Just to let everyone out there know, I am not the owner of the featured image on this particular page, I give all credit whereupon credit is due, in this case, it would be to PowerTac.
I think anyone who has read this blog of mine for any amount of time knows that I have been fascinated by flashlights since infancy.
At the age of sixteen, I discovered the modern or at least modern (for their time) tactical flashlights.
To be clear, during that time (2003) a tactical flashlight ran on those Lithium high-capacity camera batteries and utilized high output Xenon lamp modules.
The first tactical flashlights, depending on whom you may ask, were either those angle head models that were introduced during World War 2 and perfected during Vietnam or the Kel Lite of 1968 which was the first flashlight to be constructed of Aircraft Aluminum and meant to robustly withstand the brutality of law enforcement use. I find it almost amusing that the Kel Lite was invented right around the time when law enforcement began to be faced with mass civil unrest, which was an aspect of the second half of the 1960s.
The tactical flashlight of 2020 is more diverse than those that I previously mentioned, but it typically entails a compact flashlight constructed of either aircraft or aerospace grade Aluminium, with an LED system that is powerful enough to provide situational awareness in low light or no light conditions and also temporarily blind an opponent enough to have the advantage in any violent or otherwise threatening confrontation. Additional bonuses would include a strobe feature that can be used for signaling others in your team or further visually disabling an opponent in a fight and a crenelated strike bezel to use as an offensive weapon in combat. And of course, most tactical flashlights should have a decent degree of water resistance (especially for the Navy SEALS and other specialized units carrying out amphibious missions) and an equally decent degree of impact resistance, a feature which would prove useful and be popular for just about every flashlight user. Sales personnel of the 1960s and very early 1970s Kel Lite were trained to give a demonstration of firing a .38 Special Revolver (most likely a Colt Trooper, because that was the chosen sidearm of American police personnel decades until the War on Drugs became heated) directly at the body of a Kel Lite flashlight at point-blank range white it was turned on and showing potential customers that the flashlight was indeed still lit after being hit directly by the live bullet. I have also read stories of a 5 D-sized Maglite flashlight stopping a .50 Caliber bullet fired from a high-powered hunting rifle that was aimed at a policeman. The flashlight with the spent bullet lodged in it but still working was later collected as evidence for trial. I believe the Kel Lite had a considerably thicker body than the Maglite and I wish it would never have been discontinued or that its surviving company, Streamlight, would have continued a classic version modeled after the Kel Lite. Speaking of Streamlight, I had misplaced my favorite EDC tactical flashlight, a Streamlight Junior LED, which had been my go-to flashlight from 2019 through 2021, though I had carried others. All I can say is that, despite being so small, it was instrumental in letting teenagers knocking on my former neighbor’s door at strange hours know that I meant business, although they subsequently referred to me as “mall cop” after that. A bright and rugged flashlight is quite effective when answering the door at a strange hour!
For other reasons besides misplacing my Streamlight Junior, I was in the market for a tactical flashlight that I could EDC, for both nighttime situational awareness and self-defense. In middle February of 2022, I discovered a flashlight company known as “Power Tac.” All I can say is that it seems to be on par almost with SureFire and better than Maglite or Streamlight. Like Maglite, SureFire and Streamlight, it is an American company, but unlike SureFire or Maglite, its factories are located in China. But, I have to admit, the Chinese (when they want to) can make flashlights that are equally as good as any flashlight America makes, just think of the companies NiteCore, Fenix, or WowTac. They have gotten this good by borrowing and improving on ideas they “borrowed” from making flashlights for American companies all these years. There is an Energizer Tactical flashlight that I recently bought for myself and another as a birthday gift for my sister which I plan to write a review of soon. Energizer is another American company that, for decades now, has outsourced its manufacturing to the Chinese. I have mixed feelings about all this. The good is that these flashlights and many other products are affordable because of the cheap labor but the bad is that we are giving money to an oppressive, authoritarian regime stained in the blood of its people.
All right, enough of that.
Around that time in mid to late February of 2022, I purchased a PowerTac Valor tactical LED flashlight and that is what this piece will be a review thereof.
Since it arrived in the mail a few days after ordering, I have EDCed it in my side pocket ever since.
I am thoroughly impressed by the solid build quality and generous light output of this flashlight.
Aside from walking around at night to get a bite to eat at my local restaurant and escorting the elderly to their vehicles after evening Bible Studies at my church, I haven’t used it for any truly tactical situations. However, the blinding level of brightness and the crenelated strike bezel does give me peace of mind from carrying it should I ever have to respond to any sort of threat. As I am sitting at my Chromebook writing this piece, my PowerTac Valor is resting in my side pants pocket.
The one feature I could take or leave is while the power switch is indeed tactically correct (forward clickie, thank God), the settings switch is located on the side of the head. And activating strobe mode is a tad complicated. However, I find that the regular high setting does just as effective as strobe in confronting an opponent in the dark. So to operate the flashlight, fully press the tail switch, then press the side switch on the head to cycle through the desired modes. This can be run on any 1.5 Volt AA battery, be it Alkaline, Lithium, or NiMH (my personal choice.) The pocket clip is bi-directional meaning the light can be carried head up or head down in the pocket or, in a pinch, can be attached to the bill of a cap and serve as a hands-free headlamp. One very helpful feature is that this flashlight memorizes which mode it was last used in, so, I can set it to the highest setting then switch it off. Should I need to deploy it for any tactical reason, it will turn on at 800 Lumens from the get-go. There is also reverse battery polarity protection, which should be a standard feature on all flashlights that use an LED lighting system. There is a considerable amount of heat sink provision which will prolong the life of all components and protect them from heat damage. The opening is O-Ring sealed to prevent water intrusion. It is comprised of machined aircraft-grade Aluminium and is given a Type III anodized finish. The lens is made of tempered glass to prevent scratching and breaking and the lens is also double coated to allow the maximum Out the Front Brightness and beam distance.
I will now list the technical specifications and give my commentary on them:
LED System: Cree XML-U3
Power Source: 2 AA ~1.5 Volt Batteries (Use of 14500 Type Batteries will ruin the light and thus void the warranty.)
Maximum Overall Light Output: 800 Lumens.
Maximum Beam Distance: 138 Meters or 452.756 Feet-that’s one and a half football fields!
Maximum Beam Output: 4150 Candlepower.
Impact Resistance Rating: 2 Meters or 6.56168 Feet fall on hard concrete-this is probably a modest estimate because I have seen other tactical flashlights survive much worse!
Length: 149.5 Millimeters or 5.8 Inches-long enough to not get lost easily but short enough to carry discreetly.
Diameter: 19 Millimeters or 0.75 Inches-not too thick, not too thin.
Weight (excluding batteries): 68.25 grams or 2.4 ounces-this will not weigh anyone down.
Waterproof Rating: IPX8-good enough for carrying out an amphibious assault!
On NiMH Batteries
Firefly Mode 0.53 Lumens for a 100 Day Runtime
Low Mode 97 Lumens for a 16 Hour Runtime
Medium Mode 358 Lumens for a 2.83 Hour Runtime
High Mode 800 Lumens for a 1.1 Hour Runtime
Strobe Mode 800 Lumens for a 1.75 Hour Runtime
On Lithium Batteries
Firefly Mode 0.41 Lumens for a 120 Day Runtime
Low Mode 93 Lumens for a 26.3 Hour Runtime
Medium Mode 366 Lumens for a 5.8 Hour Runtime
High Mode 750 Lumens for a 1.7 Hour Runtime
Strobe Mode 750 Lumens for a 2.8 Hour Runtime
I am amazed as to how LED flashlight technology is improving by leaps and bounds and how such light output and runtimes are now feasible that was unheard of not too many years ago.
I am equally amazed at some of the other flashlights that the company PowerTac has made, especially those designed for Aviation and Search and Rescue.
PowerTac might not have been around as long as the other tactical flashlight companies but it is gaining a fine reputation for itself.
For years I was prejudiced in favor of Maglite only, but since about 2016 or 2017, this attitude has changed, although Maglite will always have a special place in my heart.
Now I appreciate any well-made flashlight no matter its maker or country of origin.
If I had to give this a rating, it would be a 4.97 out of 5 stars, only because of the complicated means to activate strobe mode.
I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the PowerTac Valor.
I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.
May God richly bless you!