I recently purchased the Fenix Compact 140 Lumen Flashlight
, the 4Sevens Mini 123 R5 Edition
and the Fenix PD20 CREE Q5 Mini LED Flashlight, Black, 180 Lumens, Uses 1 X CR123A Battery
to replace my SureFire Executive E1 for EDC (every day carry).
All of these flashlights were brighter, lighter and smaller than my vintage E1. The one I setled on for EDC was the 4Sevens Mini 123 R5 Edition
Since I won't be writing three entirely different reviews, let me tell you what I like and dislike in a EDC light:
* It has to be something I always have with me - thus the term EDC.
* It has to fit on a key chain (something that my SureFire E1 did begrudgingly)
* It has to be small, light and have at least low, medium and high settings
* It is preferable to have a dedicated on-off switch to a twist-on switch. This is because I don't want the light to turn on accidentally and not be ready when I need it.
Much less important to me are things like strobe, SOS, beacon, and so on because of two reasons: first they are invariably difficult to activate (strobe coming to mind as the most useless in a tactical situation) and second, the additional weight and cost isn't justified since it's unlikely I'll ever use them. Follow me on this: is this the primary use as a flashlight or a signalling device? For me it's simple: If it's dark, I want light and I want that light to be on my person.
In order from most to least preferred for EDC, the following:
#1 - 4Sevens Mini 123 R5 Edition
It's small, lightweight, bright, inexpensive enough and fits on my key chain. It has more than the three brightness modes I require and despite the twist-on activation was the best suited to my needs. This light turn on low, then medium, then high. This means that you have a day or more to notice your light has been accidentally turned-on.
#2 - Fenix Compact 140 Lumen Flashlight
All of the above and 25% less expensive than the 4Sevens. Same twist-on activation BUT this one turns on in high-output first - cycling from high to medium to low. The problem here is that accidental activation will discharge a battery in an hour and I might miss it -- unless of course I felt my pocket getting hot. I deemed this light unsuitable for my purposes and gifted it away. :)
#3 - Fenix PD20 CREE Q5 Mini LED Flashlight, Black, 180 Lumens, Uses 1 X CR123A Battery
This light has a positive end-cap on/off switch and is the brightest, best quality and most expensive of all. The light is simply too large for EDC on a key chain. It is about 50% larger than the other two lights. It's also considerably heavier. This light I carry in my laptop bag where an ounce or two doesn't make much difference.
On the subject of twist-on lights I don't like them for several reasons: accidental activation, wear on the o-ring and wear on the threads will all shorten the lifespan.
As far as being made in China or the USA goes for warranty purposes, I just don't care. If the light works when I get it then I'm good. If it fails, I'll buy another. I'm not going to ship a low-priced flashlight back to China for warranty service.