The general trend of tactical flashlights is to incorporate sharp edges and bezels. This got me thinking, why this trend is so popular and what benefits do sharp edges on tactical flashlights offer?
One of the most nerve racking feelings is having a flashlight that is uncomfortable to handle and even painful. So I did a little research about why tactical flashlights have sharp edges and if it really is an important aspect for overall use. Tactical flashlights usually have sharp edges around the handle to increase grip, on the sides to act as a glass breaker, or on the bezel (head) to be used for personal protection. On of the best flashlights we’ve found without sharp edges is the Surefire GX2 Tactical Flashlight. Let’s look in to these common reasons why tactical flashlights have sharp edges and what you need to know about them.
Why Do Tactical Flashlights Have Sharp Edges?
Almost every tactical flashlight has some degree of sharp edges incorporated into its design. If you’re not a fan of sharp edges, this can be nerve racking. These sharp edges do provide increased functionality, so it’s important to consider why they are there.
Top Reasons Why Tactical Flashlights Have Sharp Edges
- Increased Grip on Handle
- Functions as a Glass Breaker
- Doubles As Personal Protection Tool
- Sharp Fins Help Dissipate Heat
- Aesthetic Value
Typical Sharp Edged Tactical Flashlight – J5 Tactical Flashlight
Sharp Edges Provide Increased Grip
Most tactical flashlights use a technique called knurling which is raised material (often aluminum) which helps bite when gripped. This prevents the flashlight from rolling in your hand and helps stabilize the flashlight when in use.
Knurling can feel unpleasant to some people and may even require gloves to be worn depending on how aggressive it is. Sharp edges created by knurling should be a large consideration when finding a tactical flashlight that will work for you.
Sharp Edges Function as a Glass Breaker
Glass breaking tools have become very popular. They are a must have for law enforcement and first responders. Tactical flashlights can have sharp outer edges designed specifically for breaking glass.
Sharp edges can cause glass to shatter when applied with enough force. This is useful in situations that require quick escape like overturned vehicles or where egress is difficult.
Sharp Edges Double as a Protection Tool
A common trend with tactical flashlights is the ability to use them for personal protection. The head of the flashlight, or bezel, is usually designed with sharp edges to help ward off attackers.
Sharp bezels can make carrying a compact tactical flashlight in your pocket difficult. They can also reduce the amount of light being channeled as the beam exits the flashlight.
Sharp Fins Help Dissipate Heat
Compact tactical flashlights often develop heat buildup over long periods of use. Aluminum heat fins, which can be sharp, are strategically placed to help channel heat away from the housing to be air cooled.
These heat fins are usually around and below the bezel since most heat generated is near the head of the flashlight. Choosing cooler burning LED flashlights often helps reduce the number of sharp fins needed for heat dissipation.
Sharp Edges Provide Aesthetic Value
Let’s face the facts, smooth flashlights just don’t look as cool as a tactical flashlight with sharp edges. The futuristic look sells, and that’s no different with compact flashlights.
As we’ve already outlined, these cool looking flashlight do have some functionality, but only you can decide if they are worth the cost and the sharp edges won’t be an issue for you.
Do You Need a Tactical Flashlight With Sharp Edges?
The choice all comes down to what you will be using the flashlight for. Tactical flashlights with sharp edges provide increased functionality over smooth flashlights.
The increased grip through knurling, anti-roll handling, glass breaking edges, and fins that help dissipate heat all combine to provide a tool that meets more challenges.
If you’re trying to avoid sharp edges, than look no further than a smoothed edged flashlight. Beam length and stream width will be the same, but you’ll lose the extra features.
What Tactical Flashlights Have Smooth Edges?
Even though most tactical flashlights are designed with sharp edges, we’ve had good luck with the following smooth edged flashlight.
Surefire GX2 LED Tactical Flashlight
One of Surefire’s most popular new lines is the GX2 Tactical Flashlight. Not only for its rugged and ergonomic design, but for its bright LED light that outshines many other small compact flashlights.
GX2 Tactical Flashlight
Even though the GX2 is rated at only 320 Lumens, it’s so much brighter. In the world of lumens, more is not always better, and the Surefire is no exception. It puts out just as much light as some of the higher lumen flashlights out there.
- Smooth Body Design, No Sharp Edges
- Indestructible high-efficiency LED emitters
- Precision reflectors
- Tough Nitrolon polymer body
- Single or dual-output modes
- Professional grade dual output with the G2X LE
- Batteries are Made in the USA to SureFire specifications
- Weatherproof—O-ring and gasket sealed
For a smooth edged tactical flashlight, the Surefire GX2 is a great option.
Most tactical flashlights have sharp edges which can be uncomfortable for some people. Sharp edges are usually found in the bezel and grip of the flashlight that can make long periods of use difficult.
Sharp edges usually have a good purpose, such as increased grip on the handle, anti-roll capabilities, heat dissipating fins, and for personal protection. It’s important to weigh these added capabilities to see if they are something you can live without.
Even though most tactical flashlights have sharp edges, there are still plenty of flashlights with smooth outer designs and grips that won’t hurt your hand or accidentally scratch you. The Surefire GX2 is our top pick for one of the best smooth tactical flashlights without sharp edges.
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John is our resident expert on the outdoors. He writes about outdoor gear, camping, traveling, and anything outdoors related. He has over 20 years experience camping and hiking the backwoods of Montana and has traveled extensively all over the world.