The Trouble with Flashlights

Tam has been carrying a SureFire E2D Ultra, and comments that the switch design leaves a lot to be desired. I carry a Fenix LD10, showing here:

Fenix LD10

It’s a bit more worn than that today, and in truth it’s probably out of date. With the Fenix, you adjust the intensity by screwing out the lens a bit. That’s fine when you have both hands, but sometimes you don’t, so I leave it on the highest setting. The big issue leaving it on high is the on switch, which is on the butt of the flashlight, gets switched on when I sit down sometimes. It can either engage furniture or engage the sheath of my Leatherman. Now, give it 10 minutes or so, and I’ll usually notice, “Something feels warm in my pocket, and I know it isn’t that, so the flashlight must have gotten stuck on again.” I’ve had batteries drain completely in this scenario, and it happens often enough I now use NiMH rechargeable, and just change them regularly. I use the flashlight multiple times a day.

Ideally I’d like a flashlight where I can turn on and off, and change intensity using only one hand. The¬†SureFire E2D Ultra¬†looks like it might be a solution. It would seem the solution to Tam’s issue would be to make it a one second double click instead of two. Maybe even half a second. I can double click a switch a hell of a lot faster than I can move my whole body. Perhaps a microswitch could be fitted somewhere inside that allows the user to adjust the double click speed.

24 Responses to “The Trouble with Flashlights”

  1. Brad says:

    You could add a safety to your existing light by unscrewing it enough so that it won’t turn on accidentally in your pocket.

    It’s not as fancy as yours, but I like to carry a pocketlight too. And I have had the same trouble with push button switches. So now I use a $5 ray-o-vac single AAA battery light with a head twist power switch.

    I can twist it on with one hand, though on-off-on is slow and clumsy obviously. It’s so tiny that it fits easily into any pocket, and when I need both hands free it is easy to hold with my mouth.

    The LED bulb produces plenty of light for mundane tasks, and even though it’s not blindingly powerful it is long lasting.

    I have to say I’m pretty amazed at what the LED revolution has done for lighting and flashlights. Now my cheap AAA LED flashlight can do what an old fashioned two D cell flashlight used to do with an incandescent bulb.

    Since I have some old D and C cell flashlights laying around the house, I’ve replaced the original incandescent bulbs with $4 LED replacement bulbs from Walmart. Wow, what a difference!

  2. aerodawg says:

    I have the fenix PD22 and I think it offers what you’re looking for. Tail cap for on and off and a gray button on the side for changing intensity.

  3. Dave says:

    I second the Fenix PD22.

  4. Sebastian says:

    The PD22 takes lithium batteries. I’m looking for one that takes conventional AA or AAA.

    • Dave says:

      Had the same reservations about the batteries, but I use mine every day and go though a battery on average once every 3-6 months…

      Go for it, it’s a great little light!

    • Tam says:

      E2D Ultra takes CR123. (Which is no prob for me because I keep a bunch on hand, but others might not.)

  5. Terriligunn says:

    I have been using for years the same model flashlight. I really do not see the need for the fancy adjustments. On and off is all I want or usually need. If I need less light I simply move my hand forward and shield some of the light. The great thing after breaking only one I have had three over the years. And grand total I have spent only 45 bucks. 15 dollars for a robust and long lasting light gives me more money to spend elsewhere and not worry as much about saving for a replacement. Heck I only recently had to breakout my spare from the gun safe do to losing for a few days my second one ever. The first lasted around 6 years of everyday carry and use.

  6. eriko says:

    Fenix E12. Starts lowish and then increments up twice will light clicks. I run it on a single AA alkaline or rechargeable.

  7. beatbox says:

    Stop what you are doing and order this. The best $3 flashlight you can buy. Oops. I see it is now $5.00

    Seriously, take a risk. Great little lights. A single AA, so it doesn’t last that long. That is the only downside.

    It is worth the $5 to test it.

    • Sebastian says:

      Well, shit. I’ll just have to get one of those. For the money, why not?

      • Renegade_Azzy says:

        They arent exactly waterproof, but they work well. I have a few of them around the house, and they get more work now than my pair of Tomahawks.

      • beatbox says:

        It will take you about a month to get it.

      • aerodawgn says:

        Was just thinking the same. At that price they could replace the Harbor Freight junk I keep laying around the garage to look into drill holes and other things….

    • Patrick says:

      I absolutely endorse cheap lights. I never cry when I lose one.

  8. Greg says:

    It’s a little on the large side for daily pocket carry, but I use a MagLite XL50 for work. It meets your requirements for full one-handed operation.

  9. mo says:

    Surefire should be smacked for charging as much as they do for their lights. Fenix has 85% of the quality of sure fire for like 1/8th the price.

  10. rc says:

    Just get an Olight S20R Baton and be done with it!

  11. George says:

    I like the thrunite t10, no problems – 14 months daily carry & use.
    I see the fenix LD11 is totally controlled by a tail switch.

  12. CarlosT says:

    I have the old version of this light:

    It’s got two buttons on it, one on the end cap which turns the light on and off, and one on the side that controls intensity, and also can activate a strobe function. It’s very robust and the version I have is rated to 500 lumens. Apparently, they’ve upgraded it and the new version puts out up to 840.

  13. Will says:

    You might consider carrying two lights. A small AA or AAA for every day use, and a pistol mount light on your belt, for those “I need to light up this parking lot” times. Bonus points if it actually fits your ccw gun!

  14. Alien says:

    I’ve got a couple E2D Ultras and I agree with Tam.Seems the least Surefire could do is offer an optional single setting tailcap switch that’s full intensity only. I don’t think I’ve ever complained about too much light.

  15. Patrick says:

    I laugh because my 4 year old boy loves flashlights so much he has lost 5 Duracell LED lights in the last four months. Good thing I buy them in 3-packs for about $12.

    So the idea of me buying a light worth more than $8 makes me chuckle.

    FWIW, the Duracell lights work real well. One handed operation is easy, they are real bright and they survive Real Work(tm) outside at night (livestock, rain, drop, mud, tool strikes, etc.). I had a 300 pound hog step one into the mud and when it surfaced a few days later, some other hog chewed on it a few minutes before I could get it back (you don’t argue with a 300 pound hog about how to treat your tools). It still worked.

    I like ’em, and if something breaks (none have broken yet and one lasted a year before the kid lost it) I just get a new one from the pack.


  1. SayUncle » Flashlight blogging - […] Sebastian wants a light he can completely operate with one hand. […]