Klarus XT10 Tactical Light review

gunga

gunga

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Klarus XT10 Dual Switch TACTICAL Lightreview


The XT10 is a new dual switch tactical light from Klarus Lighting Co. Ltd, another one of the promising new flashlight companies from Asia.

Klarus has a large selection of unique lights; from their tiny stainless steel AAAA (yes 4A) keychain lights to their other dual switch lights (with tail and side switches). The XT10 is a new tactical light with an innovative dual button tail switch that allows instant access to a blinding max output or strobe.

The XT10 is a dual power light that takes rechargeable Lithium Ion (Li-on) cells or standard primary CR123s and provides quick access to three light levels or strobe.

This is a very powerful and interesting light that provides “tactical” features as well as a very intuitive user interface.

The light itself is a medium throw light, with a bright but broad spot and wide spill. It is not optimized for long distance projection due to the wide hotspot, but still throws quite well due to its sheer output.

This light was provided to me by the friendly folks at Goinggear.com. I’ll do a thorough examination and see how it performs.


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Specs and Information

The XT10 is a three-mode light that can be set from 10 to 470 lumens, or a blinding variable frequency strobe. These are ANSI lumens as provided by Klarus.


The specifications are as follows:

LED: Cree XM-L LED, T6 flux, Cool white tint

Outputs and Runtimes (provided by Klarus, based on 2600mAh Sanyo 18650 cells):

Max: 470 lumens, 2.3 hours, to 10% of initial output (ANSI)
Mid: 150 lumens, 7.3 hours
Min: 10 lumens, 300 hours (12.5 days)
Strobe: 470 lumens, 4.6 hours


Features:
- Dual button tail-switch for quick, one-hand operation. No need to fiddle with switches in two different places.
- Mode switch provides good tactile feedback and is very easy to locate in the dark.
- Strobe can be activated with the Mode switch when the flashlight is on or off, giving instant access to Strobe from any mode.
- Forward tactical main switch with momentary activation
- Maintains constant brightness with super high efficiency
- Reverse polarity protection — protects flashlight and battery from damage


Specification:
- Working Voltage: 3.4-8.4V (The XT10 is designed to operate between 3v and 10v, but to be completely safe we have suggested a lower maximum voltage).
- Battery: 2 x CR123A / 1 x 18650 / 2 x 16340
- Body color: Military gray (Hard anodized)
- Reflector: Textured orange peel reflector
- Switch: a) Tactical main switch for turning the light on and off. Momentary activation from off. b) Dedicated mode switch for instant access to strobe and changing modes
- Lens: Toughened ultra-clear glass
- Material:Aircraft grade aluminum
- Waterproof to IPX-8 Standard (underwater to 2 meters)
- Included accessories: holster, lanyard, body clip, tactical ring,two spare o-rings, and a spare rubber switch boot


Standard Dimensions:
Overall length: 143 mm
Body Diameter: 34.9 mm
Head Diameter: 25.4 mm
Weight: 118 gm (excluding batteries)

The included accessory kit is quite generous and consists of a couple spare o-rings, holster, body clip, tactical grip ring (plastic) and a wrist lanyard. A spare switch boot will be included in retail versions, though my review sampled was missing this item.

Retail price for the XT10 is about $79.95.


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First Impression: Unique, Powerful and well made. Disappointing holster and clip

The XT10 is nicely constructed with an attractive dark gray finish, with a hint of brown.

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The parts are well matched and the finish is very well done with no noticeable flaws. All lettering is clear and crisp, as well as being suitably subdued (no garish advertising). The threads are not square-cut but they are very broad and solid, ensuring a reliable connection (no cross threading issues etc).

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The head of the light has minor detailing and some very pronounced heat sink ridges. I’m unsure of how effective the ridges are for heatsinking, but the light overall has a fairly distinctive and unique appearance.

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There is some knurling on the body and tailcap, but it is a tad smooth. Making the knurling a bit more aggressive would be beneficial to improve grippiness. The body does have a few finger grooves milled into the sides but I find them more cosmetic than functional.

The clip included with the light seems rather flimsy and too short. It feels more like an afterthought than something designed for the light. While that is disappointing, I don’t tend to clip lights of this size (of course, this is personal preference).

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The tactical grip ring is quite functional and greatly improves the ergonomics of this light. It helps provide a very solid hold during regular grip styles and also allows one a very secure cigar grip. It may be more comfortable in a stiff rubber, but the plastic one works well.

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The tail cap is a mixed bag. The dual switches are effective, but there is a partial shroud around the switches formed by the tailcap itself. This does not allow tailstanding and seems to cause more issues than anything, but I will expand on that later.

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Unfortunately, the included holster, while well constructed, does not seem to fit properly. It is designed to carry the light bezel up, but the light seems to ride far too deep in the holster. Also, the light does not fit in the holster when the tactical grip ring is used.


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Battery availability and compatibility


The XT10 is compatible with standard CR123 cells, as well as 18650 cells of all types (the lower voltage liFePO4 chemistry or standard Lithium Ion) as well as rechargeable RCR123 cells (sometimes called 16340s).

The battery compartment has ample room so even 2900 mAh 18650 cells can be used. I was able to use flat top cells as well. I did not notice any battery rattle when using standard CR123 cells.

The contact in the head allows for flat top 18650s to be used.

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The shrouded tailcap spring prevents damage to battery terminals.

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User interface: quick access, easy to use

The XT10 uses dual tailswitch buttons to control the light.

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A tall, round button (power switch) turns the light on and off, and allows momentary operation. It is a stiff, and solid forward clicky, which provides ample feedback as well as a very audible “click” during use.

A shorter, wider, half round button (mode button) controls the light levels and provides instant access to strobe. When on, pressing this button scrolls through the light levels (max, medium, low), while holding it for a full second takes you into variable frequency strobe. Pushing this button again takes you back into max output. This button also provides very solid feel and ample feedback.

Note that the light always starts on max output and has no mode memory. This is ideal for “tactical” applications where instant access to max output is required.

Also, when the light is off, pressing the mode button provides momentary access to strobe. Holding the button for two seconds locks you into strobe. Pushing the mode button again shuts the light off (note that pushing the round power switch now switches you into max output, and interesting quirk).

Using the light is simple and can be done with one hand. It was easy to differentiate between the two buttons by feel, so operation is solid and predictable.



Level Selection: Lots of output, but could use more even spread and an extra mode


The XT10 offers a fairly good set of modes, but with such a high max output, it would be more practical to add an extra mode to better distribute the differing levels. I find this to be the case is all three mode lights with such a wide range of output levels.

As is, the modes are fairly widely spaced, offering a fairly useful selection of levels.

The XT10 has levels set at 10 – 150 – 470 lumens. The spread from low to medium seems pretty extreme. I would suggest adding an extra level and re-spacing them to say 3 – 30 – 120 – 470 lumens to increase max runtimes and to provide a more practical spread of levels, with good visual spacing. In any case, this is intended to be a “tactical” light, so the lack of lower levels is acceptable.

PWM was detected on the lower levels of output. I believe the frequency was around 1 KHz. This is detectable, but generally not noticeable in normal use.


Size, ergonomics

The XT10 is a medium sized 18650 light that fits well in the hand, and is well balanced.

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The ergonomics are quite good, with the knurling (and especially the grip ring) providing a secure and comfortable grip. The switching was firm, and solid, with very good tactile and audible feedback (loud clicks, good feel).

I did find the button orientation was important for good feel. The light felt fairly comfortable with the switches side by side, but felt best when the mode switch was facing my thumb. I did not like the feel when the mode switch was farthest away from my thumb as it felt awkward reaching over the tall power button to change modes. This could be an issue for some, but I felt it was quite easy to just re-orient the light as needed.

Ideal orientation for mode switching

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The power button

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mode switching

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My main gripe is with the tailcap. The tailcap has cutouts in it producing two half shrouds around the buttons. These shrouds provide a place to secure a lanyard and also help prevent accidental switch activation. However, they are not tall enough to allow tailstanding at all, and just seem to get in the way at times. I think a slight redesign would be a good idea.

The light became quite warm on maximum output levels, but was not uncomfortable in use.

Compared to my reference thrower, the Armytek Predator and a Redilast 18650 cell

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Note the shallower reflector on the Klarus, leading to a much floodier beam

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Beam, tint quality

The XT10 uses the Cree XM-L LED (T6 flux, Cool white tint) for max output. The tint is a pure white with a mildly warm corona; the spill is a touch cooler. While the output is stark and impressive, it is a bit cold for my tastes (of course my tastes are for warmer/neutral tints and are purely subjective).

I did not notice any tint shift through the different levels.

The XT10 uses a textured reflector that provides a broad wide spot that blends into a bright corona. The spill beam is quite wide and a bit dimmer.


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This light does not throw as far as my dedicated throw lights (like an Armytek Predator for instance) but still produces a fair amount of throw. It is more of a wide, general purpose beam.

The beam was smooth, with a very well blended corona, and no beam issues, there was no detectable donut at any distance. This beam is good for short to medium range use but, as expected, is not well suited for any extreme spotting.

The emitter was well centered.

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Upgradability, other notes. Interesting switch, failure?

The XT10 is well glued so I was not able to access to the lens and reflector, LED or driver board. While it may be possible to mod this light, it is beyond the scope of this review.

I am hoping that Klarus plans a neutral tint run at some point as I find that warmer tints are much more pleasant and easy on the eyes.

The threads in the tailcap are anodized allowing switch lockout if it is partially unscrewed from the body. This can prevent accidental activation when the light is carried in a pack etc.

I was curious as to how the dual switch mechanism worked because I was unable to find any visual indicators as to how it worked. Disassembly of the switch showed that the mode switch somehow changed the current through the switch, causing the signals needed for mode changes. Seamless and interesting.

I did run into an issue during testing though. Repeated cycling of the mode switch caused a small wire to disconnect from the switch (looks like a small broken solder connection). This basically disconnected the mode switch, turning the XT10 into a basic single mode light. I was able to repair the light (difficult since the broken connection is very small and buried in a plastic switch housing) but I am a bit disappointed in this problem but suspect it is an isolated incident. In any case, the light still does function if the mode switch malfunctions, just without any modes.

Here is the switch mechanism in various states of dis-assembly

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Summary

Klarus has made an intriguing tactical light that provides a simple and effective interface. The XT10 can put out a blinding 470 lumens, or a long running 10 lumen mode at the touch of a button (or two!).

The light’s dual button interface is both quick and intuitive, allowing easy access to all modes or strobe. The two buttons are very different so they are easy to distinguish by feel.

Overall construction is very good, with well-machined parts that are nicely finished in a durable, attractive, dark grey anodizing. The knurling was reasonably effective and the included grip ring really helped with the ergonomics. However, the included holster and clip leave a lot to be desired. They were ill fitting and did not live up to the rest of the light.

Based on all the qualities of the XT10, I look forward to what other innovations Klarus has in store for future models. I find their dual button interface to be clever and well thought out. I must note that my review sample stopped working properly during testing; however this is likely an isolated incident. Overall, I still find this to be an interesting option for tactical lights.
 
Last edited:
jbdan

jbdan

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Fantastic review and great pics I love my XT10 a lot!
 
jbdan

jbdan

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Yup! I'm a big fan of any light that can be 100% operated with one hand and with ease
 
selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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Very thorough review gunga - well done. :thumbsup:

Interesting insights into the switch. Hopefully your experience was a one-off, but I'll keep an eye on my review sample.
 
K

KracknCorn

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Thanks for the review, I just ordered one today =)
 
gunga

gunga

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Glad I can help Krackn. :)

Thanks Selfbuilt, your reviews are all truly awesome, so I just want carve out my own niche.

:)
 
B

beginner123

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hey guys,

this light is in my short list of buying, im a LEO, so i will need a very reliable light.

i like the idea of the interface on the rear.

the reviewer stated - 'I must note that my review sample stopped working properly during testing; however this is likely an isolated incident

has anyone had anymore problems with this light?

thanks.
 
firelord777

firelord777

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I do believe it was an isolated incident, as many others have had it for sometime now.

Great review btw gunga!
 
madecov

madecov

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I just took delivery of my XT-10 as a belt carried duty light. I very much enjoyed the above review but would disagree on the idea of adding more modes and an even lower output level. At least for me as a Police officer having more modes would complicate matters. Most times when a light is needed we are involved in a contact with either a some one who is suspected of comitting an offense or just a contact with a person needing some help. In any case most Officers need to be in a heightened state of awareness and have at least some form of adrenelin rush causing degridation of fine motor skills. Keeping all of our "tools" simple to operate is imperative. The XT-10 is about the closest I have come to finding a perfect belt carried duty light, no it isn't perfect but absolutely beats all the various twisty head lights available for simplicity and ease of use. The lack of extreme throw is less of an issue for those who work in an urban environment than those who may work in a rural setting.
I think Klarus has hit a home run for public servants with this light. There is a minimum of gimmicks and a very short learning curve on this light.
 
T

tacticalj

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Nice review. I'm considering this light and several others at this time for a patrol type light. I like the dual tail switch. Is there any more info on the longevity of this light? That's my main concern with all the lights I'm considering. Thanks, Jason
 
madecov

madecov

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Nice review. I'm considering this light and several others at this time for a patrol type light. I like the dual tail switch. Is there any more info on the longevity of this light? That's my main concern with all the lights I'm considering. Thanks, Jason
This one of the best built lights I have ever owned. It just feels solid. While I do not have long term experience with it I have no doubt it will hold up to the rigors of patrol use.
 

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