Surefire has for decades been synonymous with high-performance, high-end flashlights, weapon lights and the like, but you would never accuse the company of building particularly affordable flashlights. Nor were they ever a major market mover in the consumer EDC (Every Day Carry) market. That was then.
SHOT Show marked something of a revolution at Surfire as it upended expectations with its new Titan and Titan Plus flashlights, both in terms of price and EDC performance. The Titan name is carried over from the original $500 titanium “halo product” light and then the T1A, a single CR123-cell conventional aluminum light with a $249 MSRP, but the name is the extent of the carryover.
The first shocker is the price, $59.95 for the Titan, $99 for the Titan Plus! Honest, that’s not a typo. Not the least expensive single AAA-cell high-performance LED flashlight, but for sure the least expensive Surefire lights ever, by a big margin, and quite competitive. And, they’re still made here in the USA. But, wait, there’s more…
The Titan high beam provides 125 lumens and the Titan Plus provides 300 lumens! All from that single AAA-cell. The 300-lumen output requires a nickel metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable battery, neither alkaline or lithium batteries can provide enough current quick enough. You can use an alternative battery in a pinch, but it will provide notably lower top output (Surefire wasn’t able to quantify that at press time). The Titan will run fine on a lithium AAA-cell, and for considerably longer. A Sanyo Eneloop NiMH battery is included with both, but you’ll need your own charger, something many buyers will already own.
Both lights offer a low mode of 15 lumens and the Plus also has a mid-range of 75 lumens; twist the head switch counterclockwise repeatedly to activate and set the output level, starting at low. Surefire rates the Titan Plus at 300 lumens for 45 minutes. The Titan runtime on high (125 lumens) is 1 hour, at 15 lumens it is 8 hours using the NiMH battery. A lithium AAA-cell will get you 2 hours and 10 hours, respectively. That’s all we could get on runtime from Surefire by press time. But, wait, there’s more…
These lights are being marketed towards “every-person” use in normal daily activities. The other innovation, that has already “trickled up” to some of Surefire’s more normally priced tactical and weapon lights, is the patent pending multi-faceted reflector that creates what Surefire is calling a “MaxVision Beam.” There have been a variety of attempts to create smooth and wide light from high-output LEDs, whether single focus or via a zoom mechanism, primarily using a lens and occasionally with some reflector technology. Some have been better than others, but the majority have not been particularly compact and most have been less than impressive. The MaxVision Beam is not about how far the beam can throw down-range; it’s all about providing a wide, even beam to light up the entire environs out to a practical distance. You really have to recalibrate your expectations or you’ll miss the point.
We were able to go hands-on with the Titan Plus after dark in the real world. While we were unable to find a really dark alley in Las Vegas near the Sands, we were able to see what a difference this beam makes. Anyone who has walked down an alley or on a trail in the dark knows what it’s like to be continuously moving the light around to light up near, far, left, right, etc. Even a so-called wide beam light just doesn’t have the spread to illuminate everything you want to be able to see at the same time, let alone do it as smoothly as this.
Not so with the MaxVision Beam. It was specifically designed to light up your entire natural field of vision with a spectacularly smooth, even and plenty bright beam. The entire alley is lit up, wall to wall, a huge advantage in situational awareness. On the trail, you’ll be able to see up ahead, both sides and that branch sticking out ready to poke your eye out. On low output, it illuminates the entire book you’re reading, or most of any map or chart. The difference compared to a conventional flashlight really has to be seen to be appreciated. This light isn’t about throw distance, it’s about useable light where you need it. Surefire needs to do a good video to illustrate the difference, because unless you see it, it’s hard to imagine what a difference it makes.
The Titan has a Type III black anodized aluminum body, 0.58 inches in diameter and 3 inches long, weighing in at 1 oz. It’s a good size and weight for a key-chain light.
The Titan Plus has a bushed nickel-plated brass body. It turns out that aluminum just isn’t conductive enough to accommodate the power needed to push the light output to 300 lumens. It is also 0.59 inches in diameter with the length extended to 3.375 inches to accommodate the extra electronics needed to work with that high output. The change to brass ups the weight to 1.8 ounces, a noticeable difference. It comes with quick-detach plastic tailcap that fits over the end so it’s easy to get on or off the keychain when you need to. Some may find it a bit too heavy for a keychain light. It also comes with a two-position pocket clip that allows conventional pocket carry or reverse it to clip it to your cap’s bill. On that note, we hope the next product is going to be a compact headlamp using this MaxView Beam technology, because it just screams to be used that way.
Surefire also showed off a very compact weapon light (the XC1) and wristlights using this same MaxVision Beam tech which are perfect applications for it. But for value and performance, the Titan lights are a home run.
Surefire aims to start delivering both Titan lights in the second quarter.