Sunday, April 10, 2011

The quest for the everyday carry flashlight - Fenix PD31

I've been looking for a nice carry flashlight for a while now, but really hadn't found the perfect one. The light that I want has to be small enough to fit in my pocket, at least 180 lumens, a strobe feature was highly desired as well as the ability to take rechargeable batteries. I looked long and hard at the AA ones that were out on the market and although they were a nice size, to get the lumens I was looking for I had to go with a model that took two AAs, and I felt that was getting a bit too long. I found the Streamlight ProTac 1 and 2AA models and thought the 1AA model was the perfect size, but wasn't nearly bright enough. I then looked at the ProTac 2L version and it had everything I was looking for, except for the rechargeable batteries. I almost pulled the trigger on it anyway, then I was advised to look at another brand from one of my friends that is a police officer...

And that brand was Fenix! So I started doing some research and found some great reviews on several of their lights on YouTube. It seems that lots of people are happy with their lights and my friend said he LOVED his TA21 which had ALL of the features that I wanted, but is certainly isn't small enough to put in your pocket!

So I started to looking for a smaller flashlight that might possibly fill my needs. I started finding information about their "PD" series and found the PD10, PD20 and PD30. All three of these flashlights met my requirements for 180 lumens, which is pretty amazing despite the small size of the PD10 and PD20. The PD10 was out, because it had no strobe. The PD 20 and 30 both had enough lumens, were both small enough to fit in my pocket and both had a strobe feature. I was leaning towards the PD30, just because it is rated at 257 lumens! The only problem was that it only used CR123s not the rechargeable 18650 Li-ion battery. I was wanting one that could use both like the TA21. Then I found the PD31!

The PD31 is a limited edition flashlight from Fenix that is about the same length (2mm longer) and about the same diameter (2.5mm larger) as the PD30. The PD31 is rated at 304 lumens, nearly 50 lumens more than the PD30! It also takes the rechargeable 18650 Li-ion battery, which accounts for it's larger diameter, and CR123s. It has a "general mode" which is accessed by turning the bezel counter-clockwise which will allows you to throw a beam of light at 2, 67, 124 lumens and an SOS mode at 124 lumens by taping the tail cap switch. Then if you tighten the the bezel ring, and click the tail cap switch, you get the "turbo" mode which is an amazing 304 lumens! Tap it again, and you get a strobe at 304 lumens. To be honest, it's pretty impressive.

Although this light has a higher lumen output than the TA21, it does not throw the light as far as the TA21. The TA21 is rated to throw over 200m and the PD31 is rated at just 140m. This is because the beam is not quite as focused as the TA21. The PD31 is a more of a flood than a spot. The PD31 also does not have a momentary tail cap switch, it is a click switch, but it's not considered by Fenix a tactical light. That is covered by their TK and TA series lights.

PD31 and TA21 with Ruler

PD31 left, TA21 right

PD31 with 18650 Li-ion and CR123s
Overall I am VERY impressed with the PD31. It has all of the features I was looking for in a pocket light although some may find it too big. I've included some pictures of the PD31 compared to the TA21. Let me know what you think.

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