Bison 2C Sportslight

Bison 2-C Sportslight, retail $25 (
Manufactured by Bison (

(Note: Bison's URL now leads to a search engine)

Last update: 11-17-06

The Bison Sportslight is a plastic 2 C-cell incandescent flashlight with an adjustable focus and a high-intensity xenon fill lamp.

It is unique because when brought to its widest focus, it lacks that "black hole of death" present in so many other adjustable flashlights. A special reflector curvature is apparently responsible for this advancement.


The Bison Sportslight comes ready to use. To turn the flashlight on, give the head a gentle counterclockwise twist until you feel it click. Turn it the other way (until you feel it click) to turn it off. The beam is adjustable from a very wide angle to a fairly tight focus by gripping the flashlight head and rotating the black bezel either clockwise or counterclockwise. Turning clockwise widens the beam, turning it the other way narrows it.

The flashlight can be rested on a flat surface on its heel to use in one of two "candle modes": either adjusting the focus to its widest or, for full 360 illumination, by removing the head completely and activating it by turning plastic lamp platform counterclockwise until it locks. (You will lose weather resistanace if you remove the head).

To feed your hungry little flashlight, remove the tailcap by unscrewing it completely. There is an "O" ring there so it will feel a little tight.
Insert two new "C" cells with the button end facing the front of the flashlight, and screw the tailcap back on.

Battery life hasn't been measured yet, but it would appear from initial usage that it could be as much as 2x that of an ordinary, throw-away C-cell flashlight.
See test notes below regarding bulb change.

The Bison Sportlight might feel a little cheap in the hand, but it appears to be rather well put together and has survived a major earthquake and several falls with nary a scratch.

A set of "O" rings at both ends help seal out the weather, and the tiny bi-pin xenon bulb is tougher (more shock-resistant) than ordinary PR-base lamps strictly by virtue of its small size. Like any incandescent though, a sharp blow at the wrong time could still blow the filament, and, unfortunately for this flashlight, possibly leave you in the dark (see test notes below).

On a positive note, the light does have a compact size and easy-to-hold shape and a unique wide-angle beam feature, which some people might prefer over ease of use & maintenance. It comes with a robust nylon belt carrier that fits around the flashlight using a thick rubber loop.
Bison Bison Bison
Left: OOPS! Too tight.
Center: Optimum tight focus.
Right: Widest focus.

These pictures show the focus range of this flashlight. On the far left, this is the beam you get if you adjust the light past its tightest focus. Kind of an ugly, useless ring pattern. In the center you see the beam focused about as tight as it goes. It's uneven, but functional. On the right is what may well be the Bison's saving grace: a very wide beam without that black hole of death in the center - something that has plagued other adjustable flashlights since the dawn of time.

These three pictures were intentionally underexposed to reveal the details of the flashlight's beams.

This is the Bison compared to a 7-LED flashlight.
It is plenty bright for most flashlight jobs, surpassing the intensity of most other 2-C cell lights.

As you can see, getting the spare bulb out of the Bison might be rather challenging. I have not yet been able to do it, nor have I even gotten the main or "in use" lamp out. The main lamp is in there really tight, so tight I'm afraid the bulb will implode between my fingers and cause an injury. The spare does not fit through the opening you can see its leads protruding through (there is a plastic structural part in the way that's supposed to be there to prevent bulb loss). So what do you do when the main bulb blows out and you can't get to your spare?

Apparently I will have to remove the transparent plastic base (and how many parts & springs are gonna shoot out when I do that? once I can get my hands on a Torx wrench of the appropriate size.

Attempting to twist the base over to move the hole away from the tab holding the lamp in place was absolutely futile, and if I can't do it here in the lab, you might as well just throw the flashlight away if this happens to you on the campsite.

Late breaking news: After three weeks of admittedly intermittent and widespread attempts, I was finally successful in extracting the spare lamp from its sleeping area, but this didn't occur until I'd started to beat the flashlight around somewhat. By gripping the flashlight body in one hand and the transparent lamp platform in the other and giving a healthy twist, the spare lamp finally fell out of its hole and into my lap. Now, the challenge still remains to remove the main lamp without cutting myself up, and successfully repeating all these steps.

Maybe I'm missing something here... I consider myself to be fairly well mechanically adept, and being absolutely stymied by a silly flashlight isn't something that happens to me very often.

UPDATE 06-13-01:
While testing ways to insert & remove the spare bulb, I broke it. The original lamp is still stuck in its socket, and it will probably break when I put a rag around it and pull it out with pliers.
I have heard from a user of this flashlight that if you successfully get the bulb(s) out just once, subsequent operations are much easier.

UPDATE 09-02-02:
While testing the unit a few weeks ago for a newspaper article, I was not able to make it work. For some reason, the electrical connection between the tailcap and the flashlight body was broken, yet I cannot find anything physically wrong with the flashlight that would cause this. I also wanted to re-shoot its beam pictures with the new cameras and other newer instruments; but I will not be able to do that until or if I can obtain a working sample of the product, or hack the one I have into working order.

Until (or if) I can retest another sample, the marginal rating I gave it will stand.

UPDATE 09-02-02:
No, I did not forget to change the date. I did just now figure out what was wrong with my Bison - it does not work with Energizer brand batteries! After spying a pack of Duracells I had bought for my Light Cannon HID, I popped a couple of them in the Bison, and it lit right up. With Energizers, it doesn't. The reason Energizers don't work is because their negative contact plate (the "butt" of the battery) doesn't protrude far enough, so it can't make contact with the steel ring in the Bison's tailpiece. Duracells have a negative contact that sticks out noticeably farther, and it reaches the Bison's contact with no problems.

So I can't blame the Bison this time. What I can do though, is re-do some of the pictures and tests and give the little guy his final rating.

Tightest focus
At tightest focus.

Widest focus
At widest focus.

Screwed in too far the wrong way
You'll get this *if* you turn the head the wrong way and go past tightest focus.

UPDATE 11-17-06:
I received this via email today:

Thanks for the tip on the bison batteries ( ie. do not use energizer battery.. no protruding neg side of battery) I was ready to toss it in the garbage. Now my son can use it. Thanks

Adjustable beam.
When not misused, it lacks the "black hole of death" found in other adjustables.
Brighter than expected.
Compact shape.
Unit can be operated in "candle mode" if necessary.

Difficult to relamp - at least the first time around.
Has a cheap feel to it; though in actuality it has proven to be physically quite sturdy.
Does not work with Energizer brand batteries unless you jimmy-rig it with metal foil.

    PRODUCT TYPE: Handheld torch
    LAMP TYPE: Incandescent with xenon fill
    No. OF LAMPS: 2 (1 in-use plus 1 spare)
    BEAM TYPE: Adjustable
    SWITCH TYPE: Rotary bezel ring
    BEZEL: Smooth reflector, plastic window
    BATTERY: 2x C cells
    SUBMERSIBLE: Unknown
    ACCESSORIES: Spare bulb, batteries, rubber & nylon carrying strap
    WARRANTY: Unknown


    Star RatingStar Rating


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