Gear Review: FourSevens QTLC-AA flashlight

I recently reviewed my latest EDC flashlight the FourSevens QT2A-X, and was extremely pleased with the light. The folks at FourSevens were kind enough to send me one of the new Quark Tactical QTLC-AA lights for evaluation, prior to its release. This light is the same as the QPL-AA I reviewed yesterday, but with the Tactical interface UI, so this review is going to be substantially similar to yesterdays (since I tested the lights at the same time and in the same ways).

This light is an upgrade to the existing QTLC using the new CREE XP-G2 emitter. The use of the Gen2 XP-G provides a 20% increase in output (on all output settings) while maintaining the same runtime as found in the QTLC light. In my testing the light set to maximum output ran for approximately 55 minutes while maintaining a high output. At 90 minutes it was still outputting approximately 50% of the high setting. At the time of this post, FourSevens is one of only a handful of vendors to have a light to market using the new Gen2 XP-G emitters.

The QTLC and QTLC-AA are powered by a single CR123A battery.

Specifications for the QTL-AA from the FourSevens website:

DIMENSIONS Length: 3.2 inches/Body diameter: 0.86 inches/Head diameter: 0.86 inches/Weight (without batteries): 1.4 oz
LED EMITTER CREE XP-G2
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: 0.2 lumens, 15 days, 1ma / Low: 4 lumens, 2.5 days, 10ma / Medium: 22 lumens, 13 hrs, 50ma / High: 85 lumens, 2.7 hrs, 250ma / Maximum: 205 lumens, 0.8 hrs, 700ma
SPECIAL MODES Strobe: 205 lumens, 1.6 hrs / SOS / Beacon: 0-205 lumens, 12 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 Battery, lanyard, split ring for keychain attachment, spare o-ring, holster, finger-grip

The output levels listed are for the Gen1 XP-G emitter. As the FourSevens site notes, the Gen2 XP-G emitter will increase the output at all levels by 20%, so that gives an output of ~246 lumens on the maximum setting. That’s a pretty bright light for running on a single CR123A cell.

As was the case with every FourSevens light I’ve handled, the specs list a spare o-ring, and the retail packaging I was sent for evaluation actually contained two. I continue to be impressed with FourSeven’s commitment to providing good customer service.

In my evaluation of the light, I tested it against the modified version of the QT2A-X that I carry daily. I found the QTLC-AA to be extremely comparable to my EDC light in output (which puts out somewhere around 280-300 lumens). I suspect that my EDC light’s use of the XM-L emitter (which is more “floody”) accounts for the perceived narrow difference between the two given that the XP-G2 emitter is more “throwy”.

Speaking of throw, I also tested the QTLC-AA’s rated maximum distance of 107 meters against the QT2A-X’s rated maximum of 112 meters by using the lights to illuminate some homes that are being built almost exactly 100 meters from my property line (give or take 10 meters). The difference in the emitters is very evident at this distance. The QTLC-AA’s XP-G2 emitter delivered enough light to clearly illuminate the driveway and garage door of the target house. The QT2A-X’s more “floody” XM-L emitter illuminated the entire front of the target house, and part of the neighboring house (I wonder if the neighbors noticed the test?).

Let’s look at some beamshots for comparison (white balance set at 5400K for all shots, distance to target: ~6 feet, click to enlarge):

Fenix LD10 – 120 lumens

FourSeven’s QTLC-AA at ~246 lumens

Modified FourSevens Qt2A-X at ~300 lumens

As I mentioned in my review of the QT2A-X, I prefer the Tactical interface UI offered in Quark lights. While it would be nice to have ready access to all of the available light modes, I really only need two: low and maximum.

Like the QPL, the QTLC-AA got rather hot after running on maximum output for ~5-7 minutes. The laser thermometer showed that the body of the light was averaging ~125F, which was pretty uncomfortable to hold tightly.

Having no pocket clip, the QTLC-AA fit well in the bottom of my jeans pocket, though I hould see this being an issue with slacks (as was the Fenix LD10). Also lacking the ability to tailstand is going to make this one light that you can’t set down and use unless you have a completely level surface (or something to hold it down with). However I found that if you use the finger attachment that comes with the light, you can get it to remain fairly still when on curved surfaces.

One thing to note is that the QTL series lights come in two minor variants, the QTL and the QTLC line. The difference is that the QTL lights have a non removable pocket clip attached to the head, and the QTLC does not have a pocket clip at all. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I would definitely prefer a removable pocket clip to either configuration, but with the short length of the light I understand why they do it this way. I definitely do not prefer the clip being attached to the head of the light, as this results in the lens being exposed when the light is clipped to a pocket (again, I’m just nitpicking).

While I’m nitpicking, the model numbers of FourSevens lights are kind of confusing, and FourSevens hasn’t made that any better by tacking an -AA suffix onto a model number for a light that is powered by CR123A batteries. You’ll notice that the QTLC-AA page on the FourSevens site lists the model as simply QTLC, but the model number on the box is shown below:

QTLC-AA retail packaging

Summary

MANUFACTURER:  FourSevens
MODEL:
Quark Tactical QTLC-AA
POWER SOURCE: CR123A  (x1), RCR123A (x1)
COLOR:
 Black
MSRP: 
$59.00
WARRANTY:  
10 year manufacturer’s warranty on everything that comes in the package (except batteries)
VERDICT:  
I think this is a worthy upgrade to the QTLC, and the 20% increase in output is definitely worth the $8 price difference between the QTLC and QTLC-AA.

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One Response to Gear Review: FourSevens QTLC-AA flashlight

  1. Al says:

    Excellent review. I’m trying to decide whether to get the QTLC or QTL. I wish it were removable, wouldn’t be such a hard choice. I’m leaning towards the QTL just for the versatility that the clip may provide. Although the clip would get in the way for any weapons light mount.

    Also, I agree the clip seems to be mounted upsidedown. When on your hip, you’d want the power button face up, not down. Seems awkward.

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