours*
    Medium
    250  Lumens / 2 Hours*
    Low
    5  Lumens / 30 Hours*
    Bezel Diameter 0.8  Inches
    Length 4.45  Inches
    Weight w/Batteries 2.8  Ounces

    Press the primary button on the body to activate the light. I have mine setup to start out low and when I press the primary button again it will cycle through medium and high. If I am in low or medium. pressing the rear tactical switch will override the light and go to full brightness. The primary button is for constant light while the tactical switch is for momentary activation.

    The tail end of the Stiletto has a single button for full brightness.

    How does it compare to a standard 1″ flashlight?

    As you can see below, it is a lot slimmer so when it is in your pocket

    The Stiletto retails for just $109 on SureFire’s website.

    Earlier I mentioned how your smartphone light is not suitable for a true EDC light. Speed is crucial to getting the light as well as activating said light. While you can more than likely get your smartphone out from your pocket, accessing the built in light is not fast. The other problem is the brightness. While the smartphone light will help you read a menu in a dark restaurant, it is not bright enough to make someone turn away from the light.

    The Stiletto is bright enough and with the pocket clip, it is kept in a convenient position in your pocket for easy access. The rear activation switch gives you all 650 lumens and a fully charged battery will get you 1.75 hours of full brightness.

    SureFire EDCL2-T and Tactician

    The EDCL2-T and the E2T-MV are throwbacks to SureFire’s legacy of Exceutive Series handheld lights.

    Original E2E Black above.

    The Executive Series of SureFire handheld lights was a slimmer profile light compared to the SureFire 6P. In fact, the Scoutlight series of weaponlights were based off this form factor. SureFire used to be considered to be like Lego since you could swap heads, bodies and tailcaps to make all sorts of different lights to suit your needs. The EDCL2-T and the Tactician hearken back to the glory days of SureFire E-Series lights.

    The heads of the EDCL2-T and Tactician are compatible with any E-Series body or SureFire Scoutlight. And their tailcaps are similar to the original E-Series tailcaps. When the E-Series first came out, the tailcaps functioned just like the original 6P. You press the tailcap button for momentary activation. If you want constant light, you twist the tailcap tighter. This is arguably better for tactical purposes. In fact the EDCL2-T uses a slightly different tailcap than the Tactician.

    The EDCL2-T tailcap is similar to another light they made, the EB1 and EB2. The tailcap was called “tactical” for the EB1 and EB2. It was momentary and you twist for constant-on. However it had a third function. The button acts like a gas pedal. Press lightly aka half-press for low. Press harder or full press for full brightness. This was a feature in the original A2 Aviator and L1/L2 Lumamax lights. The Kroma series of lights also had gas pedal like tailcaps. Only problem with the EDCL2-T is that this limits its compatibility with other tailcaps. You can only use tailcaps from the EB1 and EB2 lights. Normal E-Series tailcaps will not work.

    The EDCL2-T is the brightest of the three lights at 1,200 lumens. If you use the gas pedal tail cap you get a useful 5 lumens for close low light work without blinding yourself. While the E2T-MV Tactician is 800 lumens with a 5 lumen low mode. But to access the lower mode is different on the Tactician than the EDCL2-T. You have to unscrew the head a quarter turn and then it will switch to outputting only 5 lumens.

    The E-Series lights came standard with pocket clips. However they only oriented the light bezel up. When SureFire came out with their E1B Backup light, they started making two-way pocket clips. So you can carry your light bezel up or down. The EDCL2-T has that same two way pocket clip. While the Tactician has beefier bezel up tailcap.

    One feature of a good EDC light is its ability to be used with firearms. If you want to use a light with a firearm, I recommend practicing and if possible, seek competent training for low light shooting with a light.

    The Tactician tailcap has a very pronounced bend in the pocket clip. This is dual purposed. First it brings the clip closer to the body of the light so it holds the light when you clip it to your pants. But the bend also functions as a place to hold the light cigar style. This is style of light manipulation was developed with Surefire by Former FBI Agent and firearms instructor Bill Rogers created the Rogers flashlight technique.

    You hold the light like a cigar

     

    Squeeze the light and it will push the tailcap into your palm and turning it on.

    Squeeze the light into your Thenar (meaty part below your thumb)

    You can use the Rogers Technique with a handgun.

     

    EDCL2-T

    Output / Runtime — White Light
    High 1,200 Lumens / 1.0 hours*
    Low 5 Lumens / 60 hours*
    Length 5 .84 inches
    Bezel Diameter 1 .125 inches
    Weight w/Batteries 4 .1 ounces
    Batteries 2 CR123A

     

    E2T-MV Tactician

    Output / Runtime — White Light
    High 800 Lumens / 1.5 Hours*
    Low 5 Lumens / 94 Hours*
    Length 5 .0 in
    Bezel Diameter 1 .0 in
    Weight w/Batteries 3 .5 ounces
    Batteries 2 CR123A

     

    The Tactician retails for $149.00 while the EDCL2-T retails for $179.00. I got mine off Amazon for less with free shipping.

    I highly recommend any of these three lights for everyday carry. I am using the Stiletto the most since it is the lightest and it is rechargeable. No need to keep buying CR123 batteries and that is a big plus. Also it is the cheaper of the three lights. My only issue is that it comes in black and the pocket clip only allows bezel up orientation. A minor issue is that you cannot tail stand any of these lights for handfree use indoors. But since they all have pocket clips you can wear them on the bill of a hat. Maybe just not all of them at once.

    For more information on these lights, go to SureFire.com

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    Nicholas C

    Steadicam Gun Operator
    Night Vision & Thermal Aficionado
    Flashlight/Laser Enthusiast
    USPSA competitor

    Any questions please email him at [email protected]


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