Elzetta Tailcap Options
by David Barnett, P.E.
Elzetta Modular Flashlights are just that; Modular. One of the many benefits of having interchangeable components is the ability to choose the user interface that is most appropriate for a given mission or for a client’s personal preferences. As explained in our blog on Tactical Flashlight User Interfaces, flashlights used for tactical operations must be robust and reliable in high stress conditions and therefore demand decoupled binary user interfaces. All Tailcap options on Elzetta Modular Flashlights meet these critical requirements.
Clients often ask for an explanation and/or demonstration of the various Tailcap options Elzetta offers. Fortunately, the simple nature of each choice makes this request easy to accommodate.
The Elzetta Rotary Tailcap provides basic on/off functionality with a pushbutton that never latches. Whenever the pushbutton is depressed, the Modular Flashlight produces light at its highest output. To obtain constant-on operation without continually holding the button, the Tailcap may be simply rotated fully clockwise (screwed all the way on). A unique feature of the Elzetta Rotary Tailcap is its easy sensitivity adjustment. With the Tailcap just a few degrees from fully clockwise, activation force is very responsive (to the point that pressure on the side of the Tailcap, not just the pushbutton, can activate the Light). As the Tailcap is rotated further counter-clockwise (unscrewed), sensitivity decreases and more force and travel distance is required on the pushbutton to turn the Light on. This enables the user to choose the amount of force required to activate the Light.
When the pushbutton on an Elzetta Click Tailcap is depressed softly, the Modular Flashlight produces light until the pushbutton is released. To latch the switch for constant operation, the pushbutton is simply depressed further until the Tailcap “clicks”. Clicking the pushbutton again turns the Light off. It works much like a common ballpoint pen. While Elzetta uses the common term “click”, it should be noted that Elzetta Tailcaps operate very quietly and the latching of the switch may not be audible. Light is to be seen, not heard.
Elzetta’s best-selling Tailcap is the High/Low. The Elzetta High/Low Tailcap use a click-switch identical to the one described above but with an added benefit. When a High/Low Tailcap is rotated fully clockwise (completely screwed on), its functionality is indistinguishable from a Click Tailcap. When the High/Low Tailcap is loosened (anywhere from a few degrees to a ¼ turn), Low Mode is engaged. Low Mode operates the Modular Flashlight at a significantly reduced output which provides more appropriate light levels for many tasks while greatly extending battery life. Since on/off functionality is controlled by the pushbutton and High/Low functionality is determined by Tailcap rotation, simple, reliable operation is achieved without confusion. The Alpha High/Low Tailcap functions identically but is calibrated for use with Alpha Models (the regular High/Low Tailcap is made for Bravo and Charlie Models).
The Elzetta High/Strobe Tailcap works just like the High/Low Tailcap but with a high-frequency tactical strobe replacing Low Mode. Unlike other “tactical” flashlights which require ridiculous multiple-clicks to obtain a strobe feature, the decoupled binary user interface of the Elzetta High/Strobe Tailcap allows the operator to engage the strobe with a slight rotation of the Tailcap. One-hand operation is quick and easy and modes can be changed whether the Light is on or off.
Finally, Elzetta Remote Tape Switches are a popular option for weapon-mounted applications. An Elzetta Remote Tape Switch basically works just like a Rotary Tailcap with the Remote Pressure Pad replacing the pushbutton. Momentary operation is achieved by depressing the Pressure Pad and constant-on operation is accomplished by rotating the Tailcap fully clockwise. This provides genuine failsafe operation. Since constant-on is obtained by rotating the Tailcap and does not involve the Pressure Pad in any way, operation of the Modular Flashlight remains fully intact even if the Pressure Pad or cable is completely destroyed or severed. Elzetta Remote Tape Switches feature fully shielded cables available in 5-inch or 12-inch lengths.
Which Tailcap is best depends on your mission and your preferences, both of which are likely to change over time. Fortunately, with the interchangeability of components, modifying the features of your Elzetta Modular Flashlight may be the easiest change you’ve ever made.