On my review table today I have the JetBeam WL-20 a flashlight designed for hunting. It can be mounted to a rifle with optional accessories jetbeam produces. This light has 3 colors (White, Red, and Green) and features 2 LED’s per color. Thanks to JetBeam for sending this for me to take a look at. Let’s take a closer look at how Jetbeam achieves this multicolor hunting light.
Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/6Z11Bit
YouTube Version of this Review:
The package is similar to other recent JetBeam lights with a blue and black cardboard box. On the outside it has highlights and on the back is a runtime chart. On the inside is a plastic shell that houses the light and all the accessories. It’s a pretty full package. Included with this light is the Flashlight itself, it comes preinstalled with a Jetbeam protected button top Jetbeam 18650 with microUSB recharging. Also included is a branded holster with a bit of padding, Plastic D Ring, velcro belt loop, lanyard and microUSB charging cable. It comes with a small bag of spares including an extra red o Ring and rear tail button boot.
The head of this light is what sets it apart from some of the others, it rotates around the body. This allows the side by side lens configuration to only show 2 of the 6 total LED’s in the light at a time. Between colors it’s a heavy detent that almost requires two hands to operate. It makes a louder click moving between modes. Staying with the head of the light it’s and the rest of the light is made from aluminium that’s black anodized. The front bezel of the light is unanodized and has a short but sharply milled front bezel. The lens is glass with anti reflective coating. The lens is interesting as it has two deep recesses for the side by side LED configuration, with part of the middle reflector cut out.
The rest of the head has some milling for heat sinks and areas milled out to provide a bit of grip to turn it left and right. The body below is much smaller in diameter and 4 flats with knurling in between. It’s smoother knurling. On two of the flats an edge has been milled in for style and to aid in grip.
The Tailcap has one main on/off button that stands proud and is a textured rubber. It’s a pretty stiff button and can be used as momentary or a full press for a lock on. Next to the button are two paddles, these are metal and are similar to what you would see on a tactical light but with less grip. These are used for mode selection and act as pure momentary switches. The tail has small holes for attaching the lanyard, no paracord here. The light doesn’t tail stand due to a slightly proud center tail button and being unstable in this configuration.
Threads were square but and very smooth but dry. The Oring is a little larger than usual and is red rather than black. The WL20 use a stiff dual spring arrangement in the tail cap. In the head there is also dual springs but these are much less stout.
Overall weight with the included battery is 218 grams. Maximum diameter at it’s widest point is 42mm, minimum diameter is 26.5mm. Length is 146mm and the light is IPX8 water rated.
This light uses a total of 6 LEDs. The White LED’s are Cree XPG3 S4 LEDs in a very cool white. The Red and Green LED’s are only mentioned as “3535”. The lens is deep and it produces a beam pattern that was better than I expected. It’s a bit egg shaped in the spill but the hot center is pretty round at short distances. At longer distances it’s pretty normal.
Jetbeam ships this light with the 2600mah microUSB rechargeable battery. However the offical runtimes they give on the package and in the manual are done using a 3500mAh cell. All my tests have been done with the 2600mAh cell that shipped with the light. To save time I won’t go into depth describing runtime just give a few facts and provide the graph.
White – Total runtime was about 150 minutes with flashing near the end. Turbo (1000L was good for about 5 minutes before stepping down to high. Step downs are hard steps.
Red – Total run time was 140 minutes with slow decline but it ran at 80% most of the time before an abrupt end and LVP kickin in.
Green – Total run time was 130 minutes with 1 small step down after 90 minutes. The end was and abrupt shut off in 3 short stages.
The UI of this light depends on which color mode you have it in. In all 3 modes, the large round button at the tail cap is your main on and off. The momentary paddles work for momentary and will cycle the light through modes if that color has one. To rotate between colors rotate the head of the light left or right. It has a strong and audible detent.
In Green this light has one brightness level at 300 lumens. Paddles work for momentary, center button is on/off and can be momentary with a ½ press.
In Red this light has two modes, 125 lumens and 20 lumens. The paddles work for momentary and will cycle between modes. If it’s on a constant on the paddles just will cycle modes. High is the default red mode and it does not have memory in this mode.
In White this light has 4 main modes and strobe. Eco is 20 lumens, Low is 120 lumens, high is 330 lumens, and Tubro and strobe are 1000 lumens. The light will start off in turbo if using the main on/off. From there you can use the paddles to advance to eco, low, high and back to turbo. When off hitting the paddles will give you strobe, or from on a long press on the paddles will give you strobe.
Recharging and the Battery
The WL20 comes with a Jetbeam branded button top 2600mAH battery that has built in microUSB for charging. It says it’s rated for 1A charging speed but in my testing the best I got was 0.73A this resulted in a empty battery taking 4 hours 40 minutes to recharge. Personally I will use a more traditional charger instead.
A note about durability of this type of battery in a light designed for possibly mounting on a rifle. The additional circuit board not only makes the battery longer than a typical 18650 but it adds an additional possible failure point due to recoil. In a hunting environment you probably won’t be taking lots of shots, but in a more tactical environment you might be. I would recommend using a button top battery battery without protection instead for better durability.
- One handed operation and rotating emitter.lens setup make it unique and it works well.
- Heavy detents and big buttons make it easy enough to use with gloves but it almost takes two hands to rotate the head into a different color mode.
- Brightest Red and Green modes I have tested thus far
- Throws pretty well and has a decent beam pattern for the side by side LED configuration.
- It’s relatively heavy, while you could mount it onto a firearm I don’t think you would want to because of the weight and battery.
- The white emitter has a very cool tint.I would prefer Neutral White or warm white myself and for the UI to start in eco first.
- I would prefer the white emitter mode to have one addition moonlight mode since Red is still too bright for up close work.
- Head rotation is almost too difficult, especially while wearing a cast.
- The manual and packaging are not in sync as to which LED’s are in use in the light.
I was pretty interested in how this light accomplished it’s multi color LED’s and how much that would compromise beam quality. The good news is it was a lot better than I expected. It’s not a perfectly round beam but it doesn’t have many artifacts or ugly pieces too it.
As a weapon light I think there are better options that are smaller and better suited to attaching directly to a rifle. However as a hunting light that you might hand hold or use to get to a tree stand or blind and then use after the shot I think it would work fairly well. It has the strongest green mode on a light I have tested and that can be useful for finding a blood trail. It’s nice to see that the red mode has two brightness levels but the low is still a bit too bright for my liking for up close work.
This is a niche light, and won’t apply for the vast majority. For those that do need a hunting light that’s multicolor this is certainly an option for you that should work pretty well.