TC3 3W LED TacLite, retail $TBA (
Manufactured by Vortex Vision (
Last updated 04-28-06

The Vortex TC3 is not yet available (as of 01-26-06); you'll very likely read about it here before reading about it anywhere else. Another "first" for The LED Museum.

Thuh kompeny thatt maiks thuh TC3 TacLite kant spel "light", but I still think they make a very nice product.

The Vortex TC3 TacLite is a tactical-style LED flashlight that uses a Luxeon III LED at the bottom of a smooth reflector. It comes in an aluminum body, and has two CR123A lithium cells in its body to power that LED with.


To use your TC3, feed it the included batteries first (see directly below), and then you can go paint the town red - or bright white in this case.

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 TC3 back off.

For continuous mode, press the tailcap button more firmly until it clicks, and then release it. The TC3 will come on and stay on without any further intervention from you. To turn the TC3 off, press the tailcap button firmly until it clicks again, and then release it.

The TC3 does not have a LOTC (Lock Out Tailcap); please do not look for or expect to find such a mode in this flashlight.

The flashlight comes with a nylon belt holster. The flashlight fits this holster bezel-up; a flap with Velcro on it folds over the top and attaches to the body of the holster, so the flashlight doesn't just fall out. This holster fits belts up to 1" wide, and can be affixed to your belt whether your belt is on or not thanks to the Velcro closure. I do not own or use pants that require a belt however, so I cannot test this accessory in the manner in which it was intended to be used.

To change the batteries in your TC3, unscrew the tailcap until it comes off, gently place it on the ground, and kick it into the garden so the praying mantids will think it's something to eat and strike at it...O WAIT!!! YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead.

Tip the two used CR123A cells out of the barrel and into your hand, and dispose of or recycle them as you see fit.

Insert two new CR123A cells in the barrel, orienting them so the button-end (+) positive goes in first.

Screw the tailcap back on, and be done with it.
Aren't you glad you didn't kick that tailcap into the garden with all those hungry, hungry praying mantids now?

Current usage measures 702mA on my DMM's 4A scale.

Photograph of the flashlight's "business-end", showing the LED and reflector.

The flashlight appears to be reasonably sturdy. Ordinary flashlight accidents should not be enough to do it in. I administered that terrible smack test on it (ten whacks against the corner of a concrete stair; five whacks against the side of the tailcap and five whacks against the side of the bezel), and found the expected damage. There is some gouging on the sides of the tailcap and bezel where it was struck. No optical malfunctions were detected.
The switch appeared to malfunction after this test, but resumed normal operation after two or three actuations.

The TC3 has what I believe is a Type II anodized finish.
I tried to cut through it with the blade of a Swiss army knife, and was successful.
Would I really try to cut up a brand spanken new flashlight? You bet your sweet patootie (sugar-coated toilet muscle) I would, if it's in the name of science.

This flashlight is splash- and weather-resistant at absolute minimum, but it is not submersible. I performed that dreadful suction test on it, and it failed. It did not fail miserably, but it failed nonetheless. So please try not to drop it in creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes, oceansides, docksides, puddles of white mouse pee, slush piles, mud puddles, tubs, toilet bowls, cisterns, sinks, fishtanks, dog water dishes, or other places where water or water-like liquids might be found. A little rain or snow probably wouldn't hurt it though, so you need not be too concerned about using it in moderately bad weather.

If it fell in water and you suspect it got flooded, disassemble it as you would for a battery change, dump the water out of the barrel if necessary, and set the parts in a warm dry place for a day or so just to be sure it's completely dry inside before you reassemble and use it again.

If it fell into seawater or if somebody or something peed on it, douche all the parts out with fresh water before setting them out to dry. You don't want your flashlight to smell like seashells or urine when you go to use it next. Besides, salt (from seawater or pee-pee) can't be very good for the insides.

The tint of the light emitted is a pure, slightly coolish white, with no pink, yellow, blue, purple, or "rotten bear urine green" coloration to it at all.
Not in the hotspot, and not in the corona either.

The TC3 can be stood on its tailcap to shine on light-colored ceilings to illuminate a dark room that way.

There are two bands of knurling (cross-hatch shaped texturising) on the barrel, and some ribbed bands on the bezel and tailcap; so retention (the ability to hold onto the flashlight when your hands are cold, oily, or soaked with water or pee) should not be an issue here.

Beam photograph on the test target at 12".
Measures 910,000mcd on a Meterman LM631 light meter.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrometer plot of the LED in this flashlight.
Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from TWO-CUBED.

Beam photograph on a wall at 15'.

Those rectangular graphic things near the center are marquees from:
Midway ''Omega Race''
Williams ''Robotron: 2084''
Gremlin/Sega ''Astro Blaster''
Atari ''Tempest''
Williams ''Stargate''
Williams ''Joust''
Venture Line ''Looping''
Williams ''Sinistar''
Sega ''Star Trek''
Midway ''Gorf''
upright coin-op arcade video games from the early-1980s.

And that red star thing on the wall is from an American DJ Laser Widow.

Test unit was sent by a website fan and was received on 01-26-06.

UPDATE: 00-00-00



    MANUFACTURER: Votrex Vision
    PRODUCT TYPE: Tactical-style handheld flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: White Luxeon III LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Medium spot with fairly wide corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Pushbutton momentary/on/off on tailcap
    CASE MATERIAL: Aluminum
    BEZEL: Metal; LED & reflector protected by plastic window
    BATTERY: 2xCR123A cells
    WATER RESISTANT: Splash-resistant at minimum
    ACCESSORIES: 2xCR123A cells, belt holster
    WARRANTY: 10 years


    Star Rating

TC3 3W LED Taclite *

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