Gladius - darn it I'm just not impressed

zespectre

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If there is anyone else out there who has actually held and used a Gladius I'd like to hear from you as well because I'm a little underwhelmed. :awman:

I went to my local camping place (they carry a lot of unusual lights) and they had just gotten the Gladius in. Funny enough I had my Inova T4 with me 'cause I was looking for a sheath so I was able to compare the two lights side by side.

Now don't get me wrong as the Gladius has some very cool features.

I really liked the ability to completely operate the light one handed, especially the one-handed dimming. :grin2:
I really liked the sheer range of light you get from low to high.
I liked the different modes, the strobe really is dazzling.
The ceramic coating looks and feels neat.
The overall shape and balance of the light is very nice.
Good beam control (as seen down a dark alley behind the store) though really not much different from the T4, the Gladius just has a nicer sidespill.

However in the end it just failed to impress me. For the price tag attached to that light I felt that...

-The lock-out was ANNOYING! It's far too easy to trigger the light ON just before it locks and then you have a locked ON light.
-The detents for switching "modes" were not nearly as positive as I'd like them to be.
-The modes need some sort of witness marks so you know by feel exactly what mode you are in before you trigger the light. I'd hate to need the disorienting strobe and turn on another mode.
-The whole mode switching ring felt loose and also felt like you could break it if you slammed it from one end to the other in a panic situation. This may not be true but that is sure how it felt.
-The demo light already had a nick on the fins, how long will that ceramic coating really hold up?
-And the absolute worst of all, the delicate "line up the nub with the slot" procedure for changing batteries. Okay, it's an LED based light so you may not need to change batts often, but Good LORD! For a tactical light in that price range I should be able to flawlessly change batteries, in the dark, by feel alone, in a few seconds -even in a high stress situation. :thumbsdow :thumbsdow :thumbsdow
 

Firebladz

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Don't forget the plastic tailcap or mode selector or what ever you wanna call it...

The fact that a light costing over $200 bones has a vulnerable plastic part that is vital kinda blows my mind...

If it wasn't for that plastic part and the stupid "weak" line up nub I probably would have already bought one myself...

Firebladz.
 

zespectre

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Firebladz said:
Don't forget the plastic tailcap or mode selector or what ever you wanna call it...

The fact that a light costing over $200 bones has a vulnerable plastic part that is vital kinda blows my mind...

If it wasn't for that plastic part and the stupid "weak" line up nub I probably would have already bought one myself...

Firebladz.

The plastic itself actually felt pretty tough (I've seen some plastics that are far tougher than many metals) but when I twisted "firmly" it sure felt like I could force the ring to go further than it should. I did not test to destruction so I may be wrong but I sure didn't like the impression it left.
 

TorchMan

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I own an OD colored Gladius. I find the light to have more pros than cons. You've covered them well.

Mine is a bit of a shelf queen, I've not marred the coat at all. I too love the feel of it. Ergonomics are the best of any light I've used. It feels like an extension of the hand. I love the tight hotspot and find that indoors the very wide but dim sidespill is excellent. It's a white light, the best tint (on high) of any Luxeon I own or have used (about five others).

I do have some concern over the tailcap assembly being vulnerable to dropping, especially in lock out mode, which is the way I would have to carry as it goes bezel down in all holsters I've seen that fit it.

The battery procedure blows my mind, that the uninitiated could ruin a rugged light by putting on the tail cap wrong! The instructions are improving all the time, and I've read they will seal the cap with a warning band/tape telling of the need for the procedure. I think that's the price of the inovative switching though.

Going into lockout is not all that hard, but yes I've locked it on before, and I like that it can do that. It takes two hands to lock out correctly for me, every thing else I can do one handed. The feedback between modes is good enough to distinguish, and if it weren't I'd just go all the way clockwise to momentary and go from there. I love that I can change modes while staying in the one I'm on at the time.

I do believe NightOps would stand by the warranty and fix it if it breaks. It's not perfect, and yes the tailcap is an "Achilles' Heel", but Achilles was a great warrior after all. This is a great light, but not for everyone. I'm a believer in the strobe being an aid in defense situations, more so than a constant on light. It's not the end all solution though, and don't believe it's promoted as such. It may give you an edge.

Overall I'm not sorry I bought it. My only real regret is that I don't also have tan, grey, and black in Cerokote. :grin2:
 
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dougmccoy

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Come on guys! If this light was marketed as a general purpose light for Joe public I'd agree with your comments but as this light was designed for a specialist market I'd would just like to remind you of a few things.

The tailcap is made of plastic and is good for most types of abuse but an achilles heel has been found when it is in lockout mode and dropped. Apparently it will survive most types of drop directly onto its tail but if it is in lockout mode it will probably cause the switch to break and cause a total failure. Night -Ops is aware of the problem and is/will be addressing it.

The Ceramic coating is acknowledged to not be wearing as well as hoped and has been already superceded by HA111 which has AFAIK sorted the problem.

The issue of reloading the batteries is a a pain but once learnt is easy to accomplish correctly. Fortunately the low battery warning flash should prevent a user ever having to go into harm's way withoutout warning and thereby void the concerns about needing to change batteries under stress. (Come on, how often would a professional not check his kit out at the beginning of a shift or before an operation? I mean if you are going into a low light situation you would surely make sure you have fresh batteries in your primary light? At least with the Gladius you get a warning of low batteries. Most incandescents just die without that safety feature, right?)

I'm sorry guys but if I need a truck I'd buy one. If I need a general purpose light, I'd buy one. However if I needed a tactical light I'd still get a gladius!

Doug
 

zespectre

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dougmccoy said:
Come on guys! If this light was marketed as a general purpose light for Joe public I'd agree with your comments but as this light was designed for a specialist market I'd would just like to remind you of a few things.
Doug,
That's pretty much my point. If a light is being designed for a tactical situation (vs for "Joe Average everyday use") then it needs to be designed for a TACTICAL situation. In my experience a real tactical situation often involves extreme stress. Under stress I've seen a man accidentally apply enough force to rip the metal knob off a door, bend a steering wheel, and somehow chamber a 12GA slug into a 20GA shotgun. A tactical switch that can't handle the full strength of the average male just isn't a tactical switch! In it's current design I feel that the rotating collar of the Gladius switch may be a weakness though I certainly could be wrong about it's durability.

dougmccoy said:
The tailcap is made of plastic and is good for most types of abuse but an achilles heel has been found when it is in lockout mode and dropped. ---<snip>---The Ceramic coating is acknowledged to not be wearing as well as hoped and has been already superceded by HA111 which has AFAIK sorted the problem.
I look forward to that getting sorted out.


dougmccoy said:
The issue of reloading the batteries is a a pain but once learnt is easy to accomplish correctly. Fortunately the low battery warning flash should prevent a user ever having to go into harm's way withoutout warning and thereby void the concerns about needing to change batteries under stress. (Come on, how often would a professional not check his kit out at the beginning of a shift or before an operation? I mean if you are going into a low light situation you would surely make sure you have fresh batteries in your primary light? At least with the Gladius you get a warning of low batteries. Most incandescents just die without that safety feature, right?)
Doug

I've been on operations that have gone on for hours and required battery changes. Most of those changes were during "lull" periods but for the few that weren't... well let's say that mid-battery change it all went in the pot one time and I cross threaded a maglight so hard I had to use a pipe wrench to get it back open later. Now even cross threaded the Maglight still worked (though it was trashed for future use). If I did the same thing to the Gladius it sounds like I'd have a paperweight. Maybe a re-design with some sort of cammed connector or something, I don't know.

The thing to keep in mind is I think it's a generally cool light, I just feel it has some maturing to do as a product. If they get these flaws fixed the the Gladius would certainly find it's way onto my short list!
 

joema

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Zespectre, I agree with your points. However in support of the Gladius, this was discussed in the below thread, and with practice it's possible to change the Gladius batteries blindfolded in 14 seconds.

http://candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?t=93502&highlight=gladius+change+batteries

If the individual operator is properly trained and practiced, it's no problem.

The problem is (1) The Gladius requires a different procedure than other lights, and (2) If not followed, you can damage the light.

I think you can train yourself to do it under any stress: "take care of that Gladius, it can save your life" :)

However it doesn't seem a good design to put that burden on the operator.
 

beezaur

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I'd own at least one Gladius if it weren't for the tailcap. I am sure they will get it straightened out though. I'll bet they are testing new designs right now.

Scott
 

dougmccoy

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Good points guys, well the finish is now sorted, and the tailcap problems are in the process of being sorted. As to the battery replacement issue.............well lets just say we'll have to agree to disagree! I do take the point about ops taking hours to resolve but wouldn't envision the Gladius being on full power for hours at a time? IMHO that is one of the benefits of variable power ...........to extend battery life? If the light is used continuously on full then the element of surprise would be removed and the doctrine of how to use a flashlight tactically voided!

I dont want you guys to think I'm digging my heels in on a mute point though and do concede that the design could have been less finicky. I dont know, but would think that a lot of Gladius lights have been damaged by operators/owners fumbling around and forcing components. Does this really detract from the light's functionality? I think this would depend on the operator and their dexterity and calmness in tense situations. However, reloading a firearm in tense situations could be equally problematic without constant repetitive training?

Ultimately I dont think that many LEO's will be forced to use a Gladius as a primary light due to cost. For those that do choose to use it I'm sure it is something they can live with?

Just to prove a point here, I seem to think I remember Ken Good saying that they had sold at least ten thousand Gladius already. If that is correct then that is ten thousand lights which are already meeting most of the operator/owners needs?

Doug
 

zespectre

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dougmccoy said:
<snip> As to the battery replacement issue.............well lets just say we'll have to agree to disagree!
Fair enough

dougmccoy said:
I do take the point about ops taking hours to resolve but wouldn't envision the Gladius being on full power for hours at a time? IMHO that is one of the benefits of variable power ...........to extend battery life?
He he he, you got me there. I guess sometimes I'm still thinking "old school" when you had one output and one discharge curve. I even mention that I like the variable output...and then forget that means variable runtime.
 

kukula

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Tonight I spent a good one hour on my friends shop checking out the U2 and Gladius. I originally wanted a Gladius. All my lights to date are SF and so I thought now might be a great time to get another brand. Anyway after getting hold of both lights and doing a comparo side by side, I was astonished to find out that the U2 produces a light which is whiter, has a greater sidespill, and generally more useful. The Gladius throws its beam in a very tight pattern, but still I say the U2s throw farther. Now I dont have any equpment to check this out properly, and I am only relying on my eyes. But my friend, who was beside me, also noticed the same thing. And to think, before I dropped by his store and on the phone, what he was telling me was that the Gladius has a whiter light and more powerful throw whereas the U2s light is somewhat violet and blue. All he said was well this is a new batch of u2. They must have did something to it. Anyway since i was so concerned about the donut hole of the U2, which was not noticeable with the test unit, my friend allowed me to open EVERY SINGLE U2 he has and choose which one i wanted. I ended up testing ten of the lights before picking up what I want. Thats what friends are for I guess. Now I am a very happy camper. As for the Gladius, well I guess it isnt a product for the general public, but rather for specialized use. I am eagerly waitng for their next light though. I am sure they would have addressed all of the users concerns by then. Maybe next year? :)

Chris
 

Ken J. Good

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Wanted to address the tailcap once again in order to quell any incorrect ground swells one way or another and try to be as fact-based as possible.

We did drop testing on the tailcap (out of lockout mode) - 130 drops on concrete from 4' through 26 rotating planes.


4 of the 5 lights (picked randomly from 30 pre-production inventories) suffered no functional damage whatsoever. The one light that did fail was working intermittently. It was not a tailcap issue, but a manufacturing issue that we resolved prior to full production.


We did the same for another high-end LED (their best in the category).

Everyone failed functionally on the INITIAL drop. Let me repeat, the INITIAL drop. Several were damaged severely.

Not too many people are willing to invest the money for 30 of each type of flashlight and then pick 5 at random for different tests to include temp extreme, temp shock, humidity, water resistance, drop testing, shock to destruction + the several tens of thousands of dollars to conduct the testing in order to validate what I am saying. Nevertheless, what I am telling you occurred.


We used an internationally recognized independent testing lab to gain the data.
We were not testing to prove the other guys were not up to speed; we were testing to invalidate or validate our own designs.

The lab engineers are very familiar with the other manufacturers and simply did not want to give us our Gladius lights back after seeing the results.

Remember, metal transfers shock much better than a more bendable material.
I am bringing this up because it is simply not true that a composite tailcap is inherently better or worse than metal.


What is more important the lab testing in operational feedback. The biggest issue has not been a materials question on the rotary dial/tailcap. It has been operator induced damage by erroneously thinking that you just twist the tailcap on like everybody else’s light. Again, if you take a bit of time with the Gladius prior to deployment, this is not a time or duress issue when the procedure is required to be performed.

We have had a .58% return rate per 10,000 lights. That is just over ½ of 1%.

Of those 10% were found to have no fault. Customer simply did not tighten the tailcap down enough or the batteries were not properly installed.

50% (approx 30 lights) have been a damaged index pin by failing to properly index the pin prior to tightening the tailcap.

2 lights have been repaired and returned for damaged tailcap as the result of a drop when in the Lock-out mode.

2 lights were replaced due to broken glass or water-resistance issue.

We are addressing this on several fronts. Better instructions, warning labels and a couple of possible structure changes to make it much more difficult to damage the internal indexing pin. We are also in process to make a couple of inline changes to make the Lock-out/drop damage much less-likely to occur.

Even if the tailcap rotary dial is torn off and the activation tailcap is separated from the shaft, the light can still be operated in all channels/functions.

Is the Gladius perfect? Nope. Will our products get better? Based on operational feedback and a willingness to listen, they will. I would love to have a much more positive indexing system. We have been working with our tools and the tailcaps are smoother and more positive than ever. Visual indexing….Uh….Fight, in the dark…..Looking for an index mark on your flashlight… not.

The light must be worked with prior to deployment. I tell folks, dedicate a set of batteries in front of your T.V. set and play.

Is the Gladius performing operational as expected? To a large degree, yes. Have we had some field failures? Yes. Are the numbers overwhelming? Absolutely not.

I have had the best of breed in my possession operationally for several decades, even had a hand in the development of a few of them. Did they fail at times…Yes. Did I plan for that contingency? Yes. I carried more than one light, because I understand the concept that anything man made will fail no matter what label it has on it.

Finally, the Gladius is certainly not for everybody, it was never intended to be.


Best to everybody.
 
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zespectre

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Ken,
Thanks for chiming in. I'd like to note at the outset that I never intended to totally slam the Gladius and I hope it didn't come across that way.

In point of fact I would really like to buy a Gladius but there were a few items that (at it's price point) made me nervous so I was trying to get feedback from others -who own or have actually handled one- so I could see if I was worrying about something, or worried about nothing.

What it sounds like is that my concerns have either been addressed, or are just not much of a real world issue.

Terriffic! Now I just have to put together the bread and then find a recent issue light 'cause this sure will be fun to show the secret service guys:party:
 
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TorchMan

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I just want to state how impressed I am with Ken and his continuing professionalism. He takes it all in stride, praise or criticism, even from some of us (like me) who might be considered a flashlight layman at best.

His insight and feedback are above and beyond, IMO.

Thanks, Ken!
 

Ken J. Good

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zespectre

I did not take anything you said as a slam, just an honest opinion/criticism.
You don’t have to be impressed! If people do not tell us what they DON’T like, then we are steering around aimlessly thinking everything is Okay.

The beauty of this board is that it is a great place to get that feedback & overall everybody is civil & professional.


I just wanted to the lay the facts out there as we have them to create an enviornment based on what is actually going on instead of any conjecture.

As I have stated elsewhere, we are going to be a forthright as possible.
It is our first light….Things are going to go up from here.

Torchman
Thanx!



 
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beezaur

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Well that was enough for me to give it a try.

I hope this thing protects against angry wives, because I might need to disorient her to avoid flying household items and escape safely when my new SNIPER GRAY GLADIUS arrives next week!

I'll be that nerdy guy sleeping in the park with his German shepherd, the one with the sign that says, "Will engineer for dog food and batteries."

Oh, I've been bad. Verrry bad.

Scott
 

zespectre

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Ken J. Good said:
zespectre

I did not take anything you said as a slam, just an honest opinion/criticism.
You don’t have to be impressed! If people do not tell us what they DON’T like, then we are steering around aimlessly thinking everything is Okay.

Okay, I worry sometimes because I can be a bit overzealous on occasion and like email sometimes the tone can come across to others in a totally different way than intended. Anyway, the ability to get some facts "straight from the horses mouth" and have a dialogue is really THE great thing about this board and I, for one, am very glad you joined the thread.
 
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