SureFire L5 Digital Lumamax, retail $180.00 (
Manufactured by SureFire (
Last updated 04-19-12

The L5 is SureFire's new Luxeon Star based flashlight. SureFire is well-known for making the toughest and brightest personal and tactical lights in the world, and the new L5 will not disappoint you.

The L5 has a 5 watt Luxeon Star LED and a stippled (textured) reflector to make its light, feeds from two 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 L5 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.

The L5 is not on SureFire's website yet (as of 02-27-04), but it is in their 2004 catalogue.


To use your new SureFire L5, get it out of its package first (it comes in a box with a slide-off plastic covering, so it's easy), install the included batteries if necessary, THEN it'll be ready to roll.

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 L5 back off.

For continuous mode, press the tailcap button more firmly until it clicks, and then release it. The L5 will come on and stay on without any further intervention from you. To turn the L5 off, press the tailcap button firmly until it clicks again, and then release it.

The L5 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 to 1 1/2 turns to engage the LOTC (on the sample I'm testing, 1/2 of a turn from fully tightened does the trick), and tighten it back up when you're ready to use your L5 again.

The L5 comes with a spring steel clip, allowing you to affix the flashlight to pants or coat pockets, or to the brim of a baseball hat. This clip is present on other SureFire flashlights too; no surprise there. There is an oval loop at the end of the clip that allows you to affix a lanyard; a lanyard is not included so you'll need to purchase one seperately if you wish to use one.

To change the batteries in your L5, unscrew the tailcap, and get rid of it...O WAIT, YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead. ;-)
Tip the two dead 123A cells out of the barrel, and dispose of or recycle them as you see fit.
Insert two new 123A cells in the barrel, button-end (+) going in first - facing the head of the flashlight.
Screw the tailcap back on, finger-firm tightness only. Aren't you glad you didn't throw 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 two 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.

I don't have any battery discharge analysis charts up here yet, but suffice it to say you should get about an hour of fully regulated light, followed by 25 minutes of decreasing, but moderate light, followed by approximately 15 hours of "useful" light. SureFire defines "useful" as light bright enough to illuminate a keyhole from several inches.

Update 04-21-04: Within the last five minutes (as of 10:04am PDT) I put the L5 on the battery discharge analysis machine, so I ought to have a chart up here shortly.
As of 10:46am PDT, I started another test with a new set of SureFire brand CR123A cells...the last test got messed up for some reason. :-(
After just under two hours (12:40pm PDT), it's roughly as bright as two 5mm white LEDs driven to spec (initially measured with an arbitrary value of 85.9, now 3.0).
After just under three hours (1:44pm PDT) the reading is 0.9. I'm going to terminate the test soon, and put the graph up here.

And here's the battery discharge analysis chart I promised. :-)
The 50% intensity point is just under 1 hour (about 55 minutes).

This flashlight draws 1.18 amps (1,180mA), as measured on the DMM's 20 amp scale to help minimise shunt resistance error.

This picture shows the business-end of the L5, showing the LS LED and the stippled reflector it uses to produce its beam. That "bubble like" artifact at the upper left is just a reflection of the flashlight used to light this photograph, not a part of the SureFire L5 itself. I checked my L5 very carefully for this artifact, and it's just that - a photographic artifact.

The L5 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 water or bad battery juice.

One of the things I noticed quickly is that the L5 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 L5 is at very minumum water-resistant, so you can use it in awful weather and not have to worry about it. Although there's no statement of water-resistance on the package or in the instructional material, the L5 does hold a vaccume when the tailcap or head is removed and the flashlight is relieved of its batteries and then sucked on.

The switch has a nice clicky feeling to it; solid yet easy to use.

Beam photograph at ~12".
Measures 1,340,000mcd on a Meterman LM631 light meter.
This reading is higher than the L4 because this light has a smaller and brighter hot spot.
This light has a pure white beam with no yellow, blue, or "rotten horse urine green" in it.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED in this flashlight.

Spectrographic plot
Same as above; newer spectrometer software setting 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 452.577nm.

USB2000 spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

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

Beam photograph at ~6 feet.

Combat grip
Photograph showing the being used with a gun in a "combat grip".
Note that this is a BB pistol, not a gun that shoots real bullets.
BB gun was used here for representative purposes only.

Unit was purchased from a Candlepower Forums member last week, and was received today (02-26-04) around noon PST.

A Pila 168S rechargeable lithium ion cell fits in and works in this flashlight; so if you're not easily able to obtain CR123A cells, you can use this battery in there and not have to buy CR123As at all.

UPDATE: 02-27-04
I received the 2004 SureFire catalogue today, so I was able to add the price and physical measurements of the L5 flashlight to this page.

UPDATE: 03-18-04
I received another SureFire L5 from SureFire today. No sense in adding pictures of it to this web page, since, except for the serial number on the bezel, it is identical to the one I purchased in late February 2004. But now I have two, so if I break or lose one of them, I won't be SOL.

The new one measures 1,350,000mcd, vs. the 1,340,000mcd the old one measures.
This is not a significant difference, and should be disregarded.

UPDATE: 03-20-04
When compared with my other L5, the new one appears just ever, ever, ever so slight brighter, and has an ever, ever, ever so slightly more pronounced doughnut configuration to its beam. Again, this is not a significant variation, and should be ignored. I shouldn't have even posted this information to this web page, but I do so only in the names of science and accuracy.

UPDATE: 03-21-04
After being used continuously for approximately 3 minutes, the bezel (head) reached a temperature of 106F (41C). This is not hot by any means, but it's warm enough to catch you by surprise if you aren't paying attention.

UPDATE: 04-21-04
After 20 minutes on the computerised battery destroying satanic robot death machine, the bezel reached a temperature of 119F (48.3C).
The ambient temperature in the testing area is 67F (19.4C).
After about half an hour, the bezel measures 133F (56.1C) and the barrel measures 121F (49.4C). This is quite warm, maybe even uncomfortable for some people to hold on to, but you won't burn yourself on the L5 if that's what you were worried about.

After exactly one hour, the bezel measures 137F (58.3C) and the barrel measures 134F (56.7C).

This flashlight is full of the proverbial urine and acetic acid (piss and vinegar), and is VERY bright and useful, so I've decided to rate it 4 1/2 stars and place it in the Trophy Case, even though it's a bit of a dry cell hog (battery pig).

UPDATE: 10-11-04
Here is the first beam photograph of any flashlight from my new location.

This photograph was taken at a distance of approximately 50 feet.
The grey fence has an albedo of approximately 0.50.

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).

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

*Very* slight anodizing color mismatch, however this is normal with the HA-3 process, and will not figure into the rating.
Power output (battery discharge) curve seems a bit on the steep side

    PRODUCT TYPE: Small handheld flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: 5 watt Luxeon Star LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Circular with central white hot spot and dimmer white corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Pushbutton blink/on/off on tailcap
    BEZEL: LED and reflector protected by a glass window
    BATTERY: 2x CR123A lithium cells
    SUBMERSIBLE: Unknkown
    ACCESSORIES: Set of SureFire SF123A cells
    SIZE: 6" long, 1.47" diameter at widest point
    WEIGHT: 7.2oz
    WARRANTY: Lifetime


    Star RatingStar Rating

SureFire L5 Digital Lumamax *

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