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Maglite flashlights (and your opinions)

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by Deputydave, May 17, 2012.

  1. Deputydave

    Deputydave Millennium Member

    Feb 20, 1999
    For the purposes of survival, like most of us, I like to be as redundant as possible in certain key areas. For example, I like to have multiple ways of making fire (lighter, waterproof matches, fire steel, magnesium bar, cotton balls with vasaline etc). To me, lights are another area. I like to have multiple ways to have light. As a result, I have about 5 head lamps, a bunch of inexpensive LED lights of different sizes and of course Maglites.

    I have multiple Maglites in the AAA, AA, C and D variety. In fact, I have a 4C Maglite that belonged to my grandfather. He had this flashlight when I was a little boy so it is well over 40 years old and it is still going strong! I don't even know if he bought it new or if it was from a garage sale so it is WELL over 40 years old. Yes, it has a little wear and tear on the outside, but it still works.

    I particularly like the AA mini Maglites. I think they are inexpensive and well made. I just bought two more off Ebay for $5.50 each (S&H included) that were brand new in the package with working batteries. I thought that was a good deal! All my Maglites have the normal incandescent bulbs. I don't have an LED version (which is why I was asking about DIY conversions in my other thread).

    For those of you that may have the LED version, what are your thoughts? I know you can purchase the drop-in LED bulbs for the AA, C and D lites or you can by an LED Maglite straight from Maglite. Any opinions as to whether one is better than the other?

    I like the incandescent bulbs. I think they are pretty bright and long lasting for their design. I think they're pretty cheap to replace as well (just bought a couple of extra AA bulbs at Lowes for a $1.57 just to have them on hand in addition to what is in the endcap). With that said though, I'd like to hear some thoughts on the LED versions of the Maglites. Is it worth the price of a drop-in? Is it worth the price to buy a dedicated LED Maglite. Better off sticking with the original since bulbs are so cheap? What is your experience?

    Also, on the C and D Maglites; as far as regular incandescent bulbs go, is there a difference amoung replacements? I see Xenon and also Krypton bulbs available. What is the difference? What does a Maglite come with 'off the shelf'? Is it worth getting one of these other bulbs?

    Thanks for the help :wavey:
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
  2. cyrsequipment

    cyrsequipment Angry

    Aug 8, 2004
    I never really liked the Maglites, maybe because my first PD made me carry one instead of the "cool" light I bought on my own, but who knows.

    They are tough as $#%^ and they certainly serve their purpose. Their brightness is considerably less than other lights I have used, but they are cheap and as you said bulbs can be replaced cheaply. They are very common so getting other parts is rather easy.

    They are not my cup of tea, but they certainly have their strong points. The LED conversaions are not the best solution, in my opinion, but they do solve the bulb issue.
    Last edited: May 17, 2012

  3. MadMonkey

    MadMonkey Spershul Furces

    Aug 18, 2010
    Not a fan. In my experience the incandescent ones have been unreliable and pretty dim (any of them).
  4. Redheadhunter21


    May 6, 2012
    Don't waste money on conversion bulbs for maglites, buy the led models from maglite for the price the led maglites are definantely worth it, other lights are brighter but for 3 times the price they better be. Led lights are brighter but also cause more glare, so remember that.

    I always have cheap spares hidden all over the place, and in the truck I have a 3D led maglite, surprises a lot of people on how bright it is
  5. auto-5


    Nov 13, 2011
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
  6. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    The first "police" flashlight was the Kel-Lite. The Maglite came out in 1979 and improved the design. So Maglites are not yet 40 years old. Kel-lite evolved into the Streamlight.

    Personally I like Maglites. My 80's era rechargable Mag-Lite saved my bacon more than once. I also think the Mini-Mag is one of the coolest things ever made and is certainly the first small tactical light ever invented. I often said that all one really needs to survive is a Mini-Maglite and a Swiss Army Knife.

    But yeah there are better lights out there than Maglites and I have many better ones. However I still keep Maglites around the house and Mini-Mags in all my tool kits. I have converted many of my Mini-Mags to LEDs using the Nite Ize LEDs. They were cheap and last longer in the Mini's than the fragile incandescent bulb that comes with it. Not sure what other conversions are out there as my Nite Ize ones have lasted a couple decades.
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
  7. Bolster

    Bolster Not Ready Yet!

    Jul 23, 2011
    State of Stupidity
    I was a the 1980s. Time moved on an Maglite pretty much didn't. They're now playing catch-up, but are far behind the new technology of High CRI, super-efficient emitters in compact lightweight bodies.

    To me, a classic case of a company that rested on its laurels.

    I have a half dozen vintage Mags around, most of them upgraded with new emitters, but they are all relegated to secondary status.

    My go-to lights these days are Quark High CRIs, Zebralights, and Sparks, all of which have neutral-warm emitters.

    Take the Quark 2AA. 280 lumens on high, or .3 lumens for 15 days. A MiniMag incan just can't compete on either end; its bulb is considerably more fragile, will burn out shortly, and throws a beam full of artifacts. The only advantage of the MiniMag is the incan spectrum, which is remarkably well reproduced by today's modern High CRI emitters.
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
  8. wjv


    Jan 17, 2002
    Pacific NW
    Have a couple in a drawer that I never use since they suck batteries like a pig. . .
  9. Warp


    Jul 31, 2005
    I like giveaways. People think they are good. Let them think so. I'll keep the good stuff for us.

    I do keep a 4D MagLED in my vehicle. But it is secondary to a Thrunite TN11.

    I prefer lights by Thrunite, 4Sevens, Fenix, Zebralight, etc etc.
  10. garyo

    garyo Millennium Member

    Dec 29, 1998
    NC USA
    I love my Maglite's and have many. A couple of years ago I got the Maglite LEDs and replaced all the incandescents, they work very well. Brighter, whiter, and much better battery life. My oldest Maglite is 32 years old and still going strong. I have many lights and Mags are just as good as Surefire, Fenix, etc. My largest 5D sits by my bed with skateboard tape in a ring around the shaft just below the lamp assembly, and will do more damage than a baseball bat.
  11. quake

    quake Millennium Member

    Aug 4, 1999
    Arkansas, USA
    Have to agree with this. I have some old 3D-cell maglites still around & even still get used some, but they'd absolutely never get used if they still had the incandescent bulbs. With the genuine Mag-LED conversion bulbs they're respectable, and still as tank-tough as they've always been. Nothing "wrong" with them; even bought a 2D-cell LED one four or five years ago for a an older family member who I knew would resist any 'newfangled' type of flashlight. But for me personally, as Bolster says it's been a long time since I've really been a fan.

    The little AA maglites, I used to be a fan, but it's been even longer in their case. Never found an LED conversion that did what it imo should, and gave up on those even before I did the D-cell ones.

    Nowadays I like fenix, itp, coast, streamlight and surefire; but there are plenty of other good ones out there, likely even better ones out there.

    For all the information & discussion you could ever want on flashlights, you might try Just be advised that those guys over there are worse flashaholics than we are glockaholics over here. Going there for info on flashlights is like going to a firehose to get a drink; just stay focused and hang on tight...
  12. bigrob911


    Dec 7, 2011
    I have many maglites around the house. They might not be the brightest but in my experince they are built like a tank.
  13. bdcochran


    Sep 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Bolster is spot on. Kell-lite then Maglight then Surefire. At one time or another, each has had its proverbial place in the sun. They don't offer a technological or price/performance advantage anymore. When I go to Costco and 3 200 lumen flashlights with AA batteries included sell for under $20, there is no comparison.

    As my maglights corrode over time, they are not replaced. At one time I had probably a dozen between home and the cars. They would work in a pinch. However, they are now second or third line.
  14. callihan_44

    callihan_44 INFIDEL

    Aug 19, 2010
    zebra head lamp- fenix-nitecore is what I have now(all AA versions), had a few mags laying around no longer in use.
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
  15. Snaps

    Snaps Hail 2 The King

    Apr 8, 2004
    SWPA sticks
    I like them, have a couple in the house, one in the truck, one in the bag.

    I don't care for the tiny lil lights, and maglights have worked just fine for me for a number of years now. Plus now days they're not expensive compared to the 'good' lights
  16. KS Trekker

    KS Trekker That Guy

    Nov 23, 2009
    That's pretty much where I'm at. I have one in the truck for emergencies, but it's not nearly as bright, compact, or reliable as my Surefire.
  17. Maglite is the Harley Davidson of flashlights. Famous brand, large fan base, obsolete technology, unimpressive performance.
  18. Warp


    Jul 31, 2005
    +1 on CPF.

    I rarely visit, because ever time I do I find 2-3 new lights I just HAVE to now I only visit when I have already decided to spend money on at least one.

    But hey, thanks to them I have guilt free lumens. :supergrin:
    Last edited: May 18, 2012
  19. Bravo 1

    Bravo 1 Serious Infidel CLM

    Sep 21, 2005

    :rofl: true enough,,,
  20. While true in some respects, one thing to take into account is many people, like me, have several already, all of mine bought +30 years ago. When they WERE the best you could buy. They worked fine then, they work fine now. And I already own them. Mine have been to 4 continents and 2 wars, rode around in tanks for weeks/months at a time, still work perfectly.

    Sure enough, they won't start a fire with their beam, and if you are still using an incandescent bulb the color, brightness and battery life doesn't match a modern CREE light. But for a LOT of uses, they are just fine. And with an $8 CREE drop in, they are not bad beam/light wise.. still large, but that is not always a bad thing. And "D" size batteries can be bought anywhere.

    My surefire has the "tactical" bezel, and while I am sure it would hurt to get whacked with it, but, up against just about any physical threat, the 3D Maglight is going to be the winner. It's a PROVEN club.. lol.

    I don't need to be able to signal the international space station, just to walk the dogs after dark.

    At this point they are far from being the only lights in the house, although they are the only "D" driven ones, but they still work fine.
    Last edited: May 18, 2012