For years I was obsessed with powerful flashlights that ran off of CR123a lithium batteries. For a long time these were the brightest, most powerful flashlights available and I bought a few of them for my home, car, and backpack. Among my favorites was the Olight M30 Triton, a military and police style light.
The M30 is a super light yet heavy duty torch made of aluminum with dual striking bezels on each end. It has three modes of operation including a strobe and boasts well over 200 lumens at its brightest setting. It was for a long time my go-to light whenever I had to investigate what set my dogs to barking or other random “bumps in the night”.
Lately I’ve forgone flashlights that require the CR123 batteries and have moved to those that use AA or AAA batteries instead. The reason for this being that in the past year or so a few different manufacturers have come out with lights that are just as bright and just as well made but that use the more common and easy to come by AA and AAA batteries.
For a long time the only options for well built powerful flashlights were the traditional Maglites, that cops carried for as long as I can remember, or the more expensive and more exotic CR123 style lights. Don’t get me wrong, you can’t go wrong with a sturdy Maglite, but they just never measured up to the newer breed that was coming out of the specialty tactical makers in terms of brightness or durability.
Lately Maglite has come out with some cool tactical lights like their MAG-TAC LED flashlight which boasts both a bezeled crown and over 300 lumens of peak output but it still relies on CR123a batteries. There’s nothing wrong with these batteries, they’re powerful and reliable, but they’re just not as common as AA or AAA’s. Just as I try to keep firearms in standard calibers I like to buy other types of equipment that only require commonly available batteries or other necessary parts. In the event of a power outage I like knowing that I can take a couple of batteries out of the TV remote or a kid’s toy and run my flashlight with them. Not so with a light that requires CR123′s.
So, I’ve been slowly switching over to Coast flashlights that are well built, bright, and run for a long time on regular AA or AAA batteries. My experience with them so far has been great. What they give up in brightness (which is not a lot) they more than make up for in affordability and availability. Home Depot carries them and you can walk out with a great flashlight PLUS a 36 pack of AAA batteries to keep it running for almost 100 hours for about seventy bucks. Some of the special ops flashlights I was using in the past cost over $100 on their own not including the CR batteries, which tend to be a bit pricey and harder to find.
So in order to keep my preps consistent and easy to replenish and keep running, I’m sticking with the AA and AAA models. I still have my M30 Triton, but once it goes kaput I think I’m through.