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View Poll Results: Best USA flashlight manufacturer (Which would you trust your life to)

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  • Surefire

    24 22.22%
  • Streamlight

    5 4.63%
  • Malkoff

    41 37.96%
  • ElZetta

    8 7.41%
  • HDS

    30 27.78%
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Thread: Best USA manufacturer

  1. #91
    Flashaholic* Str8stroke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Slumber Pass View Post
    I understood the 'life depends on it'....I chose the manufacturer of the light I'd pick if I could only own one light for a prolonged period of time...HDS.
    Perfect answer. I would pick HDS for that too. Too often we forget that other people have different views and definitions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Babcock View Post
    I think you'd be trusting Panasonic batteries. It's my understanding that SF does not and has never made batteries, Panasonic just puts a SF wrapper on a Panasonic battery.
    Are you positive? lol j/k don't want to derail thread. We must stay on topic.
    Interested in Saltytri lights. Pm me!


  2. #92

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    The panasonic factory makes SureFire, Streamlight, Rayovac, Battery Station (iirc Duracell) yes...

    But they are not just a bunch of panasonics with other labels wrapped around them. In terms of automotive batteries I'll say they differ.
    Rayovac would be like your trolling motor battery where deep cycles are it's niche. Fast drain is not it's strong point.
    SureFire for example would be like the battery for your big block hot rod truck on a January morning. It's virtue is cold cranking amps so-to-speak in that it's voltage remains more stable in quick draw applications than say the Rayovac.

    The Streamlight and Panasonic are nearly the same capacity-wise and stability-wise. SureFire and Battery Station are nearly the same.

    Elzetta and Malkoff sell Battery Station cells. That says a lot about their batteries.

    Like the light companies in this thread I feel they are all worthy of praise. I place Rayovac at the top of my list personally because they tend to give a bit better run time my lights. But the ones that I count on when the chips are down have SureFire or Battery Stations (in no particular order)
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  3. #93

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozythemandias View Post
    I don't think emptying a battery can be considered a failure on the part of the manufacturer.
    I dropped the light from about waist high. When I picked it up, it wouldn't turn on. I immediately opened the light and discovered the AW 16340 inside was venting.

    Maybe this was a bad/poorly made cell, but I've dropped several lights with primaries and rechargeables and never had this issue. Now, I cringe anytime the light gets dropped, bumped, etc.

  4. #94
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    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Unless I'm very much mistaken, high quality cells have a built in valve to vent when there's a problem. I imagine that's what yours did rather than blowing up. So in a funny way that quality cell probably saved you a burn or two.
    P

  5. #95

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by peter yetman View Post
    Unless I'm very much mistaken, high quality cells have a built in valve to vent when there's a problem. I imagine that's what yours did rather than blowing up. So in a funny way that quality cell probably saved you a burn or two.
    P
    Absolutely. Still scared the crap outta me though!! In all reality, I could probably drop the same light with the same type of cell from my roof a dozen times and not have an issue, but that thought is still in the back of my mind...

  6. #96

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    It's my understanding that Panasonic is the only maker of CR123a batteries in the US. All the batteries they make might not identical but I'm 98.5% certain that SF batteries are manufactured by Panasonic. SF does not make batteries and never has so far as I know. The only SF thing about them is the red label, of that I'm pretty confident.

  7. #97

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Slumber Pass View Post
    Like 'em all, but for me....HDS takes the top spot.
    +1

    It has been my everyday carry for 5 years now. Its done 3 deployments (2 to afghanistan and 1 to iraq) and was attached to the front of an M4 for 2 of those. I have beaten the living sh*t out of it.

    Now I use it in my everyday civilian job, I never, ever, leave the house without it. I'm now looking to join the military again, and it will continue to have the hell beaten out of it and I know without a doubt it will stand up to the abuse.

    Customer service wise, Henry has been great, responds to emails just as quick now, as he did 5 years ago. And I might add, its great to be able to email, call or send your light back to the owner/ founder of the company.

    I think you should also add in the factor of warranties. And once again, HDS's warranties are among the best in the industry.
    Last edited by Greighps; 05-14-2017 at 07:59 PM.
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  8. #98

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    I have to give my vote to Malkoff. I just ordered my first, which is a M91 MD3, yesterday. I've communicated with Gene multiple times via phone and email over the last few days. He was always prompt, polite, and very helpful. My order also shipped the same day, so now I just have to wait for the mail.

    I have an HDS too, but it failed once, and Henry wasn't so fast in responding to me. I had to wait over a month to get it back too. So for me Malkoff is #1, and I am confident that Gene will take care of anything right away.

  9. #99

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    I own many HDS lights but this thread prompted me to go buy a Malkoff. Had the MDC in my cart for days, literally days and I cant bring myself to pull the trigger. Thought about why for a while, after all, the output is similar and I'm probably paying twice to thrice as much for Henry's work, yet I still cant buy the MDC.

    Discussed it, and someone pointed out that Malkoff is just boring. It works, its reliable, super reliable even, but its not exciting or terribly innovative. Henry on the other hand, hoooboy its sexy! Not with raw output, but with UI, quality, design, history, just everything about it is exciting (to me at least). And so, I buy more and more HDS but I'm still trying to work up enough motivation for the MDC.
    White wall hunting is not a very good indicator of a flashlight’s potential, not sure where it got it’s popularity. - DB Customs

  10. #100
    Flashaholic* the0dore3524's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozythemandias View Post
    I own many HDS lights but this thread prompted me to go buy a Malkoff. Had the MDC in my cart for days, literally days and I cant bring myself to pull the trigger. Thought about why for a while, after all, the output is similar and I'm probably paying twice to thrice as much for Henry's work, yet I still cant buy the MDC.

    Discussed it, and someone pointed out that Malkoff is just boring. It works, its reliable, super reliable even, but its not exciting or terribly innovative. Henry on the other hand, hoooboy its sexy! Not with raw output, but with UI, quality, design, history, just everything about it is exciting (to me at least). And so, I buy more and more HDS but I'm still trying to work up enough motivation for the MDC.
    Totally agree with this. Gene's stuff is all about bare-bones simplicity, something that I can't always reciprocate. So, as much as I like the one or two Malkoff I've had, HDS always comes first for me.

  11. #101
    Flashaholic* JohnnyBravo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    At this point, I'd trust my life most to SureFire; I know, it's not "potted," but I'm not dropping my lights THAT hard nor worried much about EMPs. I have yet to try out Streamlight and HDS. But nothing in Streamlight's line-up gets my attention, and with HDS, the price for admission is a bit too much for me...
    I have more than I need, but not as many as I want...

  12. #102

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Is OverReady a USA made light? If so where do they stand in this line up of great manufacturers?

    I'm trying to decide on a first high end rock solid light. HDS, Malkoff, or OverReady ???

  13. #103

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozythemandias View Post

    Discussed it, and someone pointed out that Malkoff is just boring. It works, its reliable, super reliable even, but its not exciting or terribly innovative. Henry on the other hand, hoooboy its sexy! Not with raw output, but with UI, quality, design, history, just everything about it is exciting (to me at least). And so, I buy more and more HDS but I'm still trying to work up enough motivation for the MDC.
    Elzetta and Malkoff are the ideal kind of boring, I guess that's why I own so many of their products. They both make lights that are dead simple to use that work every time.

  14. #104
    Flashaholic* JohnnyBravo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    less is more eh?
    I have more than I need, but not as many as I want...

  15. #105
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    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by noboneshotdog View Post
    Is OverReady a USA made light? If so where do they stand in this line up of great manufacturers?
    Yes, Oveready is made in Oregon, USA.

    http://www.oveready.com/index.php



    More recently, there is Texas Lumens made in, well, Texas.

    http://www.texaslumens.com/gallery.html
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  16. #106
    Flashaholic* Modernflame's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozythemandias View Post
    I own many HDS lights but this thread prompted me to go buy a Malkoff. Had the MDC in my cart for days, literally days and I cant bring myself to pull the trigger. Thought about why for a while, after all, the output is similar and I'm probably paying twice to thrice as much for Henry's work, yet I still cant buy the MDC.

    Discussed it, and someone pointed out that Malkoff is just boring. It works, its reliable, super reliable even, but its not exciting or terribly innovative. Henry on the other hand, hoooboy its sexy! Not with raw output, but with UI, quality, design, history, just everything about it is exciting (to me at least). And so, I buy more and more HDS but I'm still trying to work up enough motivation for the MDC.
    Interesting perspective. I'd never considered that the simplicity of Malkoff devices might be a turn off for some users. For me, simplicity is a primary source of attraction.
    Fully potted or bust...

  17. #107

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Modernflame View Post
    Interesting perspective. I'd never considered that the simplicity of Malkoff devices might be a turn off for some users. For me, simplicity is a primary source of attraction.
    Simplicity in operation and simplicity in design are two different things. I love lights simple to operate (HDS, Zebralight etc) that have a stunning amount of innovation and engineering behind the scenes.
    White wall hunting is not a very good indicator of a flashlight’s potential, not sure where it got it’s popularity. - DB Customs

  18. #108
    Flashaholic* Modernflame's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozythemandias View Post
    Simplicity in operation and simplicity in design are two different things. I love lights simple to operate (HDS, Zebralight etc) that have a stunning amount of innovation and engineering behind the scenes.
    I understand the appeal. I may end up with an HDS, myself. I do wish HDS would consider offering at least one additional model, preferably something larger with more punch. I'm not a lumen chaser, but it seems that the HDS, while ideal for most indoor use, would run out of reach fairly quickly outside. True, the MDC would also, but that's why I love the Hound Dog series from Malkoff.
    Fully potted or bust...

  19. #109

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Modernflame View Post
    I understand the appeal. I may end up with an HDS, myself. I do wish HDS would consider offering at least one additional model, preferably something larger with more punch. I'm not a lumen chaser, but it seems that the HDS, while ideal for most indoor use, would run out of reach fairly quickly outside. True, the MDC would also, but that's why I love the Hound Dog series from Malkoff.
    I find that the opposite is true regarding brightness. For my daily light I like having more lumens in case I need to complete with other light sources, such as when looking under a desk in a well lit room. Outdoors however, I rarely find myself needing more than 30 lumens and anything over 150 seems obnoxiously bright.
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  20. #110

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Modernflame View Post
    I understand the appeal. I may end up with an HDS, myself. I do wish HDS would consider offering at least one additional model, preferably something larger with more punch. I'm not a lumen chaser, but it seems that the HDS, while ideal for most indoor use, would run out of reach fairly quickly outside. True, the MDC would also, but that's why I love the Hound Dog series from Malkoff.
    Interestingly, the 250lm version has more reach than the 350lm. Point to it ponder and FYI if you ever decide to buy one.
    White wall hunting is not a very good indicator of a flashlight’s potential, not sure where it got it’s popularity. - DB Customs

  21. #111
    Flashaholic* Modernflame's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Random Dan View Post
    I find that the opposite is true regarding brightness. For my daily light I like having more lumens in case I need to complete with other light sources, such as when looking under a desk in a well lit room. Outdoors however, I rarely find myself needing more than 30 lumens and anything over 150 seems obnoxiously bright.
    Granted, although when I'm outside I have to compete with city lights, car head lights, etc. If I'm on the trails I can get away with much less illumination, but it's nice to push a beam of light through the trees to identify the source of a sound.
    Fully potted or bust...

  22. #112
    Flashaholic* Modernflame's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozythemandias View Post
    Interestingly, the 250lm version has more reach than the 350lm. Point to it ponder and FYI if you ever decide to buy one.
    That's good to know. I think the 250lm version owes its extra reach to the smaller surface area of the XP-G2. When it comes to a light that size, however, I'd be more likely to make a choice based on beam tint. Is the 350lm version more neutral?
    Fully potted or bust...

  23. #113

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Probably Would not have been what I would have chosen for the job, but at work in every major office area at some point before I got there someone purchased and installed an original incandescent Magcharger light. Probably have 10 here in the building. These lights do spend a lot of time on the charger, but when I need them they work. We recently went through a big flood, and I needed emergency light to perform first response work in dark buildings. What did I grab in the heat of the moment, two of these Magchargers, because My surefire was off for warranty repair...

    My experience during that emergency, was that even though they were incandesant, they still had long battery life and were plenty bright. Also even though they were larger than my other light I found that that was a bonus and not a handicap because when you're standing in water up to your waist and trying to use a flashlight it helps for it to be easy to hold onto. Had I been able to locate my headlamp that would've been even better but I couldn't find it at the time. Having these flashlights in a location where they never move turned out to be the best thing because they're always there when you need them. If these had been the LED Version the battery might still be going 😉

    I will say that these are not the original batteries, we have replaced the batteries at least three times in these lights due to age. I no longer buy the factory battery, I get my replacements from interstate battery. Cheaper and more capacity.

    I'm guessing that the Magcharger is built to a better quality standard than the entry-level lights.


    ----------------
    Quote Originally Posted by noboneshotdog View Post
    I have had some of the worst experiences w Mag Lights. They were the reason I found CPF in the first place. Never owned one that did not flicker after several months of HARD use. I got sick of having to smack the side of them to temporarily stop the flicker. Maybe I abuse my lights more than some people. I would never go back to Mag Lights. I just want to be 100% honest. Sorry but this had been my actual experience with many C, D, and AA Mags.

    Edit. Please note that all of my Mags were store bought. I am not dissing the wonderful mods many of you guys have made from your Mag Lights. That is a whole different thing.

  24. #114

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Kd5jha View Post
    Probably Would not have been what I would have chosen for the job, but at work in every major office area at some point before I got there someone purchased and installed an original incandescent Magcharger light. Probably have 10 here in the building. These lights do spend a lot of time on the charger, but when I need them they work. We recently went through a big flood, and I needed emergency light to perform first response work in dark buildings. What did I grab in the heat of the moment, two of these Magchargers, because My surefire was off for warranty repair...

    My experience during that emergency, was that even though they were incandesant, they still had long battery life and were plenty bright. Also even though they were larger than my other light I found that that was a bonus and not a handicap because when you're standing in water up to your waist and trying to use a flashlight it helps for it to be easy to hold onto. Had I been able to locate my headlamp that would've been even better but I couldn't find it at the time. Having these flashlights in a location where they never move turned out to be the best thing because they're always there when you need them. If these had been the LED Version the battery might still be going 

    I will say that these are not the original batteries, we have replaced the batteries at least three times in these lights due to age. I no longer buy the factory battery, I get my replacements from interstate battery. Cheaper and more capacity.

    I'm guessing that the Magcharger is built to a better quality standard than the entry-level lights.


    ----------------
    The Mag Chargers were built to a higher standard. They were competing with Kel Light for the LEO market, and I knew several officers with one or the other of those brands. Kel Light eventually merged with Streamlight, which is still huge in the LEO market.
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  25. #115

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    The most common failing in flashlights,even great ones is always the same across the board. Dead batteries... That is why I practice a concept from firearms carry known as the "New York Reload"... I always carry two lights minimum, sometimes a third on my keychain. Both my primary lights are 18650/CR123 and my keychain lights are alkaline primary cell (one is AAA one AA).

    I feel the same way about pocket knives, pens, etc. if it's not cumbersome two is always better.

    One challange i would would make is, are their any U.S. Based emitter manufactures to supply LED's to the marketplace? If not then the best you will ever do is to have one that is assembled here from domestic and foreign parts ...

    As to lights I like (have owned) Surefire (6px pro, Peacekeeper),Streamlight (Stinger,Strion,Litebox,and ProTac(last one is engineered in U.S. And produced overseas),Maratac (don't know country of manufacture but countycom us US Based), I've had a couple of decent coast lights (I'm sure there made overseas, but again that's a Portland Oregon based company division of Leatherman) some of their stuff is junk though. At least they warranty for life. Maglight's upper end rechargeable MagCharger line is good and has good runtime.

    Its easier to to rely on a cheaper light if you have more than one. Especially with a four pack of 18650's in your daypack for extra burn time.

    ---------------
    Quote Originally Posted by k3751 View Post
    I've used Surefire and Streamlights for about fifteen years, Malkoff for over five, and HDS for about 3. Never used an Elzetta, but I'd like to add one (some?) to the collection. Of those four, Surefire is the only one that has never failed for me. Streamlight and Malkoff made it right (and then some, with Malkoff) and my HDS was remedied with a battery change. I trust all four, but if I had to pick just one, it'd be Surefire. "trust your life to" in my opinion has nothing to do with beam quality or customer service, but rather reliability and, to a lesser extent, UI.

  26. #116

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by Kd5jha View Post
    The most common failing in flashlights,even great ones is always the same across the board. Dead batteries... That is why I practice a concept from firearms carry known as the "New York Reload"... I always carry two lights minimum, sometimes a third on my keychain.
    Great way of putting it. I came to this practice when I realized that some cr123 lights are basically the same size as a keychain cell carrier, might as well carry the cell in a spare light.
    White wall hunting is not a very good indicator of a flashlight’s potential, not sure where it got it’s popularity. - DB Customs

  27. #117

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    That is what I was told by my wholesale supplier. We buy batteries in bulk (cr123,aa,aaa,9v) and I was told only Panasonic makes lithium cells stateside. Several manufacturers are still making alkalines stateside (Duracell,Energizer,Rayovac for sure probably also Panasonic as well.)

    for primary cells I have not been able to beat interstate battery. Great performance and I get great bulk pricing. Might get slightly better run time from a Panasonic but at 4x cost.

    -------------
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Babcock View Post
    It's my understanding that Panasonic is the only maker of CR123a batteries in the US. All the batteries they make might not identical but I'm 98.5% certain that SF batteries are manufactured by Panasonic. SF does not make batteries and never has so far as I know. The only SF thing about them is the red label, of that I'm pretty confident.

  28. #118
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    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    I voted for surefire. Not exactly sure which one I trust the best (explained later). So I went with which brand I own most lights. I have 7 surefire, two elzetta, one malkoff MD2 and a few drop ins, and one HDS 170 Nichia tac rotary.

    My all time favorite is a bored surefire 6P sporting a PFlexPro drop in and McClicky. I also love the surefire G2/G2X line. G2 with a Malkoff M61NL feels great in hand and is reliable and dead simple. G2X Pro is my favorite surefire light and I even bought a second one in case I lose one and cannot get a replacement. I do not enjoy E2DL or fury as much.

    My newest acquired is an elzetta hi/lo tailcap with a malkoff M61N and I love it too. Not very impressed with Bravo + AVS head

    Malkoff MD2 is not my favorite either for two reasons: lack of grip, shrouded tailcap. Otherwise it will be a great light for me,

    My only HDS is pretty good in everything. I just don't understand why I never want to really use it as much as other favorite lights.

  29. #119

    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    Quote Originally Posted by cp2315 View Post
    My only HDS is pretty good in everything. I just don't understand why I never want to really use it as much as other favorite lights.
    Well, if you ever want to sell it let me know
    White wall hunting is not a very good indicator of a flashlight’s potential, not sure where it got it’s popularity. - DB Customs

  30. #120
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    Default Re: Best USA manufacturer

    I have not even heard of 3 of the 5. Out side of the upper end posts here on this board.
    Surefire and Streamlight available in my area. Although limited.
    So the company I would vote for is Maglite. I have them, can afford them and have worked with them.
    So, yes, I have depended on them.

    Lateck,

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