I have a penchant for snagging things I don’t need, which meet the criteria for things I like. I like brass triples. This light by VenomDD wasn’t even on my radar, but I found a great price on a copy, so I snagged it. (Thanks for pointing me to it, u/emarkd!)
Yes, this is another triple. Another brass triple. Does it cut the mustard? Read on to find out!
That’s a link to where the listing used to live. It’s been taken down, because it seems the maker has stopped making this light.
There are a number of versions available. Since the listing is down, I have to go from memory. I think there were aluminum, brass, and titanium, and possibly copper available. I think there were a number of emitter choices too (Nichia 219c and Cree XP-L HI). And two kelvins: 4000K and 5000K. What I have is the brass Nichia 219c version, in 4000K.
Price and Coupon
I believe this retailed for $325, with Titanium being more expensive, and aluminum possibly being less. There is no coupon (there are no new sales!)
I really like this light. It will not replace my brass BOSS for this type carry, but it likely will replace my other H17f driver light, as my only H17f light. This is the second lightest brass 18350 I own (second to the BOSS).
The Big Table
|Venom Orion (Brass, H17f)|
|Emitter:||Nichia 219c (4000K)|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$325.00|
|Turbo Runtime||High Runtime|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||–|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||850|
|Claimed Throw (m)||–|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||176lux @ 4.756m = 3981cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||126.2|
|All my Venom reviews!|
- Standard measurement disclaimer: I am an amateur flashlight reviewer. I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment. I test output and such in PVC tubes!! Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).
- Venom Defense & Design Brass Orion
- Certificate of Authenticity
Package and Manual
I received this light from the used market, but I did get the whole package. Like many makers in this category, the light just ships in a small Priority box. The only thing that comes with the light is this COA.
This is a very simple COA. Stamped or printed, with all the possible options (though I don’t know that 18650 or 16340 were ever actually made?)
There is no manual.
Build Quality and Disassembly
On the outside, this light is very nice. I love the design, and I like how small overall the light is.
The ridges are different and interesting, but don’t provide all that much grip. There are no markings on the light; the only thing to distinguish one side from the other is the clip.
Here’s the light broken down. The threads are surprisingly fine, and while it looks like there’s a nice ramp on the threads to make screwing the head on, there isn’t. This is my single complaint with the light. And it’s unfair since I got it used – maybe it doesn’t come from Venom DD this way. But I have the hardest time getting the threads started to put this light together. The worst time of any light I can ever think of. Once it goes, though, it’s very smooth.
The tail has a spring, and the head has a brass button. Notice that the pill is solid copper. And that’s why this light is heavier than the BOSS – there’s a lot of copper there. If this pill was aluminum (and I don’t think that’d be a bad choice) then this would likely be the lightest brass 18350 available (which would be great!)
The threads, I just can’t get over how hard a time I have starting the threads. It’s very possible that the previous owner mangled them a little. But they do look fine.
Here are a few quick and dirty pill shots.
There’s a glass lens over the optic, and an o-ring over that.
Size and Comps
I measure this light at 84.5mm long, and 25mm wide.
Similar in diameter to the Convoy S2+, but shorter.
Retention and Carry
The only means to carry the Orion is the pocket clip, which comes installed. It’s held in place by two hex screws. This is really an unusual clip, in that it’s textured, has some big cutouts, and quite frankly, doesn’t really match the light all that well. The threads are my only complaint, but if I was picking and choosing, I’d pick a different clip. Even if this one was treated to be a complimentary color to the brass….
All of that said, I do actually like the clip in use. It works well, is very secure, and – well that it’s different is somewhat of an attraction all in itself.
Power and Runtime
There’s just one way to run this light, and that’s with a 18350 Li-Ion cell. Any type will work – button or flat top, and protected or unprotected. I tested the light with an Aspire 18350, rated at 1100mAh.
Running this light will be hugely dependent upon how you have the very versatile driver setup. I have my highest mode set to the very highest output possibility, so the runtime below is the hardest this light can be driven (with default temperature settings!).
Output is stable for a couple of minutes, then drops off to around 70% output. After 20 minutes or so, stepdowns begin, and at that point the runtime is basically finished. The driver does have LVP, if you configure it as such.
The second runtime is on a mode lower than highest, but really just demonstrates that in some modes, output can be very stable and flat. Note the very similar stepdowns.
In both cases, the cell voltage was around 3V when the runtime was stopped (because my lux meter was no longer even picking up output, though the light was still on.)
User Interface and Operation
The Orion has a single mechanical switch. It’s a tail forward-clicky. There’s a soft rubber button over the switch, and a big thick o-ring to provide some waterproofness. (These are all very common on this style light. There’s nothing bad or exceptional here).
I will note that the light will tailstand easily – the bezel around the switch is tall enough to allow to sit fully flush on a surface. The holes from the pocket clip mounting screws are visible in this tail bezel.
I don’t have a UI table for you, but I do have a flow chart that was made for another H17f light, and is applicable for the Orion too:
This is a very versatile UI and I really think everyone should play around with a light that has this UI.
Modes and Currents
Owing to the highly configurable nature of this light, and that it can be configured from the factory in different ways, and since I got this one used, I can’t really give much useful information in this category.
LED and Beam
In my copy the emitters are Nichia 219c, in 4000K. Many of my triples are this combo, and I like it just great. I still long for the 219b, but c isn’t that bad of an improvement… “improvement”….
Note the mcpcb under the very clear optic. It’s white (not glow). I always like that. The only thing I like more than this peeking through the optic, is when the bare copper shows.
Tint vs BLF-348 (Killzone 219b version)
Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….
The usual contenders in this category. TorchLAB makes a brass BOSS. Okluma makes a brass DC1. Rotablade makes an Aluminum Bronze Vision. Hanko makes a brass Total Tesseract (among others).
I have quite a few of those listed above. (Well, all but the Rotablade.) I like the Orion just for general carry, and how light it is. I think the actual design of it makes it seem more lithe than it is. At the price of $325, I think it’s a very reasonable contender!!!
What I like
- Brass (and other metals available)
- Light for a brass flashlight, particularly one with a copper pill.
- H17f is the default (only?) driver, and I think for lights of this caliber, that’s a minimum standard.
- It’s one of the less expensive entries into this category of light.
What I don’t like
- Apparently it’s not available any more!
- Thread ramp to put the head back on – I need more guidance here.
- I wish the pocket clip matched the light better.
- This light was provided by me for review. I was not paid to write this review. I purchased this light with my own money.
- This content originally appeared at zeroair.org. Please visit there for the best experience!
- Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!! Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!