Your EDC system needs a flashlight!
Nutnfancy turned me onto the FOURSEVENS [Quark] Mini-123 almost 5 years ago – thanks Nutn! After watching his in-depth review – grab a drink, a snack, get comfortable and check this out– I promptly bought four Mini-123’s of the CR123A variety. I handed three out to family members, and kept one that lived, completely unnoticed, on my key chain as part of my EDC kit. For a long time, I considered the FOURSEVENS Mini-123 THE PERFECT EDC Key-Chain light.
Capability & Value
Back in 2010, with a street price of around $32, the FOURSEVENS Quark Mini-123, (as it was then called), was hands-down the highest quality, brightest, smallest, lightest flashlights for the money. You got CREE emitters that threw ~200 lumens, and seven different operating modes in a 2-inch, roughly 1/2 ounce (0.6oz) package – all for $32 dollars?! If you’ve ever owned the once revered 3-cell D battery, incandescent MAG-LITE, which pushes less than 1/4 of the lumens (~46), at an exponential of the size and weight, for about even money, you’ll realize how, five years ago, that was absolutely incredible. (No, the Mini-123 doesn’t double as an emergency defensive weapon the way the MAG-LITE does, but there are better tools for that purpose than a flashlight…)
Fast forward 5 years to 2015, and while there are now more competitive options, courtesy of companies like Fenix, ThruNite and EAGTAC, everything stated above about the FOURSEVENS Mini-123 still holds true, even the price point, though their ML-X pushes 252 lumen.
Durability & Use
I value my money, so when it comes to making purchase decisions, I do significant research and tend to buy the best choice I can afford. I’d rather buy quality once than end up spending more in the long run by replacing cheap alternatives, and I take care of my things. However, that doesn’t mean I baby my stuff; certainly not the stuff in my EDC, which must be tough and reliable. My EDC gear has to hold up. It’s gotta work when it’s needed. It’s gonna get used often, and used hard, in less than ideal conditions. If it’s something that goes on my key chain, it’s gonna get thrown around regularly, and probably dropped a number of times.
Of the four Mini-123’s I purchased, one stopped working for no discernible reason, and had to be sent back for replacement, which FOURSEVENS did without issue, and speaks to their excellent customer service. Honestly, the four Mini-123’s I’ve had for about the last five years have served me, and my family very well. While there is a shelf-life for LED lights, we’ve certainly all gotten $32 worth from the Mini-123.
However, there is one Fatal Design Flaw with the FOURSEVENS Mini-123. David Chow please take note. There’s not enough material supporting the split-ring attachment point, and that split-ring is what keeps the Mini-123 on your lanyard, or key-chain, making it an extremely important component. Well, after years of Every Day Carry, the very thin and narrow, relatively soft aluminum split-ring attachment point busted on 2 of the lights and is close to breaking on a third. Luckily, the two that broke were recovered, but they no longer work as an EDC key-chain light, which is where the Mini-123 excels.
What am I replacing it with? Will it be another Mini-123, or perhaps something different?
Honestly, it took roughly 3-1/2 – 4 years of Every Day Carry, and frequent use for my Mini-123 to break. Again, it lived on my key chain and certainly wasn’t babied. I ABSOLUTELY got my money’s worth! The FOURSEVENS Mini 123 remains an extremely High-Value for the money, especially given the size, weight and capability. I highly recommend the FOURSEVENS Mini-123 for anyone in my audience looking for a great EDC flashlight.
I would happily get another FOURSEVENS Mini-123 for key-chain EDC. That said, I’m a gear reviewer. I’ve “been there, and done that” with the Mini-123. For me, and largely to help you decide how best to spend your money, it might be time try a different option.
So, what, if any, are the competitive options?
Of all the alternatives I considered, the Eagle Tac D25C Clicky is the one that caught my eye. The D25C Clicky offers 453 lumens, also from CREE emitters, seven similar modes, a stainless steel bezel (for possible defensive use), and significantly more material supporting the split-ring – but at a price. The EAGTAC D25C Clicky is almost a full inch longer, almost double the weight (1oz), and at $55, it costs roughly 72% more.
Is the EagelTac D25C Clicky worth the added length, weight, size and money over the FOURSEVENS Mini-123? Will it integrate as well into my EDC, and live as unnoticed on my key chain? Time will tell, so stay tuned and look for a future update on EDC key chain flashlights.
Be Aware! Be Prepared! Be Safe!
© 2015 Inside The X Ring.