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.
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.