An Update, An Absence, and An ECO.

I just wanted to give a quick update.  My last article was May 5th, which in internet terms might as well be a lifetime ago.  Why?

My real job got hectic and I received an Designee Appointment from the FAA; an appointment that necessitated some out of State training.  An appointment that led to a side business opportunity, which as you can guess, takes time.  In truth, June 18th was the first time I shot a gun since May 4th.  In that time I never dry fired and I didn’t reload a single round.

Work Work Work

Work, Work, Work!

What I did do was liquidate, which leads me to the ECO update…

I sold it.  The business opportunity needed capital.  The ECO was among several firearms, and some shop equipment, that I sold to better my future.  I realize some people will be disappointed; but, frankly I bought it with my own money so I wasn’t beholden to anyone with the completion of the review.  Life happens and I don’t regret it.  As a side note, it is amazing how much money you might have lying around in rarely used equipment, gear and such.

The future?  Blog writing isn’t hard, until it is.  A 50+ hour a week job, wife, kids, side gig and general life all left me with little time to write well thought out articles.  I was hitting a wall on ideas and motivation.  When everything got crazy I had a talk with Caleb and we came to an agreement.  I will still write the occasional article, but since I am cutting WAY back, I am doing this Pro bono.  It seemed only fair.

I’ll be shocked if anyone reads this far.  Next time I’ll write about something gun related.  When might that be?  Only the Shadow Knows.

What!!! You’ve Never Shot Your Carry Gun!?!

If you read my previous post discussing the first 50 rounds fired through my Dan Wesson ECO you will know that it malfunctioned 12 times within the first 30 rounds.  This only proves that you should qualify any gun you hope to conceal carry or use in defensive of a life.

I hope this does not apply to the readers of Gun Nuts, but some people actually buy a firearm for self-defense, throw it into a cheap nylon holster (separate issue), load it up with some ammo and proceed to carry it, secure in the belief it will act as a talisman and keep them safe.

The simple fact is you must vet any weapon slated for defensive purposes.  I actually know of a person that bought a Colt Defender in 45 ACP and shot one mag out of it before carrying it.  I was there and his target, which was shot at three yards, looked like he had thrown 45 caliber buckshot at it!  Fast forward 18 months and we did our CCW renewal together.  Out came the Colt Defender and a malfunction fest and an example of poor marksmanship followed.  It was all the ammo’s fault of course.  There was no way it was related to a lack of never applying lube to the weapon, not breaking it in or a total lack of fundamentals.

This brings up another point – sight regulation versus your carry load.  If you don’t test fire the gun with your chosen carry load, how do you know the sights are even remotely close to point of impact?

642-1

Look, as gun nuts (as in people who love guns, not this site) we often lose sight of the fact that many people who buy a weapon do so for protection and are not seeking a new hobby.  It is very easy in our rabid enjoyment of the hobby to scare them away as we suggest they should shoot weekly, or lead them to believe they must become some Rambo type person.  People seeking only protection do not need to become enveloped in the gun hobby any more than I need to get enveloped in golf.  We must temper ourselves with reality and try using some understanding (dare I say empathy) when trying to help them.  We need to ask ourselves, “Where they are coming from?”

Then and only then can we begin to offer meaningful suggestions; such as the need to break-in and prove the reliability of their chosen self-defense firearm.   The requirements of that break-in and reliability testing are not the scope of this article. That is wholly dependent on the gun type, the gun and ammo manufacturer, and the testing results, as trends develop.

The facts are simple – any gun can malfunction at any time, but it is better to have some confidence of past performance then be completely ignorant to the guns capabilities.

If you know of someone who falls into the “from the box to the concealed holster” camp, you might try to bring them around.  Just don’t expect them to become a gun nut.

DW ECO After The First Fifty

For the first 50 rounds I decided to use Browning’s Practice/Target ammo in 230 grain.  I know that Bill Wilson is on record stating the smaller 1911’s run better with lighter bullets, preferably 185 grain.  I plan on trying some of them but these were what I had available.

IMG_5966

So how did it do?  Not good.  Not good at all.  Literally every three rounds, for the first 36 rounds, the slide locked back.  In the photos to the left you can see where the slide stop just barely caught the slide.  I tried using a different grip, even trying strong hand only once.  It didn’t make a difference.  This thing would simply discharge three rounds then lock the slide back.  The problem could be the slide stop, or it could be mag related.  I haven’t investigated it, nor do I plan too; at least until I have put a total of 400 rounds through the gun.

In fairness, following the 36 round malfunction fest, the remaining 14 rounds cycled and shot fine.  I ran two seven round mag dumps trying to get it to malfunction again.  This is obviously not a long-term test scenario, and I would have loved to continue, but there was a serious lightning storm moving in.  Here at Gun Nuts we go too great pains to avoid death by lightning strike.

IMG_5971

An annoyance that was discovered revolved around the safety.  It clicks off and on as a nice 1911 should, but it overhangs the frame ever so slightly.  I never noticed it prior to shooting the gun, but once I had some rounds down range the web of my hand started to blister.  I have seen this on many other 1911’s and it isn’t the end of the world; but at the same time, this is not a $500 RIA!  I expect better when dropping north of $1000 on a pistol!  If I keep the gun after the testing than I’ll correct the issue using my best home gunsmith skills.  Until then I’ll deal with it with either gloves or raw ignorance.

IMG_5977

The final unexpected issue centered on the sights. (see what I did there)  I shot at 7, 10 and 15 yards and no matter the distance  the sights hit low – really low.  It grouped nicely though but at least 3 inches below my point-of-aim.  Given my statement above concerning 185 grain ammo being recommended for small 1911’s I find myself hoping DW installed sights regulated to lighter ammo.  I am looking for some 185 grain I can test this theory.

As expected the recoil was snappy, but not the end of the world.  You definitely want to have a good grip on the gun though.

With a little luck I can run some more ammo through it soon.  Will it continue to malfunction?  Will it eat my hand?  Will it hit POI/POA with 185 grain ammo?

Stay tuned as we find out.

Small 1911’s and Reliability

Earlier this week I started a long-term review of a Dan Wesson ECO, which is a 3.5 inch Officer’s sized 1911.  Lest anyone think its reliability will be a gimme, I offer the following video from Rob Pincus.  I don’t know Rob, and I don’t agree with everything he writes, but based off my personal experience he is correct.

Yes, the gun in the video is a Kimber, but that is irrelevant.  Small 1911’s are generally finicky.  In fact, I fully expect the ECO will fail at some point.  And if it does, I have a couple of things in my bag of tricks that might help reliability.

Did you see the challenge at the end of the video?  I don’t know if Rob is still offering this, but if the ECO kicks ass, maybe I could take him up on the offer – not likely.

In the end, I hope the ECO stuns me with utter reliability, but if it fails, I will not be shocked in any way.  It is the nature of the beast.

So… do you have a small 1911 that has been flawless?  Let us know.  Please include the total cumulative round count, as well as the maximum round count you shot in one session.

And for those that care, I finally got around to buying some ammo so testing will start tomorrow!

Dan Wesson ECO

What the… another 1911 review?

I say why not? We here at Gun Nuts are simply trying to appease the ghost of John Moses Browning.  We feel such appeasement is necessary given that most people flock to polymer wonders and shun ole’ slab sides.  Simply put, the 1911 can be an excellent projectile launcher and if well-built, it is an exquisite work of art.  It can also be a source of endless frustration and malfunction drills if poorly built or improperly maintained.

So it was with your interest in mind – or maybe it was the fact I really liked this pistol and wanted to try it – that we open up the testing on the Dan Wesson ECO.  This will be a kick-off review.  As I write this, I have yet to actually shoot the gun.  This is a quick bench top, initial impressions review.  My goal is to track the rounds fired and give updates as the weapon either proves itself or infuriates me.

ECO Upclose

Now for you heathens that don’t know; Dan Wesson was founded in 1968 by Daniel Wesson, great-grandson of D.B Wesson who co-founded Smith and Wesson.  In 2005 the company was bought out by CZ, who also makes quality firearms.  But enough history, if you want to know more about Dan Wesson’s history you can look here, or here.

The ECO is an Officer sized 1911, thus it is sporting a 3.5” tapered bull barrel and the requisite shorter grip.  Being chambered in 45 ACP the capacity is lacking, but frankly I don’t care.  With 7+1 rounds of .455 diameter ballistic goodness I can take on seven parachuting ninja (or is it ninja’s?) and at least one pissed off gopher.  Yeah, yeah, I know… no one has ever asked for less ammo in a gunfight.  Ironically I own a double stack combat autoloader for those causal jaunts through gangland, or into Syrian held territory.

Muzzle

The ECO has an alloy frame which reduces weight.  In the past I have owned some lightweight 1911’s in both Commander and Officer length;  and while the recoil wasn’t life-ending it was definitely there.  I suspect this will be similar; however, the ECO comes with a flat wire guide rod setup.  Rumor mill says it is from Evolution Gun Works.  If that is true it is great news as I have read good things about that setup’s duality of increasing reliability while reducing felt recoil.  We shall see.

Here are the specs from Dan Wesson.

  • Chambering: 45 ACP
  • Magazine Capacity: 7
  • Frame: Anodized Aluminum
  • Grips: G-10
  • Barrel Length: 3.5 in
  • Weight: 1.56 lbs.
  • Overall Length: 7.25 in
  • Height: 5 in
  • Width: It’s a 1911, it’s thin.  Duh!

So what do I love about the weapon?

  • It feels good in the hand.
  • It is well-balanced.
  • The sights are not bad – although I will likely put some orange around the front tritium insert to mimic a Trijicon HD.
  • It is well de-horned and the fit and finish are very, very good.
  • The safety clicks on and off with confidence.

And what I hate about the weapon so far?

  • I guess I could complain that Dan Wesson didn’t add a magwell, but so what? It is not like I will be running this in Single Stack.
  • I don’t care for the zebra grips. But that is subjective.
  • So what do I really hate about it, at this time? NOTHING!

I really hope this short 1911 proves to be reliable.  I should be able to report back in a week or so with some rounds down range.  Dan Wesson recommends a break-in period, so I will not be performing the 10-8 test until I have put 400 rounds down range.

To say I want this to succeed is an understatement.  Time will tell.

Killing Bambi with a 9mm (Or Why A Head-Shot Might Not Stop The Attack)

Click bait title right?  Obviously I don’t mean using a 9mm to hunt Mr. Buck; but, I recently had to dispatch a gravely wounded deer with my CCW and in doing so I came away with some insight worth sharing.

First a quick yarn about how the events unfolded.

I was on my way to work in pretty heavy fog, when out of nowhere a deer jumped in front of the car ahead of me and tried to wrestle.  As expected the car won.  Amazingly the driver didn’t stop, instead they  kept going (how do I know they didn’t have insurance…) even though their headlight and portions of their bumper where now occupying the road.  Normally I wouldn’t have stopped either, but the deer came to rest directly in front of the bus entrance to my son’s elementary school.  It was early in the morning and the buses hadn’t started running, but I knew if I didn’t move the carcass no one would.  I didn’t want school buses dodging a deer in morning school traffic, nor did I want small kids to start their school day witnessing bloody gore.

Continue reading “Killing Bambi with a 9mm (Or Why A Head-Shot Might Not Stop The Attack)”

Project Lumen – Final Installment

Here is the fourth and final installment of Project Lumen.  I reviewed two lights this time and was able to draw some conclusions.  I am 100% glad I did this test and I highly encourage each reader to perform similar testing in your home.  It only takes 3-4 minutes each morning and you be rewarded with honest data, for your situation, which you can use to make better choices.  As I have said twice before, don’t fall into the trap of presumption.

Maglite 3D Cell Incandescent:

This is the only flashlight tested that doubles as an assault weapon.  It could literally be used to bludgeon a person to death.  Once upon a time they were considered bright; that time has long passed.  A quick check of the Maglite website shows that they now make better LED versions – good for them.

Let’s be frank; nothing I am about to say about the Maglite will surprise you or be a revelation.  I chose this flashlight based both on its universal familiarity and universal obsolescence.  How am I sure it is obsolete?  Here is a true story proving the point.

The head the inspection department where I work owns a really, really old 2 D Cell Maglite.  He was having issues with it so he called up Maglite.  They actually told him it was obsolete and he should really consider an upgrade.

With the Maglite, I didn’t expect greatness, and my expectations were met.   When I first turned it on the night before the test, it was so dim I suspected the batteries were bad.  I broke out some brand new Energizer D cell batteries and was less than impressed when the light was still dim.  I swapped out the bulb with the spare in the tail cap – no joy.  These are the flashlights that time has forgotten.

At around 45 lumens the light output is similar to the Streamlight Microstream.  But unlike the other incandescent lights, the Maglite cast a nice pattern of light.  And with a Maglite you can adjust the focus, so there’s that.  The Maglite didn’t affect my night sight at all, it was serviceable and in use everything I wrote about the Microstream applied.  With one exception – you can always use the Maglite as a striking weapon, or a baseball bat.

Maglite AR

I shudder thinking about the early nineties when those on the cutting edge of military and police had to tape a heavy and dim Maglite to their weapon.  Hooray for technology!

 

Nitecore SRT3 (CREE XM-L2 T6 LED, 550 lumens)

The brightest of the flashlights I tested, this is also the one I poo-pooed in the review I wrote.

Nitecore Main

CREE XM-L2 LED, 550 lumens, and a properly designed reflector meant this light provided the best illumination of the test.  When regarding the light quality and effect, during this test…bravo.  Nevertheless, I continue to find the actual light itself to be underwhelming in design.

Similarly to the Streamlight PolyTac, which was the second brightest light I tested, at initial activation the brightness of the flashlight did affect my night sight briefly, although it was shorter period of time than I experienced with the PolyTac.  This test not being performed in a  controlled lab, this difference could have been due to a multitude of reasons: how deep I was sleeping, ambient light, where the light was pointing at initial activation.  As I noted before; when you are trying to identify someone inside of your house any delay is a negative.  But in this case I believe the good outweighs the bad.

As with the PolyTac, there were no weird shadows; just even light across the area of coverage.  It just worked.  If the flashlight itself was more reliable it would be my only choice.  I will start saving for a brighter Streamlight or SureFire.  Until the, the PolyTac is my light of choice.

Streamlight Stinger:

I couldn’t get it.  Therefore it wasn’t tested.  Sorry.

After Thoughts:

Here is what this test has shown me, opened my eyes too and even shed some light on.  Man, that is a lot of light puns in one sentence.

  • It would seem to me, at least in my environment, that reflectivity of light affecting your night sight is a real concern. At least for a brief period of time following the initial activation of the light.
  • I also feel reflectivity is grossly over-exaggerated.  For the purpose of “bump in the night” defense.
  • Be realistic with your environment. Are you only purchasing the light for protection inside of your house?  If so, you can likely get away with less lumens than some might recommend.
  • It is important to remember that your worst case scenario will have you half-asleep. An LEO or MIL will have a worst case scenario where they are clearing a building or other environment while wide awake and alert.  You don’t have that luxury.  Don’t chose poorly based off unrealistic needs.
  • I feel 130-150 lumens is the absolute minimum you need for a defensive flashlight.
  • The more lumens the better, provided you actually TEST what you own in your situation.
  • There was no testing against smoke or fog. As Gun Nuts Commenter JNZ correctly noted, an incandescent light source might penetrate smoke or fog better.  (That sounds like the making of a test around a bonfire)
  • There is no free lunch. Chose one that works for you and practice accordingly.

In the end I had some fun doing this testing.  I learned quite a bit, both about my personal requirements and my environment.  While the expert stranger on the internet might disagree with me, I will sleep soundly knowing that I have actually tested my options and selected the best choice for me based on fact.  I recommend you do the same.

Project Lumen – Part 3

This is the third installment of Project Lumen and things are moving along nicely.  Today I offer up data on a cheap piece of crap, a former superstar and a modern LED light that is all polymer to keep cost and weight down.  As with the previous article, I will review the notes and data points from the first three lights I tested.

One thing common aspect with each light tested is the fact everyone should perform a similar test in THEIR home.  Don’t fall into the trap of presumption.

NEBO Classic

To be frank, this is a 100 lumen turd.  The illumination was underwhelming, as was the switch activation.  In full disclosure I bought this flashlight for $9.00; that is NINE dollars, spent for the sole purpose of illuminating my tinkering with my Lee Pro 1000 Press.

As with the ProTac LED and Microstream the color was a vibrant white hue and overall provided a minimum of light to do the job.  That is not what made it underwhelming.  The part that was truly stupefying was that it had twice the lumens of the Microstream with only about 10% of the light improvement.

As with the Microstream it was better than nothing, but only by a slim margin.  I included this flashlight in the test because it provided a data point.  It led to a wasted test day.

Streamlight NF-2:

This is the first of three incandescent flashlights I am testing.  It has 78 lumens and is an outdated, discontinued model.  It was included here for the sole purpose of comparing incandescent illumination to LED.

HDR

The good part: it didn’t affect my night sight at all.  Unfortunately the light provided was sub-par.  The yellow coloration was a non-issue, but the overall light quality was poor and cast a lot of shadows.  I actually cleaned the lens, installed new batteries and tried again the next morning.  Poor lighting was the same result.

I have two more incandescent lights to test, but my suspicions are we will get similar results.  Incandescent lighting just can’t compare to a quality LED.

It is worth noting that this light was considered to be at the top of its class when I bought it…. in 2004.

Streamlight PolyTac:

With 275 lumens out of the C4 LED, the Streamlight PolyTac was the brightest light tested so far.  The light quality did not disappoint.

Let me briefly discuss the actual PolyTac itself.  As the name describes, the entire light is polymer.  It is probably not the light you want to take on an excursion to douchebagistan, but for EDC it works splendidly.

Sidebar:  I actually keep this light installed on my AR, attached with a Viking Tactics mount.  Yes I know, polymer light on an AR.  Whatever; I live in this thing called reality.  If I have to use my AR in defense, especially more than a few shots, I will be famous.  I keep the light on there for one reason –   varmints on my property.   Since I don’t plan on a Chupacabra returning fire, I feel safe in my choice.

Now, back to the discussing the light quality and effect…

Upon initial activation the brightness of the flashlight did affect my eyes briefly.  This was the first time this has happened during the test and my reflex was to close my eyes and squint for maybe five seconds.  I think this is important.  When identifying someone inside of your house, five seconds is an eternity.

The light quality was, as I said above, great.  No weird shadows.  The LED and reflector design cast a smooth, even light across the area of coverage.   Just awesome illumination – once my eyes adjusted.   Out of those tested so far, this is the one I would choose today.

Review:

Will the brighter lights cause greater reflex squinting?

Will the squint time increase with the lumen output?

Will the 550 lumen Nitecore cause me to convulse?

Stay tuned for the next episode we test an old tech Mag Light 3D Cell light, the discontinued Streamlight TL-3, maybe a Streamlight Stinger and the 550 lumen Nitecore SRT3.

Project Lumen – Part 2

For Part 2 of Project Lumen we will review the notes and data points from the first three lights tested.

During the testing I learned a tidbit that is specific to my house, is wholly irrelevant to this test, and does illustrate the need to actual test your home and don’t fall into the trap of presumption.

Streamlight ProTac:

This was the brightest light tested so far and the initial illumination or “light on” wasn’t a problem with my groggy night sight.   It was definitely bright; but not blinding or over-powering.  The illumination was very good and I had no problem seeing what I needed to see.

The 180 lumen LED provided a quality white illumination, and while it made for some hard shadows, the overall light provided was excellent.

The reflectivity off the walls was not bad at all.  The interior walls of my house have an egg-shell sheen so that clearly comes into play.  If the walls in my house were high gloss; or if I was up against a door frame painted with gloss trim paint, there might be a problem.

This was the best light tested so far.

Streamlight Microstream:

At 45 lumens this is easily the dullest light of the test.  The illumination was just weak; even with new batteries installed.  Initial “light on” wasn’t a problem because the overall light was dim – very, very dim.

As with the ProTac LED, the color was a vibrant white hue and overall provided the bare minimum amount of light to do the job.  With only 45 lumens, reflectivity was virtually zero and as noted above, the overall effect on my night sight was minimal.

While the Streamlight Microstream is a good light, its worth as a defensive light is questionable.  It is better than nothing, but so is a candle, sans the fire hazard.  I still think this is a decent flashlight for EDC, but I would not make it my only light by the bedside.

PL 2

The XS Micro and Microstream chillin’ on some Kevlar and Nomex aircraft paneling.

INOVA XS Micro:

This light was not purchased for any other reason than I liked the way it looked.  The color is reminiscent of Titanium, even though it is not.  No, my excuse for this light would be those times I am really dressed up, such as weddings and funerals.  I never had self-defense or serious use in mind when I purchased this flashlight; so of course I tested it.  At 80 lumens, I felt it exploring its capabilities as a defense torch was warranted.

Similar to the Micro Stream, the initial light was not blinding or over-powering.  At 80 lumens the XS Micro was better than the Microstream.  In fact, it was quite a bit better, more so then the difference in lumens would suggest.

Oddly, the LED cast a bluish hue to the environment; not a major issue, but the illumination was not as “clean” as the ProTac or the Microstream.  For those that don’t know, the human eye has the most difficulty seeing blue illumination when compared to all others.  Click here for more information.

Finally, the tail cap was difficult to actuate.  This is not a review, but this was readily noticeable while drowsy.  I still think it looks cool, and now that I am aware of its shortcomings, I can better decide when to carry this sexy little light.

Part 2 Conclusions:

With these three low power flashlights reviewed it is obvious that anything less than around 150 lumens is too weak for real consideration. (Hint – the 100 lumen NEBO has already been tested too)  At no point was my night vision affected and I learned several key points on the way shadows are cast in my house.

Next time I will review the NEBO, the 275 lumen Streamlight PolyTac and Streamlight NF-2 with an incandescent bulb and only 78 lumens.

I look to future parts with the following questions:

  1. Is there a limit to have many lumens you should have?
  2. Can incandescent light dissuade my developing thought that 150 lumens should be the bare minimum for a torch you might stake your life on?
  3. While gathering data, will I stub my toe and awaken everyone with my  cursing?

Project Lumen

If you spend any time watching low light videos on YouTube, or reading articles by “experts”, you will notice two differing opinions on the requirements of a home defense light.  Some will say too many lumens will reflect back into your face and blind you; others say it doesn’t matter and you should go with the brightest possible.  So which is it?

I wanted to find out and decided to do some testing of my own – Project Lumen.  With this article I will lay out the goal and some ground rules.

The Goal

Can have too many lumens at night?  Will too bright a light lead to self-induced blindness?  Are the opinions of other based in fact, or just regurgitated internet tripe?

This experiment will hopefully answer those questions while also helping me to determine what the best illumination for my house is.  Keep in mind your house may be different.  You may have more, or less, shadows; your house is likely a different color and sheen on the interior walls.  I have real wood floors throughout my house.  If you have carpet the reflected light will be different.  You may have mirrors that reflect light.  In my house we have a set of French doors leading into what has become the kid’s playroom.  Will the light reflected off of those doors be problematic?

Nitecore nvg

Ground Rules

It is worth noting that while I can’t test every flashlight ever made, I have gathered a decent spread of different types and lumen outputs to evaluate.  This testing will not be done in a sleep lab or a scientific dark room; no, instead it will be performed in my home, under realistic “bump in the night” conditions.  I will get to the actual test procedure in a minute, but certain aspects will be beyond my control; things such as:

  • How much moonlight is present through the windows.
  • Is there cloud cover?
  • Are my neighbors flood lights on or off?
  • How well, or how deep, was I sleeping when the test begins?

You may not agree with the results and it is entirely possible that your results would differ from mine. Still, I hope that you take the information and processes used and decide to test your own environment, draw your own conclusions, and ensure the best for your protection.

I want to give a quick note to those that might complain about my methods.  I am open to completely redoing the test in a perfectly controlled environment.  Just tell me what lab you are paying for and provide me with airfare, per diem, the address, a rental car, lost wages, and the brace of lights you want tested… ‘nuff said.

To make things simple I will use two parameters to define the test flashlights – lumens and bulb type.  Lumens is not the “be all, end all” of lighting; but it provides a number that can be used as a reference.  Bulb type will allow me to determine if the coloration of the light effects the result (for more on light color and mood click here) on the surrounding environment.  I will neither test nor document; run time, durability, candlepower, watts, weight, size or cost.  I have also made a conscious decision not to test a weapon mounted light.  This test is to determine the effects of light reflection and overall lumens on my eye sight; thus I see no reason to increase the element of error, and danger, by introducing a weapon into the test when I can get the same results with a flashlight.

Definitions

Lumen – :  a unit of luminous flux equal to the light emitted in a unit solid angle by a uniform point source of one candle intensity.  The Wikipedia page actually has a lot of quality information about lumens for those that want to geek out.

Candlepower – illuminating power expressed in candelas or candles.

The Contestants

Before I get to the test, which is remarkably simple, I want to list the players. I will test one flashlight per night.

  • Streamlight TL-3 (incandescent xenon gas-filled pen bulb, 211 lumens)
  • Streamlight NF-2 (incandescent xenon gas-filled pen bulb, 78 lumens)
  • Streamlight ProTac (C4 LED, 180 lumens)
  • Streamlight Micro Stream (C4 LED, 45 lumens)
  • Streamlight PolyTac (C4 LED, 275 lumens)
  • Nitecore SRT3 (CREE XM-L2 T6 LED, 550 lumens)
  • INOVA XS Micro (LED, 80 lumens)
  • NEBO Classic (LED, about 100 lumens)
  • Mag Light – 3 D Cell (incandescent, around 45 lumens)
  • A borrowed Streamlight Stinger DS LED (C4 LED, 350 Lumens)
  • Maybe a Q-Beam if I can borrow one (Bright!)

The Test

For as long as this article has become, the test is actually pretty easy.  I will stage one flashlight on my bedside table at bedtime. I wake up at 5:00 AM, well before anyone else in my house; so, when my alarm goes off, I will simply proceed to “clear” my house.  I will take the same path during each test. With nine flashlights and the potential for more this will take a couple of weeks, but my goal is to update what I learn as I go and offer a final conclusion at the end.

The test begins tonight.