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ThruNite Archer 2A V3 Review: Tactical AA Flashlight
ThruNite Archer 2A V3 specifications
|Brand/model||ThruNite Archer 2A V3|
|Beam intensity||2200 cd|
|Review date||May 2021|
ThruNite has been in operation since 2009 and has put out some very nice flashlights. In fact, my very first “nice” headlamp was a ThruNite TH20 which has served me faithfully for several years. I feel like ThruNite products sit in a comfortable “in between” segment: they’re not ultra-budget lights that skimp on features, but they usually don’t break the bank either. Overall, they provide a good mix of value and performance. Up for review today is somewhat of a classic that has been around for a few years: the Archer 2A V3. As the name implies, this is Version 3 of their 2xAA (hence “2A”) light. The Archer series also includes a 1A model, which as you guessed, is a 1xAA version. This Archer 2A V3 has been touted as one of the best all-around (or even tactical) 2xAA lights.
The ThruNite Archer 2A V3 arrived in a very sturdy, albeit plain-looking, paperboard box. Inside that non-descript box was a foam liner and the following contents:
- ThruNite Archer 2A V3
- Spare o-rings
- Spare tail button cover
- Spare side-switch gasket
- Manual / literature
Flashlight in use
The Archer is very long and slender. It feels very slim, even for my medium-sized hands. While that can make it a bit tough to grip firmly in some positions, that also allows it to slip nicely into a pocket. Speaking of pockets, the Archer has a pocket clip that is described as “reversible”. There are indeed two different spots to put the clip. I’ll say though, this is the most peculiar arrangement for a clip I’ve ever seen. In the default arrangement (light pointing into the pocket), the clip sits right about halfway up the body of the light, leaving over 2 ½ inches of the body sticking up from your pocket. Reversing the clip (head-up orientation) is a bit better, but there’s still 1 ¾ inches of body sticking out of your pocket. You could, in theory, put the clip on the large section of the body tube without knurling, but it just doesn’t seem right as there’s no channel to keep the clip firmly in place. How strange. Even that non-knurled area looks odd. It’s almost as if someone said “hey, that Archer 1A is great, let’s just make a longer version of that” and then proceeded to add a plain bit of tube right before the tailcap. I can’t say for sure what brought about this strange form, but it’s got me scratching my head.
That madness aside, the rest of the Archer 2A V3 design is very nice. The head has flat spots to keep it from rolling. One of these flat spots houses an e-switch that is used for mode selection. And the saddle-style tail switch is easily activated, yet still allows for stable tail-standing. The lanyard is decent and attaches easily.
Build Quality, and Warranty
The build quality of the ThruNite Archer 2A V3 seems top-notch. Despite being lightweight, it feels very sturdy. The knurling is grippy without being aggressive. And the aluminum’s anodization (premium type III hard-anodized) has a nice satin sheen to it: not glossy, but not matte either. Being HAIII, the finish should be tough, and it does seem to be. Removing and installing the clip a few times didn’t leave behind any noticeable marks. The one build quality aspect that seems questionable is the threading for the tailcap. While they’re square-cut, they are quite thin – I would be careful with them.
The Thrunite Archer carries a nice warranty: 2 years free replacement for any problems that develop from normal use. Beyond that, there is lifetime limited maintenance, where ThruNite will provide maintenance service, but the cost of parts and freight would be the responsibility of the customer.
LED, Lens, Bezel, and Reflector
ThruNite offers two LED choices for the Archer: a Cool White or Neutral White XP-L2. I have the Neutral White version and if I had to guess, the CCT is around 4500K. While I’m typically not a fan of the Cree XP-L2 because of its tint-shift tendencies, the Orange Peel reflector does a fairly nice job of blending the beam. I only notice a cooler tint towards the outermost portion of the beam. It’s better than I was expecting. The reflector is protected by a piece of anti-reflective coated, ultra-clear toughened glass. The bezel has shallow crenulations. Between the floody XP-L2 LED and the narrow reflector, the Archer has a fairly flood close-to-mid range beam.
Dimensions and size comparison
- Length: 155 mm / 6.1 inches
- Head diameter: 22 mm / 0.9 inches
- Body diameter: 17 mm / 0.7 inches
- With cells (Eneloops): 106 grams / 3.7 ounces
- Without cells: 54 grams / 1.9 ounces
Flashlight Size comparison
2xAA lights from left to right: ThruNite Archer 2A V3, Fenix E25
Driver & User Interface:
The UI of the Archer is super straight-forward, thanks in part to the two-switch setup. The rear switch is a forward-clicky so it provides momentary activation.
Modes: Firefly, Low, Medium, High, and (hidden) Strobe
- Half press (rear switch): momentary activation
- Single click (rear switch): turn the light on
- Single click (rear switch): turn the light off
- Single click (front switch): change mode (Firefly > Low > Medium > High)
- Long press (front switch): activate Strobe (single click to exit)
- Yes, there is mode memory (except for Strobe)
- Strobe mode is activated by a long-press while on. Single click to exit.
- Lockout is provided by the rear tail switch
- None detected
Batteries & Charging
The ThruNite Archer 2A V3 uses 2 AA batteries. Do not use lithium-ion batteries; though in theory, the Archer operates up to 5.0 volts, so it may be possible to use a lithium and a “dummy” cell. While you could use alkaline batteries, if you care about your flashlight, I do not recommend them as alkaline are prone to leakage problems. For all of my AA / AA flashlights, I solely use NiMH batteries. I typically use genuine Japanese Eneloop or Fujitsu cells: these are very high-quality, low-self-discharge rechargeable batteries that will last for years.
For current measurements, an ANENG AN8008 multimeter and UNI-T UT210E clamp meter were used. Lux was measured by a UNI-T UT383 BT at 5 meters. Lumens were measured in a homemade lumen tube using a TSL2591 sensor, calibrated with a Maukka calibration light. Testing was performed with genuine Eneloop AA (standard 1900 mAh) batteries.
- Firefly: 5.5 mA
- Low: 53 mA
- Medium: 190 mA
- High: 2.0 A
- N/A, tailswitch breaks circuit
I performed a runtime test for each mode besides Firefly, which is stated to have a 15-day runtime (and is believable based on the current draw). There were no surprises or deviations from ThruNite’s specs, except that all of my runtimes measured a bit shorter (around 20%) than theirs. This could be due to the batteries I was using: they’re genuine Eneloops, but they are several years old and they’re the standard (1900 mAh) capacity ones, not the Pro versions which have nearly 30% more capacity. I expect Eneloop Pro cells would have matched their claimed runtimes.
High mode started off at 446 lumens and stayed above 400 lumens until around 3 minutes when it dropped down to around 253 lumens. The Archer stayed around 250 lumens until it hit the ANSI 10% cutoff (43 lumens) at 1 hour and 36 minutes. The temperature maxed out around 45°C.
Medium mode was extremely flat, turning on at 63 lumens and staying there until low voltage dropout kicked in at 8 hours and 37 minutes. It hit the ANSI 10% cutoff (6 lumens) at 9 hours and 20 minutes. The Archer 2A v3 only got a few degrees above the ambient temperature.
Low mode was also very uneventful, turning on at 17 lumens and staying there until low voltage dropout kicked in at 33 hours and 18 minutes. It hit the ANSI 10% cutoff (2 lumens) at 34 hours and 14 minutes.
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
- Firefly: 0.2 Lm (spec: 0.2)
- Low: 17 Lm (spec: 17)
- Medium: 63 (spec: 70)
- High @ 0 sec: 446 Lm
- High @ 30 sec: 425 Lm (spec: 500*)
- High @ 10 min: 255 Lm
* Note: the specifications are likely from the Cool White model, which will naturally have a slightly higher lumen output than this Neutral White review model.
- Throw @ 0 sec: 2275 cd
- Distance @ 0 sec: 95 m / 104 yd
- Throw @ 30 sec: 2200 cd (spec: 2200)
- Distance @ 30 sec: 94 m / 103 yd
- Beam shots of the building are taken at 10 m (33 ft) using a Pixel 3 set to ISO 200 with ⅕ second exposure time
- Beam shots of the playset are taken at 20 m (66 ft) using a Pixel 3 set to ISO 200 with ⅓ second exposure time
- ThruNite Archer 2A V3 NW
- Fenix E25 (2xAA)
- Sofirn SP10S (14500)
- Lumintop Tool AA (14500)
Disclaimer: we bought this flashlight with our own money. Nobody paid me to review this flashlight, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
Explanation on star ratings:
- – Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice
- – Poor: significant defect or issues, much better options available at the same price
- – Average: some defects or issues
- – Good: recommended (minor issues)
- – Great: highly recommended
- Easy to operate
- 4 well-spaced modes
- Solid build quality
- Choice of NW or CW
- Questionable design decisions (clip positions)
- Thin threads
4.5 stars: ★★★★⋆
As a flashlight enthusiast, I love my high-powered lithium-ion powered lights. While those are fun and all, in my opinion, everyone should also own a good dependable AA-powered light. In the case of an emergency, you never know when you can recharge those lithium ion cells. But AA’s, on the other hand, are plentiful and available almost anywhere. So it’s my belief that everyone should have an AA-powered light handy.
There’s a lot to like about the ThruNite Archer 2A V3. For a AA-powered light, it’s pretty bright. The dual-switch design makes it very easy to operate. With the forward-clicky tail switch, it’s easy (and silent) to use for momentary illumination, which could make it handy either as an inspection light or for close-range tactical duties. And with the Archer being quite slim, it slips easily into a pocket. But that pocket clip… I’m not sure how anyone thought that the standard position was a good idea; nearly half the flashlight sticks out of your pocket.
Overall, the ThruNite Archer 2A V3 feels solidly built and should last you a long time. And if there are any issues, ThruNite’s warranty is there to back you up. It’s bright, pocket-able, and its beam is great for around-the-house duties. If you don’t yet have an AA-powered light in your arsenal, the Thrunite Archer 2A v3 is worth checking out.