Nothing is more unsettling than being in the dark and hearing the proverbial bump in the night. We rely on our sight to qualify what are other senses are telling us and when we are in complete darkness we are at a loss. Fortunately, we can make fire but even better was the invention of the flashlight. A way of directing light where we need it and not catching anything on fire. Needless to say, having a reliable flashlight should be part of your bug out bag if not your everyday life. Many hours were spent looking over lumen outputs, battery life, type of battery, and features. Ultimately, a decision was made, and I decided to purchase the military version of the Streamlight Sidewinder model number 14032.

By Grim

In a survival situation, or even just an emergency, adaptability is a must and the Sidewinder accomplishes this goal. Having four different color LEDs each with four light intensities the Sidewinder gives you plenty of light options. When turning on the flashlight it always starts at the lowest setting which I like because it helps with keeping your natural night vision and conserves battery life. The operation of the light is quite easy between the large button to turn on and adjust intensity but also the ring to switch LED colors is tactile even when wearing gloves. The flashlight also has a 185-degree tilting head which allows you to mount the light in various was and still project the light where it is needed. Given that the flashlight is rectangle in shape rather than cylindrical it might take some getting used to, but you know it will never roll away from you. Not only will it not roll away, but it can lay down and aim the light where your need it or attach it to your belt, vest, shoulder strap etc. and project light hands free. I can attest to the tough construction since I have had this flashlight for 6 years now. Temperatures from below zero to over a hundred with plenty of rain, snow, and drops in between. It is still going strong.

streamlight military tactical flashlight attaches to helmet

Sidewinder Flashlight Batteries

While the Sidewinder is especially versatile it does lack in a couple areas. All the light operation is on the head and for some this is probably not an issue but if you prefer a tail switch operation you won’t find that here. The flashlight will only take AA batteries and although a AA is one of the more prevalent batteries it would be nice to see the same flexibility that they put into the light in the power sources as well. For survival or emergency situations I always like to have a powered device be able to use multiple power sources. If it ever gets to scavenging or trading, you don’t know what you will find, or people will have to trade. Best to keep your options as open as possible. At 55 lumens this might be a bit lower than one would like but honestly, I rarely use might flashlight on high and its plenty of light to see in the dark. The mount accessories, though innovative, do not hold the light as stable as I would like. The metal clip that it comes with is strong but the picatinny mount accessory worries me. When testing it I just felt the light was easily bumped out of position.

At around 65 dollars on various websites like amazon it’s reasonably priced. Its versatile, well-built and has many features which you can see on my review video. I currently use the Sidewinder on my bug out trips and I even will pull it out at home while trying to work on something under the sink or under the hood of my cars.