I attended a ham radio swap meet several years ago and at one vendor’s display I saw a very strange flashlight. It used a flat, square LED under an adjustable lens that produced a very bright light. This was my first look at the new type of light emitting diode (LED) from Cree, inc. Now, several years later they are taking the lighting industry by storm. The efficiency and durability of this technology is a game-changer. So when it came time to replace my Surefire G2 on my carbine this was the obvious direction for me. Continue reading “Fenix TK15: Cree LED goodness”
Surefire has long been a leading manufacturer of handheld lighting devices. They have a strong reputation for producing very rugged and reliable lights for the toughest of applications. In 1987 they introduced the 6P model which quickly became the standard light not only for first responders but also for a broad section of the military user base. With this original model still in production over twenty years later, Surefire decided to produce a polymer model that would sell for under $40. Enter the G2 Nitrolon.
The G2 (and it’s larger sibling the G3) is made from a very tough polymer and uses a 60 lumen incandescent bulb. This makes for a very lightweight tactical light that is still able to withstand the rigors of being mounted on a combat weapon. I purchased a G2 last year and have put many thousands of rounds through the various rifles on which it was mounted without any issue. The polymer construction is also nice if you ever need to hold the light in your teeth. If you’ve ever had a Maglight in your teeth and bumped something with it you know what I mean.
The G2 is waterproof, has a well-designed reflector, durable lens and a very nice end-cap switch. The switch is push-button momentary and twist-on constant like most lights nowadays. I am sure you can replace this with a pressure switch if you like. I normally don’t because I mount the light just forward of my forward vertical grip, making the light button easily reached by extending my index finger. (I like my GripPod more forward than most folks because this facilitates the bipod function better.)
I mounted my G2 under the gun since this keeps the overall width of the weapon reduced. To do this I used this Quick Detach Tactical Light Holder from Command Arms Accessories. This is their Model FAS2, which is very light, holds the light securely yet comes right off the rail with the bush of a button. I normally leave the light on the gun but there are occasions when one might need to remove it and not having to find a wrench and pay the money/weight/size price for a fancy quick-disconnect mount is a real plus for me. It’s not like you need to hold a zero on the light, right?
Of course once you have used a Surefire they are confident you will be a repeat customer. They sell several add-on kits for this model, including two different power LED conversions and a larger light head, which is supposed to better focus the beam. The LED kits will extend the battery life considerably (from 1 hour to 10 hours) but for my limited low-light use I don’t see a need at this point.
My friend Aaron was up shooting this weekend (He had to escape the firearms Black Hole that is Boston) and as an EMT, he immediately recognized the light on my SR-556 as the G2. That pretty much says it all.
So, for less than $70 you can have a very solid, bright tactical light mounted on your rifle which is about as good a deal as you will find these days.