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Thread: Tactical Light Decision

  1. #1

    Default Tactical Light Decision

    Hi all,

    I am trying to decide on a tactical. After much research (my head is spinning!) I have narrowed it down to two lights, the Olight M20 Warrior Tactical R2 and the Jetbeam III M R2. I will be using rechargable 18650s.
    The main problem I have with the jetbeam is the lack of a medium power setting. I like the programmable low power setting (allowing just right settings for night vision etc.). But only two settings corners me into low or full or I have to dive into a menu to get a medium level. I can see myself mostly using a medium or low setting with high as needed. Flat power regulation with 18650s (and 123s if used on occasion) is another plus. I also like the cylindical shape along it's full length without the bulbous type head of the M20. If I want to have a level somewhere between the low and high I have to play around with a menu to accomplish this and do the same again to go back to low. Compared to the M20 and the easy access it gives to 3 preset modes this seems more convoluted.

    The M20 has the three power modes (plus the SOS and strobe), with different twists of the head giving quick and easy access to all modes. Since I envision spending most of my time in medium or low this seems to be less complex. This seems to fit my purpose very well. What is giving me pause is the lack of flat power regulation (from what I understand) with 18650s and lack of adjustment capability for the low mode (not allowing me to set exactly to my liking as the jetbeam allows).

    The jetbeam would be the easy choice for me if it gave 3 power settings. Ajustable power levels for low and medium modes would have really rounded out it's feature set.

    Anyway, how doable is using the menu structure to move between low and medium setting on a regular basis? Anyone with the jetbeam care to comment on this? Also does the better power regulation with the 18650s give it a tangible advantage over the M20?

    Thanks in advance for any advice that will help me in my decision.

    Of coarse, a "flashacholic" would buy both but that is not in the cards for me!

  2. #2
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    Just check the new olight M30.700 lumens in a great design! It is very "tactical"!
    As long as you can afford its higher cost of about $140.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    Just to clarify, the Olight M20 Warrior does not have S.O.S.

    You mentioned that you probably will use medium and low modes mostly with high mode used when needed. While the regulation on high mode with an 18650 battery is not flatly regulated, the medium mode is fully flat powered regulated for over 7 hours. As far as I know there hasn't been a runtime on the low mode but according to Selfbuilt's review, it should have about a week of runtime.

    If you haven't done so already, check out Selfbuilt's review on the Olight M20 and his review on the Jetbeam 3 Military. I don't know how to post the links but by using the search function, just type Selfbuilt Olight M20 Warrior review, and Selfbuilt Jetbeam military review.

    Edit: I just checked Selfbuilt's Jetbeam Military review. This review will enable you to compare both lights. According to this review with an 18650 on medium mode, the Olight is fully flat regulated while the Jetbeam is not. Also on medium mode the Olight is brighter and more efficient. On high mode neither is fully flat regulated, (Jetbeam appears to have a flat regulation initially for about 30 minutes).

    The Jetbeam is offered with either a Q5 or R2 emitter or a warmer white Q3 5A. So that would be something to consider if you like warm tints. The Olight M20 Premium uses an R2 WH bin emitter which is warmer tinted than a Q5 WC but not as near as warm as the Q3 5A.

    I do not own the Jetbeam 3 Military but I do have the Olight Warrior M20 R2. I really like this flashlight and currently use it while on duty.
    Last edited by Mikellen; 04-22-2009 at 09:36 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    You're a bit misguided on the regulation capabilities of the Jet-III M R2 running on 18650. Since it contains a buck circuit only, it depends completely on the VF of the led if and for how long the light stays regulated running on 18650. Since to my knowledge Jetbeam has not ever claimed they only use low VF R2 leds, the result is a lottery. Some lights may be able to stay in regulation for almost the entire life of the battery, some not at all, and everything in between.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    Thanks for the clarification about SOS with the M2 and the heads up with regards to beam tints.

    About the regulation, is there a limit with regards to how much you can increase the Jetbeam's low mode to (for a "medium setting")? I know the lower limit is supposed to be around 2 Lums. Assuming the Jetsteam only has full power and a variable low mode, how did Selfbuilt do the medium comparison? Did he just bump up the lower setting to a level comparable to the M20's preset medium?

    So basically both lights loose regulation as soon as the battery voltage falls below the LED's working voltage (the regulator can only drop voltage not increase)?

  6. #6
    Flashaholic dirtech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyce View Post
    Thanks for the clarification about SOS with the M2 and the heads up with regards to beam tints.

    About the regulation, is there a limit with regards to how much you can increase the Jetbeam's low mode to (for a "medium setting")? I know the lower limit is supposed to be around 2 Lums. Assuming the Jetsteam only has full power and a variable low mode, how did Selfbuilt do the medium comparison? Did he just bump up the lower setting to a level comparable to the M20's preset medium?

    So basically both lights loose regulation as soon as the battery voltage falls below the LED's working voltage (the regulator can only drop voltage not increase)?
    The "low" mode for the Jetbeam is programmable all the way up to high. Hence the IBS nomenclature (infinate brightness setting). It gives a flash at 1/2 way up and 3 flashes at 100% I believe. It's not really a low mode, but just a user programmable mode.

    As far as the regulation, not sure. The way I read selfbuilt's graphs, it seems that variable output lights are only semi regulated on 18650's for some reason.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    You might want to look at the Fenix TK11 R2 and the Eagletac T10L as well. They both have high and low modes, which are accessed by loosening the head. The Fenix apparently maintains brightness with an 18650, but that might be as a result of the Vf. The T10L is fully regulated (the graph is basically a straight line with a slope of zero), but can't use CR123's.
    Strboe and SOS modes really are not that useful IMO. They seem more like gimmicks than anything else.
    Eagletac T10L, 3D maglite with Malkoff 3-6D XP-G Dropin, Stanley 35 watt HID, Gerber LX 3.0, L-mini II Q3-5C, 2D ROP w/ LiMnNi 26650, Eagletac P100A2, Quark Mini AA XP-G S2

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* MattK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikellen View Post
    You mentioned that you probably will use medium and low modes mostly with high mode used when needed. While the regulation on high mode with an 18650 battery is not flatly regulated, the medium mode is fully flat powered regulated for over 7 hours. As far as I know there hasn't been a runtime on the low mode but according to Selfbuilt's review, it should have about a week of runtime.

    If you haven't done so already, check out Selfbuilt's review on the Olight M20 and his review on the Jetbeam 3 Military. I don't know how to post the links but by using the search function, just type Selfbuilt Olight M20 Warrior review, and Selfbuilt Jetbeam military review.

    Edit: I just checked Selfbuilt's Jetbeam Military review. This review will enable you to compare both lights. According to this review with an 18650 on medium mode, the Olight is fully flat regulated while the Jetbeam is not. Also on medium mode the Olight is brighter and more efficient. On high mode neither is fully flat regulated, (Jetbeam appears to have a flat regulation initially for about 30 minutes).

    The Jetbeam is offered with either a Q5 or R2 emitter or a warmer white Q3 5A. So that would be something to consider if you like warm tints. The Olight M20 Premium uses an R2 WH bin emitter which is warmer tinted than a Q5 WC but not as near as warm as the Q3 5A.

    I do not own the Jetbeam 3 Military but I do have the Olight Warrior M20 R2. I really like this flashlight and currently use it while on duty.
    I would add that for many users not having 'dead flat' aka 'full' regulation can be a benefit. With output tapering off you get a visual indicator that your batteries are dying. If the light is 'fully' regulated then your runtime is shorter and when the available current drops to low the light simply blinks off very often (circuit dependent).

    Current Olight Premium R2's are using WD emitters. The best tint there is IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtech View Post
    The "low" mode for the Jetbeam is programmable all the way up to high. Hence the IBS nomenclature (infinate brightness setting). It gives a flash at 1/2 way up and 3 flashes at 100% I believe. It's not really a low mode, but just a user programmable mode.

    As far as the regulation, not sure. The way I read selfbuilt's graphs, it seems that variable output lights are only semi regulated on 18650's for some reason.
    You can only do so many things on a small circuit. You can buck, you can boost, you can do both. You can offer full regulation on primaries, 2 x RCR123A or 1818650; apparently you cannot have flat regulation for 3 voltage levels (buck/boost) AND 'full' regulation on multiple power levels. I'm not an EE but I would guess there are either technical issues or financial ones; I think technical more likely given the level of competition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mjolnir View Post
    Strboe and SOS modes really are not that useful IMO. They seem more like gimmicks than anything else.
    While i largely agree with regards to SOS for a TACTICAL LIGHT (I strongly believe SOS has a place on an EDC or camping light) the strobe has become a hugely popular and requested item for a Tactical light; I've talked with hundreds of security offices, patrol officers and SWAT/Military guys and most of them like having the option; their biggest complaint or issue is usually related to UI - HOW one get so the strobe and other modes.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic JKL's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    Quote Originally Posted by MattK View Post
    ...
    While i largely agree with regards to SOS for a TACTICAL LIGHT (I strongly believe SOS has a place on an EDC or camping light) the strobe has become a hugely popular and requested item for a Tactical light; I've talked with hundreds of security offices, patrol officers and SWAT/Military guys and most of them like having the option; their biggest complaint or issue is usually related to UI - HOW one get so the strobe and other modes.
    This is a good point of view ,IMHO the UI in the JETBeam III Pro I.B.S, for example, is faster in modes transition rather than that present in the new model JETBeam military, on the other hand both flashlights , M20 and Jet Military, require the use of two hands....
    Flashlight collection: Surefire,Ra, Novatac,Inova, Olight, EagleTac, Dereelight, Fenix, Nitecore, Lumapower, JetBeam, Zebralight, Thrunite, Sunwayled.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* MattK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    M30 solves that issue - one handed access to strobe or any pre-set output level.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Search's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    Based on my "training" with the SRT (SWAT) team here where I'm a Reserve and from my training in building clearings I would recommend two lights.

    TK11
    Z2 LED Combat Light

    My Single Mode E2DL doesn't produce enough spill to make me happy.

    I used the TK11 R2 to clear a high school as was VERY impressed with the ability to throw down halls and the big, open library but then be able to clear smaller rooms.

    The TK11 produces enough spill that's bright enough to give you more than enough light for peripheral vision.

    It really doesn't throw like people say, it has plenty of spill.

    I would image the TK10 would be just as effective.

    I used the SureFire technique so the combat ring was crucial.

    The Z2 might not produce enough light for some people and not really me either so I would recommend getting a Malkoff upgrade to give you more light.

    I haven't used the Z2 but I have used the 6PL with the same P60 drop-in module.

    I've seen the beam profile of the M60 (or M30 for 18650) and it would be what I would look for.

    Given you want to use 18650 I would say the TK11 (R2 if you can get it).


  12. #12
    Flashaholic JKL's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    Quote Originally Posted by MattK View Post
    M30 solves that issue - one handed access to strobe or any pre-set output level.
    I agree with Matt ,the Olight M30 is very interesting and the strobe availability on the tailcap is a nice upgrade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Search View Post
    Based on my "training" with the SRT (SWAT) team here where I'm a Reserve and from my training in building clearings ....

    Given you want to use 18650 I would say the TK11 (R2 if you can get it).

    Good choice Search,this is mine

    Last edited by JKL; 05-04-2009 at 12:52 AM.
    Flashlight collection: Surefire,Ra, Novatac,Inova, Olight, EagleTac, Dereelight, Fenix, Nitecore, Lumapower, JetBeam, Zebralight, Thrunite, Sunwayled.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic*
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    Default

    why get a "military" at all?
    why get any light where the levels can not be programmed individually?
    (thats my thoughts since I have one)

    Get another Jetbeam:
    * three levels
    * each can be set for brightness/runtime YOU like

    Pro Ultra for a medium throw
    PR ST for ease of pocketing / short distance illumination

  14. #14
    Formerly d1live
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    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    Check this out - Olight M20 Warrior Premium - mounted to my Sig Sauer 556ER
    Last edited by FlashlightsNgear.com; 05-04-2009 at 10:36 AM. Reason: forgot something

  15. #15

    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    I had the same debate myself. After studying Selfbuilt's excellent reviews, I went with the M20, because it seems to be the better all around light. You can also search my post on CPF, because I asked a similiar question and poll for best all around LEO (law enforcement officer) light.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    Quote Originally Posted by monkey1368 View Post
    I had the same debate myself. After studying Selfbuilt's excellent reviews, I went with the M20, because it seems to be the better all around light. You can also search my post on CPF, because I asked a similiar question and poll for best all around LEO (law enforcement officer) light.
    Same here. I love my M20.


    Sweet picture of the M20 on the Sig 556! ^^^

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* Search's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    I'm going to have to get an Olight to compare with my others.


  18. #18

    Default Re: Tactical Light Decision

    nowadays when you say you are looking for a "tactical" light it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of people. most cops, soldiers, and just regular folks put in a life or death situation will tell you that when things get scary fine motor skills go out the window. for this reason if you truly are looking for a light for a tactical situation (in which you will have a weapon in the other hand) the light must have an extremely intuitive UI that is 1 hand operable with access to the highest brightness and/or strobe in a split second. so far the only lights i have found that meet these requirements and have a low/medium/high plus strobe function are: blackhawk gladius / insight typhoon (they are the same thing, and the output kinda sucks by todays standards but the emiter is easily upgradeable to decent), both of the models from "first light usa", and the olight m30.

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