The ubiquitous Tactical Flashlight… Something that every Self Defense Expert says you should always EDC. You should always have a Flashlight on you, always. Everyday, all the time, like your wallet, knife, and Roland Special modified Glock, and a Trauma Kit. Because you’re permanently out of bubblegum.
I’ll be honest, I do not always carry a flashlight on my person. But do always have one handy, nearby, and ready to go.
The “Ready to Go” part is often a pain in the lamp. Surefire lights have been the go-to standard for tactical operators at every shooting range. But I’ve found they have two issues. One, they are really just not that bright. Like a lot of tactical operators at every shooting range. And they are very thirsty. They guzzle the juice from a set of batteries like a Frat Boy at a Party Keg. And CR123’s are not the most price point friendly. That being said… Standard. Surefire does some things very right. The light output is good. But better yet, they are solid. Rock Freaking Solid. I’ve literally never had one fail. The Switches always work. The water-proofing is flawless. And I’ve taken them on many adventures and miss-adventures and grand adventures. The failure point though has always been me, because they’ll start to drain and I could have freaking sworn I brought the spare batteries with me in the pack’s zippered compartment, right where I… Ah, I used them already.
The PD36 is sized well… Appropriately for the purpose. And it’s equipped with a fully functional pocket clip. Though, I’ve never used any clips on any lights for clipping to a Pocket. That’s where my knife goes. But they do clip on other things in other places just fine, thank you. Such as Molle loops. When did Molle become more popular than Alice? I liked Alice. Anyways… So let’s talk about the most important thing for a Light. The Light.
This thing is insanely bright. THREE THOUSAND Lumens. Good Hell. You could hunt for German Bombers over London with these things. You could signal for edgy loner anti-social super-heroes with this. It’s bright. Do not look directly into the LED. It’s like looking into a nuclear reaction. Trust me.
At 3,000 Lumen output, the lamp will get hot. That’s expected. Hot enough that there’s actually a warning etched onto the light. Disregard that warning at your own risk. Now, pouring out 3KL is going to drain that battery pretty quickly. It’s only going to last an hour and a half. They call that TURBO mode. That’s the highest of the Modes. Welcome to the 80’s.
Now here’s where it’s interesting. The Tail Cap has two switch positions. Tactical and Duty. I don’t know who’s naming this shit, but they need to step away from the X-Box. “Tactical” gives you a simple on and off into HIGH mode that puts out a reasonable, useful, and honestly the best balance of output and firepower… 2,000 Lumens. But if you press it right you’ll find that dumbass strobe mode… Because Lightswitch Raves are something REAL OPERATORS do. Just ask MARSOC. Anyways, that’s at 2KL as well.
The Duty Mode gives you the same Strobe mode, but then you can get to some good stuff… Eco Mode, which is 30 Lumens for 160 hours. Low Mode for 150 Lumens for 18 hours and 45 Minutes. Medium for 350 Lumens for 10 hours and 10 minutes, and then Duty-High, not the same as Tactical-High… 1000 Lumens for 3 hours and 15 minutes.
All of that is just overkill and tapping the endcap button to select the mode you want is just 2001 Space Bullshit. This is 2021 and Simplicity is Gold. You already have to twist the end cap to select Tactical or Duty. Why not just twist to HIGH MEDIUM LOW with the tailcap button for On and Off?
Look, Fenix, I like what you’re doing… But this PD36 is just complicated. The Output is awesome. The Longevity is awesome. The form factor, size, weight, is just awesome. This is a GREAT LIGHT. But the intended use is for the same people who consider that a Thumb Safety is Too Fecking Complicated and that a DA/SA Trigger is something that trips them up. A Flashlight – especially one where the user is in a high-stress situation – isn’t something that should be thought about when there are other highly kinetic things to worry about.
Oh, but that’s why there’s the Tactical Mode…
Dude, STFU. Fix that Tail Cap Switch, trim down the modes. Or make it like a Dimmer Switch where you twist for the brightness from Eco to Turbo and then activates with a pressure switch that only gives you temp on and hard on.
This is why Surefire pretty much owns the tactical market. They know their customers. Fenix, you need to do some research. You’re building some good stuff. This one, it’s good… But it could be better.
Overall, yes, it’s a Buy. It’s a solid Buy. It’s absolutely worth buying.
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3 thoughts on “Fenix PD36 TAC”
For the EDC part, I carry a Maglite Solitaire LED on my key chain. Something is better than nothing, and the Solitaire (powered by a single AAA battery) is reliable.
Three thousand lumens . . . yikes.
“. . . edgy, loner, anti-social, super heroes . . .” rofl
and, what you said about Surefire. Mine just keeps soldiering on year after year. I can’t believe Harm sold it to me.
Thanks for another great review.