A good flashlight should be part of everyone’s kit, no matter where you’re operating. Sometimes it’s good to have a different option available, though – a headlamp. It won’t add much in the way of weight and bulk, but it has some real advantages and can make a huge difference to your effectiveness when used correctly.
A flashlight is perfect when you need a quick look at something, but how about when you have a complex task that needs to get done in the dark? The tactical environment allows for white light but there’s no illumination apart from what you have in your gear – and the job needs two hands? Most of us have probably struggled with this problem at some time; trying to grip a flashlight with our ear as we change a wheel or write a set of orders. Now imagine how much easier it would be if you had a lamp that points where you’re looking and doesn’t need a hand to control it. That’s when you need a headlamp.
Headlamps have been popular with hikers and cavers for a long time, but they have a lot to offer military and law enforcement as well. Now that’s being recognized as manufacturers release tactical versions offering extra features. Here are a few things to look for in the ideal headlamp:
Durability– A lamp is no use if it dies the first time it gets a knock or some rain lands on it. Look for at least an IPX 7 water resistance rating and a solid case.
- Battery Life- Headlamps used to offer a choice between terrible battery life and excessive weight. That’s all changed with LED technology. Look for a lamp with a wide range of power settings. The chances are you won’t need a beam that can light things up a hundred yards away, so turning down the brightness can seriously extend your battery life.
- Mounting Options– Headlamps usually come with a band or harness. Most LED ones are light enough that a band is the best option; harnesses, with a strap over the top of your head, can get uncomfortable under your standard headgear. Also, look at the option of a helmet mount – some lamps will fit to your NVG bracket.
- Functions– As well as standard white light, other features can be useful. Some lamps give you the choice of white or red light; most have a strobe function, which makes a useful emergency beacon.
Headlamps take longer to operate than a standard flashlight, so they’re not always appropriate, but away from the front line they have massive potential. Around a FOB, for example, life gets a lot easier when you have both hands free to get on with your life. For vehicle mechanics and signals specialists, they’re invaluable. They’re also extremely useful for general camping and outdoor sports. If you don’t already have one you should seriously consider picking one up.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.