SUREFIRE L6 DIGITAL LUMAMAX



SureFire L6 Digital Lumamax, retail $265 (www.surefire.com)
Manufactured by SureFire (www.surefire.com)
Last updated 04-21-12





SureFire is well-known for making the toughest and brightest personal and tactical lights in the world, and the new L6 will not disappoint you.

The L6 has a 5 watt Luxeon Star LED and a stippled (textured) reflector to make its light, feeds from three CR123A lithium camera batteries, and has a pushbutton on the tail for both momentary and constant-on functions. The LED and reflector are protected by a pyrex glass window (or "lens" if you are more comfortable with that term, even though it does not focus or defocus the light in any manner).

The L6 is rated to produce 65 lumens; however I am not equipped to measure light in lumens - you need an expensive instrument called an integrating sphere to do that, and I do not own or have access to one of these devices.

The L6 is not on SureFire's website yet (as of 05-27-04), but it is in their 2004 catalogue.


 SIZE



I believe the L6 comes with batteries already installed, so you'll be ready to roll right away.

For momentary light any time, press lightly on the tailcap button (but not so hard it clicks) and hold it that way for as long as you need light. Release the tailcap button to turn your L6 back off.

For continuous mode, press the tailcap button more firmly until it clicks, and then release it. The L6 will come on and stay on without any further intervention from you. To turn the L6 off, press the tailcap button firmly until it clicks again, and then release it.

The L6 features a LOTC (Lock Out Tailcap) to prevent the flashlight from turning itself on when packed in a box, bag, camping kit, etc. There is a "witness mark" (a U-shaped cutout) on the barrel, but not on the tailcap. So the witness mark isn't quite as useful as it could be. Unscrew the tailcap 1 turn to engage the LOTC (on the sample I'm testing, 3/5 of a turn from fully tightened does the trick), and tighten it back up when you're ready to use your L6 again.

The L6 can be held overhand (like a police officer usually holds his or her flashlight), or underhand (like how most other people hold a flashlight). When held in an overhand grip, your fingers curl around the barrel, and your thumb automatically falls over the tailcap switch. There are also three rubber grip rings on the barrel; these can be slid up or down as you see fit.

You can also use the L6 with a pistol, as the LED inside won't blow up when the gun recoils (kicks) every time it is fired. I'm no firearms expert, and I don't even own a gun, so I cannot show you with pictures how the flashlight would be used with a gun.



To change the batteries in your L6, unscrew the tailcap, throw it in the {vulgar term for toilet}, and flush it away...O WAIT, YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead. ;-)
Tip the three dead 123A cells out of the barrel, and dispose of or recycle them as you see fit.
Insert three new 123A cells in the barrel, button-end (+) positive going in first - facing the bezel (head) of the flashlight.
Screw the tailcap back on, finger-firm tightness only.
Aren't you glad you didn't flush that tailcap away now? ;-)

You can also "breech feed" this flashlight, by unscrewing the bezel instead of the tailcap. If you do it this way, be sure to put the three new cells in the barrel flat-side (-) negative first (so the button-end faces outward). Then screw the bezel back on; finger-tight of course. Strap wrenches or other tools are not necessary and not recommended for tightening either the tailcap or the bezel.

Measures 681mA on the DMM's 2A scale, and 670mA on the DMM's 20A scale.
So let's just call it 675mA and be happy with it.

As of the morning of 05-28-04, I'm running a battery discharge analysis chart on the SureFire L6; the machine should poop out a chart later today.


And here's the chart that my CBDSRDM defecated.
It ran for 1 hour 20 minutes to where the regulation falls off, and about 6 1/2 hours to when the test was ended. It started with an arbitrary reading of 39.4, and was terminated at 0.9.
SureFire brand CR123A cells (SF123A cells in the predominantly red covering) were used for this test.
At the end of the test, the L6 was visually about as bright as two properly driven 5mm LEDs.




Picture of the business-end of the L6, showing the LED emitter, the textured reflector, and the lightly scalloped bezel.

The L6 is extremely well-made and engineered. The same SureFire quality you've come to expect from their personal and tactical lights is built into this product. The exterior finish is a type 3 hard anodize ("HA-III" as us flashaholics know it), and there's a gold colored material (Chemcoat) inside the barrel to protect it against corrosion from water or bad battery juice.

One of the things I noticed quickly is that the L6 has a "scalloped" bezel, so if the light is set face-down while it's burning (well, LEDs don't "burn", they just emit light, but you get the idea), some light still escapes and you can easily tell it's still turned on, even if you set it down on a completely flat surface like a tabletop or countertop. No more ruined and wasted batteries from your setting the light down and not realising it's still on.
(Yes, I really did that - to a SureFire KL2 if I remember right!)

The L6 is at very minumum water-resistant, so you can use it in awful weather and not have to worry about it. This sample of the L6 did not come with retail packaging or instructional materials, so I'm not prepared to state if or if not there is a water-resistance statement there.

When the tailcap was removed, the flashlight was relieved of its batteries, and that dreadful suction test was performed, the flashlight held a vaccume (vacum, vaccuume, vaccumn, vaccuummnne, vacuum, etc.), so I believe it is both weather- and water-resistant. I also took the bezel (head) off and performed the same test, with the same results. Even when the button was clicked, there was no air leakage.

I smacked the L6 against a steel rod at least 14 times (five on the bezel, and at least nine on the barrel/tailcap) and was not able to damage the flashlight in any manner. There are no marks on the outside of the flashlight, so the HA-III is doing its job too.

(Edit 06-05-04): In response to one report the lens of the L6 became broken by a fall onto concrete, I swung my L6's bezel against a steel rod five more times, using the force that one might use with a ball peen hammer, and did not crack or break the lens.

There is knurling (texturising) along the barrel and on the tailcap; this helps aid in retention (the ability to hold the flashlight when your hands are cold, oily or wet). The three rubber grip rings also aid in retention, though they are meant more for gripping the flashlight securely when using it with a gun. You can use it with the Rogers/SureFire technique or the Harries technique. But remember, I don't own a gun, so I cannot show you with pictures what these grips look like.

After 30 minutes of continuous operation, the bezel (head) measures a temperature of 117F (47.2C) and the barrel 104F (40C). Both measurements were taken with a non-contact IR thermometer.
While this is warm, it's not HOT by any means. You won't burn yourself on the L6 if that's what you're worried about.
After about an hour, the bezel measures 122F (50C) and the barrel measures 112F (44.4C).

The switch has a nice clicky feeling to it; solid yet easy to use. This switch requires roughly the same amount of pressure to activate and deactivate that the switch on the L5 Digital Lumamax does.
It's firm, but it's not at all difficult to use.

The beam this sample produces is a pure white in color, with none of that obnoxious purple, blue, yellow, or "rotten dog urine green" tint anywhere in it. Not in the hotspot, and not in the corona.
The beam does have a slight "doughnut" configuration to it, in that the center of the hotspot is slighly dimmer than the edges of the hotspot, however this is not objectionable unless you only shine flashlights at blank white walls. This is a perfectly normal characteristic of a 5W Luxeon LED and reflector combination, and is nothing whatsoever to be concerned about.

I believe the L6 is regulated, meaning it will give constant illumination regardless of what shape the batteries are in, provided they can pump 680mA or so through the flashlight.



Beam photo at ~12".
Measures 1,320,000mcd with a Meterman LM631 light meter.
That slight greenish color was created by the camera; a more accurate rendition is directly below.

The reflector is textured, giving a very smooth beam to the L6.


Spectrographic analysis
Spectrometer plot of the LED in this flashlight.


Spectrographic analysis
Same as above; newer software & settings used.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED in this flashlight; yet newer spectrometer software settings used.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED in this flashlight; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 430nm and 480nm to pinpoint native emission peak wavelength, which is 452.555nm.

USB2000 spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.


ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis.
Image made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.




Beam photo at ~6 feet.




Beam photo at ~6 feet, deliberately overexposed to show corona.




Beam photo at ~6 feet, deliberately underexposed to show the "doughnut hole" configuration.
As you can see, it is VERY minor and does not affect the overall functionality of this flashlight.
The brownish color is caused by the underexposure, and does not in any way exist in the actual beam.



TEST NOTES:
Sample was sent by PK of SureFire, and was received on 05-27-04.



UPDATE: 04-29-05
SureFire has confirmed that all current SureFire lights should be waterproof to about 33 feet/10 meters. Some evaluations were posted before Surefire made the affirmation that their lights were watertight to 1 atmosphere depth. Any new SureFire lights you purchase now should be considered waterproof to 33' (10M).


PROS:
Very durable construction and fantastic engineering, like other SureFire flashlights
Insanely bright.
Excellent beam quality.
Enough spill light to be truly useful.


CONS:
*Very* slight anodizing color mismatch, however this is normal with the HA-3 process, and will not figure into the rating.



    MANUFACTURER: SureFire
    PRODUCT TYPE: Tactical handheld flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: 5 watt Luxeon LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Narrow flood with dimmer corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Tailcap click on/off/momentary
    BEZEL: Lightly scalloped; pyrex glass window protects LED and reflector
    BATTERY: 3 ea. CR123A cells
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: 681mA
    WATER- AND PEE-RESISTANT: Yes
    SUBMERSIBLE: Unknown/TBA
    ACCESSORIES: 3 CR123A cells
    SIZE: 8"L by 1.65"D
    WARRANTY: Lifetime, except batteries

    PRODUCT RATING:

    Star Rating





SureFire L6 Digital Lumamax * www.surefire.com







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