Klarus GL1 Review (600 Lumen, Small weapon light, Micro USB)

Today I am taking a look at Klarus’s first Pistol light the GL1. It produces 600 lumens for 1 minute, has an adjustable rail to fit a variety of different sized pistols and is MicroUSB rechargeable. Thanks to Klarus for sending this to me to review. 

 

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Packaging & Accessories

The GL1 comes with a retail hanging box, and it’s basically what you would expect. It does have a runtime chart on the backend. Inside you get the GL1 itself, a MicroUSB charging cable, and a manual. You also get a replacement rail piece and a couple of small screws to lock it down once get it in place for your firearm.

 

Construction

The GL1 is made from aluminum and IPX6 water rated. It’s a one piece design and fairly slim up front with it getting a little wider as the taper flares out to the back. The front has a fairly deep bezel to protect the lens. On the right side (when mounted) it has a to show an LED, useful when charging, and to give power level indications. ON the bottom is the MicroUSB charging port covered by a silicone cover. Unlike the Olight it’s non magnetic which some will like.

At the back you have two plastic switches that hinge down slightly to turn on. There is a small rubber piece here to give you some give. It’s fairly stiff and at least for me on the glock platform it’s a littler further reach then the Olight PL-Mini 2. What I don’t like is the contour they have chosen for these buttons. For me I find the steep angle uncomfortable because my finger hits the sharper angle using less of the available finger pad to press the button. It works a little better if I come in from the top/side and not directly from top. I think I may file these down a little for better ergonomics.

 

Mounting

The GL1 uses a more traditional screw mounting system and a spring loaded mount. You can loosen the screw by hand or with a coin or spent casing and then push on it to expand the jaws of the pickitniy rail section. The rail piece is adjustable. It slides on a stepped plastic track. The little rail section is spring loaded so once you lock it onto your firearm it won’t go anywhere. Its a mounting system that works pretty well, it’s a little slower than the Olight PL-Mini2’s system especially when switching between guns but overall it’s a pretty good design.

As far as holster options I know of no one yet supporting the GL1 to buy something off the shelf. This means if you do want to use this on a carry gun, you will need to have something custom made. I think it would be super smart for light manufactures to partner with a holster manufacture in advance or come out with something on their own when lights launch. 

 

Competition

The Olight PL-Mini2 is the light that’s the closest competitor in basically all stats and even the size. As you can see from the photos here they are very similar looking from the front with the Olight having a slightly larger diameter bezel. The differences is the mounting systems, with the Olights being quick disconnect and a little easier to use. For comparisons of the beam be sure to check the video version of this review.

Olight on the Left, Klarus GL1 on Right

 

LED & BeamShot

The GL1 is using a Cree XP-L2 HD LED in cool white and powered by an internal 260mAh liion battery. No exact tint data is given but it’s not super cool. The LED sits behind a smooth fairly small deep reflector. 

The beam quality here is good for it’s intended purpose. It’s fairly spotty but the focal point is medium size. There is a good amount of tint shift from the emitter in the center with it being warmer in the middle the the edges. The Olight throws just slightly further according to the stats but to my naked eye I can’t tell a difference. 

 

Heat and Runtime

The GL1 produces it’s maximum of 600 lumens for right at 1 minute and then starts stepping down from near 100% relative output to 10% over the next 11 minutes. It was at 2:10 we see maximum heat at 35C which is fine. The next 50 minutes or so the light maintains that 10% and then the light is running at near moonlight outputs for the next 2 hours. Output here was a bit disappointing since it lost so much output so quickly. While most firefights won’t last very long I want more then 12 minutes of more then 60 lumens and the last 2 hours are near useless. It’s possible I have a bad battery here but I would rather see a more regulated driver and a few more step downs to better control things. 

UI

UI here is easy and straight forward. There is one mode, on with the light. Both sides switches work the same on the light. A quick press locks the light on. If you press and hold the light comes on in momentary mode. Strobe is available if you click both the left and right buttons at the same time. 

 

Recharging

The GL1 uses a a 650mAh lithium ion battery internally that’s sealed in the light. The bad here is that it’s non replaceable but that’s to be expected on a light of this purpose that’s so small. Recharging is accomplished via a MicroUSB port on the bottom of the light. While slightly less convenient the Olights Magnetic system the pro is that it’s a standard cable and easy to charge pretty much anywhere. It’s a trade off I will gladly take.

I measured recharging as taking just 56 minutes and the maximum speed I saw was just under 0.3A so a very safe charging speed for this size of battery. On the side of the light there is a LED that will be red when charging and green when charged.  

Pro’s

  • MicroUSB recharging means no proprietary cables needed here.
  • Strobe is available if you want it.

 

Con’s

  • 1 minute of 600 lumen output I wish was a bit longer
  • No holster options are on the market that I could find.
  • Actuation buttons need revised ergonomics

 

Conclusion

My conclusion is the GL1 is a good first attempt from Klarus on a pistol light. Physically they did a great job, I think. It’s not really much of an original design but it’s enough to be different. The mounting system works pretty well for not being a QD mount. I do wish they would rethink the ergonomics on the rear buttons a bit for their future models.

Performance here needs a bit of work. A more regulated driver with stepped modes is important here, A shorter runtime is ok if the light produces more light while doing it, because we have to remember the use case here, you’re unlikely to have a pistol light in use for hours at a time. It’s much more likely to have it out for minutes at time. 

 

I give this light a pass as it’s better then other brands first attempts at a pistol light. The use of MicroUSB here over a proprietary cable is smart. The UI is good and simple for it’s purpose. Lack of holster options will prevent this from being a cary or duty light but that won’t prevent it from being a good companion for a night stand or desk gun. It will be fun to watch where Klarus goes from here with their GL series of lights. 

 

Pickup the Klarus GL1 at https://klaruslightstore.com/products/gl1-pistol-light-600lm-rechargeable-compact-and-solid-built?_pos=1&_sid=e33c4603b&_ss=r

Olight PL-Mini Review

Olight adds to it’s growing family of weapon mountable lights with the new Olight PL-Mini.  Thanks to Olight for sending this to me to try out. Weapon lights are one of my favorite things to test as it gives me an excuse to head to the range for some target practice and testing. The PL-Mini is designed to be very small, and rechargeable. This breaks tradition from most weapon lights that use lithium primary cells like CR123s or CR2032s.


Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/MhnJR
Video Review:

 

Build Quality
This light has a machined aluminum housing, with a built in non replaceable battery. The light housing is mostly pinned together. It has a tool free quick release with a spring loaded side. https://i.imgur.com/3TG5pq2.jpg https://i.imgur.com/glNkKvA.jpg My side was slightly stuck but it freed up easily and has not been a problem. The comes preinstalled with the Glock sized rail piece, but a 1913 rail piece is included in the packaging along with an allen key to change if that’s what you need. I really like the quick release system that’s tooless.

The toggles/buttons are made of plastic with some texture on top. https://i.imgur.com/xNG7Nrh.jpg They have a small amount of rubber between the switch surface and the surface of the light that squishes when depressed. It’s not a mechanical feeling switch like on some of the Surefire weapon lights. The buttons only are able to be pressed down, not from the side or not towards the muzzle. I do like that at least on my G19 here they are much closer to the trigger guard making it not much of a reach to turn on or off. https://i.imgur.com/NkVE9PQ.jpg I shot about 200 rounds with this light attached and had no problems with the light turning off or malfunctioning. Water resistance is rated at IPC6. I had no problems out in the rain with the light.

Size and Weight
This is one of the smallest and lightest weapon lights on the market that I am aware of. It’s a perfect fit on my Glock 19 adding very light weight and no extra length. Weight came in at 2.32oz. I measured the length at 61.3mm, Width at 26.1mm, and height at 27.1mm.

This light uses a Cree XP-L HI LED in cool white. It’s very centered in the light. Lumens is quoted at 400 lumens on high with step down to 60 lumens. That doesn’t sound like a lot but as you will see from my night shots It’s enough in my opinion, especially considering the small weight and size. This is a great self defense or home defense option. It throws more than I expected. The reflector is smooth and the lens is anti reflective coated.

In my testing with the Ceiling Bounce App the gradual step down from 400 lumens to 60 happened after just a few minutes and then slowly over the course of the next 6 minutes the light was down to 60 lumens.  It remained here for a about 45 minutes. At the 62 minute mark it took a rapid decline to zero and shut off due to low voltage protection.

Still beam shot

https://i.imgur.com/nE5jX6j.jpg

Hallway beam shots https://i.imgur.com/eoe6oVq.jpg

Heat really isn’t an issue with this light. I didn’t bother to test this because after 10 minutes of run time it was barely warm to the touch.

Charging
The PL-Mini uses the familiar magnetic charging system Olight uses on other lights but with a twist. This charger is labeled on the bottom as “Special” and the magnet is installed in reverse to other chargers they have on the S30R iii, S2R, etc. I asked Olight what the difference was and they said it’s designed for faster charging, especially for use in the field. From a completely low battery I charged it to full in one hour. The charging numbers are pretty low, but given the size of the battery it’s decently fast. The charging speeds I was was 5.07V at 1.86W with 0.37A. Battery capacity is listed at 260mAh. The light also will turn on during recharging, so thats’ a great way to extend runtime if you needed and it opens up other use cases like using it as a bike light.

I do wish Olight would have explained this in the manual or on the website. I feel like it would have been a smarter choice to make the charger a bit of a different design or anodize the aluminum differently, or a different color cable/USB end so it stood out more from their standard charger.

Is it Safe?
It looks like Olight has taken steps to make the charging port on this light safer the previous magnetic charging designs they use. It will not start a fire with steel wool was placed on the charging contacts. I didn’t measure any live voltage on the charging contacts.

Packaging is typical of other modern Olight lights. https://i.imgur.com/b5o3frT.jpg It has a retail cardboard box, with graphics on the outside and relevant information. Inside is a plastic try containing the light, 1913 rail, alan key, and recharging cable. The directions are brief and complete.

Since this is a new light there isn’t any Holster support yet from established manufacturers. This has been a problem with other Olight weapon lights. I am surprised they don’t establish a relationship with a few manufactures so that holsters are available during launch instead of months later. I feel like this would be a quick way to boost sales of a new light quickly.

I think this will be a popular weapon light from Olight. It provides more than enough light to use in a self defense situation while being in a very small package. I like the ergonomics of the light with the buttons being for left or right handed shooters, and the buttons being closer to the trigger guard. Being rechargeable means it’s less expensive and more convenient to use while on a patrol or during training. It’s simple to operate with only one mode. I think the price is pretty attractive for its offering given others on the market for a rail mounted light.

Pro’s
* Perfect size and weight for a compact pistol like a G19, CZ P10C, etc
* Impressive throw for the size and amount of lumens.
* Decent runtime for most situations, and good recharge time.

Con’s
* No holsters commercially available yet.
* I wish the PL-Mini charger was more distinctive in its look, since it’s not compatible with older Olight rechargeable lights.
* Timed step down. Since this light doesn’t get very hot I wish it would run on high until the battery gave out.
* No Strobe or mode options. Just turn it on.
* Only a 2 year warranty, usually most Olight products have a 5 year warranty.

Olight official store: https://www.olightstore.com/olight-pl-mini
Olight official eBay store: http://bit.ly/PLMINIeBayUS