Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

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Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by the_klenzer » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:25 pm

I've decided as one of my preps to get weapon mounted lights for all my rifles/shotguns. I own some nice flashlights, but as you guys know, nice flashlights arent cheap. Even though I can get a good brand name setup for $100, multiply by 5+ rifles is out of my budget, but possible using Chinese LEDs and cheap 1" light mounts if I can keep each setup in the $30-$50 range. I'm wondering if anyone has experience using these on rifles or can suggest some Asian brands that are decent quality. I know some are very good, as I've put a few through beatings and they've survived as well as my other lights.

Thanks for any input!
Last edited by the_klenzer on Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by crypto » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:29 pm

Ive had streamlights and Fenix lights on my rifles before, both are made in china. No problems.
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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by KentsOkay » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:32 pm

I just asked about using the Maglite XL50 which goes for $30 in the firearms chat thread. Biggest concern raised is whether it stays on or not when the weapon is fired. Sure a china light is $5, but I'd rather spend the money on a made in America light, especially for under $50. The light is 104 lumens in high mode, 25% of that in low, and Spegh knows what in seizure inducing flash mode. Runs on 3 triple A's
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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by Jeriah » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:35 pm

Somehow seeing this thread made me spontaneously decide that instead of moving my SureFire G2 Nitrolon (Black) from my old upper to my new one (with FDE MOE hand guards), I needed to be all "matchy-matchy" and buy a new (Coyote Tan) VTAC light mount and scour Ebay for one of the remaining Tan SureFire G2 Nitrolons. Paid $50 for the latter, with free shipping, which yes, is like $15 more than they should be, but it's still a good value (in my opinion) at $50. Mine has survived two MilCopp courses and still works fine. So, one more before they're gone and I have to find the new good value weapon light.

So, that's my answer: the cheapest I'll go on a weapon light is a Surefire G2, for $50 (up from $35, and you may still find black ones for that). Those $5 Wal-Mart aluminum LED lights? No, no thankee. I have one that I use as the "backup to my backup" camping flashlight, and it flickers when jarred. I'm certain recoil would kill it, or at least put it into a coma for a bit.
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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by majorhavoc » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:55 pm

Jeriah wrote:Somehow seeing this thread made me spontaneously decide that instead of moving my SureFire G2 Nitrolon (Black) from my old upper to my new one (with FDE MOE hand guards), I needed to be all "matchy-matchy" and buy a new (Coyote Tan) VTAC light mount and scour Ebay for one of the remaining Tan SureFire G2 Nitrolons. Paid $50 for the latter, with free shipping, which yes, is like $15 more than they should be, but it's still a good value (in my opinion) at $50. Mine has survived two MilCopp courses and still works fine. So, one more before they're gone and I have to find the new good value weapon light.

So, that's my answer: the cheapest I'll go on a weapon light is a Surefire G2, for $50 (up from $35, and you may still find black ones for that). Those $5 Wal-Mart aluminum LED lights? No, no thankee. I have one that I use as the "backup to my backup" camping flashlight, and it flickers when jarred. I'm certain recoil would kill it, or at least put it into a coma for a bit.
I agree. Reliability under recoil is my personal litmus test for a weapon light. I'm willing to trade off light output, multiple modes and run time in exchange for some cost savings, but at the end of the day, the light has to go on and stay on when you need it to. In my mind that means a light you can leave on your weapon, shoot it at the range for five years without actually turning it on, and know that as long as you have reasonably fresh batteries in it, it'll go on and stay on when you need it to.

I don't doubt the Chinese are perfectly capable of building such a dead reliable weapon light. But the one advantage to buying a name brand light is the manufacturer has staked it's reputation on a persistent brand presence in the weapon light market. That means they have a powerful incentive to sell and support a product that passes my litmus test.

An off brand Chinese LED has no such incentive. A reputable name brand light that happens to be sourced to a Chinese manufacturer does have such an incentive.

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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by drewder » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:44 pm

How about you just search around for deals on Fenix or Streamlight? I have my Surefire and it works well, but I actually stick with Streamlight more.
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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by the_klenzer » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:52 am

I'm totally down with Fenix and Streamlight, any models in particular you guys would suggest for a weapon mounted light?

Oh yeah, I do have a silver $5 Walmart LED as well... it's the backup to my range bag flashlight. Pure crap.
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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by huntingohio » Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:46 am

I dont have a light mounted on my rifle. However i do have one of the $5 hardware store leds pen lights that takes 1 AA battery. I have beat the absolute shit out of this thing and it just wont die. I keep it in my pocket everyday and have for maybe 6 months now. That i can recall i have dropped in a pond 3 times, one of which being for 20 mins while i fished for it, into the mechanical fan of a chevy vortec engine, and dropped it in the mud infront of my apartment for 2 days one of which was storming the other was 90 degrees and sunny.

It would work as a weapon light if you CC a handgun, its not super bright as its a single bulb, but having a small light in your pocket beats having super omega tactical brand in the safe.

The markings on it are worn off but it was black lettered and im pretty sure it was from a battery company like rayovac or energizer

As far as your rifles ive heard a couple guys say that the sub $20 tac light that runs adds in shotgun news is ok, not gonna replace there surefires but better than flicking a bic. I couldnt tell you because i wont buy anything that uses the cr123 batteries, as the closest store to me that sells them is over 30 miles away and they are 2-3 times the price of AA or AAA even sometimes the c or d cells

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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by Jeriah » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:45 am

huntingohio wrote:I dont have a light mounted on my rifle.
May I suggest that you give this article a read?

http://www.milcopptactical.com/fighting.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

You may have your own reasons for not having a light on your rifle (for example, you hunt with it and don't want to be accused of jacklighting), but if it's a fighting rifle, it should have a quality fighting sling, a white light, and maybe a red dot. If it's just a deer rifle or something, please disregard.
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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by RickOShea » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:16 am

huntingohio wrote:
As far as your rifles ive heard a couple guys say that the sub $20 tac light that runs adds in shotgun news is ok, not gonna replace there surefires but better than flicking a bic. I couldnt tell you because i wont buy anything that uses the cr123 batteries, as the closest store to me that sells them is over 30 miles away and they are 2-3 times the price of AA or AAA even sometimes the c or d cells
I pretty much only buy lights-n-sights that run on CR123 (and CR2032s for a couple of my optics). But I buy 'em online a dozen or two at a time. If they have the long shelf-life they're purported to have, then I'm set for a good while.
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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by cheech_sp » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:31 am

I just ordered a Solarforce L2P that I plan on attaching to my 870. There is a youtube video of someone shooting his shotgun with an L2P mounted and it seems to handle it. If it does fail, I assume the failure point will be the emitter itself. And since this is a P60 host, you could add a higher quality drop-in easily.

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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by majorhavoc » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:24 pm

cheech_sp wrote: If it does fail, I assume the failure point will be the emitter itself. And since this is a P60 host, you could add a higher quality drop-in easily.
I'm going to respectfully disagree. My sense is the most frequent point of failure is the spring battery contact(s) on cheaper lights, which can get compressed under repeated recoil impulses and no longer maintain reliable electrical contact. My suspision is that's why shaking a cheap flashlight will often get it to flicker back to life, if only temporarily.

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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by huntingohio » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:57 pm

Jeriah wrote:
huntingohio wrote:I dont have a light mounted on my rifle.
May I suggest that you give this article a read?

http://www.milcopptactical.com/fighting.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

You may have your own reasons for not having a light on your rifle (for example, you hunt with it and don't want to be accused of jacklighting), but if it's a fighting rifle, it should have a quality fighting sling, a white light, and maybe a red dot. If it's just a deer rifle or something, please disregard.
Its an ak and it dosnt have rails as of yet is the main reason.
I have never put a lot of money into my rifles as my line of thought differs from most.

I carry a handgun everyday and see it as my main line of defense. The rifle usally stays at home locked up, as i have yet to find a way to conceal it under a t shirt and jeans. I know that most people will say well put it in the trunk and I've thought of that and it has 3 inherent problems.
1. As with most of you here I am responsible for more lives than my own, in my case its two small children, for other members it may be the same or a non carrying spouse, signifigant other, life partner, or relative you care for. So while it may be a cool idea to pop the trunk and go fallujah on your attacker its not realistic for lack of covering fire, and the fact that its my job to put my body between the bad guy and my loved ones.
2. Having a loaded rifle magazine in your car in ohio even with a ccw is a go directly to butt pounding jail deal in ohio. Its actually against the law to even have the firearm and ammo sitting next to eachother in the car, meaning the only lawful method of transportation is to have the ammo say in the back seat and rifle in the trunk. So i'd look pretty damn stupid to a bad guy fumbling to grab my ammo from the back seat and running to the trunk trying to load my magazines.
3. My ccw class actually had a great q&a session with a lawyer. I will not post a link however will pm you it if you request. During that session I actually asked about duty to retreat, which is in the ohio carry laws. Specifically he sited that if you have time to either run to your car, or get out of it and retrieve your weapon from the trunk, a good DA is going to roll you up and smoke you [his words not mine]. However if you are in your own home or a friend/family members home you have no duty to retreat.

Part of being an armed citizen is knowing ALL applicable laws of what you can or cant do or wind up in cuddling with bubba and braiding his back hair.

Now before I upset anybody, I'm not trying to step on toes here. The guys at Milcopp DO provide a good service. I'll admit as quick as anyone that is fun to strap on the webgear or tac vest and blow hell out of some cardboard badguys along with that you do get top notch training on how to use a fighting carbine effectively from guys who seem to know there shit backward, forward, upside down, in the dark, and on the shitter. Its just not really really practical for ME. I'm not judging I have no room, I've wasted my time and money on worse things than a straight carbine class, I payed good money for a class on russian marksman rifle [PSL] and ak training, when the hell could I legally drop a guy at 800yds?
Not trying to dump on guys like dave and doc and the other milcoppers, I just dont believe its practical for me.

After typing all that I should have just sadi its not practical a pistol and a flashlight in the pocket is more practical for me, huh?

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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by cheech_sp » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:23 pm

majorhavoc wrote:
cheech_sp wrote: If it does fail, I assume the failure point will be the emitter itself. And since this is a P60 host, you could add a higher quality drop-in easily.
I'm going to respectfully disagree. My sense is the most frequent point of failure is the spring battery contact(s) on cheaper lights, which can get compressed under repeated recoil impulses and no longer maintain reliable electrical contact. My suspision is that's why shaking a cheap flashlight will often get it to flicker back to life, if only temporarily.
Very possible, but again since its a P60 host there are many options for aftermarket parts including springs and emitter housings.

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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by Wolfhvnter » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:45 pm

In my limited experience, Fenix makes good kit.
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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by BullOnParade » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:56 pm

I built a mount that fits on my kel tec and holds the little button cell light which came with a Leatherman squit. I was thinking along the same lines as you and figured I would try the light I had on hand, and building the mount cost me nothing but my time. 

I haven't tried firing with the light on, but I have turned it on several times after short shooting sessions (500 rounds with light mounted), it still works every time. 

I'll take pictures next week (not home for the weekend). If you wanted to go buy a Leatherman light, I think they sell for ~$30, or come in package deals with multi tools. 
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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by Spd164 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:56 pm

First, everyone who said Streamlight's are Chinese maufacture...am I missing something? Last I heard they were based in Eagleville, Pennsylvania, which is one of the reasons I've been a faithful customer of theirs for years (being from PA myself). If they moved or something changed I didn't hear about it. Their website still says Eaglville, PA on it. I've got a TLR-1 on my G21, a Strion in my bedroom on the charger, a Stinger LED DS on my duty belt, and a Scorpion that I carry either as a backup when in uniform, or keep in my unmarked vehicle for plainclothes work. All have been awesome lights. That being said;

I'm currently running a Fenix Tk-10 on my work rifle. :oops:

Seriously, it's been an excellent performer, and probably has about 1500 rounds on it now. No hiccups, no complaints. If it craps out I'll switch it out for a Surefire, but so far so good. I gave it around 300-400 rounds to break it in before I started trusting it daily as a weaponlight on a duty rifle, but it's been flawless so far. I'll be surprised if it takes a shit on me. Quality of construction and fit and finish are every bit as good as Surefire. I'm generally not one to recommend cheap gear, but I do love when I find something inexpensive that performs admirably.
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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by Jeriah » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:58 pm

Spd164 wrote:First, everyone who said Streamlight's are Chinese maufacture...am I missing something? Last I heard they were based in Eagleville, Pennsylvania, which is one of the reasons I've been a faithful customer of theirs for years (being from PA myself). If they moved or something changed I didn't hear about it. Their website still says Eaglville, PA on it. I've got a TLR-1 on my G21, a Strion in my bedroom on the charger, a Stinger LED DS on my duty belt, and a Scorpion that I carry either as a backup when in uniform, or keep in my unmarked vehicle for plainclothes work. All have been awesome lights.
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Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by Spd164 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:26 am

Well, now I know. Thanks for shedding some light on that subject. Pun definitely intended.
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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by northernxposure » Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:17 am

cheech_sp wrote:
majorhavoc wrote:
cheech_sp wrote: If it does fail, I assume the failure point will be the emitter itself. And since this is a P60 host, you could add a higher quality drop-in easily.
I'm going to respectfully disagree. My sense is the most frequent point of failure is the spring battery contact(s) on cheaper lights, which can get compressed under repeated recoil impulses and no longer maintain reliable electrical contact. My suspision is that's why shaking a cheap flashlight will often get it to flicker back to life, if only temporarily.
Very possible, but again since its a P60 host there are many options for aftermarket parts including springs and emitter housings.
Have one - check the solder joint on the spring very carefully. As a host it's okay - the emitter isn't bad either, but I soldered the bejesus out of the rear spring to keep the demons at bay. Worked fine on my AR until I somehow managed to bust up the tail cap clicker. Debating on replacing it or just moving on to a Streamlight.

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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by my pies are piff » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:17 am

i put a streamlight polytac on a few of my guns. they're about $35 and seem to hold up to the recoil pretty well. this might be a good option for you too.

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Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by BullOnParade » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:56 pm

So, it's taken me over a month, and I apologize. I finished my light mount today (it was functional before, now it's pretty too), so here are the pictures I promised.

Light is a Leatherman Monarch 200, I haven't fired with it on, but it works when I turn it on and that's with a few hundred rounds while mounted.

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Re: Anyone use Chinese LEDs as weapon lights?

Post by KentsOkay » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:04 pm

I don't have my lower yet but my upper is assembled, and a I bought a $8 amazon light mount for my Maglite XL150. I have it on the end of a 12" rail mounted at 9 o'clock. SO far fooling with it, it works great, and is easily activated by my supporting left hand. Further details when I have, you know, shot with it :crazy:
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