The Coast HP17TAC Focusing LED Flashlight is the most serious flashlight I have ever had the opportunity to use. This unit measures 13.12 inches in length and weighs 1.95 pounds. The HP17TAC packs a serious punch with a high output of 615 lumen, as well as a low output of 64 lumen. In addition, there is a high-powered tactical strobe light. The HP17TAC is designed for the professional user, as well as any homeowner who covets lumen and wants enough power to brighten any dark space. It has a retail price of $107.00 and you can purchase this model online through several vendors, including Coast’s preferred vendor at: http://www.lightsandknives.com.
The HP17TAC is not necessarily designed for portability. At over a foot in length and almost 2 pounds in weight, it won’t fit on your belt or in your pocket. There is a notch in the rear of the flashlight where you could add a heavy-duty lanyard for hanging the unit. Despite its size, the flashlight’s 1.53 diameter body does fit well in your hand, it is very well balanced, and it’s comfortable to carry. The entire unit is round in shape, which does allow it to roll when laid flat on a surface, until the notch in the rear comes in contact with the table.
The HP17TAC has an impact-resistant, lightweight aluminum casing that resists rust and corrosion. The switch is a rubberized button in the front of the unit. The button is very easy to depress and the rubber coating provides good tactile feedback. The switch allows the user to quickly cycle between the high 615 lumen output, the high powered strobe mode, and finally the low 64 lumen output. The rear of the unit unscrews to insert the 3 conveniently purchased D batteries required to power the flashlight. Upon opening the rear of the unit, you will notice there is a rubberized red O-ring to provide a healthy degree of water resistance. The LED is unbreakable as well. I can’t imagine that this heavy-duty flashlight would suffer any serious damage after a fall to ground—it would probably inflict more damage than it would receive.
What impressed me most about the HP17TAC is its ability to totally fill a dark space with bright, white light. The 615 lumen are so bright that the reflection off of a reflective surface is enough to cause you to squint. I was able to shine the flashlight on the ceiling of a dark 10×12 bedroom and I had enough light to read a hardcover book. The bulls-eye spotlight is rated at a maximum beam distance of 882 feet. In a nearby cemetery, I was able to focus on headstones several hundred feet in front of me. Even the 64 lumen output is enough to illuminate a dark space.
Now That’s Impressive!
The light produced by the HP17TAC is both powerful and versatile. I especially enjoyed the PureBeamTM Focusing Optic on the HP17TAC. The beam can transition from a floodlight to a spotlight by sliding the head forward. The floodlight provides a very even distribution of light, probably best used in a house during a blackout. The spotlight provides a smaller ring of intense light, surrounded by an outer ring of light.
The spotlight would work well on an evening walk and when you might need to perform inspections of dark areas. The head slides back and forth to focus the light, and the beam can be locked in place by rotating the head counter-clockwise. I found I needed to use an entire hand to slide and rotate the head. The 3 D batteries are rated at 15 hours 15 minutes at high and 51 hours 15 minutes at the low setting. Having used it extensively, I believe these are very accurate ratings.
Tactical Uses: strobe feature
Coast rates the HP17TAC as a High Performance flashlight. The unit I tested also has a Tactical Strobe feature. The strobe is very bright and certainly strong enough to disorient a person who might cause you harm. The tactical strobe flash would be very useful for those who require safety, as well as those who enforce it. The weight and durability of the unit would also make it a valuable weapon after disorienting a would-be attacker. Public safety personnel would appreciate having this unit in their vehicle. If you don’t need the strobe feature, you could purchase the HP17 unit, which otherwise has the same specifications.
I would highly recommend the HP17TAC for homeowners and public safety personnel. If you could own only one flashlight, the durability and brilliant light produced by the HP17TAC makes it worth every penny!
John Peachey is a 21-year veteran teacher, a big fan of technology and gadgets, and also a homeowner. He enjoys completing DIY projects around the house and has been responsible for managing and maintaining a local club for 10 years.