I’ve said this before in previous articles, but I’ll say it again – I love flashlights! Maybe it comes from growing up as a kid and enjoying dark evenings on the back porch with my family. Often I fell asleep on the porch swing, a baseball game playing on the radio and the sounds of the wind in the trees. I guess that’s why I grew up to enjoy being alone in the woods at night. Still, it’s good to have a trusty light source for when you get turned around or have to head back in time for a late supper. Now that I’m older and have children of my own, priorities are different, and I don’t often get to indulge in the pastimes of my youth (and the thought of my kids wandering in the woods at night alone makes for a different response in this over-protective parent).
So the more flashlights I get, the better, and the Smith and Wesson MP7 Tactical CREE LED Flashlight is an excellent choice for a good, reliable light. Don’t let the name mislead you, this light isn’t only for mounting under a shotgun, it is a solid piece of craftsmanship that you would come to expect from the folks at Smith and Wesson. The components are milled out of 6061 Blacked Anodized Aluminum, so rust and corrosion aren’t an issue. The LED containing head and optics unscrew from the barrel on lubricated threads with O-ring seals, as does the tail cap. This also contains the rubber sealed thumb trigger that will activate the light. Finally, the batteries used are not the CR123 typically found in tactical lights, but rather a cluster of 3 AAA. These are less expensive, more readily available and a set comes included when you purchase the light. With the batteries installed, the overall weight is approximately 5.3 ounces; not so heavy to really wear you out while using it, but heavy enough to give it a good solid feel. The dimensions are 5 ½ inches long and approximately 1 ½ inches at the widest diameter. And like all tactical lights produced by Smith and Wesson, the center barrel will fit in a 1 inch tactical mount. Just note that the 5 ½ inch length will make this more of a shotgun or rifle mount, and not really meant for a pistol. They currently have an MSRP of $89.85, but can be found online for as low as $59.95.
A nice feature of this design is that by slightly unscrewing the tail cap approximately ¼ of a turn, you will break the connection to the battery pack, preventing accidental activation. As anyone who has a flashlight rolling around in the glove compartment can attest, there are few things more annoying than finding the light has discharged by accident.
Now there are a lot of things to consider when buying a good flashlight, but in my opinion the first and foremost is the brightness. Having enough light for the task is important, and a very bright source might not be critical inside a tent, but it sure is if you’re walking through undergrowth and don’t want to end up face down in the mud! The MP7 can give you the best of both worlds, with two illumination modes. A single click of the switch will turn on the high mode and push out 275 lumens of light. As with most tactical lights, a half press on the switch will also trigger the light but allow the user to quickly release it. In constant mode, the light will function for approximately 2 full hours. The second mode is achieved when the light is on constant high illumination. By pressing the switch quickly twice, the low mode activates. In low mode, the MP7 has an output of 30 lumens and can last up to 186 hours! One point here, Smith and Wesson didn’t just pull this number out of a hat. They contracted an independent ANSI FL1 lab to verify these results, and provide each owner a lifetime warranty on the MP7 flashlight.
Some additional accessories that come standard with this light are a wrist lanyard, a reversible pocket clip, and a nylon holster. The holster has a convenient pouch to carry an extra set of three AAA batteries, and hangs nicely on your belt.
I’ve used this light for a few months now, both around the house and in the field and it has held up great. Being dropped into a slushy puddle didn’t impair performance one bit, and even using predominantly the high mode, I have only had to change batteries once! I’m still going to be a bit overprotective (and yes, hypocritical) of my kids if they go off tromping like their old man did, but if they have the Smith and Wesson MP7 with them, I’ll feel a bit less concerned about nighttime walks. I only have to remember that with this light, they might actually be able to spot me following them in the woods… what, I said I was overprotective.
(Editor’s Note: We received our review light from Campingsurvival.com with the specs listed in the above review. I have noted online other S&W MP7 lights with a variety of specs, some much lower than our test model. Apparently this model is being continually upgraded and the specs listed reflect the current model that we used. They actually are even a bit higher than what is still listed on Camping Survival’s site!)
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