Review: Solarforce Gladiator (picture heavy)

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_the_
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Review: Solarforce Gladiator (picture heavy)

Solarforce Gladiator (with KD XM-L U2 Drop-in)

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★

 

Summary:

Battery: 1-4 x 18650
Switch: Forward clicky
Modes: 1 (Drop-in not included)
LED Type: XM-L U2 (Drop-in not included)  
Lens: Glass, 2mm, AR coated 
Tailstands: Yes 
Price Payed: $59.99 (+ $11.78 for drop-in)
From: solarforce-sales.com (drop-in from kaidomain.com)
Date Ordered: January 2012

 

Pros:

  • Good quality
  • Heavy (630g with two batteries)
  • Feels good in hand
  • Nice holster included
  • Ability to choose any P60 drop-in you like (1 mode 3-18V is not a bad idea)  
  • AR-coated glass lens, 2mm thick
  • 3 dummy 18650 batteries included, allowing the use of 1-4 batteries (depending on the drop-in, of course)
  • Comes in a nice box

Cons:

  • A bit short to be used as a (self-defense) weapon (but then again: less problems with police!)
  • A bit pricey (especially as the drop-in is not included)

 

Features / Value: ★★★★

The light comes in a nice package (although one corner was damaged by post):

Package includes:
- Flashlight body (complete, without drop-in)
- A nice holster
- Three dummy 18650 batteries (only one shown in the picture, others are inside the body)
- Two extra O-rings
- Spare rubber boot (GITD)

 

Here's everything opened up (+ the drop-in):

 

Note that the BLF-lanyard shown in the pictures is NOT included. I bought it earlier from manafont and I think it suits this light very well!

Features, well, ... It's a flashlight body, that's it. It works well and seems to be waterproof. Tailcap switch is forward clicky and feels good in use. Maybe not so good for multi-mode drop-ins?

Value for money: A bit pricey, especially as the drop-in is not included. -1 star for this.

 

Design / Build Quality: ★★★

Design is nice. The light is quite heavy (480g without batteries, 630g with two batteries + two dummies = ready to use), and feels very good in hand.

I would not choose this for my self-defense flashlight (I sleep with The Mace and Baseball bat), but on the other hand, I might take this for a walk. Especially in the holster it doesn't look aggressive at all: (ok, maybe a bit, but not so much as the others!)


The anodization is good overall, so let's see some details..

Bezel crenelation (sorry about the dust):

 

Front end threads were really smooth and the O-ring well placed: 

 

Tailcap from inside, KD drop-in and Head:

 

From the top:

 

 

Bottom line in the quality: Nothing to complain! Well, except that this could be a bit longer, like The Mace

Here's a length comparison for those side-by-side:

 

And the walls are THICK, like 7.5mm thick!

 

Battery Life: ★★★★

Perfect! Up to four batteries will allow really long runtimes with a suitable drop-in.

The KD XM-L U2 3-18V drop-in takes about 0.5A from 4 x 18650, allowing something like up to five hours runtime on high.

 

Light Output: ★★★★

This is not a DRY, but in par with other P60 lights. Thermal sag is significant, at least before doing the aluminum foil trick. After that, the thick body takes all the heat very well.

Number of
batteries

Tailcap
current

Ceiling bounce,
relative output
compared to KD C8

11.45A76%
21.05A85%
30.63A81%
40.52A90%

Two white wall beamshots

 

 

Summary: ★★★★

Very good flashlight for anyone who wants to have something heavy that gives some extra reach in case of being attacked. I would not classify this as an attack weapon, so there should not be any problems with police, but YMMV!

 

The End (pun intended):

 

Thanks for reading & watching. Hope you enjoyed the review!

=the=

Disclaimer: Above post might contain referral links, but only to items that I myself have bought, tested & approved. Or items that, based on my experience, can be considered as good deals & worth sharing.

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:21
_the_
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Some HD bonus material in gigapan format.

You can navigate in the embedded images by using mouse wheel / drag / double click / navigation controls (on the left) or just click the title to open these in gigapan.org, which allows to use full screen view, create snapshots and add comments.

Size comparison between Gladiator, Mace and Baseball bat:

 

Gladiator disassembled:

=the=

Disclaimer: Above post might contain referral links, but only to items that I myself have bought, tested & approved. Or items that, based on my experience, can be considered as good deals & worth sharing.

jacktheclipper
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Smile

Chicago X
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I was really impressed with the AR-coated glass.

My example also arrived with similar damage to the packaging.

I really like the bezel too- it may migrate over to the L2T for a while, while the Masterpiece Pro 1 head resides on the Glad.

 

Thanks for the great review !

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Chicago X
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I don't own the other torches in your comparo - can you please comment on which one is the most solid-feeling of the group?

In other words, which one would club the most zombies without falling apart?

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fishinfool
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Awesome review! 

 

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

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Thanks for the great review!  z

C

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If you have the time, could we see an in-hand photo to get a reference for size? That'd be great thanks!

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From the department of nobody-cares-but-Foy:  check out that boot design!

yeahbabyFoy

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Great review. I think the BLF lanyard came from Manafont?

 

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My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

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edc wrote:

Great review. I think the BLF lanyard came from Manafont?

My bad. Sure it did. I stand corrected.

=the=

Disclaimer: Above post might contain referral links, but only to items that I myself have bought, tested & approved. Or items that, based on my experience, can be considered as good deals & worth sharing.

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Flashlight Foy wrote:

From the department of nobody-cares-but-Foy:  check out that boot design!

yeahbabyFoy

I care... cause my Blue L2P has that same tailcap. I guess SF is using them on new lights.

2100
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Wow...7.79mm thick body!  That could be even thicker than the Trunite catapult?

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Chicago X wrote:

I don't own the other torches in your comparo - can you please comment on which one is the most solid-feeling of the group?

In other words, which one would club the most zombies without falling apart?

This one, for sure. The baseball bat is overall heavier and more solid, but the handle is not as thick as in Gladiator.

Also The Mace feels quite thin-walled when compared to this.

=the=

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mizjif wrote:

If you have the time, could we see an in-hand photo to get a reference for size? That'd be great thanks!

Well, of course I don't have any spare time, but here we go.. Quick photo with also well-known Mag 3D for size reference:

=the=

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Chicago X wrote:

Masterpiece Pro 1 head resides on the Glad.

Do you happen to have a photo of that combination? I'm struggling not to buy MPP-1.

=the=

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What is the body thickness measured from bottom of those knurlings or rough estimate if it´s not possible to measure accuratelly?

i.e. the "thinnest place" in tube Smile

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_the_ wrote:

Do you happen to have a photo of that combination? I'm struggling not to buy MPP-1.

I would probably buy the MPP-2 to go with this combo, if purchasing new.

Pics of the MPP-1:

photo34-2.jpg

 

While not a perfect fit, it balances nicely with the larger head.

 

photo35-2.jpg

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 _the_

he he . . . You're going to love your MPP 1.

 

ohthehumanityFoy

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_the_
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Thanks Wayne!

Now I know that I needwant it. But I can't decide: I have always wanted to have MPP-1, and it can use up to 4 x 18650. But then again, MPP-2 would be a good option as well (even though it takes "only" 3 x 18650)..

Luckily there's the good old BLF saying: "When in doubt, take both". Laughing

=the=

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I have both and people probably get tired of me saying it but; the MPP 1 will give you a new respect for the ubiquitous XR-E.  Of the two, the MPP 2 is brighter but the MPP 1 is a thrower extraordinaire.  Versatile too - can run on a single 18650 or up to 16 volts and it will screw onto an L2, L2P, L2T, L2X, L2i, L2r, L2m . . . the MPP 2 tube will even work with it.  If you own just about any Solarforce light, all you need is the head.  In fact, a Surefire 6P will fit as well.

The MPP 1 setup I like best is an L2P body and an extension tube with the S8 switch.

 

bravoFoy

 

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CheapThrills wrote:

What is the body thickness measured from bottom of those knurlings or rough estimate if it´s not possible to measure accuratelly?

i.e. the "thinnest place" in tube Smile

Hmm.. What would be the thickness of the beast?

Let's see..

 

..just kidding.

Actually it was:

=the=

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When comparing the Solarforce Gladiator vs. the baseball bat light vs. the durable stick light:

1. Which one has the brightest beam?

2. Which one is the most durable?

3. Which one works best as a weapon?

4. Which one works the best as a flashlight?

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oicw wrote:

When comparing the Solarforce Gladiator vs. the baseball bat light vs. the durable stick light:

1. Which one has the brightest beam?

2. Which one is the most durable?

3. Which one works best as a weapon?

4. Which one works the best as a flashlight?

1. Gladiator (If you think of total output. The Mace, as a thrower, might be brighter in throw. But then again, Gladiator + MPP-1 head would win hands down..)

2. Gladiator

3. The Mace (especially if filled with lead shot)

4. Gladiator (and even more so if you take into account that you can use also MPP-1 / MPP-2 with the gladiator body)

=the=

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oicw
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The beam on the Solarforce Gladiator is very narrow. Is the beam's side spill useable?

_the_
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Well. The beam on Gladiator depends on the P60 drop-in you use with it.

I'm using a XM-L dropin and, IMHO, the beam is not narrow at all. Actually it's quite the opposite: floody and bright.

=the=

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oicw
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Thanks for the feedback on the beam.

_the_, since you own the Solarforce Gladiator, the club, and the baseball bat, if you had to pick only one to keep, which one would you choose. 

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Tough choice. I think it would be the Gladiator, because it really doubles as a multipurpose flashlight (with changeable dropins / heads).

=the=

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Mr.BrightLights
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Where cheapest to get that mpp head ,I like that on the gladiator?
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Great review... thanks. 


 

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