If you are looking for an extremely high-powered light with 50K candela and 1,500 lumens, then this ain’t it chief. The Streamlight Sidewinder isn’t your typical tactical light. It’s designed for more tame tasks than searching for bad guys in the dark. The Sidewinder fulfills the role of being a bit of admin light, a light you can call upon in a half dozen situations for fieldwork. Heck I use it to build 80% lowers when I need to some light to shine the way.
I was issued a Streamlight Sidewinder almost a decade ago, making me both an old man and a well-experienced user of this light. I took it on two deployments and a crazy amount of field ops. 0do this day, I like to keep a Sidewinder close at hand, in my car, and always ready for life. The light is one of my favorites, and I figured it was finally time to let you all know why.
Why The Sidewinder Rocks
Those big powerful 1,000 lumen lights are quite nice, but they do require a big battery and often have a relatively low battery life. Unbeatable when you have to search and rescue, find bad guys, or identify a potential hazard. However, what happens when you have to read a map, or when you’re at a patrol base for two weeks and need to live without power? You don’t need a big powerful light.
No, you need the Sidewinder. The Sidewinder offers you 200 hours of battery life on high mode and substantially more when you lower the power. The 55 lumens seem low but provide enough light for basic navigation, weapon maintenance, setting up a lean-to, or other critical tasks.
You can easily navigate your way through a dark building or down a dark trail. The Sidewinder uses two simple AA batteries. The design is super light and comes with a multi-use pocket clip that allows it to be attached to nearly anything, including a helmet mount. The polymer body is heavily textured for a sure grip, and the square design and rotating head allow it to be used hands-free.
The Sidewinder can be set on a table, on the floor, on a tree, and users can rotate the head 185 degrees to cast light wherever you need it. It’s simple but super handy in a primitive situation. From camping for fun to power outages, and even duty use in the hands of wildland firefighters camping on the side of a mountain.
It’s Superman Strong
The lightweight polymer body is deceptively strong. Mine has been up mountains in Africa, through rivers in Afghanistan, and from ship to shore. It has taken abuse, been submerged fully in water, dropped, tossed, and kicked, and yet it works without issue.
The Sidewinder packs a deceptive level of strength and durability to it. More so than you’d expect from the low price point. The light is sealed against the weather and waterproof. The lens is strong, durable, and also takes serious abuse without worry.
Multiple Light Sources
Of course, you get the typical white light with the Sidewinder, but beyond the white light, you get three other options. First, the red beam, which provides a low signature option that makes reading maps and similar tasks easy without giving your position away.
A blue light included does the same but makes it easy to track blood. Hunters can shine a blue light and track a kill as the sun sets. Alternatively, medics can use the light to treat injuries without using a bright white light to give away their position.
Finally, if you are rocking NODs, you have an IR beam to increase your NOD capabilities. It’s super handy for using NODs indoors and even reading text through night vision.
Perfect for the Field
The Sidewinder is ready for field use. The controls are simple, and each light has three different brightness levels. On top of that, an SOS mode makes signaling easy. The Sidewinder remains compact and lightweight and makes it easy to carry among your normal gear. The Sidewinder allows you to have a field-ready light for those more common admin tasks you’re faced with. It’s one of my favorites and gets my hearty recommendation.