The Surefire M1 is certainly not a common flashlight. Even among us flashaholics, it doesn’t get much love or attention. It makes sense since this is an infrared light designed for tactical purposes. Unless you are planning on pairing the M1 up with a night-vision goggle, it is practically useless … or is it? This is one of the few times when you can say that beauty is without and not within. The M1 is an ideal bombproof host suitable for general purpose EDC, the great outdoors, emergency, and survival purposes. The moment you handle the M1, you will feel the weight and density packed in this relatively short body (3.80” long). To put it in perspective, the Surefire L1 is 4.52” long and weighs a hair over 3.0oz with battery. On the other hand, the M1 is 3.80” and weighs 3.81oz with battery. I’m sure that I could run my truck over this light and it will laugh and roll away with just some damages on its Mil-Spec Type III HA finish. However, the caveat is that the M1 is not a very easy flashlight to open, let alone modify. This is precisely why I left it in the hands of the master of modding, MilkySpit (a.k.a. Scott).
Before I proceed with my review, let’s take a step back on how the M1 build came about. I actually purchased the M1 back in June 2008 from a member at CPFM. It was delivered directly to Scott’s attention and had sat there feeling abandoned at MilkyLab for about 8 months. In a way, it was my fault because I had to travel frequently for work and didn’t have a chance to think about it. However, I believe Scott was the main culprit for my abandonment of my M1. . The reason being is that back in May 2008, Scott built me a modified Surefire L1 and it was such a great light that I didn’t have the need nor desire to get another one. In the recent months, I wanted to add some excitement to my life by having an additional EDC for me to rotate. I contacted Scott and told him that I was interested in a new toy, uh, I mean light. During the conversation, I presented to Scott my criteria:
(1) Runtime vs. Lumens - I wasn't looking for a pocket rocket. Although I could wow my friends by having a flashlight in M1 size that could generates 500 lumens, it is just not practical for me. Being in NYC, I rarely even need more than 100 lumens. I told Scott that I needed something that would give me at least an hour of runtime on high using RCR123a battery and double-digit hours of runtime on low. The high would have limited use, but the low is important for me to navigate around my home when I need to hop into bed without waking my little ladyfriend or at night when I'm backpacking/camping. I also stated that if possible, I would like to have a medium mode for daily utility purpose.
(2) LED Tint – I wanted to try something with a warmer tint. Back in June 2008, when I first discussed with Scott, I was planning on using a high CRI Nichia 0832 LED. However, with the size of the LED, Scott would have to cut the reflector to make it fit and thus it would have a limited amount of throw. Scott said he knew of one LED that I might be of interest. *suspense builiding up yet?*
(3) Throw vs. Flood – I don't have much need for a flashlight that could illuminate an object over 500+ feet. Mainly because even in broad daylight, I cannot even see an object at 500+ feet. For my needs, I wanted something that have a good flood, and could illuminate an object at approximately 50-100 feet. This light will primarily be used indoors, but will occasionally venture out of its comfort zone and into the wilderness whenever the owner gets his lazy ass out of the couch and steps away from CPF. Scott mentioned that with this particular reflector, there would be no doubt that I could see at least 100 feet.
I hope I'm doing a good job in building the suspense. Anyway, without further ado, I now present to you a MilkySpit modded Surefire M1 ... the Xcellerator.
Xcellerator - The Milky Magic
After Scott worked his magic on the M1, it became an extremely functional light. The following are the modifications that were made:
(1) Led: Seoul SSCP4 S2-4000K-93CRI LED
(2) Reflector: McR-16 reflector
(3) Converter: Acorn867 with customized tir-level brightness
(4) Brightness: 136 lumens, 40 lumens, and 5 lumens
Closeup of the Seoul SSCP4 S2-4000K-93CRI LED
As expected from a SEOUL LED, the beam has a relatively small hot spot in comparison to a CREE, but it has a very smooth beam with a lot of spill. The tint is very nice and warm. My formerly creamy white Novatac 120P beam looked blue when viewed side by side with the M1. Needless to say, the warm tint makes the M1 appear dimmer than it really is, but it was a compromise that I was willing to make.
The M1 has a rear forward clicky switch, so operating this light is very easy. Press to turn on momentary, press further till click to turn on permenantly. To switch to another mode, you simply half press the tail switch, release and press it again quickly (within a fraction of a second). Once you turn off the light, it will remember your last setting. In other multi-mode flashlights, it is not uncommon for you to accidentally switch to another mode. However, with the M1's switching time frame being only a fraction of a second, it signficantly reduces accidental mode switching.
My Two Milky Modded Lights - Noticed I Ripped the Labels Off.
M1 on Low
M1 on High
McGizmo Ti Haiku on Low
McGizmo Ti Haiku on High
From Left to Right - McGizmo Ti Haiku, Novatac 120p, M1
In conclusion, I cannot be happier than I am with this build. Being built upon an uncommon Surefire M1 makes the XCELLERATOR a very unique build. Not only does it have a rugged elegance look to it, it also has an extremely well spaced and useful tri-level brightness. Since this is a review, I do have to present a few things I don't like about this light, so here it is:
(1) Although built like a tank, this light is rather thick and heavy for EDC.
(2) Lack of pocket clip - the light will keep on rolling and rolling and rolling ...
(3) Unable to tailstand - common in Surefire lights
(4) I should have requested the low to be lower than 5 lumens.
Finally, although not requested, out of courtesy to Scott, I will refrain from disclosing publicly on any pricing. If you are interested in having a similar build or wish to discuss another build altogether, you could contact Scott either over PM or via his email: scott (at) quarryrun (dot) com.
Thanks for reading!