A New LE Lighting Tool
By Massad Ayoob
The object in my hand is shaped like a stylized small Remy Martin cognac bottle, only heavier. I point its wide end at a pickup truck I can barely see in the darkness 30 yards away. I press the button at the narrow end, and — voila! The vehicle is illuminated in a brilliant circle of light. Were it occupied, I’d be able to recognize the driver through the windshield if I knew him, and if he was holding a revolver, there’d be enough light to tell if it was a Ruger or an S&W.
The object in my hand is the new Umarex Optical Dynamics OD40 Illuminator. The tech behind it is called Collimated Amplified Lenses System. It boasts 1,052 lumens out of a 40mm lens that “projects, rather than reflects.” But we need to explain why that’s significant.
From 30 yards away, a pickup truck is brilliantly illuminated by the OD40.
Photo: Gail Pepin
The Optical Dymanics OD40 light (by Umarex) uses a Collimated Amplified Lenses System
for seamless, bright light. The red and green lenses are actually used by varmint hunters,
but we thought the light has applications in defense and LE work too.
Applying High Tech Light
Our own Editor Huntington introduced me to the Umarex OD40. He told me, “It’s for sporting use, but I think this may have some real applications in dark alleys, canyon searches, etc.” Roy retired from a full career with San Diego PD, and when he talks, I listen. I learned it would, indeed, work for those things — and more. In testing, I found it would brilliantly illuminate anything in its tightly focused circular beam — half a city block away. On a lonely, pitch-dark road late at night, I drove a measured one-tenth of a mile from a road sign, stepped out of the car and turned on the OD40. It clearly illuminated the road sign, even though my rheumy old eyes weren’t quite able to read it.
I turned on the OD40 and set it on the Caldwell Stable Table rifle rest I keep on the hundred-yard bay of my personal range, lined up on the backstop, and walked downrange. From a hundred yards I could read a paperback book by the OD40’s light and could more comfortably read a large print book. Then I turned around and faced the CALS’ beam — and was totally blinded by it. For photographing at crime scenes, an ordinary cell phone coupled with someone holding an OD40, could take a picture so clear you could read a serial number. Its potential when mounted to a long-range precision rifle is obvious.
No, a beam that tightly focused is not an all-purpose flashlight. I wouldn’t have strapped it on my old duty belt — prior to retiring recently — but I damn sure would have found a place for it in the cruiser if I was on patrol.
Here’s an iPhone photo using the OD40’s seamless light. With a bit of tweaking with angles or
perhaps a paper filter, this would make a stunning evidence/photography light. Photo: Gail Pepin
The Road to Good Light
When my first chief pinned a badge on me in the early 1970’s, the typical police flashlight was an aluminum Eveready you’d slip into the sap pocket at the back of your uniform pants. Don Kellner’s heavy-duty Kel-Light had just come out a few years before, but at a time when many full-time cops were paid $7,000 a year, one of those was a prestige item, like carrying a Python instead of a Model 10.
I got the Bianchi version, the B-Lite, and appreciated the quantum leap it represented. Soon we had the Mag-Lite, and then the Streamlight SL-20 and SL-35 rechargeable, then MagLite came out with its own rechargeable. Today’s lights put the old Kel-Lite and other early lights to shame for illumination. In the latter 20th Century, LAPD led the way with weapon-mounted lights on SWAT weapons. K9 was the next specialty to pick up on the value of a light attached to a pistol. The first quarter of the 21st Century has seen the concept extend to patrol officers in general.
From collective experience with the latter, law enforcement quickly learned to keep hand-held lights for routine searching and use the weapon-mounted light only in potentially life-threatening emergencies. Continued advances in lighting technology, like this ground-breaking OD40 Illuminator from Umarex, only means a working cop’s options continue to grow, adding more levels of safety to both the public and the officers. It’s simply amazing to see just how far technology has come in the 50-odd years I’ve been involved with police work and training.
For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/index