Hey all, we here at True Shot Academy are going to go over Surefire’s flashlight options. While the company produces many products, we are going to focus specifically on their flashlights intended for weapon mounted and handheld use. We are ultimately going to give a brief overview of the company and some of their offerings while also delving into some general flashlight information. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Surefire is manufacturer of a variety of firearms-related accessories and lighting solutions located in Fountain Valley, California. Aside from flashlights intended for handheld or weapon mounted use, the company also manufactures suppressors and muzzle devices. Founded in 1979, the company has been in the game for decades and has garnered a reputation as a high-quality provider of tools and accessories for end users of all types. The products made by Surefire are trusted by military, law enforcement, and civilians alike. Surefire has acquired multiple contracts and provide law enforcement and military entities across the globe with products for duty use.
Surefire’s products typically come with a high price, often nearly double the price of some of the offerings from their competitors. As American made products, Surefire offerings tend to have a higher cost than some of their competitors which are either entirely or partially manufactured overseas or primarily utilize foreign parts. Of course, there is a bit of a “name brand” effect to be observed with Surefire due to their longstanding reputation. Each Surefire illumination product is backed by their lifetime warranty as they will repair or replace products if certain conditions are met.
Lumens refer to the unit of measurement used to determine the output of brightness of a light. Simply put, the higher the lumens, the brighter the light. A brighter light allows one to have garner more visual information in the dark, which makes things such as positive target identification possible and easier to do in a stressful situation. Another measure of a light’s performance is in candela. Candela is defined as the output of a light source in different directions. A weapon light with a higher candela output will illuminate a “fuller” and more complete field of view than a light which has more lumens than candela. There is typically a compromise between these two things in most weapon lights. While many of Surefire’s standard options put out more lumens than candela, the recent Turbo options were introduced to provide the user with more candela. Some applications and uses may call for more lumens while others call for more candela. Regardless, Surefire offers multiple options to fit a variety of end users.
While most lights from Surefire utilize common batteries such as 123A batteries, the company also manufactures a number of flashlights which are of the dual fuel variety. This is to say that they are able to be powered by more than one type of battery. For example, a dual fuel model rifle light such as the M600DF is able to be powered by both 123A and 18650 batteries. Typically, these longer battery types will be rechargeable. It should also be noted that Surefire also produces rechargeable 123A batteries as well. One should be aware that rechargeable batteries are going to be more expensive than their non-rechargeable counterparts. Regardless, with a dual fuel light an end user will have multiple options when it comes to powering their flashlight.
Surefire offers V model versions of some of their popular flashlights which are capable of outputting both infrared (IR) and white light. While these lights are officially referred to as Vampire lights, they are often simply called V models due to the presence of the letter in some model names. These models feature a rotating bezel that allows the end user to switch between visible white light and IR lighting on the fly. These IR lighting options are most commonly used in conjunction with night vision devices as they can see light on the IR spectrum. In days of old, IR illumination was achieved by placing an IR filter over the lens of an existing white light. This advance in technology eliminates the need for extra equipment. V model lights are available in both handheld and weapon mounted form, allowing end users to find an IR illumination solution that best fits their needs.
Surefire manufactures weapon lights intended to be used on handguns. As far as pistol lights go, the most popular line offered by Surefire has to be the X300 series. Many of their full-sized pistol lights are available in both A and B configurations that feature different attachment methods and hardware. The A models will feature Surefire’s Rail-Lock system while the B models feature a more traditional thumbscrew attachment method. The company produces models of the V variety as well allowing end users to have IR illumination capabilities on their handgun. While designed and optimized for use on pistols, these lights can also be utilized on any other platforms that have 1913 rail interfaces. It isn’t uncommon to see a shooter running an X300 light at the 12 o’clock position at the end of their handguard on an AR-15 style rifle. It should also be known that a wide variety of high-quality light-bearing duty holsters, particularly those made by Safariland, are offered for pistols equipped with Surefire pistol lights. This fact is truly a testament to the rugged and fit-for-duty reputation held be Surefire illumination products.
Surefire has also been known as a manufacturer of forends with integrated weapon lights. Historically, the company was known for their legacy products such as the M500 series for M4/AR-15 rifles which mirrored a common round handguard with the addition of an integral light. Today, the company offers forends of this type for two popular pump action shotguns and MP5 style firearms. As far as the shotgun options go, Surefire manufactures DSF models for the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500/590 shotgun lines. The 628LMF and 328LMF models are purpose built for use on MP5 derived designs. These integrated weapon lights are accompanied by controls built into the forend which facilitate their use. The end result is a straightforward and streamlined lighting solution which does not require the end user to bolt on additional mounts, controls, or the light itself to another handguard. The forend comes ready to go right out of the box.
Surefire also manufactures a wide variety of weapon mounted lights which are intended for use on rifles. Notably, Surefire pioneered the Scout light footprint which has been utilized by a variety of their competitors. This footprint has also received a lot of support by the aftermarket as manufacturers such as Arisaka Defense, LaRue Tactical, American Defense Manufacturing. While Surefire continues to manufacture lights with the legacy Scout mount footprint, the company has also introduced Scout Light Pro lights which utilize new mounting footprints. These newer style mounts feature a pivoting mount which allows the end user to position the light in multiple angles and easily tuck the light as close to the handguard as possible. This pivoting feature allows the light to be fit to a variety of firearms and accommodate things attached to the top of the rail such as IR illuminators and laser aiming devices. Like other lights, these types of lights are also available as V models to facilitate IR illumination. These rifle lights can be supplemented by controls such as tapeswitches and tailcaps that allow an end user to customize how they activate their illumination device.
Aside from weapon mounted lights, Surefire also manufactures a number of lights intended for handheld use. The company manufactures a wide variety of traditional, cylindrical flashlight models. Popular models include their long-standing G2X and EDC lines. Surefire manufactures handheld light bodies from materials such a polymer and aluminum.
More recent additions to their handheld light line include the Stiletto series of lights. These lights feature a slimline construction and are similar in size and shape to a moderately-sized folding pocket knife. Another departure from traditional light design sees the Stiletto series of lights utilizing an integrated rechargeable battery. These lights feature multiple modes of operation that provide multiple outputs which can range from low output for simple tasks and high output for navigation or identification. While intended for handheld use, these offerings can also be utilized alongside firearms in order to provide a shooter with an illumination source. Many techniques have been developed and taught over the years to facilitate shooting with a handheld light.
At the end of the day, Surefire is a manufacturer of high-quality illumination devices that will serve a variety of end users well. Whether you’re in the market for a weapon mounted light or a handheld option, Surefire has you covered. The company even makes headlamps and wrist-mounted lights if that is something you are after. The illumination options are ultimately supplemented by a variety of accessories to truly optimize a setup for an end user’s needs. Regardless of which model you go with; the company will stand behind their products and take care of you if the need arises. It’s hard to go wrong with a company that has a track record like Surefire does.
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