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Old November 11, 2018, 04:39 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: May 10, 2006
Location: Weekend cowboy
Posts: 532
Reevaluating the EDC Kit: Flashlights and Knives

Being prepared does not just involve owning, practicing with, and carrying a CCW handgun. Preparedness means being able to respond to the many issues and problems that are faced every day in life, as well as more rare but serious situations that really call for some mental arithmetics.

This is somewhat a gear review, mainly because of a new addition I had made to my EDC gear: the Fenix UC35-V2.0 Li-Ion rechargeable tactical flashlight. To put it in a few words, this is one of the brightest and most powerful flashlights I have ever seen and I have handled a lot of flashlights over the years. This one practically stopped me dead in my tracks. 1000 lumens and 3500mAH of power all conveniently packed into a durable aluminum and steel case around the size of most police-issued cans of OC spray. Cannot go wrong with that right?

Now in addition to being a gun nut I am also a sort of light nut. Having done various physical jobs in warehouses, construction sites and on large vehicles means that I just don't like being caught in the dark. While I am not that old, I am still a 90's kid who have seen the final days and death throes of incandescent utility lighting. When I was very young I was given a Maglite Solitaire AAA as a present. The thing fit on a keychain, had a twist knob and cranked out 2 lumens with a tiny replaceable xenon bulb. And best of all, it ran off of one single AAA ni-cad battery. And for a bit my young mind thought that was the coolest thing to ever exist.

For several years prior to this post, my main EDC light for work, home and tactical use had been a Mini Maglite LED with 100 lumen yield. And that thing is absolutely bright. It also has four modes selectable by rapidly turning the lamp head. High, Low, Strobe and SOS. At full power you cannot even look at the point of impact of the beam on a wall 5 feet away. Yeah, that kind of focused and intense. Even on low power, I can point that thing right up at the ceiling and the backscatter of light around the room would make an entire living room comfortably illuminated enough for the family to enjoy supper in case there was a power outage.

The old Mini Mag is still part of my traveling kit that I keep in the truck but for belt carry it has since been supplanted by the Fenix UC35 powerhouse. In just a 15 year span, LED technology has leaped forward with almost frightening speed. I remember when the first novelty high powered LEDs came onto the scene and for a brief time, they were just that...Novelty. For fair displays and gaming convention ads. And now, we have pinhole sized devices that can illuminate an entire stretch of road ahead of you. Enter Fenix and CREE onto the scene. It seems like China is really serious about dominating the high tech sector of the market. Holographic displays already in use in the J-20 fighter and the T-99D series of MBTs. In a year these are going to enter the US market and completely revolutionize gaming, VR and industrial mechanics.

Here is a little about the Fenix UC35 and an overall description of it's operation: The reason why the V2.0 is added after it's name is because it is indeed an improved 2nd version of the already popular 2017 model. It has a lot of things that the 2017 edition didn't have, like a rubber coated tail switch for easier control and a battery life indicator built into the side switch. It comes with a super high-capacity 3500mAH Li-Ion rechargeable/removable battery included. One of the best things about this light is that it is micro-USB rechargeable. Just plug it in and wait for the red LED on the side switch to turn green and you are good to go. Takes only about 2.5 hours when charging from 0% out the box. I can use the same cord as my LG touchscreen and charge it using any USB port, 12-V automotive port or one of my high powered laptop external battery packs. The internal battery can also be removed and Fenix has spare Li-Ion 18650s from 2600 to 3500mAH range so you can have a couple of extra batteries charged and ready to go.

OPERATION: Using the light is easy. One click of the tail switch turns it ON. To cycle through the 5 modes use the side switch. ECO: 2 lumen, LOW: 50 lumen, MED: 150 lumen, HIGH: 400 lumen, TURBO: 1000 lumen. Battery life is 800 hours on ECO and 3 hours on TURBO. When you first turn the unit on, the LED on the side switch also gives you a reading of the battery life. Steady green means above 85%. Flashing green= under 85% above 50%. Steady red= under 50% and flashing red= under 25%. NOTE: This indicator will only work when using the light with the 2600-3500mAH Fenix batteries. The unit can also run on two CR123 cells but the indicator will not work for those.

PERFORMANCE: When I say that these things are bright, bright is actually a sadly inaccurate understatement. It is overwhelming. Even on ECO, it is more than adequate to conduct a nighttime pre-trip engine inspection on a truck and a glance at the undercarriage assembly. On LOW, it completely overpowers any of the Maglites. One of the things which makes this unit so powerful is not just the lumens, but the focusing array in the lens. Sure, it produces 1000 lumens on TURBO at the aperture, but the focusing mirror projects that same beam up to 285 feet without losing any intensity so you practically have laser-like accuracy and intensity. Even on a clear, dry and cold night, the beam itself is visible in the air, solid and straight. Blast that thing inside a room? On TURBO that is akin to early afternoon sunlight on a summer day. Even looking at the spot on the wall 10ft away is hurtful and is not recommended. The same precautions pertaining to lasers also go hand in hand with these high powered LED units. Because they can and will cause severe eye damage even under very short term direct exposure. So know what you are doing and don't engage in horseplay with them.

So what is the final conclusion? The Fenix UC35-V2.0 and all of the other Fenix products introduced on and after the inception of the 2.0 represents a quantum leap in technology that only happened in the very near past, within the last 10 years. Akin to the terabyte capacity storage devices that can give any regular desktop, supercomputer performance. The light itself is constructed from a durable aluminum/steel frame with the middle gripping portion entirely free of any switches or ports, so it might even be useable in any one of the many weapon-mounted light brackets out there. And the tail power switch makes it really easy to operate, both as a handgun/rifle light and a regular unit for one-hand use. My CCW handgun is a Model 1858 Remington revolver with a .45LC conversion cylinder so I am used to using the left hand to hold a flashlight under the gun if I ever need to use it in that manner. One click with the thumb and the night turns into day covering 200 feet in front of me. The unit also comes with a pretty durable flap belt holster with Velcro fastenings that will take a quite lot of abuse from work and outdoor sporting activity. Or you can use one of your spare magazine pouches to carry the unit. Yes, you heard that correctly. The light will fit perfectly into any semi-auto magazine holster. The only negative thing I can find in the UC35-V2.0 is that the designer could have fitted the unit with a crenelated strike bezel like some of the Surefire lights have. That would greatly increase the utility potential of this powerful light. As a stunning device as well as an impact tool if push really comes to shove. And that takes us to the next must-have item on anyone's EDC list: a knife.

Or more accurately, a tactical folding knife with an assisted-opening mechanism. In my opinion over the years these are the most versatile and convenient for everyday carry as opposed to stronger but more problematic fixed-blades. Fixed blades may be illegal in some areas. And some of the most effective ones can be quite big...Big enough that carrying them around may attract attention. Tactical folders combine the best of several worlds. Contrary to what many people think, assisted-openers are NOT switchblades and are legal to own/carry/sell in most jurisdictions. If it is ever needed, they can be deployed very quickly via a switch located on the upper spine. This is basically a carry-over from my responses on another thread titled "Is there such thing as too close"? If you were to find yourself in a really grimy scenario where a firearm could not be deployed, a knife may just be the order of the day, such as in a grappling situation or if the BG really have you pinned against something. My current EDC, and one that I have been carrying for the last 3 years, is the Schrade SCHA6LBS with a 3.75" blade. Very hefty and solid piece of gear and it can be used as an impact tool when folded up as well. And knives are not just weapons. They are tools and I can see many situations where a good tool like the Schrade would be useful, and I am not even talking about outdoor sporting activities yet.

On another gun board in the past someone mentioned that "a man should always have on him something to cut with and something to start a fire with". Well, a good flashlight and a good knife definitely belongs on any EDC kit. I am not really a smoker, sometimes roll my own plugs with loose tobacco but I always got a Zippo fueled up and in a another pouch on my belt.

For more info on the Fenix UC35-V2.0, it can be found here:
You can also read other reviews and purchase the unit on that site.
Climb onto the saddle and ride with me through the last remaining Wild West frontier in the world.

Last edited by Rachen; November 11, 2018 at 04:55 PM.
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