> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Are Maglites Outdated?



Are Maglites Outdated?

The family Maglite, with my EDC Spyderco P'Kal.

Maglite took a long time to catch up to the LED revolution and probably lost a lot of market share in the process. Even today, their current big multi-cell LED lights still aren't as bright as a decent Surefire, Fenix or similar. You get a comparatively big, heavy, unwieldy light that doesn't put out as much light...and runs on D batteries. Outdated, right?

Hold on. The size, weight and sturdy construction of a Maglite make it a pretty good club. It's the first thing that comes to my mind when I heft one of these lights - man, I could do some damage with this thing. I haven't seen many lights come close to Maglite in bashing potential.

They're also inexpensive, between $20-$25 for the bigger models. Because they've been around so long, you can find older incandescent models pretty easily on the second hand market for even cheaper. Buy an LED conversion and you've got a solid flash & bash combo. The self defense-styled Surefires run around $100 and up.

I certainly wouldn't EDC a big Maglite, but they are nice to have when the size/weight aren't a liability--around the house or in a vehicle. We keep a 2D model by back door. I use it when I take out the trash, and it's there for a quick grab if needs be. It isn't a firearm, but its better than harsh language.

The TerraLux LED drop-in.
Where the big Maglites really start to shine is when you drop in some aftermarket parts and bring them up to cutting-edge standards. See SnakeDr666's work for an example of what you can put together - drop in an aftermarket LED module and a battery kit and suddenly your boring Maglite is a rechargeable 600-700 lumen beast. The TerraLux drop-in seems to be the easiest to get a hold of - Amazon has 'em for $80. If you want to mod further, you can also add a crenelated bezel (stabby teeth) and a glass breaking tail cap.

So, with a bit of an investment in after market parts - around $80 to $100 - you've got a pretty wicked light on your hands. Blindingly bright, durable and with plenty of bashing ability. Yep, you won't slip it into your pocket and I wouldn't heft it around in my BOB. But for a vehicle or home defense light, that's a pretty good set up. Heck, even the stock LED Maglites are a solid value. They might not be eye-searing, but they'll do the job of lighting up dark spaces and bashing in anything you need 'em to.