I recently had the opportunity to test the Streamlight Vantage helmet-mounted tactical light—a great option for hands-free lighting. I found the light to be useful as an additional light or as a back up to a normal hand light, especially if you have tools in both hands and don’t have a light with a strap, or if your primary light fails.
This is a good quality light, especially for being so compact—it’s 3.26 inches long and weighs only 5.14 oz. It’s made of anodized aircraft aluminum, packaged in a high-impact, chemically resistant engineering polymer LED housing. Additionally, the light uses two 3-V lithium batteries that can easily be replaced.
The light is generated from a C4 LED, and the brightness is very impressive. The light stream seems to last for quite a while—6 hours of continuous runtime to the 10 percent output level, according to Streamlight. The Vantage light also features an ultra-bright blue taillight LED, which is a good indicator that the light is on. The blue LED helps improve safety on the fireground by serving as a beacon to other team members when operating in an IDLH atmosphere.
The light attaches above or below the brim and fits traditional and modern style helmets. My helmet has a Borke-style flip-down eye shield, and the light worked very well on it. The light has a screw-type mounting system and might slip off if not tightened after every tour or run. I placed a piece of inner tube under the screw to give it a better hold on my helmet and to protect the leather. A receiving-type of suction cup could overcome this problem.
The on/off switch is a bit hard to use with a gloved hand but it gets easier with practice. A plus: To turn it on, you can flip the switch in either direction, as the off position is in the middle. The light is fixed on the helmet and, therefore, you have to move your head to move the beam of light. You can also reach up and adjust the beam, as the light features a swivel clamp.
Overall, the light performed well in smoke and improved the visibility for advancing firefighters and officers. The light is a good secondary light—if your department allows attaching gear to your helmet. The Streamlight Vantage costs approximately $120. For more information about the light, visit www.streamlight.com.
Streamlight Vantage Helmet-Mounted Tactical Light
- Durable housing;
- Bright LED lights last for 6 hours; and
- Fits many styles of helmet.
- On/off switch difficult with gloved hand; and
- Clamps must be tightened after each tour.