Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Flashlight Holster Upgrade

This was a pretty quick one. If you know me at all, you know that I'm really picky with my EDC. I don't baby any item that I carry on my person, and that leads to the failure of said items quite often. I wind up having to make a lot of my EDC carrying gear as a result. I don't change my EDC for no reason, but I decided to upgrade my flashlight. This post is about bringing the new gear up to snuff to carry daily.

I have used the same Energizer flashlight for probably close to a decade. I think I got it from Target on a whim, and it has stood the test of time. Before I got it, I was burning through Maglites like crazy, so I was pleasantly surprised that it has stayed with me all these years. It is a 2 AA battery LED flashlight, with a rear button to turn it on and off. No strobe, no gimmicks. Just on and off. I machined the switch end cap to make the button easier to manipulate, and I rebuilt the power button many times to bring it back from the land of the dead. It has approximately 200 lumens of brightness. It has been a great piece of kit for a long time, but I got the bug to go for something brighter.

What I settled on was the Powertec M5 from Amazon.

It too has a power button on the back. But it also has a button towards the front of the light that lets you cycle through a few levels of brightness, and unfortunately a strobe. I'm not tactically breaching a bunker, I don't understand why almost all flashlights on the market have a strobe function.What I like about this light is that it remembers the last setting you used. I have found myself leaving it on a medium-high brightness and not really changing it. Its highest setting is advertised at 1,300 lumens. It uses a rechargeable 18650-type battery. I'll have to remember to keep it charged (we'll see if that happens lol), but I'll also probably wind up getting a spare to keep charged too in a pinch. It's advertised to last 3 hours at full brightness.

The light came with a Kydex holster, and though I'm not in love with it, I'll use it until I make a more permanent one.

Since it'll be piece of my EDC kit, I had to make sure that it wasn't going to slow me down when I needed light. And there were a couple of things that I needed to do to it to bring it up to snuff.

First was to improve the fit and finish. Though the Amazon listing said that this was a Kydex holster, I'm not completely sold on that. There were pieces of sprue and flashing everywhere, a sign that this was cast. Kydex is usually heat molded around a mold, not cast that I know of. So I went over the whole thing with a file and sandpaper, and made it so that it won't catch on my jacket, and so it won't scratch me when I remove the light.

The next part was the most annoying part to me. The belt clip was made for a combat-style belt (two and a half inch wide), and though my belt fit in the hole, it fit like throwing a hotdog down a hallway.

The problem with this was that when I went to pull the light from the holster, it would lift the holster up about an inch or more before the light came out. And it would stay up, jabbing me in my fat, unless I pushed it back down or put the light away. So I needed to come up with a solution to make this holster wearable for now.

I cut a small piece of Lexan plastic to fit inside the belt clip, and super glued it into place. It takes up the slack in the clip, and I sized it so that it drags slightly on my belt and shouldn't slide around too much.

This is all a temporary measure until I get around to making a leather holster for this and my Leatherman together. The rub with that project is that it will need to house this flashlight, my Leatherman, the bit kit and the bit extender. I don't have a lot of leather working experience, but it should be fun.

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