R3: Surefire G2X Pro
Surefire. One of the most trusted names in consumer flashlights. I’ve never been big on the brand because of pricing. They always carried average duty torches at heavy duty prices points. That is, until the 6PX/G2X line came out. Finally, a piece of glorified Surefire equipment that I could afford. But can it live up to the hype?
Any flashaholic will know this: the world of flashlights is enormous. Researching the ideal flashlight is like trying to find the best white shirt in the mall. Flashlight discussions can be intense, because we’re talking about an endless list of brands, models, uses, illumination sources and categories, power cell types, measurements, and price points- all pushing the bleeding edge of lighting technologies. All these topics are constantly changing as new LEDs, materials, and competition are introduced to the market all the time. To pick a best-use piece of kit from such an enormous inventory of products is extremely daunting. Also, when you finally find that perfect torch, it will be outdated in a matter of months. That is one reason you will see GT do a lot of torch reviews. It is also the reason that torch research can be so mercurial. So for this R3, I stuck with some simple basics.
- Under $100
- Rated at least 200 lumens
- A Surefire
If it weren’t for that last requirement, the research would be a college thesis in itself. So, why Surefire? Why pick one brand? That seems pretty narrow. I guess I wanted to see what all the fuss is about. Surefire torches are extremely popular. Being a flashaholic, and never having owned a Surefire, it felt like some cardinal sin that I had to relieve myself of - through economical worship.
My requirements quickly narrowed it down to two lights: the G2X Pro and G2X Tactical. Brothers in the family. The main difference being that the Tactical has one output (200lm), while the Pro has two (200lm & 15lm). The Tactical also has a “tactical tailcap” which means you have to twist the tailcap for constant on, as opposed to clicking with the Pro. I chose the Pro because I was not going to be mounting this to a gun, and I wanted the 15 lumen option. On that note, the G2X (or 6PX for that matter) would not make an ideal weapon light, but more on that in the review.
G2X Pro it was! Painless research, and my flashaholic sin was lifted. I finally had a Surefire.
For research purposes, let’s compare the G2X Pro on the GT LED Torch Shootout spreadsheet:
GT assumes no responsibility if you use or misuse the information found in the GT LED Torch Shootout. Don’t ever use Li-Ion cells unless you are educated on the dangers and how to maintain Li-Ion operation.
As you can see, the G2X is nothing special when compared to more recent advances in LED tech. We’ll see how it performs in the real world.
Best deal: ~$82
Surefires are the Oakleys of flashlights. That incudes how they monitor and control their pricing through distributors. Price points are very closely monitored, and Surefire does a good job keeping their lights at MSRP. However, if you have some real interest in flashlights, I suggest you go check out CPFMarketplace first. Why? Because once you’re inducted (3 moderator approved posts) you get access to the CPFM coupons. You can expect to snag a G2X Pro for around ~$82 for the price of that free CPFM membership.
Why don’t you just save us the hassle and post up the coups?!
While I am a contributor at CPF and CPFM, I am not affiliated with them in any way. They are running a forum, and it’s their rules that protect the coupon codes, so I must respect them. If it was a coupon that a distributor or manufacturer gave to me, for my audience, you would see it here. However, it is not my place to back-door a legit group of people. Take a night to go learn something about torches, and save some money in the process. Win-win, ya lazy bum.
The G2X uses a CREE XP-E LED for light. A good LED, but already going outdated as I write this. The XP-G and XM-L LEDs that have been coming out are really pushing LED tech past the XP-E. However, light throw and flood is decent, despite its aging tech. The beam is beautiful, with a nice transition from spot to spill, thanks to the well designed orange peel reflector. I really liked the attention to detail Surefire put in, as can be seen with the orange peel that is actually surrounding the LED on the board (see pic above). The LED is perfectly centered, and a hands-on inspection makes the torch instantly gratifying because you can see that Surefire put in some decent R&D on this family of torches.
Usable spot goes out about ~95 yards. The weight is average, but a bit heavier than some torches that utilize the same cell size. The weight is mostly all in the head unit, but is fairly balanced with two CR123 cells. The Nitrolon body feels good in hand, is comfortable to hold, and is a welcomed change from knurled aluminum bodies typically found on modern LED torches. I have not noticed any problems with slipping, even before I wrapped it in paracord.
The G2X does not tailstand. Nor does it have many output options, but we knew that going in. You would think 15 lumens is about as low as you would ever want to go, but you would be surprised how often I wish it had a <5 lumen output. When your eyes are adjusted to the dark, and you need to read something up close, 15 lumens is blinding. Still, not a deal breaker for this little guy.
What IS a MAJOR deal breaker didn’t come to me until after I had gone through two sets of CR123 cells. Surefire does not like rechargeable cells.
Oh you want to save some money while using our product? Fuck you, and wash it down with these:
In an obvious attempt to make more $$$, Surefire sells premium CR123 cells branded under their name, that they urge you to use. Want to use a different brand of CR123? You’re good. But when you finally realize that a 6 pack of CR123 cells is $15, and the G2X can chug-a-lug through a 6 pack in a week or two, you start looking for alternatives. Li-Ion, baby! But, you won’t find much for compatible Li-Ion cells.
RCR123 cells will overdrive the G2X circuitry. Protected 17670 cells will actually work great in the G2X, if you can get them to fit! The ID of the G2X Pro battery compartment is 17mm. An ideal protected 17670 has a 17mm OD, but tolerances are never that tight or exact, especially with aftermarket cells. More often than not, I’ve seen 17670 cells get stuck in G2X torches, and if that happens to you, you are royally fucked. Some 17670 cells fit, others don’t. That’s just the way it is, so if you want to roll the dice that’s your call.
This ploy to reel in more money with a low price tag bait reminds me of the $1 printers you can buy with a new computer.
$1?! Why wouldn’t I get it?
They are only giving it to you for that price in the hope that you will eventually need more ink, and guess what, ink ain’t cheap. And guess who makes and sells the ink…yep.
I’ll give you this car for free! But you have to buy gas from me and only me, as long as you drive it.
This bait and switch really irked my review for the G2X. I’m big into rechargeable cells, especially with how often I use and review lights. If it wasn’t for this major hole in the usability of this light, it might not be collecting dust right now. I will admit that it was my fault for not finding that in my research, but I got the G2X on a whim, a year before GT and the LED Torch Shootout ever existed, so the train had already left the station. If you are fine with spending the money on primaries, or feel that you won’t use the light enough to need rechargeables, then may I suggest you let a vampire glamor you and make you forget you ever read the last several paragraphs. If you are into rechargeables, or use your lights a lot, then you feel my pain. Rant over. Back to it…
I’ve heard of the G2X being used as a weapon light. I personally wouldn’t use it in that application because of a common problem with the spring in the tailcap. I have tested it, it does occur, and I am dubbing it "spring-gate." When you turn the light on, and tap the tailcap on your hand, the light will change output modes. This is because the spring is actually compressing enough to break the contact between the button top on the cell and the positive contact terminal on the head. The spring then re-compresses the cells back to complete the circuit again and the light is on the other mode. In essence, when the light receives a shock, it thinks you are turning it on and off really quickly. This problem will obviously be non-existant with the Tactical version, but you might receive a flash of inactivity from the light.
I really wish Surefire included a case with this light, especially at this price point. I for one, don’t understand why all torches do not come with some sort of protective case. It is fairly important to protect the optics/lenses of high performance torches, as they use special materials for the lens in order to reduce glare and increase light transmission. Omitting a case really makes caring for the G2X’s lens a chore.
Surefire seems to be going for ‘a jack of all trades’ with the G2X. This is dangerous territory for people like me, who believe you need the right tool for the job.
- This light is too big for me to EDC. Others might be ok with it, but I much prefer the single RCR123 cell torch for EDC because of weight and size benefits.
- The G2X is too big for pistol application. Although the output would be good, the size will somewhat shadow your average 9mm.
- It does not have the throw for a long-distance rifle application. I have read about success using the G2X with a rifle at up to 150 yards, but based on my experience the orange peel floods too much of the light for long distance rifle shots. Sub-100 yard shots would be much more suitable, but look out for the “spring-gate.”
- The “spring-gate” might provide issues for any weapon application, especially shotguns.
- It’s too bright for candlelight use.
- Its MSRP is cheap enough (for a Surefire), but too expensive with the primary cells they force down your throat, and without a case..
- I don’t know how well the Nitrolon will hold up under misuse as compared to aluminum.
Hit the road, Jack.
There’s a lot of average performance packed into this average (still overpriced) light. I would recommend this if you are looking for a primary-only light to keep in a vehicle, by a bedside, or just for popping your Surefire cherry. While it is a great light in itself, and I would trust it with a fresh batch of primaries, it’s just trying to be too many things without excelling at any of them.
GT Grade: B-