SureFire Illumination Tools
February 16, 2018
SureFire is best known for its illumination tools and for its sound suppressors issued by the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to our troops, both of which are sought after by professionals the world over. To say SureFire's product line is made up of premium-quality tools only scratches the surface of this company's capabilities and offerings.
SureFire's current lineup has the armed professional market pretty wrapped up in terms of firearm mountable lights and extremely high-output illumination tools tailor-made to specific tasks for law enforcement and military end-users.
While we agree that every good guy and gal should have the power of the sun at their fingertips for defensive purposes, the technology and talent that SureFire has in-house can also be used to service the needs of other spectrums. These tools can also be of great advantage to photographers, adventurers and pilots, as well as everyday earth people to name a few.
Conscience of this, the company is expanding its product line by offering new products that range from wrist lights used by field surgeons and high-output, multi-use keychain lights to smartphone controllable remote lighting systems for photography or capturing video in low/no-light conditions.
New Aviator Takes Flight
While not a new from the ground up model, the Aviator has been overhauled and updated with SureFire's new selectable lens assemblies, making it one of my favorite handheld flashlights for everyday use.
This model is constructed of a Mil-Spec, hard-anodized knurled aluminum body and is O-ring sealed to protect against the elements. A removable pocket clip allows the Aviator to be securely clipped to your pocket, pack or, as its name suggests, a flight bag, either bezel up or bezel down. This little light is packed full of useful features and is ideal for hard-working professionals.
The Aviator is an ultra-compact, dual-output illumination tool that measures a hair over 4 inches in length and uses a single CR123A battery. Together, it tips the scales at just 3 ounces. It offers a high-output white light of 250 lumens for 1.5 hours and a low-output white light of 5 lumens for an incredible 20.5 hours.
White light is only half of this light's capabilities. The Aviator has a unique pull-and-twist, self-locking selector ring as part of its lens assembly. This allows the user to choose between three settings: white light, master off and a colored light without the need for a special filter. The secondary LED is colored to help prevent eye fatigue and provide a specialty task depending on the color chosen.
Four color options currently exist:
Amber: Amber light improves contrast and does not degrade scotopic or night-adapted vision.
Blue: Blue light clearly defines shapes in the outdoors and helps hunters or crime investigators detect and identify blood. Mechanics can use it to identify hydraulic fluid leaks and spills.
Red: Red light improves contrast and protects night-adapted vision. Red also aids in reading red-light-readable topographic maps.
Yellow-Green: Yellowish-green light is complimentary to the color spectrum and is used in most cockpits.
Once the two-stage "click" tailcap is depressed, the Aviator comes to life in the low-output setting. If the tailcap is released and immediately pressed once more, the high-performance LED fires 250 lumens of smooth, intense white light into the darkness. If in a colored mode, the light operates in the same fashion, just differing lumen levels dependent on the color selected. If the need for constant-on light is required in either the high or low mode, simply push the rubberized tailcap until it clicks and the light will remain activated at that setting until battery life is depleted.
To turn the light off, simply click the button once more. The tailcap is shrouded to prevent accidental activation while in your pocket, and it can also be twisted a quarter turn to prevent the light from activating entirely.
The Aviator uses SureFire's Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens system, which produces both a focused and diffused beam of light in one unit. It is designed to be used as both a close-range and long-distance spot/search light. When in close, the diffusion or smoothing out of the beam is free of any irregularities, while it has a very defined hot spot and throws its beam long distances.
If you're in the market for a do-it-all, technologically advanced light that fits in the palm of your hand, SureFire's new Aviator won't let you down. Suggested retail price is $299.
FirePak Light Source
SureFire's new FirePak is designed for people who use smartphones to capture memories, which is practically everyone. We've all taken photos in reduced light that appear to have a fog covering them. This is because our phones flash is just not bright enough to allow our camera's sensor to produce a clean, crisp image like it can at high noon. SureFire's solution is the new FirePak.
Think of the FirePak as a smartphone-controlled LED flash, or an external, remote light source to aid in capturing video and still photography in less than optimum lightening conditions. It features two specially designed reflectors that create a blended beam shaped to perfectly fit a 16:9 HD video frame.
The FirePak can be handheld, set down or clipped to the back of a SureFire cell phone case available for Apple iPhone 6/6S/6Plus/7/7Plus or Samsung's Galaxy S5.
SureFire's cellphone case ($30) is rubberized and offers bump protection and comes free with the purchase of a FirePak from SureFire. A unique, ridged channel on its backside mates with the FirePak and allows the two to securely mate together. The FirePak can be positioned with its dual lenses beneath your cellphone camera lens, or can be reversed with the light lenses near the phones charging port.
Speaking of charging, the FirePak pulls double-duty as a charger for your phone, tablet or any other compact electronic device. The FirePak accepts both USB and micro-USB connectors. An internal, rechargeable energy-dense, lithium-ion battery provides extensive power and long illumination runtimes.
Now, the FirePak requires no cables as seen just above, it syncs through a Bluetooth connection once the free SureFire FirePak app is downloaded onto your device. The app can be found at surefire.com or by visiting an app store.
Once the app is downloaded and synced with your phone, the FirePak can now be remotely controlled. A myriad of functions is at your fingertips and your camera settings, light settings, etc. can all be customized.
If you'd prefer to use the FirePak as a handheld light, or choose to use it as an external light source, a slider-switch is located on the left side of the unit and offers an auto-setting controllable via Bluetooth, or five illumination settings. The fifth is a scorching 1,500 lumens, capable of effectively reaching distances of 50 feet.
If using your phone to control the FirePak, the level of light can be infinitely adjusted and seen on your phone's screen, as a preview of what kind of image you can expect to capture.
The FirePak is a trio of convenience for the cellphone photographer. It's a bright video light source, a charger for your phone or other electronics and is a powerful handheld illumination device all in one. Suggested retail price is $199.
G2X with MaxVision
SureFire's G2-series light has been the workhorse of general purpose flashlights for the last decade and a half. It is designed and priced for all of us. The body is constructed of SureFire's proprietary high-impact Nitrolon polymer that is impervious to corrosion and is exceptionally durable. I've seen plenty of the originals in a previous career that looked like they had been run over by cars — and they very well may have been. Regardless, they just kept working with the only upkeep required being battery changes.
The G2 has evolved over the years and has been carried by everyone from electricians and free-divers to infantrymen mounted on service rifles. It began as an incandescent and moved up through the LED power ranks to where it is today. The current G2, the G2X MaxVision, is the best yet.
The new G2X-MV boasts 800 lumens from its unique crenelated bezel and lens head. While the light easily performs tactical level tasks (i.e., producing blinding levels of light to illuminate an adversary or other target), the MaxVision reflector is intended for more general-purpose tasks. The beam shape is even and broad, almost like turning on an overhead light within the confines of a room. Need to check that boiler, illuminate an engine compartment or change a tire, the MaxVision is ideally suited.
Just like the Aviator above, the G2X-MV offers a two-stage "clickable" tailcap that offers both momentary and constant-on switchology. Once pressed, the 15-lumen, low-output setting is activated. If the tailcap is released and pressed again within two seconds, the 800-lumen, high-power setting is triggered producing a blinding level of ultra-white light from an indestructible LED. The light will run for 1.5-hours on high and an amazing 52 hours on its low setting.
If constant-on light is required in either the high or low mode, simply push the rubberized tailcap until it clicks and the light will remain on. To shut the light off, press the button again. The tailcap can be twisted a quarter turn to disable the light.
Just like most of SureFire's illumination devices, the G2X-MV runs off CR123A lithium batteries, this one requires a pair, which are included with the light. If you only purchase one flashlight this year, the SureFire G2X-MV should be it. I'll be picking up a few. Suggested retail price is $109.