Many flashlights have multiple operating modes such as High, Low, and Strobe. Different models use different methods for switching between the various light modes. Most flashlights also have different ways of activating the light including a full lock and momentary on.
Momentary ON activates the light while the button is partially pressed and NOT locked. The light is ON while the button is held and OFF immediately after the button is released.
With Locked mode the user presses and clicks the ON button and the light remains on until the button is clicked again to turn it OFF.
Most modern flashlights also have multiple light output modes including a high beam, one or more low beams, and tactical flashlights also have a strobe. Changing the lighting mode varies and here are the major way to change lighting modes:
On/Off flashlights simply turn on and off (single light setting). These have a click to turn the light on and some allow a momentary on also.
Fixed modes always operate in the same order. For example, most Streamlight flashlights in default mode generate high beam (one-click), strobe (two-clicks), and low beam (three-clicks). The flashlight always uses the same sequence.
In Sequenced mode the flashlight uses the next illumination mode in the sequence. The Cabela’s and LED Lenser flashlights operation in sequenced mode. They go from High to Low to Strobe. If you use High mode and turn off the flashlight then the next time you activate the flashlight you will get Low mode. The next time you activate it you will get Strobe mode. Most of the time I want the flashlight to activate in High mode. I use the light, turn it off, and then quickly half-press the tail button twice to run through the Low and Strobe modes. The next time I activate the light it will again be in High mode again.
Switched flashlights use two buttons. Use one button (normally on the flashlight body) to select the desired light mode. Then use the tail button to activate the flashlight.
Some flashlights, such as Streamlights, can be reprogrammed. In default factory mode they operate in High/Strobe/Low. You can reprogram them to use either High/Low only or Low/High only. Some have variations on this programming.