If you’re reading this, you likely already know the utility and practicality of a good light. I will, however, express the hindrance of having a bad light. Having a poor beam or worse, no light when you need it most, could cost you more than the $5 you spent on Wish. Based in Wylie Texas, Nightstick produces some of the best — and possibly most underrated — flashlights and weapon lights on the market. Recently, I had a chance to tour their facility and I was thoroughly impressed.
Background on Nightstick
Nightstick has offered three different product lines for fire rescue personnel, oil and gas industry workers, and law enforcement officers. Recently, the company has focused on a fourth line geared toward civilian shooters.
All of Nightstick’s products are developed here in the U.S. and produced overseas, allowing it to save money and pass those saving along to you. Nightstick enforces strict quality control standards and testing procedures. Products receive QC testing overseas and are then tested again here to ensure standards are being met. After full production, Nightstick will test pull random samples to guarantee quality does not slip. Additionally, there is a servicing department in the U.S. if you have any warranty or repair issues.
During the development process, products are recoil tested on a machine that simulates the blast of recoil roughly 20,000 times. They’re also submerged in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes to test water resistance. Additionally, Nightstick uses an integrated sphere for testing light emissions. This provides light details (lumens, candela, etc.) at regular time intervals starting at the first 30 seconds, every 30 seconds until the light reaches 10% of the original lumen value. Nightstick also performs a runtime inspection and battery testing to confirm the electronics are operating correctly. These are a few of the many reasons that hundreds of law enforcement agencies and thousands of civilian shooters place their trust in Nightstick lights.
As you look into lights, you’ll see a lot of information regarding lumens and candela. Lumens are considered the amount of raw light at the emitter and measures potential for performance. Candela is the amount of light on the target and is a function of your lumens being focused. So, if we look at candela as the peak beam intensity and lumens as potential power, we can see that they are part of the picture, but not the whole picture.
As a member of ANSI/PLATO, Nightstick was a part of the development of lumen/candela standards, and works to ensure that these standards are being met by companies across the board, just as other companies hold it to these standards.
Having high lumens and candela isn’t a bad thing, but you won’t be able to achieve their full potential without a properly designed lens or reflectors. This is what focuses your beam and creates your throw or spread (how far and wide your light shines). This greatly affects your experience on the user end and is part of what makes your light useful or useless. Nightstick has worked hard to develop its lenses so that they maximize the functionality of your lumens and candela.
For most personal defense scenarios, you’ll want to be able to see the whole area to scan for threats and environmental obstacles, not just light up your attacker’s belt buckle. This makes a light with a wide spread more useful. However, if you’re trying to illuminate a target at a great distance, you’ll need a light with more throw. This is why many of Nightstick’s lights are a dual light tactical style with both a close and wide mode as well as a far and focused mode.
When it comes to lights for personal defense, target identification and environmental awareness are paramount. In my opinion, nothing beats a weapon-mounted light. A weapon light allows you to operate your firearm with both hands and improves your ability to open doors. It also frees up a hand to call 911. The main benefit is not having to juggle items in the event of an emergency. Your mind needs to focus on more important things and having your firearm and light configured as a single unit helps with this immensely.
A good weapon light needs to be able to withstand the blast of gunfire and handle being knocked around a bit. Nightstick offers some great weapon light models designed for both long guns and handguns. The LGL-160 is a good option for mounting on rifles and shotguns with ample Picatinny rail space. The LGL-160 long gun light kit is a complete weapon lighting system for your rifle, carbine, or shotgun. It features a super-bright LED rated at 1,100 lumens with a 2 hour runtime and is designed around a high-efficiency deep parabolic reflector that tightly focuses the beam for a 300 meter beam distance. For pistols, the TWM-30 is a solid option that is sure to serve you well. This light lets you see everything with a 1,200 lumen output and high beam that shines out to 220 yards. It has a runtime of 1.75 hours and allows the user to select between momentary and constant-on modes.
A solid alternative (or addition) to a weapon-mounted light is a handheld flashlight. These are more versatile, as they can be used for more than just self-defense and don’t require you to point your firearm at what you want to shine your light at. You are also able to hold the light off to the side to avoid giving away your position. However, if you’re using the light in a self-defense capacity, you’ll need to practice properly holding the light while retaining a good firing grip on your gun. You should also practice how you’ll open doors and complete any other tasks you may need to perform.
Nightstick has a number of great models geared towards EDC and home defense. For everyday carry, a smaller light is more desirable. Something that can easily slip into the pocket is more likely to come with you. The Nightstick USB-320 is perfect for the job and will easily fit into your pocket alongside a pocket knife, pen, and whatever else you choose to carry. This compact flashlight includes a removable deep concealment clip for ease of use in and out of the pocket and incorporates both momentary and constant-on functionality. A flashlight for home defense can be larger since it is likely to sit in a drawer or on a bedside table. The Nightstick USB-558XL offers dependable performance in a fairly compact package. It fits well in the hand without being too bulky, but is still large enough to be used as an impact device in a pinch. It features a high-efficiency parabolic reflector and produces 900 lumens on high, 350 on medium, and 100 on low, with 2, 4.25, and 16-hour run times respectively.
A good flashlight is a staple for your EDC setup and a solid weapon light is an asset for home defense. There are plenty of good options on the market, but I believe that Nightstick makes some of the best. Whether you’re looking for your first light or just looking to upgrade, take a look at Nightstick.