I’ve carried a little ThruNite Ti3 flashlight with me every day for, well, years. The 1xAAA light is powerful, pocketable, affordable and has simple, one-handed controls. So when I was looking for something larger to light up my life (not to mention my rifle from time to time), a ThruNite seemed the obvious choice. Enter the ThruNite TN12.

The TN12 comes complete with a rechargeable 18650 battery, a charger, USB cable (yes, you can charge the battery from your laptop), pocket clip, wrist strap and extra O-rings. If your battery dies and you can’t easily re-charge it, the TN12 will happily run on a pair of CR123’s as well.

The TN12 has a simple, intuitive interface. The rear rubber button is just an on/off switch. The silver button aft of the lamp adjusts intensity (five settings ranging from .4 to a whopping 1100 lumens) and switches the TN12 to strobe mode should you wish.

The primary use case for this light, at least for me, is as a general purpose EDC light and a nightstand dweller in case of a power outage. But the other job I wanted this Swiss Army knife of a light to do: illuminate targets when lights are low on the end of my AR.

The TN12’s “aircraft grade” aluminum body happens to have a standard one-inch (25.4mm) diameter. That means there’s no shortage of mounts available to attach one to the fore-end of a rifle.

I bought a simple, affordable Fenix ALG-00 quick release mount which cradles the TN12 almost like it was made for it. Which it kinda was.

Its medium size and light weight (3 oz. without a battery) let the TN12 perform admirably as a weapon light. The simple rear rubber on/off switch is exactly the kind of binary interface is exactly what you want in a rifle light.

Should you need to change the TN12’s intensity, a quick reach forward to that silver button gets it done. The TN12 has memory, so it remembers the last intensity setting you used before switching it off.

Holding the intensity adjustment button down for one second switches the light into strobe mode. Touching the button again brings you back to the the last intensity setting you’d been using.

At least for me, the tactical isn’t always practical. My TN12 will do be doing a lot more duty as a general purpose light than it will illuminating hogs or other things that go bump in the night.

Since it will spend a lot more time stowed in my pocket than affixed to the fore-end of my rifle, the fact that the pocket clip slips on and off while holding the TN12 securely is much appreciated.

Yes, those are the ridiculous, but seemingly obligatory photos of the TN12’s beam at each of its five intensity settings. I prefer the softer beam thrown by an orange peel textured reflector, but there’s nothing objectionable or overly harsh about the neutral white even beam the TN12’s smooth reflector generates.

Here are the lumens it cranks out and the rated hours for each power level:

-Firefly (0.4 lumens /74 days)
-Low (18 lumens /5.5 days)
-Medium (175 lumens /11.8 hours)
-High (435 lumens /4.2 hours)
-Turbo (1100 lumens /95 minutes)

Reader’s Digest version: just as with guns, there is no one flashlight to rule them all. That said, the ThruNite TN12 hits a very versatile price/performance/features sweet spot that lets it fill a variety of roles including EDC light, home emergency duty and weapon-mounted illuminator. All for under fifty samolians.

Specifications: ThruNite TN12 (2016) XP-L V6 Max 1100 Lumen Flashlight

LED: CREE XP-L V6, 50,000 hours life span
Batteries: 18650 rechargeable (included) two CR123A’s (not included).
Max output: 1100 lumens with XP-L V6.
Working voltage: 2.7V – 9V
Max beam distance: 226 meters.
Construction: Aircraft-grade aluminum body
Finish: Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive
Lens: Toughened ultra-clear glass with anti-reflective coating
Reflector finish: Smooth
Length: 5.6 inches (143mm)
Diameter: 1 inch (25.4mm)
Weight: 3 oz. (86g) without batteries
MSRP: $49.95 ($45.95 at Amazon)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Ergonomics: * * * * *
The simple, intuitive interface is excellent. The rear thumb switch is tactile and positive. Adjusting intensity via the secondary switch is quick and easy.

Function and Build quality: * * * * 
I’d have painted the intensity adjustment button black Like the rest of the light, but that’s me. More substantially, the anti-roll flat sections on the ring around the rim behind the bell have rounded edges. That means they aren’t long or flat enough to keep your TN12 from rolling away if you set it down on an uneven surface. (You’ll have to rely on the pocket clip to do that, assuming it’s installed.) The rest of the design from the knurling to the reflector finish to the lens clarity are first rate.

Reliability: * * * * *
I’ve carried the TN12 for weeks, dunked it in water (yes, those O-ring seals really work) and it’s only asked for more. The TN12 should hold up to some serious use and abuse.

Overall: * * * * *
With the slight exception of those insufficient anti-roll bevels, the TN12 does everything you’d want a flashlight to do — EDC carry, emergency use and weapons duty — at a very reasonable price. And the fact that it lets you avoid buying one or two additional lights to do those other jobs makes it an even better value.

 

ThruNite has given TTAG readers a 5% discount when buying anything through the official ThruNite site. Just enter THRUNITE in the discount code field at checkout. 

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25 Responses to Gear Review: ThruNite TN12 (2016) XP-L V6 Flashlight

  1. The brightness photos could have done with some kind of point of reference for context… but other than that, I really appreciate the review. I’m suddenly very interested in that mount, as I’m not happy with my mount for my light. That one looks like it would be a good fit.

    • The real news here is the 0.4 lumens. The highend brightness of a flashlight is for the big dicks. Running the light at low is for the real operators.

  2. I always shoot for AA lights for pocket EDC as well as weapon lights. Run rechargeables in all mine for SHTF, use the same chargers I keep around for all my other devices, and you could always throw in regular alkaline in an emergency. Same can’t be said for 18650 and CR123s. Fenix makes a good one, LD22.

    • Valid points to consider, but the key you omit is that the Fenix LD22 has a maximum output of 215 lumens, compared to the subject’s max of 1,100. That’s not just a trivial difference.

  3. Hmm. I really like that this flashlight has separate buttons for on/off and intensity — and that it remembers the previous intensity level. I also like the fact that it provides such a wide range of intensities.

    I prefer lights that can use AA batteries, but … a rechargeable battery and the option to use CR123 lithium batteries is a close second.

    I have somewhat of a fetish for LED flashlights and I will have to seriously consider buying one of these.

    • The first sentence (referring to a different AAA light) threw me off too, but the light being reviewed here does use AA batteries. The CR123 batteries wouldn’t fit in a AAA space.

  4. Looks nice, pretty comparable to what I carry at work. I use a Fenix PD35 Tactical. I work in law enforcement so I have a pretty pressing need for a good light. Two other officers I work with carry the same light.

    • Agree. Especially the settings button up front. I’m on my second PD35 after wearing out the rubber tail cap and almost wearing out the settings switch. Happy they moved to a metal one. Aside from a Surefire (which I used to be able to afford before more pressing needs like children), I’d go with a Fenix. Being used daily in construction they’ve proven themselves for my needs.

  5. Another similarly priced one is the 5.11 TPT L2. I paid 30 bucks for it and its taken some pretty serious abuse from my PD Job and held up just fine

  6. Damn, flashlights are just running away. I have a fancy flashlight I got around 5-6 years ago, 18650 battery, *150* lumens, 3 hours on a charge and cost me $150!!! I guess I need a couple of these just to see if they are real!

    • Ok, I ordered 2 from ThruNite, because the ones I found on Amazon were V2 rather than V6, and I entered the THRUNITE in the discount box and got no discount, oh, well, if these things are for real I’ll still be very happy!

    • Oh, and the combo with battery and charger was $65, without was 49.95. I have 18650s and 2 chargers.

    • OK, you can note this is weeks later. A review? I ordered a third, in “natural white” rather than “cool white”, as the other 2, and in a combo with 2 batteries and a 2-cell charger because it was on sale for $79.95, $60 below list. The batteries are listed at 2 for $41.xx, so 2 of them with the light for $79 saved me $10 on the batteries and the charger was free. In addition, I bought 2 of ThruNite’s charger/battery bank (really neat, BTW) at $15 each, since they came with the battery which cost $41 for 2, saved another $10 on batteries and the chargers/banks were free. BTW, I am not quite that crazy, gave a flashlite to each of my 2 sons. None of us ended up caring which was Cool white and which natural. Buy the cheap one.

      Main reason I came back here, though, is I have a complaint. The lights are flat wonderful, with one caveat; the side button (activates different powers and strobe) is too easy to activate, should have a stronger spring or maybe a detent. When using the lite, holding it in your hand, you find regularly that you have changed the power without knowing it, and have to cycle through the rest of the powers to get back where you wished to be. I did not even notice it until I finished playing with the lights, gave 2 to my sons, and then started just using it as a light. Should be easy to change, and if it is I’ll likely buy 3 more!

  7. Word to the wise. If you’re going to review it as a weapon light you need to actually shoot a couple hundred rounds. Even with the great brands about 75% of these medium quality lights are going to fail in some manner under heavy recoil. They can break or simply have a weak spring that loses contact and flickers on every shot.

  8. Agree with UDTMatt insofar as a weapon light needs to be proven to take recoil. Might need to have the LED potted or somehow have the circuits protected and have a strong enough or double spring to withstand multiple recoil cycles, even with as light a recoil as an AR.

  9. I own this light and I could hardly imagine a better EDC (every day carry) light. I keep mine by the bedside and never forget to take it along on trips. It’s a wonderful, solid, versatile little light that I use for almost everything. Plenty of power and yet you can turn it way down low. Worth every penny!

    BUT…As a tactical light it has one big shortcoming. Though it has a momentary/constant on/off switch on the back where you need it, the brightness control and strobe switch is up front and therefore not rapidly accessible to the operator when mounted on a rifle. Weapon mounted tactical white lights require strict light discipline which in turn requires quick/instinctive controls. Turning on the strobe on the TN12 is a two step procedure — turn on the light from the back, then reach up and press the strobe control up front. Not good when you suddenly bump into Charlie Manson behind the garage. For a tactical, weapon mounted, light, I stick to my excellent Klaus TX11. About the same power as the TN12 but with all of the controls on the thumb switch at the rear. I especially like the separate strobe bar that allows me instant, independent strobe activation with a quick, tactile push of the little bar mounted by the on off switch on the back. I think of it like a panic switch. In a tenth of a second I can give Charlie Manson gets a face full of blinding strobe and I have all of the options. One quick flick and it’s back off.

    But I absolutely love the TN12 for ALL other purposes and highly reccomend it. I’ll keep mine for life.

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