Surefire C2: Why is it a "must have"

Over at CPF, there’s a list of 2013 “must have” lights. It lists the Surefire C2 as the #1 must-have light. I’m new to flashlights and I’m buying 2-3 for gifts this Christmas so I’ve been reading BLF extensively for the past month, but I don’t understand the fascination with the Surefire C2… $100 for a single mode light… really? Plus, it only takes CR123 batteries.

Help me out here. To me, this seems like a product that is living on its past glory. The C2 was probably state of the art 5+ years ago, but heck, my cheap ($6) AA flood to throw flashlight bought on eBay for $6 is two inches smaller, lighter, has more lumens, more battery flexibility, a wider flood, a longer throw, and even more lumens with a 14500 battery. Granted, the C2 can withstand impact from a firearm mount, but I would use the old Harries technique. Plus, none of my friends that I’m buying gifts for have firearms, so that’s not a criteria for purchase.

Please don’t misinterpret my comments. I’m NOT bashing the C2; I’m honestly trying to see if I’m missing something important. Every light has a target market niche, but why is the Surefire C2 the #1 rated “must have” flashlight?

Because its cpf? And surefire sponsors them. I can’t see spending $100 on a light, period, never mind a light that is pretty much useless to me, over here cr123’s are expensive and more difficult to get hold of, so cr123 lights never hit my radar, heck, my edc is an 18650 and emergency light will take 4aaa or 26650.

It’s only a must have for people who get off on having multiple over-priced American made lights, branded with a name that is as much a status symbol as anything else.

I totally get the made in America part. There’s nothing wrong with taking some pride in that and supporting your own economy. But let’s not forget that SureFire are gouging people for the privilege, which violates the noble sentiments in that equation just a little bit.

Still, if you’ve got that sort of money to throw around, I guess it doesn’t matter so much.

Love my C2 bored for 18650 and an Oveready triple.

Hard to explain to a non beleiver, I must have over £150.00 in it.

Over 1000 lumens out the front.

Why would someone spend 3 times the price of a new car doing up and old bomb into a Hotrod?

Because it’s a classic.

Well, however good SureFire lights are (and I’m sure they are indeed very good), it just generally “feels” nice to own a premium product, something that has a reputation. And the more additional funds you pour into improving it further, the greater your sense of pride will be. So the glory you end up basking in (you know, that which makes you a “believer) is partly manufactured by SureFire, partly manufactured by other people, and partly manufactured by you.

They are not talking about custom lights. A stock C2 is about as impressive as a Toyota Camery. In other words, boring and not impressive at all.

A lot of it is sentimental. A good chunk of the active membership at CPF got into flashlights back in the incan days when Surefire was the best brand. That's where a lot of the Surefire bias on CPF stems from. It's not an accident that the overwhelming majority of votes cast for Surefires were cast for out-of-production incan models. Yup, the C2 was originally an incan model and is discontinued. It got votes for sentimental reasons as much as it did for actual performance if not more.

If you like the C2 for whatever reason, get a Solarforce L2T... much better value for the money imho.

The differences are probably that the C2 can't take 18650 until they are bored out. So they are pretty much CR123/16340 lights only. My L2T takes 18650 with no problem. Also C2 often comes with a twisty tailcap switch, which I don't like on bigger lights. Bored out C2s with a clicky modification often are incredibly expensive .... . Some things that the C2 has going for it are the anodized tailcap threads, the lifetime warranty and that it is the "original"... if stuff like this is important to you, but all that doesn't justify the prices they are taking now. After all it's just a glorified aluminum tube with a lens and a switch.

I used to own surefire, they were nice when they costed about 1 dollar per lumen back in the year 2000 (You could buy a 6P for around $60) but since they decided to do the first big price increase back in the day, I decided to sell mine and pledged to not buy again a SF, I think thanks to them the market of hi power tactical lights expanded to what we have today.

I remember the first price increase rallied much animosity towards SureFire and the lead designer Paul Kim on CPF And on SureFire forums which later became Strategos forum before they decided not to participate in forums anymore, good old days…

Never, buy a SolarForce if you want, there great lights but don’t compare it to a real C2.

Your realy missing the point.

I don't know about you but I have had both a 6P and a L2P. The L2P is much nicer: HAIII, fits 18mm cells, and it is much cheaper.

What are the differences? I don't own either and the posted pictures look *cosmetically* the same.

Is the difference describable or is it "build quality" or is it UI or is it "je ne sais quoi"?

I own a Surefire C2 that i bored for an 18650. The build quality and solidity of Surefire is very high. They just feel so solid in the hand.
Since joining BLF, i have learned a lot, and know that there are plenty of other lights out there for a lot less money than Surefire, but ive yet to find a light as solid as a Surefire.

Generally, Surefire are expensive, but if your lucky, you can pick up a C2 for around $60, bore it yourself, and fit your chosen drop-in.

Have you tried Solarforce’s HA3 products (e.g. L2P and L2T)?

No, i haven’t yet. I only have an L2M.
I think its the greater mass and perfect machining and threads on the Surefire that make it feel better to me. Also, the lens is much thicker.
I need to buy an L2P and see how Solarforces HAIII lights are.

As far as jewelery is concerned, the mere act of paying dearly for something makes that object endeared to you.

I'm not sure I'd call a bored C2 sturdy, have you seen the thickness of the body on those? :P

Yeah good point. They are solid at both ends, but possibly thin in the middle area when bored, although ive not heard any reports of bored lights breaking, except for the odd lathe accident when being bored.

Why shouldn't I.... Or in other words... how much more quality than a premium Solarforce (L2T,L2N,L2P) host do you really need in a flashlight host from a practical standpoint. What really is the point of buying a $140 aluminum tube? I really wanna know. As a German a can appreciate fine workmanship and attention to detail, but I also like money efficiency .... and if I consider all pros and cons... it comes now down to a ~$140 vs. a $19 host. Is the Surefire better manufactured? .... yeah probably.... Is it 7 times better in my opinion (with 7 times the cost)?... most certainly not. The L2T is clearly "C2 inspired". Both the C2 and the L2T are still a P60 design, which is not a very good base design for modern LED-emitters anyway, with their air gaps in their thermal path etc. The best reason I can come up with to own a C2 is, when someone is a collector and wants to own the milestones in flashlight history, or if you are a die hard Xenon fan, or like twist tailcap switches a lot. If you like Surefire hosts for whatever reason, that's OK with me.... I just don't understand why they shouldn't be compared, because they pretty much serve the same purpose/role.

Vectrex, what’s wrong with using Xenon (and other types of incan - krypton, halogen, etc) bulbs in Solarforce hosts?