with Lindsey J. Bertomen
Why I'd pick a Stinger flashlight for patrol
It may seem that Streamlight is trying to confuse you with all of their Stinger models, but there is a purpose to each of their numerous varieties
During my career, Streamlight Stingers changed how we patrolled and trained, and given my choice of flashlight for patrol, I’d pick a Stinger every time. The Stinger is the perfect-sized torch for a primary light. It’s small enough for the patrol officer to keep it on the belt all the time, even when seated in a vehicle.
When an officer needs to manipulate something with a gun in the hand (change magazine, open door), pocket-sized lights were dangled from a cord or strap, with the light flipped out of the way. This meant there was an interruption in light downrange. Meanwhile, techniques with a full-sized light were always cumbersome.
With the Stinger, we trained officers to pin it under the “primary” arm. The officer completed the task and then untucked the light. The length and circumference of the Stinger body is perfect for this technique. It doesn’t get in the way of a magazine change, and we learned that the arm tuck also put the spillbeam in a perfect place while writing a ticket. The Stinger literally improved officer safety because the gun was always in the hand and the beam was pointed toward the potential threat.
New LED Stingers
As LED technology developed, Stingers understandably started coming out in LED versions. The Stinger Classic LED (756662) has the same feel as the original, with a much better Ni-Cd A runtime of 6.75 hours on low power. The torch now puts out 390 lumens/13200 candela on the highest setting. Part of the lens is frosted, throwing a soft-edged floodlight-style beam. Because it uses a C4 LED, it is inherently stronger and the lens/reflector is much more robust than the original.
Streamlight has produced the Stinger DS (Dual Switch) version for a few years. This is similar to the original form factor, with all of the new features plus a tail switch.
What are the new features? Take any later model Stinger. Press the switch once and you get a high beam. Click it twice rapidly and it becomes a strobe. Hold it down and it dims. One can release the switch at the desired brightness. It always defaults to traffic-stop bright when it goes from off to on. Tail switches do the same thing. The switches have a consistent feel and a repeatable, tactical grip; without the need to index with a thumb or finger, a user can turn it on even when wearing gloves.
Here’s the confusing part: There is a Stinger DS LED HP (Dual Switch, LED, High Power, 75863) with 350 lumens/56,000 candela and a Stinger DS LED HL (Dual Switch LED High Lumen 75464) with 640 lumens/22,000 candela output. They all take the same chargers, and all Stinger DS models will fit the same accessories. All Stinger Classic models will fit the same accessories. Which one is the one for you?
Choosing Your Stingers
Using the light with the greatest output may sound like the best strategy, but it is better to go with the intended purpose of the light.
If you generally patrol in an area where you need to project a beam at a distance, consider the Stinger DS LED HP. It was designed to throw as far as 473 meters. The beam is concentrated and abrupt and the spillbeam isn’t particularly soft, which creates harsh shadows. Rural patrollers, SAR members, and officers assigned to a specific area like a train yard or transit area would like this light.
It is not recommended for officers whose assignment includes a lot of residential searching. Trust me, this beam reflects back at you on a white interior wall.
For general patrol where tactical advantage on traffic stops is critical, the Stinger DS HL is for you. This light will still reach out but it can light up a car interior at a good distance like no other product. I would use this light for any type of search.
For all mounted, two-wheeled, special assignments, and investigations, the Stinger Classic is the one.
The Stinger has had a long history with law enforcement. For me, it’s a Stinger every time.