Armytek Viking v2.5 XM-L2 U2

Armytek Viking v2.5 XM-L2
* Armytek Viking v2.5 XM-L2 was provided for review by Armytek.com

Manufacturer Specs:

Model

Viking (model being reviewed)

Viking Warm (not being reviewed)

LED

CreeXM-L2 U2

CreeXM-L2T6

Brightness stabilization type

STEP stabilization (stepwise brightness)

Light output,LED lumen

1010 lm

900 lm

Hotspot / Spill

10 / 40degrees

10 / 40degrees

Beam distance

330yard/300meters

300yard/270 meters

Hotspot diameter at 330feet

/100 meters

52feet/16meters

52feet/16meters

Modes and Runtimes*

(measured for Panasonic 18650 Li-Ion NCR

2900mAh battery)

1010 lm/1h40min

200 lm/8h

85 lm/20h

8lm/155 h

900 lm/1h40min

180 lm/8h

75 lm/20h

7lm/155 h

Recommended power source

1×18650 Li-Ion/2xR123Li-Ion /2xCR123A

Size

Length 6.1″/155mm, headdiameter 1.56″/39.5mm, bodydiameter1″/25.4mm

Weight(without batteries)

5.82oz /165g

PROS

  • Available in CW (model reviewed here) or WW.
  • Flawless machining and anodizing.
  • Ridiculously tough body and about the best anodizing in the business.
  • IPX-8 water and dust proof.  33ft impact resistant and 30m waterproof.
  • Double o-rings at main joints.
  • Generous NyoGel application on threads.
  • Beautiful tint of XM-L2 U2 for a CW model.  I would say it’s a 1C tint judging from the pure white with no blue or purple tint.
  • Large hot spot with smooth, concentrated spill.
  • Takes flat topped cells and longer protected cells.
  • Simple interface with no blinky modes.
  • Double coated AR and UCL lens.
  • Perfect reflector with no dust or imperfections inside.
  • Sudden impacts like mounting on a gun won’t change modes.
  • No PWM.  Constant current driver and stepped regulation.
  • Titanium coated stainless steel lens and tail bezels.
  • Comfortable, removeable tactical ring doubles for anti-roll.  Can be replaced with included pocket clip.
  • Can be locked out at tail cap.
  • Excellent quality holster included.
  • Nice, long lanyard with lobster claw.

CONS

  • No mode memory.
  • No anti-roll flats on body except for the silicon tactical ring.
  • Switch boot is spongy until it engages switch.
  • Unable to lossen the switch bezel even with a 3-point watch back tool. Crazy tight on my example.

BUILD QUALITY

Just as the case with the Predator Pro I recently reviewed, the build quality of the Viking is stupendous!  Just like all the Armytek lights, this is one tough light.  The matte anodizing is thick and even with no thin spots, blemishes, or mismatched color between components.  I have 5 Armytek lights and the anodizing on all of them is identical in shade and quality.  The threads are super smooth and free of excess slop.  All components are sealed for the extra shock protection and waterproofness.  NyoGel is liberally applied on the threads at the factory for extra sealing and smoothness.  The parts all join together with perfectly sized o-rings at all joints (double o-rings on both ends of the body) that make for a super tight seal.  Unscrewing the head or tail actually take a solid grip on the components to unscrew them, they fit together so snugly.  I’m not usually a fan of gold and black but I’ve grown to really love and appreciate the contrasting bling the gold titanium coated stainless steel bezel, tail ring and pocket clip provide against the stark, matte black finish on the light’s body.  Very sharp!

ERGONOMICS

The trademark Armytek anodizing’s matte finish helps provide excellent wet grip without having and knurling.  The light feels like it was coated with super fine grit wet/dry emery cloth.  The removable tactical ring is a thick chunk of silicon rubber and is quite easily the most comfortable I’ve used.  It double as an anti-roll ring which is a good thing as there are no anti-roll flats anywhere on the body itself.  A few on the head would have been a nice tough.  The tail switch is a tactical forward clicky and is easy to activate with gloved hands.  The light can be stood on it’s tail like a candle if you remove the tactical ring and use it as a base.  There is a recessed lip on one side of the ring that the tail of the light sits solidly into and holds the light upright.  The included pocket clip is easy enough to snap into place and if you like pocket/belt clips you should like this one as well.

OUTPUT

The Viking’s output is sure to not disappoint!  The reflector is computer designed for optimum beam profile with the Cree XM-L2 emitter and it certainly does work well!  With a 10 degree beam profile on the hot spot and just 40 degrees of spill angle, the Viking illuminates far more reaching than one would assume a relatively small headed XM-L2 light would.  With a large, concentrated hotspot and it’s narrow spill it illuminated targets downrange without a lot of excess light being thrown around the edges to ruin your ability to make out objects in the distance.  Your eyes stay adjusted on your target where they should be.  Most XM emitter lights have a wide spill that can cause your eyes to compensate for the brighter, wider spill, making it difficult to properly see a down range target.  The wide hot spot and nicely spaced modes work well both indoors and outdoors.

Modes changes with the Viking will keep most users happy.  Single mode fanciers will appreciate the fact that with the head fully tightened the Viking stays in high mode – great for firearm use and momentary on.  Want to change to lower  outputs?  Loosen the head 1/8th of a turn (45 degrees) and the Viking drops to medium.  From there you can click the Viking on & off to change between medium, low, and “lower low” (silly damn name).

Armytek’s STEP technology helps to improve runtime by not sucking the cell dry from increasing current draw as the cell depletes to maintain full output.  Instead of the output sagging constantly as the cell depletes, the STEP technology regulates output in stepped levels as the cell depletes.  This allows gradually stepped levels of output for a bit until the next step down.  Looking at the included output graph from my testing will show a line graph that looks “stepped” hence the name they gave it.  Let’s take a look at the output levels I achieved with my testing…

My measurements were taken using an Xtar 18700 2800mAh cell. Measurements are taken in my Integrated Sphere which is calibrated against a few Zebralight models I own as well as a few other lights that known ANSI output specs. My IS has been tested against those of a couple of other IS owners with calibrated spheres and is within 1% variance to theirs using the same exact test light (not model of light, the exact same light).

The run time graph was measured by me checking output at regular intervals while the light was left on high mode.  One day I’ll get a lux meter with a data port so I can connect it to my laptop and plot data at regular, closer intervals.  Until then, this tedious method will have to do. 😉

Mode OTF Lumens @ 30+ seconds
High 861.5
Med 154
Low 58
Lower Low 9
Lux & Throw
Lux @ 3m 2,150
ANSI Throw 278m

I compiled the beam shots I’ve taken in my backyard. The house is 20yds away. You may notice that I have the outputs labeled differently than what Armytek calls them and that’s just because I have a real mental block with “Lower Low” mode. Therefore I find myself referring to the Viking’s modes as Turbo-High-Medium-Low and not until I had completed putting together the animated gifs did I realize it but I’m not redoing them just to correct the mode labels. 😛


OBSERVATIONS

The Viking arrived in a sturdy, corrugated cardboard box.  Each Armytek flashlight has a label on the outside of the box describing the model, color, emitter & tint, as well as the reflector finish and beam angles.

Inside the box you find an informative user guide and under that the Viking inside it’s sturdy, very well fitting holster.  The holster & light are set into shaped closed cell foam inserts to keep the light from shifting and protect it from any shipping hazards (think Ace Ventura delivering your new Armytek light).  Hiding under the light are a couple small Ziploc baggies.  One contains a very long but nicely made lanyard strap complete with lobster claw.  The other contains the removable pocket clip, a spare tail switch boot, 2 spare o-rings, and a thick silicon band to use instead of the tactical ring if you don’t care for tactical rings on your lights.

With the Viking out of it’s holster we get to see the wonderful anodizing that Armytek lights are known for. The utilitarian but still very sexy body of the Viking is not too shabby to look at either.  Here we see the Viking with the tactical ring installed as well as a second pic with the pocket clip installed.  The clip is extremely secure and should give no worry of it falling off on it’s own.  It is very tight and wraps very far around the body of the light.  If you wanted a totally streamlined Viking you could remove the tactical ring and the pocket clip and just use the included flat ring that fills in the groove for the pocket clip/tactical ring.  I’m not generally a black with gold trim fan but this light looks great with it!

A look at the front shows a super clear, hardened mineral glass lens with double A/R coating.  Behind it is a super clean, dust free and spotless reflector and perfectly centered XM-L2 U2 emitter.

The head of the Viking contains all the light producing parts.  It is very long (for the very deep reflector) and very solid.  The entire pill and all components inside of it are fully potted and sealed into the head for superb shock and moisture protection.  The wide fins cut into the head are clean and free of any sharp edges or machining flaws.  They allow the Viking more surface area to help dissipate the heat that builds on high.  It seems to work very well, too!.  Doing my run time/output testing I placed a fan in front of the Viking and the temps dropped quickly.

Laser etching on the head just below the titanium coated stainless steel bezel is crisp and consistent.  It also helps remind you which emitter configuration is inside your new light so you don’t forget the details while showing it off to your friends and coworkers.

All threading on the light is extremely well machined and properly lubricated  with NyoGel.  We can see the backside of the driver in these shots as well.  A large smooth contact button on the face of the driver makes for a solid, low resistance connection between the cell and the driver.

Two flats on the body of the Viking have information  about the light etched into them.  Just like on the head, all laser etching is sharp, clean and consistent.

A firm grip is required to remove the tail cap from the Viking.  All threads and o-ring fitting are extremely snug to tight tolerances.  Inside the tail cap we see another large brass contact area for the negative cell end.  This cap is firmly connected to the main tail spring.  The spring itself is gold plated and very thick for proper energy.  The Viking accommodates all cell sizes from 65mm unprotected flat topped 18650 cells to 70mm long protected, button-topped 18650 cells.

The back end of the tail cap reveals more laser etching.  This time it shows the company’s website address.  Securing the switch boot in place is a threaded stainless steel ring.  While it is supposed to be removable using needle nosed pliers to lock into the machined notches in the ring, I was completely unable to get mine to budge.  I even tried my watch case tool with 3 points of contact and still, it wouldn’t budge for me.  If the time comes to replace the boot I will have to resort to a bench vise to hold the tail cap securely while I torque on the retaining ring.

The switch boot itself was one of few disappointing aspects of this nearly perfect light.  There is too much play between the center of the boot and the top of the switch.  This makes for a spongy, cheap feeling switch assembly even though all other indications say it is far from it.

You say that the protruding tactical switch will prevent you from ever tail standing your awesome new Viking during the next power outage at home?  Fear not!  Simply remove the silicon tactical ring and set it flat side down onto your table or other flat surface.  The inner edge of the ring has a groove/lip into which you can set the tail of your Viking (or Predator for that matter) for proper tail standing.  It works very well!

Here I’ve compared the Viking to a standard P60 sized light (a Solarforce L2T in this instance) for size comparison.  Not really all that much bigger than the L2T, the Viking will out throw the P60 handily thanks to the wider reflector but the solid construction and design of the Viking makes it feel like a true tool rendering the normally impressive L2T feeling like a toy by comparison.

Testing for waterproofness…

I filled a large, deep storage bin with water and literally tossed the Viking into the drink.

34 minutes later it was still cranking away, dry as a bone inside, enjoying it’s swim while asking me, “is that all ya’ got??”.  Well, sadly, yes it is, but it is a little more challenging than the usual bowl of water.  I have a better waterproof test in the works but that will have to wait for later reviews.  Suffice it to say, I have zero doubt in my mind that the Viking can handle every one of the 100 feet of depth that Armytek claims it can.

You can see from the 35 minute mark picture that the output had stepped down a bit from being in high mode the entire time.

The included holster is very nice.  It closes securely, attaches to the belt or MOLLE system solidly and fits the Viking perfectly.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Aside from one or two very minor things, the Armytek Viking is every bit as great a light as I anticipated it being.  Reviewing these lights from Armytek has convinced me that they are about the best, most well engineered and durable lights on the market.  They look like they mean business, they really do mean business, and they look sexy as hell doing it!  Best of all, while not being budget lights, they also won’t break your bank to buy them.  For the class of flashlight that these lights are, there really is nothing that can touch them in their own price range and probably not in any higher price range either.

The Armytek Viking v2.5 XM-L2 gets a solid “JohnnyMac Tested & Approved!” endorsement.

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7 thoughts on “Armytek Viking v2.5 XM-L2 U2

  1. Pingback: Latest Review: Armytek Viking v2.5 XM-L2 | Johnny Mac Reviews

  2. If you could only have one would you choose the the Viking or Predator?
    Also what tint would be best suited for hunting especially if you use a green filter. Thanks for the great reviews.

    • Hmmm…tough question. I think I’d have to give the nod to the Predator due to the tighter hot spot and farther range. Would be better for mounting on a rifle for night time varmint hunting. If I was just hiking I’d take the Viking for the wider hotspot and general illumination. Does that help you any? 🙂

      • Thanks, I still am not sure about the tint though, I guess its a matter of personal choice. I have a magicshine for my bike that I modded with the MTG 4000 k led and I must say the warmer tint is a lot more relaxing on the eyes if I can put it that way. So hopefully I made the right choice with this one, I went with the Predator Pro with the warm tint. Very excited.

  3. Pingback: Armytek Viking review updates | Johnny Mac Reviews

    • Thanks, Darren! 🙂

      I was able to remove the bezel but the lens seemed solidly mounted. Knowing that everything is sealed internally I wasn’t hell bent on removing the reflector so I can’t say for sure. It wasn’t worth risking damaging the light. I can’t imagine why the reflector would be glued into place unless it is to seal out moisture and dust. If you find a nice deal on a V2 jump on it even if you can’t upgrade it. It’s a phenomenal light!

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