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Maxtoch L3K review: 3000 meters LEP Flashlight
Maxtoch L3K specifications
|Brand/model||Maxtoch Xsword L3K|
|Beam intensity/distance||2,250,000 cd / 3000 meters|
|Review date||July 2021|
Maxtoch has been around for quite some time but is focused on building flashlights especially for hunting. 9 out of 10 flashlights they produce are within the category “long-range flashlights‘. And many of these are either available with different LED color options or include filters to change the beam color.
The one I am reviewing is the extended L3K version powered by 2*21700’s. It’s the successor of the Maxtoch L2K, which I reviewed earlier. The L2K was the farthest reaching LEP flashlight on the market. I’m curious to see how the L3K will stack up against its predecessor. Mine has the optional kit with holster and battery charger.
I received a brown carton box wrapped with bubble wrap and plastic, just like with the L2K. Upon opening the cartong box I found a nice soft carry case. Inside the carry case were the following things:
- The flashlight: Maxtoch XSword L3K
- 2* 21700 batteries (installed without an insulator)
- Battery charger (Optional)
- USB power adapter (Optional)
- USB cord (optional)
- Holster (optional)
- Spare switch assembly
- Spare rubber boot
- Yellow, Red, and Green filter
- Tactical rubber ring (for cigar grip)
Flashlight in use
Since the flashlight is so long and there is only one switch in the rear, you likely have to operate it with two hands. When you hold the flashlight overhand, you might have difficulty pressing the button with the flat part of your thumb. The easiest way to activate the switch is by pressing it with the tip of your finger/thumb.
The L3K is too long for a pocket clip, but it does come with a rubber tactical ring. Maxtoch also sells optional gun mounts, and a remote switch, so you won’t have to stick to 1 way of carrying or attaching it.
I have to say that the body is a little bit on the slippery side for everyday carry, but that obviously wasn’t the purpose of this light anyway. It’s supposed to bea weapon-mounted, so the slipperiness needs to be taken with a grain of salt. There is some redding on the body, but that’s nothing like the aggressive knurling you can find on several tactical flashlights.
My package included 3 colored filters, green, yellow, and red. All came in a separate plastic zip-loc bag. Maxtoch listened to us, and now includes a clear, glass in front of the a convex lens. It’s much easier and cheaper to replace a standard glass lens than it is to replace a convex lens with the right focal length and size.
The filters are plastic lenses you put between the bezel and the front glass. They don’t have a threaded bezel around the filter, as you see with some other brands. Replacing these filters in the dark can be tricky because of this, and they are easier to drop or get your greasy fingerprints on. I’m curious why they chose to do this. It would have been better to make the bezel a bit larger (longer) so it’s easier to grab and thread.
Build Quality, and Warranty
When reviewing a flashlight, it is essential to keep the intended application in mind. The lack of knurling on the body doesn’t mean it’s not designed that way. It just means that it’s meant to be used in combination with a rifle/gun mount. The build quality seems okay. A little more attention to detail would have been appreciated. But again, this flashlight is likely getting beat up, so it doesn’t need to be designed extremely nice like your average EDC.
The tailcap, bezel, and battery tube can be removed without any difficulty. The threads near the tailcap, and near the head have 1 o-ring (the L2K had 2 on both sides) that fit very snug. They include some spare o-rings in the package, so you can add them yourself if you’d like.
Maxtoch offers 1-year warranty if the problem is caused by normal usage. But there is a lifetime warranty for repairs with no labor charges as long as parts are available. You will only be charged for the parts needed to repair the light. Accessories like lanyards, holsters, etc are not covered by this warranty. More info can be found here: https://maxtoch.com/pages/–14
LEP, Lens, Bezel, and Reflector
We’re not reviewing an LED flashlight but an LEP flashlight. From the outside, these types of flashlights look identical, but the insides are not. Instead of using an LED on top of an MCPCB, an LEP flashlight uses a Laser Phosphor Module that includes a blue laser, pointing its beam through a layer of phosphor to turn the beam color from blue to white/yellow. In this process, there can be a slight change in color temperature depending on the object’s distance.
Most LEP flashlights don’t have a nice beam profile with different colors in the beam which look like chromatic aberration like you have with photography. The outer rings of the beam might have a little different color than the center. But fortunately enough, the L3K’s beam isn’t too bad in that respect.
If you have OCD for color shifts in beams or are just a tint snob, you better stay away from LEP flashlights. Just stay away instead of bickering. This is not the best choice for you. Get a LED-based flashlight with your preferred beam color and accept it won’t throw as far.
All LEP flashlights use convex lenses to focus the beam. But not all of them have a standard lens in front of the convex lens. This means that your most important piece of glass is damaged when you accidentally hit the front glass. Some manufacturers use a regular flashlight lens in front of the convex lens to receive the damage. These are much easier and cheaper to replace. The convex lenses can’t just be replaced with any other convex lens because of the focal length difference. While the L2K didn’t have it yet, the L3K has one!
The bezel has a zigzag pattern and a red color. Removing the bezel itself is no problem because it doesn’t have any glue. The colored filters fit right behind the bezel, in front of the convex lens.
Check out the L3K’s pictures for details compared to the L2K.
Dimensions and size comparison
- Length: 255 mm / 10 ”
- Head diameter: 59.7 mm / 2.35 ”
- Body diameter: 25.45 mm / 1 ”
- Colored filter diameter: 55.88 mm / 2.2″
- Colored filter thickness: 1.97 mm/ 0.076″
- Empty: 303.4 g / 10.7 oz
- With batteries: 450.2 g / 15.88 oz
It’s just a a few grams lighter than the L2K
LEP Flashlight comparison
Size compared to other LEP laser flashlights.
Back row: Nealsgadgets noname 26650, Jetbeam M1X WP-RX, Astrolux WP2, Jetbeam RRT M1X Raptor, Weltool W4, Acebeam W30, Maxtoch L3K, Maxtoch L2K
Front row: Nextorch T10L, Jetbeam RRT M2S raptor, Weltool W3 PRO, Fenix TK30, Olight Odin Turbo, Jetbeam M2S WP-RX, Nextorch T7L, Acebeam W10 gen2, Lumintop Thor 2.
Driver & User Interface:
The L2K has 3 modes, High, Medium, and Low. But because the hotspot is so intense, it is a little difficult to see the difference in output sometimes. It doesn’t have any blinky modes.
- High, Medium, Low (in that order)
- Half-press: momentary-on (keep tapping to change modes from High to Low)
- Single-click: to last used mode, mode memory
- Half-press: doesn’t work
- Single-click: the flashlight turns off
Blinky modes menu:
Low battery warning:
- No, but the output will decrease, which is a clear indicator that you need to replace the batteries.
- Not necessary with just 1 mechanical switch
- If there is any, it’s not visible by normal use.
Batteries & Charging
When you order the kit, you also get a Maxtoch C2 Lithium battery charger with two slots. The charger has a Micro USB port, and both slots fit different sizes from 16340 to protected 21700’s. The specs mention a charge current of 1A per slot. But 1A is a bit on the low side because these 21700 batteries have 5000mAh. This means that charging at 1A per battery will take 5 hours. The charger itself pulls 1A from the USB power adapter while charging 1 battery, and exactly 2A with 2 batteries inserted. I’m not 100% sure how much of those amps go directly into the batteries because I don’t have a way to test that.
Each slot has an indicator LED to show the charge setting. Red= charging, green= finished charging.
The batteries Maxtoch included were 5000mAh and have no product code, just like with the Maxtoch L2K. They have button tops (of course), but although mentioning a protection board, they look different from the ones included with the L2K. The batteries included with the L2K had obvious protection boards on the negatives terminal, but these new ones don’t seem to have that. Yet, the label still mentions protected.
You can see the batteries in the following pictures, and notice that the L2K batteries (with protection board) are longer than the L3K batteries.
All output numbers are relative for my home-made Integrating Sphere. It is set up with an Extech SDL400 Lux Meter for measurements including a Kenko PRO1D ND-16 filter. The base measurement is done with a Convoy S2+ that has been tested at 255 lumens.
All of my readings were taken from fully-charged Maxtoch 21700 5000mAh batteries.
Amps were measured with a Fluke 77III, at the tailcap.
|Mode:||Measured Amps||Advertised output:||@ 30sec||@ start|
|High||1.28A||650 lumens||484 lumens||513 lumens|
Most LEP flashlights are over-specced, including the Maxtoch Xsword L3K. But because lumens aren’t as important as throw, I don’t care too much, unless they are performing at 50%. It didn’t get anywhere near the advertised 650 lumens but 484 isn’t too shabby either.
- There is no parasitic drain.
The runtime test was done with the 50cm integrating sphere, including the Kenko Pro1D ND-16 filter and Extech SDL400 data logging Lux Meter. I ran High runtime test a couple of times, but all performed the same.
Maxtoch Xsword L3K vs L2K
The following will show you the difference between the L3K and L2K in terms of lumens.
Keep in mind that if you compare the output with high-power flashlights, these numbers are very disappointing. But that’s not the way you should look at these numbers. Please look at the graphs below.
This is an interactive graph, use your cursor to highlight the flashlights.
Note: The numbers in the graph are based on figures measured in the integrating sphere, and not from pointing the flashlight directly at the lux sensor from a distance. I’ve noticed a difference of up to 12% through testing, but this should still give a good indication of the LEP’s performance.
The L3K performs a little less than the L2K in terms of throw, but still better than all other LEP lights.
Measurements were taken outdoors at 20 and 30 meters using a professional Hagner E4-X Lux Meter.
|High (30 meters)||1,908,000 cd||2763||3021.22||1.72||9063.67|
Although not as good as the Maxtoch L2K, the numbers are still much better than all competitors together :–)
For the following beamshots I used a Canon EOS 5D Mk2 and a 100mm lens. manual settings: ISO1600, .5sec , F4, 5000K
The tower is about 450 meters / 492 yards away.
You can see the beam of the L3K is more pleasant to look at than the L2K’s.
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Maxtoch. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Throws really far
- Includes 2 batteries to get started
- Lost of optional accessories for hunters, including a remote switch and several gun mounts
- Nicer beam than the L2K
- Not reaching claimed reach
- The 3 colored filters don’t have a bezel but need to be screwed directly behind the bezel. Easy to get fingerprints and easy to drop.
4 stars: ★★★★
First things first: the L3K is the successor of the L2K, but my copy doesn’t perform as well as the L2K. Maxtoch did listen and improved a few things. One of the things is the protection glass in front of the convex lens. It’s harder to replace a convex lens than a normal glass lens.
If you want something that beats all other LEP flashlights, with an overall pleasant beam profile, the L3K is the best one to get.