Eleven years ago, in a large police department somewhere in America, administrators passed a new rule: nobody but SWAT could have lights like the SureFire M600DF on their weapons. Seriously.
This was bad enough for pistols, but at least most officers were (poorly) trained to handle a pistol with one hand while they illuminated a target with the other. For carbines, on the other hand, the rule was not only disastrous but incredibly stupid; nobody who wrote it seemed to have asked how night shift officers were supposed to accurately fire a carbine one-handed, while lighting up a target with a handheld light, in the dark, under stress, and maybe even while being shot at. They could not possibly have considered how officers would reload their carbines, or clear malfunctions, while holding a flashlight. Maybe they just didn’t consider it very important for an officer to, oh, see his carbine’s sights during a shootout, or maybe they just thought, “Those guys can just figure it out.”
If those administrators had bothered to ask, they would have discovered Surefire had figured it out years earlier when they began mass marketing weapon lights. Even back then, those lights were reliable, technologically advanced for their time, and incredibly valuable to anyone handling a carbine in the dark on the sharp end. They were not, however, incredibly bright; the Millennium Universal System lights advertised in 2002, for example, had a max brightness of 225 lumens. That was good enough for short-range engagements, and way better than anything else on the market, but nowhere near the power of Surefire’s modern offerings. A well-trained warrior with a carbine and Surefire WeaponLight could take out an enemy down a dark hallway in 2002, but today that same warrior with that same carbine, equipped with Surefire’s new Scout light, can hit that same enemy from football fields away.
Surefire released the latest-generation Scout Light last year, the M600DF, with a new feature: It’s “Dual Fuel,” capable of operating on two CR123 batteries or the new, rechargeable lithium-ion SureFire SF18650B. The CR123s produce 1200 lumens for an hour straight, which is impressive enough. But with the SF18650B the Scout produces an incredible 1500 lumens, for an hour and a half. That much light lets even an average shooter, with an old carbine and old TA-01 ACOG, hit a steel silhouette from 200 meters on an otherwise pitch-black range, so imagine what a professional with great gear can do with it.
The M600DF Scout ships without bells and whistles, or tape switches. It comes out of the box with a Z68 tailcap you press halfway for momentary-on and all the way for constant-on or off, plus a Picatinny rail mount, SF18650B battery, and wall and car chargers. The Z68, of course, can be twisted off to prevent white light NDs. In the 10 seconds it takes to mount the new Scout to a weapon, a shooter almost exponentially increases his or her low-light capability. Noted low-light tactics instructor Will Petty advocates weapon lights with “all the lumens,” meaning as powerful as possible, because, “All the lumens equals information which equals problem solving.” In a tactical environment it’s better to see than not see, and it’s better to see more than less. The Scout M600DF lets you see more than any comparable weapon light, and you don’t need to one-hand your carbine while fumbling with a full-size flashlight to do it.
The Scout M600DF achieves its incredible brightness through the use of recoil-proof LEDs coupled with a Total Internal Reflection lens. The center of the beam is so intense that room-clearing in structures with white walls can cause significant splashback, making this Scout better for medium and long-range applications. But with training users can effectively employ the light close in, without blinding themselves or their teammates. Training is always key, especially with white lights in combat or on the street.
In short, the Scout M600DF isn’t quite a carbine-mounted flamethrower (although it might be mistaken for one at close range). But it is an incredibly bright, extremely reliable, highly advanced force multiplier that lets shooters put accurate rounds onto bad guys who think they’re concealed by darkness, from hundreds of meters away.
Despite what any police administrator might have thought back in 2007, every street cop who carries a carbine would be well served by attaching a new Scout to it.