1 2
bigdaddylee82 Dork
1/26/15 3:42 p.m.

There's enough mechanics, as well as firearm & outdoor enthusiasts on here that there's sure to be some good suggestions.

I'm in the market for a flashlight, I've had a few Maglites of various sizes, I've got a Petzl head lamp I really like, and I've got a few various hardware store "checkout line" flashlights, i.e Dorcy, Lux Pro, etc. but I've never had a real good, high quality light.

What I'm really looking for is a handheld, LED, capable of being weapon mounted via traditional means, i.e. ~1" diameter body, use 2+ CR123A or a 18650 batteries (not interested in AA, AAA, etc.), ~200+ Lumens (bright), simple on/off preferred, no disco strobe, don't need eleventeen settings, and bonus points for a readily available "tactical" remote switch. When it's all said and done, the light needs to meet all that criteria and be mounted on a firearm for <$100.

I've read reviews and researched lights until I'm cross eyed, and have started a list of candidates. Most lights are in the $70 or less range to leave budget for mounting and/or remote switch.

Surefire G2X Tactical around $54 on fleabay, simple momentary button or twist end constant on, 320 lumen, available remote switch from several manufacturers, 2 hour run time. I know some folks who detest Surefire though, and some reviews say this isn't the best option for weapon mounted light since there's only a spring for the batteries on one end.

Streamlight TL-2 C4 LED around $60 most places, simple push button click on or press momentary, marketed as a weapon mounted light, 3.5 hour run time. Remote switch is available but expensive, and it's only 160 lumen.

Streamlight Protac HL around $70 from most places, crazy bright 600 lumen, has eleventy billion settings, but can be programed to simple on/off with click. Surefire doesn't make a remote switch for the Protac line, and doesn't appear that there are aftermarket sources for one either. I expect it will suck batteries dead pretty quick at 600 lumen, only 1.25 hour run time on max.

Sightmark Q5 Triple Duty around $65, 280 lumen, EVERYTHING you need to mount the light to a picatinny/weaver rail and remote switch is included, simple push button on/off. Only 1.5 hour run time, Sightmark doesn't have the best reputation for optics, are new-ish to tactical lights, but everything I've read has been positive.

Fenix TK09 around $60, 450 lumen, affordable remote switch, 2 hour run time on max. Three modes, low, mid, high, instead of on/off, seem to be love or hate no in between, many can't shut up about how great they are, wile others say they're junk.

Those are basically what I've whittled my suggestion down to. I've been through the catalogs of Pelican, Olight, Foursevens, and I'm sure a few others I'm forgetting, but haven't come across any better solutions, not saying that I haven't missed something. Everyone seems to want to put so many functions on their lights, while I'm sure they're great lights, I don't want to be clicking through a dozen modes to get to the setting I want.

Anyone have any first hand experience with any of these lights, or suggestions of others that might work?

16vCorey PowerDork
1/26/15 4:02 p.m.

This is relevant to my interests. I hate more than almost anything a crappy, flickering, flashlight. I'm definitely in the market for one that doesn't suck, because every flashlight I currently own is a total piece of crap.

Lancer007 Dork
1/26/15 4:37 p.m.

I've had a Surefire G2 on my AR15 for about 6 years and thousands of rounds and its still working great. I also have one in mine and SWMBO's night stands.

I also carry a Surefire E1-B everyday for the past 4-5 years. I've dropped it more than I would like to but its been solid and never failed. It only takes a single CR123 battery though, but Viking Tactical makes a mount with an insert that can make it weapon mountable.

Cone_Junkie SuperDork
1/26/15 4:42 p.m.

I've used strictly Streamlights for the last decade as a professional tech. Quality, light output, and battery life have always been great. Although I haven't used any specific models that would meet your criteria.

EvanR Dork
1/26/15 4:52 p.m.

I did not have luck with Fenix. YMMV. I replaced the dead Fenix with an EagleTac. No worries so far.

Basil Exposition
Basil Exposition Dork
1/26/15 4:58 p.m.

This doesn't fit the OP's criteria, but others might be interested in the Zebra line. I recently bought a LiOn powered headlight that is just fantastic. Light on the head, blindingly bright (with lower settings, too) and lasts a long time on a charge. I use it constantly in the shop and whenever I need to go into the attic, etc.

It replaced a $10 headlight with a failing LED and an appetite for batteries.

stanger_missle GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/26/15 5:20 p.m.

I have a G2 as well. It has been on 3 deployments around the world and has been abused but it still works great. One of these days I'll get around to mounting it to my AR15.

In reply to Basil Exposition:

Which model of headlamp did you buy? I need to replace my old Petzl.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
1/26/15 7:15 p.m.

Tommy is the flashlight geek in our family, but I can vouch for the Surefire. I know of two instances for sure where I would not have made it home without one when car headlights decided not to work.

bigdaddylee82 Dork
1/26/15 8:18 p.m.

I gave Egaletac another look, some nice lights, but they're as hung up on having a gazillion light modes and flashes as anyone. The stuff that I'd be interested in is a little pricier than what I'm looking for.

Those recommending the G2 are you using the current G2X LED models or the older Xenon models?

I think if the Sightmark had a little better battery life I'd probably own one already.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Associate Editor
1/26/15 8:34 p.m.

Oooh, Oooh, pick me! I'm a flashlight nerd, because I constantly am in situations where good flashlights are awesome.

In my pocket 24/7 is this: http://www.amazon.com/Streamlight-66318-MicroStream-LED-Flashlight/dp/B00143JZ08/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1422325571&sr=8-4&keywords=streamlight

It's adequately bright, and only slightly larger than the AAA battery it takes. Beam is very even and clean.

Mounted in my truck is this: http://www.amazon.com/Mag-Instrument-RL1019-MagCharger-Rechargeable/dp/B00GJJ36Y8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1422325639&sr=8-2&keywords=mag+charger I have the older incandescent model, and it's pretty awesome. Very bright, but the beam shape isn't great. I love it because it's always charged and ready to go.

In my tool box in my truck is this: http://www.amazon.com/Surefire-Aviator-Flashlight-Output-A2L-HA-WH/dp/B002SZT30S/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1422325928&sr=8-6&keywords=surefire+a2

It's a great light that has served me well, but incandescent (it's the older model) can't compete with modern LEDs. I love the warmer light this makes, but it eats batteries.

In my bag is always this: http://www.amazon.com/Surefire-Backup-Tactical-Switch-Flashlight/dp/B007S0L4YQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422325772&sr=8-1&keywords=surefire+e1b

It's very compact, very very bright, has a very good beam shape, very light, and very well made. I love it, but it's a little too big to carry in a pocket, and it takes fancy Surefire batteries. It's probably the best light I own.

Overall, I couldn't recommend Surefire more. They make really, really good lights. And yes–I can honestly say that without their products, I would at the very least have spent a few uncomfortable nights alone in a dark place.

The0retical HalfDork
1/26/15 9:42 p.m.

I don't use anything except Streamlights anymore. My work flashlight is a 4 year old Strion LED with the C4 LED. It's been dropped in everything including fuel tanks and had a few spills onto concrete ramps while I was running. It just keeps going. It's also seriously bright and as a bonus rechargeable. I can't say the same for several Surefires which met their end under less severe circumstances.

I also bought a DoubleClutch headlight a few months ago and couldn't be more pleased.

Basil Exposition
Basil Exposition Dork
1/26/15 10:37 p.m.
stanger_missle wrote: In reply to Basil Exposition: Which model of headlamp did you buy? I need to replace my old Petzl.

This one:


Tactical Penguin
Tactical Penguin Dork
1/26/15 11:02 p.m.

In reply to bigdaddylee82:

I can certainly recommend the Surefire G2 series lights, as I've got three that have each been on my belt at one time or another the past decade.

They've all taken some pretty decent hits during their duty cycle, and all of them still work as if they were new.

stanger_missle GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/26/15 11:24 p.m.

In reply to bigdaddylee82:

I have the older xenon G2. I haven't heard anything bad about the newer LED ones except maybe the price.

Lancer007 Dork
1/27/15 1:04 a.m.

In reply to bigdaddylee82:

The 3 that I have are the older Xenon G2.

My brother has a G2 LED that he swaps between his Remington 870 Express Super Magnum and his AR15 and hasn't had an issue in the 2-3 years he's had it.

foxtrapper UltimaDork
1/27/15 6:36 a.m.

Fwiw, had to track a deer in the night a few weeks ago. We had various lights amongst us. The LED lights, all of them, were useless in the woods. Yes, they are blindingly bright. But they don't show up blood at all (it's black in led light). They don't show branches that poke your eyes either. Only the incandescent lamps showed blood as red, and let us see branches.

It was obnoxious enough that we called off the trailing for a bit to go back and replace the led flashlights with incandescent lights, so that everyone could see and could quit getting poked in the face/eye with branches.

The led flashlights in use included several mentioned above, not just cheapie very blue hued led flashlights.

Jerry SuperDork
1/27/15 8:09 a.m.

Following this because my love of flashlights borders on fetish level.

bigdaddylee82 Dork
1/27/15 9:28 a.m.

Zoro Tools has the Surefire G2X Tactical for $54.42 "fast & free" shipping on their eBay store. I drank the Kool-Aid and ordered one. I've bought other stuff from Zoro Tools before and been satisfied, I think they have an Amazon store too.

I kept wanting Streamlight to be the answer, but for my particular application I kept coming back to Surefire and Sightmark, Surefire won out with battery life, lumen output, everyone's recommendations, and probably a little marketing.

I very much want a Streamlight Starion or Stinger with recharge station on the bedside, and one in each car too, one thing at a time. I've got my eyes on a .40 S&W XDM, and a Streamlight TLR seems like the answer for it.

I've got a few more flashlight purchases on the horizon, for now I hope the G2 does its job to my satisfaction. Thanks for the input everyone!

Feel free to continue the conversation, I'll try and remember to post up my thoughts when I get it mounted.

Thanks to everyone for the input.

  • Lee
Derick Freese
Derick Freese UltraDork
1/27/15 9:33 a.m.

I really like my Foursevens Quark 2AA lights. I had a Preon 1AAA that I lost. That thing was amazing for a keychain light.

If you subscribe to the Foursevens newsletter spam, they put their lights on sale all the time. Mine were purchased when they were BOGO free.

spitfirebill PowerDork
1/27/15 9:53 a.m.
Jerry wrote: Following this because my love of flashlights borders on fetish level.

Then you need a fleshlight my friend

pilotbraden SuperDork
1/27/15 10:43 a.m.

I have a sure fire light that has been great. I have used it for 9 years with only one problem, the lens has developed a crack in the past year.

I also have a Pelican that is great.


secretariata GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/27/15 10:24 p.m.

I have a couple of different Shining Beam 18650 models. The "Blaze-X" models are brighter than my old 3-D cell Maglite (not LED), smaller, and use rechargeable batteries. The S-mini XM-L is even smaller than the Blaze-X, about as bright as the Maglite, has 3 different light outputs (switchable from the push-button on/off switch), and uses the same battery but it does get hot after about 10 minutes when on highest output. I haven't given these the hardcore durability/beating test but they seem pretty sturdy and put out a good amount of light.

bigdaddylee82 Dork
1/30/15 11:55 a.m.

So I received the Surefire G2X Tactical yesterday. I now wield the power of the sun in the palm of my hand. Holly cow is this thing bright! I went to the back yard with it last night, from the door of my back porch I can illuminate the entire yard, scared the crap out of a rabbit when I literally lit his world up.

I wish that the tail switch had a click on, instead of momentary only function. Having to twist the tail cap clock wise for constant on isn't that convenient. A partial push of the tail switch for momentary and full push to latch constant on would be ideal, but no one asked me when they were designing these things.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
1/30/15 12:28 p.m.

I bet someone makes end caps for that surefire that are push-on-push-off.

Speaking of Pelican flashlights, I have one like this: http://www.pelican.com/lights_detail.php?recordID=2000

that I bought >30 years ago. Water proof to 2000 ft. It came with a lifetime warranty except for shark bite, bear attack and children under 5.

PHeller PowerDork
1/30/15 12:33 p.m.

My first real LED was 3D Mag Conversion or two, both of which I liked but the batteries were still ridiculously priced.

First Li-Ion LED was a ShiningBeam S-Mini. Lost it.

More recently I bought to Convoy S6, which is almost as small as they come for a Li-Ion LED XML2 and only slightly larger than the S-Mini.

I like these because they are just small enough to fit in a glovebox without taking up much space, but powerful enough to really blind someone.

I've got about a dozen Li-Ions now for just two lights, but I've also found a way of running them in a MagLight with an LED conversion. It'd be nice to have a 18650 powered shop light with magnet and a 18650 warm white lantern for camping.

There is a new Mag-D LED out thats apparently much brighter than previous versions and still made in the USA.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners