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EDC Handheld Light Buying Guide

Just a heads up, this article will be somewhat long winded. There’s a lot of information to go over so that takes some time. We’ll briefly touch on a few features you may want in a light but the main purpose of this article is to compare and contrast the different models available. Low light training from a competent instructor is highly encouraged so you can establish what it is that you need from a light.  
This article will only cover SureFire lights There are many light manufacturers out there that make decent  lights. For some, this lower level of quality may be acceptable. For those that demand the most out of their gear SureFire is the only option. Until a company comes along that can match the quality, durability & reliability of SureFire, I’ll stick with the proven performer. Decades of proven performance and literally millions of lights in use around the world give a pretty good indication of the level of quality you can expect.
There a multitude of reasons to choose a SureFire light. The main reasons for me are:

-Durability & Reliability. SureFire has a very extensive track record of making tough and dependable hard use lights. Their products are used by many professionals every day and are exposed to some of the most adverse conditions possible. They continually preform when put to the test. Obviously nothing is indestructible but they have a much lower failure rate compared to other offerings.

-Beam Pattern and “Usable Light.” We’ll cover this in a little more detail shortly but SureFire makes lights with the greatest amount of usable light.

-Warranty. Notice that I put this at the very bottom of my list. Warranty should never be the largest consideration when selecting life critical gear. I’d take a 1 year warranty that I never have to use, over a lifetime warranty that I keep on using. (A warranty is useless when you life is on the line and your gear fails.) Having said that, SureFire has the absolute best customer service in the industry. If you somehow manage to brea