I just received my Malkoff Streamlight Stinger Drop-in yesterday and thought I would post up my initial impressions. Before we get into that, let me first comment on how I use lights.
In my little corner of the world, I have about 80 chickens, a milk cow, and three steers. I suppose it out to goes without saying, I live in a rural area. I also duck hunt and work in law enforcement. I spend more than average time in dark environments and use handheld lighting almost everyday, in all kinds of weather for all kinds of things. Because I use lights so much I have three main requirements: they must be convenient to use, cost-effective to run, and they must work - every time.
My work light is a Surefire 9P with a MD M61 drop-in. In fact, we are running 30 of these in my agency. We run them off straight CR123s (your tax dollars at work and all that). The 9P is pretty much a straight up work light. I do not make it a practice to burn up government cells for personal use. The ones we got were some of the first brass ones Gene made and they do what they are supposed to do. I like them and so do all the other officers who run them.
My personal lights that get used the most have turned out to be Streamlight rechargeables, specifically an Ultra Stinger and Litebox. I am well aware that neither of these represent the current pinnacle of lighting technology, but they work well for providing abundant light when light is needed and they are cheap to run. When I saw that Gene was offering the Stinger drop-in I started looking for a Stinger. A buddy at work had one he was willing to let go of one, so I scored. Truth be told, I bought the drop-in before the light.
So I got everything together and spent an hour or so outside comparing the Stinger drop-in to a factory Ultra Stinger. Now Gene told me that the drop-in would stomp the Ultra Stinger. Having known Gene for a while, I did not doubt his word, but that Ultra Stinger puts out a lot of light. I could not wait to check them out side-by-side. Turns out, Gene was mostly right.
For the record, my Stinger has an 1 1/8" orange peel reflector. The Ultra Stinger has a 2" turbo head optimized for throw. Also note that the stock incan bulb in the Stinger produced a beam that was all flood and just nasty to look at. A 2AA LED Mag light would be preferred over the stock Stinger.
Gene's drop-in transforms the Stinger into an absolutely outstanding piece of equipment. The Stinger is now the ultimate utility light. It puts out a lot of light in a usable format. While there is a very defined hotspot, the spill is extremely usable. Think of it like this, if you were walking down a wooded trail, you would aim the light straight ahead and be able to see for 75 yards or so, but the spill would be easily bright enough that you could walk without fear of tripping. With the Ultra Stinger head optimized for throw, it does not provide the same amount of spill.
Comparing them for throw, the Stinger drop-in provides more usable light at an estimated 75 yards. At that distance, the hot spot is roughly 25 yards wide. The Ultra is putting more light in the hot spot at that distance, but the hot spot is about 1/3 the size. The Ultra Stinger will reach just a bit farther than the Stinger drop-in, but you start, at that point, getting into distances where my eyes are not picking up detail anyway.
So the Stinger drop-in effectively lights up an entire backyard and still provides pretty good reach. Used inside, it's about like flipping on a light. The temp is on the coolish side. It would *really* like to see what this thing would do in a warmer tint, but it is fine as is. It does put more lumens out the front than the Ultra Stinger, but more importantly, it puts it out there in a usable format.
Bottom line, I just found my new go-to utility light. It does everything I need, and does it well. It pushes out a conservative 310 lumens for almost two hours in a package that easily slips into a back pocket. *It will recharge just by dumping it in the charger for a little while. And this resides in a pretty bulletproof package that doesn't break the bank.
If things work out, I will work on posting some outdoor beamshots, but I have never done that before so we will see.
If you have a Stinger, the $35 to buy this drop-in will be the best money you spend this year.