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  1. #1
    Expert revance's Avatar

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    Review: Malkoff M61 P60 (Surefire) Drop-In

    Besides firearms, my other obsession is with flashlights. I had heard a lot of people rant and rave about the Malkoff drop-ins and just never understood what all the hype was about. I will do my best to explain what all the hype is about... but I don't think its possible to fully understand without trying one for yourself.

    Malkoff M61

    First off, lets just take a look at this beauty:





    This is the first Malkoff to use a reflector instead of optics. It uses a custom orange peel reflector designed by
    Don McLeish (owner of McGizmo). I imagine this decision was made because he built these using a Cree XP-G LED, which creates more of a flood beam than a spot.

    Output:
    These drop-ins have been tested in an integrating sphere to put out 260 lumens OUT THE FRONT. Lumen measurements can be misleading by most manufacturers because they merely use the numbers off the LEDs white papers for a given current. That is often times 50% more than you will get in reality. These however truly give you 260 lumens.

    Input:
    This drop-in will run in full regulation from 3.4v-9v, which is nice because that means you can run it with a single Li-Ion cell, 2 primary lithium batteries, or 2 Li-Ion cells. I run mine on a single 17670 Li-Ion cell made by AW. However in an emergency, I can still rely on my stockpile of CR123s. This drop-in pulls only 650mA at the tailcap @6v, so you get good runtime and excellent output.

    Beam Quality:

    EXCELLENT! As already mentioned, it is more of a floody beam. If you want something that will light up a house 2 blocks away, this isn't going to do it. If you want something that will light up a room like someone flipped a light switch, this is for you! It does have a nice large bright hotspot that very smoothly fades outward. There are no rings and the beam is perfectly centered. The color is much warmer than other LEDs I have used.

    Build Quality:

    EXCELLENT! When you first take this thing out of the packaging its like holding a small art sculpture. It is much heavier than other drop-ins and because of its design, most of it is in contact with the body of the flashlight. If there is a bit of a gap, you can cut a strip of aluminum from a can and it makes it very snug. The design also allows you to remove material from the front to fit your light perfectly. You just put it face down on a piece of sandpaper and lightly swirl it. It is also fully potted. All of the contents are encased in thermal epoxy, so you don't have to worry about messing up the circuitry when you drop it. The biggest advantage to the design is that the bottom comes in complete contact with the flashlight body without relying on those springs that never fit. I have never had an electrical connectivity problem with this... while all of my others have been constant struggles.

    Pros:

    Almost everything

    Cons:

    Price... at $69 + shipping, this is a pricey drop-in. However given the amount of time I fussed with other 3rd party drop-ins to get good electrical contacts, I think it is well worth it.

    Here are some pictures of the light I have it installed in:






  2. #2
    Master Wild Deuce's Avatar

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    The Malkoff drop-ins I bought for my Surefire's breathed new life into those old flashlights. I would highly recommend them as well.

    Excellent review.
    "From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny"

    "The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God." ~ C.S. Lewis

  3. #3
    Master AngryRooster's Avatar

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    Very nice. It's good to see other flashaholics here. I've been tempted to get a Malkoff but have enough 200-300 lumen lights. Recently I've been carrying a Quark AA with a 14500 AW. I love the output for the size. My go to Surefire is a bored P6 with a Nailbender SST-50 with an 18650. It gives me 500 lumens in the same package. Cost is more and runtime suffers compared to the Malkoff but it sure is bright for that mystery bump outside at night.

    I've been planning on getting the M61 and putting it in a Solarforce L2M with a single AW 16340 to mount on my AR. I like the potting, without it I don't know how long the module would last.

    Excellent review, we need more people to bring attention to the high quality modern flashlights out there. It's depressing to hear most people answer the question "What light should I get? with Maglight.
    Less & less amused every day...
    INGO #467

  4. #4
    Expert revance's Avatar

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    I just got my first Nailbender drop-in a few days ago. I am not all that impressed. I got the new Cree XM-L run at 3.1A. It is supposed to put out 650 lumens, but I'm not sure it really does. I didn't like that he glued the reflector onto the pill, which required me to use pliers to get them apart (I decided I didn't like the smooth reflector and wanted to put a LOP one on). I also think for the money some of his cost you should get something more than P60 parts made in China with terrible heat transfer. I also really didn't like that all the electrical components on the driver were completely exposed. I am very concerned that one day I am going to screw it in too hard and break them off.

    If you want an "inexpensive" crazy bright light, check out the Solarforce Masterpiece. I have never been all that impressed with the Solarforce bodies, but everything about this thing screams quality. It is 2x18650 with a large head running an MC-E for $100. It is what I use for our evening walks.

    Next on my list is a good bright incan. I don't have any, most of my LEDs are floody, and I would like a throw monster.


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