Review: Fenix LD10

On the advice of Brillianter, I thought I’d give another flashlight a try.  I had been known to carry around a Surefire 6P.  The 6P was certainly bright enough, but too bulky to be carried anywhere other than on the belt.  Not too long ago the bulb on my 6P blew out, and I wasn’t all that motivated to get another one (especially considering the bulb costs almost as much as a new flashlight).  Here are some problems I had with the 6P:

  • Too big to be carried in a pocket.
  • Takes lithium batteries that are expensive, and tougher to find.
  • Prone to switching on, which if it happens in a case will melt plastic or nylon, and possibly burn you.  For mine, by the time I thought to myself “What’s the burning smell?,” there was already a large hole burnt in the top of the nylon.
  • Battery life is measured in minutes, but the unit can’t be operated for more than ten minutes anyway before the bulb gets too hot.

So when I saw Brillianter’s post on flashlights, I thought I’d order one and give the Fenix LD10 a try.  It’s a very nice light.  It puts out a lot of light for a single AA battery, as much as the 6P really, and has a much higher run time off that battery than a 6P gets off its battery.  Let’s go over the pros:

  • Small enough to fit in a pocket.  In fact, it can be carried comfortably in a pocket riding along side a pocket holster, without interfering with the draw of a pistol or the light.
  • Light output is very good.
  • The LED light allows for a strobing “dazzle” feature.
  • Takes a single AA battery
  • Run time is considerably longer than Xenon lamp bulbs

The Cons:

  • Still prone to switching itself on, but the LED puts out little heat, and doesn’t drain the battery as quickly.  You can prevent the unit from switching on by loosening the cap, but then you need two hands to make it operate.
  • The output adjustment by twisting the bezel is a little awkward.
  • Nylon belt holster it comes with is so tight, and makes drawing so hard, as to be useless.  But pocket carry is a better option with this light anyway.
  • Could really use a pocket clip to help facilitate pocket carry.

I’m happy to have tried this, since I find having a flashlight on me to be quite handy, and while I never really missed keeping a 6P on my belt, I did miss the convenience of having a flashlight that I could easily carry around.  Like my Leatherman, it comes in handy quite often.

19 thoughts on “Review: Fenix LD10”

  1. To be fair, the LED module for the 6P fixed a few of the complaints you had with it, but it is still a rather large flashlight that takes funny batteries.

    Of course, now that I have flashlights and weaponlights and whatnot all using that funky-arsed battery, I am kind of stuck :).

  2. The 6p I have doesn’t click-on. The tailcap button is temporary on, twist for full. I’ve never had it turn on accidentally.

    I did replace the xenon bulb with an LED module. Nearly as bright and batteries last a hell of a lot longer.

    I’m a bit puzzled by the focus on pocket-carry. I find it difficult to carry anything I want to produce quickly in my pockets. Hell, I even carry my keys on a belt-clip. Additionally, with money, cards, bandanna, lip balm, and swiss army knife already in my pockets, I don’t really have room for a light. I don’t carry anything in the back pockets because I spend much of the day sitting.

    I made a kydex holster for the light. I didn’t like the supplied carrier.

  3. I’m shocked that people who carry pistols don’t also carry flashlights.

    I ALWAYS have at least one on my person and one in my EDC bag. However, if I am in cargo pants of any kind, I will be carrying at least 2.

    In reading the blogs from the firemen who survived 9/11, they almost all talk about how dark the stairways and inside corridors were, and how people inevitably flocked to their lights.

    I can’t recall how many times I have handed flashlights to people at nighttime car accidents, etc.

    The technology has exploded recently, with tiny lights producing 2 or 3 times the light that a 3 cell Maglite produced 10 years ago.

    If you can’t find a pocketable light now, you need to assess what you are carrying that you don’t really need.

    There is a better place to bu Fenix lights online, also:

    Good luck!

  4. I just checked their website, they are now available with a pocket-clip. I’m thinking of buying one to replace my 6P.

  5. My 6P does not stay on, but I’ve sat down and had something hit the button. I didn’t notice until I smelled something burning. I’ve also had it twist on because I didn’t twist off quite far enough.

  6. As for Fenix LD10 “switching itself on” I think it should “automatically switche itself off” after a few minutes but it is still a nuisance you could do without. Overall the Fenix flashlights are extremely handy and affordable.

  7. I’ve found the SureFire E2D very easy to carry, as it clips inside pocket, & is not as bulky as the 6P, & is now being offered in LED, as backup I carry an E2, same light with out the strike bezels fore & aft.
    Of course my “normal” dress is some type of tactical pant, I also carry an NRA SureFire combatlight in the left leg pocket.
    As to the batteries I buy a couple dozen at a time, they have great shelf life, & I store them in the fridge.

  8. How even is the beam compared to the Surefire? One of the things Iike most about my Z2 is that it gives me a white spot without dark spots anywhere.

  9. It’s a much whiter light, which you’d expect from an LCD. Strong center beam, with a softer, wider beam around it. It’s very bright looking at it. At least as blinding as the Surefire, plus it has a dazzle option you won’t get with a Xenon lamp flashlight.

  10. Looked at one these at a local gun show,and thought they were neat little lights, but didn’t known much about them. Thanks for the review, I might take a second look at these lights to replace my G2 or E2 lights, which use expensive CR123 batteries.

  11. Another issue I’ve found with any multi-battery light using 123s is that, as the batteries age, some will lose charge faster than others. I have found this with SureFires, Streamlights, and Duracells.

    I discarded several before thinking to check the batteries with a meter. Without fail, one would be discharged, and one would still be good.

    Fenix seems to make some good lights. For me, the future is AA lights, rechargeable conversions for my SureFires, and possibly single-battery 123 lights.

  12. Sorry guys, but the future is Lithium (in some form) powered lights for multiple reasons, not the least being the denser power output of lithium cells, and their much longer shelf life. The Energizer AA, AAA lithiums are a good start, but with only one manufacturer, it is hard for the flashlight world to jump on board that train, and Energizer owns the patent on the formulation that allows the 1.5 volt outputs.

    123 cells aren’t that expensive bought in bulk, there are plenty of $1.25 cells if you look around.

    Lithium rechargeables are probably the future, but the form factor has created some issues so far. That will change, and is changing, but for now we’re a little stuck. The LED technology is changing much faster than anyone forecast, so maybe the battery world will catch up soon.

    Yes, they are more expensive, but for lights left in drawers for years, they are a much better option!

    Beaumont, the Lithium cells are famous for showing a surface charge of 3+ volts, but dying as soon as a good load is placed on them, and it typically happens in multicell lights that one cell is completely discharged, while the other cell(s) show good. They aren’t really, but they look good on a voltmeter.

  13. My problem with the 123 cells is you’re automatically looking at a larger flashlight to accommodate the greater diameter of the battery.

  14. Sebastian,

    No doubt, but compare the 123 diameter to a C/D cell, and it seems puny!

    The AAA Fenix light is an ideal size for a pocket light, finally something in the same form factor as the Maglite solitaire, but with decent output!

    The limiting factor for smaller lights has always been the batteries, AA/AAA cells are limited to 1.5 volts, and until the advent of the LED they just couldn’t get it done. Now with boost circuitry, a single 1.5 volt cell can be boosted to produce 3 volts, and the world has opened up in that regard. Run time isn’t what the 123 can provide, but it’s like a handgun. (You use a handgun to fight your way to a rifle. You use a pocket light to find a bigger flashlight!)

  15. Definitely true. Of course, there were some advantages to the old multiple D battery mag lights. Back when I was in college, before I had guns or a license to carry, I carried a big old mag light in my vehicle. No cop could give you crap for carrying a flashlight in your car, and the aluminum body, combined with the weight of the batteries, would have cracked a skull pretty easily if it needed to come to that.

  16. I have used rechargeable AAs in LED lights since the first weak LED models came out about 8 years ago. I have a LOT of rechargeable AAs, and about 6 chargers. About 5 different manufacturers for the cells, and three different for the chargers.

    I’m now finding sudden failures in my inventory of rechargeable cells. Two from UniRoss (2000 mah) and one from X1 (2400 mah). I recharge all my cells once a month, and have noticed all three duds when putting freshly-charged cells into various equipment, which then does not work. The dud cells are either internally shorted or open.

    I’m still using mini-mags for pocket lights (not weapon lights), and full-size 4-cell Mag Lites with a 5W Led conversion (Luxeon Star 2G).

    As a survivalist person, I’m more interested in longevity of the light for general work than lighting up a target (which I will do with large 12-volt rechargeable H4 spotlights so as to be able to reach out to the max range of my rifle). I’m not interested in CQB with lighted weapons. If I have to engage in CQB, I’ll do it in the dark, giving ME the advantage over the enemy who lights off a flashlight or uses night sights. Yes, I DO practice sneaking up on an unmanned night-sighted pistol in total darkness….

  17. Multi C/D cell lights have their uses-they definitely make good clubs, if not good flashlights!

    Rvrdog, those would be NiMH cells, correct? If you have “lots” of cells and only have had that many fail, consider yourself lucky. My failure rate runs 1/8-10 cells. Essentially all NiMH cells are made in Taiwan, China, or Japan. QC in Taiwan and China sucks, (China makes the vast majority, with Japan number 2 last time I checked0 and NiMH cells are borderline stable when it comes to lifetime when made under very good QC. I’ve spent the last 4+ years, thousands of dollars out of pocket, and living through one nightmare after another because of that quality control and a project I took on. I will never take on a project which relies on Chinese made product again. Unfortunately, there are no US made batteries.

    The only NiMH cells worth buying for everyday use are the newer Sanyo Eneloop cells, which are still made in Japan, (unless that has changed). They hold their charge for much longer, and are much more stable.

    There are a few high discharge applications where the Eneloops don’t work, and specialty high discharge NiMH cells must be used, but so far as I can find, ALL of those are made in China and have very iffy QC. 1 out of 4-5 is probably and exceptionally LOW failure rate for those cells.

    Fortunately, the Energizer Lithium cells are very well made, and I have remotes that have had them in them for 3-4 years without replacement.

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