THE PRODUCT

The product is marketed under a variety of names. “Battle Flashlight” and “Gladiator Flashlight” are just two of them. You’ll find them on websites like http://www.battleflaslights.com and http://www.battleflashlight.com but, if you take a very close look, you’ll find that they’re pretty much the same.

It’s supposed to be the ultimate tactical light, capable of dishing out an 800-lumen beam visible miles away. The ads for it show the flashlight’s beam lighting up a whole mountainside.

And it’s relatively small—small enough, in fact, to comfortably ride in the back pocket of your Levis.

It’s a bit on the fat side, though— and you’ll hardly find any scope mounting accessories capable of attaching it to the picatinny rail of your favorite rifle, shotgun, or pistol. Nevertheless, mounting one to a firearm appears to be an excellent idea.

ORDERING

If and when you decide to order yours, be aware that the advertised price of $19.95 is not—I repeat, NOT—what you will be billed for. When I saw the credit card statement for the “Battle Flashlight” we ordered, I was dismayed to discover that the company had actually billed us $59.90, which is more than 3 times the price advertised on their website.

In addition, the company enrolled us in their “Battle Flashlight Club”, at an additional cost of $8.95 billed EVERY MONTH! Luckily, we caught that little piece of fine print, and immediately rang Citibank to unsubscribe our credit card from this totally unwanted, rather expensive, and absolutely useless membership.

When I emailed their customer support (support@battleflashlights.com) to dispute the purchase price, I was told that the price was actually $39.95 because the order included a “deluxe kit”.

DE LUXE KIT?

For the extra $20, I was expecting a mounting bracket I could use to affix the Battle Flashlight to my Glock 17. Instead, all I got was a cheap plastic case to contain the flashlight, and a bracket to hold 3 AAA batteries. (I couldn’t help thinking that this should have been part and parcel of the flashlight itself.) I assume this was the “deluxe kit”, because we received nothing else, apart from these items.

Anyway, we had also ordered a special “long life” lithium, battery to go with the flashlight, at an additional cost of $9.95. The lithium battery arrived inside the flashlight, with its charger inside the cheap plastic case.

FUNCTIONALITY

Eager to see how awesomely powerful the flashlight was, I duly purchased some AAA batteries and fitted them into the receptacle before inserting the assembly into the flashlight. I also dutifully slipped the lithium battery into its charger and plugged the charger in.

With 3 AAA batteries inserted, the Battle Flashlight refused to work.

I tried switching it on and off numerous times, but it would not emit a single lumen of light.

Thinking that there must be some control switch I was missing, I examined the flashlight carefully. I found that the lens assembly up front actually moved forward and backward (to focus the beam, I assume). Other than that, there were no other controls to mess with.

Half-believing that ordinary AAA batteries were too weak to make the thing work, I decided to wait until the lithium battery was fully charged.

About 8 hours later I noted that the red light on the lithium battery’s charger had turned to green, indicating that the battery was fully charged and ready for use.

It was with great anticipation that I loaded it into the flashlight, only to discover seconds later that the “Battle Flashlight” STILL didn’t work (!) “Some battle flashlight!” I thought to myself. It would probably have gotten me killed in a real live emergency!

CUSTOMER SERVICE

So we emailed support@battleflashlights.com, again, to let them know that they had sent us a dud. The reply, which arrived two days later, reads as follows:

 

Hello,

Thank you for contacting Battle Flashlight Email Support.

We apologize for any inconvenience that we have caused you we regret that one of our Battle Flashlight you purchased is causing you difficulties.
Because our products are tested thoroughly before shipping, it is a rare instance when is found defective (sic). We will forward this concern to our upper management.

For any other concerns please let us know.

Thank you for being our valued customer.

Best Regards,

Battle Flashlights Support
http://www.battleflashlights.com

 

Two days after this, there was still no action forthcoming.

No instructions on whether to send the defective item back, no indication of where to send it for repair or replacement. The “upper management” referred to in the reply obviously thought little about the fact that one of their products didn’t work. (Either that, or they were away on permanent holiday in the Bahamas.)

Luckily for us, we kept a complete set of screenshots of the Battle Flashlights site, and discovered two addresses:

STROM MARKETING LLC.
4142 Adams Ave. Box #629
San Diego, CA 92116
U.S.A.

and

HDE TRADING LTD.
Kemp House
152-160 City Road
London EC1V 2NX.

The California address looks like a rented box, so we’ll probably be sending our useless Battle Flashlight to London, instead. What happens after that is a foregone conclusion—the way things have been going, we don’t expect anything to happen. This seems to be par for the course, as far as this product and the company behind it is concerned.

In a last-ditch effort to obtain a working example of this amazing “Battle Flashlight”, our editor emailed their support team at support@battleflashlights.com, letting them know that they were holding up the completion of this review, and that publication of this review would be postponed for 10 days to give them an opportunity to send us a working “Battle Flashlight”.

Guess what!?!?

Correct again—NOTHING HAPPENED.

CONCLUSIONS

The “Battle Flashlight” is probably a great product. It can probably illuminate the dark side of the moon from wherever you’re standing, and is possibly superior to mainstream brands like SureFire—if and when it works.

It can likely deliver the spectacular performance shown in its ads, and exceed the expectations of both law enforcement and military personnel. It is probably 6X brighter than the sun, and will probably cause instantaneous sunburn when pointed at a would-be attacker. Who needs a gun, when you can carry a “Battle Flashlight”?

When it works, that is.

Sadly, we don’t have the foggiest idea of whether any of this is true, and neither will we be able to find out. Right now, all we know is that a single, old-fashioned matchstick can provide more illumination than a “Battle Flashlight”. (And these aren’t even branded as “battle matchsticks”— just imagine how much more awesome they could be, if they were!)

The thing is, no one here is willing to shell out another $59.90 for a product advertised at $19.95 or run the risk of paying an additional $107 in “Battle Flashlight Club” membership fees for one year (which could have happened to us, had Citibank not intervened and cancelled our credit card subscription to their so-called “club”).

We think you will agree that any product that doesn’t work right out of the box isn’t going to stand up to the rigors of actual field use, much less survive under combat conditions.

Trusting your life (or even your convenience) to such a finicky device is nothing short of foolhardy. On a moonless night on a dark, unfamiliar trail, having your “Battle Flashlight” fail can result in your stepping off the edge of a cliff and plummeting to a painful, untimely death. Rest assured, the “Battle Flashlight” will probably survive, even if you won’t.

Or, imagine taking your “Battle Flashlight” out to try and blind someone threatening you with a knife, and it doesn’t work! You’re liable to get yourself killed!

I think it’s enough to say that, considering our experience with it, I wouldn’t trust a “Battle Flashlight” enough to put it in the glove box of my car, much less entrust my life to it by carrying it into the woods. It may be the smallest, lightest, most powerful piece of tactical lighting technology to ever come out of China, but if it doesn’t work, then it isn’t worth it’s weight in poop.

And it doesn’t help one bit, that the people who sell “Battle Flashlights” don’t give a hoot whether their product works or not!

That’s why to us, buying and using a “Battle Flashlight” equates to a perfect exercise in futility.

—Jimmy LaSalle

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