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Surefire's Newest Lights

Written by Scott Oldham

This year, Surefire is celebrating 30 years of being in the business of saving lives. Known for constantly pushing the envelope in illumination technology, Surefire recently introduced a line of illumination tools that are smaller, brighter, and just as rugged as the company’s other legendary lights.

At the rate at which LED technology has been improving over the last several years, it is no wonder that the vast majority of illumination tools being introduced this year use this light source. Dramatic increases in both runtime and lumen capability are being achieved using smaller overall packages.

Invictus­

Surefire has developed and will market one of the brightest and most advanced hand-held LED lights ever to be produced, the UB3T Invictus. This ultra-high output, 400-lumen monster is packed with features, such as a graphic battery level indicator and instant adjustability to eight different output settings. Settings range from an eye-searing 400 lumens, down to just 2 lumens—enough light to read with in a darkened environment.

The UB3T Invictus also has a strobe feature, a first for any Surefire product, as well as the ability to signal for help with a pre-programmed SOS function. With a runtime of 1.7 hours on high and more than 75 hours on its lowest setting, the Surefire UB3T Invictus is posed to take its place as the closest thing yet to the fabled “Star Wars” light saber.

Vampire

Also new for 2010 is the first series of LED lights ever to offer the option of both visible and infrared LED light sources in one product. Normally, LEDs do not have the ability to be adapted for use with night vision equipment due to the lack of an infrared wavelength in their produced light spectrum.

Conversely, a conventional incandescent bulb can be fitted with a filter to allow for use with a night vision device. There have been infrared LED light sources in the past; however, they were not capable of also producing visible light. In the Vampire series, Surefire introduces the first hand-held light which will allow for both IR and visible illumination.

The V2 Vampire, which bears more than a passing resemblance to both the previous U2 and Kroma lines, features two white light settings with a high of 100 lumens and a low of 10 lumens. In its highest settings, the unit has an IR runtime of 8 hours and 1.8 hours of white light. Also available as kin to the Vampire is the M952V, a weapon-mounted version which features 150 lumens of white light and 120mW of IR illumination, as well as the Scout light version M620V, producing similar outputs in a smaller package.

Updated Lights

In addition to the new light models, several older lines received LED updates, including the Aviator, CombatLight and Z2 series. The much-loved 50-lumen, incandescent A2 Aviator, a general purpose workhorse for many, has been transformed into the A2 LED Aviator which has a 120-lumen maximum output with a runtime of two hours.

The secondary light source is retained in the new model and is available in a variety of colors including white, blue, red and green. With a soft touch of the tail cap switch, the unit will provide 10 lumens of colored, diffused light suitable for such routine tasks as reading maps, locating gear, etc. A harder push on the switch yields about 120 lumens of usable, tactical quality lighting.

In the Z series, Surefire has improved the breed by bestowing each with LEDs capable of emitting 120 lumens of light, with the Z2-S having the ability to strobe just as the much larger UB3T Invictus does. Also within the Z series are the new AZ2 and AZ2-S LED CombatLights. Similar in operation to the Aviator series, a soft touch to the rear of the tail cap illuminates four diffused LEDs producing 35 lumens of light. A harder push yields 150 lumens of combat-capable illumination.

As the 125-lumen incandescent M3 was the original CombatLight model, it seems only fitting that it too should receive an LED upgrade. Rendered as the M3LT and M3LT-S (strobe capable) CombatLight, this series now firmly secures itself as the most versatile combat-proven light on the market. The LED versions of this legend now produce 400 lumens on the highest setting, with a runtime listed at 1.7 hours. Even the lowest setting on the M3LT series of lights offers a stunning improvement over other, older models.

At the lowest setting, the new units offer 70 lumens for 8.5 hours. Keeping in mind that Surefire has always denoted 50 lumens as the benchmark for “tactical level illumination”—20 lumens under the M3LT’s lowest setting—it is plain to see how the unit offers much in the way of improvement over other lights on the market.

RAID

Hand-held models are not the only units to see improvement; Surefire has also introduced a treasure trove of new and improved weapon lights. First off is the RAID series. These lights, of which there are several different models built upon the same base, run the gamut from the M720, which has an output of 200 lumens, to the M720L, with an output measured at 350 lumens.

These lights are built to maximize space on the Picatinny rails of a long gun via the use of a side-by-side battery compartment arrangement similar to the X200/X300 series lights. Offering a series of adjustments, all models of the RAID are constructed of aerospace aluminum formed to precise tolerances by Surefire’s state-of-the-art CNC machines.

Scout

Surefire’s much-loved Scout series of weapon lights also received an upgrade in 2010. As with other lines, the Scouts have all received higher outputs and longer running LEDs. But with this series, there is one significant addition or, more to the point, a significant subtraction.

The M300A Mini Scout Light is a one-cell, 3-volt light which measures just 4 inches in length. With an output of 110 lumens, the M300A weighs in at just 4.5 ounces, saving 2 inches and 3 ounces in comparison with the standard Scout models. Quickly finding favor in use on short-barreled rifles and submachine guns, this very capable, lightweight Scout is expected to rise rapidly to the top of any professional’s preferred long gun illumination tool.

For the last 30 years, Surefire has been the industry leader in technology, innovation and, most of all, quality. Born from a need set forth by those on the tip of the spear, the lights, edged weapons, and other tactical equipment that pour forth from this California-based company are some of the finest on the planet.

Never resting on the successes of the past, Surefire is constantly evaluating new sciences and technologies which will lead to improved performance, designs and out-of-the-box uses for each of its product areas. Overall, these new products from Surefire are designed to keep military and law enforcement professionals alive in the direst of circumstances.

Scott Oldham is a supervisory sergeant with the Bloomington Police Department where he serves as the tactical team leader for that agency. He can be reached at oldhams@bloomington.in.gov.

Published in Tactical Response, Nov/Dec 2010

Rating : 10.0


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