Why a first impression?
Here at 2Cent, we like to only review an item after we have used it for a while. Unfortunately flashlights, like the rest of technology, are quickly replaced and phased out. If we wait too long before doing a thorough review on an item that is no longer in production, it would not be too useful to our readers. To still give a good first impression though, all lights will be used and tested for a least a month.

Armytek Barracuda XM-L2 U3

http://www.armytek.com/

This is the latest high output light from Armytek, clocking in at 1450 Lumens it is definitely a blinder. It also has a very deep reflector that throws light over 500 meters, further than any hand held searchlight I have ever used.

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Pros

  • Slender body
  • Light and strong
  • Uses CRA123 or 18650 batteries
  • Very bright and long throw
  • Easy to change between modes
  • Threads come lubricated

Cons

  • Awkward to carry on belt
  • No connector provided for use of 18650 batteries

Manufactures Listed Specs

  • Cree XM-L2 U3 LED
  • 540 meters of throw
  • 1450 LED lumen
  • CONSTANT brightness in all modes
  • 50 meters waterproof
  • Record runtimes in all modes
  • Powered by two 18650 Li-Ion or four CR123A batteries

Packaging

The Barracuda comes packaged in a sturdy foam lined carrying case which holds the light and the belt holster in foam cut outs. 2 extra O-rings and a spare rubber button cover are included as well.

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The belt holster is a simple design that holds the light fairly well, though the flap that covers the head can slip off and allow the light to come out of the holster unintentionally. However, with a light this large keeping it on a belt would get uncomfortable, so unless you need immediate access to it, it’s probably best to leave it in a backpack or look for a different light.

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Construction

This light is made out of aircraft grade aluminum and finished with a flat black anti-abrasive coating that has just enough grip to stop the light from slipping from your hand, but not so much as to be uncomfortable. The threads are thick and square, the same as many other lights on the market these days. There are 2 O-rings on both the head and tail ends of the battery tube to keep out the water and dust. Electrical components of this light are sealed in a separate aluminum compartment that helps to further protect them from the elements. To help strengthen the light against falls, the tail cap is designed to not allow the light to roll and if the light is dropped there are titanium rings on the bezel and tail cap to protect it. The titanium ring on the bezel can also be anodized in silver or gold to give the light some extra flare.

Threads and O Rings

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Titanium Rings

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Just like all Armytek lights, the Barracuda has impressive waterproof, dustproof, and impact resistance ratings. The light is rated IP68 which means it is totally dust tight and protected from complete immersion under pressure in water. Armytek rates it as being able to be submersed up to 50 meters and dropped from 10 meters; those are numbers that will be hard to find on other lights.

I have not had the opportunity to take this light out on many outings with me, which means it has not had the opportunity to be dropped and abused as much as my other lights so I can’t comment on how well it holds up to wear and tear, but with the specs it boasts it should do just fine.

Operation

The Barracuda is an impressive light both in its performance and ease of operation. After struggling to perform some basic mode changes on my Armytek Predator, the simplicity of the Barracuda was refreshing. The light has 2 main modes, ‘Main’ and ‘Additional.’

In Main mode, the head is fully tightened and the light is always at its max brightness of 1450 Lumens, which will last about 1 hour and 30 minutes on fresh batteries. While the light is off, a half press of the tail cap switch will momentarily turn on the light.

Additional mode is accessed by loosening the head and turning on the light. The light will turn on to the lowest setting; fully turning the light off and on will change the brightness to higher settings. A half press while the light is off will activate the light momentarily in the lowest setting, rapidly releasing and half pressing again will cycle the brightness settings as well.

The different brightness settings and estimated run times in additional mode are;

  1. Medium: 850 Lumens – 2H 40M
  2. Low: 175 Lumens – 17H
  3. Lowest: 30 Lumens – 60H

The light also has a quick deactivation feature for travel, to deactivate the light you simply loosen the tail cap one quarter of a turn.

As much fun programming every feature of your light to your needs is, I much prefer the simplicity of this light.

An interesting thing to note about the light is what it does when the batteries get low. Over a weekend when I was using the Barracuda to light up my attic while installing a new bathroom fan vent, the light started to strobe. Since there is no strobe option with the light I was concerned, the problem was solved by putting in fresh batteries though. When I put the old batteries into a second older model Barracuda I have, the same strobe effect was observed. As there is nothing in the manual about this I am unsure if this is a defect or a feature, I guess that is up to the user to decide.

Beam Shots

Taking pictures of lights in operation at night properly is still something that is alluding me. I am working on it and will hopefully have it figured out for the next review I do.

Conclusion

The Barracuda is a solid unit that throws a TON of light very far and lasts for a decent amount of time. Its size could be cumbersome for some applications but when used as a search or flood light it will definitely get the job done well. If you are looking for an extremely tough and bright light that throws far then this is it!