Review: Princeton Tec MPLS Switch

Flexibility. It’s what the Princeton Tec MPLS Switch is all about. Flexibility in the sense that the neck of the MPLS Switch can be bent in order to point the light where ever you need it. Flexibility in the sense that the MPLS Switch is versatile enough to be used for a variety of tasks. The MPLS Switch is a flexible light in more ways than one.

The MPLS' flexible neck is what makes it most noticeably unique. Click any image in this review to enlarge.


The MPLS Switch is a small, hands-free, personal flashlight that can be mounted in a variety of ways. It is a task light, not a tactical light. The MPLS Switch is useful for short range illumination tasks like navigating indoors or reading a map. It features a simple 1 button user interface and a long flexible neck that allows the user to aim the light where ever it is needed without having to hold the light. The MPLS Switch is an updated version of the original MPLS which features 2 LEDs instead of 1. My particular MPLS Switch has 1 red and 1 white LED (other colors will be available).


  • Weight: 17 grams without mount
  • Batteries: 2x 2016 coin cell
  • LED Color: multiple combinations available
  • Body Color: Black, Tan, or OD Green
  • Price: $39.99


MPLS stands for Modular Person Lighting System – a very fitting name. 4 different modular mounts comprise the MPLS’ system. Each one has a specific use. The MPLS Switch comes packaged with 2 of the 4 mounts: the MOLLE mount and the helmet mount. The MOLLE mount allows the MPLS Switch to be mounted on any 1″ webbing like MOLLE webbing. This allows the user to place the light on a chest rig, carrier, or even the sternum strap of a backpack. It can be mounted on any 1″ webbing. The helmet mount works on the current US Military helmet.

The MPLS mounts easily to any 1" webbing which includes MOLLE webbing.

There is also an Accessory Pack that is available for separate purchase which consists of 2 additional mounts. One of these mounts is designed to attach the MPLS Switch to the “reverse picatinny” rail of the OPS-CORE helmet. The other mount is designed to attach the MPLS Switch to a standard picatinny rail. This would allow you to attach it to the railed hand guard of your carbine and use it as a discreet navigation light.

The main body of the MPLS Switch can be moved from mount to mount just by twisting the light free from the mount and twisting it into the next mount. The attachment method is simple and secure.

The body of the light simply twists into the mount.

The MPLS comes with 2 mounts: a MOLLE mount (top) and a helmet mount (bottom).

Flexible Neck

The flexible neck is key to the MPLS Switch’s usefulness. It is 1 3/4″ long and allows the light to be aimed in nearly any direction. Once you have the MPLS Switch mounted on your gear, there is very little reason to move it because it can be aimed in nearly any direction.

2 LEDs

The original MPLS had 1 LED. Now the MPLS Switch features 2 LEDs. The one being reviewed here has a red LED and a white LED. Other combinations will be available as well, including IR LEDs for use with night vision equipment. Having 2 different colors of light available at your finger tips really adds to the versatility of this light.

The newest version of the MPLS features two LEDs.

Simple Operation

The MPLS Switch is exceedingly simple to operate. There is one switch that controls the entire light. When the light is turned on it will be in low red mode (or other color depending on model). If the user presses the bottom again quickly, the light will switch to high red mode. If the button is not pressed within about 2 seconds, the next click will turn the light off. If, at any time, the user presses and holds the button, the light will switch to white mode. The next click in white mode, turns the light off. It only takes a moment to learn how to control the MPLS Switch.

It is obvious that a lot of thought went into this interface. The switch is designed to minimize the likelihood an accidental discharge of white light and the light can be turned off quickly from either of the two modes. These two features will be key to military users.

In Use

The MPLS Switch is a joy to use. It is so small and light weight that you hardly notice it until you need it.

The low red mode is very low which makes it excellent for use when you want to maintain your dark adjusted vision. Many lights don’t make the lowest mode low enough but the MPLS Switch gets it right. It attaches easily to the straps of many backpacks and is the perfect light for reading a map after the sun is falling behind the hills. The white mode is surprisingly bright. It is more than enough light to navigate through a dark room.

The 1 button user interface couldn’t be better. It makes moving between the two color outputs very simple. I was able to learn how to use the button very quickly and soon I was selecting the mode that I wanted without having to think about it. This light really allows to concentrate on the task at hand, rather than pressing buttons or holding the light.

My favorite use of the MPLS Switch was clipped to the map holder that I use when I am hiking or orienteering. The flexible neck allowed me to aim the light in such a way that a specific area of the map was illuminated or it could be bent in such a way that nearly the entire map was illuminated. It is brilliant as a map light but that is only scratching the surface of the uses for a light this versatile.

The MPLS makes an excellent map light.


The MPLS Switch is flexible, literally and figuratively. Its versatility comes from its flexible neck, 2 LEDs, numerous mounts, and simple operation. It can be attached in a number of useful ways and aimed just about anywhere. This light would be at home on any hiker, hunter, or soldier’s gear.

Thank you Princeton Tec for providing this new version of the MPLS Switch for review.

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3 Responses to Review: Princeton Tec MPLS Switch

  1. Justin Jangraw November 9, 2010 at 16:04 #

    Fantastic review. We just started carrying these a few weeks ago. It’s a great piece of kit – once word gets out I imagine they’ll be everywhere. Mounting it on a helmet for hands free map reading is a great concept (without having a huge headlamp).

    Thanks again for looking into these!

    • matthewdanger November 9, 2010 at 17:03 #


      Any word on when you will have the new 2 LED version?

      • Justin Jangraw November 9, 2010 at 17:54 #

        No word yet. Probably not for another 4 weeks or so. Hopefully in time for XMAS.

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