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  /  Adventure & Travel   /  Manufactured in America: MAGLITE Still Lighting the Way

Manufactured in America: MAGLITE Still Lighting the Way

When I hear the brand MAGLITE I immediately associate it with iconic images of old-school law enforcement carrying three or four D cell MagLites. Game changing technology at the time, these lights lit up the scene and left quite an impression on many crooks.

MAGLITE has been making of flashlights in Ontario California since 1979. They have been carried by thousands of law enforcement officers, emergency responders and the like.  MAGLITE doesn’t just manufacture their lights in the USA, they also make most of the machines that make the flashlights.  Made in the USA matters!

These old school lights were big, heavy, not that bright with a krypton or xenon incandescent bulb but one of the best you could have back in 1979.

MAGLITE is as iconic to law enforcement as Chevrolet or Setina

You don’t have to be a police officer, emergency responder, photophilic or lumen lover to appreciate a MAGLITE flashlight.  The flashlights I’m going to tell you about today aren’t that great for throwing as a tool of opportunity impact weapon, but they do an amazing job of illuminating the darkness in a way the older models never even dreamed of.

Note the use of the Mag-Lite for a weapon mounted light! Way ahead of it’s time being used by the SAS for Operation Nimrod, the Iranian Embassy Siege

The MAG-TAC LED is a professional grade flashlight.  I tested two variants of this flashlight, the standard lithium battery version and the rechargeable system version. 

Typically, I’ve been drawn to the standard battery version of flashlights as I don’t know if I’ll have a charging system around when I need it and I’ve never really trusted the run-time of rechargeable flashlights. 

I found myself loving this rechargeable system MAG-TAC LED and have been impressed with the run-time and even storage time of this flashlight.

You can vary the function of the light based upon the user’s input to the switch.  1 click and hold gives you the brightest light and it turns off when you release (my favorite).  2 clicks of the switch and you are in the brightest light mode and it stays on when you release (latched).  3 clicks gives you economy mode for a long run time on the light.  4 clicks on the switch and you have strobe mode.  5 clicks and the light is off and in charge mode.

You could say MAGLITE has been around for a while and trusted by law enforcement for over 40 years

Both lights tested came with a pocket clip and a pocket clip tool for installation (just the proper sized driver for installation with a handy knob for tightening.) My first impression of the clip was that I would not need it and I prefer a holster for the light.  I installed the clip anyway and found myself liking it for both duty use (clipping quickly to the MOLLE of my external carrier) and for concealed carry to stow in my pocket without it dropping into the pocket and turning sideways. 

So far, I’ve been running the light on-duty with just the provided clip, no holster.

Speaking of carrying this light for concealed carry or for whatever reason you need a light, I love that this light does not have a flared bezel.  The straight design of the body and bezel makes it comfortable to carry in a pocket and gives you light when and where you need it.

Are there brighter flashlights for this size out on the market?  I’m sure you can find them but based on the environment of where you are using your light, brighter isn’t always better. 

smaller, brighter, smarter, and still Made in the USA

Overall, I love both of these lights and I think I like this rechargeable version best.  If I need more light than this provides, I’ll grab a larger flashlight.  When it comes to flashlights, one is none and two is one.

SPECIFICATIONS OF THE MAG-TAC CR123 LED Flashlight with crowned bezel:

Water Resistant – Yes – IPX4

Drop Resistance – 1 Meter

Light Source- LED


Length-5.275 in. 133.98 mm

Beam-193 meters

Barrel Diameter-1.050 in. 26.67 mm

Run Time High – 4h

Head Diameter – 1.050 in. 26.67 mm

Batteries Included-Yes

Battery Type-CR123

Battery Quantity-2

Power Management- Yes – Dynamic

Weight with Batteries-4.8 oz. 136 g


Peak Beam Intensity-9267

Water Resistant (Type)-IPX4

Special Features-Momentary, Full Power, & Strobe, Rugged, machined aluminum construction with knurled design

Certifications-National Tactical Officers Association

Every Maglite has a story.  If your Maglite could talk, what would its story be? #MAGSTORIES

About the Author /

Heath has been a law enforcement officer in the Great Pacific Northwest since 1993 and trains as a pistol and rifle instructor for both law enforcement and civilians. He also serves as an advanced armorer on pistols and rifles. If you're looking for training or would like to contact him, he can be reached at


  • Sam Sullivan

    August 17, 2020

    Thanks for pointing out some great light options.

  • Steve

    September 9, 2020

    I’m impressed, I did not realize that these lights were out there.

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