Sunday, January 18, 2009

Got a new flashlight

I've tried to keep a flashlight close at hand for the last few years. I have a cheap led light in every room of my house. I keep a surefire g2 on my nightstand. I keep a 115 lumen led in my bob. I keep an led light in my glove box and a cheapo xenon in my GHB in my trunk. I also put an led light in my wife's glove box. Needless to say I am an advocate of having a source of light handy no matter where you are.

I've also been experimenting with everyday carry lights that I can easily carry in my pocket. After breaking at least 3 of the little keychain LEDs within a few months each I finally gave up on them and got a $3 Rayovac pen light at Wal-Mart. That one actually served me pretty well. If you're on a budget but you need a flashlight that you can easily carry in a pocket I'd recommend that one. I carried it for several months and finally lost it a few months ago. Ever since then I keep finding myself in situations where I reach for my flashlight just to realize that I haven't gotten a new one yet. Finally I stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up another one today. They were out of stock. While I was considering whether or not I should try to track down an "associate" and have them try to find one in the stock room I remembered playing with a Streamlight stylus pen-light at a local police supply store not too long ago.

Off I went to the police supply store. Luckily it's right next door to my regular liquor store. Since I was going to be stopping there anyway it wasn't even out of my way. I walked in, looked around at all of the cool police stuff, got annoyed at the fact that they charge "normal" people $100+ more for their guns than they charge LEOs and finally walked over to the flashlights. The last time I was in here I remember them costing $20. This time they were only $15. Score!

The Streamlight claims to have a 60 hour battery life on it's packaging. That's a non factor to me, though, since I never changed the batteries on my Rayovac. The Rayovac used AA batteries and the Streamlight uses AAAA batteries so if I ever do have to get new ones it will be much more difficult to replace the batteries on the Streamlight. I don't expect to have to change the batteries on this one anytime soon, though, so it's not a big deal to me. One thing I can say about the Streamlight is that it's MUCH brighter. It's also a little bigger. It's thinner but longer. It fits nicely in my pocket, though, so that's pretty irrelevant. It's built a lot sturdier and I can see it lasting significantly longer. Also, the ring with the hook that you hook onto your pocket is replaceable. One thing that annoyed me about the Rayovac is that it was a bit cheap and flimsy and eventually wore out. Being able to replace that will be a nice feature since I probably lost the Rayovac solely because of that hook wearing out.

The Streamlight that I decided on is quite a bit more expensive but it's also a lot more durable. The batteries will be more expensive and harder to replace than the Rayovac's but since the battery life is so ridiculously long it shouldn't be an issue. They both fit nicely into my pocket. As far as I'm concerned everyone should have a small flashlight on them whenever possible. Not everyone can wear a larger sized flashlight in a holster on their belt, though, so a pocket light is really the only option. Those stupid, flimsy, little led keychain lights aren't worth crap in my opinion. If you want something that will last then a Rayovac pen light is a decent option if you're not willing to spend more than a few bucks. If you want something that's really bright, well made and durable then I'd highly recommend the Streamlight. At $15 it's still a lot cheaper than most other decent flashlights on the market.