ThruNite Catapult Mini v2

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ThruNite Catapult Mini v2 review

ThruNite Catapult Mini v2 specs

Brand & ModelThruNite Catapult Mini v2
Flashlight categoryMini thrower / hunting
LEDLuminus SFT40
Max. output1108 lumens
Max. beam distance515 meters
Max. beam intensity66,150 cd
Battery config.1x 18350
Onboard chargingUSB-C
Main modes5
BlinkiesStrobe, Beacon, SOS
WaterproofIPX8
Review publication dateAugust 2023

Review intro:

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 the past 5 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 an update to the Catapult Mini, appropriately named the Catapult Mini V2. At first blush, this V2 looks very similar to the first generation. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice some updates to the body styling, as well as the transition to a new LED and move from TIR to a reflector. So… that’s the short of it, but let’s really run the ThruNite Catapult Mini V2 through its paces!

The Catapult Mini V2 comes ready for business, aside from the fact that you need to tighten the head to the body before using it. So instead of using an isolation disc, ThruNite simply left the flashlight physically locked out and attached a tag saying so. Oh, and they also recommend charging it before using it.

Package quality.

The ThruNite Catapult Mini V2 arrived in pretty typical packaging: a brown cardboard box with some light ThruNite branding on the outside. The inside was lined with foam. Overall, pretty understated but highly functional in making sure the goods arrive in proper order. Inside the box was:

  • ThruNite Catapult Mini V2
  • 18350 battery
  • Charging cable
  • Lanyard
  • Spare o-rings
  • Spare USB cover
  • Manual

Flashlight in use

The ThruNite Catapult Mini v2 is definitely a mini-thrower. Being built around a 18350, it is small enough to fit in the palm of my (average sized) hand without hanging over. All of the edges are smoothed over. There’s no rough edges to be found, save for a little bit of sharpness around the lanyard hole. That seems (unfortunately) pretty common. Speaking of smooth, there is nothing to keep the Catapult Mini V2 from rolling around on a flat surface: no flats and no pocket clip. So keep an eye on it if that is a concern of yours. The tail is easily flat enough for stable tail-standing.

There are two flat, raised areas on the side of the head. The first is home to the USB-C charging port. The port is protected by a rubber cover that is flush with the raised area. The second flat is the location for the stainless steel switch button and ring. The button is slightly proud of the flat area: enough to aid in locating the button, but not enough to make accidental activation an issue. That said, the button is still a bit difficult to find without looking. Several times I found myself trying to press the USB cover.

When it comes to using the ThruNite Catapult Mini V2, it’s a fairly versatile little guy. The small size makes it pretty easy to pack along with you in a jacket pocket, or perhaps a pants pocket (as long as you’re not into skinny jeans, I suppose). This flashlight would be right at home going for walks, hiking, hunting, or scanning the backyard. With its proper moonlight/firefly mode, it’s not too shabby at low-light tasks, either. Being throwy, it wouldn’t be my first choice as a reading light, but it would work in a pinch.

Build Quality and Warranty

The ThruNite Catapult Mini v2 is predominantly made out of 6061-T6 aluminum which is covered in premium Type III Hard-Anodized finish. I would say the Desert Tan coating has a “satin” sheen to it. The anodizing is very clean and even. The majority of the body tube is covered with fine rings that remind me of bolt threads with 5 flats ground along the tube. There is no traditional knurling. The body and tailcap are made from a single piece of aluminum, as best as I can tell.

I’ve alway been very pleased with ThruNite’s build quality, and this flashlight is no exception. The fit & finish feels a notch above the usual budget-minded brands.

Warranty:

  • 30 days refund from Amazon (if you bought it on Amazon)
  • 2 years free replacement from issues brought on by normal use
  • Limited lifetime maintenance (cost of parts and shipping covered by the customer)

LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector

The original Catapult Mini employed an OSRAM KW.CSLNM1.TG LED behind a TIR optic. The V2 trades those elements for a Luminus SFT40 (domeless) LED and a smooth reflector. With these changes, lumen (specs) output is up 63% while candelas are down 26%. So if you’re looking only for throw, the original might suit your needs a bit better. However, I feel like the Catapult Mini V2 likely has a more usable beam profile for everyday tasks. That is in part due to the very wide spill that surrounds the tight hotspot and moderate corona. 

Readings from Opple Light Master, Turbo at 5 meters:

  • CCT: 6496K
  • CRI: 68.1 Ra
  • DUV: +0.0033

Dimensions and its competition

ThruNite Catapult Mini V2MillimetersInches
Length86 mm3.4 in
Head diameter40 mm1.6 in
Body diameter26 mm1.0 in

Dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter, and to the nearest tenth of an Inch.

Weight

ThruNite Catapult Mini V2Weight in gramsWeight in oz
Without battery:89 g3.1 oz
With battery115 g4.1 oz

Weight is rounded to the nearest gram, and to the nearest tenth of an Oz.

Flashlight size comparison with its competition:

Group 1: Lumintop GT3 Mini, ThruNite Catapult Mini V2, ThruNite T1S

Group 2 small thrower flashlights: Manker MC13, ThruNite Catapult Mini V2, Speras M4

ThruNite Catapult Mini V2 UI: User Interface and Driver

Available modes: 

  • Turbo, High, Medium, Low, Firefly

Available blinky modes:

  • Strobe, Beacon, SOS

From OFF:

  • Press and hold: Firefly
  • Press and hold 3 seconds: turn on breathing indicator (click to turn off)
  • Single click: turn on, last used mode (low, medium, or high)
  • Double click: Turbo
  • 3 fast clicks: Strobe
  • 4 fast clicks: Lockout

From ON:

  • Press and hold: change mode (low, medium, high)
  • 1 click: turn off
  • Double click: Turbo
  • 3 fast clicks: Strobe

Mode memory:

  •  Yes, the last used of Low, Medium, and High is memorized

Shortcuts:

  • To Firefly: press and hold from Off
  • To Turbo: double click (from Off or On)
  • To Strobe: triple click (from Off or On)


Low voltage warning/protection:

  • There is an indicator LED in the button that display the remaining battery capacity
    • Blue: 21 – 100% (3.3-4.2V)
    • Purple: 11 – 20% (3.1-3.3V)
    • Red: 1 – 10% (2.8-3.1V)
    • Off: 0% (0-2.8V)

Strobe/blinkies

  • Triple click from Off or On to activate Strobe
  • From Strobe, press and hold to go to Beacon
  • From Beacon, press and hold to go to SOS
  • Click at any time to turn off

Lock-out mode: 

  • Click four times from Off to lockout
  • Click four times again to unlock

PWM

  • No PWM was detected (using a photodiode and a DMM’s frequency mode)

Additional/summary info on the UI: 

  • I feel like this is a really solid “standard” single e-switch UI with all of the features I want, and pretty much nothing I don’t.

ThruNite Catapult Mini V2 Charging and batteries

The ThruNite Catapult Mini v2 comes with a ThruNite-branded 1100 mAh 18350 battery. It is of the protected variety. The battery looks proprietary, with both the positive button and a negative ring at the “top” of the battery. But in looking at the construction of the Catapult Mini V2, this special battery isn’t needed. I tried using a plain ol’ flat-top unprotected 1100 mAh Epoch 18350 battery and it worked just fine, even though it is considerably shorter. So I’d say this flashlight is very accommodating when it comes to batteries.

I tried doing a little “impact test” against my palm with both the ThruNite battery and the Epoch. With the longer ThruNite battery, solid contact was being made and there was no spring sound, nor did the light flicker. With the shorter, unprotected Epoch battery, however, there was an audible spring sound upon impact and the light flickered, but maintained its current mode and functionality – just a tiny blip.

I don’t really see any specs or details regarding the built-in USB-C charging, aside ThruNite mentioning that the LED indicator is red during charging and turns blue when charging is complete. I observed a charge rate of 3.00 watts (0.59 amps at 5.06 volts). The charge cycle completed in 2 hours and 45 minutes, transferring 6.3 Wh of power (the battery itself is rated at 4 Wh). The resulting battery voltage was 4.18.

Performance test

Lumen measurements

How Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards How Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards: The ANSI FL1 standards specify that output in lumens should be measured 30 seconds after turning on, as this is the standardized time for measuring brightness according to the industry standard. This is why we focus on this part in our measurements.

Lux was measured by a UNI-T UT383 BT at 10 meters. Lumens were measured in a homemade lumen tube using a VEML7700 sensor, calibrated with a calibration light provided by 1Lumen. The included ThruNite battery was used for testing.

ModeAmps at startSpecs@turn on@30 sec@10 minutes
Firefly9 mA0.6 lm0.7 lm0.7 lm
Low235 mA70 lm113 lm113 lm
Med413 mA160 lm244 lm244 lm246 lm
High825 mA331 lm465 lm466 lm472 lm
Turbo3.3 A1108 > 358 lm1391 lm1376 lm475 lm
Turbo at 3.6V1288 lm1185 lm

Parasitic drain:

  • 13 µA 

So, what do we see here? The ThruNite Catapult Mini V2 performed exceptionally well. It easily exceeded the lumen specs except for the Firefly mode, which came in right where it should.

ThruNite Catapult Mini V2 Battery Life: Runtime graphs

How Runtimes are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About ANSI FL1 runtime standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turning on). This does not mean that the flashlight is not usable anymore. The last column shows how long the light actually works till it shuts off. If there is a + symbol, it means that the test was stopped at that particular point, but the light was actually still running. This happens on certain occasions, with certain drivers, firmware, or batteries.
ModeSpecified runtimeMeasured runtime ANSITime till shut off
Firefly85h
Low6h 36min
Med2h 45min2h 51min2h 51min
High1h 8min1h 18min1h 18min
Turbo80s + 1h 2min1h 15min1h 15min

The runtime measurements fell right inline with spec, if perhaps a bit better. Very close, though. I love seeing results that meet or exceed the manufacturer specs.

Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurements

About Peak beam intensity: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About peak beam intensity The calculated value of distance in meters at which the flashlight produces a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object). This means that the intensity has decreased so much, it becomes difficult to see darker objects, or objects that don’t reflect light. The columns ‘Meters’ and ‘Yards’ use rounded numbers.

Intensity was measured at 10 meters after being turned on for 30 seconds. A UNI-T UT383 BT lux meter was used.

ModeSpecsCandela measured MetersYards
Low8,100180 m197 yd
Medium14,600242 m264 yd
High27,600332 m363 yd
Turbo66,150 cd82,000 cd573 m626 yd

Again, I’m pleasantly surprised with these measurements. My ThruNite Catapult Mini V2 seems to be hitting over the specs across the board.

Beamshots

Beam shots of the building are taken at 30 m (33 yd) using a Pixel 7 set to ISO 800 with 1/10 second exposure time

Beamshots of the following flashlights compared:

  • ThruNite Catapult Mini V2
  • Olight Seeker 4 Mini
  • Fenix E35R

Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by ThruNite. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.

Final Verdict

Pros

  1. Powerful little thrower
  2. Simple but versatile UI
  3. Sub-lumen level
  4. Well regulated output
  5. USB-C charging
  6. Overall good build quality

Cons

  1. Large jump from Firefly (0.6 lm) to Low (70 lm)

Explanation on star ratings:

1: Avoid: a match would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended

Reviewer Gabriel
Author: Gabriel

5 stars: ★★★★★

While our star rating provides a reliable indicator, we encourage you to read the full review to make an informed decision based on your own needs and preferences.

My time with the ThruNite Catapult Mini V2 has been really positive. This little guy packs a serious punch in a small package, and looks good doing it. This ThruNite exceeded nearly every spec and never disappointed. If I had to make one nitpick, I’d say that the mode spacing could use a small tweak (make Low lower). That minor quibble aside, the ThruNite Catapult Mini V2 is an excellent pocket thrower!

Buy your ThruNite Catapult Mini 2 here

1lumen selects and reviews products personally. We may earn affiliate commissions through our links, which help support our testing.