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A GREAT LITTLE LIGHT: Klarus XT1A Tactical Flashlight

September 26, 2019

Over at TTAG, they tasked me with doing the Everyday Carry posts a few months ago, and seeing what people carry affords me a chance to learn from others. Two lights grabbed my attention, but one has quickly become a favorite – the Klarus XT1A. In short, not only does it not suck, but it’s done well for me.

Yes, this remains The Truth About Guns, but for a moment let’s talk flashlights. Why? Because if you carry a gun for self-defense, you should carry a light, too. After all, bad guys prefer to do their thing in low-light environments.

And legally, if you can’t identify your target with reasonable certainty, you can’t justifiably use deadly force.  Furthermore, nothing has more jury appeal than testifying that you used a powerful flashlight to remove any doubt about the target’s identity and the threat he (or she) posed to you or your family.

Enter the Klarus light. It provides a broad, diffuse beam without any hot spots and plenty of horsepower as well. What’s more, you can pick one up without breaking the bank at about $50 from Amazon. It’s also about the same price at Sam Walton’s online place, but I don’t buy anything there any longer.

The light runs much brighter — it’s rated at 1000 lumens — when powered with a rechargeable Lithium Ion 14500 (AA-sized) batteries. In fact, the light ships with a LiIon battery that has a built-in USB charge slot. However, those electronics take up a fair bit of room in that already small cell, reducing the USB-chargeable battery capacity to about 800mAh. So I swapped that for a more traditional Lithium Ion battery with three times more gas inside.

When LiIon batteries or charging are unavailable, the Klarus XT1A will also accept ubiquitous alkaline AA-cells as well. Despite a much tamer performance with an alkaline battery, it will emit about 300 lumens with your favorite brand of AA battery.

Aside from a fairly broad beam and bright output, it brings all the key features I want in a tactical light: a pocket clip, a momentary switch, and at least two brightness levels. After all, I don’t need enough light to signal the International Space Station to look under a table at a restaurant for a pacifier or a dropped credit card.

Klarus hits all the requirements I need with a few pleasant bonus features as well.

The deep carry pocket clip allows the light to ride in my support-side rear pocket clipped to the side securely. Virtually the entire light rides below the top of the pocket.

The momentary switch: the Klarus has not one, but two momentary switches on the tailcap. One, a big rubber button, fires it up at an eye-searing, 1000-lumen turbo mode.  That serves as both a bad-guy repellent and long-distance search mode.

The metal paddle-style momentary switch (with obviously a significant tactile difference) lights it up on a low-power setting of about 5 lumens, very handy in most situations. Otherwise known as “can you find that pacifier for me” mode.

The big rubber button acts as a click-y switch. And holding the paddle switch down for more than a second or two leaves the light on when it’s released.  From there, touching that paddle switch again takes it to the 80-lumen medium setting and from there to the 1000-lumen max power mode.

I admit that I’m less than faithful about regularly charging the battery in my carry lights, but the Klarus has me covered. On top, it has a little multi-colored LED that will show the remaining charge on the battery.

Green means 70% capacity remaining. Orange is “time to top off the charge.”  A red indicator shows less than 30% capacity remaining. And for me, “charging” simply means swapping out the battery with a fully charged spare from my glovebox or nightstand.

Another bonus: The light doesn’t weigh much or take up much room in your pocket. It rides very unobtrusively, as it should. You don’t even realize it’s there until you need it.

I have carried this light for a couple of months now and find myself using it daily. In short, it works well.

If you want a versatile light for everyday carry, the Klarus unit provides great performance at an affordable price.

In other words, it definitely doesn’t suck.