Medium Duty Light: First Tactical

May 4, 2016  
Categories: Musings

So far in Illumination Rumination Week we’ve covered a weapon light and a fullsize duty light. Today we bring you something First Tactical calls their “Medium Duty Light”. Previously our tamed Australian gave you a quick rundown, but it’s a full review today. Read this post from the man down-under. Mad Duo

As mentioned above I did a “quickie” of the First Tactical – Medium Duty Light, which arrived in the mail a few months ago. I wanted to give it a bit more thorough review though, because it’s come to be a reliable go-to light here in the bunker.

This is the aptly-named Medium Duty Light (MDL) by First Tactical.

I usually use flashlights that are rechargeable directly, like my HEXBright with its big proprietary rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery. The battery is apparently 3.7 volt 2400 mAh, 4.8 Amp, unlike others that run on either 3V 1300mA CR123A or the monstrous 3.7V 2200mAh  18650 rechargeable Li-ion batteries.

Note — that is not a sex toy at the top, no matter how much Big Joe wishes it were so.

First Tactical MDL 1-1

Sometimes though, you just want some stock-standard batteries pulled out of old TV remotes, drumming bunnies, or personal upper-thigh massagers. AA’s are everywhere, and the MDL takes them. The MDL is powered by two AA batteries, offering a 3 3/4 hour runtime on high power with 274 lumen output, and 165 hours on low at only 16 lumens. The light tops out at 159mm (6.3″) long but only 23mm (0.91″) in barrel diameter from those AA’s, and weighs in at 144g (3.3oz). So it punches above its weigh, especially given that it runs on AA’s.

First Tactical MDL 3-1

Full power: 274 lumen output

First Tactical MDL 4-1

Low power: 16 lumen output

High beam has an effective throw distance of around 130m, with low beam throwing out to around 31m. It has a hotspot at 14″, and a smooth transition to a 70″ flood area. Good for both putting light on task when used looking around doing room-sweeps for those lost handcuff keys, but it will also cast out wide enough for you to spot that thing lurking in the corner of the room that you always see from the corner of your eye in the basement.

It’s built of an aerospace-grade anodized aluminum, milled inside and out for for a super rigid body, but also very light. The outside is covered in both large and small lugs for grip all the way to the bezel.

There are two really nice features with the MDL. First is the swappable 30mm (1.2″) bezel, which comes as a flat crown but is easily unscrewed to fit the mean-looking strike bezel. The second feature is the adjustable bungee finger loop, which threads through holes in the clip and fits around the outside of the knuckle really nicely. This is my first purpose-built light fingerloop, and I like it thus far. It gives me a really secure feeling, much like the ring on a karambit.

First Tactical MDL 3

The MDL also features a large opening, reversible pocket clip for easy draw and gripping in inclement weather. The tail-cap press button offers two light settings from the LED. That tails-cap button also allows momentary-on switching, for those times you just need a squirt.

One thing I found though was that toggling between the initial high beam and the much dinner secondary option was actually quite hard to activate. A full click turns it on, a full click turns it off, but only a half click to activate the low-light setting. That can mean some fiddling to get it on dim, which means you might well be telegraphing your position.

The strike bezel combined with the retention ring, finger loop and clip, lugs and narrow body before the lens housing makes for a very effective and comfortable striking weapon. Basically it’s light-hammer. In all seriousness though, the MDL is light enough to carry around without being in the way, bright enough to get the job done in most situations, and easy to feed. It’s a solid entry in the pocket-flashlight category.



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Apocalypse Josh

Apocalypse Josh

About the Author

Josh Orth is a second generation expat currently dwelling in the arguably civilized outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. He's lived in deserts, jungles and urban sprawls around the world and traveled/adventured into assorted inhospitable places around the world and has a keen sense of the speed with which the trappings of 'civilized Western life' can disappear. This has led him to begin writing about his interests and observations when it comes to the gear, skills and other necessities of self reliance of being equipped for whatever a capricious, occasionally indurate life might throw at him. This isn't by any means to say our eccentric friend actually longs for life in dystopia, but if he had to he might not complain. Read more by Josh at Apocalypse Equipped.


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