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Looking for a quality flashlight...

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by 1967marti, Oct 27, 2018.

  1. 1967marti
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    1967marti Loaded Pockets

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    I'm looking for a flashlight for field work and general use. I've been a fan of surefire lights, I've used them all over the world and haven't had an issue. That of course was with Uncle Sam giving me me boxes cr123 batteries to chew through, and I'm not that lucky anymore.

    I'm not trying to complain about the price or availability of cr123 batteries, BUT .. I am running into the issue of running out of these batteries and having to pack them out as trash (after being depleted) on extended backpacking and field work.

    I would like to get a flashlight that has rechargeable batterie(s)... I'm pretty much only looking at AA and 18650 powered lights. AA because my headlamps all use eneloop AA's, and 18650 because it seems that they are a great power package and there are a few quality chargers for them that are affordable.

    I really don't like having to click through a number of settings; I really want a click on/off tail-cap. If I have the ability to 'lock-in' a setting and use the tail-cap as a on/off switch, I'm happy. I would really prefer a simple on/off. Not looking for a search light, something in the 200-400-ish lumen output is good for me.

    So in a nutshell:

    1. I'm looking for a surefire (like) flashlight simplicity.
    2. Runs on AA's or a 18650 cells.
    3. Physical size of the light is a non-issue.
    4. Number if cells needed to run the light is a non-issue.
    5. Minimum output of 200 lumen.

    Thanks!
     
    #1 1967marti, Oct 27, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  2. ran23
    • In Omnia Paratus

    ran23 Loaded Pockets

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    I also miss going out to my truck a box of those cr123, for my first 6P. retired now.
     
  3. 1967marti
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    1967marti Loaded Pockets

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    I know it's a first world kinda problem. But if I'm heading out for a week in the field/backpacking I have to ration out the batteries and they are basically hazmat when drained.
    I see surefire has a rechargeable solution to the cr123, but they are listing it as only having 50% the run time of a cr123, so that's what? a 2 hour run-time? And if I'm going to invest in a 2nd battery type for recharging, I'd rather go with the higher capacity 18650 cells.
     
    #3 1967marti, Oct 27, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  4. BigGreenTick

    BigGreenTick Loaded Pockets

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    If you want to stick with AAs:

    ThruNite Archer 1A V3

    Uses AAs (and is 14500 compatible), clicky tail switch for on/off and a side switch to adjust settings.

    The ThruNite TN12 is essentially the same light in 18650 format. They are selling for $10 on Amazon than ThruNite's site currently (probably clearing them out for a new model).

    There is also the Wowtac A1S which was designed by ThruNite & sold as more of a budget model. It is very similar to the TN12 with a few minor changes to come in at a lower price point (for example it drops out of turbo mode according to a timer instead of thermal regulation). The Atactical A1 is the same light with a different emitter (Atactical changed their name to Wowtac) and is even cheaper ($20 on Amazon). It tops out around 500 lumen which is right around your target (all the other 18650 lights I'm mentioning have a turbo around 1000 lumens, although there is no need to use the highest settings). Both the A1 & A1S include a battery with a built in mini-usb charging port.

    Fenix (PD35), Nitecore (P12), Acebeam (EC35) & Olight (M3T) all have similar dual switch models that fill the same niche.

    Honestly the Atactical/Wowtac is very hard to beat for the price.

    That is why you have lower output modes. For example the Archer can run 22 hours continuously on low (17lumens) & 22 DAYS on moonlight (.1 lumen).
     
    Last edited by BigGreenTick, Oct 28, 2018
    #4 BigGreenTick, Oct 27, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
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  5. twoisone
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    twoisone EDC Junkie!!!

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    The pd35 is close to what you want because it has a memory. You could choose the output you want and then just use the rear clicky for on/off. Takes 18650’s. The price point is also very good and it has a lot of good reviews. I’ve had good luck with mine. The other option might be to bore out a 6p body and buy a malkoff drop in so you can use the 18650’s with the Surefire UI.
     
  6. leathermaneod

    leathermaneod Empty Pockets

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    Have a look at Streamlight. They have a number of rechargeable options and their quality is excellent. They are also very reasonably priced.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  7. BigGreenTick

    BigGreenTick Loaded Pockets

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    All of the two switch lights function in the same manner.
     
  8. neo71665

    neo71665 Loaded Pockets

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    I've been daily carrying a convoy s2+ for 2 years now and have been really impressed with it. Actually I have 2 now one in a 18650 and one in a 18350 tube. I'm far from easy on them and they have been holding up really good. Order directly from the convoy store on aliexpress and you can get one with the biscotti driver. It has like 12 mode settings and you can turn the memory on or off. On mine I like the 5 mode setting (mode 3-100%, 35%, 10%, 1%, 0.01%) and have the memory set where it comes on at 35%. Most of the time 35% is more than enough for anything. The 100% is more or less a show off mode.
     
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  9. twoisone
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    twoisone EDC Junkie!!!

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    Not necessarily. The klarus two-switch has no memory and always returns to high.
     
  10. BigGreenTick

    BigGreenTick Loaded Pockets

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    Sorry, I should have clarified. I thought your initial post was referencing the ones I listed.
     
  11. flux

    flux Loaded Pockets

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    Easy. For max value for your money, get a Wowtac A2s. It is an angled headlight, but you can use it without the headband as a regular flashlight, too, so it is more versatile than the A1s. – It is awesome and simple to use. operated by head button switch. It has a usb rechargable 18650 battery, mode memory for very reasonable spaced low-med-high (single press enters last used mode), and has shortcuts to moonlight (long press) and turbo mode (double press), and no stupid strobe.

    Turbo(1050 lumens/2.7 h),
    High(420 lumens /4.5 h),
    Medium(126 lumens /14.7 h),
    Low(24 lumens /4 days),
    Firefly(0.3 lumens / 59 days).

    when you turn it on it starts in the last used mode of low-med-high. firefly and turbo get accessed by shortcuts (long press or double click) - perfect!

    Wowtac is a kind of sub-brand of Thrunite. You pay only 30$ for a quality light, headband and a USB-rechargable 18650 battery. Get the warm tint version for better color rendition if you can, but cool white is just alright, too. I have cool white and no complaints. It has good modes and when you need a ton of floody light, turbo mode delivers 1000 lumens from every mode or from off by doubleclick..

    I did not find any competition in that price range for a complete package of light+usb-rechargable-battery+very simple and intuitive user interface. if you plan to use it as a regular flashlight, maybe invest a 3 bucks more and get a matching pocket clip.

    If you want AA and eneloop, check out manker e03h. or thrunite t10. These lights have also a very simple intuitive UI and are quite inexpensive. Finding AA lights with an output of 200+ lumen is difficult, though but 160-180 is pretty common these days.

    But I really recommend you get the Wowtac A2s. Best bang for the buck. and you can charge it with your phone charger or on a computer with USB. super convenient. you can buy it on that online marketplace that is named like a big river.
     
    #11 flux, Oct 28, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
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  12. Mumbojumboo
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    Mumbojumboo EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Malkoff or Malkoff. You will not regret it. Simple, tough as heck, and nuclear bright.
     
  13. Wishoot

    Wishoot Loaded Pockets

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    Streamlight

    Simple and reliable.
     
  14. ZMZ67

    ZMZ67 Loaded Pockets

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    I have to second the Malkoff recommendation. There are several options that might work for you and you can get creative by combining the drop-in and flashlight body that works for you. Not cheap but reliable and well worth the money.
     
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  15. 1967marti
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    1967marti Loaded Pockets

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    I shot a few messages to an ebay seller for some bored out 6P bodies. We'll see what the price point is. Looks like a body that takes protected panasonic 18650's would be the perfect fit for what I'm looking for.
     
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  16. BigGreenTick

    BigGreenTick Loaded Pockets

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    If you decide to go with a P60 host there are still a number of options out there, starting with the Solarforce L2 bodies.
     
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  17. flux

    flux Loaded Pockets

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    Zanflare F1 also has last mode used mode memory and build in USB charging for the 18650.

    Also a frugal quality choice. I think you really should not frown on modes, if a light has something as Last used mode memory, you can just leave it in the mode you use most, but still have the option to get the others if needed.

    specs:
    Moon sub 1lumen
    Low 55 lumens
    Medium 285 lumens
    High 520 lumens
    Turbo 925 lumens

    turbo by double tap of mode switch from any mode. tailclick only turns on/off, no mode change from tailswitch.
     
    Last edited by flux, Oct 30, 2018
    #17 flux, Oct 30, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
  18. dml24

    dml24 Loaded Pockets

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    Fenix TK15 or TK16. Single 18650 battery simple UI and memory for last used setting. Excellent run-times and good lumen spread between Low-medium-high and turbo settings.
     
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  19. 1967marti
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    1967marti Loaded Pockets

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    With my current 6p I have the colored lens attachment. I'm not seeing too many lens attachments for these sized flashlights. Anyone run into this issue and found a good solution?
     
  20. 1967marti
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    1967marti Loaded Pockets

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    First off, I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who chimed-in and gave some suggestions. I also want to say that I looked at each and every single suggestion that was given, I honestly had no idea flashlights have gotten to fancy.

    Also want to give the result of my quest, in case anyone was interested or was rolling around in the same hole I was.

    I ended up going with bored surefire 6p bodies (18mm+), stock surefire bezel, clickey tail-caps, and M61 Malkoff drop-ins.

    Cost breakdown (for 2x complete flashlights):

    2x Bored bodies and one bezel = 100.
    2x Malkoff M61 Drop-ins = 93 (on sale for 42 each with 9 shipping).
    1x Bezel and 2x stock surefire clickey tail-caps = 0 (Had these on-hand already).
    Opus BT-C3100 Charger = 40.
    2x Orbtronic 18650 protected batteries = 34.

    * I'll be buying more 18650 than just the two above, but to get the two lights running I only need 2.

    Grand total: 267 or about 133 per flashlight. Not too bad since it seemed most of the flashlights fell into the 70-100$ range.

    Reason why I chose the way I did:

    With a bored out body I can now use 3 different battery types (cr123, 18650, 17670 and 16340), this give me more versatility than I had before, even though I'll really only be sticking with 18650s. But it's nice to know I can use up my last box of cr123s with the modified bodies.

    With 3500mAh 18650's, many people are reporting over 3 hour run times before noticing any dimming in the light output.

    450 Lumens vs the 120 I was using before and much more run time.

    I really didn't like having all the extra features of the more modern lights. When I click the tail-cap, I want to know exactly what it will do, not be wondering if I left it on low, high or strobe last time I used it. I know that may be a petty complaint/reason, and many of the flashlights default to low or high, but I still find it to be an important issue to ME.

    My next headlamp will run off 18650's, so the investment in the charger and batteries is kinda a moot point as far as initial cost is concerned.

    That about wraps it up... Again, thank you guys/gals for the help!
     
    #20 1967marti, Nov 3, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018