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When I was a kid, one of my friends’ dads was a cop. As a result, I was privy to all sorts of second-hand cop lore and small-town gossip. It was at this time that I got my first peek into the world of flashlight enthusiasts. And it was also when I was introduced to the Maglite.

Although he was born in the United States, young Anthony Maglica returned with his family to Croatia. Tony moved back to the U.S. in the 1950s, and settled in Ontario, California. After working in a machine shop for some time, he managed to buy a lathe of his own and went to work for himself. By 1974, he incorporated Mag Instruments, and in 1979, he introduced the first Maglite, setting a new standard for reliable, well-built flashlights. If you have a minute, read the inspiring story from the Maglite website.

Just don't let your neighbors see you.

Now, first one that I saw was the big, 4D battery weaponized one. Some people like this model because it’s like carrying a baseball bat that throws light out of one end. Personally, I’m kind of a 2D guy myself. I also like the 2AA unit because it can be attached to a headband and used hands-free. This is great when you are fixing your computer or under your car or exploring the spooky crawlspace or whatever.

When I was a kid, a flashlight was a flashlight to me. In many ways, it still is. But I have no patience for a bad flashlight.