Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: MTECH MT-20-35BK [Fixed Blade Knife]

Buying cheap knives is kind of like playing the lottery; you could end up with something fantastic, or you could lose a few bucks. And just like a lottery ticket, you don't know if it's a winner until you're holding it in your hands. Mtech makes some pretty appealing looking budget knives. I was intrigued by the look of the  MT-20-35BK model, so I went ahead and threw one in on an existing Amazon order. For 9 dollars, what did I have to lose?

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Product Link
MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Product Link

Product Description


This is a typical hunting / camp style knife with a drop point blade and a full tang. The scales are slick plastic--probably not anyone's first choice of material but they are removable. The knife extends past the handle a little bit, forming a pommel with a lanyard hole. The blade itself is coated black. It also comes with a standard-looking nylon sheath.

Official Specs (From Amazon)

  • 8" OVERALL WITH A NYLON SHEATH
  • 3.75" BLACK DROP POINT BLADE
  • 3.3MM THICKNESS FULL TANG BLADE
  • BLACK PLASTIC HANDLE
  • 16MM THICKNESS HANDLE WITH LANYARD
MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: With EDC Friends
Shown Above with a couple EDC friends

From Top: Tops Fieldcraft, Elk Ridge ER196, Mora Companion, MTech MT20-35BK, Ka-Bar Becker BK14 'Eskabar'
From Top: Tops Fieldcraft, Elk Ridge ER196, Mora Companion, MTech MT20-35BK, Ka-Bar Becker BK14 'Eskabar'



First Impressions


As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, this Mtech knife is something I threw in with a larger order just for giggles. I wasn't really expecting much when I unboxed this knife, so imagine my surprise when I opened the box and saw what looks like a solid, usable knife. 

It's very compact for a knife with a blade this size. But that means the handle is a little on the small side for someone with large-ish hands like mine. It's hard for me to get a full grip on the handle, but that's OK because this thing is much more compact than I thought it would be. 

Just like everyone else, I noticed that the scales, while sturdy-looking, are a slick plastic with no grip value. This thing is definitely ripe for some custom scales or maybe a paracord wrap if I ever figure out how to do it.

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 1

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 2
MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 3

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 4

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 5

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 6
MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Logo Closeup 1MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Logo Closeup 2

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 7


Build Quality


This knife has a surprising build quality for a 9 dollar knife that also includes a sheath. The steel is cheap Chinese 440 but that's OK because I'm not paying a premium for it. This kind of steel is softer and needs to be sharpened more often, but it's a decent steel for cutlery.

The quality of the handles is acceptable even though they are smooth. The machining is good--jimping, everything. Overall the knife is well done, including the sheath. The sheath uses a cheaper nylon, but seems well made. Especially considering the price.

Fit and Finish


My sample came completely dull. Probably the dullest blade I've ever received on a knife--a real pet peeve of mine. It's a good thing that I'm almost semi-proficient at sharpening them. There were also lots of little scratches on the handle. The scales suck, so it's no extra loss to have some scratches on them.

Other than that, the fit and finish on the blade itself is above average. The coating is uniform, and there's to scratches, tool marks or other obvious artifacts from the machining process. Well, except for some roughness on the jimping. I'm not sure I see the point of the blade coating because the steel is stainless, but it's uniform at least. The blade is dull, but in this case I won't subtract that from the fit and finish because there's no imperfections in the blade which normally come with a dull edge. It's not ground wrong--it's just not sharp.

The sheath is good. It's cut, stitched, and fits the knife perfectly. Even though the nylon is a little cheap, the fit and finish on the sheath is above average.

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Jimping CloseupMTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Sheath Closeup




Blade


The blade would be the reason to buy this knife, and it appears to be well made. The MT-20-35BK has a 440 stainless hollow ground blade with a drop point. It's a very common blade shape for a reason: it works well for camping / survival / bushcraft tasks. Blade thickness is good, jimping is good--again, it seems well made.

However, the blade on mine came almost completely dull.

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Blade Closeup 1

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Blade Closeup 2

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Blade Tip Closeup


Handle


I knew that I would intensely dislike the plastic scales on this knife, and I do. I can't claim I didn't know about the issue, though, because other reviews pointed it out. The plastic is smooth and scratches easily, but at least seems fairly durable. It's not a pleasure to grip, but the handle is functional. The handle is also a little small for my hands, which I forgive because the knife is so compact.

One of the reviews mentioned taking the scales off and putting on a paracord wrap, and that's probably a good idea.

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Handle Closeup 1

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Handle Closeup 2

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Handle Closeup 3
MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Handle Closeup 4

Sheath


The sheath is of the typical cheap nylon variety. It's decently put together and seems sturdy enough. I've never been a huge fan of nylon sheaths, though at least they are very light. This one is definitely above average for its price point. The construction is good, and it's actually a good fit, unlike most of the sheaths out there.

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Sheath Closeup 1
It has a loop to hang securely on your belt

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Sheath Closeup 2

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Sheath Closeup 3


Usability


The blade geometry and handle shape make this an ideal camp knife as long as you don't mind the short handle. The hollow ground blade with the drop point is a versatile configuration, and works well for slicing tasks like food prep, cord cutting, and in a pinch you can even use the drop point to remove a splinter.

As far as heavy camp / bushcraft tasks, you take your chances with this type of steel. In my experience, Chinese factories tend to be hit and miss on the steel heat treatments, but at least the ones making OEM products for American companies tend to have better quality control practices. So there is a fair chance that this knife could perform in a survival role. Either way I don't hesitate to use it as a backup.

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: In Hand 1

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: In Hand 2


Conclusions


This knife seems to be a really good value given that it's under 10 bucks. What's funny is that there are actually quite a few fixed blade knives at this price point, and I still think it's a good value. The handle is a little small, but it's a lot of knife for how small it is, and I still think it's a good value.

My review sample will most likely go into my truck's emergency kit. Once I sharpen it, of course. It would probably also make a good starter knife, and I would also expect it to be a good beater and a decent backup. It should also be decent for backpacking because it's light for a full tang knife, and the sheath is light as well.


Gallery



MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: Next To Ruler

MTECH MT-20-35BK Fixed Blade Knife: On Scale





Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: Boker Gnome [EDC Fixed Blade Knife]

The Gnome has a good following, and it's a model that's intrigued me for some time. There's a few different variations on the Gnome, so it took me a while to decide on the wood handled version / leather sheath combination, which I ultimately purchased.

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Product Link
Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Product Link

Product Description


The Gnome is a small, EDC type fixed blade knife with a wharncliffe style blade. It's made from 440C steel which is a departure from the previous version, which was made with a better quality Sandvik steel. My review sample has an Olive wood handle (including red fiber liners) with a real leather sheath. Other versions have Micarta scales with a Kydex sheath. Mine also came with a leather lanyard.

Offical Specs (From Amazon)


  • 440C Stainless steel blade
  • Olive wood scales
  • Comes with leather sheath
  • Compact knife
  • Red fiber underlays
  • Blade length: 2". Overall length: 4". Weight: 2 oz.
Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 1

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 2

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 3

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 4

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 5

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 6

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 7

Initial impressions


Unboxing my Gnome, it looks beautiful. The wood handle and leather sheath / lanyard look very well done. But I noticed right away that the knife didn't fit very well in the sheath. It's very loose, which makes the knife unsafe to carry, which basically makes it unusable. I almost returned it right then and there. But then I decided that I could probably fashion some type of plastic insert once I had the time.

Forgetting about the sheath for a bit, I went about testing the knife itself. The size of the handle is what I would call "one finger", meaning someone with large-ish hands like myself would have a very hard time getting a good grip on the knife. I know from Internet forums that the lanyard is considered part of the handle, and mine has a beautiful leather lanyard on it.

Build Quality


Whatever my gripes with the Gnome are, it's at least a well built product. It's well put together from good materials. While the quality of the steel is typical for a knife in this price range, everything else is top notch. I especially like the red liners, usually found on higher-end knives. The sheath is also well built.

Fit and Finish


Overall good. However, my sample has one deal breaking flaw: The knife is too loose in the sheath and will not stay on its own. Other than that, the knife itself is an excellent specimen, and I even like the attention to detail on the leather sheath. So have really mixed feelings about the Gnome. I love style and finish of this knife, but I'm disappointed that I have to find a way to fix it before it can even be safely carried.

Blade


The blade geometry of the modified wharncliffe blade is pretty much ideal for every day use. It's very small and non-threatening--not stabby looking at all. In fact, one of the Amazon reviewers remarked that this version of the Gnome looks like it came straight from The Hobbit.

The 440C steel is decent, though not as good as the steel used on previous versions of the Gnome. But it's plenty good to get the job done. The blade on my Gnome is well built, and is in my opinion the best thing about the knife.

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Blade 1 of 2

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Blade 2 of 2


Handle


My Gnome has Olive wood handles. This is another aspect of the knife that made me want to purchase it. The handle looked great in the product photos, and looks every bit as good in person. It's very well done.

However the shape of the handle is not very ideal for the shape of my hands. If you are a Hobbit, or perhaps a knife-wielding baby, then this handle might fit your hand. For everyone else, it's assumed you will be using the lanyard to complete the grip on the knife.

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Handle 1 of 2

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Handle 2 of 2


Sheath


I've already mentioned that the knife is too loose in the leather sheath. It has another major flaw, at least for right handed folks. The belt loop is on the wrong side! Or maybe it's not even supposed to be a belt loop. In which case it's probably on the correct side to hang from a chain or cord as a neck knife.

Other than those issues, I really like the look of the sheath. The craftsmanship is good: stitching, finish--it looks high class.

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Closeup of Sheath


Lanyard


My sample came with a leather lanyard. It's an important part of how the knife is designed to be used, and they didn't skimp on it. The lanyard looks high class, just like the sheath.

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Closeup of Lanyard

Usability


I wasn't able to do much testing with the loose sheath. The best I could do was carry it around the house for a little bit testing it with a few EDC type tasks like opening packages. On top of that, I just couldn't get a good grip on the knife, even using the lanyard as part of the handle. You could make the argument that the compact size makes it worth not getting a good grip on the handle, but I have a few other small fixed blades which do not have this problem.

Conclusions


The Gnome just doesn't do it for me. Even if I got a good fitting sheath, I don't like the one-finger feel of the grip. I understand that lots of people love the compact size and the feel of the lanyard as a surrogate handle, but it's not for me. The blade itself is a perfect shape for EDC, but I just can't get past the feel of the handle, not to mention the fact that mine is unsafe to carry with the extremely loose sheath.

They say you only get one chance to make a first impression, and this Gnome really fell flat for me. But hey, that's why there's thousands of different knives out there. It sure looks nice, though, and I could see myself someday carrying it in a more upscale environment like for an office. Once I figure out how to fix the sheath, though.

What I like best about the Gnome, and the reason I bought it, is that it's very compact and non-threatening. It looks classy and I can see why people like it, though it's not for me personally.

Gallery

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: On Scale

Boker Gnome Plus EDC Fixed Blade Knife: Next To Ruler


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gear Vendor Scorecard

In the course of doing reviews for my blog, I've had the opportunity to visit lots and lots of online gear stores. While I buy a good portion of my gear from Amazon, there are tons of items they don't sell, or don't have the best price on.

The online stores I visit are a mixture of USA and Chinese based locations. I've found shopping from China just fine as long as I follow a few good practices (like always using PayPal) and demonstrate lots of patience, as some of these orders can arrive up to 60 days after being shipped.

The scorecard below is based solely on my own personal experience. Note that I have no financial connection or affiliation with any of the shops below. Your mileage may vary!


StoreLocationGradeNotes
Battery JunctionUSABAll around good
HKequipmentChinaAGreat Service!
LighthoundUSAB-
GoingGearUSABLarge Selection
Illumn (formerly Illumination Supply)USAAGreat Store!
WallbuysChinaC-
GearbestChinaFAvoid
TmartChinaBFast Shipping
Mountain ElectronicsUSADAvoid
DealExtremeChinaCLarge Selection
BuyInCoinsChinaFAvoid
FastTechChinaAGood Prices
BangGoodChinaFAvoid
LightJunctionUSABGood Service
SolarForceStoreChinaB-
MiniInTheBoxChinaFSpent months fighting to stop their email spam.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review: Spark SF5 NW [1xAA EDC Flashlight]

The Zebralight SC50 intrigued me from the day it came out. It seemed like the perfect EDC flashlight, but people were complaining that it turned on in their pockets. The consensus seemed to be that if you hadn't bought one yet, wait for the SC52 with the deeper switch. So I waited. When the SC52 was released, nobody could seem to keep them in stock, and when they did, people were complaining about horrible tint and quality control problems. I just kept putting it off and hesitating. And then Spark came out with the SF5, and I purchased the NW (neutral white) version. The early reviews said that this was the light that the SC52 should have been, so I eagerly awaited it to arrive from the slow boat from China. I ordered it from Wallbuys.

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Shown With Victorinox Executive, Spyderco Delica and RayBan Wayfarers
From Left: Jetbeam BA10, Thrunite T10S, Spark SF5, EagleTac D25A Ti, Olight S15 Ti, Fenix E12, L3 L10-219, Thrunite T10
From Left: Jetbeam BA10, Thrunite T10S, Spark SF5, EagleTac D25A Ti, Olight S15 Ti, Fenix E12, L3 L10-219, Thrunite T10

Product Description


This is a 1xAA flashlight with a neutral white version of the latest Cree XM-L2 LED emitter in it. Clearly modeled after Zebralight's SC52 series, it features a compact design with a recessed electronic switch. Spark adds its own touches with a carbon fiber ring and two reflectors, one being a non-reflective "mule" type. This light seems be aimed squarely at the flashlight enthusiast crowd; the so-called flashaholics.

Official Specs (From hkequipment.net)

  • Cree XM-L2 T5 Neutral White LED
  • Premium aluminum alloy machined and Carbon Fiber Sleeve with hard anodized finishing
  • 5 Modes operation with last mode memory:
  • Super 260lumens-0.9hr, Max 100lumens-2.8hrs
  • Med2 30lumens-9hrs, Med1 6lumens-32hrs, Low 1lumens-10days
  • Powered by 1x AA or 14500 battery
  • Working range 1.6v - 4.2v
  • Reverse polarity protection circuit
  • Electrically conductive aluminum body provides EMI/RFI shielding
  • Impact resistance SCHOTT ultra clear lens with 98% transparency
  • IPX-8 waterproof
  • Covertible Flood / Throw reflector kit
  • Size 90mm x 24mm
  • Weight 50g
Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight Product View 1

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight Product View 2

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight Product View 3
Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight Product View 4

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight Product View 5

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight Shown With Spark SF3

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Tail Cap SpringSpark SF5 1xAA Flashlight With Tail Cap Removed

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Closeup Of Tail CapSpark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Closeup Of Logo

First Impressions


I received the SF5 a couple days after the SF3, so I had a pretty good idea what to expect. Unboxing it and putting a 14500 cell in it, I was completely unprepared for the beautiful warm tint my sample had. It's probably inevitable that all flashlight collectors eventually focus on neutral and warm tints. If you use flashlights a lot, the warmer tints are much more pleasing to the eyes, and also much easier to distinguish different colors in the dark.

The tint on my sample is even warmer than the lights I have with a Nichia 219 in them. In fact, the SF5 NW is now the warmest tint light I own. And from reading posts on other sites, it seems like I am not alone in getting a sample with a tint this warm. If you are specifically looking for a neutral white tint, this model may not be for you.

The second thing I noticed is that unlike the SF3 with the too-high turbo mode that gives batteries grief, the SF5 seems to be tuned much better for turbo than its sibling the SF3.

Electronic Switch


This model features a recessed electronic switch, so it does not have any kind of mechanical action you would find on a "clicky" switch. This type of switch is potentially much more durable, but it comes with a small downside. These types of electronic switches constantly draw a little bit of power to be able to sense you pressing the switch. This is called a "parasitic drain" and is negligible on this model. But it is a deal breaker for some folks, so I'm mentioning it.

The feel of the switches of both my SF3 and SF5 are superb. The design of the recess and the feel of the switch together make using these lights a very ergonomic experience. I was never really into electronic switches before I got these two. I'm now a big fan of the way Spark did it.

One of the gripes I've always had with electronic switch lights is that some of them are hard to find the switch by feel in the dark. What I've done with my SF3 and SF5 is rotate the clip to the opposite side of the switch. Now in the dark I can miss it, and it's as intuitive as a clicky switch.

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Closeup Of Electronic Switch 1Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Closeup Of Electronic Switch 2



Modes


Just like the SF3, the SF5 has 5 modes: Moonlight, Low, Medium, High and Turbo. Curiously there are no hidden strobe or beacon modes. I don't really miss them, but I don't mind having them as long as they are tucked out of the way. Spark kept it simple and just excluded these special modes.

User Interface


Spark has come up with an interesting user interface for this series, which seems to borrow heavily from the Olight S series. A quick click turns the light on and off. Holding the button down cycles through the 4 modes. A quick double-click toggles the light between turbo and the last mode it was in.

The SF5 has mode memory just like the SF3. Holding the switch down with the light in any mode but moonlight will cycle it to that mode, and holding the switch down in moonlight will make it cycle the modes normally. It sounds complicated but it's actually intuitive.

Build Quality


This series is well built. From the quality of materials to the superb machining, Spark really knows what it's doing. It's above and beyond what I would normally consider good quality. It's almost like they are just showing off with the carbon fiber band, the steel bezel around the switch, the swap-able reflectors, the good quality snap-on clip, and so on. I'm starting to sound like a fan boy.

Fit and Finish


Overall, good. As with most products I review, just a couple minor imperfections can lower my overall impression of a review sample. This sample has some noticeable imperfections all the way around the carbon fiber ring and a few nicks on the body.

I'm also not a fan of the tail cap threads. They are a little better on my SF5 than my SF3, but they still make it a little bit awkward to screw on the tail cap. Not really a major gripe though.

But even with a couple minor gripes, it still hits the mark where it counts. The emitter is perfectly centered, which is a pet peeve of mine. The switch is mounted perfectly in the little steel bezel, and the carbon fiber band overall looks gorgeous.

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Closeup Of Threads


Clip


The SF5 features a snap-on type clip. It only comes up about a half inch to the tail, so I wouldn't call it a 'deep carry' clip, but it's deep-carry-ish. The quality of the clip is good, and it's nice and rigid. It carries well in my pocket and if anything, it's a little too tight, which is rare for this type of clip. Usually the snap-on type clips are way too loose. I didn't use to be a fan of this type of clip, but I like when it's done right.

Tail Stand


The light will tail stand if you are careful. The way the tail cap is designed only gives a small area for the light to stand, so it is a bit awkward. I'm not even sure I understand the design. They could have made the unit a
tiny big longer and given it a stable tail stand. But it's acceptable.

AA Battery Support


The circuit on the SF5 seems to be optimized for standard rechargeable Eneloop AA NiMH cells. 

Lithium-ion 14500 Support


The SF5 will take all button top 14500 cells that I have tested. It does not like the flat top cells, probably because of its reverse polarity protection.

Operation with a 14500 is perfect as far as I can tell. So many manufacturers cheap out and make a light that doesn't get its full functionality on a 14500, but this one does. As you can probably guess, all the modes will be brighter with a li-ion cell. Moonlight is a little brighter and turbo is much brighter. In fact, there's not much difference between high and turbo with a regular AA, but it's a noticeable difference with the 14500.

PWM


I could find no trace of PWM using the cell phone camera test. Looks like every mode is constant current. Nice. Some manufacturers use high frequency PWM to achieve a better tint but here's a model with perfect tint and a constant current circuit.

Tail Cap Readings


All readings in Amps. I measured the standby "parasitic drain" current at .0002 amps.


ModeEneloop AAOlight 14500
Moonlight.01.005
Low.05.02
Medium.20.09
High2.13.28
Turbo2.25.71

Tailcap Lockout


If you intend to store this flashlight for an extended period of time, or you just don't like the idea of the small amount of standby current when the unit is off, you can twist the tail cap about 1/8th of a turn counter-clockwise and it will power the unit off.

Beam


Spark SF5 1xAA Flashligh: Textured Reflector
Spark SF5 1xAA Flashligh: Mule Reflector



OP Reflector: My SF5 has a nice, smooth, floody beam, due to its textured "orange peel" reflector. Just looking at the light, I would think that it would have a tighter hot spot, but looking closer I can see that the reflector is more shallow than it looks, which explains the floody-ness. But for an EDC it's pretty much ideal. If you want to see across a big field on your farm, you will want a light with more throw.

Mule Reflector: This type of reflector is more of a housing than a reflector. With the Mule on, the light becomes pure flood with no beam to speak of. Some people prefer this style of light, and it does have some benefits for example using the light as a lantern.

Beam shots taken at ISO 100 f/5.6 1/15th second with AWB = Daylight
Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Animated Modes



Tint


The tint on my SF5 NW is noticeably warmer than any other light I own!  I can tell that Spark really has its ear to the ground and is definitely giving enthusiasts what they want. The Cree XM-L2 emitter isn't exactly known for having the best tint, so I'm curious how they got something this warm from Cree.

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Tint Comparison
Tint Comparison, From Left: Spark SF3, Olight S15 Ti, Thrunite T10S, L3 L10-219, Spark SF5


Usability


This is a very usable model. It carries well in my pocket and it's intuitive to pull out and find/engage the switch, unlike other electronic switch models where I fumble for the switch. I would have preferred a shortcut to low, but the double-click to turbo gets used quite a bit. My SF3 likes to cut out on turbo sometimes, even with the most expensive batteries. The SF5 has a much better (but less powerful) turbo mode. I can put it into turbo and use the light for 5-10 minutes without worrying about it.

The SF3 and SF5 have already become my most-used flashlights.

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: In Hand 1

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: In Hand 2


Conclusions


The SF5 is a superb model. I am glad I put off buying the Zebralight SC52 NW model. People were saying the NW model had a green-ish tint, where my SF5 has a phenomenal tint. I couldn't imagine Zebralight's version being any better than this, and I am glad I held out for the SF5. It's a little bigger than the Zebralight but that's OK.

Most of the time when I buy something, I'm hoping that it's as good as I expect it to be. This is one of those rare models that exceeds my expectations. Since the day I got them, the SF3 and SF5 have never been far from my side. And with my collection of flashlights, that's a bold statement.


Gallery


Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: In Box 1

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: In Box 2

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: In Box 4Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: In Box 3Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: In Box 5



Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Unboxed 1

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Unboxed 2

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Felt Pouch 1

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Felt Pouch 2
The felt bag on mine came filthy

Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Next To Ruler
Spark SF5 1xAA Flashlight: Next To SF3 and EagleTac 16340 Li-Ion Cell
BFFs