Dimensions & Weight
Case Access Type
Battery / Power Type
Battery Life (advertised)
Special Items of Note
Retail Availability & Cost
BodyW-25mm,Star-37mm, Wght W/ Bats-5.4Oz/152 Grms
T-6 Aluminum/Polymer/Glass/Hard Liquid Ceramic Coating
Scalloped 'Star' tailpiece collar / Grooved multi-function tailpiece
Unscrew 'Star' tailpiece collar for access to body section for
27mm Reflector/Electronic control in tailpiece & Power management
in LED circuit
Contact free microprocessor controlled electronic switch + electronic
27mm high polish parabolic type reflector
UCL Glass- 3mm thick
Luxeon III High Dome
Combination, Broad wide-angle beam pierced by focused hotspot
80 Lumens+ (est.) at Full Power / .08 lumens on Lowest Power
2X 3.0 V CR123A Lithium Batteries (included)
72Minutes(H), 400+ Hrs (L) + Various/ Low battery indicator
Sealed head/ 'O' Rings / waterproof to 50 meters (166 feet)
Lanyard (Included) - Numerous accessories to be released
Limited Lifetime (Lamps & Batteries not covered)
Bright on High /Strobe setting / Multi-level Illumination/ Ergonomic/Color
MSRP $249.99 as evaluated http://www.night-ops.com/
Form Factor & Build
1-The Night-Ops Gladius draws
from numerous well established best practices for tactical flashlight
design and then adds a number of innovations of its own in design,
construction and functionality. Clearly designed with Military
as well as Law enforcement customers in mind, it goes beyond
serving the needs of the operator and enforcer to also matching
those that must wear heavy protective gloves (such as firefighters).
The Gladius is highly usable by them as well.
2- The front bezel is plainly cylindrical,
inviting slip-on and clamp-on attachments such as diffusers
and color modulating filters. Production models have a thick
wall and two 'O' rings that protect the reflection coated Ultra
Clear glass. This special glass is much more scratch resistant
than Lexan or Polycarbonate.
head of the light is wider than the body & tail-piece which
are approximately the same diameter.The 'Star' shaped tail-piece
collar is actually wider across the star points than the head
. Four long rounded grooves - deeply incised into the body section,
reduce weight and create a formidable grip for bare or gloved
hands alike. Similarly, two diametrically opposed flat milled
sections along the body also reduce weight and accommodate the
printing of branding graphics.
4- A modest bevel from head to body, assists
in indexing the front of the grip.
5- The aluminum wall thickness of the battery
tube is 2.0mm plus 2mm of polymer inner sleeve.
All sections fit together extremely well with fast
and smooth threading action.
7- A Hard Liquid Ceramic Coating on the outside
is Night Ops' solution to corrosion resistance, abrasion and
exterior color. Inside gold plating provides electrical conductivity.
Thanks to this approach to exterior protection, the Gladius'
finish is uniform when compared to Hard Anodized III products
that typically show a variation in the coloration of parts.
8- The matte exterior ceramic coating finish is
available in several colors (Sniper Grey, OD Green, Coyote Tan
and Black)and minimizes reflections and glare by day as well
as by night (Mil Spec)
There is no 'play'. Two strategically placed 'O' ring seals
provide shock absorption, a snug fit and a seal against the
elements- especially water. Though we have not yet performed
underwater tests, the Gladius is rated to be waterproof to 50
meters (166 feet).
10- It has a very rugged
look & feel- reflecting the actual toughness of the flashlight.
It's a Military/SWAT/Law enforcement caliber flashlight that
would more than satisfy the needs of any technician or consumer
demanding an overbuilt product for recreational or occupational
& Mount Options
1- Ambidextrous. This flashlight has a very
solid feel to it- with substantial heft that easily fills the
largest of hands. In addition, the Gladius
is perfectly balanced at the exact midpoint along its length.
Ideal for individuals with large sized hands, its fits very
comfortably in medium and small hands as well.
Gladius is apparently designed to
be held using various 'tactical' grips including: Harries Flashlight
Technique , Surefire-Rogers grip, forward, upward and downward
pointing 'standard' flashlight hand-held modes. The 'Star' collar
not only forms a natural stop for a palm surrounding the body
section but it also provides the necessary leverage for fingers
that will grip the light near the tail as the operator's thumb
(or first finger) presses the activation button and turns the
rotary control dial.
3- The polymer tail-piece
control dial is made graspable through six deeply incised grooves.
Again the scale of this construction accommodates heavily gloved
as well as bare hands.
4-This mode control dial allows the operator
of the Gladius to select the mode or 'state'
of the flashlight with the thumb and first finger on the same
hand that is supporting the light. In addition, the concentrically
located push-button switch then allows for activation. In addition
to activating the pre-set mode, this button serves two other
functions as well. Partially depressed when the set mode is
Full On/Off, it allows for an over-ride of the anticlockwise
detent- to enable the light's switch to be locked out of activation
or as we discovered, to be locked in the On state as well. In
addition, more than 1.5 seconds of continuous pressure on this
button while in Full On mode will allow for multilevel variation
of the light's output.
5- No native mounting options for firearms
use are evident, though the mid-section accommodates third party
clamping brackets and custom designed attachment solutions for
use of the light on SMG's, shotguns or rifles. A list of 3rd
Party accessories may be viewed at http://www.night-ops.com/faq.htm
6-Not being specifically designed for pocket
carry or visor stowage, the lack of a pocket clip on the Gladius
is deemed a feature and not an omission. Given that the cruciform
'Star' flange protrudes quite far out from the tailpiece, it
actually forms a natural 'hook' or stop to suspend the light
head down in front slash pocket. This is one flashlight that
loves to be stowed loose-in a cargo pocket , holster or go-bag,
although it 'hangs' comfortably in any front Denim Jeans pocket.
1- A 2mm diameter hole drilled into one of
the four points of the 'Star' collar, allows for the attachment
of split rings as well as nylon terminal loops. A ring and lanyard
are provided in production shipments.
2 - In normal use- light emits from the front
of the flashlight when activation occurs through an inward pushing
of the black polymer activation button switch when the tailpiece
rotary collar is set to one of the three active modes.
3-The head is not designed to be removed and
no internal components are user serviceable
4-The removable tailpiece protects the battery compartment
from the environment with the help of two 'O' rings- one on
the inside and another on the outside of the body section. Battery
replacement entails the removal of the tailpiece from the body
section by unscrewing the hefty Star flange collar . Fresh batteries
are then fed into the battery compartment-as is common with
tactical type lights.
Factors & Usability
1-The Gladius' ceramic coating
not only protects the surface but it also contributes to high
tactility.We did not perform pull tests but deemed that this
matte finish would be good in preventing slippage of the light
from a wet or oily hand. The absence of aggressive knurling
is offset by the fact that the Star flange prevents the light
from sliding out of an operator's hands. In addition, knurling
would have been somewhat smoothened by the type of finish that
is used on the Gladius, and this could well
have made the surface more slippery rather than the reverse.
silhouette promotes intuitive palm grip focus on the region
between the Star and the bevel on the back of the head. In addition
a cigar like hold is encouraged by the Star flange as well.
3-The body has two opposing flat-milled sections
that reduce the width of the Gladius' body
enough to allow for 'between the fingers' accommodation as required
for a comfortable Surefire/ Rogers Hold . Such
material reduction may also help to minimize the overall weight
of the light.
4- The numerous innovations , both electronic
as well as ergonomic, position the Gladius
in a class of its own. Few other lights allow for task and context
relevant illumination level control in a hand-held flashlight.The
Gladius goes a step further by keeping this
control in a functionally trifurcated tailpiece such that mode,
intensity and activation may be controlled by the user from
one region of the flashlight in a manner that promotes quick
and specific decisions and yet minimizes error and loss of control.
5- The multilevel functionality for example,
opens up a range of markets for end users in many occupational
domains- including science, aviation and astronomy. By adjusting
the level of illumination to match the maximum required degree
of lighting, 'over exposure' or 'under illumination' can be
minimized through the use of only one hand-held flashlight.
The alternative has been to employ a series of flashlights-
each delivering a fixed degree of illumination and then matching
a flashlight to a specific task at hand. Night-Ops Gladius
therefore combines the functionality of different flashlights
into one.This not only simplifies matters, but it also should
help to reduce cost and lost time and opportunity for the end
Detailed Modes . By including temperature management
as well as low battery warning into the feature set, The Gladius
takes the burden of constant vigilance away from the user; allowing
them to focus on task and goal completion instead. This conforms
to heuristics that promote high quality usability.
6-The mode setting, levels changing and activation
procedures are semi intuitive- requiring but a moment's glance
at the instructions. This is a far cry from some of the convoluted
use-models we've seen from manufacturers seeking to turn a flashlight
into an arduous learning experience. The software activities
are made transparent to the end-user through a seamless relationship
between a familiar Solid User Interface (SUI) and the software
programming that is implemented through that interface. By simplifying
the relationship, the Gladius' designers have
minimized cognitive overhead as well as the potential for error-
especially under duress.
7- By clearly and ergonomically separating
the activation, mode and levels control functions, Night-Ops'
Gladius offers some important advantages over products
that either combine all functionality into one multi-function
button, or place them in far proximity causing some back and
forth between front and back of the flashlight body.
Trifurcating the controls has the added benefit of mitigating
against an accidental or unintentional activation at a moment
critical to tactical strategy.Such a consideration may not be
so important to the everyday user of a flashlight but to the
key customers of the Gladius, it can be mission
By sticking to a familiar 'front-end' for the user interface,
Night-Ops has shielded the end-user from the added cognitive
effort that an indirect software based UI entails. Making the
functionality as transparent, visible and familiar a concept
to the end user as possible brings the Gladius'
design in direct alignment with key usability heuristics and
human factors best practices.
8- The tailpiece may be removed for battery
changes and presumably, upgrades and cross grades may be used
in place of the standard tailpiece..
Due to the protrusion of the activation switch
button- the light may not be stood on its tail for ceiling bounce
mode. Candle mode is also not an option due
to the inability of the user to separate the emitter from the
rest of the head section and exposing it. Given the specialized
market for the Gladius, this fact is only of
minor significance. Indeed it could be argued that a shroud
around the activation button could well hamper or slow down
activation- not a desirable possibility for a tactical flashlight.
10-The integrated emitter assembly is not user
accessible or modifiable. The front lens is not user accessible
for replacement or upgrade/crossgrade
Quality & Characteristics
The smooth glossy reflector of the Gladius
creates a smooth circular beam that is a medium/wide flood of
light with a very bright hotspot in its center.
2- The wide and round-shaped beam is excellent
for general searching and is bright and focused enough to create
bright ambient room lighting through ceiling bounce mode (18'X12'
white ceiling + white walls ). The hotspot is bright enough
to offer throw at a distance and to also focus the beam on targets
of interest nearby.
3-Thanks to its wide range of illumination
levels, Gladius is capable of very discrete
close-up or low level illumination and yet has the ability to
instantaneously revert to a full blast of maximum brightness.
4-The Gladius creates a subject
illumination in a category that we've codified as a Context
Inclusive Illumination Window (CIIW) as compared with
a Context Exclusive Illumination Window (CEIW)
5- Usage Scenarios are
6- The reflector gives the Gladius'
beam a smooth and even color as well as gradation. It was equally
the same color- 'blue-ish' white- at the hotspot as in the outer
rim of the corona. This resulted in a lack of anomalies, patches
or rings and uneven color that might otherwise hamper navigation
or object identification.
7- Due to a tight hotspot , the Gladius
shines a very accommodating beam that strikes a balance
between a spotlight and a floodlight. This makes it more versatile
than flashlights that may offer either one or the other type
of beam and can't change angle of coverage. With the Gladius,
you get both in one combination beam profile.
8-To test the throw of the Gladius,
we conducted a Maximum Distance for Object Identification
or MDOI (*2) trial and managed to
confidently differentiate our test subject (a
Black 33 Gallon (124Litre) Trash Bag) from
its immediate surroundings, from as far away as 160
feet with the subject area in near total darkness
and the evaluators and flashlight in a moderate level of street
sodium vapor ambient lighting (RH=45% at 28ºf). This test simulated
a person searching for an object of known size -a person for
example- but located in an unknown or difficult to spot container
-a black trash bag, for example. From 160 feet away,
the Gladius positively lit up the area surrounding our subject
enough to clearly distinguish it from the Black 33 Gallon Trash
Bag, that lay on the ground.The estimated contrast
ratio was 2:1
chart tests photographed with a digital camera set for Daylight
White Balance and exposure set- to properly expose the gray
areas of the chart to 50% or Zone V- 'Mid-tone Gray', revealed
that the Gladius' color is consistently around
6,000ºK from center to corona. Comparing the Gladius
chart photograph with a flash (White Balance set to 'Flash')
exposure of the same chart reveals a slight shift to blue. This
makes it a little less than ideal for situations demanding the
highest fidelity of color differentiation but that's not what
the Gladius was designed for . Filtration of
0.25 CCY or 1/8 CTO would bring it into perfect 5400ºK balance.
While ideal for most clear nights and basic interior uses, a
beam color so blue might be subject to glare if used in conditions
of high water vapor / humidity or smoke. Light modulating filters
such as Infra-Red(IR), Red and Green will be welcome to the
Military and Law Enforcement customers
Night-Ops Gladius scored Maximum Distance
for Object Identification or MDOI at 160
feet -and did so while displaying one of the
brightest hotspots and coronas we've seen to date from any flashlight
of its class. The Gladius' brightness is more
than adequate for general military, SWAT, law enforcement, security,tactical,
critical inspection, general searching- as well rugged outdoors
The Blackhawk Industries /Night-Ops Gladius
is a formidable entry into the field of tactical and military
grade hand-held flashlights. It's evidently designed with the
Soldier, SWAT, Special Operations, and High risk Adventurer
in mind. Anyone requiring a very rugged flashlight with multi-level
switching capability will not be disappointed by the Gladius.
Thanks to the sophisticated microprocessor controlled electronics
in its tail-piece and head section, the Gladius
can give its operators complete control of mode and level of
illumination- with the ability to quickly and semi-intuitively
switch from one mode to another -ramping output levels up or
down without needing an additional dial, or taking a finger
off the control button.
Aesthetically the Gladius looks like a piece of heavy duty tactical
hardware and yet it's lightness of weight belies this apparent
heft. Its most striking physical attribute is a 4 pointed scallop-cut
collar that makes bare-handed as well as heavy gloved retention
and control very reassuring indeed. The 'Star' collar also facilitates
rapid removal and replacement of the tailpiece during battery
The designers of the Gladius
effectively attended to usability heuristics. Not only are ergonomic
challenges solved, but the cognitive issues have been taken
care of as well. The use-model for multilevel switching is easy
to grasp and requires no learning curve
at all. Mode changes between Full On/Off, Momentary On/Off and
Momentary Strobe are easily preformed within a short turning
arc of the formidable tailpiece dial knob. Switch Lock-out requires
but a slight variation in this theme, ensuring both secure locking
as well as mitigating against inadvertent lock-out. Were all
this not enough, the Gladius also offers a Momentary Strobe
setting that not only serves to increase it's effectiveness
as a non-lethal compliance tool, but may also function as an
attention getting beacon for operative signaling as well as
emergencies.The BlackHawk Night-Ops Gladius is
an excellent new entry into an elite class of products with
less than a handful of contenders. At this point in
time, Night-Ops Gladius rates 5 stars out of a possible
Our gripes were... A) No graphical indexing for visual mode
Highly Recommended- Best In Class
Pros= Unique task-centric, multi-levels control
function wit pre-set|Superb mode and activation controls| Very
bright and useful combination beam |Exceptionally neutral color
light, esp at dimmer settings| Excellent build quality| Exceptionally
user & task-centric ergonomics|Smart electronic power and
temperature management| Rugged Industrial styling| Exceptionally
effective 'Star' flange collar|Best In Class online information
and customer support|Excellent warranty | Best In Class documentation/instructions
| Potential for upgradability & cross-gradeability | Ideal
for Military, Law Enforcement , SWAT & SpecOps as well as
Cons= No graphical indexing for visual mode
Above-Left / Single Handed Mode Change
Above- Grip & Control With Thick Tactical Gloves
Above- Details Showing 27mm Reflector
Above-Details of Tailpiece Showing 'Star' Collar, Rotary
Mode Dial and Activation Button
Above -Left /Note Inner & Outer 'O' Ring Seals & Polymer
Battery Tube lining. Right/ Switch Spring
Above-Left, Color Chart | Center, Actual Beam on Highest Level|
Right, Actual Beam on Lowest Level
(*1) Medium Men's glove size- Also, a Standardized
Flashlight Hand Size Metric (SFHSM)
A-B = 4.5" or Shorter
A-B = 4.5"-5"
A-B = 5"-6"
A-B = 6" and Longer
(*2) Maximum Distance for Object
Identification (MDOI). The maximum distance that
a person without the aid of magnification-can with normal
or corrected vision, under a given ambient level of light,
identify an object of known size, and clearly distinguish
it from its surroundings. We have tentatively identified the
following scenarios for such measures:
- A single average sized person/body identification scenario
- Urban (city, inside buildings, dark alley, lit streets)
- Rural (countryside,farm residential backyard)
- Environmental (dessert, woods, wetlands, over water)
- Natural & manmade disaster (fire, flood/mudslide,earthquake,
hurricane /tornado,bombing scene, collapsed structure
- Small Inanimate Object (smaller than a shoe-box)
- Medium Inanimate Object (Black Plastic 33 Gallon (124Litre)
Garbage Bag stuffed with a big sleeping bag)
(*5) Context Inclusive Illumination
Window (CIIW) as compared with a Context
Exclusive Illumination Window (CEIW)
- CIIW describes a subject illumination
paradigm wherein the illumination target is the focus of
the beam's brightest disc or 'Hotspot' and peripheral objects
to the target are more dimly illuminated in a larger disc
that surrounds the focus or hotspot. This outer region is
also referred to as a corona or penumbra.
- CEIW describes a subject illumination
paradigm wherein the illumination target is the focus of
the beam's brightest disc or 'Hotspot' and peripheral objects
to the target are not sufficiently illuminated
to be easily discernable at the periphery
of subject beam's focus or hotspot.
2004 - Imägo Metrics - All Rights Reserved
Original standards designations (including acronyms) depicted
in this, as well as all of our evaluations are the exclusive
intellectual property of Imägo Metrics LLC and subsidiaries.
Reproduction without prior written permission is strictly
Photographs © 2005 - Imago Media
© Copyright 2003 Imägo Metrics LLC - All Rights