SureFire WeaponLights and flashlights use only the highest-quality emitters—incandescent lamps, light emitting diodes (LEDs), and high intensity discharge (HID) lamps.
Incandescent Lamps—Proven, High-Output Performance
The small but powerful incandescent lamps used by SureFire aren't typical off-the-shelf items. They're state-of-the-art devices with advanced features.
Custom tungsten filaments are featured in every SureFire incandescent lamp to withstand the vibration and g-force of extreme conditions. Each filament is designed around a specific power supply, light output, and runtime for optimum performance.
High-pressure xenon gas is added to enable an increase in operating temperature, which increases light output for a given power consumption rate. It also inhibits tungsten "boil off," which can form a light-blocking layer of tungsten on the inside wall of the lamp. While other lamps use argon or krypton— much less expensive gases—SureFire uses xenon-filled lamps for peak performance.
LEDs—Durability, Variability, Efficiency & Longevity
Most LEDs can't yet match the light output of the brighter incandescent lamps, although they're catching up. But when it comes to durability, efficiency, longevity, and the ability to vary light output, LEDs are in a league of their own.
Longevity is where LEDs rule; they're designed to last for thousands of hours of continuous use. On the other hand, incandescent lamps can supply a lot of intense light, but don't last as long as LEDs.
Durable, solid-state light emitting diodes have no filament to burn out or break, no glass to shatter. Just a solid emitter mounted on a base, covered with a clear polymer for protection and focusing purposes.
LED quality can vary tremendously—even between virtually identical LEDs produced at the same facility, on the same line, on the same day. SureFire uses only the highest-quality LEDs, so you can be sure you're getting the toughest, most reliable, color and output-consistent LEDs available.
HID Lamps—Maximum Output, Maximum Efficiency
Our high intensity discharge lamps use a clear quartz capsule filled with high-pressure xenon gas and metal halide compounds. Electrodes at both ends of the capsule superheat and ionize the gas, which in turn vaporizes the halide compounds to create a plasma arc that is extremely efficient at emitting light. Up to thousands of lumens of light. Since there's no filament to break or burn out, they are extremely resistant to mechanical shock and vibration, and HID lamps have operating lives that far exceed those of tungsten-filament incandescent lamps.
Variable light output from an incandescent flashlight requires replacing the lamp with one that emits more or less light. But because an LED's light output depends on how much electric current flows through it, we're able to design single-LED flashlights with a variable lumen output.
The downside of HID lamps is that they require large amounts of energy to start up. But once they're up and running, they burn more efficiently (more light per watt) than either incandescent lamps or LEDs. The good news is that SureFire engineers are figuring out ways to lower those power requirements, which means SureFire HID lights are getting smaller and lighter without sacrificing any performance.
Halogens, in our own proprietary mixture, can be found in some SureFire incandescent lamps. Tungsten atoms that "boil off" the filament combine with halogen atoms to form a vapor. The vapor migrates back to the filament and breaks down into its original elements, re-depositing tungsten onto the filament. This continual process keeps the lamp's inside walls relatively free of tungsten deposits, which can block light and reduce output.
Efficiency is an LED strong suit. They produce more light per watt than incandescent lamps. And while incandescent lamps quickly lose their usefulness as batteries fade, LEDs function at virtually any voltage level. This means an LED flashlight will continue to emit useful light long after an incandescent flashlight would cease to emit any light.
7 PRECISION REFLECTORS & LENSES
SureFire reflectors are made from machined aerospace-grade aluminum for superior strength and heat-transfer capabilities, not from cheaper stamped metal or molded plastic. Their proprietary designs and geometric exactness help produce optimal beam characteristics that lesser reflectors just can't achieve.
Micro-texture ripples, which reflect light at many slightly different angles, cover the surface of every SureFire reflector. Similar in texture to an orange peel, the micro-texture smoothes out irregularities and produces a beam with a bright central area surrounded by a gradually diminishing corona. The resulting beam clearly illuminates objects in its center while providing more than enough light to accomodate peripheral vision.
Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lenses are placed over LEDs in certain SureFire illumination tools. Made from a precision-molded cyclo-olefin polymer, the lens gathers virtually all of an LED's light and reflects and refracts it forward, producing an exceptionally tight beam that can't be duplicated with a reflector.
7 OPTICALLY COATED PYREX® WINDOWS
Pyrex glassware is tough, scratch resistant, and can withstand extreme temperature changes without cracking. The windows on SureFire flashlights and WeaponLights are made of Pyrex coated with a thin layer of anti-reflective material that provides maximum light transmission through the glass.
Was this article helpful?