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March 2012 Gear - Flashlight Face-Off

Posted in Product Reviews on January 3, 2012
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Whether it’s for finding a path while camping or for tooling under the hood after dusk, having a reliable light source is essential for any outdoor adventurer. But lugging around a large lantern isn’t always practical for some.

So this month, we tested two pocket-sized LED flashlights: the 5.11 Tactical ATAC A1 and the Primus PrimeTorch 1010. While we give the 4WD stamp of approval to both for outstanding quality, design, and luminosity, read below to see which is right for you.

Manufacturer: 5.11 Tactical
Length: 4.2 inches
Weight: 2.2 ounces
MSRP: $54.99

Luminosity For up to 50 minutes, its high mode can put out a beam up to 99 meters at 103 lumen —plenty bright for our needs. It also has low and strobe modes for various usages.
Usabiltiy Small enough to fit in a pocket, backpack, or center console, the A1 is easy to use and fits comfortably in our hands. The smooth switch on the end can be pushed down half way for a "momentary-on" function. Conveniently, it uses a single AA alkaline battery. It also has a breakaway lanyard and a soft-touch, anti-roll ring.
Durability Constructed out of aerospace-grade aluminum, a Cree XP-E LED bulb, and a water-resistant design, the A1 feels like it could survive a war. We’re confident it’ll hold up during our future excursions. However, based on our extensive experience carrying folder knives, the A1’s stamped-metal pocket clip could bend or snap if you’re not careful.
Overall We're love the ATAC A1. Its tactical-looking aesthetics match its high functionality. And best of all, it’s bright. A good choice for any outdoor enthusiast.

PrimeTorch 101
Manufacturer: Primus
Length: 3.3 inches
Weight: 1.6 ounces
MSRP: $66
Luminosity The bulb is impressive; it can shoot out a 130-lumen beam up to 175 yards for three hours. It cuts through darkness like a laser.
Usabiltiy This little guy fits snugly in our grip. Turning it on is easy with its red “tactical switch” (as Primus calls it) on the end, far better than the ubiquitous slider switches found on the sides of most flashlights. It also comes with a pocket clip (beware of accidental snapping) and a nylon case to wear on your belt. A drawback is it uses a CR123A lithium battery, which isn’t as common as AA batteries and are more expensive.
Durability It's made of hard anodized aluminum, it’s waterproof, and it features a Cree Q4 LED bulb. This equals a brilliant outdoor tool that can meet the demands of any hardcore four-wheeler, camper, hunter, hiker, or climber.
Overall It's an ideal compact flashlight. With its outstanding capabilities, its quality construction, and certainly the brightest bulb we’ve ever tested, the PrimeTorch 1010 is an impressive tool.


Give us your thoughts and get two movies! Four randomly selected people will each receive Blu-ray discs of Killer Elite and The Scorpion King 3: The Battle for Redemption. All you have to do is email explaining what your top four outdoor activities are (aside from four-wheelin') and why.

Inspired by true events, Killer Elite is an action-adventure spy film starring Robert De Niro and Jason Statham. It debuts on Blu-ray Combo Pack with UltraViolet and on DVD January 10.

Meanwhile, The Scorpion King 3 is about a legendary warrior king who returns to reclaim his honor and his destiny. It stars Billy Zane and also debuts on Blu-ray and DVD on January 10.

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