Many tactical flashlights will offer special light modes. There are three special light modes that come with a tactical flashlight.
Despite your initial assumptions, the Strobe light mode is not meant for raves in the forest. It was designed to disorientate people. It is a very fast flashing of the brightest level on the flashlight that changes patterns to confuse people. It’s a feature that has many uses, but most notably, police officers would consider it very important when making raids.
The strobe light causes what is known as the Bucha effect (also known as A Lumen), whereby the person experiences dizziness and confusion when exposed to a strobe light. Dr. Bucha realized this in the 1950s when asked to explain why there had been an increase in helicopter crashes.
Survivors of the crash had explained that they had become dizzy from the strobe-like effect of rotating blades of the helicopter. This was later incorporated into the tactical flashlight, among other things, to disorientate and confuse suspects during a raid.
The SOS or Morse code mode is very important and useful. It’s used for emergency purposes. Originally a naval term for “save our ship”, it became synonymous for any kind of distress signal. Morse code transmits text as a series of tones or flashes that can be understood to anyone who knows Morse code.
In the 21st century, there are, obviously, few under the age of 50 who can decipher Morse code. Thankfully any tactical flashlight that offers the SOS or Morse code mode will be able to signal the globally recognized “SOS” signal in order to attract the necessary attention. Even if you don’t know SOS, it is a rather distinct signal of seemingly random intermittent flashes, or beeps on a radio, that will be assumed as a call for help.
The Beacon mode on a tactical flashlight simulates a lighthouse; it blinks beautifully in the darkness at full level brightness signaling a distress signal, or a warning signal if you assume the position of a lighthouse. It’s a survival feature, just like the SOS mode. It’s more useful than the SOS mode for when you’re in a locality closer to civilization. The Beacon mode will alert nearby aid, as opposed to the SOS which will reach further distances.