Surefire’s various E-series models are getting brighter. They are also getting slightly larger (again), and the last time that happened (going from the old incandescent heads to the LED heads), some subset of Surefire fans maintained a desire for the smaller, older style which lasts even to today despite Xenon bulbs being horribly inefficient. If you happen to be the sort of flashlight nut who will later wish you had bought the older model, the old ones are currently still available at most dealers even as the new ones are rolling in. Amazon has both the older E1L and the newer/larger/brighter E1L available. The new one also has a much higher MSRP, in case the old one wasn’t high enough for you.
Due to recent improvements in LED technology (in particular, Cree’s XM-L emitters), now is a good time to grab a new flashlight. Of course you already have several. But if you haven’t bought a new flashlight this year, you are probably holding some inferior device which puts out a mere 200 or 300 lumens.
The Fenix PD32 Ultimate Edition, pictured here burning holes through retinas at high noon, more than doubles your pathetic year-old pocket light with 740 lumens. That’s the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent bulb, which is quite a milestone in the world of pocket-able flashlights. Nitecore has a similar eyeball-blasting model MT26 available if you are not absolutely hooked on Fenix. And if you want to spend more money, Surefire has just upgraded their E2D Defender to the new “Ultra” version with 500 lumens. The E2D’s lumen count is lower than the others, but note that it uses Surefire’s TIR internal optic system which sends more light to the spot beam and not quite as much to the flood area to make their spot beams as bright as higher-rated standard flashlights.
I picked the Fenix for its neutral white LED, but if you just blindly buy an upgraded version of whatever might be your favorite brand at the moment it should be pretty impressive. Do be aware that all of these will reduce output to the 2nd-highest setting after a few minutes of continuous use at maximum power to avoid overheating. Fine for harassing cows at night, but don’t expect to leave it on at full power for 2 hours straight.