Thursday, November 05, 2020

Miscellany: Surefire E1B Backup MV review

I've carried my fair share of cheapo Chinese-made flashlights, as well as some pricey domestic options (your Elzettas and Malkoffs), but I keep coming back to Surefire. Their torches tend to be hideously expensive and dimmer than the competition, but they strike a good balance between reliability, durability, and portability that's hard to find anywhere else.

Case in point - the Surefire E1B Backup MV. I know for a fact that this flashlight is incredibly tough; it survived a trip through a washing machine and dryer without being any worse for wear. And the E1B was only accidentally thrown in the laundry because it carries discretely in a back pocket with a sturdy two-way clip, despite the somewhat bulbous head.

The Backup uses Surefire's "MaxVision" beam, which puts out a flood or wall of light rather than throwing out a tight hotspot.  If you need to light something up at distance in the sticks, it's suboptimal, but the beam works well for lighting up a room, a dark parking garage, or a city alleyway. Output is rated at 400 lumens on high and 5 lumens on low. The light always defaults to high, and you select between the modes by tapping the tailswitch, with constant-on accessed by clicking in the switch.

Despite the tactical-sounding name, the E1B Backup is actually ill-suited for weaponlight work. The switch methodology makes it risky to use momentary, since if you pulse the light for less than 2 seconds in a fight you'll switch to the anemic low mode. Another drawback is that the tailswitch is not shrouded, which means the light cannot tailstand and can (rarely) get switched on in the pocket. As an EDC light, though, this is a good competitive option so long as you can swing the $140 asking price .


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