Readers of Dan’s Gun Blog know I strongly advocate always carrying a few basic items: a light, a knife, etc.
For the past year or so, my everyday carry light has been the excellent and tiny FourSevens Mini ML. But everyday carry tech is always evolving, so I’ve been looking for an updated replacement.
Not an easy task, but I finally found it… the Olight S1 Baton. Odd name, excellent little light.
Size & Weight
Diameter: .83 in
Length: 2.4 in.
Weight: 1.6 oz
Features (From The Manufacturer)
- Thumb sized form factor. diameter: 21mm length: 61mm
- Stainless steel flashlight head and switch binder ring processed by PVD technology
- Recessed silicon switch to prevent accidental operation
- TIR lens to create a balanced beam
- Positive polarity on the battery faces the tail of the flashlight for enhanced reliability and a more compact size
- Built-in timer: 3 minutes or 9 minutes
- Flat tail cap design contains a strong magnet providing the ability to place it upside down and use it as a hands-free work light
- Thermal management safety program with overheat protection by dropping high output by 50% within 1 minute of constant on. Turbo mode has a limit of 1.5 minutes.
- The S1 features a wide range current circuit and can be powered by 1 x CR123A (built-in protected board)
- Reverse polarity protection to prevent improper battery installation
This is a very nice light. Feels great in the hand. The clicky button operates nicely, and provides good, positive feedback.
And it makes lots of light!
Operation is simple and intuitive once you look at the manual.
Basic operation from off: click for on and click for off again. Long click gives you sub-lumen “Moonlight mode”. Rapid double click gives you maximum high.
My one dislike with the FourSevens Mini ML was the twisty operation (as opposed to a button clicky on/off mechanism). Thus it required both hands to turn on and off or cycle through the modes.
The Olight S1 Baton is a side-clicky, meaning the button is on the side near the head, not the butt. And it is literally the same tiny size as the FourSevens Mini ML. It’s also drop rated for 4 feet, and waterproof like the Mini ML.
But where it really “shines” (pun intended) is how bright the beam is – and how CLEAN it is. The Olight S1 generates a large, usable flood as opposed to the traditional small lit spot with various spill levels as is so common with reflector designs. This is achieved via a TIR optic that creates a clean, balanced beam.
And the sub-lumen (0.5 lumens) “Moonlight mode” is awesome, very handy for maintaining your night vision and not disturbing others who may be sleeping.
Tiny – this thing really is the size of your thumb!
500 Lumens. From off, double click the button in rapid succession for High output of 500 lumens.
Solid build construction.
Drop rated for 4 feet, and waterproof.
Moonlight Mode. From off, a click and hold enables sub-lumen mode. Very handy when putting your pups to bed without waking your beautiful wife. 🙂
Magnetic tailcap is actually a cool and very handy feature. You literally can just put it sideways on a magnetic pole and it will sit there and illuminate your work area, very handy. Yes, the magnet in the tailcap can be removed if so desired.
Flat tailcap means the light can tail-stand and light the room. Very useful feature.
Deep carry pocket clip is very functional – can be mounted in both directions, and easily slips on a sleeve or the bill of a baseball cap to light your way. This is a very handy light.
The light is a bit more “white” / cool than I prefer, but all in all, it has not been an issue. After a few weeks of using the S1 as my daily EDC I found it doesn’t bother me at all.
Literally the only thing I dislike about the S1 is it won’t go back to max/turbo with a single click, even if that was the last mode. The interface normally returns to the last mode you chose before turning it off last. But if the last mode was max/turbo, the interface decides for you that it shouldn’t go there. As a user, I don’t like choices made for me. And this is an anomaly to the normal interface behavior. Not a show-stopper, but an annoyance.
Notes & Caveats
Like the Mini ML, the Olight S1 also uses CR123 batteries (as opposed to the cheaper and larger AA/AAA options). CR123A batteries put out more power in a more compact form factor, making lights like this possible. The best deal on CR123A batteries is likely the Streamlight bulk pack on Amazon, 12 batteries for $18. Then rechargeables.
CR123 batteries can be found for $5/ea at stores everywhere, but you’ll get a far better deal in bulk, i.e. a 6 or 12 pack.
So if you’re not ready for rechargeables, the less expensive and easier option is a multi-pack of CR123 batteries.
This 12-pack of Streamlight CR123’s is generally a great deal, with 12 batteries for $20, just over $1 each.
Those should last you plenty long enough to decide if you like the flashlight. 🙂
Long term, for high-powered flashlights like this, you might consider buying rechargeable batteries. You’ll save yourself a lot of money over time. Just a couple 16340/RCR123A batteries and a basic charger should keep your flashlight well fed for a long time to come.
Note that rechargeables tend to last less per charge than regular non-rechargeable batteries in a very high powered little light like this, which is why I’ve personally gone back to using standard batteries with mine. With a few minutes of daily use, I get maybe a month out of a standard CR123, but only a few days out of a rechargeable. Pros and cons…
Impressions After 2 Weeks Of Carry
I love this light. For the past couple of weeks I carried both the new Olight S1 and the FourSevens Mini ML. What I found is I didn’t reach for the Mini ML once since getting the Olight S1.
Impressions After 8 Weeks Of Carry
This is now my regular everyday carry light, it’s excellent. The clickly switch makes it so much easier to use than the twisty-operated lights, since I can use it one-handed. The sub-lumen moonlight mode is also very handy. And the 500-lumen burst mode is very handy for lighting up the entire yard properly when I take the pups out at night. This is now my regular everyday carry light.
Note: I’m running it with rechargeable batteries these days, and while they’re cheaper long term, they don’t seem to last as long as regular non-rechargeables. Not really an issue, just fyi.
Impressions After 6 Months Of Carry
I’m back to regular non-rechargeable batteries. With daily use I was getting just a few days charge out of the rechargeables, but with regular CR123’s I get 3 to 4 weeks.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
At the time of this writing, the Olight S1 Baton can be had for about $50 delivered. That may seem expensive for a flashlight at first glance, but considering the incredibly small size, high quality construction, 500 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.
Alternatives To Consider
FourSevens Mini ML
The FourSevens Mini ML is still going for $35, tho I strongly recommend you put up the extra $14 and get yourself the Olight S1. Twice the lumens can make all the difference in a split second tactical situation, or frankly any time you need light and it’s not there.
Olight S2 (the larger brother to the S1)
Olight recently released the big brother to the S1, the Olight S2 Baton.
The S2 is identical in every way as far as construction, build, look/feel, features, etc. However it takes the 18650 battery (or 2x CR123A batteries) – that means TWICE the lumens at peak power (950 lumens), and longer run time. (update: FAR longer run time.)
S1 Diameter: .83 in, Length: 2.4 in.
S2 Diameter: .91 in, Length: 4.06 in.
If the 4-inch length is not a show-stopper for you, I’d strongly consider the Olight S2 instead. Frankly you should get both, just like you get multiple holsters to suit different occasions and attire.
Check out the extended Olight S2 review here.