Olight has been ramping things up in recent months with a number of new models and model lines. Are these new lights all show and no go, or is there some substance to all the flash?
Meat and Potatoes
Olight’s new Maverick series is what I would consider a Tactical EDC lineup. Allow me to clarify. These are very EDC sized lights (small, narrow, and not aggressively styled) but with some of the features that are most often reserved for lights bearing the “Tactical” moniker.
Small and powerful is the order of the day when it comes to LED flashlights lately. Especially those from well known manufacturers such as Olight. It has become somewhat of a disappointment if any light has “only” 200 lumens or less anymore. This is an incredible shocker to me since I so clearly remember when LED flashlights were commonly topping out at 40-50 lumens and it took a monster incandescent to break 100. These Mavericks are definitely stepping up to the plate though. The M10 is cranking out a huge 350 lumens out of its single CR123A and the 2 cell M18 boasts an impressive 500 lumens. These comply with the ANSI FL1 standard too, so you know you’re getting all of it. Thankfully both of these lights support 16340 Li-ion cells and the M18 is capable of running off from a single 18650 so it isn’t necessary to empty your wallet to keep these torches fed.
These impressive output numbers are made possible by the use of Cree’s XM-L2 LED. Sitting at the base of a sub-1″ smooth polished reflector, the large dies in these Mavericks put out a surprisingly narrow beam. This goes against conventional wisdom, and really is a testament to the engineers who developed this reflector geometry. Now, these aren’t throwers by any stretch, but the beams are definitely less floody than you would expect. Thankfully, the beams are also quite smooth and relatively artifact free, resulting in a beautifully usable beam.
User interface is something that Olight has been consciously tweaking for the last several years. Their Warrior line has undergone a number of unique iterations before landing on the rather nice setup we’ve seen in the latest M22 Warrior. The UI of the Mavericks feels like a variation of that theme. Instead of twisting the head to select the memorized mode though, Olight has a beautifully crisp electronic side switch reminiscent of their S– Baton series. Actual light switching occurs by pressing the standard style forward clicky tailcap button (without crenellations!). The first click or momentary activation brings up your memorized mode. While the light is on, the side switch cycles the light between Low, Medium, and High modes (in that order) and pressing and holding it brings up the mostly hidden strobe. Everything here functions exactly as you expect and is really a simple operation. That’s not where Olight stops though. if you grab your light and are quickly in need of full power, simply give the tailcap a half press before clicking it all the way on. This second, rapid-fire activation brings up High output right from off, regardless of what mode you have memorized. As a bonus, it doesn’t even reassign the mode memory so the next time you turn the light on, it’s right where you left it. A third quick tap during startup brings you straight to Strobe mode so that is still nearly instantly accessible, despite being tucked far enough out of your way to avoid accidental activation.
As far as tucked away goes though, I did manage to discover something that as far as I can tell is an undocumented feature. When you turn the flashlight on and then press and hold the side switch, it is a second method of activating strobe mode. With strictly the M18 though, if you turn the light off in this particular strobe mode, it reassigns the light to more of a true tactical layout. Every time you activate the light, it starts in strobe, with only one other mode (high) available using quick presses on the tailcap. Cycling through modes using the side switch will revert it back to the standard 3 outputs with mode memory.
Fit and finish remains one of OIight’s strong points. These torches might not possess the flashy narcissism (Hey! Look at me!) of some flashlights, but they have a subtle refinement to their aesthetics that makes them look good. The machinework and anodizing all appear to be up to typical Olight snuff as well, eschewing sharp edges for appropriate bevels and chamfers. Why then am I listing this under the critiquing section? One simple reason. The thickness of the body walls. While not particularly awful on the M10 that is designed strictly for a 16mm cell, it is still a little thinner than most lights I’ve seen. The real downfall is the M18. Since its body was bored wider to accommodate the 18mm rechargeable cells, it has walls so thin I can’t help but think it will be a detriment to longevity. It’s a shame too, since other portions of the lights really look like they could take a beating. The stainless steel bezel ring with it’s small subtle crenellations has a rugged beauty about it and looks to be significantly more durable than the body it’s attached to.
Both of these two lights come not with holsters, but only with steel pocket clips. I personally am a big fan of a quality holster, but I usually am still willing to give clips a test rather than ignore them out of hand. The clips on the Mavericks are an interesting blend of “just right” and “almost, but not quite”. Both lights have a fantastically tensioned deep carry clip. I personally wish that the clips were not just the snap-on attachment type, rather a more solid method of some sort, but they do manage to be the most reliable of this variety that I have yet tried. The biggest downfall of these clips is the oddball metal tab halfway up the clip spine. I am not really sure what this tab is useful for, but I do know that it hampers clipping it onto anything thicker than a single layer of cloth. Forget getting it placed well onto a thick leather belt. I have found myself using the clips rather than searching through my arsenal for a decent holster, but I still wish they functioned just a little better.
Honestly these little lights have quickly become some of my favorite lights in this class. Small, sleek, bright, and very easy to use. Their intuitive interface is incredibly easy to get the hang of, and well spaced outputs give you an excellent balance between power and efficiency. If we could find just a little better clip design it would make things just that much better, but they aren’t far off now.
Provided for review by the kind folks at GoingGear.