Night-Ops Gladius Tactical Illumination Tool/Weapons Light for Fighting at Night

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by David Crane

For those not already aware, there’s an exciting new tactical
illumination tool (i.e. tactical white light/weapons light) that will
be introduced at SHOT Show 2005 in a few days by a company called Night-Ops.

It’s called the Gladius High-Intensity LED (Light-Emitting Diode) Multi-Purpose Illumination Tool, and it’s the product of a partnership between Ken Good (a.k.a. Ken J. Good) of Strategos International and Mike Noell of Blackhawk Products Group/Blackhawk Industries.

Before starting Strategos, Mr. Good helped create the Surefire
Institute force-on-force training academy where he taught the tactical
employment of a tactical white light or weapon-mounted light for
gunfighting in low-light conditions (nightfighting) or in complete
darkness. Before that, Good co-owned and operated a force-on-force
training school called Combative Concepts, Inc, which also offered
courses in low-light gunfighting. Basically, Good’s been teaching
low-light close quarters battle (CQB)/close quarters combat (CQC) tactics and techniques to
military Special Operations (SPECOPS) and law enforcement SWAT/SRT
operators for quite some time, now.

The Night-Ops Gladius flashlight/tactical white light/tactical weapons light, marketed under the banner of the Blackhawk Products Group, will be…

going up against Surefire
flashlights that, up until now, haven’t really had any serious

The four primary aspects of the Gladius that separate it
from anything Surefire currently offers are:

1) It’s waterproof to 50 meters (166 feet).

2) It remains functional down to this depth because its
patent-pending tailcap incorporates a valve mechanism that
automatically equalizes the water pressure, so the instant on/off thumb
switch doesn’t get activated by water pressure as you dive.

3) It also incorporates a strobe feature called "Wave Length
Technology", which, according to Frank Borelli, who’s written an
article about the Night-Ops Gladius for the 10/25/04 issue
of the Blackwater Tactical Weekly (BTW) Newsletter, "pulses the light
at the optimal rate to interrupt linear thought processes and create an
imbalance in your opponent". Mr. Borelli goes on to write the following
about the Gladius’ strobe feature "the human mind actually has a hard
time processing images that come in at a certain rate and Night-Ops has
designed this light specifically to be the most efficient NON-lethal
NON-contact tool an officer can carry to impact his/her opponent’s
thought process and ability to perform directed behavior. Preliminary
research shows that confronting an aggressor with this pattern of light
directly into his eyes can cause reactions that are greatly to the
advantage of us, the good guys. Those reactions can include: imbalance,
involuntary closing of the eyes, turning the head, a loss of depth
perception, a feeling of pending physical impact, and sometimes even an
increase in heart and respiration rate due to the psychological stress
caused by the mental overload. It is important to note that in the
strobe position the light only flashes while the tailcap button is

Mr. Good has stated that the "practical testing of the strobe mode on
non-compliant subjects has been simply amazing", on one of the internet
forum sites.

4) It features a patent-pending "lockout" setting that essentially renders the flashlight inoperable.

The Night-Ops Gladius flashlight/tactical weapons light
represents an interesting development in the tactical flashlight field,
and it will be interesting to see how the competition between Night-Ops
and Surefire develops. Night-Ops appears to have a veritable plethora
of rather valuable patent-pending technologies in its corner that will
likely prove difficult for Surefire to match.

Although, if you were to ask Mr. Good, he’d most likely tell you that
there really isn’t any competition between his product(s) and those of
his competitors. Good had the following to say about the Gladius on one
of the forum sites (edited for punctuation), "The other guys have
nothing really to compare this product to. In so many ways, it simply
outperforms. Without putting the Gladius into an integrating sphere
(that is forthcoming), side-by-side output comparisons in a variety of
environment–in terms of beam quality and output levels–were
revealing. The Gladius was significantly superior in terms of
intensity, color temp, and downrange data collection. When your eyes
are on the business end of this light, it hits very hard. I mean,
really hard. The switching and multiple modalities in one
easy-to-operate package really sets this thing apart. Our goal is to
provide a far superior, feature rich product at a price point below the
big guys mark."

With the Gladius flashlight, it looks like Night-Ops may have
just accomplished that goal. The proof, however, will be in the
pudding–i.e. military Special Operations (SPECOPS) and LE SWAT/SRT
operator feedback from the field–but it’s a very interesting product,
to say the least. Basically, they’ve created a waterproof/divable
tactical LED flashlight (with Surefire-style insant on/off thumb
activation) that’s fast-selectable (one-handed-with-thumb) between
settings that include strobe, dimming/re-brightening, and lockout
features. Pretty good. Needless to say, these are definitely exciting
times for the tactical field, particularly in the realm of the tactical
accessory market. We hope we can get our hands on a Gladius flashlight
for T&E sometime soon, after SHOT.

Night-Ops has established MSRP for the Gladius flashlight at $249.99.
It’s currently available in black, desert tan, and O.D. green.

You can contact Night-Ops by phone at 816-899-2347, or toll-free at 888-432-7966 (888-gear-zone).

If you’d like to learn how to utilize your Night-Ops Gladius
tactical light effectively, DefenseReview would suggest you contact Strategos International by phone at 816-347-9771, or toll-free at 888-569-5544 (888-low-light). Or, you can contact Ken Good (Ken J. Good) directly via email at

If you would like to order your very own Gladius tactical flashlight/weapons light, click on this link to visit Strategos International’s new online store,

If you click on this link, it will take you to the Night-Ops Gladius flashlight page at Strategos International’s other online store,

You can contact Blackhawk Products Group/Blackhawk Industries
by phone at 757-436-3101, or toll free at 800-694-5263. Mike Noell is
the President/CEO of Blackhawk Products Group/Blackhawk Industries.

Click here to watch a video of the Night-Ops Gladius flashlight in action.

Click here to view the Night-Ops Gladius High Intensity LED Multi-purpose Illumination Tool (i.e. Gladius flashlight) brochure/spec sheet (PDF format).

Click here to read the Night-Ops Gladius flashlight FAQ. (PDF format)

Click here
to read the updated version of Frank Borelli’s Blackwater Tactical
Weekly (BTW) article on the Night-Ops Gladius flashlight/tactical white
light. It’s well written and packed with great info on the product. The
article is titled "BlackHawk + Strategos = Night-Ops!",
and it’s definitely worth reading. Again, this version (linked-to,
above) has been updated, and is slightly different from the original
article as it first appeared in the Blackwater Tactical Weekly (BTW) Newsletter.

There’s also a PDF version of Frank Borelli’s original Blackwater Tactical Weekly (BTW) article on the Night-Ops Gladius, located at the Night-Ops website (

Mr. Borelli is the president of Borelli Consulting, Inc. (BCI),
a military and law enforcement consulting firm based in Lusby,
Maryland. BCI can be contacted at 410-394-1004. You can contact Mr.
Borelli directly via email at

Click here to read an in-depth review of the Night-Ops Gladius tactical flashlight at The review contains some excellent information on, and digital photos of, the Gladius. According to the Imägo Metrics website,
"Imägo Metrics is a consultancy and research laboratory combining human
and technology performance sciences with quality management and
performance metrics.Our services accelerate the market valuation of
products and processes that depend on customers interfacing effectively
with technology". Reads like an interesting organization. Imägo Metrics can be contacted by phone at 301-613-4403, or via email at

Click here to read a very informative consumer review of the Night-Ops Gladius tactical flashlight by "McGizmo" at CandlePower Forums. In addition to containing some good information, the review, titled "Gladius: an amateur review and first glance", also contains some graphs and a couple of nice hi-res digital photos. It’s worth reading.

The following is Night-Ops company marketing literature on the Gladius
tactical illumination tool (tactical white light)/weapons light:

"Introducing the “Gladius”:

From the beginning of time, cultures have etched their permanent
place in history by the armaments they forged to conquer and protect
themselves from their ever-present enemies.

These tools were carried by warriors who often endured
unspeakable hardships and agony, most of this sacrifice unnoticed by
the vast majority of the society they were sworn to protect.

[Inevitably], warriors and conflict have always had a
tremendous influence on the evolving design of these tools, as victory
and mission success depends on the effectiveness, durability, and
portability of their equipment; and this equipment that must endure the
rigors of battle.

In the spirit of these warriors and their contributions, Blackhawk
introduces its latest set of proprietary tools, Night-Ops illumination
equipment. The mission of Night-Ops will be to design, and manufacture
the world’s finest illumination tools. Night-Ops illumination tools
will be designed to be the most durable, dependable and technologically
advanced in the world. In short Night Ops illumination tools will be
manufactured to meet the demanding requirements of those warriors that
go into harms way by choice.

The Night-Ops team has dedicated itself to listening to those
who serve as guardians of society as a whole. We value their
experience, knowledge and practical wisdom.

History tells us over and over again that a single tool can
radically change the landscape of the battlefield. Perspective,
strategy, and tactics, call all be significantly affected with the
introduction and understanding of a crucial piece of equipment.

Night-Ops first illumination tool is the “Gladius”. It is the first in a long series of projected releases.

“Gladius” is a high-powered, compact illumination product that is named
after one of the most famous battle implements in history. Many
accounts indicate that original Gladius was developed after the Romans
encountered a Spanish sword of the highest iron quality that was
designed to puncture the enemy. It caused such terror and anguish among
the Roman legionnaires that the Roman Senate decided to adopt a similar
weapon, replacing the Greek sword of hoplite. Of this Spanish sword
design is has been said that no other weapon has killed more men
throughout History until the invention of the firearm. That being said,
there was room for notable improvement of design and the Romans
exploited this. We take note of these lessons learned.

The Roman solider himself was one of the toughest and most
acclaimed on the planet, carrying over 90 lbs of equipment often 20
miles a day only to face prolonged battle under the harshest

Like the Roman sword before us, the Night-Ops “Gladius” is
specifically designed to be a critical, practical and powerful mainstay
for our frontline troops in Law Enforcement and Military Operations
involved in Close Quarter Confrontations.

The Night-Ops “Gladius” will provide our modern warriors with a readily
available illumination option to tip the scale of conflict in their

Gladius Description:

The Gladius is a 6-volt, lithium battery powered, high-output LED
driven illumination tool designed primarily for handheld use, but
robust enough for weapon mounted applications.

The Gladius is designed from the ground up to be immersed into the realities of close quarter conflict.

The light is factory pre-focused for optimal use in close
quarter situations. Protecting the optic is an O-ring suspended UCL
glass lens that maintains a 99% light throughput, the highest in the

body design allows for a variety of handgun flashlight technical
applications. It features an excellent center of gravity and the
end-user will appreciate the well-placed anti-roll/retention flares.
This light will not slip in your hand during stressful situations; it
just feels right.

At the heart of this fighting tool is a robust electronics
package that can only be described as REVOLUTIONARY. This electronics
package of the “Gladius” is the most technologically advanced EVER
developed for a handheld illumination tool.

It starts with a factory programmed, intelligent power
management system that allows Night-Ops to take the current technology
to the edge. This intelligent power management system allows the LED to
be driven at a very high level while maintaining a very high degree of
reliability, usability and efficiency as heat and current are digitally

This tool has an overall automatic temperature control to ensure
transport safety. If the light is inadvertently activated in a confined
storage container and reaches unsafe levels of heat, the light will be
auto-dimmed or completely shutdown.

The intelligent power management system will communicate with
the power source giving the operator low battery indications by a
presenting a unique flashing pattern every 10 seconds when the system
is activated. The system has also been pre-programmed to drop the light
output to a lower, but useful level as the power source is exhausted
until such time it can be replaced.

Initial Specifications:
(Subject to Change as every output setting is fully factory programmable)

The “Gladius” features a unique multi-function tailcap design that
sets the new standard for function and usability. Modes are
easily/quickly switched one-handed with thumb & index finger.

1. Standard Momentary Activation Mode (Full Clockwise Rotation)
Push on, Release off. This is vital in a tactical environment as often
it is as important to get the light extinguished, as it is to energize
it on demand.

2. “RapidFire” Strobe Mode or “Wave Length Technology” (Middle Setting)
is deployed when the operator wishes to close the gap or disorient
threats. This is a powerful modality! As long as the button is
depressed, the light will cycle in a pre-programmed rapid strobe
pattern. Additionally, the user can also have the light in the Constant
On status, and then discretely set the rotating cap on Strobe and the
next time the activation button is cycled it will begin “RapidFire”
auto-strobing. While operating in in “RapidFire” mode the power sent to
the LED is increased significantly for maximum impact.

3. Constant On Mode (Full Counter-Clockwise Rotation)
this mode, the user depresses the switch and the light stays on at
maximum power output. This feature is very useful for those users that
are utilizing the light Press Again, the light goes OFF.

4. Dimming Mode (Also achieved from the Full Counter-Clockwise Rotation)
the user maintains pressure while in the Constant ON Mode, the light
begins an auto-dim sequence after 3 seconds. When the desired light
level is achieved, the user simply lifts the finger and the light stays
at that level. This light has a 100:1 dimming ratio 4 watts to 0.04
watts). (Probably going to ½ this again to .02 watts or less) This
feature gives the light a wide range of versatility to meet operational
requirements. If the operator needs just enough light to navigate in
difficult terrain, to signal, or complete some administrative
functions, the light can be adjusted accordingly. HOLD the switch
again, and the light slowly begins to intensify again back to full
power. Tap the switch during the ramp up or down the light is
deactivated and recycles to the default, full-power settings awaiting

5. System OFF (Achieved by Full-Clockwise Rotation, half button press, unlocking additional Rotation)
allows the light to be stored in a go-bag, with other personal gear, or
in a holster without accidental light activation. To get the light in
the fight, simply and quickly rotate the tailcap to the right, press
the button and go.

6. Contact Free Switching
The rotating tailcap uses a
revolutionary non-mechanical, totally enclosed switching design, so
there is no metal-to-metal contact that would ultimately create
friction wear points and loss of function. This equates to having a
much more dependable and durable switch in all types of environments
over a much greater extended time of its competitors.

7. Waterproof
The design of the tailcap allows the end user
to take the light to depth and water pressure will not activate the
switch. The switch design allows pressure equalization and is not
subject to depth restrictions. Repeated use in salt water may require
fresh water flushing after use to remove salt crystal build-up.

8. Digital Communication
This light features a proprietary
flex circuit that allows the tailcap switch to intelligently
communicate with intelligent power management system located at in the
front of the flashlight. This flex circuit revolutionizes the ability
of the end user to control the functions that the illumination tool
performs directly from the tailcap, a feature that no other lighting
tool in the world has.

9. Auto Temperature Control
The enemy of LED’s is heat. Heat is what will destroy an LED if it is
not managed properly. Within the electronics of the “Gladius” is a
feature of automatic temperature control. Although the “Gladius” is
unique designed to ventilate heat very effectively there are some
occasions where the end user may store the light in an equipment bag or
pouch and the light may accidentally become activated. This type of
environment does not allow the “Gladius” to ventilate or cool and the
temperature of the light will increase and reach a semi-critical
temperature. The automatic temperature control feature then cuts the
LED power by 50% (30% light reduction) allowing the temperature of the
“Gladius” to gradually reduce. If for some reason the temperature is
not reduced and it continues to increase a critical temperature
threshold the power sent to the LED is automatically terminated to
protect the LED of the “Gladius” from being damaged.

10. Low Battery Indication
Run-time of the battery will vary
depending on the type of usage and functions that the user requires of
the “Gladius”. When the battery life reaches a pre-determined point it
will begin a process of three quick (1/10 second) pulses every 10
seconds until the batteries are replaced. This feature continually
reminds the end user that the batteries are running low and need to be
replaced. This low battery indication is programmed for the momentary
and constant on modes.

Estimated 1 hour @ full power – 200 hours @ lowest setting.

Lumen Output – Specification forthcoming – Estimated at 85 lumens +

13. Size & Weight Specifications
· Bezel Diameter – 1.25” (Fits SF V70 holsters & filters)
· Tailcap Diameter – 1.25”
· Body Diameter – 1” (for weapons mounted applications)
· Length (Bezel to Tailcap) – 6.23”
· Weight (w/o batteries) – 6.63 oz or 188 grams

14. Two Types of Finishes
· Mil-Spec Type III Anodized – Black
· Mil-Spec Type III Anodized – Olive Drab

15. Optic/Reflector
Currently using an optic to focus. Transitioning to reflector. More
intense hot spot, larger corona, greater “Throw”. Better light
transmission. Currently using UCL glass with features 99% light
throughput. Standard Pyrex rates at 93% throughput."

Click here to view the Blackwater Tactical Weekly Newsletter Archives and subcribe to BTW.

Note: All digital photos accompanying this article come courtesy of the Night-Ops company website.

Night-Ops Gladius Tactical Illumination Tool/Weapons Light for Fighting at Night by

About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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