Toss out the SureFire name while you're sitting next to the campfire and it'll often trigger a series of mocking jabs about elitists and their overpriced equipment—jabs quickly silenced with a tap of a LumaMax's tailcap. Hand someone a SureFire and they'll quickly realize exactly why that price is justified, these are serious tools for serious professionals. Aside from rugged good looks and a lifetime warranty, what exactly makes these serious lights such a worthy investment for the serious outdoorsman?
Features and Specs
At the heart of the LX2 LumaMax is a high-output LED that's powered by an advanced regulator, designed to maximize the useful runtime provided by the two 123A lithium batteries. The light emitter is surrounded by SureFire's oddly-textured total internal reflection (TIR) lens which transmits a consistent, smooth flood of peripheral light with a tight, powerful spot beam at the center. The result is a compact handheld light with exceptionally bright output. In fact, the LX2 is so bright I've caught myself using it in place of my vehicle's spotlight while searching out campsites after dark.
The electronic soul of the LX2 LumaMax rests safely inside the same waterproof, military-spec anodized aluminum body we've come to expect from SureFire. Its appearance is both rugged and modern, with smoother lines than previous generations and a noticeably darker gray-green finish. The bi-directional clip design that was first introduced with the E1B Backup continues, allowing the LX2 to be slipped into a pocket lens up or lens down. While the clip's design also allows it to be used as a "hat light", a trick I learned from the E1B, in practice the LX2 is a little too heavy. New with this model is the break-away lanyard attachment point.
Much like the previous L2 LumaMax, the LX2 is pocketable but would be more at home on a belt or in a small pouch. In hand, the length and diameter are just right for comfortable continuous use. The tailcap switch is set up in a tactically-correct two-stage configuration which I find much more intuitive to use than the "clicky" style switches: press for low-powered momentary on, press harder for the full 200 retina-searing lumens. For constant use a simple twist of the tail activates low, and twisting further activates high. As with earlier models, the bezel has a 1-inch diameter so previously purchased filters and diffusers fit perfectly.
Beware manufacturers who hype up extraordinary lumen counts. Often these results are achieved with dubious testing measures, sub-standard reflector design, and the sacrifice of runtime for wattage. In the field, these factors make a huge difference in a light's performance. SureFire has done their homework here, and countless dollars invested in R&D have produced some of the clearest optics and most advanced reflector designs in the industry. As a result, the SureFire flashlights I've tested consistently have usable light outputs comparable to many from other manufacturers which claim far higher ratings and brightness.
Runtime and Heat
Trapped in a cave for two days? No problem. As expected, the manufacturer-claimed runtimes prove accurate: the high-powered "tactical" output lasts slightly longer than two hours, and useful output on low is generated for about two days. Heat build-up is a non-issue—SureFire has mastered the art of cooling and the LX2 can be comfortably handled for long periods of continuous use.