Gladius - Real World Review

zespectre

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 21, 2005
Messages
2,194
Location
Shenandoah Valley
Real World Review - Night-Ops Gladius

ZeSpectre's "Real World Reviews"

11/07/2005

Yes ladies and gents, it’s time for another infamous Real World review.

Although very interested in the Gladius I had some concerns that I aired on a previous thread (anyone who wants to follow the history of that discussion can see http://candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?t=95176 )

The combination of responses on the thread and the way Mr. Good handled himself as a representative of the company went a long way towards eliminating my concerns so.... this week timing and finances were right and I picked up a Gladius (sniper grey in case anyone was wondering
buttrock.gif
).


At this point my Gladius has 2 nights of use. Between the constant-on and intermittent use the light has a total of approximately 3-4 hours on the clock. Thanks to the power conservation abilities of the lower light levels I am still on the original batts that came with the light.

While I understand that the Gladius was designed to be a tactical light for law enforcement work, I wanted to asses it’s capabilities for back-country, trail, and even possible SAR use. With this in mind let’s proceed to the review.

The Gladius was used for two nights while camping and hiking at Caldonia Furnace park in Fayetteville, PA. The weather was cool (low 50’s dropping to high 40’s) and clear. The light was used in a campground, in & around a 4 person tent, in open areas exceeding 200 yards, and densely overgrown backcountry with visibility sometimes limited to 7 ft or less. There was no rain but cooling temperatures at dusk cause a brief bit of very light ground fog both evenings. I brought several other lights along for comparison purposes but used the Gladius as though it were the only light I had available.

The first dusk was spent reading the manual and then simply playing with the light (all the functions, loading and unloading batteries, etc). Originally I was very concerned about the durability of the selector dial and switch because they were loose and sloppy on the demo I had played with, and gave me an impression of cheapness. I was also extremely concerned about the “index pin” issue where the light could possibly be damaged by incorrectly re-installing the tailcap.

Interestingly enough the light I actually bought has a VERY different feel from that earlier demo I toyed with in the store. The selector dial is very precisely fitted (doesn’t rattle at all), and operates very smoothly with just enough detent to accurately click from “channel” to “channel”. I have also laid to rest my concerns about damaging that “index pin” now that I fully understand how the tailcap is supposed to be installed. Those of you who gently repeated “it’s just a matter of reading the manual and then practice” were right. Thank you for being patient with me
grinser2.gif
. Some people aren’t fond the relatively long throw of the switch itself. I did not find this to be an issue at any time and think that might be a simple matter of preference.


So by now it was actually dark and I decided to compare the Gladius to my favorite trail light the Surefire L2. I set the Gladius to “Channel 3” and “Mode 3” (which means the light comes back on at the last light level) and futzed with dimming a bit until the Gladius was running pretty equal to a Surefire L2 on low. This gave me an L2ish ability to be in “low” for power savings or with a flick of the dial I could go to “Channel 1” and use the momentary setting and blast up to high power, then flick the dial back to “Channel 3” and go right back to the lower powered setting. Honestly, it’s not anywhere as confusing as it sounds written down!
thinking.gif


Off to the trail where I quickly found that the Gladius suffers a bit in close-up "rough trail" use due to the tight focus of the beam. Don’t misunderstand me, it is still a great light and the sidespill is more than adequate for this use but you do wind up “sweeping” the light some so you get a bit of that “follow the bouncing ball” effect from the hotspot. For unpaved trails I have a distinct preference for the nice flood of the L2 (see it all at once and move my eyes not the light) and I personally would like to find some kind of easily removable beam shaper to widen out the beam for this type of use.

On the other hand, the Gladius really showed it’s strength when I had to peer through dense overgrowth while trying to find a trail blaze (marker). It also stomped the L2 when I came to an open field about 40-50 yards across and had to find the trailhead on the other side. With the L2 on high I was pretty sure I could see the marker. With the Gladius on high I was certain of the marker’s location. The Gladius also seemed to have no particular trouble penetrating the light ground fog whereas the L2 did it’s usual Hollywood special effect of just lighting up all of the fog.

I misread my trail map and wound up in the edge of the picnic area of the park so I walked over to the edge and just as I was turning up the road to the camping area I was stopped by a ranger who apparently saw the light and wanted to make sure everything was all right. I told him about my wrong turn and he grinned at me and said “well I figured you weren’t up to no good, ‘cause you weren’t exactly stealthy walking around with that bright light” and we both had a good chuckle about that. For the record, even on the lower setting I had it at, the Gladius makes a 2D maglight look pretty sick.

So now back to camp where I sat around the fire enjoying the evening and found that Raccoons, who only ever just stared at my L2, do NOT like the strobe of the Gladius
icon6.gif
.


Eventually I went to bed and waking up at about 2 am I needed to answer nature’s call. The lowest light setting was very nice to my completely dark-adapted vision and was all I needed to find my shoes, etc. inside the tent. Mid-brightness was plenty to make my way past other tent sites and to the bathrooms without disturbing others.

The second night really just re-enforced the opinions I had developed on the first night. Look, I admit it, I’m a convert. Now I can’t wait until the U2 passaround gets to me so I can compare the lights!

Final Comments and Summary:

I HATE the lockout. I have tried and tried but I can NOT lock the light out with one hand. I also struggle with locking out the tailcap with two hands and easily 50% of the time I wind up locking the light ON not off.

The beam pattern of the Gladius clearly indicates it’s LEO design focus. It has very good throw and a distinct hot spot that drops quickly into a decent amount of side spill. There are other lights that might be a little better for “rough trail” work, but this one has the flexibility to do pretty much any job.

The dimming function is great for conserving your batteries and saving your dark adapted eyes. Because the majority of my runtime was in the lower light levels, I still haven’t had to replace the batteries.

I really thought I’d hate the “Star Lug” on the tail end. In fact I found the opposite to be true and with a lanyard on my wrist found myself naturally carrying this light in the “cigar hold” as I walked the trails.

Once I learned how to program the different “modes” for “Channel 3” a whole new level of usefulness opened up for me.

OUCH, the price made my wallet hurt, but this really is a “top-tier” light.
 
Last edited:

beezaur

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 15, 2003
Messages
1,234
zespectre said:

I HATE the lockout. I have tried and tried but I can NOT lock the light out with one hand. I also struggle with locking out the tailcap with two hands and easily 50% of the time I wind up locking the light ON not off.

Great review! I like the flanges too. I think it makes the light have excellent handling characteristics. A bit tough for carry, but great for use.

I found the lockout requires a certain technique. Hold the light with the bezel at the heel of your hane with the selector between your pointer finger and the first joint of your thumb. Apply a very gentle twisting pressure as if to turn the switch into lockout from the constant on channel. Lever the end of your thumb down steadily and easily until the switch turns into lockout. Basically you have to rest your thumb on the ring while you press, else you will tend to turn the light on when going into lockout.

Hope that helps.

Scott
 

zespectre

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 21, 2005
Messages
2,194
Location
Shenandoah Valley
Nice technique. It took me a couple of tries to get it but it works.
Thanks
(I still wish lockout worked a little differently though)
 

Luxman

Enlightened
Joined
Jun 20, 2005
Messages
535
Location
Local dark area
Nice Review!
One of the best Gladius features to me is the lowest light setting being low enough to not destroy night vision.
IMO this is where the U2 is lacking..its lowest setting is much too bright..
 

joema

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 14, 2005
Messages
1,189
Location
Nashville, TN
Luxman said:
...IMO this is where the U2 is lacking..its lowest setting is much too bright..
I agree, and I don't understand why Surefire designed the U2 that way. The Gladius and HDS can both dim to very low levels, so why can't the U2? It's an obvious deficiency that many have reported.

The U2 is a great light but if night vision preservation is important the Gladius, HDS or A2 with red LEDs is the way to go.
 

greenLED

Flashaholic
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
13,263
Location
La Tiquicia
zespectre said:
... even on the lower setting I had it at, the Gladius makes a 2D maglight look pretty sick.
Yup, it's amazing how bright these small, lithium-powered flashlights are. I was comparing my GL3 to my old Mag 4D. Not pretty (for the Mag).

zespectre said:
...found that Raccoons, w:ironic:ho only ever just stared at my L2, do NOT like the strobe of the Gladius
:laughing: so, what was their reaction?
 

madecov

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 16, 2003
Messages
2,151
Location
Houston, Texas
It really is anice and versatile light.
I've used the strobe on traffic stops and one drunk.

The drunk thought I had used a tazer :huh2: . after he got back up off the ground. :lolsign:
 

Lightraven

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
1,170
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Making drunks fall over might almost be worth me buying a Gladius. What'll it do to heroin junkies, I wonder?
 

glockboy

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 27, 2003
Messages
2,321
Location
houston, tx
Luxman said:
Nice Review!
One of the best Gladius features to me is the lowest light setting being low enough to not destroy night vision.
IMO this is where the U2 is lacking..its lowest setting is much too bright..
On the U2, you set it low then turn it on, on the Gladius you turn it on bright then turn it low, can't see anythings after that.
 

Edman

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
6
I really was not excited about the tail cap at first, I thought it would break easily, but I am now a convert. I have not droped it yet.

Didn't think the star grip would be as comfortable as it is.

The flashing doen't excite me, but I would use it in a fight.

The great feature is the mode 3 light adjustment to save on batteries.

I hear the U2 is much brighter on the lowest seting, but I feel the lower light level is more useful after night eye adaption.

Also doesn't seam to hard on the Night Vision NVG's

Ed
 

zespectre

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 21, 2005
Messages
2,194
Location
Shenandoah Valley
glockboy said:
On the U2, you set it low then turn it on, on the Gladius you turn it on bright then turn it low, can't see anythings after that.

See, that's exactly what I used to think but I've learned that you can reprogram constant on/adjustable (aka "Channel 3") to be in...
Mode 1 - Turns on brightest, you can dim down
Mode 2 - Turns on lowest, you can brighten up
Mode 3 - Turns back on at whatever level you had it on last (my current favorite)

This is THE feature that I was unaware of when I origionally played with the demo light, but it is a great feature to have!
 

Luna

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 27, 2004
Messages
874
I have my gladius set to mode 2 and turn it on. then flick the rotary swith to the channel 1 (whatever the momentary high is called)

If I need a burst of bright then all I have to do is hit the pushbutton. low light to full bright instantly.


On a side I decided to do a ceiling bound test between the L2,U2 and Gladius last night. Just take note of the relative values that I picked up with the light meter.

U2 with SF123a -- 1.3
U2 with 2xR123 -- 1.3
U2 with LG2400 -- 1.2
L2 with SF123a -- 1.1
Gladius with SF123a -- 0.8

This is just a poor mans integrating sphere. Obviously the Gladius makes up for the lower amount of light due to its tight pattern. In operation I find the U2 and Gladius have the same reach(even though the Gladius show a much higher direct lux reading--must be a reflector thing because it changes as the distance increases).

When lighting up treetops, the biggest difference is that U2 can light up the whole tree top and the Gladius just a 1/3 to half.

This is an early model U2 with a greener color to it when compared to the other two. Regardless, the U2 can put out some light and the Gladius is just plain fun !
 

beezaur

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 15, 2003
Messages
1,234
How do you guys like the handling of the light compared to others?

That is one thing that really struck me about the Gladius -- the way it can be picked up, operated, and manipulated in the hand. I feel the ergonomics of the light set it on a plane above anything else I have used.

Scott
 

zespectre

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 21, 2005
Messages
2,194
Location
Shenandoah Valley
I felt the Gladius was well balanced from the start. What surprised me was how I seemed to automatically use the lugs when walking around with it. I thought I'd hate the lugs and the exact opposite is true.
 

glockboy

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 27, 2003
Messages
2,321
Location
houston, tx
zespectre said:
See, that's exactly what I used to think but I've learned that you can reprogram constant on/adjustable (aka "Channel 3") to be in...
Mode 1 - Turns on brightest, you can dim down
Mode 2 - Turns on lowest, you can brighten up
Mode 3 - Turns back on at whatever level you had it on last (my current favorite)

This is THE feature that I was unaware of when I origionally played with the demo light, but it is a great feature to have!
can you tell me how to reprogram the light?
thanks
 

zespectre

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 21, 2005
Messages
2,194
Location
Shenandoah Valley
turn the dial to Constant on/adjustable (Channel 3)

Press and hold the button until the light runs all the way to the opposite light level (dim in this case), keep holding and the light will blink.

Release the button

Press and hold the button until the light runs all the way to the opposite light level (bright in this case), keep holding and the light will blink.

Release the button

Turn the light off. When you turn it on you will be in the next "Mode".

This method cycles through all the modes.
Mode 1 (default) - Starts bright and can be dimmed
Mode 2 - Starts dim and can be brightened
Mode 3 - Starts at the last brightness you had it at.
 
Last edited:
Top