Your favorite / best / coolest / nicest flashlight of 2023?

ABTOMAT

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No, not a 'selector ring'. Those usually require a second hand to operate, which I typically do not have available EDIT: quickly, reliably, and effectively in many use environments in the 'real world' [not the living room with pristine hands]).

It would appear your wish has come true. Streamlight always listens to their customers.

Exactly the same dimensions as my DS-HL.

Same output level switch design as my Stinger 2020.

Easiest to intentionally actuate of all output level controls I have, and practically impossible to actuate unintentionally.

That's product engineering done right.

Same 2-meter FL1 impact rating. Note the dead-flat output regulation during the core portion of its run time (similar to DS-HL). Note the 3450 mAh cell capacity. Same great dual-independent main switch design (redundant).

Looks like my favorite flashlight has been improved. Essentially an improved DS HL, with the switch you want.


Oh wow, that looks good. Streamlight definitely doesn't sit still when it comes to new ideas. That's so close to being perfect. Unfortunately they missed the one feature that I really need in a small light like that--a low-low setting. The whole attraction of small lights for me is you can dial them back for closeup work. U2 goes down to 5 lumens or something, Strion HL DS goes down to 40, HDS is basically infinite. A 120 lumen low is still too bright for me working indoors on stuff. If they just had one more low level that thing would replace almost every light I carry. As it is it'll probably replace my Stinger 2020 and Strion when I work outside, but inside will still be one of my older lights.

That's one reason I said selector ring--you can get more levels in a small package. If the Strion 2020 had a ring with six levels like the U2 I'd hopscotch to corporate HQ and buy one.

Speaking of the Stinger 2020, now that I think about it I think the Strion 2020 will definitely replace it for me. I rarely use the 2000 lumen setting and it has real issues with durability and water resistance.

AZ hooked me up with a Big Brute 7aa bad@$$ flashlight. I'd say that was my favorite light from 2023. Extra bulbs too. 👍

That's a good pickup. I hope to get the second variety someday.
 

ABTOMAT

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Dose it still use a proprietary battery?
It appears to use a new propriety battery that's physically compatible with old chargers. I assume they wanted to keep backwards compatibility with all the existing Strion stuff in police units. Maybe people complained about the Stinger 2020's batteries.
 

aznsx

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Oh wow, that looks good. Streamlight definitely doesn't sit still when it comes to new ideas. That's so close to being perfect. Unfortunately they missed the one feature that I really need in a small light like that--a low-low setting. The whole attraction of small lights for me is you can dial them back for closeup work. U2 goes down to 5 lumens or something, Strion HL DS goes down to 40, HDS is basically infinite. A 120 lumen low is still too bright for me working indoors on stuff. If they just had one more low level that thing would replace almost every light I carry. As it is it'll probably replace my Stinger 2020 and Strion when I work outside, but inside will still be one of my older lights.

That's one reason I said selector ring--you can get more levels in a small package. If the Strion 2020 had a ring with six levels like the U2 I'd hopscotch to corporate HQ and buy one.

Speaking of the Stinger 2020, now that I think about it I think the Strion 2020 will definitely replace it for me. I rarely use the 2000 lumen setting and it has real issues with durability and water resistance.



That's a good pickup. I hope to get the second variety someday.
I understand. Keep in mind, in my case, this IS my 'big light' (Strion DS-HL). It's the largest light I carry / use with any regularity. We just operate on different scales, that's all. I don't need 'big' like 'days of old big' lights any more. To me that's one of the biggest joys of modern flashaholery. The 'small' light I'm carrying right now at this moment does sub-lumen low, and 500 on high. Strions (LED back to incan) were my sole work lights in industrial plants. I never carried anything larger even then, but I never needed anything lower than the Strions could do in my work environment.


U2 goes down to 5 lumens or something
Help me out here. What is a U2? They used to approach Moffett field almost over my apt. when I lived in Sunnyvale (that engine just screamed!), but I never liked their music, so I need help.

On a final note, all I'm going to say is that to my 'method of operation', continuously-variable / poly-stepped output is, for lack of a better word, 'antithetical' to my desires for a flashlight, and my mental M.O. when using them. I'm gonna leave that one right there. I'm sure I'm in the minority there, but it's a place I'm quite comfortable being;-)
 

ABTOMAT

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I don't disagree with you, having a million steps on a level control is just complicated. One of the two things I'd change about the HDS Rotary (the other being adding some kind of anti-roll feature or pocket clip.) But I do like flexibility if someone is going to the trouble of making a variable-output light. Being good for any situation is a real advantage of the type. The Strion HL DS goes low enough and high enough for almost anything I do, so I don't normally carry a bigger or smaller light if I'm working. Wish the Strion 2020 had a dim mode to complete the package. I typically only own a couple user flashlights at one time.

U2 in this context is the good ol' Surefire from 2005. Six level ring selector, something like 5-100 lumens. I had an old Lux V U2 on me for almost 13 years. Strion HL DS just recently became my work flashlight. Its low level is just fine 99% of the time. If I know I'm gonna be working by flashlight for a long time outside I use a Stinger 2020.
 

aznsx

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I don't disagree with you, having a million steps on a level control is just complicated. One of the two things I'd change about the HDS Rotary (the other being adding some kind of anti-roll feature or pocket clip.) But I do like flexibility if someone is going to the trouble of making a variable-output light. Being good for any situation is a real advantage of the type. The Strion HL DS goes low enough and high enough for almost anything I do, so I don't normally carry a bigger or smaller light if I'm working. Wish the Strion 2020 had a dim mode to complete the package. I typically only own a couple user flashlights at one time.

U2 in this context is the good ol' Surefire from 2005. Six level ring selector, something like 5-100 lumens. I had an old Lux V U2 on me for almost 13 years. Strion HL DS just recently became my work flashlight. Its low level is just fine 99% of the time. If I know I'm gonna be working by flashlight for a long time outside I use a Stinger 2020.
Roger that, and it's true that compared with the DS-HL, the 2020 raises both the peak output rating from 700 to 1200, and also raises the low level from 30 to 120. I can see how some would prefer the 30 lumen low of the DS-HL. One thing I would bet on though, is that this passed through their focus groups before being finalized, so again they likely listened to (the majority) of their represented users. A lot of them may be LE users, which I am not.

I don't plan to replace my DS-HL with the new 2020, as I'm fine with mine as it is, although I would like to have that neat switch. The Stinger 2020 I have showed me just how good that switch is. The good news is that it's most unlikely that the DS-HL will be discontinued anytime soon, so buyers have that choice. SL does't release new models every week like it seems some do, but likewise they're also in no hurry to discontinue popular models when they do release new models. They like to provide options / choices, not just the current 'flavor of the month' as some manufacturers do.

U2 in this context is the good ol' Surefire from 2005. Six level ring selector, something like 5-100 lumens. I had an old Lux V U2 on me for almost 13 years.
Thanks for that. 13 years is an old and dear friend in my book! That was obviously a very good light.
 
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I purchased only two lights in 2023. Given that they're both so cool, I declare it a tie. 😁

IMG_4207.jpeg

The Preon P1 Onibi form Foursevens & Carryology

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A 4Sevens Q MiNI 123 modified by Jeffrey Morris to a triple with Nichia 519a sm503 LEDs.
 
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ABTOMAT

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Roger that,

Thanks for that. 13 years is an old and dear friend in my book! That was obviously a very good light.

Man, I just had an idea. What if you could select a low and a high range by holding down the clickie like on the other Strions? Like 20-80-120 and 120-460-1200 lumens? Practical/tactical mode. Streamlight, I give you permission to use this invention as long as someone sends me a box of factory literature 1973-1993.

The SureFire U2 was a marvelous invention.

I remember when the U2 came out around 2005 CPF went nuts. That was the most advanced flashlight you could buy for years and we were barely into the high power LED era. I waited until the price came down and bought a used one in fall of 2009. I used that almost every day until 2023. Surefire replaced the switch once and another time the lens when I dropped it off my roof while I was trying to clear an ice dam in the winter at night.

DSC_3828.JPG
 

Monocrom

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SureFire U2
A flashlight about 20 years ahead of its time.
And when something is that, it's not actually a good thing.
Output levels not nearly what they should have been.
Imagine a U2 that could go from 5 lumens, all the way up to 3,000.
Bizarrely the last few batches had horrendous reliability issues.
Some arriving DOA. Some worked for a short time, then died.
SureFire decided it was just easier to discontinue it.

That's what you get with something introduced ahead of its time....
It gets cancelled ahead of its time too.

Closest thing out there nowadays is the Fenix PD40R V3.0
(But unfortunately without a tailcap switch.)
 

kaichu dento

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SureFire U2 A flashlight about 20 years ahead of its time. Output levels not nearly what they should have been. Imagine a U2 that could go from 5 lumens, all the way up to 3,000.
Over the years I've grown curiosity about the U2 from reading posts on the forum, but every time I thought I should give one a try, I find out about the Fenix L0D levels for its high output.
Seems like a nice light to do some mods to, but I'm not interested enough to start fiddling with one.
Sure would have liked to have your 5-3,000 version, but really, could have been easily enticed with 5-1,000 even.
 

rwolfenstein

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So because this is a 2023 branded thread, I will pull the light that I bought during 2023. The Surefire EDCL1-T-DFT. The turbo single battery light. I thought originally that the high candela and throwy-ness of it was going to make it useless to EDC. Its grown on me because while it puts a very good spot, the flood area around the beam lights up everything else. The fact that the light is duel fuel and runs on a 18350 battery that I can charge on the go has made this light quite nice. Problem is for me, I keep picking up more lights to play with and this ended up getting rotated in my EDC.
 

Monocrom

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Over the years I've grown curiosity about the U2 from reading posts on the forum, but every time I thought I should give one a try, I find out about the Fenix L0D levels for its high output.
Seems like a nice light to do some mods to, but I'm not interested enough to start fiddling with one.
Sure would have liked to have your 5-3,000 version, but really, could have been easily enticed with 5-1,000 even.
My Fenix L0D with the Rebel 80 emitter is one of the hella rare lights in my collection that I want to be buried with! Even to this day, in stock trim; it is THAT good. As for the U2, find someone willing to mod it for you, and go for it!
 

ABTOMAT

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SureFire U2
A flashlight about 20 years ahead of its time.
And when something is that, it's not actually a good thing.
Output levels not nearly what they should have been.

Dunno, I thought it did well for the time. You weren't getting LED lights much brighter in those days and 5-100 lumens in 2005 beats waiting until 2024 for 5-1500. They must have sold a ton of them in the early years. I think the price of the selector ring lights hurt in the long run, plus they had some missteps in there. You're right about the 2nd gen Cree U2, the one I tried had a bad beam with an ugly tint.

I also had a UB3T which I loved but I didn't use it much because of the size, and a UM2 that was also great but became a crazy collectible after I bought it so that moved on. Had an original Titan I remember not liking for some reason even though it seemed like a good idea. Now I have an HDS Rotary that I'm pretty happy with despite some changes I'd like to see.
 

Monocrom

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Dunno, I thought it did well for the time. You weren't getting LED lights much brighter in those days and 5-100 lumens in 2005 beats waiting until 2024 for 5-1500.
More like 5-3000. But Turbo mode today for about 20 seconds.
Sure back then it seemed impressive. But the gaps on that selector ring were just far too close together. Made the feature seem more of a gimmick. But today, it would be very useful. Heck, it is on the Fenix PD40R V3.0 model mentioned above. I'm wondering if the only reason Fenix doesn't release that model with a tailcap switch is due to fears of getting sued by SureFire for having a light too much like their old U2. If Fenix ever does, I'm buying two of them!
 

kaichu dento

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My Fenix L0D with the Rebel 80 emitter is one of the hella rare lights in my collection that I want to be buried with! Even to this day, in stock trim; it is THAT good. As for the U2, find someone willing to mod it for you, and go for it!
I may try to do a modded U2 someday, but the L0D was the light that first brought me to the forum and I bought/gifted literally dozens of them over the years. Once I tried one, I decided that everyone I liked or cared about needed a no-excuses light they could always have with them, and quite of few of those gifted lights are still being carried to this day. I don't know how many I have left, but every once in a while I run across my old favorite with the light olive green color.
 
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