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As depressing as I find it, I’m now old enough to remember my nighttime varmint hunting being hampered by battery life, weight, and fragility of an impressively large Q Beam spotlight. My hunting buddies and I would drive around with a spotlight plugged into the the 12V cigarette outlet of my 1988 Isuzu Trooper while a battery-powered version waited in reserve until we spotted a critter that needed shooting. Once we’d identified our target, we’d hop out and light up the Eveready fueled unit so we could shoot. The problem was that the battery on that thing lasted maybe 20 minutes . . .

Once the battery died, we had two options. We could continue on with the car-tethered light or drive back to the house to plug the big Q Beam in on the wall charger for the requisite 90 minutes it took to recharge. Inevitably, we’d abandon the plan to return home and hunt until we busted a lamp on the car-tethered light or burned ourselves on the seemingly red hot lamp.

That usually took less than one hour. Oh and forget red lenses. They probably offered them, but they were too expensive and the dawn of my predator hunting in small town Texas predates online shopping or high speed internet. We made due with pieces of red plastic duct taped to the housing (they always melted) or coloring the glass with a red Sharpie. And we liked it.

Weapons-mounted lights? Fuggetaboutit. There was precisely one gun I’d ever seen with a light affixed to it. A bolt gun of some variety chambered in .22-250 with a HUGE red light on the scope body in a now long gone gun shop in Kerrville, Texas. I believe it had a remote wire that went to a battery pack you wore somewhere on your body. And boy howdy, did I want that. Where was I?

Right, the miracles of technology. I get all nostalgic when I open a box and a piece of gear falls out that just blows away stuff I used as a teenager. The ramblings and rantings above are what had me standing in my kitchen, knife in one hand, light in the other when my wife walked in to find me staring absentmindedly out the window.

“You OK?”, she asked.

“I’m getting old”, I declared.

“Okay honey. Let me know if you need anything”, she responded.

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Its this damn Cyclops Sirius 500 light that’s got me talking like an old fogey. First, I’ve dropped it about a dozen times now, and it still keeps working. No more broken bulbs for me. Second, it is powered by SUPER efficient LEDs so it lasts forever on a charge. And no burns when I accidentally touch the lens. Third, it has two modes, a low light flood mode for navigating the woods, and then a crystal clear spot mode that could probably do double duty performing eye surgery. It peters out around 600 yards on a moonless night in the country. Solid target identification is a breeze at up to a quarter mile. Last, it has a red lens cover that locks into place, perfect for varmint hunting.

Controls are dead simple to operate. There’s a switch on the back that switches between flood and spot and the trigger with conveniently located lock that allows you to turn it on and keep it there. Recharging takes very little time and the light can be used while on charge so if your spotlighting activities have you near a 12V outlet, you can keep using it while the battery gets more juice.

Here’s the thing though. Short of leaving the light on overnight, I haven’t been able to outlast the battery. See my commentary above on getting older, but I just can’t hunt from dusk to dawn anymore. The more likely scenario is that around 2:00 AM, this light is still working great, and I’m bushed. If you’ve got more stamina than me, be smart about your usage of flood and spot, and you should be able to make this thing last all night.

If I’d had this light at age sixteen, there’d be a lot more varmint carcasses piled up at the Kee ranch. This light is so good that my parents tried to steal it the last time I came home. And when I finally managed to wrestle it away, my dad ended up buying one as a Christmas present for my mom. He was extra pleased that you can pick it up at your local Walmart or on Amazon for less than $50.

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Specifications: Cyclops Sirius 500

  • Output: 500 Lumens on spot /45 Lumens on flood
  • Lighting Type: 3 Cree Hi-Power LED’s for spot, 6 LED’s for flood
  • Charge Type: AC/DC adapter or 12V DC car adapter (both included)
  • Light Color: White with Detachable red lens included
  • Advertised Burn Time: spot = 4+ hours / flood = 40+ hours
  • MSRP: $89.95 available in the wild for less than $50

Overall Rating * * * * *

I can’t think of a single way to improve this light. It is compact enough to get stashed in a backpack or go bag, bright enough to light up whatever needs lighting up, and so energy efficient that the battery lasts longer that darkness. The lens cap allows you to use red light for varmint hunting or navigation to preserve night vision and firmly locks in place with a twist of the wrist. Where was this thing when I was hunting in high school?

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12 Responses to Gear Review: Cyclops Sirius 500

  1. When I looked around for a night hunting light I settled on a Predator light with the green light. I got the head light so that I could have hands free. Hand held is a non starter for me and since I hunt in CA we aren’t allowed gun mounted lights.

    My experience mirrors yours. Hours of useful light and if you sweep an area any eyes reflect like beacons. I think I paid less than 60 bucks for mine.

  2. Hmmm. Red lens.
    You may have just found my alternative for night vision illumination.
    The puny IR lights don’t work past 40-50 yards.
    Watch out yodel dogs!

  3. Wow. So, you never shined deer with an EverReady headlight, or as we called it, “headlightin” deer. I was 15 before I knew it was illegal, and we still did it. Peanuts, soybeans, wheat and corn, all excellent places to shoot deer with a headlight, otherwise they would eat the hell out of those crops before you could pick’em!

    • It’s usually called “jacklighting,” and it’s often (but not always) illegal. Not real sporting, but whether it’s legal or illegal depends on the state and the game. IIRC jacklighting is legal in some states for yotes and hogs. Probably not for deer, even though they can be even more destructive. Why is it illegal for deer? Probably because deer are pretty and you can’t say that about hogs.

  4. I too remember the Qbeam and how it was good and hot for a short time. Many moons later I am looking for a light up the night light and see this Cyclops in the store and wonder if it is a good 50 something dollar investment. How fortunate I see see the review today. Thank you and I will be headed to town tomorrow to buy one.

  5. I’m now old enough to remember my nighttime varmint hunting being hampered by battery life

    I’m old enough to remember hunting with torches and wooden clubs.

  6. one lumen sort of equals 12.5 candlepower.
    I seem to remember qbeam spots claiming bajillions of cpower.
    is 6,250 lux really bright? 600 yards seems fine. i want one.

  7. One thing quite a few people forget about night hunting is quality, large objective lens optics. Using quality glass with a larger front lens was an eye opening experience for me. I never would have believed the difference until I saw it for myself. Even jumping from a Centerpoint(wal-mart)to a $200-$300 scope makes a HUGE difference in clarity when light is in short supply.

    YMMV

  8. I carried a spot light in my truck in the 80`s. Also had a wheat light with a heavy duty belt to carry the battery.
    All Coon hunters used them. Now its against the law to shoot deer in my state. (IN) Its legal to go calling at night and use a light. I would use a tape recorder with a rabbit in distress sit in the back of truck and wait.

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