Olight has released yet another flavor of the day with the new M18 Striker. Does this one suit your fancy better than the more everyday variant?
Meat and Potatoes
The M18 Striker is clearly a variant of the Maverick series of lights previously reviewed. Much of this torch has obviously been scavenged from the same parts bin. Olight themselves call it a “Defensive adaptation”.
Sporting the same XM-L2 LED, and narrow diameter reflector, the beam profile is largely the same as well. There are some differences, caused by the obvious bezel adornments, but we’ll get to those later. The driver behind that LED has seen a moderate upgrade, pushing output up to 800 lumens. This is definitely fitting with the Tactical design being proffered.
Most notable in differences between the Striker and standard Maverick variations are both an addition and a subtraction. Gone is the side mounted mode switch, and with it the mode memory UI. Instead, the UI consists of only 2 constant modes and a strobe. Every time the light is activated, it starts on Full-Power high mode. Every one of those 800 lumens is in play right from the start. A quick power cycle right off the bat (half-press and release the light once, and then fully click) and the Striker is capable of a “low” mode that is still significant in output at 150 lumens. A second quick power cycle will allow you access to strobe mode, but honestly, who uses that? Kudos though on eliminating mode memory on a supposed tactical light. Barring discrete controls for output that aren’t tied to power, starting on High, each and every time, is the only option for something like this. Once again, thank you Olight for decisiveness about your tailcap! The forward clicky on the M18 Striker is overtly protruding with no tailstanding capability at all. This makes it very easy access from any angle and beats a hybrid switch surround any day.
So much for what’s missing, the most obvious change however is the inclusion of an aggressive strike bezel. I wouldn’t even consider these crenellations, but rather teeth. They are obviously designed as a pain compliance device, and will likely leave puncture wounds in any stressful encounter. They are harsh, and have accidentally caused some solid scratches on my toddlers when I was wearing this torch clipped to my pocket. To be honest, the only reason I’m not listing this under the critique section, is because this torch is designed for specifically this purpose. I don’t particularly like the concept, but it is exactly what the light is intended to be. That makes it a positive point, rather than a detrimental one. There are some effects these teeth have on the edge of the beam, but aside from causing your periphery to appear like some kind of clockwork cog, it really doesn’t have a negative effect on beam quality.
Since this light is so closely related to the Maverick, Understandably I find the same points of criticism. I’ll keep it brief here. Once again, despite the nicety of Olight’s manufacturing, the M18 Striker suffers from the same lack of wall thickness as previous iterations. I have been bouncing around to many other lights since my time with the Maverick, but I genuinely feel that this wall thickness might affect longevity.
Also, my concerns with adequate carry methods still persist. The only inclusion with the light is a oddly shaped pocket clip. I can readily attest this time that this clip does perform its assigned task with alacrity, but I would still prefer to have a secondary option in the form of a holster. It would be nice to have some way to carry this light without the constant worry of scraping family members or puncturing vehicle seating.
The M18 Striker is a potently bright light in a pocketable size with a relatively tactical and simple user interface. Pocketable size however doesn’t translate to actual pocketability. That would seem to be the likeliest method of losing your light as it falls through the hole it just created of its own accord. If a defensive tool is what you’re looking for in illumination, then the M18 Striker does live up to its design.
Provided for review by the kind folks at Going Gear.