Who doesn’t love a sweet flashlight? Exactly, so when J5 Tactical offered to send me one of their V1 Pro pocket flashlights with no strings attached, I said, “send it!” I might have been a little skeptical since sensational marketing statements rarely play well with reality and their website states, “The brightest flashlight powered by one AA battery.” Well, it might just be true. See the picture below and you’ll see the output at roughly twelve inches in brighter than the 2:00 sun! For real, don’t look into this light!
The J5 Tactical V1 Pro is indeed a sweet little light. It’s a $30 or so tactical pocket flashlight. What makes it tactical? Good question. First, because it’s made by a company that has “tactical” in it’s name. And it’s black. It has a heavy duty yet detachable pocket clip like a tactical pocket knife. It has typical tactical edges to keep it from rolling on a somewhat less than level surface. Perhaps most importantly it has what J5 calls an “attack head.” Found on every self-respecting tactical light, it’s a crenulated bezel. Now, try explaining THAT to the TSA when you fly. In my mind, in low power mode it’s simply ideal for map reading, agreed?
The V1 Pro has three modes. Ludicrously bright, pretty bright and strobe. J5 actually calls these “High”, “Low” and “Strobe” but that’s kind of boring and I’m clearly having too much fun to settle for that. A half press of the tail cap button cycles between the modes. Strobe would be a tactical feature, right? Meant to disorient an assailant before you smack them with the map-reader-bezel.
J5 Tactical claims the V1 Pro puts out 300 lumens. I don’t have a great way to test that, but as you can see it is crazy bright. The picture below was taken at 2:00 in the afternoon under a cloudless sky. You can clearly see the white illumination from the zoomed to the max light. It’s not all that scientific of a test, but that’s bright!
Right before we took that picture, I tried the stupid test. The J5 Tactical website clearly says NOT to look at the light as it could cause temporary blindness. I figure it’s daylight, I’ll just take a quick glace. I didn’t even look directly into the light, just exposed a bit of the lens and I was seeing spots. That’s in the middle of the afternoon!
The head extends a quarter inch, narrowing the beam pattern. The wide angle isn’t super wide, but is a good working disc of light illuminating a typical interior residential door top to bottom at roughly ten feet. Zoom in for maximum brightness and you get about a nine inch wide brilliant patch of light in pattern of the LED up close while easily illuminating distances beyond 100 yards.
Super bright flashlight, especially small ones, tend to get hot. Tactical lights like this one are usually made from aircraft grade aluminum that, while durable, tends to turn your hand into a heat sink. The V1 Pro has cooling fins on the body to combat this. I guess they work, but they don’t seem to get hotter than the rest of the light body. As a matter of fact, at roughly twenty minutes on full brightness the light seems to have reached it’s maximum heat. Reality is, it’s just kind of warm to the touch. It seem you could hold it tightly until the battery dies and you’d be quite comfortable the whole time.
This little tactical flashlight is pretty stout. The battery is loaded by removing the tail cap which then seals up smoothly via a rubber O-ring as you screw it back on. As you can see, the V1 Pro had no trouble operating with my Jeep Rubicon parked on top of it. Rated IPX 4 waterproof, the light should be resistant to water splashes from any direction. While zoom head is very smooth to push/pull in and out I wonder if at some point that might wear and no longer stay where you put it.
At 3.2 ounces the J5 Tactical V1 Pro doesn’t weigh much. Add in the AA battery and it weighs about the same as ten rounds of 5.56 M855 ball ammo.
At four inches, it’s slightly longer than a 338 Lapua Magnum round (pictured a couple of times above), essentially identical to a Trijicon MRO, considerably shorter than a .50 BMG round and longer than an average wild hog tusk. Extend the head to tighten the beam pattern all the way and the V1 Pro adds a quarter inch. The .875 diameter body is slightly smaller than a 12 gauge shell, the 1.125 inch head slightly wider.
This little beast of a flashlight runs on a single AA battery. At full power, I don’t think it will win a time trial, but given the light output and size I guess that’s the compromise. After leaving it on for about an hour and ten minutes using a standard alkaline batter I noticed a significant dimming of the light and cooling of the body. Looks like an hour and a few minutes is your prime time at full power. You can still read a map with it beyond two hours. I have other things to do so that’s where I quit waiting for it to die and moved on to other pressing projects. Like dinner. The V1 Pro will also run off a 14500 rechargeable battery. Bottom line, the power J5 Tactical is getting from a single AA is crazy.
So seriously, this is quite a light. I’ll be taking it on my next night hog hunt for sure, using it as a handheld light. If you’re into ghetto gear, I suppose you could duct tape it to your rifle rail… A quick look online finds pricing up to $40, but $29.95 is what J5 Tactical sells the V1 Pro for. If you’re not completely happy with your purchase J5 Tactical says they will refund your purchase price. For $30, seriously? Granted, mine was free (sans the more hours-of-my-life-than-you’d-think invested in testing and photographing this for you), but I’m pretty happy with it!