Review: Atomic Beam USA Tactical Flashlight

I have been assured that the Atomic Beam USA Tactical Flashlight does not, in actuality, contain any nuclear components. It is atomic only in the sense that it is made up of atoms, just like you, just like me. So, good news.

The Atomic Beam is a portable flashlight, I’m told, unlike any other. “As Seen on TV” and Quality Tested by Good Housekeeping, the Atomic Beam has enough street cred that it has even garnered endorsement from Hunter Ellis, a former navy pilot and 14th place finisher of 2002’s Survivor: Marquesas.

The 6.5-ounce flashlight is pocketable and crafted with an all-aluminum shell. A single, jumbo LED provides illumination to the tune of 5,000! lux (emphasis retained). The flashlight features five modes, all accessed through a single button on the bottom of the device. Press once for steady light, then gently depress it again to cycle through the additional modes—half-brightness, quarter-brightness, a continuous strobe light, and finally a Morse-code SOS mode. Pull on the head of the light to focus, going from a roughly 90-degree wide beam to a very tight and narrow one.

WIRED

Yes, you can find brighter flashlights, but nowhere near this price level. The Atomic Beam is dazzlingly brighter than anything around its retail price of $20—and potentially cheaper through third parties. (Beware: Claims of counterfeit versions are rampant.) I was unable to scientifically measure its brightness with any level of accuracy, as it blew out my light meter, but it is blinding to look directly into the beam—even on quarter-power mode—and the strobe is particularly visible. The beam focusing system works very well, though it’s a little strange that at its tightest setting you can see the electronic pattern of the diode’s semiconductor reflected in the light.

TIRED

The flashlight is water-resistant but not waterproof, so it’s tough to tell whether the unit would survive Hurricane Xavier. I’m also not convinced that a mere aluminum shell merits the “tough grade” moniker, although the National Institute of Standards and Technology has yet to weigh in on what merits that badge. Sifting through the modes is tedious work, and three needed AAA batteries are not included—but at this price, you can spring for the juice.

RATING

7/10 – Very good, but not quite great.

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