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Terminology FAQs
by TigerhawkT3


1. What's a "drop-in"?
2. What's tactical?
3. What's "candle mode"?
4. What's "UI"?
5. What's "EDC"?


Q: What's a "drop-in"?

A: A drop-in is a unit that can easily replace a stock lamp assembly or light engine. A classic example is the MagLED module, which looks very similar to a stock incan Mag bulb. Users can simply remove the old bulb and "drop in" the drop-in for an instant upgrade. Popular drop-in hosts are Mags and various Surefire models, such as the G2, G3, 6P, 9P, etc.

Q: What's tactical?

A: The general idea of a tactical light is a simple, robust, high-output light that can be easily used in difficult situations. Such a flashlight usually has only one or two output levels, or stages, and does not use a clicking switch. These flashlights are very popular even with non-tactical users, as they are reliable and effective.

Q: What's "candle mode"?

A: This is simply the removal of a flashlight's head in order to expose its light-emitting portion and provide a smooth, lantern-like area light. The Mini-Maglite is well-known for this heavily advertised capability.

Q: What's "UI"?

A: UI stands for User Interface. You may have heard of the computer term "GUI," which is simply Graphical User Interface. A UI has the same purpose: it provides a way for the user to get their flashlight (or other device) to do what they want it to. As an example, some people value a simple on-off UI for its ease of use and perceived potential reliability. The other extreme is lights that require pages of spreadsheets and instructions that explain how to program the light to perform many functions. These complicated UIs are not necessarily difficult to use, but it is more of a challenge to keep them user-friendly.

Q: What's "EDC"?

A: EDC is more than just an acronym meaning Every Day Carry. It's a way of thinking that values preparedness for a particular situation anywhere and anytime. This way, if an EDCer suddenly needs to light something up, start a campfire, cut open a box, and so on, they will have what they need on their person. A tool that's too inconvenient to use when it's needed is worse than useless, so lights (and other items) that can be conveniently carried around with little bother are highly regarded by many people.