Sunday, February 24, 2013

Product Review: Fenix TK22 LED Flashlight


The Fenix TK22 LED Flashlight with Carry Pouch

So it’s been a few months since the Gun Shack G3 Flashlight went dark for the last time. I had sort of put a replacement light on the back burner, until now. I've started walking after supper in an effort to drop a little weight. Since it’s dark after supper and we have very few street lights, staying on the sidewalk and out of the ditch can be a bit challenging at times.

From my poor experience with the G3, I developed the following criteria for my next light:
  • A multi-output light with at least 30 lumens on low and as many lumens on high as possible;
  • I didn’t want to break the $100 threshold for MSRP. I didn’t want too inexpensive either. Cheaper isn’t necessarily better;
  • It had to be fairly simple and intuitive to operate;
  • It had to have a strobe mode for dazzling anything that goes bump in the night;
  • It had to be compatible with a remote pressure switch;
  • It had to have a 1 inch diameter body since I already had the Offset Light Mount;
  • CR123A battery powered. They’re small and fit into grips and stocks;
  • It had to be a size compatible with carrying in a pocket or belt pouch, and mounting to an AR-15; not too big and not too small.
I ended up using MidwayUSA.com for my search, since they have such a large selection, and it‘s the easiest website I've found to compare items with. Of all their dual output lights meeting the criteria above, I narrowed the search to three. In order of preference, they were the Fenix TK22, Streamlight ProTac HL, and the Fenix TK11. For months, I’d been drooling over the Surefire P2X Fury with 500 lumens, but the low setting was still only 15 lumens and the price was over the $100 limit, so it got a pass.

Fenix Remote Pressure Switch
I didn’t actually end up buying the Fenix TK22 from MidwayUSA.com. I bought the light from ShaoloGear.com since they had it and a remote pressure switch in stock with free shipping. I knew it was a risk using a new website rather than the tried and true Midway USA  but there were no issues whatsoever with the purchase.

OUTPUT

I thought that from my brief experience with the G3 that 15 lumens weren't going to be bright enough to help me on my walks. I didn’t think 15 lumens would be bright enough to suit me. The Fenix TK11 had a high and low setting of 258/48 lumens. The 48 was very appealing for use on my walks, but the 258, though very bright and probably more than enough, just left me wanting more. The Streamlight put out 600/33 lumens. Again very appealing so it made the cut, but I kept looking. I read some reviews of the TK11, and that led me to the TK22. It had 4 output levels (7/75/250/650 lumens). Come to find out, when it’s darker than the inside of your hip pocket, 7 lumens is bright enough to see where you’re going without ruining your night vision.

PRICE RANGE

All three models came in under the $100 threshold. At $95, not including the remote pressure switch, the TK22 just barely eked in just under the threshold. Its little brother the TK11 was $70, and the Streamlight was $80. I got the remote pressure switch for another $20.

EASE OF OPERATION

This is the only negative I have for the Streamlight. This light has three different groups of settings that you can change to by programming the light, but I didn't see the need for that much complexity. The TK22 almost got the boot as well. All the other lights work off just the tail switch. My first readings of the TK22 were confusing about how the light actually operated, because the TK22 has a side switch AND a tail switch. Come to find out, the side switch only changes the mode. The tail switch is the On/Off switch.

Closeup of the light showing switch placement.

After using the TK22 for a while, I’m not entirely sold on the side switch. You have to hold this light with your thumb at the tail switch. The mode selector should be back there as well. If you have the light set to come on at the 7 lumen level, and you need to put this light into use at a higher level in a hurry (i.e. to strobe a potential attacker,) you have to change your entire grip to get to the side switch. I guess with some practice, I could learn to work the side switch with my pinky finger, but that’s not a finer motor skill I want to really rely upon in a panic.

STROBE

All of these lights have a strobe mode that works at max output. I never knew how effective a strobe was was until I took the light to work and one of my coworkers figured out how to turn the strobe on and proceeded to shine it in the eyes of another coworker. In a well-lit office, the TK22 at 650 lumens, made him quickly turn away cussing up a storm. I would imagine in the dark it would have an even more devastating effect. I hope I never have to find out, but it’s nice to know I have a secondary weapon.

SIZE

The size of the TK22 is deceiving in pictures. It’s the largest of the three lights I was looking at. The OAL is 5-3/4 inches, and the bezel is 1-5/8 inches in diameter. The reflector is 1-1/4 inches in diameter. The body measures 1.001 inches in diameter at the knurling. The TK22 weighs in at 6 ounces with the batteries.

The Fenix TK11 measures 5.3 inches long with a 1 inch diameter body and weighs in at about 5.8 ounces with the batteries installed.

The Streamlight Protac HL has an OAL of 5.4 inches with a 1 inch body, and weighs 5.6 ounces with the batteries.

POWER

The TK11 and TK22 run off either 2 CR123A batteries or a single 18650 battery. The Streamlight only runs on 2 CR123A’s.

The TK11 has run times of 2.7 hours on high and 12 hours on low. The Streamlight will run 1.25 hours on high and 18 hours on low. The TK22 will last for 1.5 hours at 650 lumens, 4.5 hours at 250 lumens, 17 hours at 75, and 168 hours at 7.

PERFORMANCE

I've been carrying it on my walks for the last couple of weeks. I tested it on the lowest setting in various places along the route, in both the darkest and brightest areas. At 7 lumens, the dark areas lit up well enough to see where I was going even with oncoming headlights shining in my eyes. Once the light was off again my eyes quickly readjusted back to the dark.

ACCESSORIES

The light came with a nylon belt pouch with a Velcro flap. The pouch does not snap on and off your belt. It has to be threaded on through the nylon loop, so I opted to use the metal belt clip on the light itself. The belt clip is stout enough it easily clips onto my leather gun belt. It also came with a wrist strap that can be attached at the tactical ring, a replacement tail switch cover and two replacement o-rings.

Everything that comes with the light
CONCLUSION

I chose the Fenix TK22 because I thought it was a better all-around light than the runners-up. With the 4 output settings, I felt it gave better versatility. I was looking for a weapon light as well as a light for safety and general purpose use. So I got a light that I can keep on the bedside table for bumps in the night, I can keep it in the truck for roadside emergencies, or I can use it at work to perform inspections.

I haven’t mounted the light to my rifle yet, but when I do, I’ll run it through its paces and report back to everyone with an update. Hopefully, I can get that done this week after work. If I can't, it will probably be a few weeks before I can hit the range and devote enough time to really evaluate it and get some drills in at the same time.

Be safe.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your well thought-out review. I've also recently purchased a TK-22 for LE use (as a Reserve Deputy). I like the useful combination of broad spill/flood light and respectable throw (13,800 cd). Here's a tip I read elsewhere: To quickly locate the mode selector switch, position the beltclip to point at it. Your fingers will quickly learn to find it while you thumb is still a the back. Doing this might negate using the beltclip for it's intended purpose(?), but for my purposes, I plan to buy a clip on RipOffs holster. BrightGuy.com carries them and has been quite helpful to me in the past. Also, I removed the tactical cigar grip-ring. I think you can get a Fenix filler-ring at FenixStore (?). Good luck. -JS

    ReplyDelete