Category Archives: Flashlights and Lasers

Discussions of various flashlights and lasers used – both handheld and weapon mounted.

This Rechargeable LED Worklight is Bright, Long-Lasting and Very Affordable

This is a pretty slick little light. It’s compact, doesn’t weigh much and can kick out quite a bit of light for at least eight hours.  Because it LED, you don’t need to worry about the bulbs burning out plus it runs cool vs. the scorching hot halogen worklights.

It does have one weird feature that I would tell you not to use – it has a red and blue light emergency situation flasher. In Michigan anyways, red is fine but the blue light is reserved for police. I didn’t buy this light for that feature and simply will not use it.

As small rechargeable worklights go, this is a great deal.  I bought mine because over 1,100 reviewers on Amazon gave this 4.3 out of 5 stars. You can’t have a rating like that unless your product is solid.

[amazon-element asin=”B015E6M23C” field=”desc”]


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Ryobi P721 Hybrid 20 Watt LED Work Light is Fantastic!!

I finally gave up trying to keep my old Ryobi 18 volt flashlights working or converting them to LED.  Ryobi sells a 20 watt LED worklight, model # P721 that is really slick and uses their 18 volt batteries.  I bought one at my local Home Depot and used it all summer while working on cars, plumbing and electrical work.  I must say that I am impressed.

The light has two settings, low and high.  When I was working in a room or under a car, the high setting was great.  Inside a bathroom vanity it was way too bright and the low setting worked much better.  They say the high setting is 2,400 lumen — let me tell you, it’s bright.

The problem I used to run into with incandescent bulbs is that the filament would burn out and I would need to install a new bulb.  LED lights do not have that problem.  Ryobi estimates the bulb will last 50,000 hours.  To put that in perspective, if you ran the light for one year, it would run for 8,760 hours non-stop.  Of course you would drain the battery over and over but the point is that it will be a long time before the LED gives out.

The legs are an interesting design and can hang on a two by lumber such as framing or a floor joist.

They claim 34 hours on one of the big Lithium Ion batteries and I suspect that is the low setting.  When I was doing plumbing and electrical work at my mother-in-law’s house, I killed a big battery in less time than that on full power.

All in all, it is a great light.  Since I have Ryobi tools and batteries, this purchase was a no-brainer and I plan to buy a second one for ever better coverage while working and the occasional power outage.

5/30/2019 Update;  I did buy a second one and these things are great.  For example, I just used them the other night to light up an area outside where my wife and I were working.   The batteries last a surprisingly long time on the lower power setting but I can’t tell you for sure how long.  Also, that base is so well thought out.  You can attach it to two-by lumber or even use the hook to dangle it – which I did from a rope.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Ryobi One+ P721 18v 20-Watt LED Work Light Dual Power Hybrid 2-Level NEW IN PKG!

$70.00
End Date: Wednesday Jul-17-2019 11:53:08 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $70.00
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Ryobi Hybrid LED Work Light 18V 2400 Lumens Handheld Stand-up (Tool-Only) *NEW*

$67.79
End Date: Sunday Jun-23-2019 11:03:28 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $67.79
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New Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ Hybrid 20-Watt LED Work Light (Tool-Only) # P721

$55.00
End Date: Thursday Jun-27-2019 12:18:38 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $55.00
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Ryobi One+ P721 18V 20-W LED Work Light Dual Power Hybrid 20WATT NISB(NOT P720)!

$78.59
End Date: Tuesday Jul-2-2019 20:42:01 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $78.59
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Ryobi P721 18V ONE+ 20W Hybrid LED Work Light

$99.99
End Date: Monday Jul-1-2019 17:05:14 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $99.99
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2X3600mAh Replace for Ryobi 18V Battery P100 P101 ONE+ ABP1801 ABP1803 BPP1820

$29.78
End Date: Tuesday Jul-9-2019 23:44:16 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $29.78
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3.6AH Replace for Ryobi 18V Battery NiMh ONE P100 P101 Plus ABP1801 ABP1803

$15.56
End Date: Saturday Jul-13-2019 0:32:49 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $15.56
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Tool Battery P102 for Ryobi ONE+PLUS Power 18V 2.0Ah P104 P108 P190 Lithium P107

$20.52
End Date: Saturday Jun-29-2019 21:30:58 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $20.52
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2X For Ryobi 18V 2.5Ah Battery Lithium ONE+ Plus P102 P103 P104 P105 P107 LED

$37.00
End Date: Thursday Jul-4-2019 2:05:51 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $37.00
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4.0Ah for Ryobi 18V Lithium Battery Replacement Ryobi ONE+ Plus P102 P103 P104

$27.99
End Date: Thursday Jun-20-2019 3:42:50 PDT
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How to Upgrade Mini Maglites to LED, Replacing the Lens and Adding a Switched Tail Cap

Okay, I have to admit it up front – I’m nostalgic.  When I was a teenager in the 1980s Maglites were a big deal.  I had a four D-Cell unit and a friend encouraged me to get a Mini Maglite probably in the 1985-ish timeframe and I have used it a ton.

I also bought a Mini Maglite with remote switch and shot gun barrel adapter for my dad.  He would slip out the door at night to see what the dog was barking at and would often take a firearm with him – often an old reliable 16 gauge single shot Iver Johnson.  It really creeped me out.  It wasn’t until years later that I understood how my dad viewed that having both grown up on a rural farm in New Hampshire and serving in the 6th Infantry in Pusan at the end of WWII (Yes, we had troops in Korea towards the end of WWII to prevent the Japanese from returning).

At any rate, I bought my dad a Mini MagLite with a remote switch for that old Iver Johnson and installed it.  Years later I would find the shotgun and the light separate – I suspect my dad never really needed it.

At any rate, I wound up with both my old light and my dad’s sitting next to each other and figured it was time to upgrade them and return them to service.

For me, researching is part of the fun so I dug around on replacement tail caps, LED upgrade units and lenses.  So, I wound up with the following pile on my work bench:

I bought two of the LED upgrades but had already installed one before it dawned on me that I better get a picture 🙂

The  LED upgrade is from TerraLux and is their TLE-5EX MiniStar2 Extreme.  They claim 150 maximum lumens for four hours.  I can’t speak to the duration but they are definitely bright – brighter than my 80 and 100 lumen lights for sure with a really nice solid coverage. 

   

Basically, you unscrew the head from the camera body and while you are at it, remove the lens cap also because you will replace the old lens with a new one.  If you see any stretched, torn or missing O-rings, then replace them while you are at it.

Here are the old and new reflectors and lenses:

The old bulb just pulls straight out of the body.  You don’t need to do anything else – just pull it out.

Now the LED module’s legs just go in where you removed the old bulb.  Have batteries in the light because you need to find out if the module is plugged in the right way or not.  What I mean by this is that the polarity does matter.  If you plug the module in and it will not light then turn it the other way so the legs switch the power holes they are plugged in to.

Notice how the reflector that comes with the module has a much wider hole to accommodate the LED.  You can save your old bulb and reflector if you want to.

The module will sit on top of the housing.

I got lucky – the light worked the first try.  If it did not, I would have removed the module and exchanged holes the legs were going into.

 

The tailcap has a nice switch.  What I like is that I can adjust the lens how I want and just turn the unit off and on at the tail cap.  If you were packing this, you can still turn the light off the old way and reduce the odds of it turning on.  Lastly, the cap has a perk – it has a lanyard ring on the side and it will prevent the light from rolling off a surface.  On one hand you can’t stand the light up and run it like candle but on the easy on/off switch and elimination of rolling are nice bonuses.

So that’s all there is to it.  I’d say it took me 5-10 minute per light and I satisfied my nostalgia by keeping them and have far, far brighter lights.  I’ve been using one of the lights for almost two months as of writing this blog without any problems at all.

By the way, I also wrote a post about upgrading my bigger 4-D cell Maglites as well.  Click here to read that post.


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AA and AAA MINI MAGLITE LED UPGRADE BULB 40 LUMENS You can Still FOCUS BEAM

$15.99
End Date: Sunday Jun-30-2019 2:48:30 PDT
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NEW Nite Ize AA Mini Maglite LED Upgrade Kit *FREE SHIPPING*

$10.95
End Date: Tuesday Jul-9-2019 7:39:51 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $10.95
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AAA MINI MAGLITE LED UPGRADE BULB 40 LUMENS fits M3A016 AAA MAG Replaces LM2A001

$15.99
End Date: Tuesday Jun-18-2019 18:34:22 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $15.99
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Not Happy With EBLCL LED Upgrade for My Ryobi Worklight Either

Okay, I ordered the EBLCL CE ROHS FCC PR P13.5S 18V 247 Lumen CREE XP-G2 S4LED upgrade for my 18 volt Ryobi worklight.  To make a long story short, like the Jomitop, it too throws an irregular crescent shaped light that I don’t like.  This unit is sold by a number of vendors on Amazon so buyer beware.

Here’s a photo of the EBLCL unit and the beam it projects:

I’m going to just leave this unit installed and look for a new worklight … I may even just put a replacement bulb in the unit.  I use these things quite a bit and I would rather have a decent wide area of light vs. these oddly shaped beams.

Bottom line, unless you like the shape of the beam shown above, I can’t recommend it.

 


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Not Happy with Jomitop P13.5S LED Replacement Bulb for Ryobi 18 volt Work Light

Okay, some guys sneer at the Ryobi power tools but I have gotten my money’s worth from their 18 volt drills.  I bought one of their 18 volt sets years ago and have two drills, an impact driver and a hammer drill that I use all the time.  One drill has done 3-4 decks and the other at least two.  I burned out one hammer drill a year ago and replaced it and the others are going strong.

Along with the tools came an 18 volt work light that I have used a ton especially while working on cars.  I’ve replace the incandescent bulb probably at least three times over the years.  As luck would have it, I dropped the light the other day and busted the bulb.  Rather than buy another replacement bulb, I decided to move to an LED unit.

I did some digging and bought a Jomitop P13.5S from Amazon – two of them actually as I have two of the work lights.  Now I wish I could say the upgrade went great but the resulting light is a weird crescent shape – even when it is just the LED by itself with no lens or reflector.  Both LEDs did this.

I plan on returning these two units as defective and have ordered two more models from other sellers on Amazon.  So, for now, pass on the Jomitop P13.5S model.  I’ll post on what works later but wanted to get the honest review out.

I hope this helps you out!


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Streamlight Microstream and Stylus Pro Lights – Quality Brilliance in Small Packages

I recently needed to find new small LED lights that had four key characteristics – reliable, acceptable brightness, decent battery life, and small size.  Let me explain the reason for them:

  • Reliable – to be honest, a lot of the “miracle” lights that are advertised are total pieces of crap.  Everything from poor switches, low quality soldering and, believe it or not, weak springs that break down with use and no longer make reliable contact with the battery.  When I need a light, I need a light.
  • Acceptable Brightness – there is a trade-off between brightness and battery life.  There always has been and always will be.  Now LEDs have really helped push that envelope but even they have trade offs.  For most use, you’d be surprised just how bright 45-100 lumens really is and the cheap lights are misrepresenting about what they put out anyways.  Americans especially seem to think that brighter is better.  Well, for me, I really need to figure out the balance.  I’ve found that 45-100 lumens is pretty darned good for stuff within 100 feet.  No scientific studies were done – I just walked outside and shined different lights around.
  • Decent battery life – I needed a light where the battery would give me at least two hours of light per battery set.  This magical number is based on having easy access to replacement batteries.  Out in the Styx, you may find decent priced AAA batteries but not CR123As for example.
  • Small Size – I need a flashlight that fits in my pocket and does not weigh a ton.

So, armed with this, I started digging around.  I have no affiliation with Streamlight so when I tell you I like their stuff, I actually like their stuff.  I have been using their TLR weapons lights for a number of years now and never had one fail.  Armed with that, I started looking at their small lights and decided to get both the Microstream (single AAA battery) and the Stylus Pro (two AAA batteries) to try out.

[amazonjs asin=”B00143JZ08″ locale=”US” title=”Streamlight MicroStream Ultra-compact Aluminum body with AAA Alkaline Battery, 3.5 Inch – 1.04 oz (Black)”]

[amazonjs asin=”B0015UC17E” locale=”US” title=”Streamlight 66118 Stylus Pro LED PenLight with Holster, Black – 100 Lumens”]

Now the specs are pretty good for both.  Look at the battery life relative to Lumens:

So, I installed the supplied Duracel AAA batteries and spent some time playing with both.  The switches are solid, no rattles, and the light is pretty good.  This is me running the lights side by side at a fence about 30 feet away.  The Microstream did surprisingly well compared to the bigger light – it seems to be a tighter beam vs. more of a flood from the Stylus Pro.  The Microstream is on the left and the Stylus Pro is on the right.

Bottom line, both seem like they will meet my needs.  I’m going to carry the Microstream for regular use and the Stylus Pro when more light is needed for a longer time.

2/22/2018 Update:  These lights have held up great.  I even accidentally put one through the clothes washer without any problem -nothing happened to the finish and no water got inside!  I actually have four of the little single battery Microstreams and they are pretty much my every day carry when working in the shop, travelling, etc.


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Streamlight Stinger Model #75102 Rapid Rate Charger Base Tested And Working

$20.00
End Date: Tuesday Jul-16-2019 19:38:11 PDT
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Streamlight 66608 Microstream Rechargeable USB LED 250 Lumen Flashlight, Tan

$25.75
End Date: Sunday Jun-30-2019 8:06:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $25.75
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Streamlight 88066 ProTac HL-X Rifle Rail Mount Dedicated Fix Mount LED Light

$89.23
End Date: Saturday Jul-6-2019 9:15:16 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $89.23
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Streamlight 66601 Microstream Rechargeable USB LED 250 Lumen Flashlight

$26.67
End Date: Sunday Jun-30-2019 8:07:11 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $26.67
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Streamlight 69260 TLR-I HL Rail Mount LED White 800 Lumens Tactical Light

$95.67
End Date: Friday Jul-12-2019 8:55:26 PDT
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If you want to upgrade your older 4-6 D cell Mag-Lite, be very cautious about the Terralux TLE-310M-EX MiniStar 1000 Lumen Conversion Kit

Hi folks,

I actually buy what I post about so if something doesn’t work, I’m going to report it.  In 2015, I upgraded my three Mag-Lites with TerraLUX TLE-6EX Ministar5 140 Lumen LEDs.  Those have worked great – they are bright, durable, and easy on the batteries.  A few weeks back, I ran across an Amazon listing for a TerraLUX TLE-310M-EX Ministar31M-EX LED Conversion kit for 4-6 D cell Maglites.  Now that kind of excited me – 1,000 claimed lumens plus I had good luck with their bulb replacements so the upgrade kit seemed like a no brainer.  Unfortunately, I was not so lucky this time because it did not fit either my four or five D-cell lights.

The conversion kit looks well made and is super easy to install — or at least it should be if it will fit the head of your light:

To be fair to TerraLUX, my 4-D cell Mag-Lite dates back to the early- to mid-1980s.  My 5-D cell was bought by my dad for his own use shortly there after.  The 3-D cell I have was bought by my dad at an unknown time.  I just want to point out right up front these are older lights.  To get to the point, the TLE-310M only fit the 3-D cell the way it should but it was not recommended for that few of cells plus was not as bright.

My best guess is that Mag-Lite evolved the shape of the flashlight’s heads over the years.  My 4-D cell’s head actually is curved inside behind the reflector.  The 5-D cell is flat inside.  The 3-D is flat inside too but it look like the stem that holds the bulb sticks up further.  When I screwed the TLE-301M straight onto the bulb stem, WOW.  On my 5-D cell, my Lux meter could not go up that high.  The problem is that the kit would not fit with the head on the way it should.  I suspect the positive contact on the bottom of the kit could not touch the Mag-Lite’s positive contact.

Here’s the 5-D cell taken apart with the conversion kit.  Normally to install the kit, you would just remove the bezel, lens, reflector and bulb.  The kit then screws in place of the bulb.  I had it all apart trying to figure out what was going on.

At this point I was getting a bit miffed.  I did not take a picture of my 4-D cell taken apart but it definitely had a conical shape under the reflector and the kit again would not make contact with the head in place.  if I screwed the kit right on to the stem, it was fine but no-go with the head on.  Note, they say to turn the head for the kit and positive contact to come together – that did not work on either the four or five cell lights no matter how firmly I turned the head.

Here is my 3-D light.  Look at how far the stem is sticking up with the head on! Sure enough the kit installed just fine on that light *but* it had fewer cells than recommended and it negatively impacted the brightness.

Here is the light output measured before (60,500 Lux because the meter is set to the x100 Lux range) and after (119,800 Lux) on the 3-D cell light:

So it did almost double the light out the front but not enough for me to want to spend $50.  When I did the test with the 5D cell with just the conversion kit screwed straight onto the stem with no head, the output exceeded the meter’s 200,000 Lux limit.  Wow – it was bright.  I sure wish it would have fit.

The one plus out of all this is that I did discover my 3-D cell’s light needed a bit of silicone grease on the threads to turn smoother and it had an old plastic lens that I upgraded to clear glass unit from Neutek:

Bottom line, I returned it the conversion kit to Amazon.  I feel TerraLux should have known it wouldn’t fit all lights — shouldn’t they?  So, if you have an older Maglite (say 1980s or 90s), stick with the single bulb upgrade to LED (the TerraLUX TLE-6EX) and you’ll be a happy camper.  If you have a newer Mag-Lite, you may be okay but I do not know that for sure.


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[amazonjs asin=”B00J5S17MS” locale=”US” title=”MAGLITE Flashlight lens Crystal Glass Upgrade (C & D Model)”]

[amazonjs asin=”B005A0ETXY” locale=”US” title=”Dr.Meter LX1330B Digital Illuminance/Light Meter, 0 – 200,000 Lux Luxmeter”]

This is the conversion kit you should be cautious about in terms of fitting an older light – the quality looked very good:

[amazonjs asin=”B007843698″ locale=”US” title=”Terralux TLE-310M-EX MiniStar31M-EX LED Conversion Kit for 4-6 D Cell MagLite”]

The single LED unit listed below is in use in all three of my 80s/90s Mag-Lites and works great.  No problems yet of any kind!

 

Converting 1980s-1990s 3, 4 and 5-D Cell Maglites to LED – What a difference!!

Back in about 1982 or 83, I saved my money up in high school and bought a seemingly giant 4-D cell Maglite.  That thing has been all over the US with me – camping, in cars, trucks, by the night stand and so forth.  My dad was so impressed he bought both a three and five cell version and used them on the farm.  Fast forward to 2015, my dad had passed away and I had both of his lights plus my old one – the paint was chipped and the old-style bulbs didn’t crank out anywhere near the light of a modern LED flashlight but they were still operational.  Face it, Maglites were built to last!   My Maglight and my dad’s were just sitting on the shelf and I couldn’t bring myself to toss them.

As so many things go in life, I was researching on LED upgrades for Surefire M951 weapons lights and wondered if some kind of upgrade existed for Maglites.  The answer was a resounding “yes”! There were all kinds of replacement and upgrade parts available.  I wound up getting three TerraLUX TLE-6EX MiniStar5 140 Lumens replacement for the traditional bulbs in May 2015.  Because I am writing this almost two years later, I can tell you the bulbs are a great deal – they’re not very expensive, bright as heck, durable and really easy on the batteries.  I was impressed then and still am now.

     

At any rate, two years later,  zero problems, way brighter and better battery life – sounds like something worth sharing while I drink my morning coffee.

First, the Maglite design is really cool.  You can readily get to just about everything that can wear out.  You don’t need to pull the batteries unless you want to, but you do need to unscrew the head and remove it.  Years ago I had a battery burst in this light so I always check batteries just to play it safe.  This is my four cell that I’ll take apart:

Now, you unscrew the front bezel and that gives you access to the lens.  I am pretty sure I tossed my original because it was so scratched up.  When I upgraded the LED, I also put in a new Crystal Glass upgrade lens in.  I just did it on mine and have had zero problems with it.  When you take the bezel off, the lens just lifts/falls right out.  There’s no glue to deal with.

Now the lens  sits in the body on a shock absorbing system.  I found an old bulb and inserted it so you could see the steps.  The bulb is held in place by a threaded collar that simply unscrews and you can then remove the bulb unit.  In the third and fourth photo, you can see the collar to the right of the bulb.

The LED emitter is a tad longer than the bulb but this doesn’t matter.  Just put it in place of the bulb and then screw the collar back into place.  Just snug the collar – you don’t need it to be crazy tight.  Also, I inspected all the O-Rings and out a light smear of heavy silicone grease on all the threads and O-rings to make everything turn smoothly – you can still change the beam from flood to spot, same as always.  Note, if an O-ring is torn, cracked or looking bad, take it to your local hardware store and replace it.

Next up, the rubber cover on my light’s switch was cracked and oxidized.  You can find replacements for those as well.  They are simply press fit so you can remove them very easily with your fingers or use a small tool to lift the cover up.  The replacement I bought in 2015 still looks like new.

  

The result:  I spent about $30 and have a very bright durable light.  I keep one in my truck and the other big light floats around between my shop and the house.  In the next photo, you can see the LED emitter working.

One thing that is interesting is that the five cell’s LED is not as white as the other two but it used to be.  I’m not sure why – I think it has the original batteries from two years ago.  It’s something else to add to the need to check out when there is free time list 🙂

Would I do it again?  Absolutely.  I like being able to use these lights once again.  There’s a lot of nostalgia involved with both of them.

5/23/19 Update:  Still working great.  No problems and has been used a ton not to mention bouncing around in my truck through the winter.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


New Maglite D & C Mag Flashlight CLEAR LENS PART 108-000-031

$5.95
End Date: Friday Jun-21-2019 6:14:11 PDT
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AA Mini Maglite Shatterproof Crystal Clear Lens (4 lenses) $3.95 FREE SHIPPING

$3.95
End Date: Tuesday Jun-25-2019 12:28:32 PDT
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NeuLUX MAGLITE Flashlight Lens Gorilla Glass Upgrade (C & D Model)

$5.79
End Date: Monday Jun-24-2019 13:29:37 PDT
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NeuLUX Mini MAGLITE Flashlight Lens Gorilla Glass Upgrade (AA Model)

$7.58
End Date: Saturday Jun-22-2019 14:57:08 PDT
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Weltool Maglite Flashlight Lens Upgrade for C or D Cell Maglite Flashlights -

$9.65
End Date: Saturday Jul-13-2019 4:43:14 PDT
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Maglite 108-000-034 Black Rubber Switch Seal Button Cover For D Cell Flashlights

$8.34
End Date: Thursday Jun-27-2019 14:28:10 PDT
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Maglite Replacement Switch Seal C D Cell Flashlights 3 pk 108-000-034 Magllight

$9.88
End Date: Thursday Jun-27-2019 16:35:38 PDT
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NEW! Maglite D size Switch Seal 108-000-034

$5.80
End Date: Thursday Jul-11-2019 11:51:41 PDT
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Mini MAGLITE PRO LED Flashlight Gray 272 Lumens SP2P09H W/Holster New Sealed!

$18.99
End Date: Tuesday Jul-16-2019 15:45:22 PDT
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Maglite 108-000-034 Black Rubber Switch Seal For D Cell Size Maglite Flashlights

$5.80
End Date: Friday Jun-28-2019 2:38:38 PDT
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Remington 870 and Winchester 1200 Riot Shotguns

Ran across these photos of two riot shotguns I built – a Winchester 1200 I bought new in the early 1980s and a Remington 870 Express I got a good deal on from Gander Mountain in the early 2000s.  One thing I learned is that the Blackhawk recoil reducing stocks really make a difference.

 

To be honest, I think Remington makes a lot cheaper guns than they used to and their quality has suffered.  Some years back I picked up a Remington 870 express in great shape but one thing that drove me nuts was that the little orange plastic follower would spring out and jam the action.  I did some quick digging and found a machined aluminum replacement that I installed and never had a problem since.

Also, from a pure “keep it simple” angle, I have since stopped installing anything on a tactical shotgun other than a light.  It took to long to turn on the red dot plus worries around battery life, was it still zeroed, etc.

For lights and lasers, I really like the Streamlights.  I use a TLR-1 300 lumen LED light on my home defense 870 to this day.  They are rugged, simple, easy to operate and durable.  Having had a ton of cheap Chinese imports fail over the years, I only use proven lights and lasers on critical firearms.  To save on the CR-123 batteries, read my post on that topic.

The red fiber optic sight really worked out better than I thought.  It made target acquisition fast.  I eventually ditched the red dot optic, installed a side saddle shell holder and used just that sight.

The flashlight on the Winchester was a Hellfighter with a xenon bulb.  It was ok but I would only buy LEDs going forward and my preferences are Streamlight or Surefire.

The Blackhawk recoil reducing stocks do a very good job but make sure you buy the right model.  They sell stocks both with and without the recoil reduction system.  Also make sure you get the right model – they make them for Winchester and Mossberg.  The following is an automated search from eBay so you need to double check the product and that the buyer has plenty of trades and good feedback.

Blackhawk SpecOps Stock Gen II (For Remington 870) - NEW IN BOX!

$75.00
End Date: Tuesday Jul-16-2019 12:39:27 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $75.00
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Blackhawk SpecOps II Stock Black Remington 870 12 Guage BH-K07100-C Gen 2

$84.99
End Date: Tuesday Jun-25-2019 13:47:53 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $84.99
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Blackhawk SpecOps Stock Gen II MOSS 500 590 835 W/FOREND K07200C

$88.00
End Date: Tuesday Jun-18-2019 17:10:21 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $88.00
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blackhawk specops gen II stock

$110.00
End Date: Saturday Jul-6-2019 11:06:59 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $110.00
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Blackhawk Knoxx Gen 2 Stock, Moss 12g Pump Varities, Black K30200-C

$66.00
End Date: Wednesday Jul-3-2019 1:18:51 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $66.00
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Blackhawk SpecOps II Stock ~ Black ~ Remington 870 12 Gauge K07100-C ~ NEW

$104.95
End Date: Saturday Jun-29-2019 16:43:29 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $104.95
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7 Position SPEC OPS Stock Heat Shield Fits Remington 870 Shotgun Butt Forend

$154.00
End Date: Saturday Jul-13-2019 15:14:10 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $154.00
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Knoxx K07100c SpecOps II Recoil Reduction Stock GEN II for Remington 870 12g a

$139.95
End Date: Thursday Jul-11-2019 12:53:34 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $139.95
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BlackHawk Specops Stock Gen2, Remington 870 (NIB)

$122.99
End Date: Friday Jun-21-2019 10:49:10 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $122.99
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Knoxx K04019-C Powerpak Modular Check Piece Blackhawk Camo Domestic Ship Include

$62.99
End Date: Thursday Jul-11-2019 7:52:37 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $62.99
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If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon to buy something.   With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Tactical Adjustable Stock + Pistol Grip Combo Gen II For REMINGTON 870 12 Ga

$39.98
End Date: Thursday Jun-20-2019 12:42:27 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $39.98
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HIVIZ ETA Remington 870/11-87/1100 Shotgun Front/Rear Sight Combo-RM2013

$25.76
End Date: Sunday Jun-23-2019 10:13:36 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $25.76
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Fits Remington 870 Heat Shield Shotgun 12 Gauge Tactical Shroud USA Made!

$21.00
End Date: Saturday Jul-6-2019 10:41:31 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.00
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Magpul MAG496 Drop-in M-Lok Forend for Remington 870 12 Gauge Shotguns - Black

$28.40
End Date: Wednesday Jul-17-2019 12:09:22 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $28.40
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New Remington 870 stock set taken off brand new Remington 870 Express 12ga

$50.00
End Date: Saturday Jul-13-2019 16:32:44 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $50.00
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TACTICAL SHOTGUN SIDE SADDLE 6 SHELL HOLDER CARRIER FOR REMINGTON 870 12 GA

$11.28
End Date: Tuesday Jul-2-2019 22:14:26 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $11.28
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Remington Model 870 Magazine Extension Kit 12-ga 18" Parkerized +2 Shot

$50.00
End Date: Thursday Jul-11-2019 10:16:27 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $50.00
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How to Safely Save on CR123A Batteries for Your Tactical Lights and Lasers

The CR123A battery is very common in tactical lights and lasers these days.  I have a ton of lights that use them and think they are a great battery type and do not have to cost fortune to operate.  There are two tips I want to pass along so you can safely save money.  Now you might be wondering why I put it that way and it’s simple – CR123A batteries are lithium and when they are discharged deeply and rapidly, heat is generated and unless the batteries are properly made, they can literally catch on fire or even explode.  Now this tends to happen with dirt cheap batteries / no-name knock-offs and when they are used improperly such as mixing new and used batteries, types of batteries or trying to recharge batteries that were not designed to be.

Useless trivia for you:  CR123A is a code.  CR = cylindrical.  The 123 means it’s size is a ration 1×2/3rds its length of “A” cell.  Put it together and you get CR123A.

So, to be safe, only use name brand batteries and change them all at a time.  For example, if a light or laser is going dim them change all the batteries at once with new cells of the proper type and I would even recommend from the same manufacturer.  I would also recommend only sticking with name brands from reputable sources.  Yes, cheap knock-offs show up on eBay and Amazon so be very suspicious of deals that seem to good to be true.

In terms of purchasing the batteries, do not go into a retail store and buy a retail package of one or two batteries in the camera department.  You will pay through the nose.  Instead, go to Amazon and buy Panasonic, Surefire, Streamlight or Energizer batteries in bulk packs – usually they are at least 12 batteries.  You are looking for new fresh batteries that aren’t being sold cheap because they are near end-of-life.  Lithiums last, or have a “shelf life” of, about 10 years from when they are made.  That also means that you can afford to buy a bunch at once as they are going to last quite a while provided they are relatively new when you buy them.

Why am I not recommending no-name batteries?  Simple – there is a reason why some of the tactical product companies say they will only warrant their products if you use certain brands – problems do happen.  At a minimum, you may not get as long of life from a cheap battery built compared to something from a reputable firm.  There are good niche batteries out there, but I am going to stick with the big brands.

I am careful to read the description and reviews before I buy on Amazon as there are unethical sellers out there.  Look for listings with lots of 4 and 5 star reviews – the more the better.  Beware of listings with few reviews of any type – no telling how long they will last.

Here are some examples to help you get started and I listed them in the order of what I would select – meaning my first choice would be the Surefire batteries and the second are the Streamlights.

[amazonjs asin=”B008X5RKIE” locale=”US” title=”Surefire SF12-BB Box of 12 123A 3 Volt Lithium Batteries 12-Pack SF123A”]

[amazonjs asin=”B000IXCO8K” locale=”US” title=”Streamlight 85177 CR123A Lithium Batteries, 12-Pack”]

[amazonjs asin=”B00FWVMEGU” locale=”US” title=”Panasonic CR123A-12PK Lithium 3V Photo Lithium Battery, 0.67″ Diameter x 1.36″ H (17.0 mm x 34.5 mm), black/Gold/Blue (Pack of 12)”]

If you just search for CR123A batteries on Amazon, you will see a ton of products for sale with different brands, quantities and so forth.  Shop smart and you’ll save big time.  I hope this helps you out some.