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Blast from the past: Fulton Right Flashlight

I’ve been trying to clean up and sort out all the junk I have. Then I figure out excuses to not get rid of any of it.


In my digging around, I found a right angle flash light. Then I found another one. Last time I saw one of these was on Mel Gibson in “We Were Soldiers”.

We wore ours on the non-firing shoulder.

Back when I was in boot camp, I was issued one of these. Actually, they gave me one and billed me for it. So I should say that I was forced to buy one. I thought it was so cool.

Made by Fulton in the U.S.A.

Says U.S. MX-991/U, but the Fulton website calls it a “N47”

We used these a great deal when I was in boot camp and school of infantry. Firewatch would patrol with them on and the red lens installed. Road guards during runs would wave them to (hopefully) get the attention of traffic. And we would wear them on our 782 gear.

This 2 D-cell battery flash light had several features which I thought was just great.

In the battery compartment, under the spring, was an insert that held a spare bulb. It was good that they designed it to carry one, as I remember often having to replace the bulbs. I’d steal bulbs out of the spare compartment of other Marines (or recruits during boot camp), to keep my light running. In the cap under the compartment there are colored lenses. Blue and Red were common. I seem to recall seeing yellow lens at some point in time, but I may be mistaken.

Up at the working end, there is a second bezel that can hold the colored lens in. On green light, a light I used while I was in the Corps, these lenses still have my initials written on them with a Sharpie. If I recall correctly, I started doing that because my red lens kept getting stolen and I would have to steal someone else’s red lens. Finally I started marking them.

I only ever saw green angle flash lights while I was in. Some years back I bought a foot locker, and it had some clothing and gear in it. There is where I got this black angled flash light.

The brass controls and clip come blackened from the factory. You can see that I wore the black off the controls on the one I used while I was in. It has a sliding switch for on and off, and a very very stiff button for momentary usage. We often clipped this light to the metal loop on the Y harness of our 782 gear.

The fact that it was waterproof, had multiple controls, the ability to change the color of the output, and it carried it’s own spare bulb. There would have been a time I would have told you this was the coolest piece of infantry gear. I used it a little after school of infantry, but then when I learned about the Surefire 6P, this was pretty well forgotten.

In lieu of red lenses, in Iraq we picked up little keychain lights with red LEDs like the one above to use. I still have the one I carried in Iraq in 2006, and it still works. I’d snap a picture, but it is somewhere in the pile of junk I was moving around.

These angle lights are pretty well obsolete, but they had a good run.

6 thoughts on “Blast from the past: Fulton Right Flashlight”

  1. I have an old one that i played with all the time as a kid. Still has everything that came with it when i got it handed down to me form my mom. (she’s…. interesting). I’ve been tempted to get another one for the kids to play with (the dim bulb is actually a feature there since the little idiots always seems to inevitably stare into whatever I give them). I see gray one floating around but I’m not sure if those are legit. I was only ever aware of the green. But then again all the people I was getting stuff/info from were Vietnam era people so who knows.

  2. You could also stack all of the lenses; opaque, diffuser, blue and red to make a very low visible light but a beacon that’d glow under NVGs. It was one of the near/far recognition signals we were taught for passage of lines or linking up.
    Another thing we’d do was remove the clear protective lens and replace it with the red and just have the outer bezel mounted for a smaller profile on your gear. We usually stuck them in the grenade loops on the old mag pouches to keep them off our shoulders.

    I still have one or two around as a back up light. I should probably look around if there isn’t an LED build upgrade around for them. They’re bulky but handy especially sitting them somewhere for hands free light. You’re absolutely right, they’ve been obsolete since Maglites and Surefires came around but we were still getting them issued up until about 2000 as I recall.

    • When my brother came home from his training one time int he 1980s, he had one that had the red and blue but also a amber colored one if memory serves. I think.. He said it was used during fire watch or something like that. I have never seen another one that came with that third color.

      also what the hell was the white lens insert supposed to be for?

    • I totally forgot about using mini-maglites with the red lens.
      I never heard of the using all the filters before. That is pretty cool.
      I was issued mine in 2003, so they were still in use then.
      There are LED bulbs for sale on ebay and amazon for a few dollars.

    • So this prompted me to go on a journey in search of the truth in myself and the GI angle head flashlight. Turns out Fulton is still churning these things out as well as various and sundry other versions based on the same style. After seeing it in their products I do recall going to an Army run school and getting issued a gray, straight flashlight with the wand we had to carry during unit PT. (The light never worked regardless of bulb and battery swaps but by gawd you had better have it in formation!)

      They offer an accessory kit with the amber lens and a green one. No word as to what the other colors are used for (red to not kill your night adapted vision obviously) but my SWAG would be for signaling or identification purposes. It might be buried in some SOI from the 70s. The opaque lens I’d guess is a garrison or behind the wire afterthought to be able to give the user “some” light without blinding everyone else. Joe has to be able to write letters home in his rack after all!

      They also offer an LED conversion and AA adapter too. That’d make for a huge flashlight considering alternatives but may breathe some life into a trusty old device.

      Now I feel like Steve Martin in the Jerk. All I need is my thermos and my MX991 light.

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