More LED Flashlights, Inovas, Nighbuster, and C. Crane


I have been carrying an Inova X5 LED Flashlight for a few months now. I am very impressed with the brightness and overall toughness of this little flashlight.


Let me say something now, for those of you that have not read other articles on this site that carry with them the title of, “Nighttime Companions,” perhaps you should go back and take a look. To recap, if you have a good flashlight, you might not have to fight at all; your “defense” might be seeing trouble, eliminating the all-important cover of darkness that attackers utilize, before it becomes a necessity that you “defend” yourself at all. This is similar to the line of thinking that having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen is the best defense against trouble whether or not you'll actually have to fight a fire.


This is extremely important in our ever-growing morass of laws and regulations that seem to ignore the criminal element and focus on Law-abiding Citizens going about their every day life. Not having to “fight” in a Self-defense situation is very attractive to the thinking person. You expose yourself to zero legal problems; criminal and civil, if you see a problem beforehand and you are able to simply leave the area instead of continue on through the confrontation and an escalation of force, etc.


For those of you that wish to fight, for whatever reason, there is probably nothing I can say to you to dissuade you from that line of thought. You will have to find out the hard way that your path is simply not the best one to take.

Inova X5

This flashlight has the following features:


110,000+ hour lamp life

120' Effective Range

20+ hours battery life

2000+ pound crush resistant

2 mile visibility

Waterproof to 150 ft.

Weight: 3.8 oz.    

Batteries: 2 123A Lithium batteries   


The body has a very solid feel to it. In some of the marketing materials for these flashlights, a vehicle is parked on top of the light. “Two-thousand pounds” being cited as the weight that the flashlight can bear without the body of the light being compromised or destroyed. Very impressive if true! I take them at their word, I’m not parking a vehicle on mine, my guess is that the body is strong enough to take quite a bit of abuse and that’s good enough for me.


The Inova X5, as the name alludes, uses five LEDs. After using the Streamlight Stylus 3 Penlight extensively in the dark, indoors and outdoors, the Inova X5 is quite a surprise. You see, the Streamlight Stylus 3 is very impressive to me as well, casting quite a bit of light for a flashlight with a single LED. When you are used to something like a Photon II Microlight or the Streamlight Stylus 3 and you start “stepping up” to multiple LED flashlights, you really begin to see that this is the best way to go when it comes to general use flashlights.


Comparing the 5 LED Inova to the Photon II and Stylus 3 Penlight is a good way to judge power and usable light in my opinion. Both of the smaller, single LED flashlights are great for all sorts of uses and they provide more than enough light for general tasks. So, when you start using the Streamlight Batonlite (which has 3 LEDs) or something like a Nightbuster 8X…you see that LED lights have advanced to the point where they can provide A LOT of light quite economically and in smaller package.


I would be able to buy a lifetime of batteries for a handful of LED Flashlights with the money I have spent feeding various sizes of Maglites over a period of about 15 years.


Pocket Stick?


Some people have remarked that the Inova X5 Flashlight is too small to be a “good” pocket stick for Self-defense. I would imagine that for some people, this might be very accurate, however, for most people with regular sized hands, the Inova X5 will do quite well.


I think the misunderstanding occurs when people have the idea that they have to have a lot of material protruding from both sides of their fist…in order to have something “effective” in their hands to be used as a pocket stick. This is simply not true at all. I have relatively wide, meaty hands and enough of the Inova X5 protrudes from both sides of the clenched fist to strike with. How much of a metallic protrusion do you need in order to have that solid transfer of force to the intended area being struck? The answer to that is, “not much.”


One-quarter of an inch of metal protruding from each side of the closed fist is “enough” for whatever device or item to be used as a pocket stick when using hammerfists and reverse hammerfists, Yawara-style. Mechanically speaking.


Flash & Smash


You will not be able to utilize an Inova X5 like a SureFire Flashlight, no “Flash and Smash” action here unless you already have the Inova’s head twisted so the light is activated. This brings us to the one drawback of the Inova X5 LED Flashlight. You must twist the head of the light to turn it on. This can be problematic for one-handed activation because the head is not knurled for “easy” turning. You can turn it with one hand if you have strong hands but it would not be “fast” in the way we think of split-second activation.


Enter the Inova X5 Tactical Flashlight


I despise the word “Tactical” being applied to something in order to market it just as I despise the word “Secret” to sell Martial Arts and Self-defense Systems. If people insist on using it, that is perfectly fine, it’s a free country and no one would fault someone for wanting to market an excellent product in a way that is successful to them. After all, we want devices like the Inova X5 and X5 Tactical to be a success because success, as well as competition, breeds innovation in most cases. “Tactical” and “Secret” are buzzwords with such broad (and at times, absurd) definitions that they can be applied to almost everything in this realm within reason.


To simplify everything, I have placed the Inova X5 next to the X5 Tactical for side by side comparisons.




I wish Inova would manufacture a pocket clip for the X5 and X5 Tactical, I think that would be great.



The following things have been changed on the Inova X5:


·        The Inova X5 Tactical has a reinforced steel end, in the form of a ring, to further protect the 5 LEDs, which is a nice improvement.


·        It also has a tailcap switch like a Sure-Fire Flashlight, twist for on and off, continuous light, or momentary push button activation.


·        The lanyard hole was enlarged and moved closer to the edge of the body instead of centered in the body, another great improvement.


·        The body is noticeably thicker than the original X5. But not so much as to take away the ease of carry that the Inova X5 excels at.



Some sound improvements to the basic design!


What? More LED Flashlights?


Yes, there is more! Unfortunately, this next light is discontinued for now. Perhaps renewed interest would bring it back, or someone would step up to the plate, improve the design slightly and then produce it once again. You never know…


This used to be available from The Glowbug Website online. This is the Nightbuster 8X, the “8” standing for 8 LEDs. There was a 4X Model as well, having 4 LEDs.



This light is incredible, it would be a perfect flashlight if it had a push-button tail cap instead of a twisting tail cap for a switch. Even with that slight deficiency, it is still an awesome light! It is bright and built for very rough use. The walls of this flashlight are very thick. It is not often you see this sort of quality nowadays. Everyone wants to maximize their profits and build things on the thin side to save money when it comes to materials and manufacturing. The Inova X5 and Nightbuster are very well built devices…


This is not what I would call a “pocket” flashlight in the way I use that term for other lights. You could certainly let it ride in your back pocket and you would have an awesome pocket stick for Self-defense purposes, a full-size Yawara Stick with 8 LEDs in it.


C. Crane Company Trek Light


I remember first hearing about LED Flashlights while working midnights and being extremely bored, I used to listen to the Art Bell Show. Art is sort of neat, some of the stuff on his Show is so outrageous, you have to roll your eyes and turn the radio off or whatever…go back to FM Radio and listen to some Classic Rock. But, sometimes, there was really cool stuff on the Show as well as advertised on the Show and I think Art is a bit of a gadget guy like all of us tend to be… This was one of the first of the new wave of LED Lights I ever heard of. I don’t think I believe in aliens, but I believe Art has an interesting Show for the most part on many different levels. Thanks for the heads up on cool gadgets and the entertainment and enjoy your retirement Art!


This flashlight has only 2 LEDs, but it is certainly a handy light to have. Of course it cannot match the output of the more advanced lights, I just want to include it because I am rather fond of it. It’s not nearly as tough as some of the other lights, but it is good enough to be in the glove compartment or First-Aid Kit. It would also be unfair to paint C. Crane LED Flashlights as being somehow inferior to the rest…as they have advanced as well, I just don’t own any of the newer ones.


One of the interesting things about this light are the two slots on the side of the body, designed for a strap so the light can be worn on the wrist, etc. This really is a great feature and used to be a standard on older Tekna flashlights. Remember Tekna?


I have created a little bit of controversy among gadget fans, writing about using flashlights as Pocket Sticks for Self-defense. I guess some people don’t see Self-defense as “important” in their lives or perhaps they don’t appreciate people writing about some of their favorite toys being used in that manner. Neither of which I am interested in, they have a right to their opinion and I have a right to mine. Big enough world for all of us to co-exist in. Maybe they’re just bored or they have a strange sense of humor.


Could you use this light as a Pocket Stick to defend yourself? Of course! You can use almost anything. Tougher construction makes for better use as a defensive weapon, but anything will do in a pinch as an expedient. Ultimately, if you were to use any of these Flashlights, regardless of price or quality, to defend yourself and you ruined the light…isn’t your life worth $50.00 to you?


Why LED Flashlights?


I’ve had a couple great conversations with my good friend Ken Cook about LED Flashlights being Every Day Carry (EDC) devices for Self-defense use. He drifts towards, “Why the hell do you want to screw around with those things…” because they are not as powerful as a SureFire Flashlight that is purpose-driven for Defensive uses…


(Ken is coming around to full conversion…)


For one thing, I like redundancy when it comes to items that you carry, I like things that can serve at least two purposes at once, like a Flashlight that can serve as a pocket stick and a sturdy pen that can pull double duty as a pocket stick…


The redundancy comes in when you consider this; you can never have “enough” light available to you. So, why not carry these sorts of compact and bright LED lights as well as something like a SureFire if you find a need for it or like it?


I love SureFire Flashlights, but let’s be realistic, they are not really good for general use because they eat batteries like mad. And those batteries are not cheap either, they are rather pricey. Well worth it to have some model of SureFire Flashlight to be sure, but they do not replace the need for excellent little pocket flashlights that we now have in the form of these high-tech LED Flashlights.


Here is a nice picture that I have shamelessly configured to bend your mind. Follow the letters as they are all over the place. I’m not a photographer! I don’t have a great digital camera!



Here is the line-up of flashlights in the picture:


A.    Inova X5 5 LEDs

B.    Inova X5 Tactical 5 LEDs

C.    Mini-Maglite, two double (AA) batteries

D.    C. Crane 2 LED Trek Light


F.     My ancient Sure-Fire 9P


I included the Mini-Maglite and the Sure-Fire for basic size comparison, because many of my readers own them.


Disasters and Terrorism


There are portions of this country that take one hell of a beating. Mother Nature is not too fond of California, for example. That State suffers from Earthquakes, mudslides and wildfires. Not to mention the occasional riot… (joke)


Florida suffers through a violent Hurricane every few years and the Hurricanes that hit from Texas to Florida along the whole Gulf Area tends to spawn off incredibly violent thunderstorms, which produce Tornadoes.


I could keep going but I think you get the idea, right? Power outages caused by everything from Tornadoes to heavy snow can leave you without light. You should have Emergency, long-burning candles as well as other, multiple, light sources and batteries, store-bought as well as rechargeable, on hand to feed them.


Light is very important for so many tasks. Can you imagine changing a diaper or getting a correct dose of liquid medication for your child in the dark? All of these things, common every day tasks, become difficult to impossible without light.


You can use candles and various sorts of liquid-fueled lamps safely and you should look into that as well. Children can make those devices hazardous and you don’t need a disaster in the middle of a disaster.


The next part, some people may not agree with, which is fine. This is just my opinion on things and I’m not trying to profit from tragedies, just trying to give you some food for thought.


Terrorism has now struck our country in a very real way, for the first time on a massive scale. The terrorist incidents of 9-11-01 are being forgotten by many Americans, this is a deadly apathy that a lot of people tend to have. For some, it is an emotional defense mechanism.


It does not really matter where you are, the simple fact of the matter is, these things can touch all of us. We don’t know what will happen in the future.


If you work in a high rise building, perhaps you should get a personal safety device, I believe some of them are called, “Evac-U-8” for “Evacuate.” A hood that can protect you from some smoke inhalation, perhaps just enough so you can escape and survive. One of these hoods as well as a large bandana and something like an Inova X5 Tactical LED Flashlight could very well save your life in a wide variety of disasters. Is one-third or less of the usable area in your briefcase worth your life? I think it is. Call it “paranoid” or whatever, to me, it’s just common sense. Our world has changed and we want to carry on with life and not live in fear. Part of not living in fear is Mastery over Adversity.


Dwelling on “Self-defense against criminals” can create tunnel vision. What is the goal of Street-level Self-defense? Well, the ultimate goal is survival and nothing else. While you would be crazy to say that something like an LED Flashlight could save you from a terrorist (although it might in Hand to Hand Combat if you are skilled), it could very well save you from the violent acts of a terrorist. Like escaping a burning building, being able to see your way clear of danger instead of taking the wrong and possibly fatal turn down a hallway or stairwell.


There are so many times when light can be a lifesaver.


What you don’t see could kill you.


Don Rearic


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