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Discussion Starter #1
Tested are an Olight, Surefire, Streamlight, and No Name light from Amazon.
Plus a flashlight that can be used on a PCC or other long gun.
These are just what I’ve collected over the years. Each seemed like a good idea at the time.

I thought it might be fun to take a look at a few gun lights and see how they compare.
And measure the output to see who really is the brightest kid on the block.

The lineup. Starting at the top and moving clockwise.
Convoy C8 Flashlight, 1x18650 battery, SST40 LED in 1” scope rings.
Olight BALDR (Pro), 2xCR123 batteries, LED and Green Laser.
Surefire X200 weapon light, 2xCR123 batteries, LED.
No Name from Amazon, 1xCR123 battery. LED.
Streamlight TR-1, 2xCR123 batteries, LED.

Group Pic 1


A shot comparing the length


The Reflectors, C8, Streamlight, Olight, Surefire, NoName


As you can see, there are differences.
The C8 uses a conventional deep smooth surface reflector.
The Streamlight uses a conventional reflector with an Orange Peel surface.
The Olight used a TIR lens.
The Surefire uses a Aspheric lens.
The NoName uses a conventional reflector.

The User Interface, Switch, and Mounting.

SureFire X200
The Surefire has a rotating switch on the rear that has two levers that stick out to either side of the trigger guard. The switch rotates in both directions.

It is not spring loaded in the sense of being able to use a momentary on. You can sort of get there with a careful press, but mostly it’s just a rotate to on. Then rotate back to off.

Latch and Switch

The latch on the battery compartment (supposedly) presses in to unlatch the back. On my light I need to pry the latch open. The latch is protected by the mounting.

Batt Compartment


The light must be removed to change the battery. The battery door is attached and clearly marked as to battery polarity.

Rail Connect



The rail connection is a slip on the end kind of deal. Depressing the levers on the sides of the light moves the slot stop out of the way.

This light fits VERY firmly on a Glock rail. It is in fact tough to slide it on.
The light must be removed to change batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Streamlight TLR-1
This has been the standard for rail lights for many years.
The TLR-1 has a similar rotating switch to the X200. Once again with levers on each side of the trigger guard. The TR-1 however gives the choice of momentary on or locked on.
A press and hold Counterclockwise is a spring return momentary contact.
A press Clockwise makes full contact. Rotate it back to turn it off.

Latch and Switch

The battery compartment latch lifts up from the end of the battery compartment. It is a fingernail busting affair. You can get some finger meat under there and that makes it easy to open. A coin makes life easy also. The latch is protected by the mounting.

Batt Compartment


The light must be removed to change the batteries.
The door pops completely free of the light. So you are dealing with the light, the gun, the door, and the batteries.
It also takes a bit of practice to tip the door onto the light just right to get the door back on.
The battery polarity is marked on the sides of the light.

Rail Connection


The TR-1 uses a spring loaded screw tightened clamp to secure the light to the rail. No need to slide on from the end with the Streamlight.
After you’ve done it a few times, it’s second nature.
With the screw tightened down, there is no play.
Even with the Glock rail block installed, this feels really secure on a 1913 rail with the screw tightened.

Olight BALDR

The Olight uses push switches to control the light. There is one on each side of the trigger guard. Both work in the same manor.
A press and hold gives momentary illumination. Release the press and the light turns off.
A press and release give continuous light. A second press and release turns it off.
A press and release on both switches turns on the strobe.

This light has two optional brightness levels. A quick 2 presses from the on position switches between high and low. The light has memory so the last brightness level will continue unless you switch to the other level.

This is by far the best UI as far as I’m concerned. You don’t have to remember which direction to rotate the switch like on the TLR-1. And doing momentary winks is easy and intuitive after a few minutes playing with the light.
The light comes with an Allen key to adjust the laser aiming point.

Switch and Latch

The light must be removed from the firearm to change the batteries.
There is a lever that is lifted to open the battery compartment. This lever is protected when on the pistol. Yet it is easy to lift to open the door. The door stays attached.

Batt Compartment


The battery polarity is marked inside the compartment. It should be a bit larger thinks I.

Rail Connection


The rail connection is via a spring loaded lever. No need to slide the light down the rail.

However! The rail pulls against a spring on the OUTSIDE of the opposite movable rail. So it is not possible to adjust the tension. An out of spec rail can lead to a loose fit. It fits securely on a Glock and feels almost OK on a 1913. I sure wish there was a way to adjust the tension.
With the lever, this is the easiest light to pop on and off.

Laser/Light Select Switch


The selector switch is a lever on the bottom of the light just ahead of the battery door.
Choose Light, Light and Green Laser, or Green laser.
This lever is easier to move than it should be as far as I’m concerned. I think it might get moved by normal gripping/fondling of the weapon.

NoName
The light with no name. I was looking for a cheap light for my wife’s .22LR S&W AR. I eventually settled on this one. I’ll include a link if I can find it again.

Switch


The switch is a vertical lever looking thing that sticks out to the side of the light at the rear. It is a non-spring loaded push button. Push in from the right to power up. Push in from the left to power off. Just like the safety on a 10-22.
By far the worst interface. There is not really a readily available appendage to turn it off.
The switch can be activated by laying the pistol down on its right side. Not good.
Still for cheap and for the front of a .22 rifle – it works for me.

Batt Compartment and Rail levers


No need to remove the light to change the battery. Just unscrew the end and swap that puppy out.
A good arrangement thinks I.

Rail Connection



This too is a slip on the end mounting. It is quite firm on a Glock rail.
On a 1913 there is some play. The spring latch is way stronger than the one on the Surefire. I don’t think this one will leave of its own accord.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Mounted so you can get an idea of the size relative to the pistol.
Surefire Pic


Streamlight Pic



Olight Pic


NoName Pic


C8 Pic You would never do this but I included it for scale.


Now a look at how the switches align with the trigger guard.
Surefire Pic


Streamlight Pic


Olight Pic


This light has by far the best switch arrangement. Everything is the same from both sides.

NoName Pic


Don’t like this one. The trigger finger (for righties) presses the lever/button to turn it on. The opposite side needs to be pressed to turn it off. Just like the button safeties on a 10-22. But located in a worse location.

Those with shorter fingers may find it a stretch to reach the button. It is not as close to the trigger guard as the other switches.

C8 Pic Just for reference.



Measurements:
Surefire:
Weight w/Batteries: 3.5oz
OAL: 3.34”
Hight: 1.35”
Lens to Rail: 1.1”
Front to Back 1913 Wiggle: 0.092”

Streamlight:
Weight w/Batteries: 4.1oz
OAL: 3.39”
Hight: 1.45”
Lens to Rail: 1.25”
1913 Wiggle: 0.063” With Glock rail. But can be tightened significantly with the screw.

Olight
Weight w/Batteries: 4.6oz
OAL: 3.32”
Hight: 1.76”
Lens to Rail: 1.1”
1913 Wiggle: 0.015” (with the Glock rail block installed, has a 1913 block included)

NoName

Weight w/Battery: 3.1oz
OAL: 3.12”
Hight: 1.49”
Lens to Rail: 1.25”
1913 Wiggle: 0.015”

C8

Weight w/Battery: 10.0oz

PWM.
A light with poor PWM is never a good thing.
All these lights have no PWM (except the Convoy C8). They are current/voltage controlled.

O-Scope Streamlight
The Streamlight runs a current controlled output. The 158kHz ripple is an artifact of the driver.


O-Scope Olight – Strobe Setting.
The Olight Baldr has 12.5Hz strobe with a 26% duty cycle. It shows an interesting step up on the power on part of the cycle.


The Convoy C8 uses PWM to control brightness.
Here is a shot of the medium level.


4.5kHz PWM with a 40% Duty cycle. 4.5K is plenty fast enough for most.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Lumen Measurements:
Bet you thought I’d never get here… I had to keep you reading for a while.
As measured by me on a mostly calibrated Lumen tube.

Surefire G2 incandescent flashlight: 70 at turn on and drops fairly quickly.
(an old P60 incandescent standard that runs 2x123 batts). - I included just for reference.

Surefire X200
: 38 Lumens. Kinda surprised me how low the reading was. I rechecked it with the same batteries from the Streamlight and the output measured the same. This is an older rail light and the newer lights show how much things have progressed. This light is about as bright as an old D cell Maglight.

Streamlight TLR-1: 170Lm at turn on, then it starts to drop.
NoName: 233Lm at turn on. Seems to hold fairly well.
Olight BALDR: Low: 306 Lm Seems to hold fairly well.
Olight BALDR: High: 1425Lm at turn on. 1290Lm at ANSI. Quickly drops to 525 Lumens and keeps dropping.
Convoy C8: Low: 43Lm, Med: 360Lm. High: 903 Lumens. The C8 has a super tight hotspot.

CR123 batteries have a 3.5v or so potential when fresh. This drops off almost immediately to a lower working voltage of around 3v. So unless a light is using some sort of a driver to keep constant output, expect all the lights to dim somewhat after being on with fresh batteries.
I may try to get some run-times after I get some beamshots to compare the light patterns.

Beam Shots.
The problem with trying to compare lights on a web page is us. We have Auto White Balance and Auto Exposure built into each of us. Our vision compensates for differences in brightness and color temperature.

If I use auto settings on the camera, everything sorta looks the same. So I fixed the White Balance to the Daylight preset. On the Canon I’m using this is 5200K. Which I think is a little warm. But it’s a default I can easily set, so that’s what I’m going with.

I’m going to pick an ISO, Aperture, and shutter speed that will just show the hotspots and spill the on the dimmest light.
Then run them side by side for a comparison. The camera settings are the same for each light.

A video shows it best.
The brighter lights wash out the video. To naked eyeballs, this doesn’t happen (we have auto exposure built in). The lights progress from dimmest to brightest.

Note the different color of the Olight. It is not so green looking in real life. The warmer beam makes the red/brown spectrum look more realistic to the eye. This would be better for outdoor use. The colder lights lend themselves to indoor use.

In a couple of places I call the Streamlight a Surefire (us old guys get confused easily). Believe the text, not what I say.

Conclusions.
I really like the door latch on the Olight Baldr. But the NoName battery can be replaced without unmounting the light. A big plus for me.
The Olight switches and the UI are also the winners as far as my preferences.
The Streamlight TLR-1 is second in the switch UI department.
The Surefire X200 switch comes in third.
The NoName with its poor switch placement and single sided operation finishes clearly in last place.

The Streamlight rail connection is head and shoulders above the others as far as versatility. All 4 work well on a Glock rail. But the Streamlight will lock onto a 1913 without having to install the 1913 thingy.
The screw locks it down tight and it doesn’t need to be slid down the rail to mount it.

The Olight would be better if there was some way to adjust the tension. The spring pressure against the side plate is just not enough for my tastes. But it does un-mount the easiest with the lever.

The other two use similar mounting devices. Secure on the Glock. Not so much on a 1913. But they both will stay put - But will rattle about on the 1913.

The older Surefire X200 just isn’t there as far as output or UI. Like so much tech, it was really something in its day. Today, it falls short.

The addition of the green laser on the Olight is the swing vote for me. On a pistol used for defense, with proper training (whatever that may be), could be the game changer in a tense situation.

I tried the laser on a PCC with a Red Dot. With the laser below the barrel, you don’t see it through the sight until it’s out a bit. Still it might be useful for a shoot from the hip type of deal.

I don’t like it as much as the C8 Flashlight and the red dot. The strong center hotspot on the C8 gets you close really fast. The further reach and optional greater brightness gives the PCC more “working room” as it were. The Convoy C8 with its tight hot spot and greater throw is a really nice fit on a PCC.
Over on the BLF, a member claims his C8 has held up to both a .223 and a .308. And the darn things only cost like $22.

Well my batteries are getting dim and it’s nap time for us old farts.
Hope you enjoyed my rambles…
All the Best,
Jeffrey
 

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Very detailed write up with good data, but why would you test a 10 year old surefire and a 8 year old streamlight?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for the kind words.
Because I own them. And perhaps some other members my also, and be able to see what they are like compared to the new Olight.
All the Best,
Jeffrey
 
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