Among the worldwide users of flashlights for many different purposes, there is one category that has unique requirements: the armed forces. Actually, their needs and constraints are more stringent than for any other group of users in terms of functionality and dependability. We are going to examine a few of the key features that are required to make a good tactical military flashlight.
One of the most noticeable differences with a standard flashlight is that a military flashlight needs to be able to output a beam of red light. The cone of red light preserves the night vision of the operator: if the soldier suddenly wants to look out into the darkness, he won’t see much if he was using a white light but this does not happen with a red light. The color is similar to that of a red chemlight, much less likely to be seen from a distance.
Red light does not reflect as much as white light. And whatever amount is reflected is very hard to see. This characteristic is useful for the soldier who needs to read a map at night. Colors on the paper are designed to show well under red lighting and the soldier can see his map conveniently without the risk of being detected by an observer because reflection on the paper is low. Additionally, ambient light (side lighting that is out of the main beam) is very low as well.
Another characteristic is that you can’t see the red beam in the dark between the source and the target. If you look at the target you will see it illuminated. If you look into the source, right in front of it, you will see the luminous spot. But in between, the beam is unnoticeable from the side thus the soldier holding the light is very difficult to detect.
Red light does not travel very far. The beam fades out sooner than white light. The soldier can still illuminate things around him, however not very far away, while still remaining undetected.
Infrared light is an electromagnetic radiation with wavelength longer than visible light. It is not visible to the naked eye. It produce non visible, glare free light. It is useful to illuminate objects that can then be seen through night vision devices which produce clear and bright vision of the environment. It can also be used for other purposes beyond the scope of this paper.
Best known design for military flashlight, anglehead flashlight design allows hands-free use. It is designed with a crooked shape so that it can illuminate forward while the body is maintained in an upright position. It is provided with a side clip so that you can wear your light on your tactical belt and still use it to light up the area in front of you. It is also frequently fitted with a D-shaped ring on the base, making it easy to hang the anglehead flashlight from a support.
The light source will preferably be made with an LED component rather than a more traditional bulb. LEDs shine up to 50,000 working hours, even more in some cases. Said otherwise, it has a lifetime duration.
One of the most important requirements for a military flashlight is that it must work reliably under any conditions or circumstances. The body, most of the times, must be made of aerospace grade aluminum with hard anodized coating or, in some instances, of very tough rubber. It must be temperature resistant as well as water and shock resistant, as rough treatment and even abuse will be just normal for this tool.