LUMENS VS. CANDELA
The first things to consider in choosing a SureFire light are how much light you need and the specific beam characteristics. The total amount of light emitted by the device is measured in LUMENS. Generally speaking, the more light available the better, especially in deadly force situations. In low light and darkness, self-supplied illumination will often be required to locate and identify potential or manifest threats — and to visually impair them if needed. Of course, there are times when you may want less light, such as when reading a map, which is why many SureFire products let you select from multiple light levels. And our patented INTELLIBEAM® technology instantly and automatically adjusts light output based on distance to target.
When discussing beam configuration, we are describing how the light being emitted (measured in lumens) is distributed in the beam of light from the handheld flashlight, WEAPONLIGHT, WRISTLIGHT or other SureFire tactical illumination tool. Generally speaking, these beams of light are circularly symmetrical.
Candela — or “candlepower” — is the unit of light intensity that quantifies the brightest spot in the beam. The brightest (i.e., highest candela value) light is at the beam’s center, and it gradually or abruptly diminishes in brightness as it moves out to the far edge of the beam, depending on the optic in question. High candela is often required for long-range applications.
To illuminate objects at longer distances, optics that produce a narrow, high-intensity (high-candela) beam are needed. Simultaneously, these optics also produce a much lower-intensity, wide-angle area of the beam that is useful for finding where to point the narrow, high-intensity portion of the beam. This part of the beam also enhances situational awareness. For applications where the ranges are considerably shorter, a much broader is generally desirable, and less total light output is usually required