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. Khaleeq says:

    Dear Robin,I’m desperate to get rechargeable Cr123 batteries and charger but the surefire CR123A charger is currently out of stock, could you please shed some light on the following alternate?
    http://www.amazon.com/Ultrafire-1000mAh-Rechargeable-Batteries-Charger/dp/B009LWFJVI/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
    Kindly mention any other better alternate if you could think of one.
    Regards Khaleeq

  2. Robin Wang says:

    Khaleeq,

    Those batteries are regular 3.7V lithium-ion batteries, not 3.2V lithium-phosphate, and we do not recommend UltraFire products because of inconsistent quality, which can be potentially unsafe.

    Even though Surefire says that the LFP123A batteries are out of stock, based on what we have heard, the website hasn’t been updated but the batteries should be in stock.

    You can also order the K2 Energy LFP123A batteries and charger kit direct from the manufacturer, but SureFire’s price is better. Here is the link:

    http://www.k2battery.com/

    Robin

  3. Simon Que says:

    Mag tac is nice,but I hope It could use AA batteries using an inverter that transforms it to 3.7V.

  4. travis says:

    Robin I been scroll all over place and website about the cr123 battery, if u say surefire k2 rechargeable is better, then could u tell me what is the mAh on it and how long it last on first full charge? That info would really be helpful, BC I look at that website that u recommend and it doesn’t show mAh. Thanks

  5. travis says:

    Oops I didnt see the last comment on the suggested website about the k2, I see now it used 600 mAh, just wish it would be alil higher than 600. Maybe 1200 or something like that.

  6. J says:

    Have one, love it! Got my crown bezel mag_tac off amazon for $55.00!

  7. George says:

    Hi Robin, may I know if you will have a review on the Surefire E2D Defender Ultra? And how would u compare to Maglite Mag Tac (Crowned Bezel)? Cheers. George.

  8. Robin Wang says:

    Hi George,

    Due to time constraints, I have decided to pass on the E2DL Ultra and will be reviewing the EB2 instead.

    The E2DL Ultra can’t really be compared to the MAG-TAC. From specifications to performance, it’s significantly better than the MAG-TAC, but it also costs 2 to 3 times more.

    Robin

  9. George says:

    Hi Robin, I see. Thanks a lot. George

  10. Claude Girard says:

    Can we use 2 batteries ultrafire 3.6V (16340) 1200mAh in a flashlight Maglite Mag-Tac? Because the flashlight Maglite Mag-Tac uses originally 2 batteries CR123A 3.0V….It is dangerous for the flahlight to use (16340) ultrafire 3.6V?
    Thank you

  11. Robin Wang says:

    Claude,

    UltraFire batteries are dangerous to begin with, regardless of what application, because the manufacturer is known for poor QC and repurposing used batteries. Most 123A lights are not designed to be used with 3.6V or 3.7V lithium-ion batteries if compatibility is not stated by the manufacturer.

    If you want to use rechargeable cells in the MAG-TAC, we recommend K2 Energy lithium-phosphate LFP123A as they are much safer than lithium-ion.

    Hope this helps.

    Robin

  12. Johnny says:

    Hi Robin. In your XL50 review, you mentioned standby drain and a new set of batteries being drained in about 3yrs. What kind of standby drain, and years to deplete are with the MagTac? Thanks…

  13. Robin Wang says:

    Johnny,

    We haven’t been able to test standby current in the MAG-TAC due to its design (harder to get a multimeter connected). I would expect it to either have none, or be similar to the XL-series. Given the higher capacity of 123A cells, it shouldn’t be an issue.

    Robin

  14. Felippe says:

    Is there any Rechargeable battery you guys recommend?

  15. Robin Wang says:

    Felippe,

    Lithium-phosphate LFP123A’s are the safest type of rechargeable 123A, and we’ve had great results with the batteries from K2 Energy.

    Robin

  16. Elek says:

    Hello!
    Will you be testing the MAG-TAC LED Rechargeable and the MagCharger LED anytime soon?

  17. Robin Wang says:

    Soon…

    Robin

  18. Chris Hilton says:

    I have been looking on amazon for the k2 energy batteries that you recommend and have found the batteries but not a charger for 3.2 volt batteries. What kind of charger do you use for your k2 energy batteries? I have a few chargers that are for 3.7 volt batteries. Will they work?

  19. Robin Wang says:

    Chris,

    You will need to use a lithium-phosphate charger. The 3.7V chargers are for lithium-ion, which will overcharge lithium-phosphate batteries and shorten their service life.

    I’m using the K2 Energy charger, which came with SureFire’s lithium-phosphate kit. You should be fine with the Tenergy lithium-phosphate charger as well.

    Robin

  20. Jason says:

    I can’t seem to find k2 rechargeables for this flashlight. Is there anything else you would recommend? I’ve seen a brand called tenenergy, it comes with batteries and s charger. Would that be any good for this maglite? I would like to find reliable batteries with a charger. Thanks.

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