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What Is A Tactical Flashlight And Why Would I Need One?

When it comes to tactical equipment, durability and performance are two words that come to mind. This is not a trend we typically see in the consumer goods market. For this reason, a number of tactically-minded companies have popped up with the goal of bridging the gap between military-spec goods and the general public. 

The motto "buy it once, buy it for life" is commonplace in this industry which is why any tactical flashlight worth its salt will offer a lifetime warranty. It should be noted that these flashlights are not the standard Walmart light your father kept in the toolbox. These lights are powered by energy dense lithium-ion cells (the exact same cells you'll find in a Tesla) with supercharged high-output LED technology. 

Simply put, tactical flashlights are cool. They are powerful; reliable; and feel great to use. They are completely overbuilt for their intended applications and generally last a lifetime. 

Can your flashlight do this?

We'll saves you the sales pitch. If you want to get a taste of our most powerful tactical flashlight, simply click here and use the coupon code 50free during the last step of checkout to get 50% off your order AND free shipping. Keep in mind: this coupon can only be used one time per customer and is limited to only the TA-100.

TakLite Tips For Keeping Your Home Clean

As the art of interior design becomes more advanced, homeowners are finding it increasingly difficult to gauge the true cleanliness of their homes. The materials used today are intentionally designed to mask debris and to keep your home looking sharp. While this may visually be appealing, it can actually hide a mess which would normally prompt you to bust out the vacuum.

Vinyl plank flooring (also known as fake hardwood) is particularly guilty of this. This plastic material has been made popular for its stain-resistant properties and can be found in new constructions all across the country. 

The picture below contains what appears to be perfectly clean vinyl planks. 

As you can see, the low-contrast browns used in this flooring make it difficult to distinguish the hairs and dust. However, using one of our flashlights, we can illuminate the ground from an angle which disrupts the contrast and casts shadows. 

This revolutionary method, which we have dubbed the "light on the floor" method, can be performed by placing your flashlight on the floor and pointing it in the desired direction. While this can technically be done with any standard flashlight, it helps to use a flashlight emitting neutral colors which more closely resembles natural sunlight (such as our TA-50 flashlight)  

In fact, this trick works on a number of surfaces and is a great way to see the true condition of your environment. Just check out this drywall in our office!

 

Try it and let us know what you find!

CR123A vs 18650: Which Battery To Choose?

CR123A vs 18650: Which Battery To Choose?

In the flashlight world, there are two variations of Lithium batteries that manufacturers use: Lithium-Metal and Lithium-Ion. In this article, we'll explain some of the differences between the two batteries and discuss which battery is right for you.

CR123A (Primary Non-Rechargeable Lithium Metal)

CR123A batteries, also known as primary lithium-metal batteries, are currently the most popular form of lithium batteries. While some will be quick to argue otherwise, the reality is that primary lithium-metal batteries can be purchased in virtually any corner-store whereas rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can not. 

There is just one small problem: they are not rechargeable.

Once drained, they must be disposed of and replaced. Averaging around $1.20~ per battery when bought in bulk, and around $4~ per when bought in stores, it's easy to see how quickly the costs can add up. Compounded by the fact that most modern tactical flashlights require two or even three CR123A batteries for operation, the absurdity of these batteries is easy to see.

So - why do people still use CR123A batteries?

CR123A batteries can be useful because they have an incredibly wide operating temperature range -- meaning they can be used in extremely cold or extremely hot environments with less issues. Furthermore, CR123A batteries are considered by many to be a "survivor's ultimate tool" due to their lengthy shelf life. CR123A batteries can be safely stockpiled for periods of 10 years while still retaining a significant charge. A lithium-ion battery wouldn't even last half that.

This tolerance to the elements makes CR123A batteries popular in mission critical situations where failure can mean the difference between life and death. This is usually why most pistol-mounted flashlights are based on a CR123 battery configuration. 

Pros:

  • Can retain charge for up to 10 years
  • Wide operating temperature range (-40C - 85C)
  • Made in USA Brands Available

Cons:

  • Not rechargeable
  • Not practical for high output flashlights
  • Very expensive

18650 Lithium-Ion (Secondary Rechargeable Lithium-Ion)

While lithium-ion batteries have been used for years in laptop battery packs and other appliances, they have only recently gained popularity in the flashlight world. These batteries, which also happen to be the exact same batteries used in Tesla's new electric cars, are fully rechargeable and offer a much better value for consumers. They tend to be a little less tolerant to extreme environments but the difference is largely negligible for the average consumer.

Fun Fact: One 3400mAh lithium-ion cell averages around $12 and can last upwards of 500 recharge cycles. Two CR123A batteries would cost anywhere from $3-$5, only offer a maximum capacity of 3100mAh, and can't be recharged!

Pros:

  • Fully rechargeable
  • Cheap to buy
  • Can support much higher currents

Cons:

  • Only manufactured overseas*
  • Poor long term shelf life
  • Slightly more complex (risk of overcharging/overdischarging)

*A common argument domestic CR123A manufacturers make is that lithium-ion cells are all manufactured overseas. While this is true, the irony is that the same company (Panasonic) that manufactures their CR123A batteries is also the same company that manufactures the rechargeable lithium-ion cells they are against! The only difference is that CR123A batteries are manufactured in Panasonic's Georgia facility whereas lithium-ion batteries are manufactured in Panasonic's Japan facility. 

The Bottom Line:

It is pretty clear that rechargeable lithium-ion 18650 cells are a much better value for the average consumer. Lasting an average of two years with 500~ recharge cycles, they are the ultimate battery for use with flashlights. There is no reason to spend upwards of $5 on replacement batteries multiple times per week when you can simply buy a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

However, if you're anything like me, you always keep a modest stock of CR123A batteries anyways. The incredible shelf life is difficult to argue with and they can certainly prove to be useful in a critical situation. Just make sure you refer to your flashlight's operating manual prior to use.

See our selection of Lithium-Ion Batteries

 

The Beginners Guide To Zooming

The Beginners Guide To Zooming

For a lot of our new users, calibrating the AVP for those perfect shots can be a bit tedious. This guide is to help our new users effectively use their new pocket scope to its full potential.

For those of you who don’t have time to read a wall of text, take a peak at our spoiler video below. Everyone else, buckle up!

If you’re not familiar with how the AVP works, we’ll give you a quick explanation. Using something our team likes to call “Magnification Stacking”, the AVP combines the digital zoom from a smartphone camera with the hardware-based optical zoom offered by the AVP. This allows users to replicate the ability of a telephoto lens for a fraction of the price. With that being said, in order to maximize the capabilities of your AVP, you must have a smartphone handy (along with the provided accessories)

Ultimately the scope can be operational in just 4 steps:

  • Attach Tripod to your Scope
  • Attach Phone Clip to your Scope
  • Attach Cell Phone to your Scope
  • Open Native Smartphone Camera Application

However, the process of capturing the ultimate zoom or photo is actually slightly more complicated than the list above.


One of our customers using the AVP for target practice at his local range

 

Practice Makes Perfect

We’ve all heard the old adage “practice makes perfect”. I’m here to tell you that the saying holds true when operating your AVP. It will be difficult for a new user to replicate what they’ve seen on our social media as they were done by our experts; however, you will be well on your way after reading this guide.

I recommend all new users to practice assembling & dissembling the unit repeatedly as proper assembly is paramount to become a zoom master. We understand the technology isn’t perfect yet, so knowing how to deal with small nuances can prepare you for that perfect shot.

Properly Aligning Your Scope

The key to a perfect shot is to precisely line up your smartphone’s camera with the clip’s peep hole. As you can see in the picture below, the clips peep hole is not lined up with the smartphones camera. It’s slightly off-center. Ideally, you want to be perfectly centered. On a similar note, make sure the scope and cellphone are both firmly secured. If not, you risk the unit falling apart mid use.

To ensure best results, make sure the unit is resting on a flat surface. If you’re still having trouble stabilizing the legs of the tripod, or want to take your new hobby to the next level, we designed the AVP to be universally compatible with all industry standard tripods. So if you’re not a fan of tripod we provide, feel free to explore other options.

After assembling the unit properly, its time to dive into the the camera application.

Smartphone Operation

As previously mentioned, the AVP relies on the power of a smartphone camera. Knowing your way around the camera application will help you capture optimal pictures and videos.

The smartphone used in the picture above is the Galaxy Note 8, a relatively new smartphone that works perfect with the AVP. Due to the overwhelming amount of smartphones, it would be impossible for us to know the details of each device; however, we have compiled a generic list of key functions/settings users should look for when operating their camera.

Note: most of these settings can be enabled/disabled in your phones camera settings

  • Make sure your phone is recording in the highest resolution
  • Enable video stabilization
  • Enable grid lines
  • Use smartphone side-buttons for zooming in/out
  • Disable camera flash
  • Remove phone case

If you’re having trouble finding any of these settings, a quick Google search will point you in the right direction.

Night Vision Smartphone Application

Download link: IOS Application: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/night-eyes-lite-night-camera/id954158424?mt=8

When talking about Night Vision, most people envision something like the picture below.

However, the definition of night vision is pretty ambiguous, “The faculty of seeing in very low light, especially after the eyes have become adapted”. While the night vision application we provide to our customers may not be to the degree in the picture above, it will in fact enhance your ability to see in the dark.

Note: click here if you’re interested in reading more about the different types of night vision

Using the provided night vision application, zoomers will be able to catch their targets in the dark with ease. Simply download the night vision camera application, and you’re good to go!

The TA-200 Flashlight Is Shaking Up The Industry

The TA-200 Flashlight Is Shaking Up The Industry

If you're anything like me, you probably scoff anytime you see the word 'tactical' being used to describe a product. Let's face it, the marketing industry has driven this word to the brink of extinction and things like tactical glasses are proof of how absurd things have gotten.

The issue with this phenomenon is it muddies the waters for real tactical products. Consumers are often left wondering what the word 'tactical' even means. Is it tactical because it's black? Is it tactical because an ex-NAVY Seal is promoting it?

While we can not answer what makes a pair of sunglasses tactical, we can offer some insight into why our new TA-200 flashlight is one of our most tactical products yet. 

The tactical world employs several different techniques when it comes to using a flashlight in conjunction with a handgun. You have the FBI technique, Harries technique, and several others. The one thing these techniques all have in common is the usage of a momentary flashlight. In this context, the term momentary refers to the ability of the flashlight to activate only with constant pressure. The millisecond you stop applying pressure, the flashlight turns off.

This is important because it allows the operator to change positions without allowing the enemy to see their path. Conventional flashlights operate in only a on or off capacity which is typically activated with a one-time press of a button. It may sound silly but the momentary functionality actually makes a lot of sense once you have tried it. In mission critical situations, you don't want to leave anything up to chance and having to fiddle around with an on/off switch is a recipe for disaster.

In fact, this concept isn't anything new in the world of weapon mounted flashlights. Most weapon mounted flashlights are sold with pressure switches or pressure pads which allow for momentary usage. However, we aren't talking about weapon mounted flashlights. We are talking about handheld flashlights which is why we believe the TA-200 is truly unique. It's one of the few flashlights on the market that have this sort of functionality.

Astute readers and TakLite enthusiasts are probably asking themselves, "Wait, I thought the TA-50 and the TA-100 had momentary switches?". It's true, these two models do have momentary functionality but the mechanisms are different. The TA-50 and TA-100 run on different circuitry which allows for a splitting of the active mode. In other words, you can choose if you want the flashlight to operate in a traditional on/off capacity or in a momentary capacity. 

Sounds pretty cool, right? While it does work quite well, I would make the argument that it's not as effective as the system used in the TA-200. For starters, TakLite has stated that the springs used in the TA-200's tailswitch were specifically designed to be more tactile and to offer greater resistance than what you would find in the TA-50 or TA-100. Furthermore, the TA-200 is overall less complex due to the addition of a side-switch which allows the functions of the flashlights to be split between more than just a single button. 

Last but not least, the TA-200 is TakLite's first flashlight to ship with battery bank functionality which means the flashlight can actually charge external devices via Micro USB. While this certainly isn't the first flashlight to feature this type of functionality, it's certainly refreshing to see a more notable brand starting to employ this technology. Don't forget, it took Streamlight and SureFire years before they felt comfortable using lithium-ion batteries regularly. Meanwhile hundreds of Chinese manufacturers had already been using them for well over a decade.

Despite technically being part of the TA product family, it is our opinion that the TA-200 should be in a class of its own. The build quality, design, and practicality are simply in a different league and it's refreshing to see some new life breathed back into the otherwise stagnant flashlight market. If you have an opportunity to pick up the TA-200 for under $70, we would highly recommend giving it a shot.