As many readers will know, my wife is always chiding me about flashlights. She is somehow under the impression that I might have too many, until the lights go out and she asks, “Where’s a flashlight?”. To be sure, I keep flashlights within my reach– in my living room, bedroom, kitchen, and office. Living in the boonies does have some disadvantages; the power goes out quite often in the winter months, due to trees falling onto the power lines.
We are used to the power going out and have prepared accordingly. We have LED lanterns, and we also have a 4,000-watt generator, which rarely gets used. Most of the time, when the power goes out, it is only for four to six hours, so I don’t want to crank up the generator for that, especially if the lights go out during daytime hours. If I need to find something, I’ll just grab a flashlight.
We’ve been down this road before in several other articles about flashlights, and I believe you should buy the absolute best flashlights you can afford. There is no sense going to the local dollar-type store and buying a cheap flashlight; they will fail you. The batteries die quickly, and quite honestly they don’t throw a lot of light, and the light is yellow in color, too. A quality flashlight will throw a very bright beam of white light a long, long distance.
I spent a majority of my adult life working in law enforcement, private security, K-9 patrols, private investigations, and other similar fields. Working at night or in low-light situations, you have to have a good flashlight. I still have my old Mag-Lite 3-cell (C batteries) flashlight that I used to keep in my patrol car. Back in the day, they were the flashlight to have. However, they didn’t throw a beam of light very far, and as mentioned it was a yellow light. I swapped out the factory light bulb for a Krypton light bulb, and it was much better in all respects. However, it was still lacking; it was big and bulky, and the batteries didn’t last all that long. On a positive note, it could be used as a striking weapon to bring a suspect into compliance when a fight broke out, so it had at least one advantage.
Blackhawk Products recently sent me their newest Legacy L-6V Night-Ops flashlight to test for our readers, and it has a lot of features in a small package. The length is only slightly over six inches, and it weighs a little more than half a pound, with the two CR123 batteries. The Legacy L-6V Night-Ops has a body made out of anodized black aluminum, which is tough stuff to be sure. The lens is tempered glass, so there are no worries about it breaking if you happen to drop it. The diameter of the body of the light is only one inch, and with the bezel– front and rear– it is 1.26 inches in diameter.
Some of the other features are the multiple position rotating switch that has a high, medium, low, strobe, and safety off positions. With many similar flashlights, you have to press through the on/off switch to get the setting you want, and quite honestly it is a little annoying with some of these flashlights to get the setting you want. The maximum lumens is 570 on high, 220 on medium, and 20 on low, with the strobe operating at the maximum lumens. Run time, and this is important to know, on high is 120 minutes. That’s two full hours.
The on/off recessed rubber button is in the butt of the flashlight and is easy to operate one-handed. A simple push on the button turns the light on to the setting you placed it in on the rear rotating bezel. The bezel is clearly marked, so you can select the setting you need. I also like that the front and rear bezel has flat sides, so when you set the flashlight down it won’t roll away on you. That’s nice, very nice! This light is also compatible with the Offset flashlight rail mount, which is sold separately from Blackhawk, so you can mount it on a rifle. The rubber on/off button also has a momentary setting; a light touch will turn the light on momentarily or press it harder and the light stays on. The on/off rubber switch is recessed, so there are no worries about the light turning on accidentally, and the entire unit is waterproof, too.
Blackhawk also sent a ballistic nylon holster for this light, and it will easily attach to your military/police tactical vest or you can carry it on your belt, if you prefer. While you can slide this flashlight in your pants pocket, it isn’t the way to carry it.
Living out in the country, way out in the country, we have no street lights; I like it this way. However, when we hear something that goes “bump” in the middle of the night, I reach for a flashlight before I open the front door. We also have several German Shepherds, and they are one of our early warning alarms. We have a huge front yard, and I need a flashlight that will penetrate the darkness and throw a bright light a long distance. The Legacy L-6V Night Ops gets the job done with the high setting of 570-lumens; it will light up my entire front yard all at once. Now, the only downside to this flashlight, as far as I’m concerned, is that the front bezel can’t be focused so I can concentrate the light into one smaller area. This is not a deal-breaker to me, but the more super-bright light I can shed on a particular area the better it is.
I haven’t actually measured the distance that the super-bright light is effective to reach, but it can easily shed light out to a couple hundred yards at night. Some similar flashlights will state that the light is effective out to 600 yards, but that’s hogwash, if you ask me. However, hype sells products.
I have several flashlights on the end table, on my end of the sofa. They all get used, all of the time. However, when I need to look outside my front door at night, I’ll reach for this Blackhawk flashlight. I like the strobe feature, too. It can momentarily disorient and blind an attacker, giving you time to react to the situation at hand.
Over the years, when working in public or private law enforcement, much of the time you are working at night. In my case, I worked alone most of the time. Without a doubt, you absolutely must have the best flashlight you can have. Many times, I had to clear a building, usually by myself, and I had to have a good flashlight. I made do with the Mag-Lite I had. It was better than most flashlights. However, today, there is no need to settle for lesser flashlights, especially when working in dangerous situations at night, when you want to identify a suspect. As to the CR123 batteries this flashlight uses, “Yes”, they are quite a bit more expensive than AA or AAA batteries that similar tactical flashlight take. However, the upside is that the CR123 batteries last longer, and I believe they give you a brighter light, too. Whenever I see CR123 batteries on sale, I’ll purchase half a dozen or even a dozen to have on hand. So, don’t let the price of the CR123 batteries scare you away. They do the job.
Quality never comes cheap, and when you buy quality it lasts and lasts. Buy cheap, and you will be buying cheap all of the time. The full retail on the Legacy flashlight is $122.95, and don’t forget to also purchase that ballistic Nylon holster for it, too. Blackhawk also has several other models of tactical flashlights. Be sure to check them out. I’m sure you’ll find one or two to fill your needs.
– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio