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Review: Nitecore P18

The Nitecore P18 is one of Nitecore’s newest lights in their P Series (Precise Series). It is aimed at the “tactical” market and manages to shoe-horn 1800 lumens into a surprisingly compact package. It also packs a number of interesting ideas that made me jump at the chance to review it.

Overview

The P18 is just over 4″ long and weighs in at 3.7 ounces. It utilizes a CREE XHP35 HD LED to pump out up to 1800 lumens and is powered by a single 18650 rechargeable battery (included). It comes packaged with a manual, sheath, extra o-ring, and lanyard.

This light boasts a completely silent “tactical switch” and die-cast aluminum construction, both of which really piqued my interest.

Observations from Use

I consider this light to be very ambitious with a number of forward-thinking ideas and concepts. It is VERY different in construction and operation than any light I have ever used so it should come as no surprise that some of the ideas in this light really connect and some could probably be improved.

The tree line in this photo is 40 yards away. Turbo mode is activated. This photo does not do the spill beam justice but you can see the intensity and size of the hot spot even at 40 yards.

Beam – The P18’s beam is balanced with an emphasis on flood. It has a relatively wide, defined hotspot with an ever-so-slightly donut-like hole in the middle. This “hole” is slightly noticeable on a white wall but it is so slight that you do not see it outdoors. The spill portion of the beam is wide and bright. The engineers at Nitecore appear to have successfully balanced both throw and spill. I find it excellent for all-around use.

Construction – I think the die-cast aluminum body design of this light is very successful. It is a unique shape for sure but it is a shape and construction method with some strong advantages. First, it seems to handle heat very well, staying cooler on turbo mode than other lights I have with even less output. Second, the flat-ish sides allow this light to ride in the pocket VERY comfortably and easy to index which is important given the switch configuration. The overall shape and benefits of the die-cast body are some of my favorite things about this light. I was pleasantly surprised with how much of a difference it made in the overall experience with the P18 and I hope Nitecore continues to play to with this concept with future lights.

Switches – The P18 has two switches: a small round switch on the side that controls only the red LED and a larger switch that controls all of the white light options on the tail of the light. Both switches are metal so there are no rubber boots to wear out.

The tail switch is shaped roughly like a rectangle and is located directly next to the P18’s battery cap which can make pressing the switch a little awkward unless the light is oriented in your hand correctly (which is easy to do thankfully). It is what Nitecore calls a “silent tactical switch” which means it has no feedback at all – no click and no real change in resistance. This can take some getting used to since half presses are required to move through the UI (user interface) and the line between a half and full press is minimal. I would prefer that the switch offered more feedback as I think that would make the UI a little easier to deal with. As it stands, I think that one of the things holding this light back is the main switch.

User Interface – The user interface of this light is relatively easy to move through, but, as stated above, the switch can feel like it is fighting you at times. I actually like the output spacing between modes but given the complexity, I find this better suited as an outdoor light than a tactical light.

The UI offers 5 levels of white light, 3 flashing white light modes, a red light mode, and a battery charge level indication. All modes are accessed via two switches.

The side button controls the red light and allows direct access to ultralow white light.

  • Press and hold to activate the red LED.
  • Press and hold to deactivate the red LED.
  • Press and hold the side button and tail button to access ultralow mode directly.
  • Long press (3+ seconds) to view the battery level indicator flash sequence.

The rear button controls numerous white light functions.

From Off:

  • Press and hold the main button to enter Turbo mode directly (after a short delay). Release to turn light off.
  • Press and release to enter the last used output mode. The light remains on after release.
  • Half press to enter last used mode. Release to turn light off.

From On:

  • Half press to switch between output modes (including Turbo).
  • Half press and hold to access Turbo mode directly. Release to return to last used output mode.
  • Full press and hold for 1 second to enter the special modes (strobe/beacon/SOS).

As with most flashlight UIs, they look more complicated on paper than they really are. However, this is more complicated than I would like in a tactical light but the multiple modes and all-around useful beam shape make this handy as a camping/hiking light in my opinion. In fact, I really like it in that role. It is also important to point out that this UI has two important features: direct access to turbo and direct access to ultralow.

Battery – The P18 can be powered by 2x CR123A/RCR123 or 1x 18650 battery. It comes with a flat-top 3100 mAh 18650 cell. The light is limited to cells under 67mm in length. It can operate with longer protected 18650 cells but the tail cap will not fully close rendering the light susceptible to water ingress. The use of CR123A or RCR123 cells will remove access to the turbo mode (high mode replaces turbo for all direct-access functions). The cap will fully close on 2x CR123A cells.

Build Quality – The build appears to be very good on this light. The threads and o-ring came greased from the factory. The tail cap turns smoothly with no grittiness. The LED is well centered in a flawless reflector. There is no dust under the lens. The finish is evenly applied and attractive.

Other Observations – The pocket clip on this light is excellent. It grips the pocket well and, because of the mostly flat sides of the light, it allows the light to carry very comfortably in the pocket. It is not reversible which seems like an unfortunate oversight.

Wrap Up

Nitecore markets this light for the “tactical” market and I think that is a miss. The switch and user interface conspire to make it just a bit too complex for that market. The switch doesn’t offer enough feedback to allow the user to work within the UI effectively. However, I find this to be an excellent light for outdoor use and I applaud a UI design that offers direct access to both the brightest and dimmest white light settings.

I was surprised at what a positive functional difference the shape and unibody, die-cast construction make. I hope that Nitecore continues to innovate this unique shape and construction method.

Flashlight.Nitecore.com


Nitecore provided this light, free of charge, for review.

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Bravo Concealment Glock 43/43X 3.0 Holsters Now Available

Bravo Concealment continues to bring new options to market in their injection molded lines. The BCA 3.0 (OWB) and Torsion 3.0 (IWB) are now available for the G43 and G43X. They are also offering a free magazine pouch with a holster purchase so it might be a great time to check out the new holsters.

BravoConcealment.com

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New from Russian Roulette Clothing: Apocalypse Gas Mask 2 – Electric Boogaloo

Russian Roulette Clothing just released their newest shirt design. The Apocalypse Gas Mask 2 – Electric Boogaloo shirt features a skull with gas mask. The skull is rough around the edges and the gas mask is tattered. This skull has obviously seen some things.

RussianRouletteClothing.com

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PHLster Floodlight for TLR-1

You are likely already familiar with the concept of the PHLster Floodlight. When a light bearing holster is designed, it is typically molded to retain the handgun by gripping somewhere on the light. PHLster took this concept to its logical conclusion and designed a holster with enough built-in flexibility that it could accommodate just about any handgun as long as it was attached to the specified light. Only the X300U version of the Floodlight was available until now.

The TLR-1 version of the Floodlight is now available. It works with all models of the TLR-1 including the TLR-1 HL. If you have a handgun that can accept a TLR-1, there is a very good chance that the Floodlight will let you carry it.

You can see a full list of handguns confirmed to work on the PHLster website. This list is not exhaustive because this holster will fill pretty much anything except some handguns with extreme proportions or non-standard features.

PHLster.com

GunfightersINC is Moving and Hiring

If you are a long time reader of Jerking the Trigger, you know about GunfightersINC in no small part because of their Kenai Chest Holster. You may also be familiar with the changing political landscape in Washington State, where GunfightersINC currently operates. They have chosen to read the writing on the wall and relocate to North Idaho – Rathdrum to be specific.

This all means there will be some employment opportunities for some North Idahoans who would like to work in the firearm industry (which basically describes everyone from North Idaho). The job listings are available on the GunfightersINC Facebook page.

OC Tactical Clash Keychain

Thanks to Whiskey Two-Four and all their manufacturing partners, M81 webbing is starting to find its way out into the wild. OC Tactical is already putting it to good use in their Clash Keychain.

The Clash gives you a way to carry your keys and clip them anywhere convenient thanks to the steel ITW Clash Hook found at one end. I suppose it could also make a decent handle to turn your keys into a melee weapon in a pinch. You would probably earn some style points for doing that kind of thing with an M81 Clash.

OCTactical.com

New from TOPS Knives: Bull Trout and Nata

TOPS Knives just released two new designs. The Bull Trout and Nata are both knives that we’ve seen before at trade shows but they are finally available for purchase.

Bull Trout

The Bull Trout is a result of TOPS 3rd annual contest where employees are encouraged to design a knife that will be put into production if chosen. This year the winner was Martin Murillo for his EDC fixed-blade design. Martin is an avid fisherman, so the Bull Trout had to excel at that. It’s got comfortable burlap Micarta handles with a stainless 154cm blade and a simple, classic chocolate leather sheath. But you don’t have to be a fisherman to enjoy this knife. It’s just a great all-around EDC blade.

Pick up the Bull Trout from a TOPS authorized dealer or from TOPS at https://www.topsknives.com/bull-trout

Nata

Many useful tools have come from the Japanese over the years. The Nata (hatchet) is one that hasn’t received as much attention as some others, but is an excellent tool nonetheless. The TOPS Nata is Leo Espinoza’s take on a very old gardening tool. The handle and grind have been changed from traditional designs to fit TOPS/Leo’s style. It’s also full tang with grippy burlap Micarta handles and a nice leather belt sheath. Have brush that needs cleared, branches that need pruned, or are you just in the market for a small chopper with an interesting design? The Nata might just be your next tool.

Pick up the TOPS Nata from a TOPS authorized dealer or from TOPS at https://www.topsknives.com/tops-nata

On Foot, Off Grid: Olight UC Magnetic USB Charger

Electronics have become an important part of many people’s backcountry experience and safety. In this series, On Foot, Off Grid, we cover the electronic gear that power your backcountry adventures along with some strategies for their use. The series will cover plenty of gear options and explore ideas for dealing with cold weather, streamlining your power needs, and more.


We covered the use of a power bank as a central, or even THE central component, of a portable backcountry power setup in the first installment of On Foot, Off Grid (read it HERE). Now we are going to take a look at an item that lets us access the electricity stored in the power bank to charge other loose batteries – the Olight UC Magnetic USB Charger.

One of the main reasons I purchased an Olight UC Magnetic USB Charger is the form factor. It looks more like earbuds than a battery charger. It is extremely compact and extremely lightweight yet it is a surprisingly full-featured charger.

There are other chargers with a similar form factor on the market which brings me to the other reason I chose the Olight version. It is the only one I found that was smart enough to charge both lithium-ion batteries like 18650s or 16340s AND NiMH cells like the Eneloop AA and AAA batteries that I prefer.

Using the Olight UC Magnetic USB Charger is extremely easy. You simply plug it into your USB power source and then attach the magnetic leads to each end of the battery you want to recharge. Polarity doesn’t matter because the charger is smart enough to detect it automatically. An indicator light at the base of the wire will let you know what is happening – blinking red means standby or a charging error, solid red means charging, and green means that your cell is done charging.

It is very well designed and well made. The cord is the flat type that will not tangle. All of the components are encased in anodized aluminum. The magnets in the leads are appropriately strong and the leads are shaped well for use with both flat and button top cells.

I strongly suggest you try this at home before you bring it into the field. One, it is nice to get a sense of the speed that it will charge your batteries. It isn’t the fastest but I have found it to be completely acceptable for recharging AA and AAA batteries in the field. Two, you want to be sure it works with your intended power source. I have used it with Anker Powercore power banks and a Nitecore F1 Charger (more on this in later installment).

Here is the bottom line: The Olight UC Magnetic USB Charger is easy to use. It packs as small as a set of earbuds and weighs just .72 oz. It charges both 3.7V lithium ion batteries and 1.2V NiMH batteries. While it only charges one cell at a time, this hasn’t been an issue for me as I have taken steps to streamline my electronics to include items that only require a single cell. This is an incredibly lightweight, compact item that can be an important part of any backcountry power setup.

Where to Buy:

These are available all over the internet. When I purchased mine, I couldn’t beat Amazon’s price with the included shipping: Olight UC Magnetic USB Charger on Amazon (affiliate link)

The Amazon page also features a full list of compatible lithium ion cells.


Do you have a gear or concept recommendation that fits the On Foot, Off Grid series? Tell us about it in the comments below or drop us a line on the Contact page.

The above URLs may be affiliate links.

Fenix HM65 Rechargeable Headlamp

Fenix just released the details on a new headlamp, the HM65 Rechargeable Headlamp, that is loaded with interesting tech and features. The most prominent feature is the use of dual emitters with one optimized for throw and one for flood light.

It boasts a 1000 lumen turbo setting along with other, longer running modes including a 130 lumen settings that run for 48 hours+ according to Fenix (actual real world runtimes can vary). See the chart below for full ANSI runtime and output ratings.

The HM65 is rechargeable via USB Type C (cable included). It comes with an 18650 battery but it can also be powered by two CR123A primary cells which is good news for those who might take this headlamp into cold environments.

The body of the HM65 is made from a magnesium alloy. Fenix claims that makes it both durable and lightweight.

The head strap design includes a top strap as is standard for single 18650 powered headlamps. It features a perforated design that I suppose would promote breathability.

The HM65 can be pre-ordered. It is not expected to be available until Tuesday, June 25th.

FenixLighting.com

Stickthison Colt 45 Hi-Point Morale Patch

Stickthison recently released a patch that commemorates a great moment in firearm history. Autonomous Armory created a very special Hi-Point complete with a Colt 45 paint scheme and – you better sit down for this – a brown paper bag pattern kydex holster. A creative project like that deserves to be immortalized in all the permanence of velcro-backed PVC.

Check out the patch at Stickthison.com

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