by David Crane
I’ve been using Surefire combat flashlights for the last several years for one reason: they’re the best. No question about it, they are heads and shoulders above the rest of the competition on a number of levels.
First, Surefire’s are brighter than everything else out there. These flashlights are specifically designed to be used in tactical situations, literally as weapons themselves, in a fight–specifically in a fight at night. They’re made specifically to blind the badguys. If you can take away the badguy’s ability to see, you take away his ability to fight effectively.
Secondly, Surefire’s are the only flashlights with the instant on/off thumb button on the back of the housing. This one feature, by itself, makes…
Surefires superior fighting flashlights. Designed to be used with the Harries technique, the Surefire thumb button renders all other flashlights instantly obsolete for gunfighting. Surefire has an actual school, the Surefire Institute, whose primary focus is to teach elite military Spec-Ops and LE SWAT personnel how to fight at night with guns. The Surefire Institute therefore spends a lot of time teaching students how to make effective tactical use of that thumb button. The Surefire Institute, by the way, was started by Ken Good and Dave Maynard, both former Navy SEAL’s. Before teaching at the Surefire Institute, both men used to run a school called Combative Concepts.
Thirdly, Surefires are tough. Military Spec-Ops and LE SWAT users need lights that are incredibly durable and can therefore withstand combat conditions. Surefire flashlight housings are constructed of either aerospace-grade aluminum or Nitrolon polymer.
The three Surefire Models I have the most personal experience with are the M3 Millenium Combat, the E2E Executive Elite, and the G2Z.
The M3 Millenium Combat light was my first Surefire flashlight. It is one badass flashlight. I’ve beaten the hell out of mine, and it just keeps on ticking. This light, like all Surefires, is amazingly powerful for it’s size. The M3 gives you two options: the MN-10 bulb gives you 125 lumens for 60 minutes, and the MN-11 gives you 225 lumens for 20 minutes. Both lamps are xenon gas-filled. The housing on the M3 is aluminum. The lens is Pyrex.
If you’re going to purchase a Surefire M3 Millenium Combat Light, I recommend that you also purchase the quick-detach flip-up FM15 red beamfilter that the company makes for it. It’s a cool item, and has come in real handy when I’ve needed to poke around the house looking for one of the many things I misplace on a daily basis–without waking everyone else up. So, how good is this flashlight? If I could only purchase one Surefire flashlight, and I wasn’t worried about being able to carry it in my pocket, the M3 Millenium is the one I’d get. Wait a minute–I already did!
This leads me to my second Surefire acquisition, the E2E Executive Elite. My good friend and noted tactical shooting instructor Andy Stanford turned me onto this little item awhile back, and I’m extremely glad he did. Stanford runs Options for Personal Security(OPS), and really knows his stuff. My personal Surefire E2E is the O.D. green hard anodized(aluminum) version. The Executive Elite is a little pocket flashlight that thinks it’s a big flashlight. Since it’s designed to be carried in the pocket, it comes with the requisite pocket clip. The light output on the E2E is 60 lumens output for 75 minutes with the MN03 lamp. For a light that measures 4.5 inches long and only 3.2 ounces, that’s a LOT of power, folks. You can also use an MN02 lamp, which will give you 25 lumens for 2.5 hours.
My E2E Executive Elite goes with me everywhere. My standard carry package at night is a Glock 19 (9mm) or Glock 30 (.45 ACP) with 1 or 2 spare hi-cap mags, a clip-it combat folder, and my Surefire E2E. If you’re currently looking for the perfect carry combat white light, look no further. The Surefire E2E Executive Elite is as good as you’re gonna’ get. Period.
Last up is the Surefire G2Z Nitrolon. This flashlight is virtually identical to Surefire’s Z2 aluminum combat light, which is standard issue for FBI special agents, U.S. Marshalls, and many police agencies. Nitrolon is, according to the company, a corrosion-proof proprietary polymer that absorbs shock more efficiently than aluminum." It’s also non-conductive. The G2Z is 5.1" long, and weighs 4.3 ounces. Light output is 65 lumens (60 minutes) with the P60 bulb, or an impressive 125 lumens (20 minutes) with the P61 ultra-high output lamp. I’ve been carrying around my Surefire G2Z Nitrolon for the last several months, and am very impressed with it. It’s a handy, solid little unit.
Long story short, if you’re looking for a tactical flashlight you can use as a fighting tool, particularly for gunfighting at night, there’s only one way to go. Get a Surefire as fast as you can, and don’t look back. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Ask the professionals. There are plenty of U.S. military Spec-Ops personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan and LE SWAT guys all over this country that can tell you a lot more about these amazing flashlights than I can. Oh, and in case you’re thinking they’re too expensive, remember–you get what you pay for in this world. I’ll put it this way, how much is your life worth?
By the way, if you’re looking for some of the best tactical/combat shooting instruction money can buy, you should contact Andy Stanford at 877.636.4677, or visit his website here. Stanford runs OPS (Options for Personal Security). The author has taken both his Surgical Speed Shooting and Dynamic Tactics courses, and they are both phenomenal. In the author’s opinion, OPS is currently one of the best and most progressive tactical shooting schools in the country. Stanford is known for thinking and teaching "outside the box."