Survival-Pax Blog: Product Review - 4Sevens Quark 123² Tactical

Friday, October 1, 2010

Product Review - 4Sevens Quark 123² Tactical

One of the brightest flashlights that 4Sevens offers, the Quark 123² Tactical, excels in many regards, not just in brightness. In this Product Review, we will be looking at this flashlight, looking at what it can and cannot do.

Starting with the most important feature of a flashlight, the brightness, the Quark 123² Tactical definitely delivers. With a maximum brightness of 230 lumens and 8 different lightning modes, this flashlight is very versatile in its lighting ability. The available modes with their respective brightnesses are: Moonlight (0.2 Lumens), Low (4 Lumens), Medium (22 Lumens), High (85 Lumens), Max (230 Lumens), Strobe (230 Lumens), Beacon (230 Lumens), S.O.S.

I am very pleased with the fact that this flashlight having a Moonlight mode. The reason that this mode being especially useful is that it gives you the ability to illuminate something at night, without destroying your night vision or compromising your position as easily. The super bright Max modes provides a substantial amount of light, great for illuminating a larger area.

Quark 123² Tactical by 4Sevens.
It is powered by a premium Cree XP-G R5 LED that should never burn out. flashlight technology really is getting amazing with the super-bright LED's that are not available. This light is powered by 2 CR123 batteries. CR123 batteries, for those who do not know, are generally lithium cells that output 3.0V as opposed to the standard 1.5V that AA batteries give out. They are a personal favorite of mine for flashlights since they output double the voltage of a AA battery, giving you brighter flashlights for the size and weight. For those who want even more technical information, the voltage range of the flashlight is from 3.0V to 9.0V.

The reflector on the Quark 123² Tactical is textured to give a smooth beam pattern with no artifacts that I could see. The only downside of a textured reflector is that your throw (distance beam is projected) is lessened. For a flashlight that has plenty of throw, a good choice would be the Quark 123² Turbo, which has a smooth reflector.

The Quark 123² Tactical is turned on and off with a tailcap switch. The flashlight memorizes only two of the 8 possible modes and those modes are changed by tightening or loosening the head. If you tighten the head down all the way, you are in the first setting. If you loosen it, you are in the second setting. It's simple.

Changing the memorized settings on the light is also very simple. You have to turn the flashlight on. Then tighten the flashlight head all the way and quickly loosen and tighten the head 4 times. The light will switch to "programming mode" in which it will turn dim. Choose the setting that you want to program by tightening the head, either the first or second. Then the light will flash and you will be able to cycle through the different modes by clicking the tailcap on and off quickly.

The mode sequence is: Moonlight » Low » Medium » High » Max » S.O.S. » Strobe » Beacon

After choosing the appropriate mode, leave the light at that mode for 10 seconds. The light will then flash, and the setting will be assigned to the mode that you chose.

Now, what makes this light tactical?

The textured reflector gives a smooth beam pattern.
The reason that this flashlight is called tactical, as opposed to the regular Quark 123², is the "momentary on" feature that this light has. More intended for defensive use, this feature enables you to quickly turn the flashlight on by tapping the tailcap switch.

A possible scenario where the "momentary on" feature would be useful could be: You are walking down a dark street one night and a large, drunk man comes up to you, trying to start a fight. You, being aware of your surroundings, noticed him coming, so you already had the flashlight discreetly held in your hand. As you see the situation escalate, you know that your best bet is to run away. You quickly flash your light in the attacker's eyes, temporarily blinding him. Then, you quickly turn around and run away. Your flashlight just gave you the necessary distraction to run away to safety. When you get to a safe location, you call the police and they come and arrest the attacker. Nobody got hurt, all thanks to your quick thinking and your flashlight.

Now, I know that this specific story is not real, but I have heard of many such stories. Having a tactical flashlight with a "momentary-on" feature can be a really good thing, especially in a situation where you would need to defend yourself. For those questioning the defensive use of a flashlight, ask a friend to flash a light in your eyes. then quickly running away. See how long it takes you to regain your vision in order to chase them, and how much distance they covered in that time. This should show you first-hand the effectiveness of a flashlight at night.

The tailcap on the Quark 123² Tactical has a "momentary on" feature.
Was that a sidetrack? If it was, I hope you learned something from it. I really meant to make this blog post kinda short, but I guess it's turning out to be pretty long. Well, that's ok. I wanted to give you guys a good in-depth review and this post is shaping out to be just that.

Moving onward to the dimensions of the Quark 123² Tactical. It is 4.6" long and 0.87" in diameter. This is a very functional size, large enough to be gripped, but small enough to be carried comfortably in a pocket or pouch. The flashlight weighs in at 1.6 oz without batteries and at 2.8 oz with the included 4Sevens CR123 lithium cells. I must say that the size and weight of this flashlight is excellent, good enough to make this light part of your every day carry (EDC) gear.

The flashlight body is made out of T-6061 aircraft-grade aluminum and is type III hard anodized in a black finish. Although I have not tested the durability of the finish, from looking it over, it seems to be a very high quality finish that should last for a long time. I should also add that the threads on the body/tailcap/head are squared, which, according to 4Sevens, makes for much smoother and longer lasting threads. It is true that unscrewing the head and tailcap is very smooth.

The included pocket clip on the Quark 123² Tactical is reversable/removable. The way that the clip faces, either towards the head or towards the tail, can be easily switched or the clip can be taken off altogether. I was actually wondering how the clip is reversable until I sat down and tried it. The idea is so simple that I should have thought of it right away. To reverse the clip, you do nothing to the clip at all, you just unscrew the head and the tailcap and switch them. Once screwed back in, the way that the pocket clip faces is reversed. To remove the clip, just unscrew the tail, unscrew the ring that holds the pocket clip in and pull off the clip. Then, put the ring and tail back on and Voila!, no more pocket clip!

One of the neat features of the pocket clip is the ability to be clipped onto a cap for hands-free lighting. To do this, you have to reverse the clip so that it faces away from the flashlight head. Then, just clip it to the brim of a cap and you're good to go.

The Quark 123² Tactical can be used hands-free with a cap.
The pocket clip holds the light in a pocket securely and tightly. The knurling on the flashlight aids to the retention of the light in a pocket. While on the topic of knurling, I should make a comment about it. This flashlight has knurling almost everywhere. When designing the Quark 123² Tactical, 4Sevens really tried hard to make sure that flashlight would not fall out of your hand during use. In my opinion, they did a good job. For those that do not like pocket clips, the flashlight comes with a lanyard and a carry pouch for alternative carrying options.

What else can I say about the light?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The Quark 123² Tactical is waterproof to IPX-8 standards, which means waterproof to 10 meters for 30 minutes. Not to say that you ever will go swimming with your light, but you could. I haven't tested these flashlights at 10 meters but I bet that they could even withstand going down further and for longer than 30 minutes.

So that wraps up my review of the Quark 123² Tactical. It's really a great light for the size, weight and price. To some, the price might seem expensive, but quality often costs a little bit of money. For the price, it is hard to find something better. Besides, this flashlight is warranted against defects for 10 years by 4Sevens. It's hard to beat a reputation like that.

Take care, guys!
Simon - Survival-Pax Team Member

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