Review: CQG Bullet (XP-G/16340)

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JohnnyMac
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Review: CQG Bullet (XP-G/16340)

CQG BULLET
*Flashlight supplied for review by WallBuys.com

CREE XP-G R5 4C 300LM 5-Mode Neutral White LED Bullet Shell Flashlight-Silver (1 x 16340/1 x CR123A)

Product Description from Wallbuys.com
Brand: CQG
Model: -
Material: Stainless Steel
Color: Silver
Emitter Brand: CREE
Emitter Type: LED
Emitter BIN: XP-G R5
Emitting Color: Neutral White(4000K)
Total Emitters: 1
Brightness: 300LM(manufacturer rated)
Runtime: -
Beam Range: 50m (max)
Modes: 5, High-Mid-Low-Lower-Strobe
Switch Type: Tailcap clicky switch
Lens: Glass lens
Reflector: Aluminum Textured / OP Reflector
Voltage Input: 3V - 4.2V
Waterproof: Yes
Application: Outdoor/Lighting/Hunting/Riding/Camping
Battery-Powered: 1 x 16340/1 x CR123A (not included)
Dimensions: 62x18mm(not included)
Packing List: 1 x EDC Flashlight and 1 x 16340 Battery
Price: $22 USD (free shipping)

*As with all of my reviews, each picture can be clicked to view the original full resolution version.

OK...let's begin by introducing the CQG Bullet. Now where did I put it...

 

Hmmm...that's not it! That's my Olight S20 Baton. It's one of the smallest 18650 lights made but it's not the Bullet.

Ahhh...Here it is!

I knew I left it somewhere for safe keeping. My, now that's a crappy photo.

Here we go. Much better. =)

My CQG Bullet arrived in perfect condition inside the larger of the two bags pictured below along with the smaller bag.
This was shipped inside a padded shipping envelope.

The CQG Bullet comes with 5 spare O-rings and one spare lens.

This light is deceptively small. I love the look and feel of it. This is the smallest 16340 light I've seen that uses a tail clicky switch.

It is like carrying a spare 18600 cell in your pocket. In fact, the bullet will fit inside of the battery compartment of an 18650 flashlight with room to spare.

The tail section is gorgeous! I love the machining, the design of the base, and the stainless steel switch button.

Seen from the side you can see why it's called the "Bullet". It looks like a cartridge with the nose of the bullet sliced off.

The MOP reflector is quite pretty and, in spite of it's diminutive size, throws very well thanks in no small part to the XP-G R5 emitter

It's hard to tell if the lens is A/R coated or not. Sometimes I think it might be, other times it doesn't look like it is.

Very pretty view from head on. One of the shiniest orange peel reflectors I've seen. The beam is very smooth and lovely, especially for indoor use thanks to the neutral 4C tint of the XP-G.

The tail gives plenty of options for lanyard attachment. The stainless button fits perfectly in the tail and the reverse-clicky switch has lovely feel when being clicked. It also tail stands perfectly.

PERFORMANCE

Output tint is very beautiful and neutral. Beam quality is very smooth with no artifacts and a smooth hotspot. The light gets very hot on prolonged use in Turbo. There is no thermal or timed step down so you will want to limit runtime on the higher output levels when using a 16340. Output is also far less than the claimed 300 lumens. I managed to get only 220 peak OTF lumens at initial turn on. Output with a CR123A primary cell is abysmal, as you will see below in the output results.

One look at these beam shots will tell you all you need to know as to how it achieves such nice throw with such a small, MOP reflector. The hotspot is very defined and the spill is super smooth.

The tint in my photos is off. It's not blue in real life. If it had any tint shade to it's creamy neutral goodness I'd say it was slightly on the pink side like the Nichia 219B emitters.

 

The tests below and the resultant OTF lumen output numbers were achieved using my 16" diameter calibrated Integrated Sphere.

Output with fresh 16340 OTF Lumens
Turbo (initial)         220
Turbo @ 30 sec    199
High                      115
Medium                12.4
Low                      3.8

Lux Measurements Lux @ 2m      2100 lux
Lux @ 1m (corrected)                  8399.9 lux
Throw distance in meters              183.3 meters

With a 3v Primary (CR123A) the results were all over the place. I've never seen anything like it. I used two different cells and checked twice with each. Totally inconsistent outputs between cells and tries in not just one level but all levels. Simply crazy shit! Needless to say, primaries should be used only as a last resort or emergencies. I won't be using them that's for sure.

CR123A cell #/test #     1/1               1/2                  2/1                     2/2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Low                             1.38              0.49               1.29                   0.49
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Medium                       3.78              1.70                3.83                  1.64
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
High                            11.68            11.89              30.59                12.91
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Turbo                          22.7              22.2                28.71                25.1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Output over 6 minutes using 16340 cell

I ran an output test for 6 minutes until the light was too hot to touch and I didn't feel comfortable running it any longer. The battery was 47 degrees Celsius when I stopped. I couldn't get a reading from the light itself using my IR Thermometer. Stainless steel tends to reflect the IR and give highly inaccurate results. The light was not held and there was no air circulating over the light during the test. The room was 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Real world use where air would be circulating and hand contact would keep the light much cooler and delay the inevitable heat buildup in the small stainless steel host.

One thing I might add, the Bullet did have last mode memory prior to my runtime/output test.  You had to wait about 2-3 minutes for it to kick in otherwise it would go to the next mode.  Since this test I've noticed that it always starts in moon mode and no matter what mode I leave it in it always starts in moon mode.  This is fine by me and is how I prefer it.  I'm just throwing it out there.  Perhaps the heat did something to the component responsible for the memory.  There is a very simple mod that will reduce the memory delay that can be done by adding a resistor.  An even simpler one involves nothing more than a lead pencil and is reversible.  I suppose my 6 minute runtime test on high was the simplest of all but sure not the most repeatable. Wink

CONSTRUCTION

Measurements:
Overall length 61.22mm
Outside body diameter 17.8mm
Inside body diameter 16.61mm
Lens diameter*height 14.83mm * 1.28mm
Reflector diameter 14.82mm
Reflector height 9.00mm
Pill diameter 16.83mm
Pill height 5.90mm
Weight w/o battery 26.0g
Weight w/battery 41.6g
Included 16340 battery diameter 16.5mm

The construction and build quality of the Bullet is pretty impressive. Fit and finish is very nice, especially at a price point as small as the light itself. All threads are smooth and clean with no burrs anywhere or metal filings anywhere inside the light. Let's take a closer look at the light and it's components. The warm incandesent lighting makes the stainless steel components appear brassy in color. In person it is easy to see the difference between the SS and the brass parts of the light.

First up let's unscrew the tailcap and see how this tiny tail switch is put together. The first think I noticed is the low profile copper spring mounted directly to the switch PCB. The second thig is the very thin but well made retaining ring that threads into the tail piece and holds everything in place.

From the side you can see the very deep yet fine threading used throughout the light. The thick O-ring provides a nice tight seal between the tail piece and main body tube.

A stainless steel button cap keeps the all metal theme going and give the Bullet a definite touch of class.

Peering down the battery tube towards the head of the light, we can see the rear of the pill and another copper spring.

The threading is wonderful and has almost no slop at all. Everything fits securely and tightly.

With the bezel unscrewed from the front of the Bullet, we can see another O-ring just in front of the threading. It too provides a very tight seal and keeps the bezel snugly held.

The reflector drops out from the back revealing another O-ring between the reflector and the lens.

Here is the entire head unassembled.

With the head of the light removed you can see the emitter and MCPCB. The emitter is mounted directly to the driver PCB. A bit unorthodox compared to the usual aluminum or copper MCPCB most lights have their emitter mounted to along with a seperate driver PCB, this setup allows the Bullet to maintain it's ridiculously short length and still manage to transfer it's heat to the body of the light. You will see just how in the next few pics.

The emitter/driver board is mounted directly to the brass pill. The fine threading and it's tight tolerances (you will see how tight if you try to unthread it from the body tube) allow the heat of the emitter to be transferred surprisingly well to the exterior of the light. Being stainless steel once it heats up the body things can get a bit uncomfortable for your hand.

A nice centering ring keeps the LED perfectly centered and allows the reflector to sit low over the emitter.

One last shot of the pill and reflector together.

This is the view fromthe front of the body tube with the bezel and pill removed. The threading here is as lovely as it is everywhere else inthe light.

Let's have a look at the tail pice disassembled.

Unscrewing the retaining ring allows the switch PCB to drop out. I haven't seen this particular switch in any other light. hard to see inthe pics but there is a silicon cap over the switch button. It looks like this will keep dust out of the switch but I wouldn't trust it to be water proof. The switch button cap is made from a thin piece of stamped steel.

Here is a look at the machining inside the tail piece. Everything fits snugly with no play or wasted space. A very impressively engineered little light.

Here is a breakdown view of the entire light and it's parts.

Some people who have the Bullet have complained that none of their 16340 cells fit inside the tube. I found that only protected cells won't fit. All of my unprotected 16340 cells as well as my Trustfire CR123A primary cells fit perfectly inside the precisely measured and machined battery tube. There is no play and the cells slide perfectly into the tube.

I told you this light is tiny! Here it is with the cells I was able to use in it. On the far left is the generic 16340 that comes with the Bullet. The Trustfire Flames in the center are unprotected 16340. On the far right is a CR123A primary. The Bullet will ONLY take unprotected cells. You must monitor the output and recharge the cells used to make sure you don't over drain them.

Here is the Bullet between a Trustfire Mini-01 and a 16340 cell. The Bullet is within 0.01mm in length to the Mini-01 if you don't include the lanyard/split ring tab. Including that tab makes the Mini-01, a compact twisty, a few mm longer than the Bullet with its tail clicky switch. Impressive!.

Yes, it's smaller than an 18650 cell. Smile

CONCLUSION:

While the CQG Bullet is certainly not the brightest 16340 lights available it is certainly one of the smallest and most unique as well being extremely well made. At around $22 shipped it's hard to say no to something that will really catch people's attention when they see it. It's lovely neutral tint and smooth beam will certainly catch your attention every time you pull it out of your pocket. So small and easy to disappear in the pocket, if you are like me you will have trouble telling it from the tube of Chapstick in your pocket. The tail switch in a light that is smaller than most twisty flashlights in it's cell class is what really sets it apart from all other compact 16340 lights. 220 OTF lumens is plenty for day to day tasks and it's diminutive size means you won't mind having with you at all times. While it's none too good on primary 3v cells, it runs great on an unprotected 16340 cells. Fit and finish is fantastic, the matte-like brushed finish provides more grip than you'd think and is far better than most brushed or polished stainless steel flashlights. I have to say it gets a hearty vote of approval from me!

*Should you decide the CQG Bullet is for you, please purchase it from Wallbuys with my link here so they know where you read about it. Thanks!

 

Johnny

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:01
18sixfifty
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Great review and it’s a pretty neat little light. For a “stock” light I’m very impressed and I love the looks of it.

I’m a junky, I mod lights so I can sell lights so I can buy more light to mod so I can sell lights to buy more lights to mod.

jacktheclipper
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Great review as always , JohnnyMac .

 Your pictures are excellent . Thanks .

What I do

 

sesgum
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Beautiful pictures as always.
Thank you for the informative review!
Now I really want one.
One question, is it too slippery to hold?

JohnnyMac
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sesgum wrote:
Beautiful pictures as always. Thank you for the informative review! Now I really want one. One question, is it too slippery to hold?
Thanks!  Actually it's not really slippery.  There is a very light texture to it that makes it somewhat grippy compared to other SS lights I have.
travis
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I love mine—( and ordered a 2nd one from Ric)
but personally I do find it slippery, especially in pseudo-cigar hold.
I have a neoprene chapstick sleeve on it that helps; but I was considering glueing
on a cord wrap of some kind. Not sure how well that would work, or if I want the added girth.

“"A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.””
-George Washington

JohnnyMac
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travis wrote:
I love mine--( and ordered a 2nd one from Ric) but personally I do find it slippery, especially in pseudo-cigar hold. I have a neoprene chapstick sleeve on it that helps; but I was considering glueing on a cord wrap of some kind. Not sure how well that would work, or if I want the added girth.
If you do find it to be slippery, perhaps you could stretch 2 thick O-rings onto the body, one at either end or wherever feels best to give something to grab onto in a cigar hold.
DayLighter
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cool little light, but I seriously doubt it the beam can reach as far as 183 meters ( 600 feet or 200 yards, that’s 2 football fields ) even in total darkness… you can proof me wrong if you can take pic of this light hitting that far Big Smile
BUT maybe they’ll see you at that distance in total darkness if you shine it at them Wink

The only way to do a great work is to love what you do.

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Wonderful looking for keychain use. I hope they will released a version with the newest nichia high CRI !
Also I’m a little concern about EDC unprotected crapfire in my pocket…

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I just got this little light in the mail on Saturday, don’t remember ordering it! Oh, that’s because I didn’t ! It’s a surprise gift! Smile This is the only way to beat the quality of this little SS light, is to get it as a gift. Wink

I’ve found that with the supplied cell as charged as it will go (mine stops charging at 4.15V) it pulls 1.09A and makes 220.8 OTF at start-up and 186.3 OTF at 30 seconds. And with an AW IMR 16340 (had to pull the little silver Oval sticker saying “AW” off in order for it to slip in) the light pulls 1.41A and makes 265.65 OTF at start-up and 210.45 OTF at 30 seconds.

Very neat little light, well made and with a nice tint.

Also DBC Approved! Smile

Thanks for taking it apart, now I don’t have to. Wink

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DBCstm wrote:
I just got this little light in the mail on Saturday, don't remember ordering it! Oh, that's because I didn't ! It's a surprise gift! Smile This is the only way to beat the quality of this little SS light, is to get it as a gift. Wink I've found that with the supplied cell as charged as it will go (mine stops charging at 4.15V) it pulls 1.09A and makes 220.8 OTF at start-up and 186.3 OTF at 30 seconds. And with an AW IMR 16340 (had to pull the little silver Oval sticker saying "AW" off in order for it to slip in) the light pulls 1.41A and makes 265.65 OTF at start-up and 210.45 OTF at 30 seconds. Very neat little light, well made and with a nice tint. Also DBC Approved! Smile Thanks for taking it apart, now I don't have to. ;)
Awesome!  Hey, if you can, take some lux readings from it and see what kind of throw numbers you get with yours.  Your OTF lumens nearly match mine.  If I didn't see my lux reading @2m with mine I wouldn't have believed it.  I think I'll retake them again tonight.  I'd like to compare with what you get, Dale. Smile
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Ok, will do. I set up in our game room at 5M, but it’s a dueling area at the moment, Dad’s trying to beat his brother in some Dominoes…

Hey, did you just thread the pill out the front by using some tweezers inside in those 2 holes? Any problem getting everything to line back up putting it back together? I didn’t take mine out because everything was such a close tolerance, wasn’t sure it’d be easy to get the pill back in the exact same position but thought it’d probably just bottom out in the threads.

MRsDNF
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Thanks for the review JM. You shot this one out pretty quick.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

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Yeah, thanks JohnnyMac… had reigned in the light purchases until I saw this…. 0:)

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Thanks for the very nice review JohnnyMac. It is indeed a lovely light.

I was waiting for some output numbers of this light because I was in another thread very critical about the led-on-driver-board habit of DQG/CQG lights. In the DQG18650 Tiny light I found the result was highly unacceptable: 10% light loss in the first second, 30% after two minutes, almost nothing of this loss was battery related. This CQG bullet runs at a lower amperage, so the consequences of the bad led-mounting are expected to be less. Taking the numbers above, on a 16340 battery Johnny measures 10% output-drop @30seconds, 23%@2minutes, Dale measures 15% output-drop @30seconds with the supplied cell (1.09A), and 20% output-drop @30 seconds with a AW IMR battery (1.41A). Take notice that (I am sure that) at this amperage, output drops within 30 seconds (or even more than a minute) are hardly related to flashlight size or body material, or even the battery; it is caused by thermal things that happen close to the led.

I am glad that the output drop in this light is not as dramatic as with the DQG18650 Tiny, and is even in my opinion acceptable (how many people will notice a 20% output drop?). Loss of memory caused by the heating up is a worse thing of course.

But I could not resist measuring the output in my D25C clicky Ti. It is a small Titanium 16340 light with a XM-L2, but not as tiny as the CQG. it has a normal pill (brass, which has good thermal conduction, but not as good as aluminium or copper), and is admittedly modded with a Noctigon board.

Now, being bigger the XM-L2 has internally a bit better heatpath than the XP-G2, the copper board also helps a bit, but not much at the 1.3A that this light runs at on high (but any brand new light could/should have a copper board nowadays, they are not that expensive?), the big thing is: at 30 seconds the output drop is only 5%, and only 10% at 2 minutes.

And the main reason IMO is that the leds sits close to metal, and not to fiberglass.

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djozz, the bullit emiiter is actually mounted on the pcb of the driver, no star at all!

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DBCstm wrote:
Ok, will do. I set up in our game room at 5M, but it's a dueling area at the moment, Dad's trying to beat his brother in some Dominoes... Hey, did you just thread the pill out the front by using some tweezers inside in those 2 holes? Any problem getting everything to line back up putting it back together? I didn't take mine out because everything was such a close tolerance, wasn't sure it'd be easy to get the pill back in the exact same position but thought it'd probably just bottom out in the threads.
Yeah, it all threads out the front.  When reassembling just thread the pill all the way in until it bottoms out.  Next, thread in the reflector and bezel until fully seated.  Lastly, thread the pill forward until it seats against the reflector base.  The threads are amazingly fine but super smooth and with high tolerances.  Taking it fully apart will make you appreciate it's build quality even more. Wink

Johnny

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MRsDNF wrote:
Thanks for the review JM. You shot this one out pretty quick.
I see what you did there. Big Smile
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Can’t help myself, have to say it…Bullet is so wrong for the description of this light, as is the picture at the start of this thread! Everybody here is quick to point out a picture depicting a cell being installed backwards or the light coming out the wrong end of a known flashlight.

The “Bullet” is the projectile that travels the length of the barrel and ends up doing all the damage, of course. The shell, or casing, is the housing for the bullet and holds the primer and gunpowder. The vast majority of us know this! So why show a “casing” leaving the gun barrel? Why call what looks like a cartridge case…a bullet?

Ok, I feel better now. Carry on!

Edit: And by the way, 18mm is fully .21” larger than the law allows for a handgun. At .71” when .50 is the legal maximum. Just sayin…

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Ok, lux tests at 5m and converted show 1.75Kcd with the supplied cell, 2Kcd with the AW. That translates to 84M throw with the OEM cell, and 89M with the AW IMR cell. Not major, but still good for the very compact nature of this light.

JohnnyMac
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DBCstm wrote:
Ok, lux tests at 5m and converted show 1.75Kcd with the supplied cell, 2Kcd with the AW. That translates to 84M throw with the OEM cell, and 89M with the AW IMR cell. Not major, but still good for the very compact nature of this light.
That's far more reasonable than my initial figures.  I must have read something wrong when I tested lux.  Unfortunately I've been working on an atomizer review tonight and haven't had a chance to retest but I will tomorrow night and will update with my results.
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Just WHAT are you putting in that atomizer? Huh Johnny? Wink

manxbuggy1
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That is about exactly what I am getting out of mine also. Lumens and lux. It looks stronger but my meter agrees with yours. Still a pretty neat little light.

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I got mine 2 days ago and totally love it.

spoggles
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got one 2, realy like it so far. I put a coated lens in and a soshine 3.7v 700mah ( green lettering)….perfect.

I would love an 18650 version Smile