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Besides a pocketknife, one of the most useful tools that I keep with me virtually all the time is a flashlight. Whether heading to the office or outdoors, a reliable light source can prove to be not only handy but also life saving. Flashlights come in all shapes and sizes and prices and include many products in the tactical category – lights designed for soldiers and police officers. The Brite-Strike BD-198-MH, part of the company’s Tactical Blue Dot line of flashlights, offers a military-grade handheld light that can double as a weapon. While it is certainly an excellent tool for tactical applications, the Brite-Strike flashlight can also meet the needs of the casual and serious outdoors person, whether hiking or backpacking or camping and everything in between.
- Lumens: 310
- Runtime: 2.5 hours
- Length: 5”
- Bezel width: 1.1”
- Weight: 2.9 oz. (without batteries)
- Batteries: 2 123A Lithium
- Price: $175
Made of high-grade aerospace aluminum billet with a black anodized military-grade finish, the Brite-Strike flashlight is high in strength and durability and light in weight. The ergonomic design of the handle makes it easy to hold, even when wet, and a carrying clip makes it easy to carry in a pocket, on a belt, or attached to a backpack. The crown features crenulations--sometimes referred to as a “strike bezel”--meant to serve as a weapon. Push the round, blue, recessed switch in the tail of the flashlight to turn the light on momentarily or fully depress the switch and click it on for a continuous beam. Either way, the flashlight produces a brilliant, concentrated beam that also seamlessly fills the surrounding area. As for settings, this light is either on high or off and the beam does not adjust. Although the two lithium batteries will provide 2.5 hours of continuous run-time, this light is meant for providing short bursts of bright light.
Beyond the tactical features, the Brite-Strike flashlight can survive a 3 meter fall and is waterproof/submersible to 12 meters. The 310-lumen beam reaches 131 meters.
The reliability or durability of the Brite-Strike overall is excellent. It has been a constant companion outdoors, in all kinds of weather, and helped with numerous vehicle or home repairs where tools get tossed around and banged up. The clip remains robust, the tail switch still works perfectly, the lens is not even scratched, and the body only shows the slightest signs of wear. The beam shines brightly and I’m still using the original batteries that shipped with the light.
The light weight of the Brite-Strike means it gets taken along just about everywhere I go. If not in a shoulder bag, it fits easily into a pocket, the clip keeping it at the ready. At first, the light weight caused me to treat the flashlight very carefully, as if it would break. After a few weeks of use, however, the aluminum construction proved its worth. It’s as strong as it is light in weight.
This super durable, lightweight flashlight is more than just a light source. Because it is so bright, the Brite-Strike beam can be used to blind an attacker or used as a signal. In an attack that results in a physical confrontation, because it is strong and designed with strike bezels, it can be used as a weapon.
The only reason the Brite-Strike doesn’t get five stars in the reliability category is because the light burns so hot. The lens can get very hot and the aluminum crown can get very warm. While this won’t affect the reliability of the light, it can be a bit disconcerting to a user.
The Brite-Strike BD-198-MH lists at $175 but I’ve seen it available for $125. As a military or law enforcement tactical tool this seems like a decent price but for a general purpose flashlight it is probably too high. The serious outdoors person, however, may find great value in the mil-spec features, especially the ability to handle a 3 meter drop and to be submersed in 12 meters of water. And the 310-lumen output adds additional value as a potential signal light.
As with most outdoors gear, whether something is referable to a friend or not depends on that friend’s needs. If you’re looking for a general purpose flashlight that’s bright and durable and water resistant, the Brite-Strike probably is overkill. Other flashlights will meet your needs for a fraction of the cost. But if you’re looking for an ultra-durable, lightweight, super bright flashlight that can light up the immediate area, blind an attacker, or serve as a weapon, then the Brite-Strike may be for you.
Images by Mark Kakkuri