A handful of lumens in a pocket – a few words about the G-Light S360 tactical flashlight
Hands down – a tiny and handful source of light is something that should be found in each and every real EDC kit. What’s a „real EDC kit” and what’s not will be covered another day, in another text, so right now let’s just focus on the flashlight in mention. First things first, and bare with me – I’m not a lumen geek you’d find on swiatelka.pl or torch.pl or some other, non-Polish sites about flashlights. This text was made just to familiarize you with some of my very own and personal opinions and impressions after using this piece of equipment for quite some time now, and I won’t go deep into the matters of the quality of the diode, nor will I cover the matter of modifying the S360 as well as things like any more specialistic parameters of the emitted light itself.
For quite some time I’ve been using a trusted old Petzl headlamp as an EDC light source, up until a day came I’ve decided it’s time to loose some weight on the Everyday Drag Around pack. It occurred to me then that the headlamp is a bit too large to fit into my first line of EDC stuff, and it’s not that I really need to carry around such a source of light on an everyday basis. That said, I’ve started searching for a more classical flashlight and at least half the size of the other flashy stuff I keep in my drawer (like e.g. the Mactronic M-Force). That led me to put more interest into the new G-Light. I knew what to expect, more or less, for I’ve had some prior experience with other products of this brand. But expectations are just what they are – expectations. Let’s see what were the actual impressions and experiences after using the G-Light S360.
The case is pretty solid and firm, made of the same type of aluminium which is used in constructing elements of airplanes. Not much here that could get damaged I guess. Well, maybe just the glass at the front (whatever its „pro” name is) could break, but I think you’d have to be a real bad luck jinx for that to actually happen, as the glass is protected by an aluminium crown which is there to stop and fend off any possible solid object which could fit the glass and cause it to break. Okay, some small and fast moving object, like an airsoft BB (or something travelling at a, let’s say, slightly higher velocity) could be a danger to the glass, but it’s not that this flashlight is designed to be fit onto a weapon, and thus such dangers are really more of a virtual what-if theory. Fact being, my S360 took a few flights and falls, bounced off rocks and stones and ended up in the mud and dirt or water more than a few times, and the only reminders of all those adventures are the more exposed places of the construction where the black paint started to wear off. Still it works as good as on the first day we’ve met.
The flashlight can be taken apart into two parts, and the thread is equipped with an o-ring to ensure good environmental sealing. I’ve been using the flashlight both during heavy rain as well as after it took a dive in a stream, and no problems ever occurred. Initially I was a bit worried about the side button, but it seems no water came in through the spaces around it – either that or just not enough of it to cause any damage, even after total immersion. I’m not really sure how it’s take a more prolonged bath, but the manufacturer declares the device meets the IP68 norms, so I guess it should be able to work in those conditions, too – at least for a while.
Yeah, I know – 360 lumens is not all that much today, as everyone everywhere tries to make their flashlights as powerful as possible, but let’s face it – this race pretty much resembles the story behind the higher and higher values of Mpx in photo cameras. For everyday use as a kind of a backup light, those 360 lumens we get when using the „turbo” mode (as well as the 230-something we get on „high”) will get the job done, and more than one of my friends had their jaws dropped after seeing how powerful a cone of light this little baby can emit. But what actually is that „backup” I mention here? Use in a wide range of everyday situations (so situations, where EDC equipment is ment to excel) like lighting up your way while walking down a dark staircase, changing the bulb in the basement, checking the undercarriage of your car, by an oh-so-unexpected power cut, in the woods (at those not so rare moments when the headlamp is just not enough to find the trail markings hidden in the underbrush) or when going out to get some wood from the shack on a cold winter night. The flashlight is powered by a single CR123 cell, either a dispensable or a re-chargeable one. I’ve never actually checked how long a battery lasts (the manufacturer claims 90 minutes of constant work in „turbo” mode), but I can tell you that over a course of one year, I was forced to exchange the battery no more than twice. Remember – this is a backup light source, and the idea is that you carry the thing in your pack or pocket most of the time, so it’s not that I’ve been using it extensively every day. I’ve mentioned two modes – „turbo” and „high”. There are six modes total, including those two, as well as a pre-programmed SOS mode and the necessary „strobo”.
The clip attached to the flashlight is a cool thing – it’s firm and hard, so if you use it to secure the flashlight inside your pocket, it’ll hold it in place nicely, but its most important advantage is being able to take it off and switch its position by 180 degrees, making it nicely adjustable to anyone’s comfort. Also, this allows the flashlight to be attached e.g. to the front of a baseball cap, making the S360 fill in for a headlamp. Now that’s something! Locating the on/off button on the side of the flashlight was also a good idea – by such small a construction it’s much more comfortable to operate the flashlight this way than through a button located on the butt of the tool. Though I must admit – and I’ve already mentioned it – that the button itself is what looks to me as the weakest point of the whole construction. If anything could get damaged in this solid, firm, aluminium piece of equipment, it’s that one rubber-made button.
OK, time to sum it up: the G-Light S360 is a nice and cool, solid flashlight which, even though made in China (but, nowadays, what isn’t?) will perfectly fill the role of a lightweight, durable backup light source for everyday carry – inside your pouch, pack or pocket. You just put it there and then forget its existence, up to the moment the light go out, the headlamp dies, your expensive tactical pen falls under the bed or on a cold, December night the Enemy turns off electricity in the whole town…
Pros and Cons:
+ solid, firm and durable
+ perfect power for EDC use
+ two-sided clip
+ comfortable side on/off button
+ small and lightweight
– lack of a magnet in the cap (which can be found in constructions by other manufacturers)