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Tiny Torch: the Pelican 1910

I have been a fan of Pelican lights for almost half my life.  I was delighted with the Pelican Steathlight’s power, impact resistance, and waterproof construction back in 1995, when I used to wander around the woods of Valley, Alabama to relax before bed after leaving my third-shift job.  After I became an infantryman, I carried the sturdy, surprisingly bright little L1 as a backup light, only managing to break the L1 after falling nine feet in full “battle rattle” and landing on it!

When I talked to Pelican at the SHOT Show, I was especially interested in the new little 1910 flashlight.  This is a single AAA flashlight with terrific light output and very long “throw”.  This light is brighter than the 2-cell MagLites I have used on jobs (and, unfortunately, while hunting hogs at night.  Once).

1910 in the package.

1910 in the package.

I have been using the 1910 for the last six months, and have been very happy with it.  The 1910 is in a common tactical light format, with a long-life LED “bulb”, forward-clicky tailcap button, and downsized pocket clip.  The tailcap switch can be pressed lightly to activated the light, or it can be pressed harder to keep the light on until deactivated.  As a single-cell AAA, the 1910 is extremely compact.

1910 and AAA battery.

1910 and AAA battery.

1910's lens and LED.

1910′s lens and LED.

The pocket clip can be easily removed if the user prefers a deeper pocket carry, instead of clipping the light to pants or shirt pocket.

The pocket clip can be removed or the batter changed by unscrewing the tailcap.

The pocket clip can be removed or the battery changed by unscrewing the tailcap.

Pelican claims 39 lumens for the 1910, as well as a projection distance of 62 meters.  Pelican has a sterling reputation, so I do not doubt their figures, but what exactly is this light good for?  That’s an interesting question.

I have reviewed several different lights here, and I believe lights usually fall into task lights and tactical lights.  The task lights are small, and are used for everyday chores, power outages, and as a backup if the main light fails.  The main/emergency/tactical light is the “really bad day” light.  It should be powerful enough to temporarily blind a potential attacker at close range, or cut through precipitation or smoke.  I think task lights should be around 10 to 15 lumens, and tactical lights should be 50 lumens or brighter.  The 1910 falls almost exactly in the middle of this range.

I have used the 1910 to illuminate the interiors of cars from a safe distance.  It does this well, being powerful enough to light up the cab without reflecting much light back into your eyes.

The 1910 can be used to check car cabs from a safe distance.

The 1910 can be used to check car cabs from a safe distance.

I have used the 1910 to illuminate stairwells, a job it also does very well, without reflecting much light back into your eyes.

The 1910 does a good job of illuminating dark stairwells.

The 1910 does a good job of illuminating dark stairwells.

At close range, the  1910 has a wide enough “spill” that it lights up a usefully wide area.  At the same time, the “hot spot” of the little light is focused well enough I have used it to identify objects at least 40 meters away.

Light runtime can be measured, and while it may be useful to know how long your light may run if you left it on, most people do not use lights this way.  Small lights are almost always used for brief instants of illumination.  I’m sure Pelican’s one hour runtime claim is on the conservative side.  Instead of turning on the 1910 and seeing how long the AAA lasted, I have instead used the flashlight since January as most users would, a few times a week for a few seconds here and a minute or two there.  It is still going strongly, with no noticeable dimming.

I compared the 1910 with the similarly-sized Leatherman Monarch 300 I bought from Rocky National in October of 2010.  The Monarch 300 is also a quality 1 AAA push-button light, so it seemed a reasonable comparison. At closer ranges, there was surprisingly little difference to the eye, with the obvious difference being the bluer tone of the Leatherman compared to the warmer tone of the Pelican.  The additional power of the 1910 is much easier to see in some of the pictures.

Pelican 1910 on top, Leatherman Monarch 300 in the middle,

Pelican 1910 on top, Leatherman Monarch 300 in the middle, eGear Pico on the bottom.

This preceding shot is only from 2 feet away.  While both the Leatherman and Pelican are good lights, they are just not bright enough to be able to take pictures that clearly show the power difference at further distances. At 12 feet, the Pelican was obviously a bit brighter to the naked eye (the difference is dramatic in the picture), and comparing the beams to far objects from my patio made the Pelican’s power advantage even easier to see.

1910 on top and 300 on bottom at 12 feet.

1910 on top and 300 on bottom at 12 feet.

The 1910 is a quality light made by a company with a great reputation. It is easy to carry, takes readily available AAA batteries, and provides a useful light level. It is not quite bright enough for me to recommend it as a tactical light, but for those who want a small, versatile, water-resistant daily carry light, it should be a fine choice.

Written by

Former infantryman, martial artist, Army Reserve officer, History BA and MAT.

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