It’s kind of an overcast, muggy day here in northern Virginia – a lazy day, too. I love photography, I enjoy writing, and I absolutely LOVE my new Spy 007 cool XPG Stone Washed Gunner grip light that I received yesterday, straight from the hands of Data!
Combine those things and there’s bound to be a photo essay, ode, review, whatever you want to call it.
If you are reading this you probably fit into one of several categories (or a combination of):
1 - You already own one or more Spies – or have owned a Spy or Spies – and you just enjoy reading about one of your favorite tools/lights….and you already "get it" (probably much more so than I)
2 - You think anyone who’d spend this kind of cash on a flashlight is nuts…
3 - Or, you are considering investing in one of these awesome tools.
If you are “1” or “2”, I probably won’t affect your thinking or your position. (You know who you are…) But if you are in the # 3 category, please read along. Perhaps somewhere in this overly verbose posting you’ll find something of value or help.
At one point in my flashaholism I owned 3 (or 4) Spies at one time. Understand, I work for a living – married, 2 kids (one in college and one about to be), with a mortgage and all the ‘stuff’ that a family is required to deal with. Don’t get me wrong – I have a good job, but I also live in one of the most expensive areas in the country to live in. My point? I ain’t rich! Not even close! I work HARD to support and provide for my family!
Sadly, a year or so ago I sold all my Spies. Oh, I’ve had (and have) many of the fine tools from the 4 “Ms” (McGizmo, Mac, Milky, Malkoff) as well as Endeavor, Dark Sucks, and quite a few other awesome quality lighting tools. But for some reason I sold off my Spies – call it flashaholism immaturity? The constant search for the 'next thing?'
But then one day my friend Scout24 and I were talking, and he mentioned that he’d been surfing around the Spy forum. I’d been by there a few times, and found it interesting that both of us were snooping. Reading comments from PSM, Shado, SOYCD, AWTYD, Launch Mini, chipwillis, and many others, and viewing photos of their beautiful collections, reminded me of why I enjoyed the ownership of Spies in the past. It only took a few minutes for me to decide it was time to jump back in!
But I wanted it to be different this time. NO SHELF QUEEN. I wanted a light that I could carry all the time with no second thoughts about surface scratches, etc. I confess that my other Spies spent most of their time on shelves or in cases – always concerned over avoiding any scratches that might lower the resale value, hence preventing myself from really using and enjoying them.
I read about the Stonewashed Gunner Grip – Hmmm. Interesting. A finish that is grippier while reported as being ‘soft’ and ‘smooth’ – a finish that won’t show scratches because it is already stonewashed. I read Data’s comments that it takes 2 days or so just to create this finish, and there was/is a significant cost premium. But it looked as though it might be the answer, and although I waffled a bit, the decision was made to press forward and go for the SW GG Spy 007, in cool white XPG. Sure, I love neutral tints, but reports of this beam were that it is a beautiful snowy white, artifact free beam that offers the maximum amount of lumens from the XPG emitter – an emitter that is still one of my favorites.
The hard part was waiting, but Dave was understanding and communicative, and what seemed like such a long time was in effect, only a week or so. The light arrived, and I did just what I said I’d do, I dropped it in my pocket with my keys and that’s where it has remained. And where it will remain! I use it at night (for the ultra low), I use it during the day – and I’ll carry it on dog walks in the dark. I do use another quality floody light for dog walks, but the Spy is with me for when I need a bit more throw. It covers all the bases.
So enough of my rampant verbosity. Let’s look at some photos that will hopefully give insight into why I KNOW this light is worth every penny!
Round flashlights are still cool, and the custom varieties of the old standby round tube still present their share of challenges for custom builders, but to me, the skill, knowledge and care required to mill this beautiful shape out of a block of titanium is beyond my comprehension.
As you look at the following photos, think about the angles, curves, etc., that have to be cut to create this shape… CNC, computer programming, whatever - it is still amazing to me that this can be done. Incidentally, these photos have nothing added, but many of them are combinations of 3 or 4 exposures of the same photo using HDR processing. Not to add or take anything away, but to ensure that the details are easily seen. The details are so intricate and fascinating that I hope these photos allow you to get an idea of just how amazing this little light is!
Now for some close ups of the angles
Data engraves the tiniest of letters to show the pedigree of this light, right into the rails for the rail mount
Mine is serial number 586.
Angle shot of the rail mount - just amazingly intricate detail
Here’s a close up of the gunner grip. It makes the light so easy to hold, while offering an almost ‘soft’ feel to the sides of the light. I am amazed at the level of craftsmanship this detail demonstrates!
I used black and white on some photos, such as the next two, because it gives a bit more perspective into the crazy number of angles, divots, etc., that Dave has to mill into the battery cover. And then install a spring loaded release – it’s just fascinating to me – and it always works.
Then there’s the body where the batteries go in and the cover attaches. Two tiny but strong posts milled into the body – and the intricate detail where the batteries are inserted.
Oh, look down that battery section – there’s some technology goin’ on up in there!!
Then there’s the control knob. “Really Dan – you are pointing out the control knob?” Why, yes, I am. Look at the pattern Dave mills into the knob! At a glance you might not notice, but when you take a look at a close up you realize that this detail alone is amazing!
Then where that knob joins the body – that amazing 6 level rotary switch with its satisfying click. I won’t get into the levels of technology required to give this light one of its most sophisticated features – 6 totally programmable levels – and oh, 4 different banks of programming – as well as resets, battery tests, level reporting, on and on. Yet when you learn to program it, it becomes second nature.
Then there’s the perfectly centered emitter, sitting inside the brass centering ring, all behind a perfect orange peel reflector – all combined to create, to me, a perfect combination of throw and spill (did I over use the word "perfect"?)
Oh, I mentioned that I dropped it in my pocket with my keys. Not just one or two keys, but a bunch of keys all connected with a couple of split rings and a survival / paracord apparatus. (Roll Tide!)
Finally, some “eye candy”
So is this the light for you? Dunno – that’s a personal decision one makes based upon need and willingness to invest. But it is absolutely a light for me, and for many other members of this forum. And yes, it is worth every penny to me. Dave doesn’t create these things in an afternoon. Countless hours/days/months/years of creative and technical planning, programming, trial and error, testing then finally hours and hours of milling and assembling, then re-testing.
And you are allowed pride of ownership in a product that excels – and should you ever decide that you need to part with it, you can rest assured that you’ll get most or all of your hard-earned money back out of it.
So thanks for reading along. Almost 1400 words and 20+ photos, but maybe now you have a slightly better understanding of why Data’s lights are clamored for – and worth every penny!