You can call this the father of all flashlights, or a torch for a men with big tools, but either way this 5.11 Tactical Light for Life is one manly way to see in the dark. Putting aside questions of compensating for something, how well does a $150 flashlight work?
Amazingly well, actually. There’s a good reason this thing is aimed at cops, firefighters, and EMS personnel. It’s heavy duty, powerful, and feels solid in the hand. But so what, right? Lots of competitors can make that claim. What makes this 5.11 Tactical one really special is that it charges up in just 90 seconds—in your car! “No way,” I thought as I unpacked it and looked at the instructions. The very first charge took longer than 90 seconds: 100 actually. The second and third took almost exactly 90 seconds though. Eerie. And I actually watched it charge. I couldn’t help it: the blue light on the charger blinks slowly at first, then picks up speed as it goes, blinks like mad at about 75 seconds on, then goes solid blue. Climax time.
Sometimes a flashlight is just a flashlight, as I think Freud said, but get a look at the charger to the left. The Tactical Light for Life goes into that sheath when it needs to recharge. Light for Life results.
What matters is, this is a damn fine piece of machinery, with specs that are hard to believe until you test them out. There’s real innovation at work here that takes a tiny amount of electricity and turns it into hours of light. Consider these attributes:
- Lasts for four hours on one 90-second charge.
- Retains 96% of capacity after 50,000 cycles of charging and discharging.
- You could charge it once a day and still use it for more than 135 years.
- The LED bulbs are rated to last 50,000 hours (that’s 40 hours a week, for more than 24 years)
There’s a regular mode, a strobe mode, and a high-power mode for when you need a lot of brightness. It’s hexagonal so it won’t roll away while you’re changing a flat or putting in tent stakes in the dark. The charger comes with mounting screws to permanently drill the charger into your car interior. How hardcore is that? You can also order an AC adapter so you can recharge it in a wall socket as well (necessitating another insertion—of car charger male plug into female receptacle. Just a coincidence I’m sure…)
This isn’t airplane or “travel light” gear for sure, but it would be great to keep in the car, the RV, or the box of camping gear. You can literally use it for the rest of your life, then pass it on to the grandsons. Just make sure they’re old enough to know what to do with it.
(If you don’t believe this piece of equipment is coming from a serious company, however, check out the dealer locator page for 5.11 Tactical. You can pick this flashlight up at Copquest.com, 911Supply.ca, the U.S. Patriot Store, or DSTactical.com. )