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Looking to start EDCing a light: need opinions

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by Balog, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. Balog

    Balog Loaded Pockets

    Feb 11, 2009
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    I'll be using the handy-dandy form provided at the top o' the page.

    1) Short Essay Question: What do you intend to use this light for?

    General EDC. Doesn't need to be able to blind and dazzle a bad guy, although the brighter the better all else being equal. My requirements are a bit loose so I'll probably mark multiple boxes.

    2) What Region/Country/State will the light be purchased in?
    [x] I will be mail-ordering or buying online, so this doesn't matter.
    [ ] I am in _______(country) and __________(state/providence).

    3) Price Range: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest!
    [ ] $1-15
    [ ] $15-30
    [x] $40-60
    [x] $80-$120
    [ ] I have no limit!

    4) Format:
    PART A
    [x] I want a flashlight.
    [ ] I want a headlamp.
    [ ] I want a lantern.
    [ ] I want a portable spotlight.

    PART B
    [x] 1-2 inches. (Keychain sized)
    [x] 2-4 inches. (Pocket carry)
    [ ] 4-9 inches. (Holster carry)

    PART C
    [ ] I prefer a long narrow light.
    [ ] I prefer a short wide light.
    [x] Doesn't matter.

    PART D
    Lights of a similar size can be very different in weight and may turn the perfect sized light into a paper weight. In general a lights of the same size will stack up like this; plastic and aluminum will be your lighter choices brass, stainless steel, bronze will be heavier. I won't put numbers here because everyone has a different weight sensitivity. For the purposes of EDC specifically I'll limit the choices here to the more easily carried sizes pick 2 sizes to represent a range of weight.
    [x] Very light, can't tell it's there.
    [x] Light, no heavier than a few keys or a small car remote.
    [x] Medium light, about the weight of a AAA MiniMag
    [x] Medium, slightly heavier than a AA MiniMag
    [ ] Heavy Medium, can of Coke
    [ ] Heavy, PDA or small digital camera

    5) What kind of "bulb".
    [x] LED - more rugged, unlikely to burn out in your lifetime, less accurate color rendition, in general less output but more efficient (longer runtimes)
    [ ] Incandescent - can be very bright, more accurate color rendition, burn out or can be damaged more easily, shorter runtimes, very noticeable dimming as batteries deplete
    [ ] HID - like new car headlights in color, very, very bright, can be had in lights as small as a Mag 2 D cell but generally larger spotlight sized lights, no dimming turns off when battery depletes
    [ ] Don't care, just want the best fit for my needs.

    6) What batteries do you want to use? Alkaline batteries are easier to find and less expensive but don't pack as much stored energy and are don't work well in cold temperatures. Lithium batteries have long shelf life (10+ years, great for stored emergency lights) and are not as affected by cold but must be kept dry and are more expensive. Rechargeable start expensive, but if used frequently pay off quickly.
    [x] I want common Alkaline batteries. (AA, AAA, C, D)
    [x] I want lithium batteries. (coin cells, CR123, AAA, AA...)
    [x] I want a rechargeable system. (an investment, but best for everyday use)

    7) How much light do you want? Sometimes you can have too much light (trying to read up close up with a 100 lumen light is impossible).
    [x] I want to read a map, find a light switch/keyhole, or get around the house at w/o disturbing anyone. (5-10 lumens)
    [x] I want to walk around a generally paved area. (15-20 lumens)
    [x] I want to walk unpaved trails. (40 lumens)
    [x] I want to do Caving or Search & Rescue operations. (60+ lumens)
    [ ] I want to light an entire campground or dazzle an intruder. (100+ lumens)

    Ideally, I'd like a single light with 2-3 different output levels.

    8) Throw vs Flood: Which do you prefer, lights that flood an area with a wide beam, or lights that "throw" with a tightly focused beam? Place an “X” on the line below. Sometimes a flood is better particularly closer up or indoors. You won't have to "sweep" the light back and forth to see what you need to see. You can also just set it down pointing the general direction rather having to point it right at that which you are working.

    Throw (distance)----------------------|----------------------Flood/close-up

    I'm ambivalent on this. Rather depends on the output, as well.

    9) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims (like some LED lights). but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries. Understand that runtime is a function of brightness and capacity of your batteries. If you want 6 hours you'll either have big batteries or dimmer light, they haven't made a setup yet that lights up like the sun, runs all night, and fits in your watch pocket. ;)
    [ ] 20 min. (I want the brightest light for brief periods)
    [x] 60-240 min. (1-2 hours)
    [ ] 240-360 min. (4-6 hours)
    [ ] 360+ min. (More than 6 hours)

    10) Durability: Generally the old phrase “you get what you pay for” is very accurate for flashlights.
    [ ] Not Important (A “night-stand” light.)
    [ ] Slightly Important (Walks around the neighborhood.)
    [x] Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box.)
    [ ] Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Self-defense, Survival.)

    11) Switch Type:
    [ ] I don't care.
    [ ] sliding switch (Stays on until slid back.)
    [x] clickie switch. (Stays on until pressed again.)
    [ ] momentary switch. (Only stays on while held down.)
    [ ] rotating switch

    In my usage I've generally preferred the clickie, but I'm open to other options that are quickly and easily usable one handed, and resist accidental activation in a pocket.

    12) Switch Location:
    [ ] I don't care.
    [ ] I want a push or sliding switch on the body near the head.
    [x] I want a push switch on the back end of the body.
    [ ] I want a rotating head switch.
    [ ] I want a rotating end-cap switch.
    [ ] I want a remote control.

    Again, my current preferrence but I'm open to ideas.

    13) Operational Modes: Check all that apply.
    [ ] A simple on-off is fine for me.
    [x] I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
    [x] I want multiple light levels. (some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
    [ ] I want a strobe mode. (blinks to show location.)
    [ ] I want a tactical strobe. (Flashes rapidly to disorient an opponent.)
    [ ] I want S.O.S. flashing

    I hate strobes and fancy modes that complicate the interface. I'd actually consider that a negative, although if it was "hidden" or otherwise out of the way I might consider it.

    14) Is it important whether the body is metal or plastic/composite? In this case "plastic" and it's variants does not mean "cheap" or poorly made. In many applications a plastic bodied light is preferable, hard use and water resistance comes to mind; think caving or lights that get dropped or abused.
    [x] I don't care.
    [ ] I want a metal-bodied light.
    [ ] I want a plastic/composite light.

    15) Special Needs: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Circle any below or write in your own comment(s).
    [ ] Red (night vision preserving) filter
    [ ] Other filter colors (Amber, Green, Blue, _________)
    [ ] Waterproof – how deep: _____________
    [ ] Non-reflective/dark finish (stealthy/hard to find)
    [ ] Polished silver or brightly colored finish (for easy locating)
    [ ] Corrosion resistant or hard-anodized finish
    [ ] “Hybrid” light (bright incandescent combined with long running LEDs)
    [ ] Built-in second (or spare) lamp or filament
    [ ] Belt/Jacket clip
    [ ] Holster
    [ ] Wrist/Neck Lanyard
    [ ] Kuboton/self defense features
    [ ] Non-sparking Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments
    [x] Tail standable

    Non rolling would be nice too, but not essential.

    I realize the exact light I'm looking for may not be out there, but if you know of one that meets a lot of the criteria above I'm happy to hear about that as well.
  2. soli

    soli Loaded Pockets

    Jul 25, 2009
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    Last edited by soli, May 27, 2012
  3. Balog

    Balog Loaded Pockets

    Feb 11, 2009
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    Very interesting. That looks promising. How do you like the interface? It seems pretty complicated based on the manual. I odn't want to have to learn Morse Code just to use a flashlight. ;)
  4. soli

    soli Loaded Pockets

    Jul 25, 2009
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    Last edited by soli, May 27, 2012
  5. Roger

    Roger Loaded Pockets

    Mar 4, 2010
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    I like the P20C2MkII. Right in line with what you're looking for.
  6. MedXLT

    MedXLT Empty Pockets

    May 9, 2009
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    Although a little longer than your requirement, I second the EagleTac P20C2 MKII.
  7. bmcgators98

    bmcgators98 Loaded Pockets

    Oct 28, 2009
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    I recently started edcing a light. I purchased a couple lights for this purpose that would fall within your parameters.

    Novatac 120e. Love this light, bright, rugged, great UI, However I will not have it in the rotation very often because the diameter is a little on the fat side as I like to pocket carry.

    Nitecore EX10 Also a great light. Small enough to be a true pocket edc light yet amazingly bright. I think it is rated at 145 lumens. I don’t like the UI as much as the Novatac. I usually will carry this light at night.

    4 Sevens Mini Quark AA Small, light weight, disappears in your pocket. Not as bright as the other two but at 90 lumens it still is more than adequate as and edc light. I usually carry this one during the day at work.
  8. sjmack

    sjmack Loaded Pockets

    Jul 18, 2009
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    Take a peek at the Fenix TK11, Surefire 6PL, or the JetBeam RRT series.
  9. brix

    brix Loaded Pockets

    Oct 15, 2007
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    The Nitecore EX10 is a great light even if the company has lost its US distributors in the last couple of years. I personally have been EDCing this light for the last year or so.

    The 4Sevens Quark Mini 123 is a nice little light that I just picked up. Small enough to put on your key chain but packs a huge punch. I actually got the Titanium version of the Mini and love it. I am also carrying this light in my pack.

    You also want to check out the Fenix PD20+. This is a step up from the PD20. I have the PD20 and carry it is my backup. Fenix makes some great lights.
  10. Balog

    Balog Loaded Pockets

    Feb 11, 2009
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    Lot of great suggestions here. The P20C2 MkII is a candidate just because of the lumens and runtime, but I'm leery of the UI. Also, what's the difference between the P and T models?

    The Jetbeam RRT-0 is another strong candidate. I love that it's multi-mode but ypu don't need to click a bunch or unscrew the head. I wonder about the durability of the ring tho. And it's on the upper edge of what I want to pay.
  11. eme714

    eme714 Loaded Pockets

    Aug 30, 2008
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    I just received my EagleTac P20A2 MKII. I am sure the other suggestion of P20C2 MKII will pack a greater punch and will be awesome. I love this light and the UI. Great value for the price. I wouldn't hesitate to get it.


    If you have any question, I can answer them, just be specific. P= Personal T=Tactical.
  12. somber

    somber Banned

    Nov 16, 2009
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    How about Ra EDC Executive?

    -4 preset brightness settings: 120, 42, 15 and 0.3 lumens. The brightness settings and the turn-on setting may be customized for special missions.
    -Accepts both regular lithium batteries and rechargeable Li-ion batteries.
    -Flush button, for tailstanding.
    -The added possibility of: Customizations include turn-on setting, momentary operation, automatic shut-off, button lock, locator flash. Output settings can include burst output, tactical strobe, emergency strobe signaling and emergency SOS signaling or any brightness level.
    -Pocket clip, deep carry bezel up, MOLLE compatible, retaining.

    $99 from HDS Systems. The tactical and EDC tactical are a bit more, more options, and more capabilities, but I don't feel as though they're what you're looking for.
  13. Balog

    Balog Loaded Pockets

    Feb 11, 2009
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    I understand what the letters tand for, but I'm honestly not sure what the differences are between the models. The T has a slightly different head, right? Any UI differences?
  14. marsos52

    marsos52 Loaded Pockets

    Feb 21, 2010
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    ra edc light is the greatest edc i have ever had. if i could only have one light this would be the one... i would hate giving up my elzetta and malkoff custom
  15. ACHË

    ACHË Loaded Pockets

    May 22, 2009
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    RA EDC is a good suggestion....one of the finest production lights out there(like all RA lights).

    I'd also suggest:

    Nitecore D10
    *Takes all the batteries mentioned
    *Has infinite brightness levels
    *Can run an hour on Hi using 14500 rechargeables
    *The beam is a nice combination of spill/throw; more flood than anything else but still useful outdoors.
    *Simple interface.

    Nitecore EX10
    - Practically the same as the D10 but with a slightly shorter runtime on rechargeables and only takes CR123 sized cells.

    >>The only requirement that these lights, while they certainly could be used for, are somewhat pushing it; would be Search & Rescue.