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SureFire clones...Any Good?

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by Rubber_Duck, Sep 12, 2010.

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  1. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Member

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    I want to put a dedicated weapon light on my AR, and my ideal set-up would be a SureFire M951 mounted on the right side of my rail system, with the Malkoff LED drop-in as an option (though I prefer the light given off by incan bulbs).

    On the other hand, because the light isn't a serious fighting tool for me and it isn't a critical part of my set-up, perhaps I would be better served using a clone of the M951? I may try eBay first to see if I can get a better price on an authentic M951, but otherwise, i may give clones a close look.

    I found this one for rather cheap: http://www.apextac.com/catalog/item/6540834/7451642.htm

    Does anyone have any experience with this (or any other) SureFire clone? I know there's good clones out there, I've handled the Rico clone of the M900 vertical grip light but I don't like that style of light.
     
  2. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Member

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    Actually, I can find plenty of the real SureFires on eBay for under $200 so that will be the route I'm taking. No point in chancing it on a clone if I can afford better.
     
  3. otblue

    otblue Member

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    Anything half way important requires the use of a reputable brand name.

    Chicom knockoffs work well enough FOR A SHORT TIME. They WILL fail because they all suffer from poor construction of the electrical bits even if the components themselves are reasonable.

    The incandescents seem to last a bit longer before they fail compared to the LED versions because the latter have circuits with more soldering which is their weak point.

    If you pull one apart, and I have, the soldering appears to have been done by an 8 year old and just so they don't hurt themselves they use solder with an incredibly low melting point.

    The heat generated by ordinary use melted the solder in mine and shorted out the circuit.

    Keep in mind that Lithium batteries don't like to be shorted and can catch fire and explode. Check out some of the flashlight forums scary photos of what Lithium batteries can do.
     
  4. highorder

    highorder Member

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    Read this.

    hso worked some magic and turned a post of mine into a thread.

    ETA, some of the links have changed in that thread. The point being, It seems clones are the sum of their components. Build with care.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  5. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Member

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    otblue, that makes sense about the LEDs vs incan bulbs in Chinese knock-offs. Considering how much I have in my AR already, and how cheap (relatively) I can get the real deal on eBay, I will definitely be buying from the real American company.
     
  6. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    from what I've seen, flashlights are not like optics. you do not necessarily get more light for more money. and you will get more brightness from good batteries than you will from a nicer flashlight. but I've never regretted buying quality.
     
  7. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Member

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    That was my line of thinking as well, optics are one thing but a flash light seems like something easy to make bright and reliable.
     
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I thought I did too, for about the first 10 minutes after I put a Malkoff M61L 175 lumin bulb in my old 6P.

    And then it got dark and I went outside with it.

    WOW!!

    The other thing is, I was getting about 30 minutes run time with a Surefire 120 lumin P61 bulb. And no warning at all when the batterys totally died suddenly.

    The Malkoff needs a new set of batterys every four months with the same amount of use as before.

    And the blinding white light turns to a soft glow you can still see with before giving up completely and dying dead some time later.

    rc
     
  9. AR27

    AR27 Member

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    Go with the Primary Arms Ultimate Weapon Light, the thing is fantastic. I have owned a surefire M951 and bought the primary arms to see what it was all about, first day i got it the surefire was listed on ebay. :) I believe it accepts the bulbs you are talking about and the surefire ones two. Also accepts larue and other mounts designed for surefire. Cant beat it.
     
  10. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Member

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    Wow, the Praimary Arms is 380 lumens according to their website. Is that accurate? Even the Malkoff LED drop-in is 260 which still seems like a lot.

    I've been issued Streamlights for work that operate at 80 and 100 lumens and they seem pretty damn bright already, I can see to 150 feet at night with them so the benefit of an LED is purely run time.
     
  11. highorder

    highorder Member

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    Most companies, with the notable exception of Surefire, list total lumens generated. The difference between total lumens generated and OTF (out the front) lumens can be as much as 50%, depending on several factors like reflector design, lens quality, etc.
     
  12. NVMM

    NVMM Member

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    LA Police Gear is clearing out some of their Surefires.
    Apply coupon code LAPG for additional 5% off.
    Surefire G3 LED $43
    Surefire G2Z LED $43
    Surefire 6p LED $47.50
    Surefire 6p Defender $52
    Surefire Z2 Led w/ Holster & Battery Holder $63
    Scroll to bottom of closeouts and you will see them.
    http://www.lapolicegear.com/closeouts.html
     
  13. ClemsonAl

    ClemsonAl Member

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    Inexpensive Clone

    Do a Home Depot search for "Coast V2" and read the reviews. I have one mounted on my Ruger Mark I, using a shotgun tube extension clamp. Lights-up a big area for all the night-time critters. It's only $24.99.:D
     
  14. basicblur

    basicblur Member

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    Might try some Insight/Streamlight stuff? They seem to be the red-headed stepchild of lights, but I've never really seen/heard why.
    I've just started upgrading my lights with the recent price drops of Streamlight LEDs, which seem to run quite a bit less than Surefire-bought a number at Optics Planet and off eBay.

    AFA light output, I think we may be getting into a numbers game?
    Just how much light do you need, and is the increase a trade-off you're willing to make at the cost of battery life?
     
  15. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Member

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    I have a SureFire Z2 light that I am putting the P61 120-lumen lamp in to see how I like it, hopefully it will be about the same as the M951 with the P61 and then I can decide whether or not to upgrade to the Malkoff LED. I just ordered the P61 bulb assemblies so lets see how long they take to get to Guam. I really like the incan light compared to the LED Streamlights I use at work, though the LEDs are brighter than my SureFire at 80 lumens for one light (Streamlight Vantage) and 100 for the other (Survivor LED) versus the 65 lumens I'm getting out of my SureFire Z2 right now.
     
  16. highorder

    highorder Member

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    The P61 lamp is older technology. It has a heavy current draw while producing less light than more modern aftermarket options. Look at Lumensfactory incan options for more output.
     
  17. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Member

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    Hmm, the Lumens Factory bulbs seem pretty cheap. How durable are they? They're claiming 200 lumens out of a 6v incan bulb, which is a good deal for $15. A lot cheaper than the $29 SureFire lists the P61 for (though I only paid $8.50 a piece for mine).
     
  18. highorder

    highorder Member

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    LF products seem to hold up nicely.

    I have a 7.2v 380 lumen lamp mounted to an AR-15. I've had no issues.
     
  19. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Member

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  20. highorder

    highorder Member

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    The SST-50 is a new type of led. Here is the data sheet from the manufacturer.

    It's capable, in theory, of delivering nearly 1000 lumens when driven to max current. Many companies are integrating it into their products, including Solarforce. Solarforce as a brand makes decent clones of Surefire products.
     
  21. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Member

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  22. sonrider657

    sonrider657 Member

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    If you are looking for top quality, Made in the USA, look here. They use Malkoff LED's.
     
  23. NWdude83

    NWdude83 Member

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    You need to check out CandlePowerForums. Respect for Surefire, but even more for Chinese lights. The one time you might actually be proud to buy Chinese. My username is the same over there btw.
     
  24. Cesiumsponge

    Cesiumsponge Member

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    There is more to brightness in a flashlight. Color Rendering Index is important. I've had a lot of bright LED lights in my time and you learn to hate some of them because the color spectrum makes it difficult to make out details when used in the dark. Things like distance and depth become harder to discern, especially on foliage. Shine a traditional "dingy yellow" incandescent on a tree and do the same with some of the bluish LEDs and give it a try. It sounds weird but the color spectra output on LEDs are not all the same. LED color output is bluish and any warmer hues are obtained by stuffing yellow phosphors over the LED dies to turn it more towards white. They vary by bin flux and the manufacturer data sheets will show this.

    A lot of cutting edge stuff is being done overseas on LED technology and user interface. Stateside brands like Surefire are falling way behind as far as using the newest and greatest. There are still some small US brands that offer fantastic things. HDS builds beefier lights than Surefire and they're made in Arizona. I still buy Surefire, but I rarely leave them stock. They've become hosts for my projects, much like Maglites.
     
  25. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    I really like the Streamlight Strion Led in a VTAC light mount. Rechargable, strobe, multiple light levels. All for $70.

    -Jenrick
     
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