Archive for July, 2006

Flashlights / 7-26-06

July 26, 2006 Home > Operations & Tactics

Where the Flashlight is King

Comparing features helps officers choose the right flashlight for the job

Updated: June 16th, 2006 01:40 AM EDT

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From the May 2006 Issue

By Jeannine Heinecke
Law Enforcement Technology
An Irish proverb states, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Frank Borelli, CEO of Borelli Consulting and law enforcement instructor with more than 23 years in the industry, has a new spin on this phrase. “In the land of darkness, the man with the flashlight is king.”

Being the only person in a dimly lit building with a flashlight is a power position. “I used to hate going into dark buildings, but now the first thing I do when I have to search a building is turn off the power if I can,” he says. “I put myself at the advantage because I have the light.”

Most people, law enforcement included, see the flashlight as a simple, everyday tool readily found in any home. “The majority of police officers still think that the training program with a flashlight is turn it on, shine it around, turn it off,” says Borelli. But to a trained law enforcement officer, the flashlight can be a non-lethal weapon as well as an illumination device.

According to Borelli, 80 percent of the information we use to make a decision is obtained visually. “Our minds perceive and process visual imagery faster than spoken or written language,” he explains. “Therefore, if you take a really bright light and shine it into somebody’s eyes, you’ve taken away 80 percent of the information he needs to make a decision to act. If it is a bad guy, you’ve greatly inhibited his ability to take any action against you.”

With the technological advancements in flashlights, not only can the blinding beam be used as a force weapon, but strobe capabilities can make for a disorienting effect. “Not only do we override their visual input, but we’re slamming them with a new visual picture at just the proper pace so their brains can never quite process what they saw,” describes Borelli. “We’ve made people dizzy, nauseous and even recoil away from the flashing light, as if they felt like they were going to get hit.”

In Borelli’s opinion, “The biggest mistake agencies make today is they fail to realize the potential of the flashlight as a behavior control tool and a less-lethal weapon.” Each type of duty can demand different functions from a flashlight. Therefore, choosing a flashlight can be a very personal decision, but some basic features of every flashlight should be considered: lamp, power source, light output, materials and specific features. Throughout this article is a roundup of handheld flashlights from numerous manufacturers comparing these features and organized by light output.

Every light needs a lamp
The heart of every flashlight is its lamp. There are three primary categories of lamps: HID (high-intensity discharge), incandescent and LED (light-emitting diode).

HID lamps produce the greatest light output. They utilize a clear quartz capsule (arc tube) having electrodes at either end and containing high-pressure gases. They are very power efficient and have an extremely high lumen output (up to 3,500 lumens), but tend to be larger and require more power to operate. HIDs are currently the least common type of lamp used in the law enforcement market.

In comparison, the original and most common type of lamp in use today is the incandescent. Incandescent lamps produce light by using electricity to heat a filament enclosed within a glass bulb filled with special gases such as Xenon, Luxeon, Krypton, etc. Incandescents have a significantly lower maximum lumen output than HIDs (500 lumens) but a greater output than LEDs.

“LEDs are the biggest evolution in lighting technology in the last two decades,” according to Borelli. LEDs are semiconductor chips that convert electricity directly into light. They have no gas or liquid components and are therefore highly impact and vibration resistant, making them the most rugged lamp. They can emit a variable lumen output, but are currently limited to a much lower maximum lumen output (125 lumens) compared to incandescents and HIDs.

Because of their differences in construction, each type of lamp has its own pros and cons, or may be more suitable for one application over another.

Borelli Consulting’s primary service is performing equipment evaluations. While assisting in the development of one handheld LED flashlight, Borelli says the testing team threw the light as high as they could in the air and let it land in a gravel parking lot 15 times, and it did not break. The manufacturer put the light under the tire of a Porsche, gunned the engine and shot the light into a berm – it didn’t break the LED. “Finally, they beat the flashlight until the tailcap broke, but the LED kept on working,” says Borelli. Because of their durability, LEDs can last thousands of hours, while high-output incandescent lamps typically last less than 50 hours.

There is one nemesis to the LED and that is overheating. “Heat management is very important because the LED can overheat and shut down,” says Borelli. Because of this problem, LED manufacturers utilize digital circuitry to control the heat. Some lights have an overheat feature where if it gets too hot, the circuitry will reduce the power flow to keep the bulb from burning out. “You also can control the flashlight so that it is not powered 100 percent of the time,” says Borelli. “You can have it powered 50 percent of the time. As long as it is flashing faster than humans can perceive, we see hard light when it is really blinking. This is another way to maintain heat control.”

Besides controlling the heat, the digital circuitry is responsible for other unique LED features. “You can make an LED light dim or brighten, or have it strobe. You can make it different colors,” praises Borelli. “With an incandescent bulb, you can’t do all that.”

The digital circuitry used with LEDs also allows for better power management. “An LED will typically last longer on the same set of batteries, on the same charge, because the power management is much more efficient,” he explains.

Digital circuitry does add to the weight of the device, though. “A 3-volt LED flashlight is the same size as a 6-volt halogen light because you need space for all the circuitry,” says Borelli. “You give up a battery and a little bit of power for the versatility.”

Packing power
Because flashlights are often personal purchases, the power output and the price of that power is very important for officers to consider when choosing a light. Battery options can be divided into a few categories: alkaline, lithium and various rechargeable chemistries.

Alkaline batteries are the most commercially common type of battery ranging in size from AAA to D. Although they are the most inexpensive type of battery, they are not necessarily the most cost efficient.

For a given size, lithium batteries produce much more power than alkaline batteries – about 2.5 alkaline batteries match the power output of one lithium. They have double the voltage – lithium being 3 volts and alkaline 1.5 volts – weigh half as much and typically have a 10-year shelf life. Lithiums also have a broad temperature function and storage range – -76 degrees to +1,767 degrees Fahrenheit. Alkaline batteries function poorly below freezing and at higher temperatures.

Possibly the most important advantage to lithium batteries is they maintain constant voltage for up to 95 percent of their life. “The power curve is more of a straight line with lithiums, whereas with alkalines, they have a good power delivery for a given period of time, but when they drop off, it’s like falling off a cliff,” says Borelli.

Rechargeable batteries have the most upfront costs – batteries and chargers – but can be the most cost effective in the long run. “A lot of cops have to pay for their own equipment out of pocket, and they don’t like having to pay for batteries all the time,” says Borelli.

The most common rechargeable batteries are Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH). NiMH have a higher power density (more power by size and weight) and can be recharged many more times than NiCads. NiCads also can have a memory effect problem – the battery “remembers” how long it was used previously and will only recharge enough to run this same amount of time. “Then you have a maintenance issue where you need to recharge the battery and then put the flashlight down, turn it on and let it die – completely drain it so that you can teach the battery not to get the memory,” explains Borelli.

With either NiCad or NiMH rechargeable batteries, the self-discharge rate is quite high, so they should not be used in lights that may sit unused for weeks or months at a time.

Measuring light
Depending on the duty, different amounts of light output, as well as the color of the light, are required. The two most common ways to measure light output are lumens and candlepower. Lumens is the measure of the entire light output of the flashlight regardless of beam focus. This is almost entirely a measurement of the lamp output. Peak candlepower is a measure of the brightest spot in a focused beam. It measures the output of the lamp as manipulated by the reflector or lens.

There are two ways to focus light – reflectors and lenses. Reflectors are the silver cones inside the bezel of a flashlight. The depth and size of these reflectors prefocus the light for maximum efficiency at a given distance. In a reflector focused light, the lens remains flat.

With optically focused lights, the lens is curved to bend the light into focus. “Optically focused lights tend to be lighter and smaller because all of the curving takes place in the lens, which may be only 1/8-inch thick,” explains Borelli. “A reflector may have to be 2 inches deep to get everything right.”

Because of this design difference, many weapons-mounted and small pocket lights are optically focused while bigger, brighter, longer distance lights are reflector-focused.

The type of lamp also plays a large part in light output – not only the measured, but the perceived output. “Incandescent bulbs put out a yellow light while LEDs put out a more pure white light, almost blue,” explains Borelli. “Therefore, when you start measuring light output, what your eye perceives may not be accurate. Sixty-five lumens out of an LED looks brighter than 65 lumens out of an incandescent because it is a much cleaner, whiter light.”

So what does a law enforcement officer really need when it comes to light output? Borelli recommends a flashlight have a minimum output of 60 to 65 lumens for close quarter battle use. “Less than that and you’re not really impacting the suspect’s visual acuity the way you want,” he says. “Ninety lumens is optimal because you can work up-close and get a little bit of distance out of it. One hundred-twenty lumens is even better.”

Combination lights
Aside from basic flashlights, more and more manufacturers are offering combination lights – flashlight with pepper spray, flashlight with metal detector, flashlight with breathalyzer, flashlight with video recording, etc. With officers already needing to carry more than can fit on a duty belt, the combination of two devices can be advantageous. Many of these combinations also allow for covert operations – taking a breath alcohol level without the suspect’s knowledge or videotaping a traffic stop up close.

But there are two sides to every discussion, and in Borelli’s opinion, “When you combine tools, you compromise both. Each individual has to decide whether that compromise is worth the gain of having two tools in one.” Maintenance issues, increased weight and the combination of devices on the use-of-force continuum should be considered when purchasing a combination light.

Especially when using combination lights, Borelli stresses an officer should carry two lights and backup batteries. “I always recommend cops carry two flashlights because about 80 percent of our lethal force engagements occur during the hours of low light or darkness,” he says.

Having served as an army MP, Borelli believes in the adage, “Two is one; one is none.” An officer should always carry two flashlights in case one breaks, gets lost or another officer needs to use one. “Officers are betting their life on everything they have on their person,” says Borelli. “The ideal light for law enforcement should be something that can be carried on the belt 24/7 and not be an inconvenience. When you get out of your car and you don’t have your tools of the trade, you’ve dropped the ball.”

In the land of darkness, the law enforcement officer should carry two flashlights that have a minimum output of 65 lumens, are comfortable and convenient to carry on a duty belt, and made of a durable material – either metal or polymer. After that, type of lamp, batteries used and special features are all matters of personal preference.

“The lights out there today, and the industry standards, are growing by leaps and bounds,” says Borelli. “They are just getting better and better.”

This is 1939

July 20, 2006

I have been trying to tell all of you for a very long time that this is the beginning of the end as we know it. It certainly is not the end of the World but as per Bible Prophecy things are going to change.

I want you to ask yourself if you were G-D and looked down at this world you created and saw what was going on how would you feel and what would you do ??

This has been going on for years and it can not keep going on like this. To me this is the prelude to Nazi Germany invading Poland, and this is just the very beginning. In WW II there was no way the AXIS powers were able to attack the United States and do much damage.

BUT at this point in time things have changed, now 3 or 4 people can take out 3 or 4 million in the blink of an eye. America has become a paper tiger because of the liberal mindset, they will only learn when its too late. We have already been infiltrated and no one but a select few care.

Its daily life as usual here in America because they can not see the forest for the trees. They are so used to the good life they do not and can not imagine it ever changing. Its the older generation of people like me that really understand and are prepared to defend the constitution of the United States. These younger people have no clue what the constitution really is or means.

To some including members of the government it is just another piece of paper. The largest well armed citizens in the world are the AMERICAN PEOPLE that own 120 million rifles, 70 million handguns, 3 million assault rifles.

Any invading FOREIGN MILITARY coming up through the heartland of America from Panama or Mexico are going to be facing older men and women with very well made rifles used for deer hunting and the finest optics this world has to offer is on many of these rifles.

American sportsman and hunters are not confined to using Geneva approved ammunition, they are going to use the best ammunition that technology and money can buy. Actually this very scenario is what has kept us free. Our freedom is being erroded very slowly and I hope I never live to see it.

The young Americans today on the average do not even know who the Vice President of the United States is. They do not even know who the Secretary of Defense or State is, and the real sad part is that they DO NOT CARE, BUT THEY WILL…

I am suggesting you get your affairs in order and stock your supplies but do not broadcast it on these mindless forums. I really do not know why I try so hard to help people that hate me, they just do not understand.

I am very honest and my work although limited is second to none in quality. We are now in the worst state of world affairs than at any time in my lifetime. In my religion the Moshiac (messiah) can not come until Persia (IRAN) is defeated and that will happen one way or another.

Open your Bible and read ISAIAH chapter 17, verse 1 and see what is says about Damascus, Syria. This has never happened before but it will.

I will continue to write my commentaries on my different bloggers and if you want to find more about what I have written do a google search on Teddy Jacobson.

SEAL YOUR PRIMERS and thanks for reading my commentaries.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions and viewpoints expressed are mine alone.


Keep It Simple / 7-8-06

July 8, 2006

I live a very quiet life and my experience in working on handguns has taught me a great deal.  I have learned lessons through out the years that keeping things very simple and uncomplicated are best.  A prime example is John Brownings excellent design of his 1911 pistol and his Browning Hi Power.

You can really get into trouble if you stray to far from the basic design as so many people have in order for them to make more money.  Sadly its always about money,  most factory barrels are more accurate than you are.  Just browse through a Gunsmithing book of after market parts and you will see what I am talking about.  Many of these after market parts are quite good but there is not much truth when they say it just drops in.

I see no reason to look to improve something that is not broken.  On the other hand I can justify steel firing pins over “TITANIUM” firing pins.  Some important items have a great deal of merit.  I for one do not like ring or oval type hammers on a pistol.  With me being left handed I seldom use a safety and I rely on other safety measures to avoid an accidental discharge.

One of the very biggest mistakes many of you are making is the purchase of a used firearm over the internet where the owner claims its mint or new.  I see more people being lied to and taken all the time.  Unless you personally know the history of that particular gun you want to buy and or know the owner who bought it new,  I SUGGEST THAT YOU DO NOT BUY ANY FIREARM THAT IS USED,  SIGHT UNSEEN.  AS SMART AS YOU THINK YOU ARE,  YOU WILL BE TAKEN.

I know this internet has changed our way of life,  mine included,  but I never let it get out of hand.  With our world in such trouble and with the UN trying to erase your 2nd ammendment,  I suggest you concetrate on the basics of simplicity.

BEFORE you ever purchase a firearm find out about parts availability because unless you can buy parts you may just outsmart yourself and wind up with a paper weight.  I like Glocks and Beretta 92f’s for a high capacity property handgun.  Parts are available for both.  There are many people now carrying revolvers and they are quite popular even at this point in time.

I suggest you do not use any ammunition that is made with STEEL CASES as you may find it can ruin your breech face and or chip your extractor.  Your life is too valuable to take chances,  there are no bargains in the end.  Keep your guns clean as your life depends on it and get a good supply of Militec metal conditioner.