I know … I know … how many flashlights do you really need? I’ll tell you, and the number might surprise you — it’s 184. While you might feel like you have enough with, oh, 20 or 30, you’re definitely wrong. When you get to about 100, you’re getting close, and you can probably feel it, but nope, not there yet. But even at the magic 184 number, you’ll still find you’ll have a small handful you tend to always reach for. It’s weird, but with so much at-hand … you’ll still begin to trust just a few. Streamlight is one of the “ones” I often reach for when it’s real, real dark out.
The Sidewinder Compact II is a second-gen of the idea, simpler than the original, able to use either CR123 or AA batteries, and with enough LED lighting options to handle anything short of the duties of a real fighting light. For survival, military, police, hunting, camping, travel or simply general utility, it’s hard to beat. The clip swivels around the head allowing you to clip it onto your belt and see the trail or toolbox, or clamp it to a head-band or to your battle helmet or MOLLE strap.
It’s got a 4-step white LED (dim, then three more steps in brightness), a blue LED, green LED and an infra-red one (for being located by the friendlies or to illuminate things if you have a night vision scope of some kind). I couldn’t find lumen ratings for the white light, but the “dim” first step is perfect for general “where are my feet landing” and map reading stuff. From then on, the brighter settings throw out more and more, until at the brightest, I could have easily seen if someone was standing near my pole barn at night at about 100 feet.
Remember this isn’t a “burn your eyes out” 300-lumen combat light — you need to have at least one of those too. But for virtually 100 percent of the time it would supply you with all the light you’d need for the other 99 percent of the situations you get yourself into. It’s water-proof to one meter, you can drop it from three meters and the clip can hold up to 25 pounds. Pretty much indestructible for most humans I know. At around $117 MSRP (or a bit less if you shop around), this might be the last “general use” light you ever buy. For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/streamlight or (800) 523-7488
By Roy Huntington