I’m always on the lookout for tactical lighting products I think our readers will find beneficial and useful to up their readiness, whether in an emergency or everyday situation.
While not a full-sized tactical handheld light, the new single-cell TUFF Products T2 mini tactical light provides full-sized handheld features in a size that is pocket friendly.
Let me start first with what is perhaps the most important feature of the T2, one that actually affects the overall length: the ability to use three different battery power sources.
The TUFF T2 comes packaged with two of the three power sources: one Eveready CR-123 and one Eveready AA penlight. Nice touch! The third potential power source, an AA 1.2V NI-MH, is not included.
The multi-source power capability comes in really handy in terms of resupply and is where the market is heading. If I used the T2 as a backup light while working patrol in my small village and noticed that the power was down due to a lot of utility use, I could re-supply it with an AA penlight battery from our one 24-hour store rather than the much more expensive CR123. The same is true while traveling. While CR123s are much more widely available than they were at the start of the tactical light revolution, you can’t find them in every mom-and-pop store location (and, if you do, the price will certainly be premium). But there is a slight catch that comes with this capability.
The T2 has two size and lumen choices dictated by the power source chosen. If you use a CR123 battery, the overall length of the T2 measures 3.54 inches (90mm). Light output is a very healthy 130 lumens, which still amazes me since the light output of the most advanced full-sized tactical handheld lights when I wrote my book Own the Night was 120 lumens. Back then, incandescent handhelds ruled. I still have a Surefire M3 Combat light I used on SWAT, which produced what seemed to be an eye-scorching amount of light at the time — 225 lumens. Pretty weak compared to the 1000-plus-lumen LED lights out there today.
With an AA power cell in place, the length of the T2 increases to 4.17 inches (106 mm) due to the addition of a threaded spacer tube to accommodate the longer AA cell. Other than lengthening the light tube, there is nothing else that needs to be done when you switch power sources. If you do switch to AA power for the T2 for economy or availability, you are losing some horsepower on the lumen end. Due to the lower-power potential of the AA cell, light output drops to 85 lumens, which is still quite bright. Some of the first two-cell LED lights I ever worked with back in 2006 were deemed powerful enough for tactical use at only 65 lumens!
The tail-cap switch deviates from the standard design, which isn’t a bad thing — just different and easily learned, especially since the T2 will most likely be used in the daily utility mode. Pushing in on the tail-cap switch to click locks the T2 on in full-power mode. With the T2 locked on, lightly pressing, but not to click, locks the light into a low-power battery-saver mode. A second touch of the switch locks the light on in full-power strobe. A third touch switches the light back to standard locked full power. Pushing the switch in to click turns the light off. Pushing to click with the light in any mode will turn it off. There is, fortunately, no need to cycle through the various modes to turn the T2 off. There is no traditional momentary mode and the switch is slightly recessed to prevent accidental pocket activation.
The TUFF T2’s case is constructed of machined 6063-T6 aircraft aluminum. There is a pocket clip that features a loop for a lanyard, which could be removed if desired. The bezel is crenelated for defensive use, which is only practical with the extension tube and AA penlight in place to provide a good grip for self-defense. The light source is a Cree XR-E High-Power White LED with a life of 50,000 hours. That’s 5.7 years of operation if left continuously on at full power, which basically is a lifetime of average use. The lens is made from professional-grade optical glass and projects a perfectly round beam.
The T2 is a solid light — water-resistant and shockproof. I know about the shockproof part since my sample managed to get knocked off my kitchen table onto the hardwood kitchen floor without damage. I did that with another maker’s light 8 years ago and the shock to the LEDs that were available then knocked it out.
Those of you looking for a solid quality, tactical-grade pocket flashlight should consider the TUFF T2. MSRP on the Tuff website is $59.99, which is very reasonable for the quality of the light. It clearly is not one of the el-cheapo lights found in the checkout lines of big-box stores.
More info at: www.tuffproducts.com
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