Archive for the ‘Illumination’ category

GSARGear Review: Sunwayman M20c

November 21, 2011

 

The Sunwayman M20C R5 is a high-powered, easy-to-use flashlight.
It is powered by two CR123s or a 18650 battery, with excellent output regulation and efficiency.

Use:

The M20c is powered on by your standard tailcap click switch, easy to use with gloves, but is slightly recessed to prevent accidental activation.

The M20c has four light modes with varying runtimes:

280 Lumens (1.5 hours)
50 Lumens (25 hours)
13 Lumens (100 hours)
Strobe mode: 280 Lumens (Untested, due to proctor blindness)

You can cycle through these modes with their unusual “Magnetic Sensor Control” system, a rotating magnetic band near the bezel of the light.

 

The light throws very well, with a smooth beam pattern and decent flood, clearly outlining human figures out past 200 meters.

Dimensions:
Length: 5.24″
Head diameter: 1.26″
Body diameter: 1.0″
Weight: 120g, unloaded

Cons:

My only issue with the light is the smoothness of the handgrip. It can be hard to keep a hold of, especially when covered in blood or oil. This is mitigated somewhat when used with their included tactical ring, but more knurling on the grip would be much appreciated. A flashlight with a tendency to leave your hand can be a major problem in the field.

Other than that, the M20C is an excellent flashlight, and with minor revisions, would be perfectly suited for use in SAR.

 

GSARGear Review: Novatac Storm

June 7, 2011

 

GSARGear Review: Novatac Storm

The Novatac Storm is a very compact and versatile flashlight.

Mine is still running fine after rigorous testing and daily carry for about a year. It is small enough to easily fit in a pocket, bright enough for almost any job you throw at it, and rugged enough to live through just about anything.

Form:

It is manufactured from black anodized aluminium, and covered with small diamond knurling from head to tail. The pocket clip is nice, holding the light securely in a lens-up position. The lens is AR coated polycarbonate, and extremely sturdy. It is also surrounded by a crenelated bezel for protection. The tail clicky is nice, but doesn’t have much travel and is ever so slightly recessed into the tailcap. It makes it possible to tailstand the Storm, but also makes it more difficult to switch the light on, unless you’re holding it in a ‘syringe’ type grip.

It weighs in at approximately 66.8 grams, unloaded, and 83.2 grams with a CR123.

Power:

The Storm runs on one CR123(included) or equivalent. Runtimes can be found here or here,  courtesy of light-reviews.com. Decent runtime overall, and pretty bright.

Use:

The Storm has three settings by default, though it is programmable.

1. A primary mode, at a very bright 120 lumens. ½ hour runtime.

2. A secondary mode, at 30 lumens. 4 hour runtime.

3. Low power mode, 0.3 lumens. 240 hour runtime.

3. And a disorienting/signal Strobe mode.

It is also hackable to program your own brightness and control settings, as shown here.

 

Cons:

Tail-switch difficult to use with gloves or cold fingers.
The tailcap only permits a bezel-up type carry.
Medium-to-low battery life, compared to other similar lights on the market.

But overall, this light is a very nice compact bright flashlight.

GSAR GEAR Review: Inova X5

November 11, 2010

X5

GSAR Gear Review: Inova X5 Flashlight

The Inova X5 is a nearly indestructible LED flashlight. The body of the flashlight is machined into a six-sided cylinder from solid aerospace grade aluminum. It is available in either silver or black. The hard anodizing is extremely durable and has no real scratches or blemishes, even after being put through rigorous use and abuse.  The X5 is also water resistant to IPX4 standards and pretty well crushproof, so there are no worries about it getting wet, dropped, or otherwise beaten-up in the field.

The bezel has five separately drilled holes, providing excellent protection to the Nichia CS LEDs recessed inside.
The run time more than makes up for the cost of the batteries themselves. The light has a decent output and throw(56 lumens and 118 feet, respectively).  It’s pretty bright, but it’s not going to replace a searchlight. But what it lacks in power it makes up for in solidness and sheer unbreakability. It makes a great general purpose light. I would say that the lights advertised 1.75 mile signal visibility is true, and even understated. Simulated missing persons were reportedly able to see it blinking on top of a small mountain from 2+ miles away.

Power:

The X5 runs on two CR123A batteries. They’re widely available camera batteries which are fairly expensive($1-$2 apiece), but are much longer lasting and provide more power than AAs.

Inova X5
Use:

The X5 has an interesting interface.  It has three modes:
1. A momentary-on, which is used by pushing the tailcap in.

2. A constant-on, which is reached by twisting the tailcap.

3. Lock-out mode, which is reached by twisting  the tailcap 360° this disables the momentary-on, so you can throw the X5 in a pack or a pouch and not worry about it turning on by itself.

Cons:

One of the things I would’ve liked to see was a removable pocket clip. And although you can use a pouch or a lanyard,  a clip would have really been a nice addition.

 

Overall, after several months of hard use, I can say that this is really a great rugged general purpose SAR flashlight.

 

 

 

Help Keep GSAR GEAR running!

GSARGear Review:  Recon M-II

July 31, 2010

Donate to GSAR GEAR

This is the Gerber Recon M-II.

At 5.41″ and weighing in at 4.60 ounces w/ battery, the Gerber Recon M-II is not large or heavy at all. But pick it up, and it just feels SOLID in your hands. No rattling noises if you shake it, no loose parts anywhere. The on/off locking tailcap turns smoothly, but still feels tight. The Recon M-IIs design and construction is incredibly solid. The U.S. Army Program Executive Office (PEO) has tested this flashlight extensively and it meets and exceeds their standards, and is authorized for US Army use.

It has one bright white LED(40Lumens), and 3 integrated secondary LEDs: Red, Green, and InfraRed(IR). Switching between the four is done by twisting the front head ring around the lens. It twists smoothly, but not so easily that it could be turned by accident.

Gerber Recon M-II
The tailcap has an integrated button at the back, which just gives light as long as you hold it down. For longer periods of light, you just grasp the aforementioned tailcap by the knurling around the edge and twist. All the switches can be easily used with either hand, barehanded, with gloves. It has both a lanyard hole(wide enough for 550/paracord), and a really nice belt clip, for attaching to vests and belts and the like.

It runs off of two CR123A batteries, and last FOREVER. The Gerber product page claims 60 minutes of constant run-time, but in my field testing, it lasted significantly longer than that, closer to the 100-minute mark. As the battery runs down it starts to dim slowly, to prolong battery life as long as possible.

This extremely solid and well-built tactical flashlight is made in the U.S.A, and works extremely well in SAR. I tested it out at two NGSAR schools, several Field Training Exercises, and one aircraft emergency search, and it performed really well through all sorts of wet, rocky, sandy, hot and cold environments. This is a great flashlight, and I would recommend it to anyone.

GERBER

Help Keep GSAR GEAR running!

GSARGear Review: Lumabiner

December 9, 2009

Donate to GSAR GEAR

.

Lumabiner: a Ground Search and Rescue Gear Review. This is the CRKT Lumabiner. Combination knife, carabiner, and LED flashlight, this little tool (approximately 5″ long open, 3.4″ closed”) is really just a handy thing to have for SAR.
It clips directly onto your gear or belt(loops) which means you don’t have to go looking through pouches and pockets for it, it’s right there on top.

The flashlight is actually brighter than I thought it would be. Not a replacement for a larger flashlight, but a quick source of light for finding things in the dark.
Very nice design, detaches easily and quickly from wherever you have it clipped on, and can be operated with one hand, and there are two thumb studs, one on each side, so you can open it with either hand. It also has a nifty little switch which locks the carabiner latch into place, making sure it doesn’t fall off your gear by accident.

The knife blade itself is relatively small, but it’s quite sharp, cutting through paracord and duct tape and just about everything else you can throw at it. It doesn’t have a screwdriver, or pliers, or tweezers, or a saw, or anything like what you’d find on a multitool or swiss army knife. But then the Lumabiner isn’t supposed to replace them, just allow you to tuck them out of your way when you don’t need them but keep access to the most important tool, the knife blade.

The whole Lumabiner is really lightweight, but it just feels solid and well-balanced.
I would highly recommend this to anyone in SAR, as a quick-access knife/light.

(All content Copyright© GSAR GEAR 2009)

Donate to GSAR GEAR