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The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in 9mm is an extremely popular handgun (which is a serious understatement). This one is apparently used for off-body carry using a MIDRAT DeepCover Off-Body EDC System.

We’ve covered this system before, so let’s focus on something else: lights. This photo includes a Lumintop Tool AAA 110. The “110” refers to lumens; this light is capable of 110 lumens and has three brightness settings.

How many lumens do you require from your handheld or weapon-mounted lights? Or do you think lumens don’t really matter much?

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    • Nailed it!

      Who off-body carries a tactical watch by the way? Colion Noir maybe? One dresses for the occasion, I guess.

        • There are many jobs where having a wristwatch is not the best idea or outright dangerous. However, that doesn’t mean one off-body “carries” one. Storing your wrist watch in a locker while working is not carrying. Someone working in a restaurant or hospital is not running around with a bag all day containing this, so called, Off-Body EDC System. Also, someone working in a restaurant or hospital would be carrying their firearm on the body or storing it in a locker or car.

  1. Lumens matter to a point. Too much brightness in your center spot on a WML will washout red dots. Too many lumens can also blind you due to reflection when inspecting small things like small welds or the inside of a furnace or whatnot.

    What really makes a difference is the reflector. If it’s quality it won’t produce a dark spot in the center of the beam nor will it produce a really “hot” spot either. It also won’t diffuse the beam too much or make it very narrow.

    How many lumens you want, er, well I want depends on what the light is for. For an all-round flashlight or WML 200-1000 lumens is about right depending on your use and how diffuse a beam you want. For something used for inspection I like to have a variable light.

    Having lost my Fenix PD22’s I carry a Surefire Titan (15-75-300 lumens) light as my pocket light. My other lights vary enormously. Everything from a Surefire E1D or E2D Defender to a Tactician to various Fenix, Pelican or Streamlight products. Brighter lights tend to be in my vehicles while slimmer or shorter profile lights are in my bags. Overall larger lights are around the house in case of a power outage along with a series of headlamps.

    Whatever light(s) you choose use Li-Ion batteries exclusively. They’re not affected by heat or cold like alkaline batteries, don’t leak near as often, run longer and produce a higher and more consistant energy output over their life.

    • “What really makes a difference is the reflector.”

      Preach it.

      An ‘orange peel” texture on the reflector really helps ‘even out’ and diffuse the beam.

      Thank God advances have been made since the era of the Maglite…

      • “Thank God advances have been made since the era of the Maglite…”

        Indeed. Surefire spent more money researching reflectors than the Catholic Church has spent covering up for priests that touch children. /end preaching.

        Can I get an “Amen”?

    • Always get the adjustable dot for a red dot. Bump it up one or two settings above what it needs to be and you’ll always pick it up under a weapon light.

      • “Bump it up one or two settings above what it needs to be and you’ll always pick it up under a weapon light.”

        That depends on the WML. If you have one with 1000 lumens and a serious hotspot there isn’t a red-dot made that will overcome that. You don’t have to take my word for it though. It’s known in the SOF community to the point that Breach Bang Clear tested it.

        • So are red-dot sights. Mainly you find them on rifles which is where the problem was originally found.

          Really, you don’t need anywhere near 1000 lumens to overpower any red-dot on the market. 400 or even 300 lumens will do it if the light focuses a significant hotspot centered on the dot. The problem exists with handheld flashlights as well. However, as long as the reflector properly diffuses the light this shouldn’t be an issue.

          The lesson is: Don’t buy a cheap light if you’re going to be using a red dot. Also, preferably, test the light/dot combo before you carry them.

  2. “…soon every lumen in the land
    will be in his mighty hand…”
    w/ regards (and apologies) to d. moore.

    i find 400 to be the upper limit of my needs for the illuminati. not lou malnotti.

  3. Up to 500 variable for my handheld, and 600 at the moment on my carry gun. 1000 once I’m not cheap and upgrade to the new x300.

  4. I think my Streamlight Stylus Pro is 90.

    My Viridian Reactor is 100.

    The Streamlight seems brighter to me.

    The reactor has an oval throw. Works pretty well.

    I guess my minimum is 90 lumens. Lol

    My truck light is a Maglite 3C LED. That sumbitch is over 600 lumens on high. And runs forever on low. Great light for the money.

  5. My daily pocket light is a copper AAA Maratac. Not meant to be tactical in any way. 3 settings, 1.5 lumens at the low end, over 100 at the high. Home defense pistol has a Streamlight TLR-2 w/ a viridian laser slung under a 4.5″ XDm 9mm. That pushes 300 lumens. HD shotgun is a Mossberg 500 with a Surefire Scout that, if I recall, is 500 lumens. For me, this range of lumens is just fine; it’s no phaser, but their more than enough to light up my small house, and considerably disorienting to their recipient.

  6. I’m still confused on led lumens. The don’t seem as bright as an old style maglite . Anyway I need a new flashlight, one Ithats not as big as a 4 Dcell maglite and bright enough that I can spot critters in the brush about 30-50 yards away. Since my dogs died I’m getting, stray cats, possums, coons, bobcats, critters, in the yard eating my cats cat food and messing with the kittens. Not so much problems with the bobcats because their spooked on getting to close. My place has no yard lights so I need a handheld flashlight sun blaster. I could get another dog, but then if I go hiking in another State or something I have to get someone to feed and water the dogs.

    • I bought several 4D cell maglites several years ago. I still have them and they work.
      However I have many newer model flashlights.

      Most of my newer model flashlights are brighter than a 4D Maglite.
      Olight makes several very good models. I believe the one I use now is an SR1. Runs on a rechargeable RCR 123.

      Side by side the Olight not only covers up the maglite beam but out distances it as well

      Only downside the Olight wont hurt as much if I hit somebody with it..

    • After buying a half-dozen ThruNite TC-12s for family and friends (I really like them!), I was apparently on a list, as I received an ad for their new TC-15. Even smaller than the TC-12, the peak for the -15 is 1800 lumens, only for a few minutes then drops to 1100 (battery gets hot from high discharge rate, although the battery has enough power to run 1100 for 90 minutes). Lowest power will stay lit for over a month, continuously. The light is small enough to be concealed in your hand, and the damn thing is under $50. Uses 18650 rechargeables, in my use I recharge them every January and forget them for the rest of the year. Build quality appears amazing. Recharges in the light plugged into USB, what’s not to like? Amazon can have one in your hand tomorrow.

  7. Good information here. Appreciate all the ‘positive’ comments. Helps me a ton as I figure out what is best for a light. I currently use one of the Olight M2T warrior light. It’s a great light with both low and high lumens, but I don’t think it is too high to blind myself against a wall.

  8. Still have my “police” 6 D cell Mag lite and my “certificate” to prove that I qualified to use the Mag in stead of a stick or ASP. Will carry an inexpensive NEBO light/strobe 1 aa battery. Wife has borrowed my lights till I refuse to by $$ lights. Amazing they can find the candy wrapper from 2 months ago but can’t REMEMBER where she left my light last night. At least the light wasn’t on the gun.

  9. For lumens I like a low/med/high setup because most of the time I am just using low to help my old eyes see. My Olight M20SX Javelot does 25/150/820. It works well with a 18650 lion battery in it.

    I like a strong center and halo in an EDC light. You can hold the “hot spot” on target with the halo lighting your front site. Not sure if it counts as an FBI hold but it works for me.

    A weapon light can also work as a sight for close targets. Works great on a handgun at house clearing distances.

  10. Being relatively new to defensive firearms, I’ve been eyeballing different WML & lasers. I’ve found this site quite helpful and informative on numerous aspects I hadn’t considered. Dot wash and reflection were two variables that had not entered my mind, that needs to be taken into consideration. Had almost decided on my setup, but will re-evaluate with the adjusted knowledge. Thanks for all the tips, from both the articles and comments section.

  11. Cisno 1000 lumen tactical. A decent setup for those of us on a tight budget. Made in 🇺🇸 and comes with a 18 month warranty. Constant & temporary pressure remote & rail mount. Cost around $50 takes 1 – 18650 li-ion battery.

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