Readers of this particular blog at the Backwoods Home magazine site seem to break down largely into two categories: seriously interested “gun people,” and the now-and-future rural dwellers who understand that firearms and related gear are simply logical tools for self-sufficient living. “Related gear” is the operative term at the moment, for this particular blog entry.
Even if you choose not to own firearms, you can’t live away from the city streetlights without artificial illumination at your disposal. The more you need that artificial illumination, the better you need it to be.
What we used to call flashlights and battery lanterns are now, in the crossover languages of modernspeak and tacticalspeak, “illumination tools.” We have the finest of their kind that have ever existed, branded with names like SureFire and InSight and Streamlight. Truth to tell, these devices have rapidly outpaced firearms in their rate of development in the last couple of decades. We now have lights more powerful than our grandparents could have gotten from the garage with advance warning of emergency, which are small enough for us to have in our pockets 24/7. Personally, I have similar technology on detachable white light and sometimes white light plus laser sight units that lock onto my guns.
They generally work on Size 123 batteries.
There are batteries, and there are batteries. And with this sort of hardware, you want the best. The photo below shows you what can happen when you “buy cheap” with this sort of stuff. It is said by reliable sources to have happened to a police officer in Texas who, like many cops today, had the light unit attached to his service pistol in a holster designed to accommodate same. The officer sustained burn injuries, and the famously rugged Glock pistol he was carrying was seriously damaged. His holster and patrol jacket were ruined, as well. The light unit in question is a heavy duty InSight M6X, one that I have a lot of personal experience with, and trust and recommend.
The problem has been, apparently, traced to cheap, substandard batteries. In addition it is not recommended that you mix different brands of batteries or mix batteries that have different charges, for example putting a new battery in with an old one.
The photo of the damaged gun and illumination unit come from an old friend who is a heavy hitter in the law enforcement tactical equipment world, and a watch commander on a good-sized Midwestern municipal police department. He strongly recommends using only the Size 123 batteries designed especially for tactical flashlights and tactical light units. I totally concur. My colleague states that he trusts only SureFire, Streamlight, Duracell, Eveready, and Sanyo brand batteries, and notes that SureFire and Streamlight are the only two brands of 123 batteries that he has determined to be optimized for performance in heavy duty tactical lighting units.
Whether for the SureFire, InSight, and Streamlight tactical lights I keep on some of my guns and available to quickly attach to some of the others, or for the SureFire A2 LED Aviator light that I carry virtually every day from when I put my pants on in the morning to when I take them off at night, I use SureFire Size 123 batteries. I order them in quantity and keep them well-stocked at home, and take a few on the road on extended trips. The rare times I’m caught without my own spares, I make a point of buying the available-everywhere Duracell brand for replacements. A call to InSight elicited the information that they currently ship their products with Duracells.
It ain’t just a performance thing. It’s obviously a safety thing, as well. Be warned. In the photo below, the substandard batteries didn’t just burn, they EXPLODED.