Why Carry a Light?
If you carry a gun regularly, you should also carry a light. Many shootings happen at night. You may even find yourself in a low-light situation during the day time if you are indoors. Colonel Cooper’s 4th Rule mandates that we are to be sure of our target and what is behind it before we pull the trigger. We must have a light in order to properly identify our target before we shoot.
A bright white light can also give you an advantage by disrupting your attacker’s dark adjusted vision. In some cases this may even temporarily blind your attacker (according to Surefire) – giving you needed fractions of seconds to respond swiftly and violently. Disrupting the night vision of your attacker alone is not a sufficient response to being attacked. You must be ready and willing to follow-up with overwhelming violent response.
Hopefully, we are in agreement that we should all be carrying a light (or two) along with our guns but that is the easy part. The hard part is choosing a light to carry. There are certainly no shortages of manufacturers who would be happy to supply you with a “tactical” light. Many of these manufacturers offer multiple lights. The options can seem limitless and overwhelming.
One of those manufacturers that would be happy to sell you a light is NovaTac. The brand is somewhat new but the people behind it are not new to the tactical light scene. They have used their experience and innovation to bring several lights to market. The one that we will focus on for this review is the 12oT.
The NovaTac 120T is built from the ground up to be a compact tactical light. The specifications, construction materials, and ergonomics leave no question about that. This light is purpose-built.
- 3 Brightness levels (120 lumens, 10 lumens, .3 lumens)
- Easily accessible disorienting strobe
- Extended tail cap button and grip ring (allows use of multiple flashlight and handgun control techniques)
- Momentary or click-on functionality
- Pocket clip
- Automatically compensates for weakening battery
- Runs on a single CR123A battery
- Waterproof to 66 feet
- 3.3″ long, 1″ in diameter, 3.1 oz
- Aluminum body
- Steel bezel ring
- HAIII hard anodized finish
- Polycarbonate lens with anti-reflective coatings
- Steel pocket clip
- High: 30 Minutes
- Medium: 14 Hours
- Low: 240 Hours
More information can be found on the 120T spec sheet(PDF).
How Does it Work?
On paper it sounds somewhat complicated but in use it is actually very simple. The 120T has only one button. The user can access all functions from this button by using a series of clicks and/or presses. It helps if you understand the difference between clicks and presses. The user clicks by quickly depressing and releasing the button – like you would click a mouse button. The user presses by depressing and holding the button.
- Momentary – Press the button. The light will stay on high until you release the button. This is very natural and lends itself very well to short bursts of light while moving and “slicing the pie”.
- Constant or Click-on – Click the button. The light will stay on high until you click the button again.
- Medium – Starting from any high mode, click the button twice quickly. The light will stay on medium until you click the button again.
- Low – Starting from high or medium mode, click the button three times quickly. The light will stay on low until you click the button again. Any clicks from this mode will put the light back in high mode.
- Strobe – Press the button from any constant mode or click-press from off.
Notice that the light always comes on in high mode. This is good news. It means that no matter how you turn on the light, you will immediately have 120 retina searing lumens on tap. This feature is important in a tactical light versus a general use light that may come on in a more battery conservative low mode. The designers of the 120T correctly assume that tactical users would need the most light available at the very instant they turn on the light.
The medium and low modes make this light useful for general use as well. You probably won’t be holding an attacker at gunpoint every time you fire up your flashlight. You may just be trying to find a key or walking the dog. The medium and low modes are well-chosen and very useful. I especially appreciate that the low mode is truly low. It can be used without destroying your dark adjusted vision. The vast majority of lights miss the mark here because they are too busy chasing the biggest lumen numbers to actually make a useful light.
The light carries very well in a pocket using the included pocket clip. The light rides very deep in the pocket and seems very secure. The checkering on the body of the light is somewhat aggressive and may fray your pockets over time. It does, however, make for a very secure grip. A lanyard can be attached to the pocket clip.
The shape of the light lends itself to several handgun/light combination holds. Many people are familiar with the FBI flashlight technique, Harries technique, and the Surefire/Rogers technique. NovaTac promotes the Thorpe Technique which is specific to their lights. There is a thick o-ring provided with the 120T to aid in acquiring this grip. It is quite simple to use and indexes the light well. I suggest that you practice this technique before using it as you would any new technique.
Worth a Look
I am quite pleased with this light. I believe it offers an excellent set of features to law enforcement, military, and civilian users alike. If you are in the market for a feature rich but still easy to use light, be sure to check out the NovaTac line of lights.