by David Barnett, P.E.
While much consideration goes into the internal electronics and subsequent output of tactical flashlights, the detailed design of the outside of such devices is also important. At casual glance, tactical flashlights may all appear largely the same; a black cylinder with a button on one end and light coming out the other. Upon closer examination, however, one will appreciate the small details that make a big difference in tactical operations.
Examining the subtle features of an Elzetta Modular Flashlight reveals the deliberate design elements that combine to create a world-class lighting tool. For example, the seven flutes that characterize the Elzetta shape serve to prevent rolling when the Flashlight is placed on a flat surface. Similarly, the flutes in the Tailcap add stability while also providing a secure grip for rotating the Tailcap. Furthermore, the tapered end of the Tailcap is purpose-built as well. The conical end of the Tailcap speeds and eases insertion into pockets, pouches, and holsters much like a funneled magazine-well quickens reload times on a pistol or carbine.
Since tactical flashlights are frequently used in messy conditions, the design should carefully consider adverse environments. Water, mud, oil, body fluids, and other gunk often find their way onto the flashlight and can make holding onto the device a real challenge. The main body of an Elzetta Modular Flashlight consists of circumferential grooves, fine knurling, and flat logo pockets. If these features resemble tire tread, it is no coincidence. The geometry functions much the same as modern car tires to quickly eliminate water and other fluids that could reduce traction. The fine knurling acts as tire tread sipes to provide pathways for fluid flow and effectively routes fluids to the larger grooves where the water, muck, and mire is channeled away to the logo pockets where it can fall away freely. This works just like quality all-season tires on a car that evacuate water from the critical contact patch to provide stable traction in sloppy settings.
For self-defense applications, any Elzetta Modular Flashlight may be fitted with a Crenellated Bezel. The scalloped endcap adds more than style to the Light. It also provides an effective non-lethal compliance device that can be used to deter would-be assailants. Unlike similar designs used on other flashlights, Elzetta Crenellated Bezels are not so sharp as to cut or injure the person handling the Flashlight but are designed to grasp and tear the flesh of an assailant as the Bezel surface is twisted firmly into a perp’s body. Acting a bit like a hole-saw, aggressive application of an Elzetta Crenellated Bezel is enough to make a thug wish he’d picked an easier victim.
When observing particular elements of a device such as a tactical flashlight, it is natural to dismiss small details as simply unimportant styling cues. Well-designed and well-engineering products, however, consider every facet and nuance of the device in relation to its intended function. It can often be the small things that make the big difference.