About Tac Light
Tac Light is a high performance flashlight by Bell & Howell which began advertising on television in May 2016. It promises a light 22 times brighter than a normal flashlight, increased durability, and other useful features.
Tac Light is said to work underwater or while frozen, and can be seen up to 2 nautical miles away.
The product website is trytaclight.com.
What does it cost?
Tac Light costs $19.99 with free shipping. You can get a “free” bonus Tac Light for a “separate $10 fee” which doesn’t exactly sound free.
You can upgrade to a model which uses a rechargeable battery for $10 more (or $29.99 for one light). See below.
I have not seen Tac Light in stores, but my guess is that it will show up at retailers such as Fry’s or Bed Bath and Beyond for about $20 sometime this year.
Tac Light Reviews: Pros and Cons
The commercial begins with a buff guy in military camouflage pants who poses the question, “Everybody has a flashlight, but can your flashlight do this?” We are then shown an entire house illuminated by the small light in his hand.
The answer, of course, is that a standard flashlight cannot illuminate in the manner shown. Tac Light (short for tactical light) by Bell & Howell, however, can do exactly as the commercial shows.
There are a number of useful features on this product, such as the ability to zoom the focus of the light from a broad range to a narrow field (their demonstration in the commercial shows an intruder running out of the house while trying to escape the narrow beam trained upon him.). A “self-defense” feature blasts your foe in the face with a blinding strobe light, which I suppose could be useful in some situations, assuming you have time to reach for your Tac Light and put it on the proper setting in an emergency situation. Most people will probably use it in its normal mode or in the low light mode, which is less blinding and conserves battery power when you don’t need a 600 lumen light (aka a “regular flashlight will do”).
Tac Light is lightweight and durable, and offers a comfortable grip and easy operation. It is small enough to take in a purse or stick in a glove box or drawer. This product offers enough features to make this a solid entry in the tactical light category, albeit at the lower end of the scale.
Although the commercial shows it working under boiling water and in a frozen block of ice, those are obviously extremes which will likely never occur in real life situations. In my video below, you’ll see that it did withstand boiling water – although it took on water, and was not completely waterproof. It also was able to work after being frozen, although initially the button was frozen shut.
Tac Light is not the only such device like this on the market. There are, in fact, dozens of tactical lights available with a variety of sizes, shapes, features, and prices. From the $12 J5 Tactical V1-Pro Flashlight to the high end $130 Streamlight TLR-1, the number of choices in this category are dizzying.
This “Bell & Howell” model, priced at $20, is on the lower end of the price scale, yet is robust enough feature-wise to rank it alongside more expensive models.
There are other tac lights with superior features, but those may come with a price. If you’re looking for a good general use tactical light, then Tac Light by Bell & Howell will certainly not disappoint. Those looking for higher end tactical lights may want to shop around.
Finally, if you’ve seen advertisements for the Shadowhawk X800, you may want to read this review first, as reviews for that product are mixed at best.
See my video review of Tac Light, where I put all of the advertising claims to the test.
Tac Light Battery
I’ve added this section after being asked by a couple of different readers about the battery.
If you order the $19.99 Tac Light, you’ll receive a model which uses three AAA batteries. This is also the same model which is available in stores.
During the online order process you’ll be given an opportunity to upgrade to a $29.99 model which includes a rechargeable battery. The upgraded model also has free shipping.
Tac Light sports the brightness and durability shown in the advertising. Whether it is better than the untold number of other tac lights on the market remains to be seen. My guess is that it falls somewhere in the middle of the pack, which is actually not a bad place to be because there are some rather expensive options out there. Now that it is available in stores, I suggest picking it up locally to avoid shipping delays and costs. I’m hoping the rechargeable version hits store shelves soon, although there is no word on that yet.
If you’ve tried Tac Light, tell me what you think.
Updated November 2, 2016