Review: Streamlight Sidewinder Rescue (2xAA)

subwoofer

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Author's Statement for Transparency and Disclosure
The test sample/s featured in this article have been provided for technical testing and review by the manufacturer. Test samples are retained by the reviewer following publication of the completed review for the purposes of long term testing and product comparisons.

All output figures and test results published in this review are the sole work of the reviewer, and are carried out independently and without bias. Test results are reported as found, with no embellishments or alteration. Though best endeavours are made to maintain the accuracy of test equipment, the accuracy of these results is not guaranteed and is subject to the test equipment functioning correctly.
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Streamlight’s Sidewinder Rescue is a recent addition to the Sidewinder family. The main change is the addition of a sliding, omni-directional diffuser to increase the angle of visibility.

The Sidewinder (reviewed here) is still one of my favourite lights with its articulated head, choice of output colours and easy AA power, so how will the Rescue fare?

09%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20angle2%20P1100697.jpg




Taking a more detailed look:

The Sidewinder Rescue arrives in a no-nonsense plain cardboard box.

01%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20boxed%20P1100661.jpg



Included with the Rescue are a PALS compatible mounting strap, set of Alkaline AAs, Lanyard and instructions.

02%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20unboxed%20P1100672.jpg



Taking a moment to have a closer look at the accessories. The press studs used on the mount are military grade, and will only open when pulled from the direction indicated by the dot.

03%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20press%20stud%20detail1%20P1100674.jpg



And the reason it only opens at the dot is that the retaining spring ring is fixed on one side (unlike standard press studs where the ring is generally free floating).

04%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20press%20stud%20detail2%20P1100678.jpg



The mount can be put into PALS webbing or wrapped around any suitable holder.

21%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20mount%20P1100768.jpg



The braided cord lanyard is strongly reinforced and stitched together.

05%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20strap%20detail%20P1100682.jpg



The Rescue is shown next to the older Sidewinder Sportsman model I reviewed in 2012. The body is the same, but there are two additions. The sliding diffuser and a mounting plate (on the opposite side to the clip).

06%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20compared1%20P1100685.jpg



Another view of the Sportsman and Rescue models.

07%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20compared2%20P1100687.jpg



The new aluminium mounting plate on the side is clearly shown. This is intended for the user to glue on whatever fixing material they want to (Velcro or similar) and can be removed by taking out the screw.

09%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20angle2%20P1100697.jpg



The head is angled over and you can see the ‘IR safe’ setting which selects the blue LED. On the thumb screw you will find the serial number and main model designation (Sidewinder).

11%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20tail%20P1100705.jpg



Unscrewing the tail-cap thumb screw allows the tethered tail-cap to come away to give access to the battery compartment.

12%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20tail%20open%20P1100707.jpg



Inside you can see the physical reverse polarity protection incorporated into the contacts.

13%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20tube%20contacts%20P1100713.jpg



The articulated head can be set to any position within its 180 degree arc of movement.

14%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20bent2%20P1100715.jpg



The new diffuser has three positions it can be set. Starting in the ‘out of the way’ position here where it is not over any of the LEDs.

17%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20LEDs%20angle1%20P1100739.jpg



Now positioned over the coloured/IR LEDs.

18%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20LEDs%20angle2%20P1100742.jpg



And finally over the white LED.

19%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20LEDs%20angle3%20P1100746.jpg



If you look inside the rim of the head, you will see two of the indent positions that the sliding diffuser clicks into.

20%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20diffuser%20P1100760.jpg



Two things are shown here, the first is the way the diffuser covers the coloured LEDs, and the second is the main white LED which Streamlight simply designate as C4 not publishing the actual emitter used.

15%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20LEDs1%20P1100723.jpg



With the diffuser in this position we can see the coloured/IR LEDs and the way the diffuser covers the white LED.

16%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20LEDs2%20P1100724.jpg




The beam

Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.
The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball "Off-White", and the walls are a light sandy colour called 'String' again by Farrow & Ball. I don't actually have a 'white wall' in the house to use for this, and the wife won't have one!



Starting indoors, you can see one of the criticisms of the Sidewinder is that its beam is not the cleanest or most refined. There is a definite hotspot with relatively dim spill.

23%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20indoor%20beam%20P1110662.jpg



Outside, despite its limited output, the Sidewinder’s hotspot gives it some range.

22%20Streamlight%20SW%20Rescue%20outdoor%20beam%20P1110555.jpg




Modes and User Interface:

For the original Sidewinder a claim of “20 flashlights in one” was made, which refers to the set of five modes that are repeated for each of the four emitters. However with the sliding diffuser this is now “40 flashlights in one” as each mode can be diffused or not.

Each emitter has Max, High, Medium, Low and Flashing modes available. For the Rescue model on review, the Sidewinder turns on in Low and has Red, Green and IR coloured LEDs.

See my original Streamlight Sidewinder Review for a photo showing the LEDs of the Sportsman version all lit. The Sportsman also turns on in Max output.

To change output level, the rubber dome switch is held down to cycle through the levels and follows the sequence Low -> Medium -> High -> Max -> High -> Medium -> …… so unlike many lights it ramps up and down and does not jump straight from Max to low.

A quick double-click enters the flashing mode which is set at Max output.

Surrounding the switch is a selector ring for the emitter. This must be pulled up, rotated and dropped back down to lock in the selection. The emitter can be changed while the light is in any mode without changing the output level or mode. Two hands are needed to change the emitter and the selector ring has a raised section to allow for tactile LED changes.




Batteries and output:

The Sidewinder Rescue runs on 2x AA – Alkaline, NiMh or Lithium AAs (NOT 14500).

To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.


This is a very large table as it includes diffused and non-diffused outputs. I cannot measure the IR output, so that is not included.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Streamlight Sidewinder Rescue using Eneloop AAI.S. measured ANSI output LumensPWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
White - Max82N/A
White - High45N/A
White - Med15N/A
White - Low5N/A
Diffused White - Max63N/A
Diffused White - High34N/A
Diffused White - Med12N/A
Diffused White - Low4N/A
Blue - Max9N/A
Blue - High5N/A
Blue - Med2N/A
Blue - LowBelow ThresholdN/A
Diffused Blue - Max6N/A
Diffused Blue - High3N/A
Diffused Blue - Med2N/A
Diffused Blue - LowBelow ThresholdN/A
Green - Max7N/A
Green - High3N/A
Green - Med2N/A
Green - LowBelow ThresholdN/A
Diffused Green - Max5N/A
Diffused Green - High3N/A
Diffused Green - Med2N/A
Diffused Green - LowBelow ThresholdN/A
White strobe804

* Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.

Peak Beam intensity measured 2000lx @1m giving a beam range of 89m.

There is super low parasitic drain of 0.1uA. At this drain it would take 2167 years to fully drain the cells!!!


In this trace you can see the relative performance using Alkaline and Eneloop cells. This is actually the most similar performance between Alkaline and NiMh of any light I’ve tested as normally the Alkaline output is significantly worse. Though the NiMh does win on overall runtime and maintains regulation a little better, the Alkaline output is perfectly good and just comes up short on output at the end of the runtime. By ANSI standards, the runtime is actually the same, but the Alkaline dims earlier than the NiMh.

Streamlight%20Sidewinder%20Rescue%20runtime%20both.jpg




Troubleshooting

This is a new section I am adding to mention any minor niggles I came across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

No issues were encountered during testing.

As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar 'issue' that might be fixed in the same way.



The Sidewinder Rescue in use

Its fundamental form and articulated head makes any of the Sidewinder models incredibly versatile. Leave the head straight and you have a relatively conventional side button light. Bend the head and you have a right-angle light, or put it anywhere in between.

With the various models, some come on in Max, and some on Low. The Rescue coming on in low makes it a better EDC light for my uses and great for the bedside table. The Green low output is good for midnight wandering around the house (there is no red, so green is the next best in my opinion). Changing output level can be done straight from OFF or once already ON by holding the switch until you get the level you want.

The diffuser does not produce an even flood of light, instead it really just makes the output visible from all directions forward of the head, and slightly behind the head. Think of it as a signalling adaptor and you won’t be disappointed that you haven’t got a smooth flood light. I’d also go so far as to say you would only really use it with the flashing mode turned on. This diffuser is all about maximum visibility of the light, and your position, not for seeing with (hence the model being called ‘Rescue’).

Without the diffuser it is a great utility light. The ultra-low parasitic drain means it can be left as a standby light for years and you know you can pick it up and use it. If you do this just remember to use Lithium AAs or LSD NiMh cells. However, what I’ve found, is that it is so useful I just keep reaching for it.

The choice of a model which comes on in Max or Low is for you to decide on. If you want the diffuser for better emergency visibility, then you have to choose the Rescue (which comes on low), but if you don’t need that, then another version can be chosen.

A useful update to the Sidewinder, as I can see myself using this with the diffuser when cycling for added visibility. With the diffuser set to one side, the Rescue becomes a normal Sidewinder with all of its versatility and usefulness.



Review Summary

______________________________________________________________________________________________
Things I likeWhat doesn't work so well for me
______________________________________________________________________________________________
Articulated headBeam quality not the best
Multi-colour outputLimited maximum output
Built-in optional diffuserTwo hands needed to change colour
Ultra low parasitic drain
Easy to feed with AAs



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axd

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What I can't understand is why Streamlight won't provide a Sportsman variant with a ramp-up (off -> low- > med -> hi -> max, let's call that the "Eco" version?) ; it's much better for power management... but I can imagine most civilian users only need an on/off capability...

Small note: as an owner of a Sidewinder, I'd just like to point out that there is no need for two hands to change the emitter; index and thumb suffice to pull out and then rotate the ring to another position, all while using one hand.
 
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ZMZ67

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Nice review! With the exception of the IR led,not using NV equipment I would prefer red instead,I really like this light.The rescue model was my choice because it starts on low and has a green led. I don't see much use for this type of light to start on high like the sportsman model does.The diffuser didn't really interest me when I purchased the light but it turns out to be more useful than I thought. The diffuser turns the light into a low output lantern of sorts without adding size to the light like a normal attachable diffuser. (there is one available from Streamlight as an accessory) Overall output is not that spectacular but is good enough for a utility light.I am using a piece of Lee filter gel to warm up the beam of the main led as cool white isn't my cup of tea especially in low power lights.The combination of the locking ring and switch work very well.No accidental jumping to the wrong mode or cycling through one led to get to another.
This would be my pick of the Sidewinder models for camping or emergencies. Red can help with night vision but I find green to be more useful and I wouldn't like this light if it started on high like the Sportsman model.The Sidewinder is a huge improvement over the old D cell Fulton anglehead that I carried when I was in the service,wish I would have had it at that time.
 
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bykfixer

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Mine arrived today.
Fantastic little light.

What jumped out at me besides the tether holding the battery cover on...



Was the side mounted LED...



But the beam appears to come from the center....


Amazing.


Nowhere on the light (that I saw), the package or instructions shows the country of origin.


This causes me to think USA made.

The 'brail' positive indicator is great for swapping cells in darkness


Other side has it at the tail end.


I wonder if babies in Kansas, or Canada are immune to birth defects caused by this light.
Those crazy Cali's....

I'm really looking forward to seeing the throw from this thing. Streamlight are magicians at getting a not so bright light to toss a beam surprisingly far while providing plenty of night adapted vision spill.
 
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Bullzeyebill

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Interesting, they used an XR-E LED, which has been around for quite awhile. One advantage that LED has is throw, in about any type reflector.

Bil
 

bykfixer

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Interesting, they used an XR-E LED, which has been around for quite awhile. One advantage that LED has is throw, in about any type reflector.

Bil

For a 50 some odd lumen light it has a pretty good throw, yes.


With a bunch of spill.
Nice blend in the real world use.

Wow that pic looked really dark on the site...


A tweaked for brighter version..
 
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ZMZ67

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Interesting, they used an XR-E LED, which has been around for quite awhile. One advantage that LED has is throw, in about any type reflector.

Bil

Is it an XR-E ? Pictures were not showing up anymore (for me at least) in the commonly used LED emitter index for comparison but it looks different than I remember the XR-E. If I focus the light emitted from the LED with a magnifying glass it looks square with a notch in the corner kind of like the osram golden dragon did IIRC. I'll try and get a better look tommorow.
 

ZMZ67

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Mine arrived today.
Fantastic little light.





Nowhere on the light (that I saw), the package or instructions shows the country of origin.


This causes me to think USA made.

I believe it is at least assembled in the U.S. but I don't know how much of the light is imported. If there are any military contracts involved I think it has to be manufactured in the U.S. at least partially.

EDIT - Looking at the specs where I bought mine it just says "assembled in the U.S.A."
 
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Bullzeyebill

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Is it an XR-E ? Pictures were not showing up anymore (for me at least) in the commonly used LED emitter index for comparison but it looks different than I remember the XR-E. If I focus the light emitted from the LED with a magnifying glass it looks square with a notch in the corner kind of like the osram golden dragon did IIRC. I'll try and get a better look tommorow.

Took another look, and you are right, it is not an XR-E.

Bill
 

ZMZ67

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Took another look, and you are right, it is not an XR-E.

Bill

Any idea what it is? Doesn't seem to match up with an XP-C or XP-E either from what I can tell,maybe not a CREE. Doesn't really matter that much I like the light irregardless , just curious.I suppose Streamlight is trying to create a "propriety" light source to roll out for the public with their "C4"designation but I wish they would just say what they are using.
 

bykfixer

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I believe it is at least assembled in the U.S. but I don't know how much of the light is imported. If there are any military contracts involved I think it has to be manufactured in the U.S. at least partially.

EDIT - Looking at the specs where I bought mine it just says "assembled in the U.S.A."

Thanks for that. We know that at least the emitter is non US. With the way things are today it may contain parts from Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, and elsewhere...
 

ZMZ67

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Thanks for that. We know that at least the emitter is non US. With the way things are today it may contain parts from Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, and elsewhere...

Your welcome and yes, I think that has become pretty commonplace. I am not sure if there is any U.S. flashlight manufacturer not using at least some components made outside the U.S.
 
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Bullzeyebill

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Not sure I see problems with sourced products to make any item. I want the best of the best for my flashlights.

Bill
 

ZMZ67

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Not sure I see problems with sourced products to make any item. I want the best of the best for my flashlights.

Bill

I do like the fact that some companies are still manufacturing here in the U.S. but I don't mind the use of imported components. Just pointing out that pretty much all the U.S. flashlight companies are doing it now. While I have a soft spot for made in the U.S. products I have no problem buying Chinese or other foreign lights/components. I agree the best parts are always the most desirable.
 

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