Blackhawk has produced another high output flashlight to their family of quality tactical flashlights. The Legacy L-6V flashlight is the newest addition to Blackhawk’s Night-Ops line of illumination tools. I happened to be in the market for a new flashlight recently and purchased the Legacy for available features and its incredible brightness. This is my Blackhawk Legacy L-6V flashlight review.
My Required Features
There are several features that I demand from a flashlight that I will use on duty. First, the illumination power has to be significant enough to cut through the darkness and “make the night into day”. I also want that light to be focused enough that I can highlight intended targets with the brightest beam, without surrendering a general light to highlight the periphery.
I’ve worked nights the majority of my career and I remember the early days of patrol flashlights that were barely better than a common camping light. It was miserable attempting to search large areas with any type of certainty, and the intensity of those lights were more irritating than debilitating to suspects.
Light Power (Lumens)
The Legacy delivers in both of those demands. The Legacy comes with a high-output CREE XM-L LED light that uses a multifaceted reflector to produce an impressive 570 lumens at maximum power. The Legacy produces 220 lumens on medium, and down to 20 lumens on low. The strobe option is at maximum power.
This light is truly a game changer for night operations. The beam is fixated enough to focus the light intensity on particular objects or suspects, yet spreads out enough to illuminate large areas for field searches. The 570 lumens directed at a suspect’s face and eyes has the ability to cause eye closure, and wincing, and even withdrawal, with night vision obliterated for several seconds.
Strobe and Other Light Options
Next, I wanted the light to have the ability to fluctuate between light settings, and include a strobe function as well. I have found the strobe to be one of the most incredible additions to police light technology, and it is a must for my search lights. I appreciate the strobe so much, that I would surrender lumen strength to have a strobe, rather than have a high lumen light without one. Thankfully the Legacy did not make me choose. Using a strobe during force-on-force training and actual calls I have seen suspects completely disoriented by the strobe that they are frozen in place.
The Legacy also offers light selections of high, medium, low, and momentary. The momentary function is another key feature that I believe all patrol lights should have, and the Legacy allows the momentary function on all of the light settings. Clicking a light on for constant light, and having to click it off is too noisy and defeats the ability of the user to make quick light-up passes when the user doesn’t want to unnecessarily give away their exact location review.
By pressing in only half way the user can illuminate to the desired setting and simply letting off pressure turns the light off. If the button is depressed fully there is an audible and tactile click, which requires the same depression to turn the light off.
There is an extended ring near the end cap that provides a solid grip hold and has a white line to mark the light setting. The light settings are designated with five symbols – Filled in circle for maximum; Half filled circle for medium; Quarter filled circle for low; a Lightning bolt for strobe; and an Empty circle for safety off to avoid any accidental activations. The end cap is rotated to line up the light symbol with the white line on the ring. Then the user can either use momentary or full on light as they desire.
Light Output and Duration
On the high setting the beam can illuminate objects out to an incredible 180 meters, and will produce light for 2 hours. The beam is tight enough to allow objects in the center of the light to receive the primary light, but is broad enough to illuminate a wide area at distance. The medium setting can reach out to 110 meters and will produce light for 10 hours. Finally, on the low setting the Legacy will reach out to 35 meters for just over 33 hours.
Finally, I wanted a light that I felt could withstand the typical abuse and exposure to the elements that a patrol/search light can be expected to receive. The Legacy is housed in an 1-inch diameter aluminum body that has a hard-coat anodized finish to protect the core from the elements and hard use. The Legacy has been rated to function after a 1 meter fall, and is water resistant to 1 meter as well.
The 1-inch diameter tube makes the L-6V readily compatible to most weapons platform light mounts, increasing the versatility of this hand held light. The lens is made with tempered glass.
Here is a breakdown of the Legacy L-6V features:
|Light Source||High output CREE XM-L LED|
|Light Output||570/220/20 Lumens|
|Light Settings||High, Med., Low, Strobe, Momentary|
|Dimensions||1” dia. tube, 1.26” bezel, 6.1” long|
|Weight (with/without batteries)||8.70 oz. / 6.95 oz.|
|Finish||Hard-coat anodized aluminum body|
|Durability||1-meter drop and water resistant|
|Power Source||(2) CR123 3-volt batteries|
|MSRP||$119.00 U.S. (as low as $69.99)|
The Legacy L-2A2 Option
Blackhawk offers a very similar flashlight option that is powered by (2) AA batteries instead of the more expensive CR123 batteries. The features and look are the same except for a few alterations. To accommodate the AA batteries the length extends to 7.3”. The L-2A2 uses a CREE XP-G LED, instead of the CREE XM-L LED. The cheaper AA batteries do come with a price, however. The L-2A2 only reaches a maximum output of 200 lumens for only 90 minutes, and then 100 and 15 lumens at medium and low settings respectively. The L-2A2 does cost $20.00 less, having an MSRP of $99.00
Field Use Testing and Review
I have had the opportunity to use the Legacy L-6V on patrol several times. On two separate occasions a suspect fled from officers in a vehicle and then exited the vehicle to run into nearby fields. While setting up a perimeter on one of those calls I was responsible for a large section of field that ran parallel to a State highway. Using the Legacy L-6V I was able to specifically check the surrounding tree lines about 150 yards away, while lighting up large areas of the field with enough light that I could have easily distinguished if the suspect had been moving in that direction. This light was much more powerful than a standard patrol car spotlight, particularly in its ability to spread the beam out for larger areas of coverage.
I have not had the opportunity to use the strobe on a suspect yet, but have found its use in force-on-force training has the desired effect. The strobe prevents the “suspect” from gauging the approach of officers for distance or location. When the strobe is used on the eyes of the “suspect” it is very distracting and tends to lock the suspect in place and overload their ability to multi-task or make good decisions.
I’ve tried to be careful with the light, but on the rare occasions that I’ve dropped it I have not suffered any interruption with light, and the body has remained intact. I have not attempted the water resistance, however.
In other routine light work I have found the Legacy to be a very good light. I have even used the Legacy over the vehicle spotlight for general area checks because of the brighter light, and the ease of manipulation and light direction over the spotlight.
For those familiar with other Blackhawk flashlights they will recognize a lot of features of the Legacy that are similar to the Gladius light that is no longer in production. However, the Legacy L-6V does not have the same easily rotated end cap that made the Gladius very unique and fairly easily manipulated with one hand.
Although possible with effort to complete with one hand, the end cap rotation of the Legacy realistically requires a 2-handed operation. This presents one of the few downsides that I have found with this light, as it would be better for the user to be able to more easily rotate light options for various conditions that are met, while keeping the other hand free for weapon use, or other jobs.
I find that the more positive manipulation for light selections is a better option than a confusing and difficult to remember series of button presses like some other models. However, one of the complaints with the Gladius was that the twisting end cap was not always easy to manipulate with one hand, or remember the feel for the different settings. To each his own, I guess.
The second downside is the extended ring near the end cap. Although providing a very stable grip hold, the ring is stationary. The ring’s position is such that many flashlight holders made to house 1-inch lights will not accept the Legacy with the end cap inserted first. To add to this problem, the light bezel is wider than 1-inch (about 1.5”) and does not allow the Legacy to be inserted with the light facing down either. There are larger light holders, however, so this problem may not be a discouragement.
Finally, if there is such a thing as too much light the Legacy and similar high output lights are approaching that arena. With 570 lumens on high, the Legacy can be detrimental at close ranges. On more than one occasion I’ve lit up a window or other reflective surface at close range only to have the bright light bounced right back into my eyes. At close range the effect is just the same as it would be for a suspect – disorientation, and night blindness.
Despite a few drawbacks, I have found the Blackhawk Legacy L-6V to be a very versatile and worthy patrol light. The light fits very nicely in my hand, and although the light selections are not as easily moved through as I would like, I have not had any serious issues. It forces me to plan ahead for the light needed, and to pre-set the Legacy for that type of light. If needed, I can “create” a strobe light by simply manipulating the momentary light option multiple times in short duration.
If I’m not carrying the Legacy in a cargo pocket, I can place it into a larger light carrier on my duty belt. The amount of light the Legacy produces is outstanding (watch out for refections), and can truly open up the dark reaches of the night. Click here to get your Blackhawk L-6V flashlight from Amazon.