SureFire LX2 LumaMax

Review: SureFire LX2

SureFire LX2 815

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 A Glance
High: 200 lumens for 2.0* hours
Low: 15 lumens for 47.0 hours
Length: 5.4 inches
Bezel Diameter: 1 inch
Weight: 4.2 ounces (with batteries)
Battery Type: two 123A lithium
Switch: tactically-correct 2-stage tailcap momentary, and 2-stage twist constant
Carry: large pocket, small holster/sheath, or on belt
*Time until output drops below 50 lumens

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.

SureFire LX2 787 SureFire LX2 788 SureFire LX2 795

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.

Real-World Performance

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.

The following photos demonstrate the brightness, beam pattern, and reach of the LX2 on both low and high output. Testing was performed with new SureFire batteries. My standard 50-foot “short range” test proved impractical due to the overwhelming brightness of the LX2’s high output. In fact, even the “low” setting is very bright, perhaps the only real negative to this model (a 5-lumen low would be nice). The remaining photos are calibrated to be true-to-life.

100 Feet—Medium Range

The light is centered on the barn door, with ample peripheral illumination in the foreground and sides. Note how the light begins to wash out on the car in the “high” photo, this contrast was so bright it actually hurt to look at it.

SureFire LX2 806 SureFire LX2 807

500 Feet—Long Range / Reflective

For the 500-feet photos, the light is aimed into the corral with the upper third of the “spot beam” covering the reflective street signs. Again ample peripheral illumination is provided on even the “low” setting, bringing the foreground into plain view and reflecting off the signs. The middle corral fence is approximately 50 feet from the light. The control photo far-left demonstrates the ambient light with the LX2 switched off.

SureFire LX2 811 SureFire LX2 812 SureFire LX2 813

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.

Where to Buy

The SureFire LX2 retails for approximately $200, and can be purchased directly from SureFire here, along with its comfortably pocketable sister light, the EB1 Backup.

About the Author

Chazz Layne is an adventurer, designer, and photographer based in Prescott, Arizona. Since early childhood he’s had a passion for travel and exploration, a passion which continues to fuel both his creativity and modern nomadic lifestyle. In addition to his work in design and photography, Chazz is a regular contributor to Expedition Portal and Overland Journal. You can connect with Chazz or learn more about his activities at chazzlayne.com.

I’m a designer, photographer, author, and adventurist. I’m the lead creative at Layne Studio. I shoot photos for clients in the adventure, automotive, and outdoor industries. I write articles for travel and adventure publications. I make stuff in the Layne Workshop. I’m based out of Prescott, Arizona, but I prefer wanderlust over the comforts of home.