Best Flashlights; Tactical & LED items reviewed by Everyday Carry

Best Flashlights for Everyday Carry

Carrying a LED flashlight as part of your everyday carry is a bright idea—and we don't mean the one on the back of your smartphone.  While the LED on your phone can work in a pinch, a dedicated EDC flashlight is a more reliable option. Even if you think you might not use one, the reality is that it gets dark every night. So to be prepared, whether it's in a blackout, scanning the floor for something you dropped, or taking a walk at night, you should invest in a small flashlight.

If you've never carried a flashlight before, we recommend starting small. Small flashlights are easier to carry in your pocket or even on your keychain without getting in the way. The top flashlights can still get impressively bright thanks to how advanced LEDs and batteries have become.

For emergencies or really hard use, you might want to look at tactical flashlights. They're built to perform in demanding military and law enforcement applications, so they'll be powerful and durable enough for your everyday uses.

Different Types of Flashlights for Everyday Carry

To While we mentioned small keychain flashlights and tactical flashlights, you'll notice there are plenty of ways flashlights can differ. Not all lights are long, bulky cylinders. The easiest way to narrow down a flashlight is by what battery it uses: think AAA, AA, or CR123 to start. Smaller batteries generally mean smaller and more compact flashlights with less runtime and brightness. Bigger, more powerful flashlights require more batteries, and mean a bulkier light overall. To learn more about which type of flashlight is right for you, check out this brief explainer on batteries. Then, check out our buying guides for the best cheap flashlights, and scroll down for even more options.


RovyVon Aurora A6 High CRI Flashlight

If you've been on the market for a new EDC flashlight recently, chances are you've come across the RovyVon Aurora series. The glow-in-the-dark Aurora A5 was one of our favorite lights of last year, with high praise from our editors and our readers alike for its innovative features and design at a great price. But if you haven't had a chance to pick up one of these versatile keychain lights, you now have even more options with the new Aurora A6. It keeps much of the same great features that set the A5 apart from the rest, but now comes with a beautifully color-accurate main LED and even more side-mounted light options to boot. Whether you're a flashlight enthusiast or just starting to build your EDC, there's something for you in the new RovyVon Aurora A6.

The most notable difference with the Aurora A6 is its main LED. Instead of the 550-lumen cool white CREE XP-G3 LED on the A5, this new model offers a high color rendering index (CRI) Nichia 219C LED with a max output of 300 lumens. When it comes to the output on the A6, it's more quality over quantity. The Nichia 219C produces a “warm white” beam that more closely resembles sunlight, making colors look more natural and accurate. It's a stark contrast to typical “cool white” LEDs that can make your surroundings look harshly washed out or “cold.” If you find yourself using your EDC light mainly in outdoors settings, a high CRI light makes a huge difference. And at the end of the day, 300 lumens is still plenty for general EDC tasks and can be worth the tradeoff for more accurate color depending on your lighting tasks. The other change is the A6's side-mounted LED now comes with a blue option that works in tandem with the red LED to server as an alert or signal light.

Aside from the changes to the LEDs, the A6 retains those same great features from the A5. Its glow-in-the-dark polycarbonate housing is still just 2.16” long and 0.416 oz in weight, making it ultra portable. A stainless steel bezel protects the business end of the light from impact, a side switch operates both the main LED and side lights, while a lanyard attachment point at the tail end of the light and an included, reversible, 2-way pocket clip give you convenient carry options. Its 130mAh Li-ion battery recharges via a built-in micro USB port too. Last but not least, it features IP65 water resistance so you don't have to worry about rain and splashes. If you've been holding out for a high CRI version of the Aurora, now's your chance to see what all the hype is about. Grab one for your EDC at the link below.

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Rofis TC1 Flashlight

When it comes to recent EDC lights, it's no longer all about the numbers on the box. Usability, innovation, and convenience are just as important as the specs. But it's a thin line between a clever light and a gimmicky one—you have to know the rules of a good light before you can bend them. That's where companies like Rofis come in. Known for their versatile angled flashlights, they're pushing the envelope once again with the new TC1. It's their latest compact flashlight that redefines what it means to have light at your fingertips.

On first look, the TC1 looks like any other bullet-shaped keychain light with a twist interface. Smaller than a thumb and weighing only half an ounce even with its battery, the TC1 is the type of compact light you set and forget on your keychain. That is, until you take a closer look and see the features Rofis have packed into the light's tiny package. Within the TC1's anodized aluminum shell lies a 10180 rechargable battery, which, when paired with the XP-G3 LED, gives off a maximum output of 120 lumens across 3 levels. Charging is also convenient thanks to a micro USB port built into the TC1's screw threads, which also gives the light IPX6-rated water and impact resistance.

But it's the rear of the light where the magic happens. Rather than a twist or clicky interface, the TC1 comes with a brand new touch switch more akin to a smartphone fingerprint reader than the flashlight hardware we've been used to. Given its high sensitivity it means activating and switching levels much faster than having to twist the whole body or completely clicking a button. And rather than leaving it at that, it doubles as a battery indicator too, flashing red when fuel gets low.

With nods to the past while getting decked out for the future, the TC1 sets a fresh and interesting precedent to the lights we'll be seeing from here on out. Pick one up at the Amazon link below for under twenty bucks.

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Olight Warrior X

When gear has the word “warrior” in its name, that's when you know it means business. And for Olight especially, who have released some excellent lights under the “warrior” banner, it's also an indicator of quality. The new Warrior X celebrates 10 years of flagship flashlights, each showcasing how far flashlights have come for their time, and in the case of the X, how much Olight have mastered their own. It's a powerful light with the latest features you would want from a modern light, while also paying homage to the simple efficiency of Olight's design history.

Designed first and foremost to be a weaponlight, the Warrior X is built for the part. A beefy, IPX8-rated aluminium shell and a 3 mm tempered glass lens allows the Warrior X to endure harsh drops up to 2 meters, as well as the maximum impact and water resistance you could get from a flashlight. Its weaponlight designation also informs some of the design features of the light, including being built for throw with an extra large ridged head and smooth reflector, two types of grip rings to suit your un/gloved preference, and a simpler UI with a single tail switch to control its two configurations and two respective outputs.

Speaking of outputs, this is where the Warrior X starts to bare its teeth. Making full use of a new Cree XHP35 NW LED paired with a high-drain 18650 battery, the X is capable of dishing out a maximum of 2,000 lumens for up to 560 meters of throw. It's one of the most powerful outputs and ranges you can get from a light of this size and battery, effectively doubling the output of previous generation lights, though it does have a rather large stepdown to 600 lumens on High after a minute and a half.

The X's other key features make up for this jump, however. First is a built-in vibrating power indicator rather than an LED to notify you of low power (power ≤30%: vibrate once every 5 minutes, power ≤10%: vibrate once per minute, power ≤5%: vibrate 6 times per minute). It's a first of its kind, and a clever compromise for losing the signature Olight side switch/indicator. Its tail comes with Olight's latest magnetic charging button, compatible with their recent magnetic chargers as well as the world's first magnetic pressure switch when in a mounted configuration.

Though a duty light first, the X comes with some great EDC features too, including a custom holster with space for an extra battery, knife, or even backup light, as well as a stainless steel clip for pocket or bag carry with a manageable 7.69-ounce weight. You also get a rechargeable 3000 mAh 18650 battery and magnetic charging USB cable to spare you from having to carry around a charger, which can also charge your other compatible Olight models. Finally, a 5-year warranty ensures years of reliable service to come.

Celebrate 10 years of Olight's finest with the Warrior X by picking one up from Amazon at the link below.

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Readers' Choice: Top 3 EDC Flashlights in 2018

With the new year right around the corner, there's plenty of new gear in store for us to look forward to. But until then, now's a great time to look back on the gear that served us best through 2018. We polled our community in our exclusive Facebook group and asked what their favorite EDC gear was in the past year. In this quick round-up, we're highlighting your favorite flashlights! We've narrowed it down to the top three answers among the community — read on to see what your favorites were, and stay tuned for more gear to come in our Readers' Choice series.

RovyVon Angel Eyes E300S Flashlight

If you still can't see the usefulness of a flashlight in your EDC, maybe you need to look at it from the right angle. You might find the secret to making the most of an everyday light is just 90 degrees away. RovyVon has shown plenty of innovation in their past lineup of EDC flashlights, and their new Angel Eyes E300s continues the trend with its unique rectangular body, right-angle layout, and triple LED configuration. And while its right-angle form factor opens up new possibilities for EDC applications and carry options, its whopping 2000 lumen output also makes it worth a closer look.

Right off the bat, it's clear the E300S isn't how you'd picture a typical flashlight. It ditches the usual head-and-barrel design for a more rectangular shape constructed from HAIII anodized aluminum alloy. It measures in at just shy of 4” long, 1.4” wide, and 0.68” thick, weighing 3.7oz. Towards the top of the light sits the set of 3 CREE XP-G3 LEDs, which put out a combined 2000 lumens on its Turbo mode. A switch on the top of the light gives instant momentary access to Turbo, as well as emergency modes. A side switch navigates levels with different button presses, offering flexibility depending on how you like to use your light. You can start from its 3 lumen moonlight mode and cycle through low, medium, high, and turbo modes as a more traditional method. You can also start at 250 lumens and fine-tune the brightness with infinite adjustability and memory. Last but not least, there's also an option for a 450 lumen medium mode with all other modes for no-fuss illumination.

To go along with all that power and versatility at the business end, the unique form factor of the E300S makes it better suited for certain EDC scenarios. Ridges along the sides of the E300S provide grip in place of traditional knurling and also allow for its included pocket clip to attach at different places and orientations on the light. This gives some flexibility in how you carry the light, which is already easily pocketable thanks to its slim rectangular shape. And since the LEDs are situated at a right angle, you can clip the light to a shirt pocket, pants pocket, or bag strap to keep your hands free while you're working.

Another advantage of the right angle and flat body means it won't roll away when you set it down, but it can also easily bounce light off of the ceiling to provide floody, ambient light for the whole room, such as in a blackout situation. The E300S also features a lanyard attachment point that can stand the light upright as well. Last but not least, the form factor has potential to be used as a headlamp or bike lamp too when paired with optional upcoming accessories.

Overall, the E300S offers an impressive amount of power and flexibility all in a unique form factor that fits in the palm of your hand. If you're looking for something different in your EDC light, give the E300S a look. You can grab one from Amazon at the link below.

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Nitecore TUP

Just when you think flashlights can't get any smaller or brighter, something revolutionary comes along. At first, it was the Nitecore Tube, with its novel form factor and impressive output for its size. More lights followed with the TIP and TINI improving upon both performance and portability. But now Nitecore's latest TUP flashlight hits new milestones with a whopping 1000 lumen output and an OLED display. It brings the sheer power and versatile features you'd expect from lights twice its size to an all-new design that's fit for your keychain.

The TUP marks a shift in the direction of Nitecore's T-series, this time opting for more power and functionality in favor of ultra portability. Its rectangular form makes space for a slew of new features. At the business end, a CREE XP-L HD V6 LED sits behind TIR optics to achieve a 1000-lumen max output that throws out to 180 meters. It's powered by an integrated 1200mAh, micro-USB rechargeable battery. The battery provides up to 70 hours of runtime, comparable to a light that takes two CR123a batteries, but in a size closer to that of a single cell flashlight. The light uses two side switches to control its digital lockout and usage modes, stepping down from its 1000 lumen max to its “ultra low” mode of 1 lumen. Relevant information is displayed on the light's unique OLED display, showing voltage, battery level, brightness, runtime remaining, modes, and more. It's especially handy for power users who want to know every last detail about the light they're depending on in their EDC.

Despite all these features, the TUP is impressively pocketable at just 2.76” long and weighing only 1.87 oz. It comes equipped with a deep pocket clip for multiple ways to carry as well as a keychain attachment point that can withstand up to 30kg of pull force. Its HAIII anodized aluminum body comes in both black and grey to match most EDCs. You can pick up this pocket rocket from Amazon at the link below.

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SureFire Stiletto

When it comes to flashlights that you can stake your life on, few have earned the reputation that SureFire lights have. From rugged, duty-ready torches to dependable daily drivers, their lights have stood the test of time. And while their main focus has always been reliability, they've got room for some innovation, too. The SureFire Stiletto takes cues from its namesake to give you a light you can draw and use as fast as a knife. It's a rugged yet sleek addition to any EDC with a few modern features for good measure.

The Stiletto doesn't look like a modern flashlight. Instead of the usual aluminum tube, it instead comes in a lightweight polymer construction, reducing its weight while still maintaining heavy-duty, IPX7-rated resistance. This ensures the Stiletto's lithium polymer batteries and electronics stay protected, no matter the activity. An anodized aluminum head assembly houses both the light's LED and its MaxVision reflector, giving you a wide, floody beam useful for everyday tasks.

Along the Stiletto's top face are its two switches and its sealing micro USB charging port. Its main switch activates its three output levels, including a High of 650 lumens for up to 1.75 hours, and a Low of 5 lumens good for up to 30. A tactical switch gives quick access to High and an optional strobe for emergencies. The Stiletto can also be reprogrammed between tactical and task outputs depending on how you need to use the light. Finally, an LED indicator tracks remaining battery so you always know when to top up.

As this is an EDC light, the Stiletto comes with a few features to help with ease of carry. This includes a Melonite-coated, spring steel pocket clip for bezel up pocket carry, while its body tapers for the smoothest egress possible from its stowed location. And in spite of its robust appearance, the Stiletto carries light at only 2.8 ounces.

With its heritage of reliability and an innovative, sleek design, the Stiletto is a quick and easy addition to any EDC. Pick up SureFire's latest from Amazon at the link below.

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5 Best EDC Lights Under $50 in 2018

With the days getting shorter and nights getting darker, now's the perfect time to rethink your current EDC light. And of all the gear you can carry, your flashlight is most likely to be due for an upgrade given how quickly flashlight technology advances. Luckily, a solid light with modern features doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. In this guide, we're rounding up 5 new and noteworthy lights released this year that can all be had for less than 50 bucks. There's a light for everyone here, with picks suited for tactical EDCs, classy carries, outdoor setups, and more.

Olight S1R II Baton

It truly is an enlightened age for flashlights. Olight is a company that knows this better than most, with years of experience making popular EDC flashlights and continuous development that makes every new release worth the wait. Their latest light, the S1R II Baton, fills out the popular CR123A-powered category with a modern light with modern tech. It's got the size, power, and convenience of an EDC-worthy flashlight.

Olight's new and improved S1R II Baton joins the fray as the upgrade to their original S1R, a light made popular due to its convenient magnetic charging and intense output for a pocket flashlight. While it uses the same Cree XM-L2 LED as its predecessor and is also able to use a CR123A lithium primary, it now runs off of an included IMR 16340 rechargeable battery. You do lose some runtime due to the smaller capacity, but the S1R II is now able to push out a top end of 1000 lumens on Turbo before dropping down to a more manageable ~300 lumens after about a minute. Its 4 other modes, including a Low setting that gives 0.5 lumens up to 8 days and direct access to Strobe, is navigated with the S-series's tried-and-true single side button interface.

It's not just output where the S1R II made improvements. For starters, it's shorter, more compact, and even slightly lighter than the original. It sports a new, more aggressive knurling, as well as the new 2-way clip Olight have been rolling out with their newer lights. The side button now also comes with an LED indicator to let you know its battery level. And speaking of battery, charging is much more convenient now since the S1R II uses Olight's new MCCII (Magnetic Charging Cable II) standard, making the light compatible with the rest of Olight's chargers and cables for ther other magnetic charging lights. The new MCCII cable is included, along with a soft pouch, lanyard, and battery case to hold and carry everything together.

The Olight S1R II Baton shows that Olight knows when not to reinvent the wheel to bring the most benefit to their flashlights. Sometimes a little tweaking is all it takes to make the biggest difference. Pick up Olight's newest compact light at that Amazon link below.

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Fenix E16 EDC Flashlight

As flashlight tech gets better and better, the market for an EDC light gets more and more competitive. Some differentiate by being as compact as possible for ease of carry, while some just want to scorch some retinas with sheer lumen power. Few can do both, much less do it well. Fenix are one of those few. With the E16 EDC Flashlight, they push the possibilities of power and portability of a pocket light. With unique features and unprecedented output from a torch that's only 2 inches, it sets the bar for an everyday, usable light that fits into any carry.

Rather than just an emitter into a tube of anodized aluminum, Fenix manages to fit in a few unique touches to E16's tiny frame. This includes cooling vents built into the light's head, along with a vertical textured knurling pattern to help keep the light in your hands. A stainless steel side switch controls its 5 output levels, with a Cree XP-L Hi LED able to emit 3 lumens for up to 110 hours on Low with a CR123A battery, or up to 700 lumens for over 1 hour of total runtime on High with a 16340 rechargeable cell.

Space is a premium for a light of this size, and Fenix made sure none of it goes to waste. Starting with its reflector, it comes in at a minimal 3mm, saving a ton of space on the light's head. A 3-way pocket clip allows for tip up, tip down, or lanyard carry, giving you plenty of ways to carry it, including as a psuedo-headlamp when attached to the brim of a cap. Its tail is able to tailstand while integrating both a lanyard point attachment and a magnetic base for even more utility. And even though the E16 weighs in at a featherweight 2.6 ounces, it still comes with IP68-rated dust resistance and water ingress protection up to 2 meters for 30 minutes.

While the compact EDC flashlight space is getting crowded, the E16 is a heavy-duty contender that takes up no space at all. Pick one up from the Amazon link below.

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Gear Up for Fall with 5.11 Tactical Apparel and Flashlights

With an emphasis on practical design and tough build materials, 5.11 Tactical gear has become the go-to for many EDCers. On top of their iconic bags, pouches, and tools that they make, they've also got gear to cover the rest of your bases from head to toe. So if you're serious about staying prepared with functional gear, it's important to pay attention not only to what you carry, but the clothes you carry them in as well. 5.11 Tactical's latest releases include their Defender-Flex tactical jeans, Union Waterproof boots, and their handy EDC penlight with performance-driven improvements all around.

BioLite HeadLamp

"BioLite’s take on the headlamp integrates the electronics into a moisture-wicking fabric and has the battery at the back, so it won’t bounce or slip while you’re wearing it. The 330 lumen lamp lasts up to 40 hours, has three positions, and..." (via TheAwesomer)

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RovyVon Aurora A5

These days it takes more than a spec bump and a smaller footprint to stand out when it comes to EDC lights. Up and coming light manufacturer RovyVon brings both the output and the portability to their 550-lumen Aurora A5 keychain light, but that's just the beginning. Its glow-in-the-dark body is jam-packed with multiple LEDs and other carry-friendly features, making it one of the most versatile lighting tools you can EDC right now.

The Aurora A5 bucks the trend of your typical metal-tube flashlight design with its fluorescent polycarbonate shell. It glows green in the dark, but it's also translucent enough for its two side-mounted LEDs to shine through. The glow-in-the-dark green helps locate the light without using up its battery, while the red side LED functions as a beacon or signal light, and the side-mounted white LED offers a lantern-like flood for reading.

Its main CREE XP-G3 LED pushes up to 550 lumens on its highest setting. Its medium mode hits around 220 lumens, while its Low mode offers 20 lumens of general EDC utility. A stainless steel bezel protects the emitter from impact, while a total internal reflection lens makes for a wide, even beam of floody light. You can control its modes using its side switch that's even capable of both momentary and constant-on operation.

The Aurora A5 also comes with a low-battery indicator and recharges via USB in just 45 minutes. For even more convenience, it comes with a 2-way friction clip for pocket- or ballcap carry, while a lanyard attachment points rounds out your EDC options. Perhaps most impressive is it manages to fit all this technology into an IP65 water resistant body that's only 2.16” long and weighs less than half an ounce at 0.416 oz. You can upgrade your keychain kit with an Aurora A5 at the link below.

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10 Best 18650 Flashlights for Everyday Carry 2018

The 18650 lithium-ion battery is one of the most popular battery form factors in production. Its size and features make it ideal for electronic applications, like laptop and electronic car batteries, and even portable battery chargers. Thanks to advancements in both battery and flashlight tech it's gained tremendous ground as a new format for an EDC light as we've seen in new releases this year.

An 18650 (named for its 18mm diameter, 65mm length, and cylindrical shape) battery offers higher voltage, bigger capacity, and reusability, making it an ideal power source for flashlights. As of 2018, we're talking upwards of 3000 lumens in your pocket, more options for high color rendering, runtimes measured in weeks and months (yes, months), and no longer having to buy disposable batteries or chargers which is always good for the environment.

Below we've rounded up 10 of the best 18650 flashlights available so far this 2018. They're lights that make full use of the battery's capabilities but remain compact enough for everyday carry.

EAGTAC DX3B Mini Pro

In general the type of battery a flashlight uses really defines what it can and can't do. Lights with larger batteries offer more lumens and runtime, but they're usually much less pocket-friendly. EAGTAC's DX3B Mini Pro delivers the specs and performance you'd expect from a light twice its size thanks to its compact, built-in 18350 battery. It's a feature-packed pocket rocket boasting an 1830 lumen output in a truly EDC-friendly form factor.

The best part about using an 18350 light is the battery itself. While it's shorter in stature (35mm vs the 18650's 65mm, hence the designation), it loses none of the power output of its big brother. This means that when paired with the Cree XHP50.2 LED, you get an almost ridiculous 1830 ANSI lumens on the DX3B Mini Pro's highest level, scorching all the way to 165 yards with its deep reflector. Understandably, you lose some capacity in exchange for the smaller size, but you still get up to 20 hours of runtime on its lowest 21 ANSI lumen Low mode. Navigating its five levels (with more programmable) is done via a side button, which also doubles as a battery indicator.

EAGTAC have also thrown in some key features to round out the DX3B Mini Pro for EDC. An 800mAh 18350 battery is included as part of its kit, with charging built right into the light via a micro USB port. A crenelated stainless steel bezel protects the business end from drops and impact while also letting you see if you've left the light on when placed head-down. If you need longer runtimes, the DX3B also comes with an 18650 extension tube so you can take advantage of higher-capacity batteries you may already have on hand. The light makes the most of its size for EDC with a 2.6-ounce weight and 3.4” length, along with additional carry options by way of a 2-way removable deep pocket clip and magnetic (tailstanding) tailcap.

With power that belies its size and features that make the most of its platform, the EAGTAC DX3B Mini Pro is a compelling contender for your next pocket rocket. Pick one up from Amazon at the link below.

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Fenix LD02 V2 Penlight

Before we had keychain-sized pocket rockets we have today, EDCers would rely on a trusty AAA light to hit the sweet spot between performance and portability. Fenix led the way with their nearly bombproof E01 and their more feature-packed LD02, and after much anticipation they've updated the latter with improvements all around. To make an impact in 2018, the Fenix LD02 V2 sports an entirely new look and unique features even discerning flashaholics can appreciate.

While the 1xAAA form factor is a dying breed these days, it's still a great format for general EDC. The LD02 V2 measures in at a very pocket friendly 3.6” long, 0.5” diameter, and weighs only 24 grams without a battery. The LD02 V2 uses anodized aluminum for the main body of the light, but sports stainless steel at the business end for impact resistance. The first of many of the LD02 V2's unique design cues is its stainless steel push button assembly at the rear of the light, giving a robust and premium feel in hand. A snug, stainless steel pocket clip rounds out the build, letting you carry it in your shirt pocket or in the admin panel of a bag or EDC pouch like you would a pen.

Unlike most EDC lights, the LD02 V2 features both a 90-CRI warm white CREE XQ-E HI emitter for general use and a 200mW UV light for specialized tasks like checking currency. The main warm white emitter puts out up to 70 lumens on High, 25 lumens on Medium, and 1 lumen on Low for 75 hours off a single alkaline or NiMH AAA battery.

With its uniquely useful LED combination, convenient battery type and form factor, and premium build quality, the new and improved LD02 V2 makes a strong case for EDCing a light of this class in a modern EDC. Check it out at the Amazon link below.

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