Maglite MAG-TAC LED Flashlight Review

Designed in collaboration with the U.S. Military, the Maglite MAG-TAC LED flashlight is a new rugged tactical flashlight from Mag Instrument. This performance-oriented derivative of the XL-series is the first Maglite to use high performance lithium 123A batteries, resulting in a compact flashlight that produces more than 300 lumens and lasts four hours on one set of batteries. Let’s take a closer look at Maglite’s first lithium 123A tactical flashlight and see how it stacks up against the competition.

Key Specifications

  • Output: 310 lumens high (plain bezel), 320 lumens high (crowned bezel), 45 lumens low (plain bezel only)
  • Intensity: 8,300 candela (plain bezel), 9,300 candela (crowned bezel)
  • Runtime: 4h high, 17h low (plain bezel only)
  • Battery: 2 x 123A
  • Length: 5.2″ (plain bezel), 5.3″ (crowned bezel)
  • Diameter: 1.05″
  • Weight with Batteries: 4.8 oz.
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime with $10 Handling Fee
  • MSRP: $64.99-$74.99 (plain bezel), $79.99-$84.99 (crowned bezel)
  • Actual Pricing: ~$80

Pricing & Contents

MSRP for the MAG-TAC ranges from $64.99 to $74.99 for the plain bezel model, and $79.99 to $84.99 for the crowned bezel model. Both models are available in several colors, including Black, Coyote Tan, Foliage Green, and Urban Gray.

Included in the blister packaging are: Maglite MAG-TAC, 2 x 123A lithium batteries, pocket clip, hex wrench, and user manual.

Batteries

In a departure from the alkaline batteries that Maglite typically uses, two 123A lithium batteries power the MAG-TAC. These 3V lithium batteries, which are commonly used in tactical flashlights, have twice the voltage of alkaline batteries and provide better high-drain performance.

Lithium batteries have higher energy density than regular batteries, so low-quality or counterfeit batteries can be dangerous to use. We recommend using only quality lithium batteries from Duracell, Energizer, and Panasonic.

The Light

As a variant of the XL-series, the MAG-TAC has similar dimensions to the XL200. Overall length is slightly longer to accommodate the 123A batteries, and for maximum durability, the aluminum body is type-III anodized with a matte finish.

Head
Behind the bezel is a polycarbonate window and smooth plastic reflector.

Here we can see the difference between the plain and crowned bezels; the crowned bezel protrudes by an additional 0.1” and is slightly tapered.

Body
Styling of the MAG-TAC is more aggressive than the XL-series, and the grenade-grip knurling along the body is smooth and easy to grip.

Tail Cap
Smooth black rubber covers the electronic tail switch, which is flat and shrouded to prevent accidental activation.

Function Sets

In addition to cosmetic differences, the plain and crowned models also have different function sets.

Momentary/High/Low (Plain Bezel)
Click once for momentary-on, click twice for constant-on, and click three times for low.

Momentary/High/Strobe (Crowned Bezel)
Click once for momentary-on, click twice for constant-on, and click three times for strobe.

Modes

Both models use the Quick Click user interface to select from three modes.

Momentary
Press and hold the switch for maximum output. When the switch is released, the light turns off.

High
With two clicks, maximum output of 310 lumens (plain) or 320 lumens (crowned) is activated.

Low
With three clicks for the plain bezel version, reduced power output of 45 lumens is activated.

Strobe
With three clicks for the crowned bezel version, the 12Hz strobe is activated.

To turn off the MAG-TAC, click the switch once.

Performance

Using a Cree XP-G LED, the MAG-TAC has a maximum output of 320 lumens. The MAG-TAC uses the same LED and reflector as the XL200, resulting in a similar beam profile that is smooth and focused with a well-defined hotspot.

 

Runtime

If you haven’t read our article about runtime graphs and the ANSI FL1 Standard, please click here.

Both models use gradual step-down regulation over the first half hour of runtime, reducing heat and extending battery life. Rechargeable lithium-iron phosphate 123A’s can also be used, which provide approximately one hour of regulated runtime.

Accessories

Included with the MAG-TAC is a pocket clip, which is secured using a plastic cam lock.

Conclusion

Although many lights now offer user-programmable function sets, including Maglite’s ML-series, this feature was not carried over to the MAG-TAC. Instead, the MAG-TAC’s bezel style determines which pre-programmed function set you’ll get. For most users, having a lower output mode would be more practical than strobe, so we would recommend the plain bezel model unless there is a specific need for either the crowned bezel or strobe mode.

In the highly competitive tactical flashlight segment, the Maglite MAG-TAC stands well among the competition. As LED technology advances, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers, but there’s more to a flashlight than just output. While the MAG-TAC may not have as much output as the latest ultra-high output lights with Cree’s XM-L LED, the Cree XP-G LED allows the MAG-TAC to have a more compact design with a 1” bezel.


Pros Cons
  • Maximum output of 320 lumens
  • Multi-mode operation
  • Plain or crowned bezel
  • Removable pocket clip
  • Smooth beam pattern
  • Lifetime warranty
  • No user-programmable function sets
  • Requires two clicks for constant-on

Related Links

Maglite MAG-TAC (Plain Bezel) Product Page

Maglite MAG-TAC (Crowned Bezel) Product Page

80 Responses

  1. Jason says:

    Typo:
    the brand is Tenergy

  2. Robin Wang says:

    Jason,

    I wouldn’t recommend Tenergy because of quality issues.

    Robin

  3. Jason says:

    Thanks, I’m glad I didn’t, the deal seemed too good. What would you recommend?

  4. Robin Wang says:

    Jason,

    I haven’t been able to find better lithium-phosphate 123As than the K2 Energy LFP123A. You can get them from SureFire or direct from K2 Energy (http://www.k2battery.com). House Of Batteries (http://www.houseofbatteries.com) supplies SureFire, but I’m not sure if they have minimum quantity requirements.

    I got my charger kit from SureFire and additional batteries from K2 Energy.

    Robin

  5. Jason says:

    Thank you!

  6. Kyle Gullicksrud says:

    Can the beam bee focused on the Mag-tac series? It would be a nice to use with a green filter for coyote hunting. When aligned with my scope, I want to be able to adjust a calumniator to get the beam to stay in my field of view when looking through the scope at different magnifications.

  7. Robin Wang says:

    Kyle,

    The beam is already focused, but you can unfocus it by unscrewing the bezel. It’s not possible to make it more focused, since this is a limitation of the reflector’s size.

    Robin

  8. TJMBEAR says:

    I HAVE OWNED TWO MAG TACS WITH CROWNED BEZEL FOR 4 TO 6 MONTHS. IT HAS PERFORMED WELL. I ALSO OWN TWO MAGLITE XL50’S.
    THE MAG TAC WITH CROWNED BEZEL SEEMS REALLY MADE TO BE USED AS A TACTICAL LIGHT. IF YOU ARE HUNTING OR CARRY A FIREARM FOR SELF DEFENSE, SOMETIMES YOU JUST WANT A SHORT BURST TO ILLUMINATE A TARGET OR IDENTIFY TERRAIN AHEAD. THE CROWNED BEZEL IS, I BELIEVE, DESIGNED FOR SELF DEFENSE. THE STROBE CAN BE USED TO MOMENTARILY DISORIENT AN ATTACKER, HELP A SEARCH PARTY TO FIND YOU OR MAKE YOU MORE VISIBLE ON A LONELY ROAD IF YOU ARE FORCED TO LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE.
    THE CLIP SEEMS STURDY ENOUGH AND IT KEEPS THE LIGHT FROM ROLLING ON A FLAT SURFACE. THE XL50 IS MORE OF A CONSUMER LIGHT FOR HOME OR CAR. IT HAS EXTENDED RUN TIME ON LOW BEAM AND OPERATES ON INEXPENSIVE AAA BATTERIES.

  9. xxo says:

    I have a Mag Tac and I love it.

    I only wish they had made it comparable with two 3.7V RGR123s or a 17870 lithium Ion batt and designed it to be weapon mountable.

    A couple programmable function sets might be nice too, but only if they did not compromise reliability or drive the price up too much ( I probably would only use the momentary/full/power saver set that it has now anyway, but its always good to have options).

  10. RIGO MONDRAGON says:

    Great review, but the question I have is concerning the momentary mode Ive noticed the batteries are running low on power and now all I am able to use on my maglite is momentary. Would the low battery power be causing this or has my tail cap dumped on me? FYI I have not tried to swap the batteries yet but I havent had any luck finding info on this and I just really want to know. Any help is welcomed.

  11. Robin Wang says:

    Rigo,

    Try swapping the batteries first. Without having done that, it’s hard to say.

    Robin

  12. Adam says:

    By the time I have pressed the switch 3 times you could be in trouble I own 2x lenser m7 and 2x magtac crowned the lenser seems brighter than the magtac and when the lenser is on press it once and it’s in strobe mode magtac let’s keep pressing and get shot lol

  13. Bill says:

    Hey Robin, between the Mag-Tac & the Surefire G2x pro, which would you recommend?

  14. KZ says:

    G2X Pro is better because firstly, it is a Surefire which means it is more robust. Second, it has an amazing neutral tint since it uses the Nichia LED. Third, interface is simple, low and high mode. Fourth, regulation is more flat than the Mag-Tac.

    I have the Surefire G2X Pro (320 lumens) and I do not regret it.

  15. Ken says:

    Have purchased a MAG-TAC LED about a year ago; have limited use (less than 30 minutes) since the switch has malfunctiioned; light will not stay on or strobe. It requires me to continuously depress the switch..otherwise it won’t stay on. Where can I send to get a replacement switch? The mfg. says it was made in Ontario, Canada.

  16. Robin Wang says:

    Ken,

    Maglite is located in Ontario, California (not Canada). Give their warranty department a call and see if you need to send the light to them or if they can just send you a replacement switch.

    Robin

  17. Khaleeq says:

    Dear Robin Wang, can I use a single rechargeable 18650 battery in my magtac? will there be insertion issues due to bore size of the magtac? If I can, what brand battery would you recommend?

  18. Robin Wang says:

    Khaleeq,

    You would not be able to use an 18650 without boring the light. Even then, I’m not sure if the light will work on 3.7V.

    Robin

  19. applepro says:

    Do you have test any RCR123A?

  20. Danjelico St.Havoc says:

    Not a comment,but more of a question; can a remote pressure tail cap switch be used on the Mag-Tac LED? If so, which one or who makes it? I’ve modified my Tac and mounted it on a PSE FANG crossbow, now I would like to get a remote pressure tail cap to finish the project off…any help would be greatly appreciated thanks

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