Single CR123A to replace Fenix P2D/PD25

MaxIcon

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I've had a Fenix P2D (single CR123A) as EDC for 12 years, and need a replacement - the switch is getting a bit flaky, the tint is old-fashioned, and more output would be nice.

I tried replacing it with a Fenix E12 (single AA, 160 lumens max), which is a great little light and is more compact, but I keep wanting a little more output.

Next I tried a Fenix PD25, which is also a great light, if a bit bulkier than the P2D.
It would be perfect for me except the side button to change output is too hard to find in the heat of the moment.
The output with CR123A is 400, 150, 50, 5, which I find ideal. 16340 gives even more output but the runtime suffers.

I'm a Fenix fan, obviously, but I'm open to other lights after all this time. I have lots of other lights, but the 1x CR123 form factor works well for EDC for me.

Here's what I'm looking for:
- Single CR123 (OK if it uses rechargeable as well)
- Tailcap control to switch modes
- 400 lumens or more max
- No strobe/SOS, or else a special setting (long press) like the PD25
- Last setting memory would be nice, but not a must have
- Ideally in the $60 or less range, but I'm flexible, since I keep these things for a long time

Any suggestions? It's been a while since I did a deep dive, and it's not easy to keep up with all the offerings out there.
 

Megalamuffin

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Surefire has two great options in this range if you are willing to spend around $130+ (personally I think it’s worth it). The E1B maxvision with 400 lumens and the EDCL-1T which is 500 lumens, but it is longer than the backup. The backup is a click switch while the edc has the tactical switch. The only modes on both are high and a 5 lumen low, nice and simple.

If you are ok with 350 lumens the streamlight protac 1L-1AA is an excellent choice also. It’s a little big for a single cr123 light, but it’s worth it because it can also use one aa or aaa. It has three programmable settings too which is nice. High/strobe/low, high only, and low/high. It’s a rear click switch. Price is around $40-45.
 

Timothybil

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Look at the Nitecore EC11. The only major difference is on/off is in the tail, and side switch for modes. An addition is a small red LED on the side of the reflector for low light and beacon use. I had the EA11 version that used an AA/14500 instead. Really nice light.
 

3oni

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The Elzetta Alpha gen.2, currently on sale for $105 (they've introduced gen.3 and are clearing out their stock) hits every mark on your list except the price. Fantastic little bombproof light.
 

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caelyx

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Have a look also at Malkoff’s MDC 1CR123A. In SST-20 4000k, it’s even high CRI.

Another vote for the Surefire EDCL-1T (although the price isn’t what you’re aiming for), as it’s a great light.
 

3_gun

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Hits your marks except for a tail switch. Mine works nice & you can get two & stay within your budget


 

fuyume

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I've had a Fenix P2D (single CR123A) as EDC for 12 years, and need a replacement - the switch is getting a bit flaky, the tint is old-fashioned, and more output would be nice.

I tried replacing it with a Fenix E12 (single AA, 160 lumens max), which is a great little light and is more compact, but I keep wanting a little more output.

Next I tried a Fenix PD25, which is also a great light, if a bit bulkier than the P2D.
It would be perfect for me except the side button to change output is too hard to find in the heat of the moment.
The output with CR123A is 400, 150, 50, 5, which I find ideal. 16340 gives even more output but the runtime suffers.

I'm a Fenix fan, obviously, but I'm open to other lights after all this time. I have lots of other lights, but the 1x CR123 form factor works well for EDC for me.

Here's what I'm looking for:
- Single CR123 (OK if it uses rechargeable as well)
- Tailcap control to switch modes
- 400 lumens or more max
- No strobe/SOS, or else a special setting (long press) like the PD25
- Last setting memory would be nice, but not a must have
- Ideally in the $60 or less range, but I'm flexible, since I keep these things for a long time

Any suggestions? It's been a while since I did a deep dive, and it's not easy to keep up with all the offerings out there.
Any reason you are not considering the Fenix E18R?

I just bought a Nitecore EC11, and I'm using a Fenix ARB-L16-700UP battery in it (3.7 V 16340). It will take 18350, 16340, and CR123A batteries, and it's nearly the perfect EDC light, I think. It just replaced the Fenix E12 v2.0 I bought earlier this year. The E12 is still great, i just wanted that red secondary LED.

The EC11 is discontinued, but a few places still have them in stock. If you want one, best move fast. It was replaced by the MT10C, which has a tail switch in addition to the side switches.
 

Toulouse42

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I've had great results with the EagTac D25C Clicky. The Nichia LED puts out a claimed 360 lumens but the nice tint makes it feel like more. I personally love the interface : tighten head to get High and loosen head to start at the low low of about 0.2 lumens. If I want more light, then I move to an 18650 flashlight like the EagTac P25 or Fenix PD35. The little EagTac is a perfect pocket carry. I leave the clip on it as it makes it easier to handle and I attach an Olight lanyard which is fairly short. So far, its been faultless.
 

gottawearshades

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I miss my PD2! It was one of my first real light!

You might want to check out the JetBeam RRT01. It's in your budget, a fun and handy light.
 

Timothybil

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Any reason you are not considering the Fenix E18R?

I just bought a Nitecore EC11, and I'm using a Fenix ARB-L16-700UP battery in it (3.7 V 16340). It will take 18350, 16340, and CR123A batteries, and it's nearly the perfect EDC light, I think. It just replaced the Fenix E12 v2.0 I bought earlier this year. The E12 is still great, i just wanted that red secondary LED.

The EC11 is discontinued, but a few places still have them in stock. If you want one, best move fast. It was replaced by the MT10C, which has a tail switch in addition to the side switches.
I actually had the EA11 version, which was AA/14500 capable. i lost it, and the only place I have found a new one was on Ebay, and the seller wanted $100 USD. Nope.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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Nitecore MT10C. Can be found for $40 now (a little more with 18350 battery). Goes up to 920 lumens, 480 on 123A battery. Bigger 18350 will get you better brightness or runtime than rechargeable 123As.
 

CHNeal

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MaxIcon

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Lots of good input - thanks to all for the suggestions. I should have been a little more detailed in my requirements, though.

I need a multi-level light (4 levels, ideally), so that lets out the Elzetta and Surefires, though that Elzetta deal is pretty tempting. The folks in AR world hold the Elzetta lights in high esteem, though I'm trying to hold down my impulse buys.

I'm hoping to find a tailcap only switch, as the only problem I have with my Fenix PD25 is that the low profile side switch is not easy to find when I'm fumbling to change the output one-handed.

I also don't care for complicated UIs, like having to hold the button for basic functions like power on/off; my Nitecore HC60 headlamp needs a long press to turn off, and also has the button on the side instead of the end, and I'm always fumbling with it. I end up grabbing my lighter, less bright, but simpler Zebralight ZLH31w instead.

The Malkoff looks good, and I've used their drop-ins a lot over the years, but they max out at 300 lumens, and one of my main goals is higher output.

The Logan sounds like a good bet if I wanted to switch to a different control system - simple and solid. The site doesn't list the max output, but it also appears to be 300 lumens based on reviews, most of which are 10 years old.

If my E12 was brighter, it would be good, but AAs just won't do that.

I'm thinking about attaching something to the PD25 side button to make it stand out more, since that will help me build it into my muscle memory.

In the meantime, any more suggestions are welcome. I'm somewhat open to changing how I work my EDC, but 15 years of daily tailcap control has it pretty solidly programmed in my autopilot.
 

Eicca

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What about a Skilhunt E2A with a 14500? Very similar to the E12 but a peak output of something like 600 lumens.
 

fuyume

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If my E12 was brighter, it would be good, but AAs just won't do that.
You might consider the E20 v2.0. Same as the E12 v2.0, but 2xAA, and adds a 350 lumen mode. Obviously, it’s substantially longer, but it’s a great light with as simple an interface as one could ask for.
 

MaxIcon

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Thanks again for the suggestions. A double cell light won't fit the way I carry, or the 2xAA would be a good fit.

I'm not prepared to move over to rechargeable only; dual fuel is OK, but my whole support system is built around CR123 and its form factor. Old fashioned, for sure, and I'm getting a few rechargeable gizmos here and there, but for EDC, It's primary cells for now.

I'm going to try making my PD25 side button easier to find, as the light's a good fit for me otherwise, and will take rechargeables when I transition over.
 

kerneldrop

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The Logan sounds like a good bet if I wanted to switch to a different control system - simple and solid. The site doesn't list the max output, but it also appears to be 300 lumens based on reviews, most of which are 10 years old.

The Logan CR123 in cool with 3 volt is around 300 lumens. With a 3.6 rechargeable it hits around 420 lumens. You can get it in an "X" mode and it'll get up to 600-800, but can only use 3.7v rechargeables. The cool part of the CR123 is the option of the Battery Station batteries, so not sure I'd want just the X model. of course, you can order 2 heads with 1 body.
The beauty is that you maximize battery life by only outputting what you need.

My recommendation is to stay with a conservative output if you are committed to the CR123 form factor.
The high output high draw just drains smaller lights.

If you're after output then I'd go to a compact 18650. I wear jeans so 18650 is nothing for my pockets.
This is the compact 18650 light I highly recommend: https://skylumen.com/products/sky-l...icky-power-house?_pos=10&_sid=09e6b3920&_ss=r
Its output is huge.

His VN4 driver has about a 100 mode options: https://skylumen.com/pages/drivervn-drivervnx-programmable-circuits
I use the mode for F/5/33 D for 100 or F/1/5/25 D for 100

I don't do side buttons on EDC lights.
 
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Ishango

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How about the Acebeam TK16? It's controllable with a tail clicky. It has optional Hi CRI, three LEDs (I picked the SST-20 version) and uses either a 16340 or a CR123A. Battery runtime is fairly good.
 

MaxIcon

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I ended up gluing a small black star sapphire that I had sitting around onto the side button, and it makes it super easy to find by feel while still being smooth and low profile.

I'll have to see how well it holds up. I roughed up the button with a small file, the sapphire had some surface roughness on the backside, and used GS Hypo cement, a strong and clear jewelry glue. It's held up as EDC for a few weeks now, but time will tell.

That TK16 looks like a good alternative if this doesn't work out, but I'm pleased with the look and feel as it sits now. Thanks again for all the input.
 

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