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Light Saber Review: Atibal Ai-1 Kilometer Weapon Light

Atibal is an optics company based in Arizona. Over the years we've seen their quality levels change drastically from their initial XP8 1-8x offering (which has since been upgraded) to their excellent 1-10x FFP LPVO, the Atibal X. While Atibal Optics is still churning out red dots, prismatics, and variables, Atibal Illumination was launched for flashlight heads. Challengeing the norm is the new Atibal Ai-1.

While there are N+1 general-purpose weapon-mounted lights available, Atibal Illumination took a different track to stand out from the crowd: a friggin Lightsaber.

atibal Ai-1 beam

The Atibal Illumination Ai-1 isn't a complete flashlight (though we wouldn't be surprised to see one in the near future) but instead a replacement head. You can't just pop an Ai-1 on any old flashlight body, but one equipped for a 18650 battery such as a Surefire M600DF or a 18350 Modlite PLHv2. Atibal also sells a Reptilia torch body.


As you can tell from the above photo, the Ai-1 head takes the already-larger Surefire M600DF and kicks it into high gear. But even after adding some width and girth, the Ai-1 is still much smaller than a standard spotlight.
atibal Ai-1  on a surefire Scout Body

FRIGGIN' LASER BEAMS

The Atibal Ai-1 head itself is very long to accommodate such a deep reflector, but also because there's a laser emitter inside. The Ai-1 uses LEP (Laser Excited Phosphor). LEP is a relatively new technology. As the name suggests, a laser is fired into a phosphor layer which then begins emanating light. This light combines with the remaining laser light to form the beam.

Because a laser is part of the illumination, each Atibal Illumination Ai-1 light is regulated as a Class IIIB laser and not a flashlight. And you even need a waiver to purchase–this is not a light you let your kids play with.

atibal Ai-1 light head

QUICK NOTE ABOUT LUMENS

Lumens are a measurement of the total amount of light an emitter can put out, called luminous power. Unless it's an ANSI-certified light, chances are those lumens are simply calculated from the emitter itself and not actually measured. Lux is a more specific measurement

Lumens are an “easy button” for consumers. They tend to look at a baseline number, and anything above it is “good” and anything below it is “bad”. That baseline changes with time, but that baseline has been everywhere from 120 lumens (back in the dark incandescent days) to 500 lumens for the better part of a decade, and 1k lumens for the last couple of years.

The problem is that while raw lumens are important, the beam pattern itself matters far more than a simple lumen number. Given equal lumens, a more shallow, flatter reflector design will maximize the level of flood. Flood is great for immediate-area illumination. But if you want throw? A deeper reflector design will be used to maximize candela, or directional luminous intensity.

A TALE OF TWO LIGHTS

Want a good example of how disparate candela and lumens can be? The Surefire M600DF equipped with a fresh 18650 battery is a whopping 1,500 lumens with a peak candela of 16,000. This will give you visibility on man-sized targets out to 250 yards. Whereas the Atibal Illumination Ai-1 head puts out a mere 335 lumens but with a peak candela more than a dozen times higher at 200,000. This will give you visibility on man-sized targets out to 1,000 yards.

A quick look at the beamshots tells the tale. Note that the Surefire has a warmer color temperature, with both being bluer on the edges of the beamshot. With their TIR reflector design, the blue in the Surefire is quickly dispersed to fill and spill (blue is great for spill because blue light scatters more in particulate) whereas the blue is present on the corona of the Atibal Ai-1.

With the Atibal Ai-1, the colors are probably due to the combination of a blue laser and a phosphene that glows yellow when excited. When combined you get a relatively wide (albeit cool) white light.

Surefire 600 atibal Ai-1

Unquestionably, the M600DF is better for general-purpose use–but if you want a thrower with minimum spill? The Atibal Ai-1 is the clear winner.

WAIT, BUT WHY?

From a military perspective, white lights are invariably relegated to indoor use; outside you're far more likely to enjoy the glories of i2 devices. As a handheld device, the Atibal Ai-1 makes for an excellent searchlight in a smaller package than usual, but it really shines in a rural role; good for popping predators who may be invading the chicken coop across the yard or otherwise planning on taking on of your barn kittens.

Due to geography and being decent neighbors, the furthest we've been able to play with the Atibal Ai-1 head was just under 700 yards, but there will be more to follow. Is it replacing a Surefire M600DF? Nope, and it was never meant to in the first place.






ATIBAL Ai-1 SPECIFICATIONS:

»Precision Machined Aluminum Alloy Construction
»Hardcoat Anodize coating
»Output: 335 Lumens, up to 200,000 Candela
»Runtime: 3 Hours w/ 18650 3500mAh Battery | 1 Hour w/ 18350 1200mAh Battery
»Battery Type: 1x 18650/ 18350
»Size: 1.28″ Diameter, 2.64″ Length
»Compatibility: SureFire M600DF Light Body, Reptilia Corp. Torch 6v/ 18650 Light Body and or similar 18650/ 18350 bodies
»Weight: 3.2oz

You can learn more about Atibal Illumination here


More on Weapon Lights, Lasers, and from Atibal.




One response to “Light Saber Review: Atibal Ai-1 Kilometer Weapon Light”

  1. Nee says:

    How is this better vs. the Class-1 U.S. Blazer Weapons Light?

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