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Thread: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

  1. #1

    Default Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    I like to carry my EDC in my pocket along with my keys. That rules out lights that might turn on easily while carried in the pocket.

    I'm currently carrying a light that turns on with a tail turn twist. It requires two hands and I want something faster and brighter and one-handed. Is a tail clicky light my only option or are their side button lights that can be trusted for pocket carry?
    Please don't suggest using the lockout feature or unscrewing the tail-cap. I want something that is available immediately.

    Here's some of the lights I'm considering:

    Nitecore MT10C
    Nitecore EC11
    Zebralight SC600w Mk IV Plus
    MANKER E14 II Nichia 219C
    Added: Emisar D4

    Thanks
    Last edited by Bucklight; 04-17-2018 at 05:17 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Hello and welcome to CPF

    Your post above has been approved

    I think, ultimately, anything with a "clicky" switch (regardless of location) can activate in a pocket, which may or may not contain other items.

    If lack of accidental activation is "mission critical" , I think your choices are ...

    • physical lockout (requiring reasonable mechanical force)

    • sturdy twisty switch

    • electronic lockout

    ... and probably in that order of reliability.
    ... is the archimedes peak

  3. #3

    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Some things to look for in a side clicky when used for pocket-carry and worried about accidental activation:

    (1) How big is the switch? - bigger switches tend to more easily activate in the pocket.

    (2) Is the switch raised, flush or recessed? A recessed switch is less likely to activate as the sides of the light around the switch button tend to hold pocket objects away from the button. A raised switch button that protrudes from the body of the light is most likely to accidentally activate.

    (3) Metal or rubber switch button? In my experienced, rubber buttons are less likely to accidentally activate.

    (4) How much pressure is needed to activate the button? Usually not much is required as probably the only spring is the tiny one built into the momentary pushbutton. However, a stiffer button is less likely to activate.

    (5) Lockout? for lights that are likely to accidentally activate, having either an electronic or tailcap lockout may be virtually required. While this solves the problem, it isn't ideal since having to unlock the light removes the convenience of just being able to whip your light out of your pocket and activate instantly with a quick button press.

    Of the lights you listed, I would definitely go with the Zebralight
    . Zebralights have relatively small, deeply recessed rubber buttons. I carried my SC64w in my pocket loose with my keys for a month without a single accidental activation. Same for my SC6000 IV Plus. If you do find accidental activation with the Zebralight is an issue, you could program the UI so that a single-click only gives moonlight and a double-click is needed for turbo.

    Zebralights do have tailcap lockout, but in my opinion it's not necessary to use it for EDC pocket carry. They are so well designed accidental pocket activation is rarely an issue. Early model Zebralights like the SC51 had large protruding soft-touch switches that activated very easily making tailcap lockout mandatory. They got a lot of complaints about this and went back to the drawing board. They introduced the current design switch with the original SC600, which completely fixed the problem.

    The worst side-switch light I have for accidental pocket activation is the Nitecore Concept 1. It uses a metal paddle-switch that is completely raised above the surface of the light. It has no extra springs and activates with the slightest pressure. Impossible to pocket EDC without using lockout.
    Last edited by Fireclaw18; 04-15-2018 at 04:01 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Generally speaking, a recessed clicky works well. Side e-switches need physical lockout for reliable carry. Otherwise the best option falls to a stiff twisty light.

    So Malkoff/Surefire sort of stuff with a twisty tailcap, no switch.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* bondr006's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Been carrying my Zebralight SC62 clipped down in my pocket for over 3 years now with not even one accidental activation. It has the recessed rubber button side clicky. Great light all the way around in terms of usability and durability. Got the greatest low candle lite mode so won't ruin night vision, and has 1000 lumens at the high end. One of the smallest 18650 lights that I know of, and just feels great in the hand. They have the SC62 on sale for a great price at Zebralight also. I think this light is a win, win as far as a great EDC goes. All this is from my own experience of over 3 years using it as an EDC.
    Rob Bond

  6. #6

    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Not a side button, but how about one of Henry's lights; HDS Systems? The light's can be programed with a lock out feature.


    Pops

  7. #7
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireclaw18 View Post
    Zebralights do have tailcap lockout, but in my opinion it's not necessary to use it for EDC pocket carry. They are so well designed accidental pocket activation is rarely an issue. Early model Zebralights like the SC51 had large protruding soft-touch switches that activated very easily making tailcap lockout mandatory. They got a lot of complaints about this and went back to the drawing board. They introduced the current design switch with the original SC600, which completely fixed the problem.
    Does the SC52 have the original switch? I've ignored Zebralight because I had such a bad experience with the SC52 turning on in my pocket. If that issue has really been resolved, then I'm suddenly very interested in several of their lights.

    --flatline

  8. #8

    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Emisar D4 is "perfectly safe", set the thermal limit to a reasonable level, and slightly decouple the head from the battery tube with a slight twist; you're all set... zero parasitic drain and virtually 0% chance of turning on in your pocket.
    Takes a fraction of a second to tighten the head to the tube, you can make it part of the process of finding the side switch.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    I've never had an issue with my Olight S1R clipped in my pocket. I did loan it to someone who carried it loose in her jacket pocket and burned a hole in it.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bucklight View Post
    I like to carry my EDC in my pocket along with my keys. That rules out lights that might turn on easily while carried in the pocket.

    I'm currently carrying a light that turns on with a tail turn twist. It requires two hands and I want something faster and brighter and one-handed. Is a tail clicky light my only option or are their side button lights that can be trusted for pocket carry?
    Please don't suggest using the lockout feature or unscrewing the tail-cap. I want something that is available immediately.

    Here's some of the lights I'm considering:

    Nitecore MT10C
    Nitecore EC11
    Zebralight SC600w Mk IV Plus
    MANKER E14 II Nichia 219C

    Thanks
    I'd recommend ZL SC62. Well indented never comes on when it shouldn't. 600 too big for pocket carry imo. I'd use a holster for that one.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    I've never had a 5D Maglite turn on in my pocket.
    John 3:16

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Modernflame's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    I've never had a 5D Maglite turn on in my pocket.
    “May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
    J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

  13. #13

    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Zebralight

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* bondr006's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    I've never had a 5D Maglite turn on in my pocket.
    I'm guessing you and 1,000 others. My 3d has never turned on in my pocket either.
    Last edited by bondr006; 04-22-2018 at 09:25 AM.
    Rob Bond

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    I've owned both a Zebralight SC600(Mk1) and an SC52. They both have deeply recessed side switches, that require significant pressure to click on. The odds of an accidental press of their side switch is pretty darn low. I carried my SC52 in my front pocket, with the clip attached to the outer part of my front pants pocket, for over 2 years every day, until it got caught on *something*(?) and was apparently yanked out of my pocket and lost. So I carried the SC600 in a belt holster for over a year, but it's just too large and heavy to carry, even in a holster IMO, and even worse in a front pocket. It caused my pants to sag.

    Again, neither light ever had an issue with accidentally clicking on. Now I carry the much smaller, lighter Jetbeam JET II Mk with a twisty UI. I like it so far. With the included 16340 battery, it's got a max brightness of 510L for short periods, but also a useful moonlight mode and 2 useful modes in between(but no annoying strobes). I can use it one handed, and it's tiny. I bought it about 6 weeks ago for around $28 including its battery.
    Last edited by HighlanderNorth; 04-17-2018 at 01:47 AM.
    Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    I have been EDC'ing a ZL SC600w III HI for a couple of years now, riding in my left front pocket, and had no accidental turn-ons.

    It's because you can choose how to angle the pocket-clip.

    I line up the pocket clip with the switch, so that the switch is always pressed against the fabric of my front pocket, and shielded from any of the other items floating in that pocket (and there's quite a lot of other stuff in there--keys, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.).

    So the ZL will satisfy your requirements.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    I bought the SC600w IV Plus and the Emisar D4. I'm so impressed with the ZL that I intend to buy a headlamp too. The Emisar, not so much. The operation of the D4 with the ramping is a dream, but everything else isn't. The anodizing isn't as nice as the ZL, it doesn't come with a clip and people are complaining about the extra clip. Also the button protrudes on the D4. Gritty threads out of the box. Edit: Low output isn't low enough.

    I've been carrying the Zebralight for a couple days. It's worked out well so far, though I wish it were smaller, particularly the head. It just exudes quality.
    Last edited by Bucklight; 04-23-2018 at 09:22 AM.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Timothybil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    I have never had a problem with my EA11 but I always carry it in the holster on by belt. Of course, since I started backing off the tail cap a quarter twist to kill the parasitic drain I haven't any problems at all with accidental activation. Since the quarter twist can be done while the light is still in the holster it is easier than doing the electronic lockout. The only drawback is the time it takes to go through the voltage meter thing before one can use the light. I haven't checked to see if turning it on with the side switch will bypass the voltage thing, but I will next time I am carrying the light.
    Remember, Two is One, and One is None!.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Quote Originally Posted by eh4 View Post
    Emisar D4 is "perfectly safe", set the thermal limit to a reasonable level, and slightly decouple the head from the battery tube with a slight twist; you're all set... zero parasitic drain and virtually 0% chance of turning on in your pocket.
    Takes a fraction of a second to tighten the head to the tube, you can make it part of the process of finding the side switch.
    Mine hasn't arrived yet....but from what I've read you can also lock it out electronically with 6 clicks of the side button. Takes six clicks to unlock it.
    iumop ap!sdn w,I

  20. #20

    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    I've recently been EDC'ing an Olight S1A Baton and think its great.

    I carry it in a small pocket with the clip rotated to cover the side switch, which prevents it from activating. I can easily push or rotate the clip out of the way with my thumb & activate the light with one hand.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bucklight View Post
    I bought the SC600w IV Plus and the Emisar D4. I'm so impressed with the ZL that I intend to buy a headlamp too. The Emisar, not so much. The operation of the D4 with the ramping is a dream, but everything else isn't. The anodizing isn't as nice as the ZL, it doesn't come with a clip and people are complaining about the extra clip. Also the button protrudes on the D4. Gritty threads out of the box. Edit: Low output isn't low enough.

    I've been carrying the Zebralight for a couple days. It's worked out well so far, though I wish it were smaller, particularly the head. It just exudes quality.
    Love that ZL, but why I stuck with the SC64.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Which side-button lights are safe for pocket carry?

    Zebralight needs to come out with a light that's similar in size to the SC64, but looks more like an SC600. Basically, it should have the head of an SC64, but with a fully knurled body and a removable slip on clip.

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