My love of flashlights began with a Surefire 6P back around the 2003 timeframe. At that time, LED bulbs were not yet used much in tactical flashlights, and the 6P used an older style Xenon bulb. The CR123a lithium batteries were expensive, and the runtime was relatively short at about 1 hour with an output of about 60 lumens. The price was also in the $60 range, and it was my first “expensive” flashlight beyond the huge Maglite D-cell flashlights.
I dreamt of the better lights with longer runtimes and greater light output, but they were frequently in the $200 to $300 price range. That wasn’t doable on my budget. Fast forward about 10 years, and I am thrilled to see all the awesome lights available. We now have an astonishing difference in the technology used for modern flashlights. Large lumen output, greatly improved runtimes, and durable, hi-tech LED bulbs are standard for very reasonable prices. One such flashlight is the M21X Warrior XM-L2 Edition from Olight. On its highest setting, it provides 750 lumens for 1.5 hours and uses a very modern CREE XM-L2 LED. Over the past several months, I have used it for a large variety of tasks, and it performed superbly.
What You See First
The first thought that came to me was how tough and durable this light looks. Many authors despise the use of the word “tactical”, but in this case, that is the best way to describe this light. It is made of aviation grade aluminum that is coated with black, scratch resistant type III hard anodizing. There is a knurled, square shaped, crisscross pattern cut into the main body of the handle and the tail cap. It also has an anti-roll cigar holder toward the end to enhance the grip and help prevent the light from rolling when set down. The bezel is scalloped and could be used as a striking self-defense tool if needed. It also has a stainless steel clip.
The overall length is 5.7 inches long by 1.6 inches wide at the bezel, and it weighs 4.46 oz. without batteries.
Inside the light, there is a small plastic battery magazine that holds the two CR123a batteries so that they fit snugly inside the body of the flashlight. The specifications also note that you can use a single 18650 Li-ion battery instead of the two CR 123a batteries.
The light comes in a black plastic case which has foam cutouts that hold the flashlight, a nylon holster, an adjustable wrist lanyard, two spare O-rings, a white diffuser, a spare rubber boot, two CR123a lithium batteries, and a set of instructions. As with other Olight flashlights, these extras provide a great value.
How It Works
Because I am not in law enforcement or a member of the military, I didn’t use this light for any tactical tasks or in combat. However, I’ll bet it would be perfect for those types of tasks. I did use it for many other tasks around the house, and it performed without flaw.
There are four output settings available – low, medium, high, and strobe. The low setting provides 20 lumens for 30 hours. The medium setting provides 320 lumens for 3 hours. The high setting provides 750 lumens for 1.5 hours. The strobe setting can run for 1.5 hours.
To turn the light on, there is a rubber-covered tail switch in the tail cap. Just click it once to turn it on, and click it again to turn it off. When the light is on, you can twist the head of the light clockwise then counter-clockwise to cycle through the settings. The first setting is low, and then a second set of twists takes you to medium, and a third set of twists takes you to the high setting. Olight has included a special safety feature for the high setting. After five minutes on high, the light automatically drops to a 60% output in order to prevent overheating.
The light comes with 3 sets of momentary functionality accessible by a light press on the tail switch button. If you lightly press it once, the light momentarily turns on at whatever setting you last used. So, if you were on the low setting, lightly pressing the button gives you the 20 lumen output. If you lightly press two times, you get the high setting for as long as you hold the button down. If you lightly press three times, you get the strobe mode until you take your thumb off the button.
The provided black wrist lanyard attaches to a small hole on the cigar holder ring. Since it is adjustable, I found it very useful. When you are out working in the dark or in an unfamiliar environment, it is quite handy to have a lanyard to prevent drops. It is similar in function to the lanyards used on modern video game controllers such as those used with the Nintendo Wii.
At the heart of this light is its LED. Olight has chosen the CREE XM-L2 LED surrounded by with a smooth reflector that directs the light out past 300 yards. I found the 320 and 750 lumen settings to be very powerful. With 750 lumens, using the light was just plain fun. One night, my wife came running into the house and called the whole family to come outside to see an owl up in the neighbor’s trees. She was using a “regular”, inferior flashlight, so I immediately grabbed the Warrior. This owl was at least 50 yards away and about 40 yards up in a tree. The high setting lit up the entire tree, and we could see the owl clearly. We don’t see owls much in the suburbs, so this was a treat. Plus, the kids love animals, so they were impressed after seeing their first owl this clearly.
I also used the light to clear my house one night. I was awoken in the middle of the night by some odd noise. I grabbed the Warrior and went room to room checking for anything amiss. Again, 750 lumens are just so awesome. I could clearly see everything in each room, despite my bleary, sleepy eyes. The light is the perfect size for one-hand carry, and the grip is exceptional. I am not sure what the noise was, but I went back to sleep confident that no one had entered the house.
As a hunter, this light is perfect for early morning walk-in’s or late day tracking. It is very lightweight, and fits nicely in my hunting backpack. I use the low setting for walking to my tree stand in the early morning. 20 lumens are just bright enough that I am not lighting up the whole woods. If I got a questionable shot in the evening, the next two higher settings will provide the extra light needed to follow a blood trail.
As I mentioned before, I am not a member of law enforcement or the military, but I am confident that this light is durable enough to withstand any task a police office or soldier would come across. It has a two meter impact resistance rating, and it has a waterproof rating of IPX8. This means that the light can be submersed continuously under water at some depth over 1 meter.
What I Think
This flashlight is really awesome. When you combine the reasonable price, the great runtimes, the durability, the 5 year warranty, and the sheer amount of lumens this light can throw, you have a light that will be useful for many years. The price is $86.95, and it’s available at www.goinggear.com which is who provided us with our review light.