There are a huge amount of options when it comes to weapon lighting these days, so it can be a bit daunting when it comes to choosing one.

In our opinion, which is based on real world usage at the civilian, law enforcement, and military levels, the Surefire Scout light pattern, which includes Scout clones like the Modlite PLHv2 and OKW, and our own Arisaka 300, 600 and 18650 Series lights, provide the best blend of size, output, and flexibility for weapon use. Scout style lights have dedicated mounting points and are rated for weapon recoil, unlike handheld lights that are repurposed to weapon use.

Modlite and Arisaka lights share the same mounting footprint as the Surefire Scout light series, meaning mounts are interchangeable between all of them. A detailed description of mounting options can be found in the accompanying help page, Help Me Choose A Mount!

Like mounts, Modlite and Arisaka lights also utilize the Surefire Scout tailcap thread. This opens up access to a wide array of tailcap and remote options. A detailed description of tailcaps and remote switches can be found in the accompanying help page, Help Me Choose A Tailcap/Remote!

 

Arisaka currently offers four different weapon light series, with each series having multiple heads. The light body size determines the type and number of batteries that can fit, while the head determines the output spectrum, lumens, and candela.

A very important distinction when choosing the head is the difference between lumens and candela in the output numbers. Think of lumens as the total light output from a point source in a sphere, while candela is how focused the light beam is. For instance, the Surefire M600DF and M640DF have a head with 1,500 lumens and 16,000 candela. This sounds like it will be quite bright due to the 1,500 lumens, but in reality it can barely illuminate a target at 100 meters. Conversely, a head with 500 lumens and 55,000 candela like the Malkoff E2XTL has a much higher candela rating, which gives it a tightly focused beam and can easily illuminate objects at 200 meters and beyond while having 1/3 the lumen rating. The difference between the two is literally eye opening, and can be seen in this blog post.

Arisaka 18650 Series: This is our top end option and recommended for all uses unless you want a smaller/shorter light for PDW or SBR applications. The 18650 Series body has the same larger front thread size that Modlite uses for the regular OKW and PLHv2 heads, and Surefire uses on the M600DF and M640DF. They are available with two head options:

  1. Malkoff E2XTL - White light 500 lumens, 55,000 candela with 1x 18650 or 2x CR123
  2. Modlite OKW Duel Fuel - White light 680 lumens, 69,000 candela with 1x 18650, reduced output with 2x CR123

Arisaka 18350 Series: This is the shorter version of the 18650 Series, which utilizes 18350 cells instead of 18650 cells. The same heads are available and have the same output, but due to the shorter body you cannot use these with CR123 cells like the 18650 Series:

  1. Malkoff E2XTL - White light 500 lumens, 55,000 candela with 1x 18350
  2. Modlite OKW Duel Fuel - White light 680 lumens, 69,000 candela with 1x 18350

Arisaka 600 Series: This is a step down from the 18650 Series, with a slightly smaller diameter body that is compatible with older Surefire heads like the M600U. This size was the original Scout light, powered by two CR123 disposable cells. The following heads are available:

  1. Malkoff E2XTL - White light 500 lumens, 55,000 candela with 1x 18650 or 2x CR123
  2. Modlite OKW Duel Fuel - White light 680 lumens, 69,000 candela with 1x 18650, reduced output with 2x CR123

Arisaka 300 Series: This is our shortest, lightest weapon light. The body can fit a single CR123 disposable cells and is compatible with older Surefire heads like the M300C. The following heads are available:

  1. Malkoff E1HT - White light 325 lumens, 23,000 candela
  2. Surefire KM1-E - White light 250 lumens, infrared light 100mW
  3. Malkoff EX IR 250 - Infrared 250mW
  4. Malkoff EX IR 700 - Infrared 700mW

 

Recommendations:

If you want the best, choose the 18650 Series with E2XTL or OKW Dual Fuel head. You get amazing throw, able to punch through photonic barriers (and create your own photonic barrier), along with the ability to use 18650 rechargeable cells for extended run time or fall back on two CR123 disposable cells if needed.

If you desire the 18650 Series output but want something shorter, then the 18350 Series is the way to go. You lose the ability to use CR123 cells, but you still get the highest output in a very small package.

The best price/performance choice is the 600 Series with E2HT head. It's only an ounce heavier than the 300 Series with E1HT, with a smaller diameter body and head than the 18650 Series.

Lastly, if you want the smallest light we offer, the 300 Series with E1HT is hard to beat given it's cost, size, and weight.