There's a lot of buzz about light emitting diodes (LEDs). And for good reason. LEDs allow runtimes that were previously unattainable on a single set of batteries. And when it comes to longevity, they're in a class by themselves—the thousands-of-hours class. That's because they're solid state: no filament to burn out or break, no gas or liquid components, no glass to shatter. Just a semiconductor "chip" that converts electrical energy into light, which it disperses through a tough, clear polymer covering.
LED output levels are approaching, even surpassing in some cases (see Improved LED Performance), those of incandescents. But for raw lighting power, SureFire's three-, four-, and six-battery incandescent flashlights are still the best way to go. However, an incandescent lamp becomes practically useless if the power level drops below the amount of energy required to make its filament glow white hot. An LED, on the other hand, continues to function at power levels below its maximum output level. Which means an LED will continue to run—albeit at lower and lower output levels. So you get more useful light for a longer period of time with an LED flashlight than with an incandescent.
Not all LEDs are created equal. They can vary greatly in quality, even supposedly identical LEDs made at the same facility. SureFire uses only the finest, highest-quality LEDs in its illumination tools. They're electronically controlled for maximum efficiency, focused by a reflector or Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens for a perfect beam, and housed in a rugged, weatherproof, knurled aerospace-grade aluminum body that keeps the elements out and your flashlight in hand. Because it'd be a shame to let an illumination tool as fine as a SureFire LED flashlight slip between your fingers.
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