Match's Mods: The 4M (must see!)


The following mod is the result of hours of work, and minutes of forethought... Mini-Maglites, after 28 years (first introduced in 1984), they're still all the rage as the foundation of modding. There's a decent reason for this too...and that's mainly nostalgia, for there are much better options currently available. No modern light however is as recognizable as the good 'ol 2xAA mini-mag...

What we have here is a stock(ish) 2xAA led mini-maglite that has been modified with a Cree MT-G2 running @ 3amps(emitter) off of two IMR 14500's. Let's get into the build:

We start off with by turning a brass base for the pill. Since it is exactly like the one I made recently for the triple nichia, along with the same buck driver, I'm going to use that photo:

Where this pill differs from the previous one is in the top copper heatsink base. Due to the amount of impending heat from the emitter, I elected to make it another 3mm thicker for a total of 6mm. It is also flared out at the top, so the copper contacts the head of the mag exactly like the brass base. It took a bit of lapping to ensure it all fit properly, but the results were worth it. Here is the fully assembled pill (pre-lapped):

I really wanted to use a regular mini-mag host to avoid unnecessary length (more on that later), but there was no way I could bore the head to fit the pill/reflector and still have any threads left for operation. Lucky for me I had an old first gen led MM laying around unloved. The led heads are much longer, and allow for more room inside once bored. Speaking of which, here's a shot of the milled head with the pill installed:

At first I though about making this light a straight mule (i.e. no reflector), but then realized I would have enough room in the led head for a cut down stock incan relfector. It took quite a bit of cutting, drilling, sanding to get the hole wide enough, but ended up working out quite well. Please note, despite having a reflector the light is still very floody. There are a few very small artifacts in the beam only notiable on a white wall. Despite this, I may go back and stipple the reflector (haven't decided yet). Here's the head completed with reflector and a 20mm AR coated glass lens:

Check out that well centered led, LOL!!! Notice the 4 small lines coming out from the center of the emitter in the photo above in the shape of a cross or X....these are actually on the emitter dome as delivered, and I assume it's part of Cree's molding process.

Due to the excess length left over in the body after removing the stock led pill, I elected to cut down the body. This not only saves me quite a bit of length, but also allows for one of those fitted brass tailcaps that I love so well (which will be getting a clip). Here's the milled tailcap, along with the spring ready to be installed:

Normally led MM's are a bit longer than their incan contemporaries... However, after the tailcap mod things have changed as seen below against a stock incan MM:

And of course some glamour shots of the completed light itself:

Notice the small gap in the above pic between the bezel and the head. This is due to the glass AR lens being much thicker than the plastic stock one. The only thing that gap is hurting is my sense of taste and design, so I'll have to go back and remedy it.

Now for some beamshots. The only light I have charged and ready to go that will even come close to this is my Mechanical. I also threw the two eagletacs in for good measure just to give an idea on the light output.

Here are the contenders:

The shots are taken in my usual spot in my back yard. The distance to the tree house is 36m and the trees beyond are 40m. Again, this light is a flooder, and only able to throw that far due to sheer horsepower. I will post these as mouseovers again, with the Match 4M on mouse in for easy comparison:

To give a better idea of the spill, I set used the timer on the camera and then walked a few feet closer and held each flashlight by my waist, and although not sure why, I lowered the exposure (I really don't know what I'm doing with cameras...). Regardless, since these were all taken within ~2min of each other, it's a good comparison. Here are the above lights again in order, with the Match 4M on mouse over:

The final numbers for this lights OTF output come out to:

High- 1820L

Med -492L

Low -71.1L

*About this mod's name: Silly, I know, but I figured this build was unique enough to warrant it. The 4M stands for the Mother of all Mini-Mag Mods. For now, this is the brightest mini mag in the world. If there's one out there currently brighter, I'll happily change the name of this light to "Match's Sloppy Seconds". I also considered the "WTF MM mod" obviously standing for:

-Wow, That's Fantastic or...

-Why's That on Fire? or...

- What's this For?!? or...

you get the idea.

Final thoughts:

- The driver is the same KD 3mode buck driver that I've used in previous mods, and handles the 6v emitter easily. In fact, I noticed the driver didn't get as warm as when driving a single xml or triple xpg's. The mode memory works perfectly.

- Despite Cree listing this emitter as a Cool White (5000k), it is one of the most pleasant NW's I've seen.

- Yes, the head gets pretty darn hot on high, but low and medium are quite useful.

- The beam is wide enough to allow for perfect peripheral vision withough having to move the light around much.

- Tailcap current is ~ 2.6amps, so I'd consider this an IMR 14500 proposition only.

- The output of this light and my Mechanical are very similar (~60L delta), but a noticeable beam pattern difference. The quad xpg2 with carclo optics definately throw a bit farther.

- There will have to be a drastic increase in led efficiency/output before any substantial output gains can be had in this form factor. The gauntlet has been thrown down...come and unseat the champ (pretentious as hell, I know, but I'd really like to see someone make a brighter mini-mag). Without the reflector and in pure mule form, it would be ~2,100L - but mules are meh...

- This mod has been brought to you by Grey Goose and the letter "eleventeen"

As always, thanks for reading


Totally insane, in a good way! Great mod, thanks for sharing!

Damn, Sam! I never expected you to put that emitter in a minimag!!

I also didn't think a regular driver would provided the needed 6v to run that thing properly. Great work as always. ;)

The other night I bored out an LED mini head to my usual remaining threads to be used in a triple LED project and I couldn't believe the amount of room. This baby will have a massive heatsink in it.

I love it :slight_smile:

Very nicely done sir! Another “sleeper” to pull out and do the “shock & awe” w/ non-flashophiles.

I'm just sitting here chuckling...

71 lumens on low then...POW!!! 1800 lumens right in the kisser!! :D

Oh My God!!

Impressive! More floody impossible!

Wow! That is insane! Great work! I LOVE that flood of light it puts out!


Superb and beautiful as she is ya can’t stop now and rest on your ‘Lauren’s’. :bigsmile: Ya have ta break yer own record and soon. Always raise the bar above the other unreachable bar. I expect 2500+ lumens to beat a SR King. :smiley:

XML2’s x 5 next? Afterall, there’s still space for something right in the middle. :open_mouth:

(Or ya may need a third batt? I could live with that extension. lol)

As always, I’m totally floored. Output is one thing (obviously!), but the work you put into the details is wild.

You have raised the bar, once again.

[golf clap]

Whaaaa!?? Incredible. slow claps

Amazing output and I just love the tint!

My retinas are burning!

Nice job Match. Beautiful machining work and execution as always. I have a 1xAA cut down MM LED that used to house an MCE run dd off one 14500. I have since dismantled that to use the MCE for another build, but still have the host lying around waiting for something else. You have inspired me to revisit that again and do something crazy!

Great work :slight_smile:


great work!

this emitter makes my mind buzz w/ possibilities J)

…of people in white coats wearing welding masks! You have been warned Match.

This must be just about the ultimate dog walking light. No way Fido is going to escape that beam.