Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review: Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light

Olight has been around a long time making flashlights. They started with tactical flashlights, and the last few years they've been branching out with smaller EDC type flashlights. They bought one of my favorite flashlight companies iTP a while back, and released the iconic Olight I3S which I carried for a long time and gave away as gifts. I also still carry my S2 Baton. I had some problems with the switch out of the box, but it worked itself out and it's been a fine light. The Valkyrie is also a brand new model, and I'm one of the first to get my hands on it.

I think that Olight does better with their higher end tactical products, so I was excited to get one of these PL-1 II Valkyrie weapon lights in my hands. Most people who know me know that I'm a hippie pacifist, but I have lots of experience handling firearms, and it wasn't hard to find a friend with a shiny new Glock G19 to try this out on!


Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Product Link


Video Review

I've been doing more video, and slowly getting better at it ... slowly.



Product Description

Price: About $100 online

The Valkyrie is a two-mode "weapon light" intended to be mounted on a handgun with MIL-STD-1913 rail systems, like the Glock 19 I used for this review. It features dual rubberized electronic switches and takes a CR123A battery or a 16340 lithium-ion rechargeable cell.

Official Specs (From Olight)

KEY FEATURES:
  • Applicable on MIL-STD-1913 and Glock sized rails
  • Uses a single CR123A battery delivering an output of 450 lumens and a beam distance of 106 meters
  • Switch on/off silently. Push forward directly or hit the side of the switch to activate
  • Heavy duty stainless steel lever making it easy and fast to attach and release
  • Hardened glass coated with an anti-reflective coating on both sides allowing for 99% light transmission rate for maximum clarity
  • IPX6 Waterproof
INCLUDED ACCESSORIES:
  • Weapon Light x 1
  • 1600mAh CR123A Battery x 1
  • 1913 Rail Mount (for 1913 Rail) x 1 
  • T6/T8 Socket Head Wrench x 1
  • Instruction Manual

Initial Impressions


Very favorable. I've always liked Olight's tactical flashlights, and this one gives me the impression that it's very rugged. I popped in the included Olight branded CR123A and it slid right onto the Glock and locked up tight, and had a good feel with the locking lever. Then I took it off the Glock and handed it to my brother, who immediately blinded everyone in the room. 450 lumens is a lot for a handgun light.

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - In Box 1

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - In Box 2

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - In Box 3

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - In Box 5


Build Quality


Very good overall. The rail locking lever has a great feel, but it's coated with a little bit of rubber and looks a little cheap. The rail mount screws also look a little cheap, but that's pretty much everything I review that has screws.

Other than a couple minor gripes, the Valkyrie looks to be very well built. The machining and anodizing are superb, as is the knurling on the head. The textured, rubberized switches are well done and look very rugged. Reflector, anti-reflective lens, LED--all good.

With a tactical flashlight, my first question about the build quality is: Would I recommend this to a friend in law enforcement or the military? Yes, I would.

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Product View 1

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Product View 2

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Product View 3

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Product View 5


Fit & Finish


Overall, superb. My minor gripes with the screws and the lock lever don't really come into play here, since you can't see the screws when it's mounted, and the rubber coating on the lever looks much better when it's locked and mounted as well.

Extra points for the knurling on the heads--they are as precise and well cut as I've seen on a flashlight. For flashlights in general, I look for rough machining, nicks, tool marks, off-center LEDs, aberrations in the reflector, cheap lenses--it's all perfect!

The texturing on the rubberized switches is also as good as I've seen. In fact, when I see a review sample this good, I'm almost suspicious about manufacturers cherry picking samples for review. But in my experience, the big manufacturers don't do that. If the production lights have a fit and finish this good, then this is going to be a hot model.

You can see in the photo below that it comes with plenty of lube on the threads and o-ring.

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - LED ViewOlight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Pill View

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Opened



Electronic Switches


This model features dual electronic switches mounted on either side of the unit. I'm a big fan of this type of switch because it has a much longer lifetime than a mechanical switch. Adding to the durability, the switches are rubberized with a thick type of rubber, and well textured.

My only gripe with these switches is that you have to hit them dead center of the switch to get the light to turn on. With gloves on, this shouldn't be an issue. People with small hands should practice with this light to make sure they can hit the switch right when the time comes for self-defense. If you have big hands, the light can be activated by your trigger finger. For people with smaller hands (like me) you probably want to use the thumb of your off-hand.

The switches themselves have a really good feel for electronic switches, which gives me a warm fuzzy for their durability over time.

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Switch Closeup


Modes


The Valkyrie has two modes: constant output and strobe mode, and the user interface is simple. Pressing either switch activates the weapon light. Pressing both switches at once activates the tactical strobe.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of strobe modes. Mostly they are to impress your friends, and I know very few law enforcement types who claim they actually do anything. So, most people would just press either switch to activate the light. It's probably hard to accidentally press both switches at once, but it's something to think about.

Usability


Using a weapon light should be simple and quick. You don't have time to mess with modes or figure out a complicated user interface when the time comes to defend yourself.

So, this model can be quickly activated with a quick press from the thumb your off hand, or your trigger finger if you have large fingers. This Glock has the extra large tail on it, which might make the difference. Again, not a big fan of strobe modes, but either mode is enough to temporarily blind your opponent, as well as see him.

I have not fired the G19 with the light mounted, but the mount feels secure and doesn't look like it would cause any issues. I was hoping to get a chance to do that for this review, but I have too much stuff to review. Maybe some readers can report back on how well the Valkyrie works attached to a Glock and firing it at night?

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Mounted To Glock 19


Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - In Hand

Here's an animated GIF I did which shows the action of the lever.

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Animated Rail Lever

Output / Tint


The manufacturer claims 450 lumens for this model, and I believe them. I don't use a light sphere for measurements, but I own a lot of flashlights, so the output seems right on the money.

In fact, the output is quite good for a CR123/16340 type flashlight and about as much as you need. With a weapon light, you want to make sure you don't accidentally blind someone friendly, but the output is there if you need it.

The tint on this model leans towards neutral white. They're not calling it a NW model, but it's nice to see flashlights of this type not have an icky green or blue tinge to them. That being said, I hope they come out with a special NW or WW version of this model, maybe with a Nichia emitter in it.

Weights & Measures


It's 3 inches long and a little heavy. But that's the price of quality (lots of metal) and the G19 is a little on the heavy side for me anyways.

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - On Scale
3.8 ounces with included CR123A cell

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Next To Ruler
Add caption


Conclusions


A well built product that's rugged and easy to use is what I look for with tactical flashlights. I wish they offered a single output mode version without the strobe, but it's a minor concern, and I like everything else about this light. $100 is a little steep for a flashlight, but if that's what quality costs, then I'm OK with it. I also wish they offered a neutral white version, but I'm a "tint snob."

It's easy to mount/unmount, easy to use and high output. I think they did a good job with the Valkyrie and would recommend it to the LEO / military types who would use this every day, as well as homeowner types. This one is a gift (since I don't own a gun) and I wouldn't give someone a weapon light that I didn't like, and I like this one!

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