What Is a Pressure Switch On a Flashlight?

March 08, 2022 5 min read

Two BAMFF tactical flashlights side by side. One with a pressure switch and one with a standard cap switch.

Everyone is familiar with what a flashlight does. However, not everyone knows its utmost importance in self-defense as well as military and police use.

Tactical flashlights are activated to disorient enemies through their nearly blinding illumination. An interesting feature of many tactical flashlights available in the market is the pressure switch.  

A pressure switch or a pressure pad on a flashlight activates the light with a firm hand grip. It typically comes with a pad connected to the tail cap, which reads the pressure level. You can also use the pad to control different light modes.

With a pressure switch, you can concentrate on gripping the pad and the trigger making you more focused on the target.

Find out about how a pressure switch works on tactical flashlights in the next few lines.

police man holding an assult rifle with a bamff tactical light mounted in one hand and signaling with the other hand

What Is the Purpose of a Pressure Switch?

The purpose of a pressure switch is to activate an operation through pressure that often comes with a substantial press or grip.

In tactical flashlights, the pressure switch turns the light on when your fingers come in firm contact with the pad. It can be activated momentarily or on a constant period.

Over the years, pressure switches have been used to maneuver or initiate operations in many equipment or instrument.

However, you won’t see all sorts of tools and machines employ a pressure switch. The ones that do usually require an immediate operation that usually intertwines with safety and security.

Therefore, adding a pressure switch to a tactical flashlight saves you more time and energy in activating the light and ensures a quick reaction time.

extreme close up of a BAMFF 10.0 tactical flashlight mounted to the picatinny rail of an assult rifle with white background

How Useful Is a Pressure Switch in Tactical Flashlights?

Picture a scenario involving you and an attacker in the middle of complete darkness.

You’re carrying an AR-15 rifle with a mounted B.A.M.F.F. 10.0, a dual-LED tactical flashlight with a pressure switch in its tail cap.

As you encounter the enemy face-to-face, you can just press the pad to illuminate and project powerful light that confounds your enemy immediately.

Your attacker can choose to run or employ defensive moves, which cause immobilization even for a quick time. Either way, your life stays safe, and the upper hand is easily yours to take.

Suppose the same scenario applies, and your tactical flashlight has to be operated with a push-button. In that case, there is a likelihood you might not get the same reaction time especially if your focus is out the window.

Simply put, it is advantageous to procure a tactical flashlight that has a pressure switch. It increases your chance to employ better safe defense.

But beyond its military and police purpose, you can always use this flashlight in activities like camping and hiking. Just make sure that you choose tactical flashlights designed for multiple uses.

Fortunately, there are several flashlights of this sort in the market.

B.A.M.F.F. 10.0, in particular, is incredibly interesting. It is primarily made of aircraft-grade material, making it extremely ideal for self-defense use, even as a blunt object.

Furthermore, it deviates away from the traditional tunnel vision and maximizes broader illumination coverage. This way, it expands its use in rescue operations, area investigation, night hiking, and other outdoor activities.

Likewise, you can choose to use it as an ordinary flashlight, without the pressure switch, or as a tactical flashlight.

How Does a Pressure Switch Operate?

There’s a simple mechanism involved in pressure switch operation. With a tactical flashlight, you project illumination as your fingers clasp the pressure pad.

Force is often exerted through specific gun parts when danger is heightened. This concept has become a helpful foundation in using tactical flashlights activated through a pressure switch.

In hindsight, this simple action, which your brain can widely associate with a gun, is easier to apply if self-defense is necessary.

When you only need to perform uniform actions during combat or attack, you can easily concentrate on your goal.

Generally, pressure switches in tactical flashlights read the force coming from the pressure, activating sensors designed to turn the light on when programmed conditions are met.

Unlike a push button, you don’t need to lift your hand or finger to activate the light. 

Pressure switches are usually long, narrow pads connected to the tail cap of the flashlight.

close up of a pressure mounted switch connected to a BAMFF 10.0 tactical flashlight mounted just above the trigger of a Mossberg 500 shotgun

Where Do You Mount a Pressure Switch?

Mounting a pressure switch is simply finding a smooth flat surface that is extremely close to either one of your hands when naturally holding the rifle or shotgun. 

You want it to be naturally within reach so that activating the light is seamless and can be done by feel. Choosing a spot is a matter of preference in terms of which hand to have in next to.

The length of the wire between the tactical flashlight and the pressure switch could be a limiting factor so make sure to do a dry run by just setting the hardware in place to see if your mounting area idea will work. 

Ideally you would want it near your trigger finger or out on the barrel near one of your fingers holding up and supporting the weapon.

Pros and Cons Of a Pressure Switch

Let’s face it, as promising as a pressure switch is, it also comes with several flaws.

Nonetheless, these limitations are not enough. They are also easily solvable since tactical flashlights with pressure switches still dominate the market.

So, here are the pros and cons of using a pressure switch on your tactical flashlight.

Pros

Straightforward Control

Activating light through a pressure switch is simple. Moreover, it saves you unnecessary time consumption, which is a luxury you can’t afford in a dangerous situation.

Flexible Position

One advantage of pressure switches that most law enforcers and gun enthusiasts agree on is the flexible setup and position you can choose when installing the pressure switch or pad.

You can place the pressure switch in a position that is comfortable for your hand placement. This way, it is more convenient for you to operate the light.

Energy Efficient

Since you only have to activate the tactical light when necessary, you get to save battery energy as opposed to tactical lights that lack pressure switches.

Cons

Accidental Activation

There is a likelihood that you can activate the light without meaning to. It can cause distress and panic, especially if you’re night operations require a certain level of incognito.

Nonetheless, with proper practice and presence of mind, this can be avoided.

Wiring Damage

Unfortunately, if not properly used and cared for, the wiring that connects the pad to the flashlight can sustain damages resulting in lost connectivity and malfunction.

BAMFF 10.0 by STKR poster showing different poses of the tactical flashlight with the pressure switch and the included picatinny rail mount

What Is the Best Tactical Flashlight With a Pressure Switch?

There is no doubt, the best tactical flashlight that comes with a pressure switch is B.A.M.F.F. 10.0.

Only a few tactical flashlights provide different kinds of light simultaneously. And to operate these light modes with a pressure switch gives another level of convenience and security.

The B.A.M.F.F. 10.0 produces a spotlight and floodlight even within a long distance that could freeze anyone in an instance.

Not only does it project focal light, which temporarily blinds or cause disorientation to your enemy, but it also provides peripheral light, which allows you to have a wider vision in the dark.

As a result, even if enemies try to escape, you’ll still get a clear view of their direction.

Summary

A tactical flashlight with a pressure switch can always do you good during nighttime activities, more so if it requires the use of your gun.

Whether it’s police or military work, or just a good old night hiking, carrying a highly functional tactical flashlight is always the best choice.

However, it is crucial to understand how a pressure switch works to ensure that it is appropriately taken care of.

As great as this nifty device is, it is not immune to damages that can jeopardize self-defense and other purposes.

Therefore, purchasing the best tactical flashlight can help you avoid dangerous mishaps with the pressure switch.

So, consider B.A.M.F.F. 10.0 if safety and efficiency are your top criteria in buying a tactical flashlight with a mountable pressure switch.

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