Looking for a pocket spotlight

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quazi
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Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by quazi » Sun Nov 06, 2016 6:14 pm

Short version:
Needs to be bright (300+ lumens).
Needs to be small enough to fit in a pocket, but I have really big pockets.
Doesn't need to be bomb proof, but needs to stand up to daily use.
CR123a* preferred. Ability to use rechargeables preferred.
Hopefully $100 or less, but up to $200 if necessary.

Long version:
I recently stopped carrying my normal pocket flashlight (1xAA Fenix) after my father told me having too much weight dangling form my keychain might lead to problems with my ignition.

I'm looking for something to carry in my front left pocket. I wear Duluth Firehose cargo pants, so my pockets go almost down to my knees and I can theoretically carry something gigantic. For the sake of comfort I'd like it not to be too unreasonably big.

As for budget, I'd say $100 is fine, and less would be preferred, but if there is really good reason I'm willing to go to more up to $200.

I'm trying to switch over to CR123a batteries for most of my stuff, but I'm not completely opposed to common batteries like AA. I'd like to start using rechargeable batteries for my EDC stuff eventually. I'm not that familiar with battery types, but I think there are some kinds where a person can use either a single large battery* or two CR123a batteries. Something like that would be nice.

My normal headlamp puts out 150 lumens. I'd like something a lot brighter so that I can check out things beyond the range of my headlamp. Battery life isn't that important. A feature where I can turn the power down to conserve batteries would be nice, but I'd like it to default back to putting out the high setting first. (As in I'd rather have it turn on high and then click through to low than have it turn on low and click through to high). I'd like it to be 300 lumens or better, if possible. This is primarily going to be for outdoors, so I'm not that worried about blinding myself. A beam that would be more like a spotlight would be preferable to a beam that was more of a floodlight.

It would be nice if it was relatively easy to operate it with gloves on, but on the other hand I don't want something that's going to be going off all the time in my pocket. I'm not sure if those things are mutually exclusive.

I don't need it to be bomb proof. I almost always have multiple flashlights with me, so if it doesn't work I won't be stuck in the dark. On the other hand I'll be caring it around all the time bumping it into things and dropping it, so I'd like something that isn't going to need frequent replacing. It doesn't need to be waterproof, but something that can tolerate being rained on or dropped in puddle briefly would be nice. It's going to get exposed to below zero temperatures.

Some sort of crazy sharp bashy bezel is not something I would like, as it seems like it would be uncomfortable in my pocket and would probably wear through the material. I'm willing to make a pocket holster though if the light's other features make it worthwhile.

*ETA: I think the type of battery that can be replaced with 2xCR123a is an 18650. If that's the case that would be cool. Shipping batteries to where I live is generally not allowed, so I don't want anything too weird, but I can get my hands on CR123a.

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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by RonnyRonin » Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:17 pm

As you probably know focus matters nearly as much as lumens, and is much harder to tell outside of more detailed reviews.

I don't like it as a tactical light (the memory is a liability) but for an absurdly bright pocket size light when I need more oomph then my EDC light, I've been very happy with this Fenix:

https://www.fenixlighting.com/product/f ... lashlight/

I won't say it is surefire or streamlight quality, but it does the job and is good value. Good throw and focus, nice hotspot. Controls are very intuitive. You aren't wrong about the jagged bezel wearing through pants but this one is fairly dull.
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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by EBuff75 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:41 pm

This is my EDC flashlight: http://www.zebralight.com/SC600-Mk-III- ... p_174.html It's a floody beam, but VERY bright! You would have to get some 18650 batteries and a charger though. I don't believe that CR123a batteries will work in it, since it has extremely tight tolerances on the batteries - it requires non-protected batteries, as the protected 18650 batteries are too long to fit.

With your price range there are a ton of options. You might want to check out CandlePowerForums. It's a great place to browse around for threads on different lights. If you have any lights that you'd like to see beamshots for, check on http://fonarik.com/test/indexen.php The guy is a true flashaholic and has a huge collection of beamshots, tested on each brightness setting for each of the lights. For Fenix alone he probably has beamshot pictures for more than 100 lights! It's a Russian site though, so you will only find lights that are available there.

I've really gotten to like 18650 batteries and I have several lights that take them now, including an Armytek headlight, two Convoys, and a Fenix PD35, in addition to my Zebralight. If you can figure out how to get the batteries where you live (at a reasonable price), then it's a massive upgrade over AA lights. I keep a dozen of the batteries charged up at any time, so I've got enough to last for weeks, or even months if I'm careful!
Last edited by EBuff75 on Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by Stercutus » Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:33 pm

I recently stopped carrying my normal pocket flashlight (1xAA Fenix) after my father told me having too much weight dangling form my keychain might lead to problems with my ignition.
Surprisingly this is actually true. I got stranded in the middle of Kansas about twenty years ago when the ignition on my Accord went out. The mechanic looked at all the contraptions dangling from my key chain and nearly burst off laughing, noting he had found the problem. Try to find the ignition switch for an Accord in the middle of Kansas on a Sunday, go ahead and try. I then checked my owners manual and it actually specified in the manual not to have more then three other keys hanging on the key chain.

My daily cars these days don't have ignition keys. This leads to different problems but I don't have to worry about having too much stuff hanging on there any more.

Light lumen rating are crazy on most on line shops. Some claim 3000 lumens. I have never seen a 3000 lumen light from an on-line store that was over 150 lumens at 10 feet.

The two below are actually the lumens they are rated.

This is the back up to my duty light. It sees light use nightly. Practically bomb proof, heavy and the slide light produces great light. It compares favorably to the second light a 5.11 TPT R5. I use the area light a lot when searching for stuff or doing paperwork. The main beam provides about 80% of the light of the below one. It is about as large as anything you would want to put in your pocket. One end is magnetized with a good magnet and will stick solidly to a car body or other metal object. You can use rechargeable batteries but you have to take them out to recharge them. Extended it is longer than the 5.11.

https://www.amazon.com/6156-Nebo-Slyde- ... B00KHAXEMY

This is my duty light. It sees heavy nightly use. Comes with life time warranty, 301 actual Lumens and rechargeable battery that lasts about 400 cycles. The end caps tend to break when struck against something hard. The lights are made out of plastic. The light will still work with a broken (or even missing) end cap. It weighs a little more than the above light and is about an inch longer. The head is also larger. You say you have huge pockets but I would consider it too large for most pockets. Compares favorably to my vehicle spot light (about 500 actual lumens). And it is unisex thank goodness in case your SO needs to use it.

https://www.amazon.com/5-11-53238-019-1 ... .11+tpt+r5

I don't have this light. A friend of mine does and is quite pleased with it. It is about as bright as the Slyde but the light does not seem to project out as far. I am guessing it is about 200-250 actual lumens, despite the 320 claim. 200 is quite a lot more than you might think if you base it upon what is claimed out there. It is very solidly built and appears very reliable. I was thinking about getting one.

https://www.amazon.com/Redline-recharge ... =nebo+6392
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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by quazi » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:16 pm

Thanks for the suggestions!
RonnyRonin wrote:As you probably know focus matters nearly as much as lumens, and is much harder to tell outside of more detailed reviews.
EBuff75 wrote:You might want to check out CandlePowerForums. It's a great place to browse around for threads on different lights. If you have any lights that you'd like to see beamshots for, check on http://fonarik.com/test/indexen.php The guy is a true flashaholic and has a huge collection of beamshots, tested on each brightness setting for each of the lights. For Fenix alone he probably has beamshot pictures for more than 100 lights! It's a Russian site though, so you will only find lights that are available there.
Stercutus wrote:Light lumen rating are crazy on most on line shops. Some claim 3000 lumens. I have never seen a 3000 lumen light from an on-line store that was over 150 lumens at 10 feet.
So it sounds like I really need to get out and read some independent tests of whatever I'm looking to buy.
Stercutus wrote:200 is quite a lot more than you might think if you base it upon what is claimed out there.
I guess I'm not completely sure what I really need. Probably my main concern is spotting moose, especially when I let our dogs out to run around. My Princeton Tec headlamp is advertised at 150 lumens. I'd say the light is good out to about 25 yards. At that distance if the moose is standing next to dark things* it gets easy to miss.
*They usually are standing next to dark things. I'm guessing they either learn or have some sort of natural instinct to keep themselves hidden.

I'd like to be able to spot them out to 50-75 yards. That gets me out to our furthest outbuildings and the closest treeline. I'd be satisfied with 50-75 yards, but ~150 yards would get out to the end of the driveway and about everywhere the dogs normally go. Of course further is better, and the treeline can be over 400 yards away from the house, but realistically moose out there are not a threat.

Eventually I'd like to get some big handheld spotlights to keep by each door, but I figured I'd start with a brighter EDC light than what I currently carry.

Stercutus wrote:This is the back up to my duty light. It sees light use nightly. Practically bomb proof, heavy and the slide light produces great light. It compares favorably to the second light a 5.11 TPT R5. I use the area light a lot when searching for stuff or doing paperwork. The main beam provides about 80% of the light of the below one. It is about as large as anything you would want to put in your pocket. One end is magnetized with a good magnet and will stick solidly to a car body or other metal object. You can use rechargeable batteries but you have to take them out to recharge them. Extended it is longer than the 5.11.

https://www.amazon.com/6156-Nebo-Slyde- ... B00KHAXEMY
That looks pretty promising, especially for the price. I don't currently have anything that runs on AAA, but since this is for EDC and not the zombocalypse I don't necessarily need it to run on the same batteries as my other stuff.

How does the magnet play with electronics? This will be on the same side as my phone and often times I stick flash drives in my pockets. I'm guessing it's a non-issue like most magnets are.

It's a little bigger than most flashlights I've been looking at, but for $24 I wouldn't feel bad about throwing it in my car as a backup light and trying something else.

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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by s.leinicke » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:33 pm

I'd go with a fenix tk series. I've been using a tk22 for years. They're stupid bright and they use 18650 rechargeable batteries which can be easily found at any vape shop.

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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by Stercutus » Mon Nov 07, 2016 6:25 pm

I'm guessing it's a non-issue like most magnets are.
None that I know of. It will hold it firm.
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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by ssgcmw » Mon Nov 07, 2016 8:49 pm

I use a Fenix PD32... the latest version supposedly can get up to 900 lumens in burst mode:
http://amzn.to/2fzegvF

There are packages at Amazon that also include 18650 batteries and charger, or you can use two CR123A.

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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by B9ev » Tue Nov 08, 2016 1:40 am

I have multiple Surefire p2x lights and they are fantastic. I also have one Surefire p3x and while the brightest it isnt as convenient for a pocket with 3 cr123 batteries.

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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by flybynight » Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:30 am

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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by thelight » Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:37 pm

Fenix UC35. Fantastic flashlight.
https://www.amazon.com/UC35-Rechargeabl ... B00OZZZXM6

It's my EDC bag light.
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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by Norwegian » Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:02 am

Olight S2 maybe? Takes 2xcr123a or 1x18650, about as small as you can get with these batteries and crazy light output. I've handled it's predecessor, the s20, and it really surprises you how small and bright it is. As for quality i have a couple other lights from Olight and cant really find any problem with them, they have never failed me.

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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by BloodLust » Sun Nov 13, 2016 12:12 am

I use a Klarus XT11 Upgrade in my EDC bag.
Under $100.
Uses a piston and spring for the battery contacts to handle recoil if you will weapon mount it.
I got it because it can access strobe from off or any mode due to its dual tailcap switch.
Can use 123s or 18650.
There are other models with built-in charging if that's your thing.

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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by doitnstyle1 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:47 pm

I went to Home Depot and they have in the holiday section, a Defiant 3 "C" cell 850 lumen flashlight with the flash blind mode for about $12.00. I can carry it around in my jeans pocket, I can vouch for its brightness and if it came to it, I could still use it to beat someones brains out if poked in the wro ... /206091479
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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by runninjoe » Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:34 pm

https://malkoff-devices.myshopify.com/p ... p-l-2cr123
I've been lusting over this one for a while. I've got some of their other flashlights and they are top notch, made in the USA too. It can do either 123a or 16650 batteries.

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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by quazi » Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:36 am

Thanks for all the recommendations, I'm going to do a bunch of research based on them.

I have a Streamlight TLR-1 HL. This one is the older model, which IIRC is advertised at ~600 lumens while the new ones are advertised as 800 lumens (I could be remembering that wrong). Anyway with the TLR-1 HL does a good job out to about 50 yards which meets my minimum criteria, but isn't effective too much further past that. I have no idea if the TLR-1 actually has an output that measures up to their marketing.

I ordered one of the flashlights Stercutus mentioned because it was fairly cheap and the work light feature actually seems like it might be handy.

I'm going to see if I can look up reviews of some of the other flashlights you folks have mentioned and maybe see about maybe getting a slightly smaller flashlight for my pocket. Maybe they'll be some good sales in a few days.

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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by MacWa77ace » Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:36 pm

Look into SolarForce. I got one as an experiment and for ~$26.70 [not including the CR123 batteries] I got something IMO that is on par with $100+ lights.

viewtopic.php?f=109&t=114483&p=2618616#p2612292

I've seen the bodies for ~$18 [which include bezel, tailcap and tube], and then you get to pick your P60 led in whatever lumens you want. [order separately] They run $6-9.

True momentary on switch, Hard anodized aircraft aluminum, water proof to X meters, shock proof to Y meters. Accessories available are pocket clip, PD bezel, remote pressure endcaps, and will work with std weapon mounts and Surefire Combat Rings.

I'm probably going to get another one and build it as a handheld with tactical lamphead and the surefire combat rings.

Amazon has the L2M for $17 and the L2P [w/tactical lamphead] for $24. LED bulbs are ~$8. Looks like all instock in the USA right now.
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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by Stercutus » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:00 pm

I ordered one of the flashlights Stercutus mentioned because it was fairly cheap and the work light feature actually seems like it might be handy.
I actually use the work light feature on that more than the flashlight since I have another brighter flashlight. It is plenty bright enough to do paperwork by. I use the magnet to stick it to the trunk of the car and it creates a nice lighted work area. It won't project out far but it is visible from quite a distance. It is also nice to see who you are talking to so that you can read their expressions without shining a light beam in their face.
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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by Purple_Mutant » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:04 pm

Thanks for starting this thread. I need a brighter EDC light. One of those USB rechargeable models looks like just the thing.

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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by Woods Walker » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:01 am

For 1xCR123 I use an Armytek C1 Pro. It will run 1XCR123, 1X16340 or 1X18350.

https://www.armytek.com/products/flashl ... d-camping/

Mine is this one but in warm light model.

http://www.illumn.com/armytek-prime-c1- ... bezel.html

Mine is around 400 or so lumens on high (actually seems brighter) but thinking the newer ones are more like 800. That's using lithium ion which can handle the higher modes. Still plenty bright using 1XCR123. I was working on a review of them but never got around to the write up. Maybe I should do that.

With a Fenix HL50 both running 1XCR123. The Fenix isn't lithium ion compatable however C1 is.


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Re: Looking for a pocket spotlight

Post by quazi » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:07 pm

Woods Walker wrote:With a Fenix HL50 both running 1XCR123. The Fenix isn't lithium ion compatable however C1 is.
I just bought a Fenix HL50 because my Petzl died a few days ago. I didn't look up many reviews, do you like yours?

I also bought a Streamlight that takes 18650 batteries because it was on sale.

Basically I did what I usually do, which is a ton of research followed by impulse buying the first thing that looks like a good deal. :oops: :lol:

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