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<FLASHLIGHT REVIEWS

BlackHawk
Night-Ops
Gladius - BH #75200OD

Quick Facts:

Dimensions & Weight
Materials
Case Features
Case Access Type
Photon Management
Switch Type
Reflector Type
Lens Type
Bulb Type
Beam Characteristics
Overall Output
Nominal Color
Battery / Power Type
Battery Life (advertised)
Environmental Seals
Accessories
Warranty
Special Items of Note
Retail Availability & Cost
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L-155mm, HeadW-33mm, 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 battery replacement
27mm Reflector/Electronic control in tailpiece & Power management in LED circuit
Contact free microprocessor controlled electronic switch + electronic regulating circuit
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
6,000K
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 choices
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.
3- The 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.
6- 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)
9- 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 use.
Ergonomics & 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.
2- 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.
Affordances 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.
Human 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.
2-The Gladius' 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 user. Gladius 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 critical.
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..
9- 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
Beam Quality & Characteristics 1- 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)
5- Usage Scenarios are in progress...
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 28f). 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
Light Quality The color 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 6,000K 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 5400K 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
Brightness 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 use.
Conclusions 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 changes.
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 5 stars.
Our gripes were... A) No graphical indexing for visual mode verification

5 Stars- 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 Heavy/Rough use.

Cons= No graphical indexing for visual mode verification
Pictures





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

 

Footnotes:

(*1) Medium Men's glove size- Also, a Standardized Flashlight Hand Size Metric (SFHSM)

  Small A-B = 4.5" or Shorter
  Medium A-B = 4.5"-5"
  Large A-B = 5"-6"
  X-Large 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 etc)
  • 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 prohibited.


All Photographs © 2005 - Imago Media


 

 




 

 

 
 
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