Once in a while a nice little piece of technology ends up in our hands and we wonder how we got by with the old piece of technology that it will replace. In this case, I remember back in 1980 something-or-other when I first saw, and then had to have, a Mini Maglite. I have had one of various sizes in my possession since then and it never crossed my mind that there could possibly be anything better than an incandescent Halogen bulb.
When small LED’s became readily available, the ones that I had come across were not on par with what I was used too with the Maglite. Therefore, I had a pretty poor opinion of small LED applications. That all changed when I was sent the Surefire GX2 Pro. Before I get all gushy about my new found love for this neat little light, let me give you a respectable introduction and get a little nerdy about the form and function.
In the beginning…
The Surefire Company is the result of many decades of research and development by Dr. John Mathews in the field of laser technology. Dr. Mathew’s developed one of the first patented laser sights for firearms in the 1980’s. He formed a company in 1979 called Laser Products Corporation and supplied the Los Angeles Police Dept. with the shotgun laser sights for the 1984 Summer Olympics. Based on this success he created the Surefire Company in 2000 and began producing a line of rugged and powerful lights to meet the needs of Law Enforcement, First Responders and the Military.
Let there be Light…
The G2X Pro is a new light in the long lineup of various LED and incandescent lights offered by Surefire. It has a Nitrolon polymer body that is reported to be more resistant to impact and crush force than its sister model, the 6XP Pro, which has an aluminum body. Looking in the body tube it appears to be lined with an aluminum sleeve and the back of the LED microcircuit board is visible. The bezel is anodized aluminum and is apparently sealed to the body with a scratch resistant polycarbonate non-adjustable lens. The tail-cap contains the heavy duty rubber switch that screws on to the body. There is an O-ring on the body that provides some protection from water intrusion. The engineers at Surefire informed me the light is certified as “weather proof” via a splash test but not an immersion test. I doubt the O-ring would keep out water if it were submerged for very long. This light is powered by two 3 volt lithium batteries. The total package only weighs 4.4 ounces with batteries.
When I received the G2X Pro it came with multiple warnings in the package that at first glance looked like the corporate attorneys went a little over board to try and reduce their liability. These include subtle things like “Don’t look into the light”, “Don’t let children play with the light”, “Caution, Hot Surface”, etc. My first thoughts were “How bright could this possibly…” Once my vision returned to normal I realized that I better not let the kids play with this.
The G2X Pro has a dual out-put setting or two light intensity settings. If you push the button the tail-cap once you will have the full force of a perfectly focused 200 Lumen light that will last about 2 hours and produce a fair amount of heat. If you turn the light off and on again you get a lower intensity light of about 15 Lumens that will last about 45 hours. While testing the G2X Pro, I used it to light up a work space while flounder gigging for about an hour or two on the 200 Lumen setting. The bezel was quite warm to say the least. I can’t say that it burned me but had I held onto the bezel for more than a minute I would have sustained a minor burn. It should be noted that there is yet another warning permanently stamped into the bezel “Caution Hot Surface” along with an international symbol showing a hot surface.
It’s cute but how strong…
I’ve used the G2X Pro for a couple of months in various applications and have compared it against various incandescent lights. I am fortunate that I live in an area where you can find places with little to no ambient light. Also, being on the water, I was able to get a feel for how far you can realistically see a light of this size at night. The results were impressive to say the least. It can easily light up objects at 20 yards with on the 200 Lumen setting and moderately so on the lower setting. On the water, channel markers have a reflective surface and I was able to easily light them up from about 30 yards away. This was as good as or a little better than the large 6-volt incandescent lantern that I usually take out on the boat.
The G2X Pro is no doubt a bright light and is clearly marketed towards professionals who need a light that is compact and tough. I asked the engineers at Surefire how much abuse could the light take and they responded with the fact that they have no estimates on how much “crush force” the light could withstand. Their “standard test is for a drop from 3 feet onto concrete for a total of 10 drops”. My light survived this sort of testing easily even at 10 feet a dozen or so times. So I decided to kick it up a notch.
Yep, that is the rear tire of my 1999 Jeep Wrangler and yes that is the G2X Pro.
After several passes, the light was thoroughly smashed into the earth. I removed it from the divot it had produced and it continued to work flawlessly. Feeling guilty about how dirty it was I thought it would be smart to clean it off with a garden hose. Of course I “accidentally” dropped it in the mud and had to start over.
As you can see the light still works like new. I disassembled the light to check for water intrusion. There appeared to be some water around the exterior part of the switch but it has not migrated into the interior of the light. Nor were there any signs that water made it past the O-ring and lubricated threads of the tail-cap. Since the light is not rated as “water proof”, I would recommend disassembly and allowing the light to dry out if it should become wet. This will likely ensure better longevity as it really is an electronic device.
As a guy who was not a fan of small LED lights I can say that I am a convert. The Surefire G2X Pro has won me over and I can say that it is time to retire my “other” light. It is a truly rugged light that won’t let you down. Here are a few take home points:
- Retail price from Surefire $95.00
- Box of 12 Lithium Surefire batteries $22.50
- Don’t let the kids play with it. This is truly a light for professionals and those with enough sense not to look into the light or temporarily blind someone with it.
- It does produce some heat when left on for extended periods of time.
- Surefire recommends unscrewing the tail-cap enough to disengage the switch while storing the light. This will ensure it will not be accidentally turned on therefore maximizing battery life and guarding against the resulting heat exposure from extended use.
- Comes in four different colors and has a rage of accessories that can be used with it.
The G2X Pro is a high-end light that may be a bit pricey for some but in this case I feel that you truly get what you pay for. This is a tough little light that will last for decades. The only thing that will replace it… is the next great product from Surefire.