Review: Nitecore P12GT from Banggood *Pic Heavy*

This is a review of the Nitecore P12GT single 18650 light from Nitecore’s Precise Series. Neal at Banggood sent me this to review, I believe the normal price is $79.95.
The P12GT is a tube light on steroids, with a tail clicky for on/off and a side e-switch for mode changes. Hidden blinkies round out a nice full set in the UI. Sweet!
Here are some specifics from Nitecore…


The Nitecore P12GT is a longer-throwing upgrade to its P12 predecessor. Blazing forth with 147 more yards of throw to reach an incredible 401 yards, this light uses a CREE XP-L LED, which has 200% more intensity than the XM-L2 LED used in the P12. 1000 lumens across four brightness levels are ready to be called upon for whatever scenario you find yourself in. With a tactical tail cap, your light can be turned on for momentary or constant illumination, while a convenient side switch easily toggles through brightness levels or special modes of strobe, SOS, or beacon. The side switch will also blink to indicate remaining battery voltage so you won’t be caught without power. This upgrade also features a strike-ready bezel around the light’s head, offering greater protection for the light and emergency preparedness for the user.

Weighing in at just over three ounces, this compact tactical light can be taken anywhere in your backpack or pocket. It is perfect for law enforcement, military, searching, camping, hiking, exploring, security, or anything else that requires great luminosity and beam throw.

Battery Run-Time (Using 18650):
1000 lumens - 1 hour
280 lumens - 5 hours 15 minutes
55 lumens- 28 hours
1 lumen- 520 hours
Battery Run-Time (Using CR123A):
1000 lumens - 45 minutes
280 lumens - 3 hours 30 minutes
55 lumens- 20 hours
1 lumen- 300 hours
Beam Distance: 401 yards / 367 meters (Nitecore updated this to 320M)
Beam Intensity: 33700 cd (Nitecore also updated this to 25.7Kcd)
Battery type supported: 1 x 18650 or 2 x CR123A
Body: 5.51 in (140 mm)
Head Size: 1 in (25.4 mm)
Weight: 3.21 oz (91 g) (Without Battery)
Waterproof: IPX-8 (2 meters submersible)
‘Crystal Coating Technology’ combined with ‘Precision Digital Optics Technology’ provide extreme reflector performance
High efficiency circuit board provides up to 520 hours runtime on low level
Side switch interface provides one-handed operation and easy access to all functions
Side switch features an indicator light which displays remaining battery power
Features advanced temperature regulation (ATR) technology
Power indicator’s secondary function displays battery voltage (accurate to 0.1V)
Intelligent memory function stores preferred brightness setting
High-efficiency regulation circuit provides unwavering output
Toughened ultra-clear mineral glass with anti-reflective coating
Constructed from aero grade aluminium alloy with HAIII military grade hard-anodized finish
Impact resistant to 1.5 meters
Stainless steel titanium-plated two-way clip included
Tail stand capability
Contents in Package: Nitecore P12GT flashlight, holster, clip, tactical ring, lanyard, switch cover, o-ring

Ok, so now we know what THEY have to say about it, let’s see if it holds up…

I put a new Efest Purple 18650 in it with 3000mAh capacity. Fresh off the charger at 4.21V, this is proving to be one of the best cells available in my FET direct drive lights. The run-times listed by Nitecore are with their own branded 3400mAh cell, so there would be some variations as usual. These are the numbers I got in my lightbox…

Moon at 0.01A makes 1.242 lumens (they say 1 lumen)
Low at 0.06A makes 48.3 lumens (they say 55 lumens)
Med at 0.53A makes 280.14 lumens (they say 280 lumens)
High at 3.02A makes 979.8 lumens at start, 959.1 lumens at 30 seconds. (they say 1000 ANSI lumens)

Interesting, I’m close in most regards but their High or “Turbo” mode is listed somewhat high. Could very well be that the 1000 lumens they list is from a pair of CR123 cells, which I don’t have to test. :wink:

So I took a lux reading to estimate throw…

I got 22.25Kcd for an extrapolated 298.33M throw, they post higher numbers than that. I measured this at a measured 3M in a dark room, shoulder height for both meter and light. I’m sure they’ve got better equipment than I do, but from 298 to 367M is a pretty big difference. (Nitecore changed the Lux and throw numbers to 320M and 25.7Kcd, considerably closer to what I found)

I’ve got quite a few pictures to share, but will have to get back in the morning to do this as my internet is playing games with me all of a sudden. I’ll toss a spoiler in and tell you that they glued the bezel on this light. And I mean they didn’t want anyone getting in! Red Loctite, a lot of it. But if I’m anything, it’s peristent. :slight_smile:

Trying… here’s the Nitecore P12GT with it’s box, holster, and the clip installed. It also comes with a lanyard and a couple of O-rings…

The clip goes on pretty strong, but it sits far too close to the middle of the light to be much good. In loose pants it’s not secure.

An in-the-hand shot to show it’s size. For a tube light, it’s on the long side, construction is nice, fit and finish is as expected from Nitecore with a good hard anodize…

Tail cap is firm, stands a bit proud but is a very positive engagement and tail stands with the high wings on the tail cap, plenty of space for the lanyard to attach but it will try to get in the way of tail standing as there’s not a center divider in the slot, as such the lanyard attachment will have to be manually moved to the side for a good tail stand and even then it’s not real solid.

Like a lot of other Nitecore lights, there’s an LED on the driver board under the e-switch to signify current when a cell is loaded and to warn you of a depleted cell. Pretty handy stuff that!

The Cree XP-L HI V3 2B emitter is perfectly centered, the centering ring fits squarely around the substrate and the fitment of the ring to the reflector is not done in the standard way, it’s fitted into a pocket in the base of the reflector, then the outer diameter has ample clearing space for wires. Pretty thoughtful design here, and quite welcome!

Notice anything different up above? That’s right, the reflector is threaded and goes into the bezel independently of the head! Interesting twist, and it works nicely. Glad to see someone’s awake and trying.

Tailcap has anodized threads, so it will lock-out. But isn’t something odd here? The tailcap threads are normal triangular threads, the top end has square threads. Aren’t square threads supposed to be more durable, longer lasting? As such, wouldn’t you think they’d be at the tail for battery changes? Hmmmm……

Here at the top of the battery tube, going into the head, nice square threads! :slight_smile:

Anodized threads no less, so the top will lock it out as well. Obviously, the battery tube has to be installed in the correct orientation, with different styles of threads on either end it only works one way.

The black plastic piece around the center post is the physical reverse polarity protection. Only button top cells work. They say this keeps the driver more efficient by not having electronic LVP, but for a great many of us, this is a major hassle… I use flat tops almost exclusively and only have a very few button top cells.

Here’s a close-up of the head, before I managed to get the bezel off…

And after I got the bezel loose… not horrible damage but damage all the same. I ended up putting the bezel in my lathe chuck and using the hex nut style of the battery end of the head to put a 12” Crescent wrench on. It was SO tight, the jaws on the big 12” Crescent were trying to spread! As you’ll see, the ano was compressed on the contact points inside the wrench and the chuck jaws did similar damage on the bezel. It was TIGHT!

Nitecore’s proprietary copper mcpcb, somewhat thinner than we’re used to seeing

I guess we’re used to seeing this divot under the emitter, I’d rather it be smooth and flat but it is what it is…

And all this brings us to the coup de gras, the driver! :slight_smile: This driver is a pleasant surprise, I was fully expecting wires to the e-switch but instead, a modular unit that dropped right out! Very nice!

A diffuser clear plastic piece spreads the light of the tiny LED’s for voltage monitoring, into the e-switch button. Very slick, very easy to remove and install once you’ve found your way inside…

Does anyone think I left these alone?

Some driver measurements…

A base shot and a test shot in our game room this afternoon, showing the beam profile with the HI emitter…

The obligatory 97 yds to the red oil drum beam shot…
Wide angle at 28mm

Zoomed to 112mm (4X Optical)

The road is 240 yds down this lane, but this light won’t quite reach it, regardless of what the ANSI numbers say.

Zoomed in, again 4X Optical zoom at 112mm

All in all a very nice smallish light with a pretty sophisticated driver. Nitecore quality, excellent finish, with a surprisingly decent beam from such a small diameter reflector. Build shows some thought and planning, if we could just get em to leave the glue out…

I give it a 4 Star only because of the PITA glue, it’d be a 5 Star light otherwise. :wink:

Thanks for checking it out!

That reflector is really neat. Nice pics too.

Yea, they definitely overstated their throw and cd. They’ve since fixed it on their website, listing it as 320m throw and 25700cd.

Could you also post some side by side comparison pics to one of the popular lights.

I’ll get some shots of it with the competition in the morning. Bedthirty now. :wink: lol

Thanks DB for the review and testing. Neat little light but red loctite, “only” 4 modes and a price of $79.95 (ouch!). I have no experience with nitecore lights, but what makes this light worth that price at only 959.1 lumens at 30 seconds. That is an interesting looking driver but, mod potential? That light would just seem out of place next to my Convoy’s. Maybe i’m just an old fudd. :glasses:

For military and police the ability to use 2 CR123 comes into play. We like the single 18650 of course.

Warranty, reliability of the name brand, for those using a light at work this is what makes it worth the money. For some that have a collection and are just playing, it might be difficult to warrant. All things are relevant, after all.

Your Convoy’s are nice, I have several myself, but this one is current regulated so it makes virtually the same output throughout the life of the cells. The Convoy’s can’t offer that, or the dual power supply capability, so this one comes into play in emergency scenario’s where you just can’t have the light falling as you use it. I do love my FET driven lights, but it’s good to have a couple that are current regulated for those extreme moments that life enjoys tossing our way. :wink:

Ah yes… that makes a lot of sense. Since i’m not using my lights in dangerous places or life or death situations, I never really thought about that. If I was a first responder and needed my light to work every time no matter what, your right, 79.99 is a steal, compared to Surefire and the like. :8)

Thanks for the review! I’ve been waiting patiently to see some tested numbers on this light (and other new Nitecore ’GT lights). I think most of us were incredulous when we saw those 360+ meter claims on a 1” tube light, and now we know. I figured this light would be in the same range as my Eagletac DX30LC2 and that seems to be the case, +10% or so. Still another solid offering by Nitecore and I’m glad they’ve taken steps to reduce the throw claims to a more realistic level.

Now if we could just get them to do something about all that glue…

Thanks for the review dale.

good review!

did you push the driver? (since you mentioned the sense resistors ;) )

and the price.... you know ;)

Nice and useful review, thanks. I have a P12 with XM-L2, perhaps it is time to swap the emitter to XP-L Hi (it will not have the new reflector with XP-L size hole though) and do things to those resistors :-)

I wasn’t sure what the driver would do with a sense resistor change, I’ve fried quite a few emitters by making changes to the buck drivers and didn’t want to do that here.
I couldn’t find out if the proprietary copper mcpcb was truly DTP, so I put a 16mm SinkPad in it with a V2 1A HI emitter. A few minutes ago, I re-flowed the emitter off their mcpcb and found out that it is indeed DTP. So that’s good to know. I need to add this info into the main post.

I stuck an R140 on top of the 2 R050’s (reducing total resistance from .025 to .021), it now makes 3.65A to the slightly less powerful emitter, for 1079.85 lumens out the front. A small bump, up from 3.02A to 3.65A, but I’m good with it. :wink:

I have just received the above and,having the BLF A6 as well,I wonder why the A6 goes to 1600Lm,while the Nitecore only to 1000,thinking if it is possible to go up with this light.

Hi, everybody!

Have anyone measuring the real Peak Beam Intensity with luxmeter? :))

I bought this special tail switch for the P12GT,from BG,as it is easier to activate,even with gloves. .

I measured 22.75Kcd at 5M. (I know, I said 3M in the original post, not sure what I was thinking there… I always do 5M from the exact same location)

So the extrapolated 298.33M doesn’t quite match the stated measurements. This could easily be due to the fact that I used a 4.2V 18650 and they most likely tested with a pair of CR123 at 6V.

Thanks for posting such comprehensive review
Not found any good review than your on the web.
I was looking for head disassembly
Since medium and high stop working on my p12gt after its 1st drop on the floor.

Dale thanks for the great review.

I have a friend who bought this light twice. The first one “went missing” at work. It was either misplaced or some one decided that they needed it more than he did. I started a thread here a while back to see if there was anything else that was better these days. It turned out that there wasn’t so he bought another.

I have owned several and they have given me terrific service. The HC-90 is my current go to headlamp for outdoor activities. It can be had for less if you contact M4D M4X.


I use an HC-50 headlamp, modified for more lumens in the highest level. Really like the build of it, and the style.