Gear Review: FourSevens QT2A-X flashlight

Like everything in life, tools evolve. I’ve been carrying a flashlight every day for about 15 years in some form or other, and about 10 years ago I decided to get serious about it.

I started with a SureFire 6z combat light (which by today’s standards is huge for the paltry 60 lumens it put out, considering it was powered by 2 CR123A batteries). A few years later I bought an iNova light (I can’t even remember the model) that put out 100 lumens (now powered by 3 CR123A batteries). The quest for more power was on.

About two years ago I discovered Fenix flashlights, and felt that my quest had come to an end when I bought an LD10. Here was a light that was small enough to fit in my pocket that put out 120 lumens (I got the special “Q” model with the Cree R5 emitter) and it could run on a single AA battery (this was a major coup, as I have tons of things that use AA batteries)!

All was well until I found the FourSevens website. They had lights that could outshine my Fenix LD10 by a considerable margin, but the single AA powered QTA light only puts out 109 lumens, so I felt that I was still at the pinnacle of technology with my Fenix LD10. Boy was I wrong.

So about two months ago I was telling a friend about how superior my LD10 was when he pulled out a FourSevens QT2L and lit up the night to the tune of about 230 lumens. I was impressed, here was a light that was about the same size as my (now severly underpowered) Fenix LD10, but it ran on two CR123A batteries. I’d decided that I wanted to move away from the CR123A batteries, as they’re just too expensive, and not common enough for my tastes, and I mentioned this to my friend. To which he replied “well then just get a QT2A, it runs off of two AA batteries and for like $20 you could put an L series body on it and get the same output with a single CR123A, these things are like legos.”

Say what? So I decided to take another look at the FourSevens lights, and when I saw the 280 lumen QT2A-X, I just had to have one. Sure, it’s about one and three quarters inches longer than my Fenix LD10, but it puts out almost three times as much light, and it runs on AA batteries. Here are the technical specs for the QT2A-X from FourSevens’ website:

DIMENSIONS Length: 5.8 inches/Body diameter: 0.86 inches/Head diameter: 0.86 inches/Weight (without batteries): 2.2 oz
LED EMITTER CREE XM-L
VOLTAGE RANGE 0.9V-4.2V
SPOT BEAM Angle: 11°/Diameter at 3mm: 580mm
FLOOD BEAM Angle: 71.9?/Diameter at 3mm: 4.3M
BRIGHTNESS LEVELS Moonlight: 0.3 lumens, 15 days / Low: 2.7 lumens, 3 days / Medium: 24 lumens, 20 hrs / High: 115 lumens, 2.5 hrs / Maximum: 280 lumens, 0.8 hrs
SPECIAL MODES Strobe: 280 lumens, 1.6 hrs / SOS: 280 lumens, 3 hrs / Beacon: 0-280 lumens pulse, 8 hrs
REFLECTOR Textured
BODY MATERIAL Type-III hard-anodized aircraft-grade aluminum
BEZEL MATERIAL Type-III hard-anodized aircraft-grade aluminum
LENS MATERIAL Impact-resistant glass, sapphire coating, antireflective coating
INCLUDED ACCESSORIES Batteries, lanyard, split ring for keychain attachment, spare o-ring, holster, hand-grip

Unboxing

Here is the package as I received it:

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The front flap is held closed with magnets, and gives a good overview of most of the light’s features:

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Here is a shot of the contents (the specs list a single spare o-ring, mine had two):

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A shot of my light unboxed:

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Close up of the tailcap:

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And a shot of the CREE XM-L emitter:

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The User Interface

FourSevens has two interfaces in their Quark line, the Pro Interface and the Tactical Interface. The Pro Interface gives the user quick access to the lowest and the highest settings based on whether or not the head is tightened all the way, and other modes can be accessed by cycling through them with the tail switch. The Tactical Interface can be programmed with any two modes based on whether or not the head is tightened all the way, no other modes are immediately accessible.

Why I chose the QT2A-X

I Would liked to have used the Pro Interface (it would be nice to have easy access to all of the other modes that the light supports), but the Pro series tailcaps do not allow momentary on use of the light. The flashlight I carry is primarily a weapon. It’s primary use is to blind an attacker sewing confusion and creating disarray, use as an actual lighting implement is secondary by a long shot. That being my primary concern, it is extremely useful to be able to momentarily activate the light without locking it on all the way. Had I put more thought into it, I probably would have purchased a QP2A-X (the Pro Interface version of this light), and a Tactical tailcap for another $9. I don’t mind, I found that with the Fenix LD10 I only really ever used the highest and lowest settings anyway, however I am glad I got the Tactical Interface because the lowest setting on the QT2A-X is too low to be really useful (though nice to have in an emergency situation where battery life becomes a major concern).

The QT2A-X uses the CREE XM-L emitter, which compared to the XP-G is a bit more “floody”. If you want more “throw” to your light, the QT2A uses the CREE XP-G emitter which puts out slightly less light, but has a tighter focus, so it delivers that light in a much tighter beam. As I mentioned, my primary use for this light is as a weapon, and I want to be sure that an assailant gets the full power of the light in their eyes as soon as I activate it. Having a wider “hot spot” in the beam is an advantage at the ranges I am concerned with.

I also mentioned that the light was a bit larger than my Fenix LD10, which I found to actually be a good thing that I’ll cover in another post.

Conclusion

The FourSevens QT2A-X is a much higher quality light than the Fenix LD10, and the interchangeability of the Quark line’s parts makes it far more versatile than any other flashlight with similar features. The build quality on the QT2A-X is superior, with the model markings on the head actually being machined into the head, so even when the print wears they will still be readable (unlike the markings on the LD10).

The QT2A-X has nice crisp knurling in all the necessary places, whereas the Fenix LD10 only has knurling on the tailcap (and since the head must be turned to change modes, this never made much sense to me). The knurling is just aggressive enough to make the light grippy, but not aggressive to the point that I feel like it is going to tear up my pockets. You can see the difference in the quality and placement of the knurling in these photos:

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The QT2A-X can be purchased directly from FourSevens for $78, but I found mine at another online retailer for about $65 which brings this light into the same price range as the Fenix LD10.

Summary

MANUFACTURER:  FourSevens
MODEL:  
Quark Tactical QT2A-X
POWER SOURCE:  AA cell (x2)
COLOR:
  Black
MSRP:  
$78.00
WARRANTY:  
10 year manufacturer’s warranty on everything that comes in the package (except batteries)
VERDICT:  
In my opinion the QT2A-X is the top of the line flashlight for my needs, at a price that is almost unbelievable.

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One Response to Gear Review: FourSevens QT2A-X flashlight

  1. mjunkjr says:

    Thanks for the review, was trying to decide between the QP2A-X and a comparable Fenix light.

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