LED Lenser F1 Light Review
Occasionally I run across a product such as the Leatherman Rebar which resets what is the standard for features packed into size is and is so good that I just want to start and complete the article in giant bold print reading "This product is so awesome you should just go buy one now". The LED Lenser F1 light is that unbelievably good which I am stunned more people are not raving about.
Last year I reviewed a few of the outstandingly bright LED Lenser lights including my all time favorite the LED Lenser M1 light. What had me all oohing and ahhing over the light was that it produced a stunning brilliant light of over 150 lumens with just one CR123 battery. This meant that I had the same level light in a tiny little package 3.9" package as most tactical lights and in addition I had the ability to focus that light from a flood to a spot light with the flick of a thumb. The F1 is the M1’s rougher tougher and more tactically focused 3.6” brother that hits a record breaking 400 Lumen output on only one CR123 battery. The best part is that the new F1 is priced around $57 on the street.
Mrs Pandemic is famous for stealing all my best equipment. If she likes it it becomes part of her carry or tactical kit and I am left to look for a replacement. In this case, she absconded with my LED Lenser M1 because she liked the size and output. I bitched and whined enough that after drooling all over the LED Lenser light at the SHOT show, I picked one up and ladies and gentlemen, Mrs Pandemic will have to pry this F1 out of my cold dead hands.
ABOUT LED LENSER
How could a hard core tactical light guy fall for a new “none tactical” brand? The German Engineered LED Lenser lights deliver unique features including one of the most brilliant bright white lights, focus-able beams, higher than average light output, and exceptionally long-run times.
LED Lenser has several advantages over other lights including AFS (Advanced Focus System) and SLT (Smart Light Technology) on some lights, super premium LEDs, gold plated circuits, aerospace grade aluminum and anodizing, and a perfect optically correct lens and machined bezel.
Every manufacturer is working to optimize light efficiency all while maximizing light output, however a great reflector and LED, which most companies are focused on, will only get you so far. Operational efficiency on the LED Lenser is increased not only because of top end reflectors, but due to smarter gold plated circuitry and higher grade LEDs which enable LED Lenser to deliver higher output and longer run times than many competitors.
FIT, FEEL, FINISH, FEATURES, & FUNCTIONS
After much feedback from buyers begging for tougher line of tactical lights, LED Lenser has introduced the F1. As much as I liked the durable M1 model, it was not a light that would take sustained tactical level abuse. The F1 has a much thicker body with even thicker reinforcement at key stress points. A well designed and removable pocket clip was added along with an integrated lanyard slot in the tailcap. The F1 does away with the AFS focusable beam to drop the length a bit and nixes the somewhat complex SLT - Smart Light Technology in favor of a touch or click ON 100% 400 lumen power, double tap 15% power 60 lumen battery saver mode, and a triple tap full power strobe mode. Though I appreciated the flexibility of the SLT features, it is too complex for a tactical light.
The F1 also has better water resistance than the M1. The F1 is a full IPX8 rated which means it will handle permanent immersion in water versus being just splash resistant like the M1. Part of this additional waterproofing is due to the rubberized tailcap momentary/click switch which is partially shielded from damage by an extended tailcap designwith an integrated no roll design screw on tailcap. I found the design worked well while also protecting the switch from being accidentally switched on and could be used to stand on end for use as a lantern of sorts.
LED Lenser retained the mil-spec Type III hard anodizing and internal gold plated electronics which automatically regulate power, but have now added a temperature sensor as well to prevent light overheating. Although the interchangeable stainless or black glass break rings are a nice feature to change the look from more casual to tactical, I am pretty sure everyone will just install the black glass break ring. These pointed bezel rings protect the lens from damage but can be used both as a glass breaker or a striking/scraping tool to the face in tactical situations.
And now I present the glorious 400 Lumen output. It is amazingly bright... well actually it is a world record output in this size light. The LED Lenser F1 is powered by only one single CR123 battery and it all runs for 2 hours in full blast mode and a little over 3.5 hours in the 15% 60 lumen output mode. Compare this with any light and the efficiency of the F1 is running circles around all other tactical lights. Think of it this way, a German designed $57 flashlight can outshine all other lights and run twice as long with a battery in the light plus a carried spare. If you were lost in the woods or wandering a dark building which would you rather have.
Unlike any tactical light I have purchased, LED Lenser lights are are packaged in a presentation level box in a black and red theme. I know its a little thing, however it is a nice touch if you are considering it as a very thoughtful potentially life saving gift.
This is an outstanding light... just outstanding. I am all about not carrying giant and bulky kit with me when you have options like this available. The stunning 400 Lumen output of this little powerhouse light is amazing considering its size, however as a common sense preparedness type, it is the miserly power consumption which has my attention.
Using this light, I deliver higher output all will burning through my non-renewable stash of CR123 batteries at half the rate which means that same pile of CR123 batteries will allow me to generate light twice as long as any other user with any other light. The F1 is a bomb proof design perfect for concealed carry shooters that can hide out in any pocket or purse and delivers record setting output and efficiency twice the competition. "This product is so awesome you should just go buy one now".