Urban Survival Primer Part V - Let There Be Light!
There are many lights and there are many people making choices and for the most part, their choices are sound as long as they are purchasing good-quality gear from firms like Maglite and Sure-Fire (Laser Products...). Then there is the lowly PAL Light and Photon light as well as the counterpart from Inova that closely resembled the popular Photon light.
Then there are the oddballs, some of which have already fallen by the wayside, condemned to the dustbin of flashlight history... The CMG Ultra Infinity Task Light, I believe, has been given new life by the Gerber Co. It's a good little light. It runs on a single AA battery and that is the great thing about it! There was another little cylindrical light much like it on the market but I cannot remember the name of them now, but it ran on a single AAA battery and was quite a good little light as well. (Edited to add, this was the ARC LIGHT)
However, the wonderful people at Inova now have a light that not only meets the good qualities of the CMG light but far surpasses that light as well.
The Inova X-1, using a single AA battery, well...if you know flashlights and actually use them a good bit, it will knock your socks off.
Many of the more obtuse forum knuckleheads would simply say, "Oh, I have a Sure-Fire and that's that! That little Inova ain't nothin’."
Well, after they deplete their expensive and not easy-to-find during a crisis DL123A Lithium Batteries in their incredibly bright, energy sucking little expensive flashlights, they can sit in the dark without light.
I have a really good imagination and along with practical, real-world, firsthand experience. I also listen, however, to the various real-world experiences of others who have been in altercations and various bad situations and this greatly helps me to further hone my opinions on gear and methods.
Once such incident happened in the direct rescue operations in the immediate aftermath of both WTC towers collapsing on 9-11-01. There were Firefighters and a couple of regular folks trapped in a stairwell with the entire building down all around them and there they stayed until others dug them out. It was really an amazing story above and beyond this simple posting, it's amazing that they survived at all.
There are any number of situations involving injuries or the need for illumination in order to escape, where you need a good light.
Don't get me wrong now. I own a Sure-Fire E2e flashlight and I absolutely love this light, it is wonderful. Given the choice, in a crisis/disaster, of having one hour of blinding light available or having several dozens of hours of light available (assuming that you spent the same amount of money on several Energizer AA batts as you did 2 Energizer DL123As) and assuming that you were in an area where you could swap nearly depleted batteries out of other gear or even a waste basket, trash can or dumpster, I'll take an Inova X-1 any day for an emergency light!
You see, when the batteries stop working in your, say, Mini-Maglite, you can put them right into an Inova X-1 and you still have a couple hours of light left. Cameras, remote controls, old batteries in kitchen drawers that would not even power up a camera with a flash...all of these batteries retain enough power to give you good light for quite some time in the power-sipping little Inova X-1 LED flashlight. Even if your other electronic devices, or simply time spent in a drawer, has further depleted the power in the battery, the Inova will draw out the last little bit of juice, and you can at least have minutes left of good light. In my experience, that can extend to hours...
I shouldn't have to tell you that light is very important, so, I won't. If anyone thinks it's not important, so be it. Sit in the dark, especially if you or someone you care about is injured - Good Luck!
Now for the October 12, 2009 UPDATE to the information above.
Most of this series was written three years ago, believe it or not. A lot can change in three years. I traded off my Sure-Fire E2e and my Wife’s E1e flashlights. I believe Sure-Fire flashlights are awesome, I think they are excellent pieces of gear. But I refuse to pay for that name when I can get similar performance out of an LED that utilizes commonly available AA batteries.
Also in the last three years, Inova has had a bad run of tailcaps for the X1 and I can no longer recommend them. I encouraged people to purchase them and then they were saying they had tailcap failures and they had replacements sent to them from Inova and out of three replacements, not one worked.
CountyComm has a great thing going with their SO-LEDs, great little lights that you can place on your keychain, ballchain necklace or use the included clip which also allows the light to be rotated 360 degrees. $4.00
Fenix LED Flashlights are excellent. They are pumping out the power and running on AA or AAA batteries and for right now, they are excellent and you should gear yourself up with some Fenix lights.
The Energizer Brand Penlight, available from AutoZone and some other retailers, is an excellent penlight that runs on two AAA batteries. $7.00
In some cases, price buyers might be twice buyers, but this is not a rule that can be applied 100% of the time.