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2005 SHOT Show LED Flashlight Review

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New to the USA although not new on the market, OMBU lights are designed and assembled in Italy, and primarily distributed in the United States by GlowBug.

X-11X-11, OMBU's one-watt Luxeon LED light, is powered by a single 123A lithium battery, emitting 25 lumens over a 1-to-2 hour continuous burn time. It weighs 74g and measures 76mm long, with a bezel diameter of 25mm. It is water-resistant, with o-ring seals throughout. The switch is at the rear and takes a positive click to activate. The flashlight body is deeply knurled for a non-slip grip, while the lens hood is deeply scalloped so that it is possible to see at a glance whether the light has been left on even if it is set face down on a solid surface. The light comes in its own hinged presentation case, and retails at around $80.

X-33X-33, a dual-level three-watt Luxeon LED light, is powered by two 123A lithium batteries. At full power, it emits 45 lumens over 2 to 3 hours of runtime, while the lower-powered setting gives 18 lumens over roughly 30 hours of runtime. It weighs 105g and measures 127mm long, with a bezel diameter of 25mm. Like the X-11, the X-33 is water resistant, and has a deeply knurled body with a scalloped lens hood. It comes in a hinged presentation case and retails at around $100.

X-55X-55 is a five-watt Luxeon LED light with styling very similar to the other lights in the X-series. It emits 75 lumens with a continuous runtime of 1 hour, and an extended run time of around 4 hours. Powered by two 123A lithium batteries, the X-55 weighs and measures exactly the same as the X-33: 105g in weight, 127mm in length, and a bezel diameter of 25mm. Like the other two lights in the series, it is water resistant and has a deeply knurled body with a scalloped lens hood. It comes in its own hinged presentation case and retails at around $130.


Optronics is a thirty-year old company familiar to RV'ers and ATV'ers as vehicular and recreational light suppliers. New to the sports light market, they were showing off several LED and LED combo headlamps.

HL-7500HL-7500 uses three AAA batteries to power 7 white LED's. The side-located switch allows the user to choose to light 1, 3, or all 7 of the LED's. The lamp bracket is adjustable. Retail price is around $19.

HL-7510Outwardly similar to the above light, the HL-7510 is a combo light, with 6 white LED and a krypton bulb. The toggle lets you choose to power 1, 3, or all 6 LEDs, or the krypton bulb. It is powered by three AAA batteries, and will retail at $18.

HL-7520HL-7520, another combo light powered by three AAA batteries, uses two white LEDs and one green LED for night vision, plus a krypton bulb. The toggle lets you power one white, both whites, just the green, or the krypton. It'll retail around $16.

HL-7530HL-7530 is a rectangular-shaped light which runs five white LEDs through one steady setting and two flashing modes. The first flashing mode is a simple blink; the other mode simply powers one LED after another in sequence. Powered by three AAA alkaline batteries, the lamp can be detached from its headband bracket. A magnet on the back allows it to be placed on metal surfaces. HL-7530 will sell for around $10.


IST Designs drew a lot of attention by showcasing a light guaranteed to appeal to minimalists. Pak-Lite is an unusual two-LED light which simply snaps onto the top of a 9-volt battery.

Pak-Lite in different colorsPak-Lite weighs only 3g by itself, and adds only a few millimeters to the overall length of a standard alkaline or lithium 9-volt battery. With gold plated contacts, the miniature three-position toggle switch is rated for over 100,000 uses and allows the user to choose between a low- and a high-power setting. It is unlikely to be accidentally activated, but for added security it's simple to unsnap the light from the top of the battery when it's not needed.

The light itself will function fine under water without damage to the circuitry, but keep in mind that most batteries aren't sealed and will tend to corrode.

The lights come with a choice of cap colors, including one that glows in the dark for up to 24 hours. LEDs in white, green, red, blue, UV, and IR are available. Retail price for the white LED model is $24.

Though it wasn't at the SHOT Show, Pak-Lite has also recently announced a “flasher” version of the same light: one red LED, one white LED, and the toggle allows the user to choose between a flashing red or a solid white light. MSRP is $30.


Pelican's booth was stacked with their signature polymer cases, including the very popular MicroCase series. They had a few new things in the lighting department, including some additions to their Recoil line of flashlights. While most of those lights are really too big for inclusion here, they merit a mention as worth a second look if you're after a slightly larger light that is submersion-proof.

VB3Vaguely reminiscent of a hippopotamus when seen from the front, VB3 LED functions more like Captain Kirk's cell phone. To activate the light, just flip it open. An integral clip allows it to be attached to a ball cap, front pocket, or other surface, and the head containing two white LEDs can be rotated 180 degrees to aim the light where you need it. The water resistant body is made of Xylex, a sturdy polymer, and comes in a choice of five different colors (yellow, black, orange, translucent blue, or translucent red). It uses two 2032 lithium coin cell batteries, weighs around 27g, and puts out about 5 ˝ lumens over an advertised 100 hour runtime. Overall length is 89mm. It'll retail for around $20.

M1M1 LED is an aluminum-bodied light with midbody switch. It's got an anti-roll head, knurling on the body, and measures 105mm in length. The one-watt Luxeon LED is powered by one 123A lithium battery, and puts out around 26 lumens. The advertised runtime is 2.3 hours. MSRP is $55.

Pentagon Light

New from Pentagon Light this year is the L-Series of Luxeon LED tactical lights. The bodies are anodized aircraft-grade aluminum with anti-roll pentagon shaped tailcaps. There is a titanium lanyard hook near the tailcap of each light, and a detachable, length adjustable lanyard is part of the package. Pentagon's signature tailcap switch is activated by a simple push for momentary on, or by twisting for constant on. It is possible to lock the light in the off position simply by backing the tailcap off a turn or two. Pentagon also sells alternative tailcaps with other types of switches, at prices ranging from $15 to $35.

The heads are interchangeable with other light sources, such as a high intensity xenon light or multi-LED flood lights. The bodies are knurled for a no-slip grip, and have double o-ring seals to help keep water out. Two finishes are available, a standard black anodized finish or a Military Spec Type III hard anodizing.

All flashlights in this series are fully regulated. Regulation enables an LED light to run longer at full brightness by sacrificing the extremely long “tail” of less-useable dim light toward the end of the battery life.

L2L2-1W is the one-watt offering. It is available in five LED colors (white, blue, green, red, and amber). The brightness of the light depends upon the LED color chosen, and ranges from 20 lumens in white or amber, 30 lumens in red or green, to 35 lumens in blue. Two 123A lithium batteries provide two hours of peak light and four to six hours of useable light. The L2-1W measures 140mm in length, with a bezel width of 32mm and a weight of 153g. Retail price ranges from $85 to $100, depending upon the options chosen.

L2-3W, the three-watt light, is available in the same two finishes and with either a white or a green LED. Weighing in at 153g, with a 32mm bezel and 140mm length, the L2-3W makes a solid little handful. In either color, it emits 65 lumens, with one hour of peak light and two to three hours of useable light, and is powered by two 123A lithium batteries. Retail price depends upon the finish and LED color, and ranges from $100 to $110.

L3L3-5W is outwardly similar to the other two lights, but is powered by three 123A lithium cells and runs on five watts. It is larger than L2-3W, measuring 178mm in length with a bezel diameter of 38mm. It weighs 198 grams. With a brightness of 75 lumens, the light should provide a little over an hour and a half of peak light, followed by two to three hours of useable light. The L3's beam is more tightly focused than those of the L2, brightening the center spot and improving the flashlight's reach. It retails at $160 to $170.

L4-5W is not currently for sale, but is in the works. It will feature 90 lumens of brightness and a peak runtime of two hours, and be powered by four 123A lithium batteries.

Photon Micro Light / LRI

The new LED's are more than 50% brighterAt the Photon Micro Light booth, David Allen was waxing eloquent about the new super-bright LEDs from Nichia. These newer LEDs, he says, are a good 50% brighter than anything they've ever gotten out of the top bin before, and about 100% brighter than the LEDs most folks are using now. The first production run of these newer LEDs is happening at the end of February, and LRI bought the entire first run.

What's LRI going to do with 'em? Well ...

You may have seen the new Freedom MicroLights. These little keychain-size lights are absolutely laden with features, and give a lot of light out of a really small package. Powered by two CR2032 lithium coin cells, Freedom has a tiny little “smart circuit” micro processor which makes multiple modes possible. Flick the button and the light comes on full power, or hold it down and allow the light to slowly cycle up until it reaches the intensity you want. Continue to hold the button down, and the light cycles through the various flash options: slow strobe, medium strobe, fast strobe, SOS. Flick the button repeatedly and Freedom becomes a momentary-on light, suitable for use as a signal light; hold it down again to shut off the momentary-on feature. Snapped into the included base clip, Freedom can be clipped to a cap, shirt, or jacket lapel. Freedom is currently available with LEDs in 10 different colors and comes in black or camo. Retail price is $20.

Freedom to the MAXDavid Allen's plan is to put the new, brighter white LEDs into these already-bright miniature lights. He's also upgrading the base clips to include three powerful micro-magnets on the underside, so the base can be hung on any metallic surface. The new, brighter Freedom will be called “Freedom to the MAX,” and will retail at around $21.

ProtonClose to production-ready is the new Proton light, a hi-flux light featuring two red LEDs and one bright white LED. Powered by a single AA battery of almost any type, Proton will measure 92mm by 16mm. The company is still doing testing, but expect the output to be an amazing 60 lumens, and the run time to be up to three hours on full power.

Proton is a flexible design which enables the user to choose to protect night vision or to brightly illuminate the subject. A flick of the switch gives full-power brightness of the white LED, while a long press causes the light to cycle up from the dimmest red setting to the brightest red setting.

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Contributing Editor: Kathy Jackson
Email: Kathy Jackson
Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
Email: Doug Ritter
First Published: February 11, 2005
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