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Review of the 4Sevens Maelstrom S18 Tactical Flashlight

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When I think of a tactical flashlight, I automatically think of a flashlight designed to be used in a defensive role with a firearm.  But it’s important to remember while many consumers want a flashlight that can function in a tactical/self-defensive role, not everyone wants one to be used in conjunction with a firearm.  I believe that it is this type of a consumer who will most benefit from one of 4Seven’s latest flashlight offerings – the Maelstrom S18.

Looking at the photograph above, you may not initially understand what’s different about the Maelstrom S18.  It’s not until you see the S18 next to another more typically sized LED flashlight that you grasp how truly massive the Maelstrom S18 really is – in this photograph, the S18 is photographed next to the Fenix TK12:

The Maelstrom S18 is 9.3″ long and weighs in at 23.8 oz.  Here’s a photo of the S18’s massive 2.48″ diameter bezel.  Also visible is the PhlatLight SST-90 LED emitter used in the Maelstrom S18:

With dimensions like these, the Maelstrom S18 is a bit unwieldy to use in conjunction with a handgun in a traditional way, such as the Harries Technique.  Instead, where I think the Maelstrom S18 shines (pardon the pun) is for a user who is not otherwise armed.  There are plenty of people who choose not to use a firearm for self-defense, as well as individuals who for various reasons cannot use a firearm in their environment.  For example, many security guards are not allowed to use firearms for liability reasons.  So a flashlight that doubles as an offensive weapon , much like the old Maglites that law enforcement and security personnel used to carry  before the advent of smaller LED flashlights, could be very desirable to many.  And believe me, the club-like Maelstrom S18 would deliver potentially lethal results against an assailant depending on where are how hard they were struck.

The Maelstrom S18 has five output settings – a low setting of 80 lumens, a medium setting of 400 lumens, and a high setting with an unprecedented 1200 lumens of output.  Additionally, the light has both an SOS and a strobe setting.  In low mode, the Maelstrom S18 has a maximum run time of 17.5 hours.  The various output settings are accessed by rotating the tail cap into one of five different positions denoted by corresponding icons – a refreshingly easy to use interface:

The pressure button on the end of the tail cap has both “instant on” functionality with a light press, or will “click” and stay on with a firm press.

As you can imagine, a flashlight with such awe-inspiring output is power hungry – a couple of CR123 batteries (all that’s required for most LED flashlights) just won’t cut it.  So 4Sevens has designed a new “power core” which combines the power of six CR123 batteries:

As a supplement to this photo review, I’ve also recorded some video footage of the 4Sevens Maelstrom S18, which includes some beam tests:

Kudos to 4Sevens on the Maelstrom S18 – another fantastic LED flashlight which is designed for very specific purposes.  True, flashlight enthusiasts will be attracted to the Maelstrom S18 for the pure novelty of a 1200 lumen output – it’s impressive to say the least.  But Maelstrom S18 has considerable application for police, military, and security personnel, as well as citizens looking for a tool which combines unparalleled illumination with club-like defensive capabilities.  Class leading performance is never cheap however – the retail price of the 4Sevens Maelstrom S18 is$259.00 USD.

 

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

  1. Can we use 3×17670 on this light? 6 X CR/RCR123 is too many batteries for me to use on a flashlight.

  2. Check with 4Sevens – they provided me no alternative way to power the light for my 3 week evaluation.

  3. I bought the light in August 2011 and also bought the Li-ion rechargeable batteries for it. Based on the date of your report they must have had the rechargeable option in the pipeline at the time.

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