The concept of tactical illumination has been around for a while, but only in recent years have the tools been widely available for individuals not affiliated with law enforcement or military. Many manufactures offer tactical flashlights, so let’s examine an entry level light by a premier manufacturer: the SureFire G2
What is “Tactical Illumination”?
Tactical illumination is a beam produced by a flashlight powerful enough to stop or confuse an attacker by temporarily blinding and disorienting them. The general consensus: 60 lumens is the minimum level of power for a mid-range encounter. Anything less will not guarantee results.
The SureFire G2 comes stock with a P60 lamp, which is the heart of the light. It produces 65 lumens for approximately one hour. You can upgrade the bulb to a P61 for 120 lumen output, but this reduces run time to 20 minutes.
What Makes the G2 Attractive?
The G2 is made out of “Nitrolon”, a glass reinforced plastic, which makes it rugged and light weight. Factory specs are 4.1 ounces with batteries. The body is available in four colors; Black, Desert Tan, OD Green, and Yellow. The body is molded with ridges that make it easy to hold, even wet or with gloves.
The tailcap is tactical-style, and can be backed off to lock out the light to prevent it from accidentally switching on. It has a tailcap switch that makes it easy to use with a handgun.
SureFire also warranties their lights with a no questions asked warranty (batteries and bulbs excluded.) The flashlight is modular and can be upgraded with a host of accessories. You can add flip-up colored filters and covers, different tailcaps, different bulbs (P61 or P60L), and different bezels.
Drawbacks to the G2?
The major drawback is the short run time. Usually this is not noticeable when the light is used in short bursts, but if you’re using it to hike back out of a trail you could end up with a dead flashlight.
The other drawback is the use of CR123 cells. These are more expensive than AA cells, but do have advantages for the survivalist. They are lithium cells and have a shelf life of 10 years.
If you plan using a G2 as an EDC light or as a backup light for a camp out, you are better off buying cells off in bulk. If run time is a large concern, you may want to step up to the Surefire G2 LED, which provides tactical level illumination for 3 hours with a total run time of 11 hours before draining the batteries.
With a light like the G2, you will be better prepared. Stash one in your truck back or in your Get Home Bag. You will have the ability to disorient an aggressor, as well as aid search and rescue. Basically, with such a small, bright light, you can easily find your way out of a tough spot.
There are better lights in the SureFire lineup, but the G2 is cheap enough that it’s accessible to most preppers. I find them to be handy, tough lights that are cheap enough that I don’t mind if I lose or rough one up, and on the rare occasion that I need to SureFire has always been outstanding about replacing broken parts.