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Modlite Handheld 18650 Flashlight First Look

We got a chance to put our mitts on the Modlite Handheld 18650 body courtesy of Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics, now we have an inexplicable need to replace the ghetto 18350 “handheld” we threw together with leftover weapon light parts and a Discrete Carry Concepts Mod 3 clip.

If you haven't checked out our coverage of the Modlite OKW and PLH weapon lights, it might be worthwhile to take a glance since the light heads themselves are identical to the weapon lights.

Since the launch of the Modlite weapon lights, founder Cory Starr has been hounded for two things, an FDE option and handheld bodies. Well, the handheld light bodies are a thing now but sadly the only color available is flat dark black.

Modlite 18650 Handheld Specs:

 Modlite Handheld Body Dimensions:

  • Body Diameter: .990″ 25.14mm
  • Head Diameter: 1 3/16″/ 30mm
  • Length w/o head: 3 7/8″/  98.5mm

Modlite OKW Handheld Features:

  • Hand-assembled in and tested in the USA
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Approximately 680 out the front lumens and candela is approximately 69,000. It is an excellent overall light head good for indoor or outdoor use
  • Drivers are fully potted and tested.
  • 6061 Series Alum bezel with Mil-Spec Hard Anodizing
  • Ultra clear BOROFLOAT® lens allows 98-99% light transmittance

Modlite PLH Handheld Features:

  • Available in Cool White 5700k or Neutral White 5000K tint (light output is not affected)
  • Hand-assembled in and tested in the USA.
  • Drivers are fully potted.
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Approximately 1500 out the front lumens and candela is approximately 29,000. It is an excellent overall light head good for indoor or outdoor use.
  • 6061 Series Alum bezel with Mil-Spec Hard Anodizing.
  • Ultra clear BOROFLOAT® lens allows 98-99% light transmittance.

Complete Modlite Handheld Light Dimensions:

  • Length: 5 3/8″ / 136.5mm
  • Body Diameter: .990″ / 25.1mm
  • Head Diameter: 1 3/16″ / 30mm

How Much Light Do Modlite's OKW & PLH Heads Throw?

We didn't snap photos of the handheld's output since Aaron was testing a variation of the OKW head but the output of the production lights will be the same as the weapon lights. The photos from our look at the weapon lights will give you an idea of how the handheld light will perform.

The Long Wait for Handhelds

Modlite has been teasing the handheld parts since early October, the official release isn't till December 6th.

Modlite teased what would become early handheld tailcaps in early October.

What the Production Handheld will Look Like 

The teased tailcaps were early prototypes of the new handheld McClicky tailcaps. After spending some time using Cowan's light, the new handheld switch is much easier to use than the Modlite Scout tailcap we used on our DIY 18350 handheld.

Keeping with Modlite's focus on modularity and compatibility with accessories already on the market, the new handheld body and tailcap are compatible with the Thyrm Switchback as well as the Raven Concealment Surefire Pocketclip.

Instead of knurling on the body like most lights, the Modlite handheld as a much smoother texture to the sides of the light. We suspect that this is a direct result of feedback from industry pros who see more aggressive knurling eat up pants pockets.

Shut Up & Take My Money

The Modlite 18650 Handheld will run you a cool $350 for the complete light with your choice of OKW or PLH head. Modlite also includes a Nitecore D2 charger and two KeepPower 3500mah 18650 rechargeable batteries.

You can pick up the Modlite Handheld light body and tailcap package for $99 if you already have an OKW or PLH light head to save a few bucks.

Want a smaller light than the 18650 option? Sorry bout your luck.

While Modlite has made some prototype 18350 bodies for R&D, the 18650 bodies beat the smaller body out by a large margin in terms of usability according to several industry pros.

Modlite says that the 18350 bodies have taken a back seat for the time being but didn't rule out producing them in the future should the demand be there. In response to a Modlite customer about the Modlite 18350 handheld, Cory stated: “We are not releasing something that I’m not happy with.”

Photo courtesy of John J. of Citizens Defense Research. No, you can't have one … yet.

What Light Will We Opt For?

What is going to make its way into our pocket? We will probably follow Aaron's lead and opt for the 680-lumen OKW head with 69,000 candela. Something about a rechargeable pocket-sized flashlight that can illuminate something three football fields away that speaks to us.

Orders open December 6th, there are no preorders for the new handheld but based on how well Modlite handled the initial release of the weapon lights, we suspect that they will have enough on hand to satisfy demand.

Find more about Modlite's new 18650 handhelds on the Modlite website. You can also find information about the Modlite OKW weapon light and the Modlite PLH weapon light.

Official Word From Modlite:

The first batch of our 18650 handheld lights is set to be released on Friday December 6th at 0900 EST. Initial OKW and PLH light packages will be available at this time or you can choose to purchase just a body and tailcap package.

This body is fully compatible with all five of our existing light heads as well as the Surefire® KE2-DF light head sold with the M600 Dual Fuel light.

IR handhelds will not be available directly from the website but we will be able to build and deliver complete IR 850/940nm packages within 1-2 business days if requested.

About Patrick Roberts

Patrick primarily focuses his range time on sharpening his pistol shooting skill but effectively using precision rifles and carbines are also skills he works on polishing as best he can. When he isn't writing, spending far too much time on the range, maintaining his website, or filming a video he spends his time with his wife, son, and dog.

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