Elzetta Alpha Review (415 Lumens)

Preface

The Alpha only came out after the introduction of the Bravo (2-cell) & Charlie (3-cell) models, and was aimed more for tactical backup usage – especially for Close Quarters Battle (CQB) and home defence.

With that in mind, this Alpha is the second generation version with 415 lumens as compared to the first generation’s 315 lumens – let’s see what this current gen Alpha has to offer.

Note: the flashlight reviewed is model number A113 with optional accessories – Speed Clip & Alpha Flood Lens.

Packaging & First Impressions

This is what the light will come with as shown below.

  • Comes in a simple plastic clam shell packaging.
  • The threads and o-rings were well lubricated. Threads were smooth and clean (no gritty feeling).
  • Easy one-handed operation – no issues tightening & loosening the tailcap with one hand
  • Knurling is extremely well-done; very “grippy” but not overly aggressive (i.e. fabric and pockets-friendly).
  • Battery can only be accessed from the tail portion of the battery tube. The front portion of the battery tube is a one-piece connected to the head.
  • No clip and/or lanyard is provided.
  • The tail switch is extremely responsive to momentary activation and requiring a further “travel” before the switch is fully engaged.
  • The switch is almost entirely silent when fully engaged (i.e. the usual click sound that most switches have is almost inaudible for the Elzetta.)
  • Signature Elzetta’s matte black anodizing of the light is uniform without any missing specs.
  • Battery compartment holds a AW 16340 and other primary CR123A (e.g. Panasonic and its other re-wrapped brands such as Surefire) battery with sufficient room for a slightly thicker battery width.

Front:

Back:

Box Contents:

Quick Overview (Manufacturer Specifications)

  • Body Material: Matte Black HAIII Aluminium
  • LED: Not mentioned but appears to be XP-L
  • Battery Format: 1 x 16340/RCR123A or 1 x CR123A (Recommended) ONLY
  • Output & Runtime (with CR123A battery):
    • Low (15 lumens – 46h) – applicable only with the High-Low tailcap.
    • High (415 lumens –  56min)
  • Max Beam Distance: 87m (Standard Lens) / 31m (Flood Lens)
  • Beam intensity: 1,900cd (Standard Lens) / 235cd (Flood Lens)
  • Waterproofness: IPX-8 (10m)
  • Impact Resistance: 5m
  • Dimension: 101.6mm (length) x 29.21mm (head diameter) / 25.4mm (body diameter)
  • Weight: 102.06g (including batteries)
  • Battery reverse polarity protection
  • Fully potted electronics
  • Accessories Included:
    • 1*Battery Station Primary CR123A Battery
    • 2*Spare O-rings
  • MSRP: ~$150 (A113 model)

Note: Primary CR123A batteries are recommended for this flashlight when used in mission-critical (life-or-death situations) applications, plus they have a 10 year shelf life. This being that RCR123A/16340 batteries provide close to zero warning before being depleted – whereby the output (lumens) drops rapidly and/or the battery protection circuit kicks in and leaving one completely in the dark when it happens.

Elzetta Naming Convention 

Our model reviewed is the A113 variant – as such the first alphabet and subsequent 3 numbers do have a specific meaning as seen below.

  • First Alphabet – stands for the range of flashlight type
    • A – Alpha (1-Cell)
    • B – Bravo (2-Cell)
    • C – Charlie (3-Cell)
  • First Digit – stands for the Bezel Ring type
    • 1 – Standard Bezel Ring
    • 3 – Crenellated Bezel Ring
  • Second Digit – stands for the Lens type
    • 1 – Standard Lens
    • 2 – Flood Lens
  • Third Digit – stands for the Tailcap type
    • 1 – Rotary Tailcap
    • 2 – Click Tailcap
    • 3 – Alpha High-Low Tailcap
    • 4 – High-Strobe Tailcap
    • 5 – Remote Tape Switch with 5″ Cable
    • 6 – Remote Tape Switch with 12″ Cable

Hence the A113 model corresponds to the Alpha model with Standard Bezel, Standard Lens and Alpha High-Low Tailcap.

Note: While the Bravo and Charlie are fully modular; the Alpha has certain parts that will only work on the Alpha (i.e. not modular with the Bravo and Charlie models). Those parts which are not modular are as follows:

  • Alpha Standard Bezel Ring
  • Alpha Crenellated Bezel Ring
  • Alpha Standard Lens
  • Alpha Flood Lens
  • Alpha High-Low Tailcap

Optional Accessories

As stated earlier, there are several modular accessories for the Alpha model. However, only the items we have on-hand shall be mentioned below.

Bezel Ring

The A113 model is equipped with the standard bezel ring. There is ample knurling on the bezel ring for sufficient grip and thus enabling easier access for lens swapping.

Lens Type

Elzetta is known to exclusively use optics in their entire range of flashlights, due to the optic being able to produce a wider beam profile (for peripheral vision) as compared to traditional reflectors. From a durability standpoint, a solid piece of thick acrylic optic is definitely able to hold up to more abuse as compared to a traditional reflector with 1~2 mm thick lens.

The A113 model is equipped with the standard lens. The standard lens is the “throwiest” version of the 2 available option; with the flood lens being as its name suggests – a floody beam profile.

Extra care must be made when replacing the lens and positioning its corresponding o-ring to ensure the best water-resistance possible. The easiest way is to place the o-ring in the ridge like in the picture below. Subsequently, carefully position the 4 legs of the white “reflector-style” holder into the 4 slots of the flashlight’s MCPCB (Metal Core Printed Circuit Board) before attempting to tighten down the bezel ring.

Note: the optics can be removed from its white “reflector-style” holder but we do not recommend doing that unless the optic needs a clean up (highly unlikely occurrence). This being that the optic has a lone notch that requires to be fitted specifically into the white “reflector-style” holder – forcing the optic in and/or not securing the optic properly could cause damage to either the optic and/or white “reflector-style” holder when tightening down on the bezel ring.

Click HERE to skip to the beam profile of the Standard Lens.

Standard Lens:

Spare lens purchased will come in the following packing – complete with the lens and spare o-ring.

Click HERE to skip to beam profile of the Flood Lens.

Flood Lens:

Tailcap Type

There are several options available but we will only mention about the default tailcap that comes with the A113 model – the High-Low tailcap.

It is the only tailcap option available that gives a LOW mode – all other tailcaps will have HIGH mode only, with the exception of the High-Strobe tailcap. This High-Low tailcap is not modular to the Bravo and Charlie models and is probably why it is the only tailcap that comes with the laser engraved “Elzetta Alpha” & “HIGH/LOW”, to prevent any possible mix-up.

Side note: Kudos to Elzetta for ensuring that their signature “Z” embossed rubber switch boot is perfectly aligned with the laser engraved words.

Speed Clip

At the price point of the Alpha, it was a little disappointing that it did not already come with a pocket clip even though it is marketed more for the law enforcement professionals and/or those looking for a Close Quarters Battle (CQB) flashlight.

This clip is designed to enable bezel-up or bezel-down carry. In any case, the design of the Speed Clip when fitted to the Alpha would either make you love or hate it at first glance. Interestingly, the looks kind of grew on us as we used it throughout our review process – providing the flashlight with a tremendously improved form factor.

The Speed Clip is mainly held in place by friction from the gasket – the tighter it is forced in place, the stronger the hold. Out of the box, the clip does not have sufficient tension to ensure that the light will stay clipped to any material to prevent the light from falling out. A little bending helps increase the tension substantially.

Note: it is possible to attach the Speed Clip on the tailcap area (to enable a deeper pocket carry style) but it causes the clip end to scrap against the body of the flashlight during tightening/loosening the tailcap – which effectively negates the point of this “silent activation” tactical flashlight.

UI (User Interface)

UI for this light is perfect for Every Day Carry (EDC) as it is extremely simple and straightforward to use.

Switching ON and OFF is done by the main switch at the TAIL of the light. It is a forward clicky switch which also enables half press for momentary activation where necessary.

With the High-Low Tailcap, the following UI is applicable.

Tailcap Position – Fully Tightened

From OFF:

  • 1/2 Press – Direct access to MOMENTARY HIGH; depress switch entirely (1 Click) to get HIGH.
  • 1 Click – Direct access to HIGH.

From ON:

  • 1 Click – Light will switch OFF.
  • Slightly Loosen Tailcap (Counterclockwise) – Light will switch to LOW mode.

Tailcap Position – 1/4 Turn Counterclockwise from Fully Tightened

From OFF:

  • 1/2 Press – Direct access to MOMENTARY LOW; depress switch entirely (1 Click) to get LOW.
  • 1 Click – Direct access to LOW.

From ON:

  • 1 Click – Light will switch OFF.
  • Tighten Tailcap (Clockwise) – Light will switch to HIGH mode.

Tailcap Position – 1/8 Turn Counterclockwise from Fully Tightened

Since the LOW mode is made possible with a resistor in the tailcap, it is worth noting that this is one of the perks or quirks (depending on how one might perceive it in their respective uses), due to the slight slop in the threads.

From OFF:

  • 1/2 Press – Direct access to MOMENTARY LOW; depress switch entirely (1 Click) to get LOW.
  • 3/4 Press – Direct access to MOMENTARY HIGH; depress switch entirely (1 Click) to get LOW.
  • 1 Click – Direct access to LOW [flashlight would appear as though it goes from 1/2 Press (LOW mode) to 3/4 Press (HIGH mode) and then back to LOW mode].

From ON:

  • 1 Click – Light will switch OFF (flashlight will flash in HIGH mode momentary before switching OFF).
  • Pressing the tailcap sideways/towards to the flashlight body – Direct access to MOMENTARY HIGH; release to return to LOW mode.
  • Tighten Tailcap (Clockwise) – Light will switch to HIGH mode.

Brief Overview of Other Tailcaps’ UI

  • Rotary Tailcap – 1/2 Press for momentary HIGH and release to switch OFF. Tighten for HIGH.
  • Click Tailcap – 1/2 press for momentary HIGH and release to switch OFF. 1 Click for HIGH and 1 Click again to switch OFF.
  • High-Strobe Tailcap – Similar UI as High-Low tailcap but LOW mode is replaced by STROBE mode.
  • Remote Tape Switch with 5″ Cable – Used when mounted on firearms (Tighten for HIGH and loosen tailcap for pressure pad operation).
  • Remote Tape Switch with 12″ Cable – Used when mounted on firearms (Tighten for HIGH and loosen tailcap for pressure pad operation).

There is no mode memory for this flashlight and no blinky modes (STROBE and/or SOS) available – unless High-Strobe tailcap is used.

Form Factor

For flashlights that are intended to use on a daily basis (EDC) and for possibly a long period of time, form factor is extremely important.

This light feels extremely well balanced and relatively compact in a medium sized hand (not head/tail-heavy); giving it a rather beefy & indestructible-like feel. Switching between overhand and underhand holding method is easy with its form factor. The knurling on the light enables the light to be sufficiently “grippy”, even with wet hands/gloves.

The light is unable to tail-stand by itself due to the protrusion of the tail switch.

When equipped with the optional Speed Clip, the functional clip doubles up as a tactical ring which makes most flashlight & firearm holding techniques substantially easier. In addition, due to the position of the clip, a substantial portion of the Alpha would be protruding out from one’s pocket or holster and thus enabling the user to “quick deploy/draw” from said pocket/holster.
We highly recommend getting the Speed Clip if you are a LEO or are planning to use this as a CQB flashlight.

Beam Style/Beamshots

For this light, the spill, corona and hotspot is unlike most TIR-style optics we have come across. The LED is fully covered under the optic lens and with the (presumed) XP-L used, the beam is still sufficiently “throwy” for most close range duty for the Standard Lens. The Flood Lens, however, provides a beam profile that is more suited for up-close usage such as CQB and home defence.

The above beam profile is a rough interpretation of what is seen when white wall hunting.

For the Standard Lens – the beam has a slightly distinct hotspot with some slight corona and a rather wide usable (somewhat circular) spill. This optic enables for a much larger spill than most TIR (Total Internal Reflection) optics provide, enabling the beam to light up a room with ease, without having to sweep the light (left to right or vice versa) for target identification as much as when compared to the traditional reflector-based flashlights. There are some rings in the beam and a faint “X” in the spill which intersects at the hotspot when whitewall hunting; but both are not visible in real world usage.

For the Flood Lens – the beam is pretty much a wall of light with a wide circular hotspot which blends with the corona; and wide spill. This optic lights up an entire smaller size room with ease, without having to sweep the light (left to right or vice versa) for immediate target identification. There are some beam artifacts in the beam when whitewall hunting but are not visible in real world usage.

All of the beamshots taken below are done so with the following camera settings ([For CR123A] LOW: 1.3 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB and HIGH: 1/3 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB) and ([For RCR123A/16340 batteries] LOW: 0.62 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB and HIGH: 1/3 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB). The settings for both Standard & Flood Lens are the same for the corresponding batteries used.
Some pictures have been adjusted slightly to depict as close as to what is seen in real life. The distance of the light from the door is 4.6m.

Note: LOW mode is only available if the High-Low tailcap is used.

Standard Lens (CR123A battery)

Control shot:

LOW (15 lumens):

HIGH (415 lumens):

Flood Lens (CR123A battery)

Control shot:

LOW (15 lumens):

HIGH (415 lumens):

Standard Lens (RCR123A/16340 battery)

Control shot:

LOW:

HIGH:

Flood Lens (RCR123A/16340 battery)

Control shot:

LOW:

HIGH (415 lumens):

Mode (Output) Spacing

Mode spacing appears to be progressively brighter to the eye and the modes are well spaced enough to be able to know which mode one is currently in. With that in mind, TLR tend to view mode spacing as battery life indicators (amount of runtime left) rather than the specific output (lumens).

In most tactical lights, LEOs tend to prefer a simple HIGH-LOW interface, especially under duress. With that in mind, the output spacing is exactly as needed with a LOW of 15 lumens for up-close tasks and a substantially higher HIGH for situations such as room clearing.

The ability to use both CR123A and 3.7V RCR123A/16340 batteries is a nice welcome. However, do ensure to use rechargeable batteries only for non-mission-critical (not life-or-death situations) applications.

Tint & CRI

Elzetta did not disclose the tint (color temperature) and/or the CRI (Color Rendering Index) for the LEDs used in their light. For this light, a guesstimate would be in the 4500K and 80CRI ballpark. This is probably one of the few available neutral tint tactical flashlight, as cool white tint is predominantly used in tactical flashlights to get the maximum possible lumens.

However, due to the emitter used, there are tint shifts throughout the beam profile.

For the Standard Lens, the hotspot has a slight yellow tint whilst the corona possess a slight yellow-green tint; and the spill having a slight purple tint. This is however, not as noticeable in real life.
For the Flood Lens, the wide circular hotspot & corona has a slight yellow tint and the spill having a slight pinkish-purple tint. This is however, not as noticeable in real life.

Waterproofness

The light was subjected to warm water submersion, followed by cold water submersion and left under room temperature running water tap whilst running on HIGH.

No signs of water intrusion in the head, switches or body was seen.

For kicks, check out the underwater battery change video by Dave Barnett (Owner of Elzetta) HERE.

Lockout Capability

No electronic lockout but mechanical lockout is possible when needed, like during transportation in a bag.

A full turn (anti-clockwise) of the tail portion of the light will enable mechanical lockout.

Scale Comparison (Ruler)

Summary

To sum up, we believe that the most important part of any review is if given the chance to purchase the same light for our own EDC/usage or to gift to our loved ones out from one’s pocket (wallet), would we still do it?
For this light, it is an absolute YES, if the tint shift price is not an issue for your usage.

The flashlight’s extremely straightforward UI, ease of changing the UI by swapping tailcaps and the ability to have 2 different style of beam profiles by swapping lens optics are all plus points for this light.

Elzetta also claims to create “The Toughest Flashlights on the Planet” and while we aren’t equipped to do some of the destructive tests that is showcased on YouTube; click HERE to view our compiled playlist of Elzetta durability tests instead.

The Alpha does well for what its intended built purpose is and if you are in the market for a CQB or need a tactical backup flashlight option, this is definitely one option to consider. Yes, it definitely is one of the pricier gear/tool to get. But we are a firm believer of “buying once and crying once” for products that you can depend upon to always work, when you need it.

Here is a bonus size comparison with some of the other potential tactical backup flashlights that we recommend as well.
From Left to Right: Oveready TorchLAB BOSS 35, Elzetta Alpha & ASP Guardian AA DF.

As with all gears, two is one and one is none.

Stay safe,
The Lite Review


Disclaimer: Light was provided for by Elzetta (manufacturer) for this review. No other compensation was provided.


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Elzetta Alpha
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