I am not sure but, I think the last time I purchased a flashlight was in 2003. It was a Maglite 3D. I have carried that flashlight in my truck for years. It’s built like a tank and works when I keep the batteries fresh.
But, recently I purchased a couple of new flashlights and have been shocked at the technological advancements in the seemingly simple flashlight. My first recent purchase was a Surefire G2-LED. This flashlight is easily twice as bright as the Maglite 3D but is only 5.14 inches long and weighs only 4.10 ounces. That’s about the weight of one of the batteries in the Maglite. The G2-LED uses CR123 batteries that are small, light and put out 3 volts instead of the normal 1.5 of typical batteries used in flashlights. This means the two CR123 batteries used in the G2-LED put out 6 volts and has a runtime of 55 minutes before dropping to 50% brightness. In contrast the 3 D cells used in the Maglite have a combined output of 4.5 volts with a runtime of about an hour until the brightness drops to 50%.
I am not sure when the shift in flashlight technology turned to the CR123 battery and LED emitters. But, these two changes have provided consumers with much smaller, lighter and more powerful flashlights.
I was a bit put off by the price of these new flashlights, the Surefire G2-LED cost around $70 US. But, after using it and experiencing the advantages in real life situations, I can say it was worth every penny.