M3X Triton Lightning Review: A Svelt Tactical LED Flashlight

D-batteries haven't been in your stereo since the late 1980s, so why are they still in your flashlight? It's the 21st century, our batteries are smaller and our bulbs are brighter. So stop lugging around that unwieldy hunk of aluminum (no matter how tough it makes you feel) and pick up this 1000-lumen submersible spotlight.

What Is It?

The replacement for your D-cell Maglite from Olight.

Who's It For?

People that don't naturally posses cat-like night vision.

Design

The M3X is shaped like a normal torch light but much skinnier than similar-length Mag Lights, measuring just 2.5 inches in diameter. That's due to the fact that the Triton runs on a trio of R123A batteries (with an optional grip extension to use four). It can also be adapted to run Li-on 18650s. Both ends of the aluminum body have a scalloped rim, allowing it to securely stand on either end. The CREE XM-L2 LED bulb outputs 700 lumens using the standard R123A battery configuration but can be increased to a full 1000 lumens using the added casing adapter.

Using It

It's a flashlight people, seriously. Click the power button located on the back end of the torch to turn it on, twist the front bezel for a lower output mode, twist it right to engage high output. Twist it left, then quickly right to start the emergency hazard strobe.

M3X Triton Lightning Review: A Svelt Tactical LED Flashlight

The Best Part

This light has a big, beautiful beam bright enough to illuminate a wall 50 feet away in broad daylight and a maximum range of about 1,700 feet at night. You normally won't have much call for seeing that far, but it's nice to know you can when investigating whether its racoons or a mountain lion that's prowling out on the edge of your property.

M3X Triton Lightning Review: A Svelt Tactical LED Flashlight

Tragic Flaw

The integrated belt clip is perpetually digging into my palm and seems rather redundant since the product comes with a belt-mountable carrying pouch.

M3X Triton Lightning Review: A Svelt Tactical LED Flashlight

This Is Weird...

From the right angle, this thing almost looks like a lightsaber.

Test Notes

  • Impact resistant to 2 meters (about 6.5 feet)
  • Waterproof rating of IPX-8! That means it's fully waterproof and can be operated continually after being submerged.
  • Can get finicky when using the battery case extender. Random jiggles and bumps will break the circuit, requiring you to whack it again to reesetablish it. This did not happen when using the standard three-battery set.

M3X Triton Lightning Review: A Svelt Tactical LED Flashlight

Should I Buy It?

Ok, look, I know $80 sounds like a lot of money for a flashlight. It is. But look at it this way. A standard 4 D-cell Maglite will set you back about $20 at Cheaper than Dirt, a quarter of the price of the M3X, while Duracell alkaline Ds retail for $12 / 8-pack over at Walmart. And if you don't already have a set of R123A's, a starter pack runs $30 at Amazon. At those rates, you'd have to run through just 10 sets of batteries—5 pack's worth—to recoup the initial higher outlay (15 sets or 8 packs if you needed the battery set too). And plus, for that extra up-front cost, you're getting a torch with ten times the Maglite's output (122 lumens) at a quarter of the weight (9 oz vs 36 oz) that can go underwater.

M3X Triton Specs

  • Bulb:CREE XM-L2 LED
  • Output:700-1000 lumen
  • Power Source:(3) CR123A or (2) 18500, case extension carries extra CR123A or (1) 18560
  • Runtime: 30 minutes to 5 hours depending on brightness and battery type
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches
  • Weight: 9.3 oz
  • Price: $80 from Amazon or Battery Junction