ThruNite Lynx Tactical XM-L2/18650

ThruNite Lynx Tactical 18650 Flashlight

* Thrunite Lynx provided for review courtesy of Thrunite.com

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Manufacturer’s Copy

Features and Specifications:
– Good for tactical, hunting, outdoor sports and exploring purposes
– Cree XM-L2 LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours
– Uses two 3V CR123A batteries or one 18650 rechargeable battery
– Max output:1000 lumens with XM-L2
– Working voltage: 2.7-6.3V
– 170mm (Length) x 25.4mm (Diameter) x 35mm (Head)
– 210g weight (without batteries)
– Reverse polarity protection design to protect from improper battery installation
– Tail-switch and twist ring design.
– Total 4 modes. Momentary ON and three self-define modes from Firefly(0.04lm) to High(1000lm),Slowly Strobe and Quickly Strobe.
– Lock function: Quickly triple click to lock on/off.
– Aircraft-grade aluminum body
– Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
– Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
– Removable crenellated bezel
– Smooth reflector gives perfect beam and throw.
– Removable clip
– Accessories(included): Holster, Diffuser.
– Accessories(optional): Filter(red, green, yellow, blue)

Operation

Lock ON/OFF:  Quickly triple click the tail-switch to lock the flashlight on/off at any time. The flashlight will flash twice if it’s done.

Turn ON/OFF:  Press down and release the tail-switch to turn the flashlight on/off .

Settings:  Total 4 modes, and the first modes is Momentary ON, the other modes can be set from Firefly(0.04lm) to High(1000lm), Slowly Strobe and Quickly Strobe by pressing-and-holding the tail-switch from off, the light will ramp through its output levels until you release the tail-switch.
Note that the light will flash twice within one second when the output level reach at Firefly or High.

Changing Modes:  Turn the control ring and click the tail-switch again.

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Excellent quality in machining and materials
  • Quality AR lens
  • Buck/Boost driver
  • No PWM in any output level
  • Customizable modes
  • Quiet switch
  • Very innovative magnetic control design
  • Copper MCPCB with direct thermal contact to LED die
  • Runs on both 18650 and 2xCR123 cells
  • Strong, removable pocket clip
  • Waterproof to 2m
  • Sturdy plastic case
  • Diffuser lens
  • Can be run in “mule” mode
  • Includes 2600mAh Li-Ion cell
  • Holster and lanyard

Cons

  • No markings on tail switch to indicate switch mode
  • No anode spring on driver

Construction:

Build quality is superb and everything I expect from Thrunite.  The aluminum is very well machined and free of sharp edges.  The alloy is hard and durable.  All knurling is deep and crisp providing great grip without being too rough or aggressive.  The hard ano feels very durable and thickness and color is consistent throughout.

The Lynx should easily live up to it’s 2m waterproof rating based on the head design. I can’t say with confidence that the tail section is as waterproof as claimed due to the lack of visible O-rings.  There may well be something unseen internally in the design that provides a level of water resistance but since I am unable to figure out how to disassemble it I can’t say  one way or the other.  I would have no hesitance to get it wet in rain or even briefly submerged but for now that’s about it.

Feel and Performance

The Lynx feels great in the hand.  Comfortable to hold in all positions and with a heft and solidity that brings with it a feel of security when walking at night.  This is a tactical light in every way.  Quick and instant access to it’s highest output via momentary on as well as any of 3 preset modes chosen  by you for not only output levels but the order they are in.

It’s actually quite intuitive and simple to program and use but one thing that is lacking is a simple marking on the switch to give a visual clue of what mode position the switch is in before turning the light on.  It could easily use the pocket clip for reference since the alignment notch in the switch internals ensures it is in the exact same orientation at all times.  The tail rotates smoothly and easily with just the right resistance leaving and entering the separate mode positions.  While smooth and easy to rotate, you don’t have to worry about it moving on you and changing modes if you bump it during use.  Mode changes are deliberate and unlikely to happen accidentally.

Programming is extremely easy.  With the tail turned full counter-clockwise the switch in in the momentary on position.  Twisting the tail clockwise will give you 3 programmable position with each one snicking firmly but easily into place.  Choose a programmable mode position and press and hold the switch.  The light will begin to ramp from low to high or from high to low opposite from the direction is was ramping the last time.  It will flash twice quickly in it’s lowest output and it’s highest output allowing you to nail the output at it’s extremes each and every time.  Once the light is at the output you desire simply let go of the switch and that output will remain in memory for that position of the switch.  Want a strobe mode?  Chose one of the 3 programmable positions and press and hold the switch to start the ramping.  Let the ramping reach high mode where it will flash twice.  Continue to hold it and it will begin a slow strobe followed shortly by a fast strobe.  Let go of the switch at the strobe output you want and it will be stored in memory.

When changing modes during use there are two ways you can do it.  With the light on, rotate the switch to the mode position you desire then press and let go of the switch.  The output will change to that mode.  The other way to do it is to turn off the light, rotate the switch to the desired output position, then press and release the switch again.

The only glitch I encountered is if turning the light to the momentary position without turning off the light from the previous mode.  For example, if you are in a medium output level and rotate the switch to the momentary position then press the switch, the light will remain on in that medium output level and will not turn off until you put the switch into any one of the programmable positions and press and release the switch.  Not really a problem in regular use but it is there in case you enter this glitch by accident like I did.  It freaked me out for a few seconds until I figured out what I did to cause it.  It is consistently repeatable and hopefully Thrunite can program it out of the Lynx in the next version or update.

Output

First off, output with the Lynx is fantastic.  The buck/boost driver ensures consistent output throughout the discharge of the cell.  Zero visible PWM at all output levels makes it easy on the eyes during prolonged periods of use.  I measured lumen output in my calibrated 16″ Integrated Sphere.  Lux measurements taken at 3 meters and converted back to 1 meter.

Output Level Manufacturer’s Claim My Measurements
Lowest N/A 0.17 OTF lumen
Highest 1000 OTF lumens 954 OTF lumens @30s (981.2 initial)
Lux @ 1m 24,025 cd 24,030
Throw in meters 310 meters 310.03 meters

 

These following shots will give you an idea of the beam profile with standard lens, with diffuser, and as a mule.

 

Included Thrunite 2600mAh Cell

I tested the cell in my Imax B8+ hobby charger and got the following capacity measurements:

Discharge Amperage Measured Capacity
1 amp 2278 mAh
2 amps 2285 mAh
3 amps 1542 mAh

The ThruNite Lynx comes in a sturdy plastic case with custom compartmented foam interior for the Lynx and all it’s accessories.

Simple yet clear instructions are written in English.

The Lynx comes with the usual lanyard and holster but also includes a ThruNite 2600mAh 18650 cell (shipped inside the light with a plastic disk between the negative terminal and switch contact), a CR123 battery adapter sleeve, and a threaded diffuser lens.

The included holster fits the light very well and is amply sturdy.  The large loop will fit any belt thickness including duty and tactical belts.


The head of the Lynx is knurled with 3 flats that are laser engraved.  One has the Lynx model name and individual serial number of the light.  A second has the ThruNite logo and the third states that the light is a “Limited Edition” and uses the Cree XM-L2 U2.  The knurling throughout the light is fantastic as it is on all ThruNite lights.

All parts of the Lynx are nicely machined.  The anodizing is consistent in color and finish.  The pocket clip is removable.

The Lynx is controlled via a magnetic ring in the tail.  The large switch button is aluminum and has a smooth, quiet throw.

The Lynx is quite the tank.  Very heavy and durable feeling., the Lynx fits great in my hand in either standard or tactical holds.

The tail switch has a simple instruction etched into the tactical ring suggesting you “Read Manual Before Operating”.  Not a bad idea if you are new to programmable interfaces.  One thing I would change is the lack of markings to show at a glance which mode the light is in before turning it on.

 

Smooth, square threading is used throughout the light.  Tight tolerances ensure a lack of sloppy feeling in any of the components.  The tail section is a bit more complicated in design that it would first appear.  The notch that is visible in the inside of the tube is to keep the components of the switch in constant alignment with the sensors in the tail of the battery tube.  Note the plastic insert inside the battery tube.  It serves far greater importance than merely battery sleeve.  More details on that in a bit.

 

The switch assembly is quite a beauty.  The inner workings are mounted in such a way that they can spin freely inside the tactical ring.  The tail spring is extremely thick and a lovely brass button ensures good contact with the cell.

The pocket clip can be removed by unthreading the knurled retaining ring.  The clip sits into a machined groove and securely is held in place once the retaining ring covers it.

The large switch has super smooth action and is whisper quiet to use.  It is electronic but has long throw, allows for momentary on, and is able to be locked out electronically with 3 quick presses.

Clean, smooth reflector gives a beautiful, smooth beam and the AR coating helps ensure that as many lumens as possible escape out the front of the light.

The stainless steel bezel can be removed and replaced with the included diffuser lens which threads into place where the bezel would be.

The head also unscrews and allows use of the Lynx in mule mode for maximum flood coverage.  If it could tail stand it would make the perfect light for candle mode.

The lens fits in from behind seating against a front lip just behind the bezel.  This not only ensures a consistent watertight seal but allows use of bezel changes on the fly without fear of the lens falling out on you.

The lens and reflector are held in place via a thick, square threaded retaining ring.

A look at the reflector form front and the side.

A peek inside the head with the internal parts removed.  The lens O-ring sits into a groove machined into the front lip in the head.  The lens sits behind that followed by the reflector.  The retaining ring threads in compressing the works against the front lip ensuring a perfect seal and no movement.

The pill area of the light is fully finned to help shed head produced by the XM-L2 LED.  Silky smooth square threads attach the head to the body and a heavy O-ring ensures a tight seal against moisture and dust.  Threads arrived lubricated with a clear silicon grease.

From here I will disassemble the light further than I recommend trying yourself.  The black plastic insulator/centering ring over the LED is pressed in place extremely tight.  When I first tried to remove it I accidentally twisted the insulator which spun the MCPCB just enough to guillotine the leads from the driver to the LED.  At this point I decided to go whole hog and fully disassemble the light.  The large, heavy brass pill holds a solid copper MCPCB with direct thermal contact with LED die.  An arctic alumina type thermal grease helps wick the heat from the MCPCB into the pill.  Lots of square threading helps transmit that heat into the body of the light.

Note the slots in the pill base for the LED leads.  These are why you must be careful not to twist the MCPCB or you may cut the leads like I did.

Emitter leads exit the driver form the center.  As you can see, the driver is quite the complicated design.  It works great at providing great output with zero PWM at any of the infinitely adjustable output levels.  Several careful tugs at the driver left me able to lift all but one corner of the driver from the pill.  WTH is going on here??  Remember that plastic sleeve in the body tube?

This is what’s going on here!  The driver is in two levels and literally extends to the bowels of the light.  The entire assembly presses out the front from behind.

That plastic sleeve in the battery tube protects a mylar printed circuit leading to hall effect sensors in the very tail of the light.  The reason for all that threading in the tail is to get the tail switch deep enough over the battery tube to reach these sensors.  Quite the novel solution for a very innovative switch assembly.  It all works together in perfect harmony.

The reflector is just shy of 29mm in O.D. and 23.6mm deep.

The ultra clear AR coated lens is 29mm x 2mm

Center beam angle on the Lynx is 15 degrees with 60 degrees of spill.


Here is the Lynx with a few of its siblings.  From left to right we have the TN35 (3×18650), the Lynx (18650), the TN12 (18650), and the T10S (AA)

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the Lynx is a great light and comes in a fantastic kit complete and ready to run right out of the case with the exception of a charger.  It’s versatile and compact while being large enough to impart  confidence in the user.  Super quiet switch is easy to use with heavily gloved hands and can be manipulated as easily with your pinky finger as with your thumb. The included accessories make it extremely versatile, especially the diffuser lens.

It’s not a perfect light but it’s not off by much.  I would add a cathode spring to make it usable as a large caliber weapon light and add a simple marking to the tail switch to give a visual indication of switch position.  Other than that the Lynx is a light that will last for years of abuse and seems to easily be worthy of the investment.  At $129 retail it’s not a budget light but it easily meets or exceeds other high-end lights in it’s weight class for, in most cases, far less money.  You just can’t go wrong with the Lynx.

Be sure to visit The Flashlight Forum to leave comment or ask questions about this review!

BAM3!JMR

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4 thoughts on “ThruNite Lynx Tactical XM-L2/18650

  1. Pingback: ThruNite Lynx Tactical XM-L2/18650 | Johnny Mac Reviews

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