Now I know from the short length of time I have been a member that there will be alot of advice out there on this subject and I would like to hear it, as I really can not make my mind up. I already have a handfull of 6v Surefires and think it's time to try a 9v.
I know that I want a HA type 3 finish and the ability to fit a matching turbohead but I don't know if I can justify the extra cost of the M3 (I can justify it to myself but to the wife is another matter [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon8.gif[/img])
Is the M3 that much better, is the difference in lumens that noticeabe & does the C3 have a matching HA turbohead? The light won't be just sat on shelf but be used most days and may replace a G2 on a belt. Which is the easiest to live and work with.
Thanks for your thoughts
Without a shadow of a doubt I'd get the M3 over the C3.
The C3 is ugly in my opinion (but that's not really a good enough reason to invest more in the M3 is it? Perhaps it is?)
The M3 has a shock isolated bezel as standard. You can get an "M2" bezel for your C3. If you decide to get a C3, I seriously suggest you do this.
The M3 has both the MN10 and MN11 Lamp Assemblies as standard. You can get a P91 Lamp Assembly for your C3. If you decide to get a C3, I seriously suggest you do this.
The shock isolated bezel is important because as your flashlight will see carry and use most days it will be exposed to drops and such. Therefore I suggest you give the C3 a fighting chance to be as durable as possible.
The High Output Lamp Assemblies are those I use when I use incandescent models. The MN11 beam is very powerful and I prefer it to the P91 in terms of brightness and impact. If you intend to use the C3/M3 a lot each day and want to stick to the standard lamp, I would suggest a rechargeable model such as the 9AN would make more sense.
The TurboHead (KT4) for the M3 is a fantastic addition - perhaps my favourite incandescent flashlight - tough, compact, lots of light, intense beam. I love to use it.
The KT4 comes with both the MN15 and MN16 lamps. If you get this I suggest you get the N2 lamp and use it instead of the MN15 lamp. I prefer the beam of the N2 - it's really round and I'm happy to give up the Lumens for this in this case. However, most of the time I use the MN16 High Output Lamp Assembly.
The TurboHead for the C3-HA is the KT2-HA. It's not shock isolated like that of the M3's KT4. It comes with the N2 lamp (and you can use the MN16 - I suggest you get it)
For carry method, SureFire make a "CombatHolster" for belt carry:
V70 - C3
V71 - M2 [bezel on your C3]
V72 - M3
There are Nylon belt pouches from companies like SOE.
The C3 has a clip. I've found the M2 clip to be less than secure when the M2 was clipped to my belt. I would certainly advice you clip the C3 inside something but it is a bit big and heavy for trouser pocket (especially when you have the M2 bezel on it)
I can tell that the M3 MN10/MN11 lamps have more light output(and whiter light) compared to the P90/P91 beams. The larger diameter M3 reflector produces a slightly more intense, slightly better beam throw as well. The M3 was designed to be a more powerful version of the Z3.
The M3 has a 5W Luxeon bezel - the KL6.
There is no 5W Luxeon bezel for the C3. The long term effect of powering the KL5 on three SF123As has not been reported here on CPF that I'm aware of. Certain, it's not a combination SureFire currently advise.
The styling of the M3 and it's adjustable CombatGrip make is easier to use in my experience compared to the M2 which is similar in style to the C3. If you wanted to put the Z48 or Z58 Clickie TailCap on the C3 you may find it difficult to hold in the CombatGrip. With the M3 you can remove one or both of the spacer rings.
You've not mentioned what you want to use the M3 for so it's difficult to say you'll really gain a significant amount from the M3 compared to the C3. If I was in the market for a three SF123A model I would have no doubt to go for the M3.
Having just yesterday purchased the M3 [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/buttrock.gif[/img] and having some fo the same questions between the C3 and the M3 I can tell you that the M3 rocks. The facts that i used to justify the M3 to myself and wife are: The turbo head from my M6, which I already have, fits the M3 making the M3T and therefore are 2 lights in 1 purchase. Also the round body of the M3 around the grip ring was IMHO much nicer to hold than the the 2 flat sides that the C3 has by the grip ring. Just for some idea as to how this light will be used I am a safety Manager for a tunnel contractor and spend most if not all day undergroud in low to little light and hope that the shock isolation of the bezel and the HA3 anodize helps this light last me quite some time. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
Thanks for such a detailed response, the M3 does sound impressive, which ever light I choose it will no doubt end up being used in a rather rough policing enviroment so the shock isolated does seem like a good idea.
Oh, Ugly does play a part in the decision process.
I've had the C3 for a couple of years, I really like it. But about six months ago I got this urge to get the M3. I found one at a great price ($180USD) last November I believe.
I didn't notice a huge "real world" difference in light output, yes the M3 had a bigger spot on the roofs at a distance, but not enough that I felt is was significantly better.
The M3 according to the Surefire website lists it as waterproof and it is more shock resistant. However it is also significantly larger, longer and bigger diameter head.
I still use my old 9P most days and both the C3 and M3 sit on the sidelines.
If the increased shock resistance, waterproofness are important and you don't mind the extra size, and significantly higher price tag, go for the M3. However the C3 is much easier to stick in a coat pocket and has 90% of the light output of what the M3 has. Don't discount it, it's a very nice light!
I hope I helped, and didn't confuse the issue for you.
Both are very nice lights, and much of it comes down to a matter of personal preference. If possible I would recommend going to a dealer that has both so you can get a feel for them and see what you like. If you do go with the C3, and use it at all in rough environments, a shock isolated (SI) bezel would pay for itself fairly quickly. Either way you go, both are nice lights.
My recommendation would be to go for the M3 right away. If you get the C3, you'll save a few dollars right now, but probably will always be wondering how much better the M3 really is, and eventually buy it anyways. That's how things often go around here. I've never had a C3, but I've got an M3T and the KL2 LED bezel for it, and have a new style (cookie cutter bezel) M3 on the way. I'd personally recommend the M3 very highly.
Having been reading the forum for a while I know I am not alone in being very impressed with the quality of advice on offer. My preference is towards the M3 and I agree it would be nice to have a hands on trial, residents of the USA are no doubt in an enviable position as Surefire and other such lights are rare in the UK. We still think that Maglites are great [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/banghead.gif[/img]
How much shock isolation does the M3 really give you? As I look at the M2, the shock resistance is really along the longitudinal axis which takes care of recoil from firing a weapon. Any shock not along that axis is pretty much transferred to the lamp. So unless you plan on dropping the M3 flat on its face or in the other direction, I don't see how much a big deal the SIS really is. I see the benefit for weapon mounting but for every day bumps and shocks, the benefit diminishes rather quickly IMHO.