Friday, March 14, 2014

Product Review: Armytek Predator Pro v2.5 XP-G2 Flashlight

Imagine having the ability to use a flashlight that has programmable functions for lighting in different hunting scenarios. With a simple twist of the handle you can have a bright light and with another twist it is practically a lightsaber. That's what you get with the Armytek Predator Pro v2.5 XP-G2 tactical flashlight. It comes from Armytek Optoelectronics Inc., which is based out of Ontario, Canada. When they reached out to me about their products I did plenty of research before I said yes. For the past three months I have been field-testing this incredible flashlight and it has surprised even this skeptic.

ArmyTek does a great job of sharing product features and specs on their website. I was impressed at how detailed the information is. For example, the Predator Pro is made from aviation-grade aluminum and it feels like it. This flashlight feels sturdy in your hands right out of the box. I dropped it a couple times on concrete (purposefully) and it held up just fine. That tells me the interior is constructed well and is strong.

Inside the box you get:
  • Holster
  • Clip
  • Lanyard
  • Rubber Grip
  • Ring instead of Grip
  • Rubber Button (extra)
  • 2 spare O-rings

The Predator Pro boasts a brightness of 640 LED lumens. In case you don't know about lumen brightness, that's bright!! It's enough light to shine a beam out to a distance of 350 meters. Yes, 350 METERS! That's pretty incredible. I tested this out because I wasn't so sure that would be accurate, but it shone pretty far! I did a basic measurement by walking and estimating my steps and it was very close to the specs.

Like I mentioned earlier, it is fully programmable. It has the ability to reset the settings built-in by the manufacturer or to be customized by the user. I opted to adjust the settings (just follow the directions) and it was ready to go.

It is powered by one 18650 Li-Ion or two CR123A/R123 batteries. This battery lasts a long time, too. The specs say 640 lm (1h 20min), 190 lm (7h), 67 lm (20h), 6 lm (155h). My tests were hiking in and then out of my hunting spots with the light on 640 lms nearly the entire time. I tested the lower light settings each time I got back to my car. It stayed bright for four hunting trips before the lower light feature powered off, but the brightest feature worked well. Kinda odd, isn't it? Still can't figure that one out.

According to the website specs, at the distance of 300 feet (92 meters), the diameter of the light spot is 26 feet (8 meters). I didn't actually measure this, but I could see a lot further out through the darkness than I have ever before.

If you want the complete list of the specifications - go here. Trust me, it is a complete list, full of interesting specifications. Here are just a few I found very interesting.
  • The flashlight has a strong, difficult to break body, which is developed for a minimum weight with sufficient durability. The design of the body includes element design specifically to prevent the flashlight from rolling.
  • The flashlight is designed with the impact-resistant bezels from both sides in order to protect it from falling and allow utilization during combat situations. In the Gold and Black version the steel bezels are also covered by titanium compounds with a hardness of 2000-3000HV.
  • To ensure functionality in difficult conditions, the electronic driver of the flashlight is placed in a special aluminum capsule and has been completely covered with a durable compound. This actually protects it from both the environment and from mechanical damage.
The tactical rubber grip is a cool feature, but I opted to take it off. I wanted to see how easy it was to remove the grip, replace it with the o-ring, and screw the cap back on. It was relatively simple. There is a coating of a dense grease called NyoGel 760G to protect and provide extra water-resistance. 

If you look close, you can see the two O-rings and the grease on the grooves that aid in keeping it waterproof.

It is waterproof up to 50m, too. I didn't think I'd be diving with mine, so I decided to leave mine on my front lawn with the sprinklers going for ten minutes and the light still functioned well then, and the following day. It is supposed to be able to be submerged in water for a bit of time and still function as well. Just be sure that if you are switching O-rings or moving things around that you have everything sealed back up tight. I completed the sprinkler test AFTER I switched caps and back again, just to see how well the O-rings worked. They performed well and kept the water out.

If you hunt in a state where you can use lights at night (not California), or you want to try practicing at night, you can order colored filters and a trigger switch for the flashlight. While you cannot hunt in California at night, other states do allow it. Plus, I can target practice at night, so I opted to purchase a red and green filter, plus the remote (trigger) mechanism for the light. You merely remove the current cap and replace it with the new one with the coiled wire and push-button remote. I set it up to shoot in my backyard and it worked extremely well. I had a lot of fun shooting my target when it was pitch black.

What I liked about the Predator Pro:

  • It is small, compact, and easy to hold onto.
  • Has a cool look and feel. I like the tactical design.
  • It's super bright and the ability to adjust the brightness with a twist is nice. There is no noise when doing this either. 
  • The holster holds onto the flashlight very well as it has elastic sides. 
  • The battery lasts a long time.
  • The clip allows you to attach the light to a brimmed hat or pack. Strong clip, too.

What I didn't like about it:

  • I noticed that when the battery starts to go dim, you lose the low-light function of the flashlight, but it keeps the ability to use the high beam. Seems odd, right? I would think this should be the opposite. 
  • Putting the Predator Pro in or pulling it out of the holster can be tough with one hand. The design is good, but the holster isn't super rigid, so it bends when you try to put the flashlight back in. The good -  the elastic hangs onto the light like flypaper and it won't fall out.

It is built in China, but the construction is solid. It retails for $125.00 and for a well-built programmable flashlight, it's a bargain. You can find them for around $100 online. The other items I purchased - filters $7.95 each, and the remote switch was $17.95 can be purchased through a reseller online. It is lightweight and the light stays bright for a long time. Everyone I showed it to was impressed and I think it is a powerful flashlight. Heck, even I was impressed and this is one light I will keep on my belt loop in the foothills or the backcountry.

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