A Top Choice for the Apocalypse

The Pelican 7100 LED Tactical Flashlight
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I did an extended test on the Pelican 7100 flashlight, a compact USB rechargeable pocket torch. This is my pick for the apocalypse.

The Pelican 7100 is a dual-fuel programmable light that pushes out 695 lumens on its highest setting and 33 on its lowest setting. It weighs 3.6 oz, and it is 5.12” long. This makes it slightly longer and heavier than most of the popular pocket lights, which is why it has more utility, but we’ll get to that.

Emergency and survival equipment shouldn’t be acquired as individual items. If they are going to be used in a critical incident, they need to be part of a system. I train gun and light techniques using fingertips-to-bezel-style handling, and change magazines and open doors by tucking my light under my armpit. The torch I employ must be slightly longer than the width of my hand and it needs a tail switch. The 7100 is exactly that length.

The 7100 is mostly machined aluminum. Even the thinnest parts are thicker than most popular pocket lights. Both the bezel and the tail have scalloped surfaces designed to protect these areas from damage and provide cooling structures for long term use. It is only completely coincidental these surfaces would make an aggressor uncomfortable when the light is placed against the flesh if they got too close.

The package is O-ring sealed, and the light is IP68 rated, meaning it is submersible under limited conditions. Since my tests have exceeded the IP68 standards, and I have banged this light around in my kit for months, I can attest it is sturdier than all of the “survival lights” in my collection. In full disclosure, I collect tactical torches, and I have dozens of them. The fact I carry the 7100 and one other custom tactical torch should tell you something.

Includes a standard USB charging port.

Just plug it in for a full charge in 90 minutes.

The 7100 is fueled by a single 14500 cell, which is a 3.7v Li rechargeable with similar dimensions to an AA cell. The cell is charged in the light by rotating a sealed collar in the head and plugging it into a standard USB. On high beam, it runs 75 minutes, which is a lot for this amount of output. One accesses the output levels by tapping the tail switch. It can be programmed four different ways using the tail switch. In my tests, I found I can get several hours of usable light by alternating between high and low beam.

The cell charged each time in a little less than 90 minutes. There is a charge indicator next to the USB that has an RGB charge indicator. The torch gave a burn time only slightly longer than their specs the first few times. This was also my chance to test heat dissipation of the unit, which is very good.

The beam from the crenulated reflector has a bright center that lacks defined edges, typical for this kind of reflector and desirable for flashlight/gun use. There is a generous spill beam that allows the user to fix the target without losing perspective of peripheral threats. If I am headed for target-rich country, this would be the fighting flashlight.

There is a disadvantage to this type of beam. There is a bit of backscatter, or back spill, which is slightly less advantageous in fog or smoke. This is the beam I prefer, because smoke-friendly beams seem to have poor center focus — what we used to call the “doughnut of death” in law enforcement.

I did not measure the “warmth” of the LED, nor did I look at the actual light output as a lumen rating can be deceptive. I found color recognition and the ability to distinguish contrast was excellent. The beam was enough to light up an alley almost a full block. I believe I even vaporized a few insect threats with it.

Apocalypse Go To

Why would I keep the Pelican 7100 in my apocalypse kit? Besides the fact it is nearly indestructible, it is the fact it was designed around the 14500 cell. Get this: If the user isn’t around a charging source, a common AA non-rechargeable battery will work. That’s right. It will work with the #1 most common battery in the entire world.

How well does an AA cell work? I took it out to test search some areas. It is bright enough to search a house or light up a vehicle interior. I can still clearly shoot on night targets at 10 yards.

MSRP for the Pelican 7100 is $ 84.95.

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