KR4 Impressions (and FW3A comparison)

So I know I’m a bit late to the party on the KR4, but I finally felt stimulated enough to pick one up (and a KR1, too) and it arrived today.

First things first. Hank did the tail switch right. The spring and semi-captive switch tube is way better than what the FW3A uses - and actually, functionally identical to the Spark lights I own (the differences are minor, basically just tube and spring length differences).

Second, the build and machining quality of the KR4 put the FW3A to shame. I really get what TK said at some point when she admitted that Lumintop never got the machining to the level the FW3A team wanted (and in my impression they’ve gotten sloppier since the first run).

The light also has a different goal: with the thick shelf and heat fins, it embraces the hotrod identity, whereas the FW3A kind of has it as an afterthought. I get a stainless bezel, barely any extra length (I’m assuming it’s all shelf thickness), and a tiny but of extra diameter. I get four emitters over three, which I actually could take or leave, and the button feel is vastly superior. I don’t need to mod it with an o-ring, though I may try it anyway just out of curiosity.

Another big complaint I had about the FW3A was the knurling was all in the wrong places. It seemed to want you to open the tail, since that piece was knurled… But you’re not supposed to! Worse, with the loosen-tighten ritual I developed to get decent consistency from the signal tube, the darned thing is tough to open when it comes time to charge the cell. Half the time I get the bezel loose instead of the head. I really like the faceted sides of the tail on the KR4: “this is not for holding, but turning” is the clear message. The tube not-knurling is also very nice - it’s grippier than most normal knurling without being sharp.

The clip on the KR4 is marginally better than the FW3A - I’d say it’s actually slightly worse but it makes up the points for being deep carry. Both are captive so that’s nice.

I also get aux lights, which I could have for the FW3A if I modded it, but I need to get around to grabbing a second lume1 driver with reverse polarity protection. And then install it…

Honestly, the main thing I miss from my FW3A is the purple color. The small size difference doesn’t affect pocketability for me at all, and I just really prefer a light I know won’t accidentally turbo my wife and infant child awake if the signal tube decides it hates me in the middle of the night.

I did go with XPL-HI on the KR4, but I’m considering swapping it for either tint-mixed Luxeon V or something high cri.

Thanks for your clear words.

I’ve read comments that the inner tube contact of the KR1/KR4 can fail, too, but never had a problem with my KR1. Might be a length tolerance issue. The only reason I still don’t have the KR4 is that it would cannibalize use time of my D4V2, but I couldn’t resist …

> Honestly, the main thing I miss from my FW3A is the purple color.

… to preorder the TK version of the FW3A. Not closely following the FW* thing, I was assuming quality had improved over the time. Maybe a false assumption.

Anyway, as long as I have the KR1 (cyan ano, SS bezel, no-trit button cap to keep the clean design), I admire design and quality of this light. Guess the KR4 is similar in this respect.

The Hank lights are excellent. Lumentop is also quite good. Fortunately or unfortunately as these lights get better and better we will just keep buying more and more.

I’ve owned and opened a bunch of LT lights so far and I’ve yet to be impressed by anything I find inside. Maybe if I owned a GT.

Which brand internals impresses you the most?

Zebralight easy.

But lumintop ships things Simon never would. The current FW1A is an atrocity.

Convoy is like baseline acceptable. Sofirn was pretty good but reports some of their stuff has MCPCB shelves that look like Yosemite. Astrolux from Mateminco are usually okay but frequent driver issues.

Skilhunt has been stepping up in big ways recently. Wuben impresses but I want smaller, better UI, and deep carry clips. Hank has not disappointed me.

Jaxman doesn’t know what he’s doing with UI, but I love his lights. A step up from Convoy, but he’s a small player with limited selection.

I want to try Amutorch and some others. I’ve actually yet to own an acebeam, too…

Acebeam is excellent quality (if you can get inside…they glue), and I’m pretty impressed with Skilhunt so far. Mateminco is okay, but has quality concerns over time.

Ok, good to know.

So I added the o-ring to my KR4, but left the brass nubbin in. The feel is slightly improved, so I’ll do it to the KR1 soon too, but I wasn’t having issues. Just got curious.

Nobody interested on KR4 with variable temperature like 2000 + 4000k. would be convenient to have 3 selectable CRI 95 CCT

Is the old non-deep carry clip for the KR4 still available?

I think that’s the clip that came with my KR1. If so, I’m sure you could ask for the other version.

Also 100% of the switch improvement with the o-ring is just increased activation force.

Edit: Tried to get the switch open on my KR1. I can’t get the retaining ring to budge. The KR4 gave me no issues at all. So, I guess this one isn’t getting modded…

I find the activation force of the KR1’s switch to be perfect. Also like that it always registers, no matter where I press it.