A flashlight is one of those interesting things… You rarely need one, but if you ever do, you tend to REALLY need it. We don’t realize how dependent we are on light until we don’t have it.
So you have a flashlight or two at home, maybe one in the car… but would you really want to carry one on you?
Well, that depends on a lot of things. But really, the question was moot until recently, because most flashlights were too big and bulky to carry every day comfortably.
Thankfully, technology has brought us wonderful innovations in every field, including flashlights.
Meet the FourSevens Mini ML. 2.3 inches long, 0.8 inch diameter, and weighing in at 1.3 ounces (with battery).
How small is it really, tho? This small. Here it is alongside the tiny, but excellent Spyderco Ladybug and Leatherman Squirt PS4.
This thing is the size of your pinky. It runs on a single CR123 battery, and the entire flashlight is barely larger than that battery.
Mine has been running for months of daily use on that same battery that came with the flashlight. Yes, folks… battery WAS included.
But wait, you say, there are other tiny flashlights out there, they’re in gas stations selling for $5 all day long.
Yes, there are. And generally speaking, you get what you pay for. This little flashlight puts out up to 200 lumens, has 3 brightness settings, and also has “special” modes: Low, Medium, High, Strobe, SOS, Beacon (Hi), Beacon (Lo).
It’s also water-proof and shock-proof.
The water-proof and shock-proof features were demonstrated recently when I traced the source of the loud banging coming from my clothes dryer… a very clean FourSevens Mini ML. Took it out, still worked great, and still does months later.
Will This Flashlights Really Fit In Your Pocket?
Which begs the question… is it really worth trying to find a flashlight small enough to fit in your pocket?
Most flashlights are MUCH to bulky to be viable for every day carry.
You’ll notice in the pictures, this is not a pristine box model. Nope, this particular FourSevens Mini ML has lived in my pocket for months, always there when needed. Rubbing shoulders with keys, a Spyderco Ladybug, a Spyderco Sage 1, a Leatherman Squirt PS4, and other neighbors, depending on the day.
Fit And Finish
Sure most modern camera phones have a flash LED that can sort-of work as a flashlight, albeit an awkward and generally impotent one.
Just like with the Spyderco Ladybug, I’ve been very surprised how often I reach for this little flashlight, which has earned a permanent place free floating in my pocket, or in my EDC wallet.
Illumination & Throw
So… how much light DO you get from a tiny CR-123 flashlight the size of your pinky? Well, it’s not going to be a blinding torch that lights up the block lol, but the spread is surprising. The short version is you have plenty of light to walk and get around by, close at hand and easily accessible.
As an example, when taking my pups out in the evening, I easily light up the backyard and the back fence, which is 50 feet away from me. So with this tiny light I’m able to get a good view of my backyard and see what my pups are up to, instead of staring at darkness and guessing.
Why CR123 Instead Of An AA Battery?
So, you’re wondering… Does FourSevens make a model with a more common (and cheap) battery, say AA?
Yes, they do. But remember, this entire flashlight is already shorter than an AA battery. So the AA version weighs more, is larger, AND due to the weaker battery, only puts out half the light.
While CR123 batteries do cost more than AA batteries, they are smaller, far more powerful, and last longer. Do yourself a favor and look seriously at this Mini ML, which uses CR123 batteries.
6 Months Later
What I wrote above still applies 6 months later. In fact, this flashlights hasn’t left my pocket since the day I bought it.
It’s so useful, and so small, that I have never felt the need to leave it behind.
The Mini ML has been a steady companion even longer than my trusty Spyderco Military primary EDC blade.
1 Year Months Later
Same as above… once you have a flashlight this small in your pocket (or EDC wallet), you’re unlikely to ever go without one again. Having access to light at any time, on your person, is a very nice thing.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
At the time of this writing, the Mini 123/ML can be had for $35 delivered. That may seem expensive for a flashlight at first glance, but considering the incredibly small size, intelligent modes, high lumen output, and excellent fit and finish, this flashlight is an excellent value.
Do yourself a favor and get one. You can always send it back if you don’t like it.