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  1. #1
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    Modlite 18350 ("mini-scout") PLH Review

    I first learned about Modlite roughly 2 months ago via a Facebook ad featuring their "dump your CR123" "campaign". A catchy way of getting me to click.

    First, I did some research into modern 18350 and 18650 cells. This light centers around the use of more energy dense fuel than CR123's, so to neglect this part of the discussion would be irresponsible. I have an 18650 light (Streamlight HLX 1000 lumen USB Rechargeable), and a CR123 light (500 lumen Surefire Scout head on an old school Surefire Roundbody E). I chunked them with fully charged cells in my deep freeze (got them down to -10*F) and then promptly took them outside. The 18350 light was not doing much, and neither was the CR123 primary light, either. The CR123 light DID put out more, but neither were in fighting form, and both came up to fighting form pretty fast (few minutes).

    Cold weather, my advice is to carry WML batteries on your person, or find a way to keep the light warm, or understand that you're going to be relegated back to original 6P LED days if you click that on in sub-zero weather, no-matter WHAT fuel you're using in your WML.

    The next comparison aspect is "how long will it hold a charge?" Doing research on the current crop of 18350's, I am seeing industry standards of >90% charge per 30 day retention, and "real world" end user results I received when polling on CPF indicate roughly 5 years in storage until the batteries have self-discharged below the threshold of operating a WML at full brightness.

    My advice is to maintain your WML like you maintain the rest of your weapon, and you won't have any issues.

    Now, on to the "cool and fun stuff"...

    With a more energy dense fuel, the Modlite 18350 "mini-scout" as I call it, is quite small. Most of the bulk of a flashlight is the battery compartment, while the mass is in the driver/head. Here, I have compared it to a Surefire M300:





    Speaking of mass, it's light, too! (shown with battery installed, Note that Modlite advertises this light as 4oz. I trust their scales more than mine. Maybe that's why losing weight has been so hard for me?):



    So what you really want to know...is how bright is it? Paper numbers are fine, but what's it really do "on the street"?

    For comparison, I have used a Streamlight HL-X 1000 lumen 18650 powered light, fully charged, and my Surefire M600, 500 lumen head that I placed on an old-school round-body E-series. The targets are 2/3 IPSC steel, painted white, at 100m.


    HL-X:

    Surefire M600, 500 lumen:

    Modlite:

    *All of that "snow" is pollen. This photo-shoot cost me.


    You can see that the HL-X is geared ever so slightly more toward spill, while the Modlite and Surefire, toward throw, with the Modlite appearing to strike a balance between the two, due to its over-all lumen output. Modlite is definitely not sand-bagging their ratings. The beam profile is also excellent for its intended use on a carbine. The "beam texture" for all of you white-wall hunters out there, is also quite good. Especially for the size and purpose (shooting things, not birdwatching) of this light. I have 18ft ceilings, and this photo was taken with me holding the light at about 6ft off the floor. Note the lack of rings ("CREE rings", for you old-schoolers), artifact, or cool spots in the profile. This is a "pretty" beam, especially for a weapon light!



    This brings us to the last bit...quality and value. The Modlite "setup" costs $350. It includes an excellent Nitecore D2 charger, 2 Keeppower protected cells, and the head, cap, and body of your Modlite. $350 isn't chump change, and I expected excellence from Modlite for that amount of cash. Especially in such a saturated market as WML's, and with Surefire's being obtainable for 2 bills and some pocket change.

    I was not disappointed. The machine work as well as anodizing on my light was flawless. Beyond that, Corry (the owner of Modlite) feels (as evidenced by his strong push to rechargeables, not only for their energy-dense fuel source, but also money saved over the long-haul) that if you are going to really save money in the long term, say, for a large department, you will need those batteries to be in as good of condition, for as long as possible. To this end, the spring contacts have smooth "cups" soldered over them. We've all seen the scratched up battery ends on "normal" flashlights and WML's. With CR123's, it didn't matter, but if you plan to actually USE this thing, it's nice not to be scratching your rechargeables every time you swap them out! (I did not test run-time, but Modlite lists it as 30-35 minutes, if I recall, using 18350). This is the level of detail I expect for $350. The head is fully potted with thermal epoxy, which will look familiar to Malkoff owners. I would also note that Keeppower cells are what Modlite includes. From what I have researched over on CPF, these are the best cells there are. You are getting the best product available, in this package, not "just something that will work okay" like the factory-included ink cartridge in your printer.



    My one criticism of the light, and this will not apply to lights purchased "as units" (mine was sent to me packaged as head/body/tail), is that the threads NEED to be lubricated. I used and recommend Nyogel 760G. The first few times I installed the head on this light was fraught with squeaks and a very gritty feel from the aluminum on aluminum contact. Note that the threads were machined perfectly and smoothly finished. You simply NEED to lubricate flashlight threads. Maybe this criticism isn't fair, as the complete lights will have Nyogel installed from Modlite, but that's how hard I look at a product that I spent $350 on that is a newcomer in a saturated and mature playing field such as WML's.

    My take-away from this purchase (I paid MSRP for this light/package), is that the Modlite offers exactly what it claims to offer. The machinework and finishing is on par with Surefire and Malkoff (the threads are machined much much cleaner than Surefire, btw). The output, beam profile and texture, and run-time are superb, and class leading in this size of light. I predict, based on construction and what I observed of the attention to detail (assembled in America) these lights receive, that the durability and reliability of this product should match Surefire, Malkoff, etc.



    *My affiliation with Modlite is via facebook messenger, telephone, and has spanned from when I first contacted Modlite on Feb 18, 2019. I paid full MSRP for my Modlite. I was not compensated for, nor was this review solicited or previewed by Modlite or its employees before posting. Any edits to this review that Modlite requests for clarification or for the sake of further explanation, will be outlined as coming from Modlite.
    **The Modlite that I have uses a 4400K emitter, and is unofficially rated at 1250 lumens.

  2. #2
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    Nice right up, but a couple of questions:

    1) Is the tail cap SF compatible?

    2) How many rounds do you have with it? This seems to be an important question. The Streamlights were touted as a SF killer for price and capability, but none of that did me any good when mine died with a very low round count.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gatordev View Post
    Nice right up, but a couple of questions:

    1) Is the tail cap SF compatible?

    2) How many rounds do you have with it? This seems to be an important question. The Streamlights were touted as a SF killer for price and capability, but none of that did me any good when mine died with a very low round count.
    1)Yes
    2) I personally have not mounted it on a gun yet, but it's in use with several LE departments, been run hard on SCARs, etc. It's fully potted like a Malkoff, uses a McClicky switch, and is 100% US made (minus the LED die of course). I predict strong reliability.

  4. #4
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    Candela rating? Looks to be on par with the Surefire or thereabouts...

    Nvm - searched & answered my own question like an adult lol. 29,000 for the standard (PLH) head, and 69,000 for the long-throw (OKW) head.
    Last edited by PJD642; 4 May 2019 at 10:09.

  5. #5
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    Nice write up.

    The Modlite feels more robust and oozes quality. I expect these will last.

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  6. #6
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    Do they have an 18650 version? I have a lot of those laying around ...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoxyDave View Post
    Do they have an 18650 version? I have a lot of those laying around ...
    Yes, the only difference is (obviously) length, and run-time. 75 minute runtime vs 30-35.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGifford View Post
    Yes, the only difference is (obviously) length, and run-time. 75 minute runtime vs 30-35.
    Thanks. I'll check it out!

  9. #9
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    Nice looking light...

    Good review.

    I need a weapon light but I think the Surefire or Arisaka will still be first at half the price

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mustangfreek View Post
    Nice looking light...

    Good review.

    I need a weapon light but I think the Surefire or Arisaka will still be first at half the price
    Where are you getting Surefire DF's for $175?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGifford View Post
    Where are you getting Surefire DF's for $175?
    Dealer cost is around $180. If you look hard enough, some dealers will unload for cost or just over. SF lights at full MSRP aren't moving.

    $175 would be hard to find, $190-200 is more realistic.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by UWone77 View Post
    Dealer cost is around $180. If you look hard enough, some dealers will unload for cost or just over. SF lights at full MSRP aren't moving.

    $175 would be hard to find, $190-200 is more realistic.
    Makes sense. Surefire doesn't make a comparable product to my 18350 Modlite though, it would have to be pieced togather. Further, the DF head doesn't perform like the Modlite. It has barely half the LUX, so arguably, the two products don't have a ton of overlap unless you're comparing lumens only, which would be like cross-shopping a Ford Raptor with a Mustang GT because they both have within a few hp of each other.

  13. #13
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    I've got an OKW head/body/their rechargeable battery kit thing.

    I went with the OKW over the PLH because I wanted to blind dudes cqb.

    It does exactly that.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by voodoo_man View Post
    I've got an OKW head/body/their rechargeable battery kit thing.

    I went with the OKW over the PLH because I wanted to blind dudes cqb.

    It does exactly that.
    My worry with that head is washing dots/illuminated reticles at cqb distances.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGifford View Post
    My worry with that head is washing dots/illuminated reticles at cqb distances.
    Use the light as contact distance zero. I'm going to do it next time I hit the range and see how off the shots are.

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