Information on the new Streamlight Sidewinder Compact flashlight designed for SWAT and combat troops to mount on their helmets.
The BlueSheepdog.com staff recently attended the vendors’ exhibit at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida. While we were utterly blown away by Dillon Aero mini-guns, MRAP armored vehicles, and the latest microwave/laser missile defense systems, getting those items on a department purchase order seemed a bit ambitious.
We did spot an item at the Streamlight booth that may interest the S.W.A.T. teamers out there. Streamlight makes the original Sidewinder LED light that conveniently mounts on M.O.L.L.E. loops, a belt, or a helmet. The light has an articulated head “to meet a variety of hands free tasks,” according to the manufacturer.
Recognizing that the Sidewinder light is a bit large at 2.34L” X 4.65W” and 5.02 oz., the company decided to downsize the unit. The result is the Sidewinder Compact. The dimensions for the Compact are 3L” X 2.01W” at 2.4 oz.
The Sidewinder Compact, which is powered by one CR123 battery, throws a maximum of 55 lumens of bright white light from the main LED. There are modes for Low, Medium 1, Medium 2, High, and Strobe. Low runs for 60+ hours, High for 5.25 hours, and Strobe for 9 hours. The modes toggle with a rotary switch that prevents accidental changes.
Added to the main LED are three auxiliary LEDs to further the light’s versatility. The options for the secondary lights are red, blue, green, and IR/IFF. The Sidewinder Compact comes in three models (Military, Aviation, and Medical) that vary the trio of the LED’s by mission.
The light is waterproof and can be mounted or clipped to a vest, belt, hat brim or pocket. The helmet mount allows it to be attached to the standard military or tactical ballistic headgear.
Streamlight’s Matt Baker said the MSRP for a Sidewinder Compact is around $80.00 for the light and $110.00 for light and helmet mount. A new Sportsman’s model was added in 2011 that has a red, blue, and green auxiliary LED, but lacks the IR light. A quick Internet check shows that you can pick up the lights for much less with a bit of shopping.
This light is designed to be an effective utility light, but it should not be expected to pull duty for actual high-risk suspect searches. It feels rugged in the hand, has positive switching qualities, and is adaptable for the mission.
Randall is a twenty-three year veteran officer of a mid-size Florida police department. He served as a SWAT team officer for over 21 years, to include 12 years as a team leader. He is currently the Midnight Shift K9 Sergeant and department SWAT Coordinator.
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