$5.5M for Rapid Fielding of Long Range Combat Flashlights
Small business qualifier Safety Systems Corp. in Carol Stream, IL received a $5.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for the M4 Surefire light’s rapid fielding initiative. Work will be performed in Carol Stream, IL and is expected to be complete by June 30, 2006. This was a sole source contract initiated on Jan. 23, 2006 by the Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ (W15QKN-06-C-0115). These are very high-end flashlights at $330 per (retail) with accessories extra, but $5.5 million will still buy quite a few of them.
Is spending this much on flashlights a waste? Why should our readers care about a flashlight, anyway, or consider this important? No, it’s not a waste, and there are plenty of potentially life-saving reasons to care – as stories from both the front lines and the civilian world attest…
The Surefire series M4 Devastator comes with a 2.5 inch TurboHead to tightly concentrate the flashlight beam for longer-range applications, a shock-isolated bezel/ lamp assembly, and an extremely tough Mil-Spec Type III hard-anodized finish. It gets its name from 4 lithium batteries generating up to 350 lumens of blinding white light to spotlight and/or dazzle a potential enemy, per the story from Iraq in our article covering the US military’s $1.37 billion order for MFALS devices. Surefire flashlights have received some very favourable reviews from the field, and have proven popular with Special Operarions Forces as well – obviously, someone was paying attention.
Note that a typical alkaline flashlight with 2 D-cells produces around 20 lumens, and a 60-80 lumen light is considered high intensity.
The M4 Devastators are weapon-mountable, with tailcap tactical push-button switching and an optional pressure-sensitive tape switch. In addition, Devastator flashlights with strike bezels (note the jagged head in the picture up top) can also be used for limited offensive strikes. See the real-life story on this page that describes just such an incident: “Red-dotted perp agrees: Strike bezel works.”
The attacker in that story had a knife at close quarters, a theme that recurs in a couple of Surefire’s mailed-in stories. While the blinding ability of the Surefires are their most potent effects, one interesting note we’ve seen wanted a forward grip that would hang straight down when mounted on larger flashlights like the M4, per the smaller SureFire Millennium M900A Vertical Foregrip WeaponLights. This would build on their toughness and enhance their secondary emergency use in hand-hand combat as a baton/ bezel strike weapon, via a knife-safe blocking capability that protects the hands.