Today I have for review the second in my collection of Malkoff lights. This is the MDC HA 1CR123 (that’s the full product name). It’s a hard anodized (HA), single CR123 (1CR123) light, with three modes.
Official Specs and Features
There are a number of lights with this body size (CR123). There’s this light in NW and CW, a single mode version, and a tactical version. There are also a couple other body styles.
This light sells for $113.99, plus shipping.
Just like the 16650 version, I love the body of these lights. They’re very “flashlighty”, and the hard anodizing is just like that of the TorchLAB BOSS – very pleasant to hold and use! The outputs are a little on the low end for this light, but it seems to be utterly reliable.
- Malkoff MDC HA 1CR123 flashlight
- Battery Station CR123 cell
Package and Manual
The light ships in a zip-top baggie, with the light style written in sharpie.
There is no manual – all the info you need is on the product listing of the website.
Build Quality and Disassembly
As stated above, this light has an excellent feel in hand. There’s no knurling, so the hard anodized surface is very prominent.
The light is a perfect size and dimensions for EDC purposes (and honestly the output is pretty perfect for that, too).
Only the head comes off (it’s a two part light), and the threads of the body are short and triangle cut (as are all E-series lights!)
Both the head and tail have springs – the tail spring being much more sturdy than the head spring. The tail end also has an o-ring bumper.
Just for the sake of confirming it: The 16650 I just reviewed is the same format as this 123 light, and the heads are interchangeable. Note that they have different voltage ranges, though!
The electronics are fully potted. This protects them from all water ingress, protects them in tactical situations like weapon mounting, and protects them almost entirely from emitter swaps.
Here are my three, side by side. You may recall that I liked the two on the left (this one, and the 16650) so much that I bought another 123 version from Illumn.com, which was a special edition Nichia 219b light. (Also, it has a black clip.)
Overall the build quality of this light is excellent!
Size and Comps
Officially this light is 3.75″ long, and 1″ in diameter.
It’s probably a little long for being a single CR123 light, but not that long.
Longer than a Novatac 120T!
And longer than these two, too. Of course that McGizmo is a faux mule, so it *should* be short.
The 123 is approximately one CR123 shorter than the 16650 version, because the 16650 version also accepts 2xCR123. So the 16650 version can just be seen as a 2xCR123 version of the 1CR123 light.
Retention and Carry
Included and attached from the factory is a thin long pocket clip, made of steel. The clip attaches with these two Hex screws.
Have a look on the body right there the lower part of the clip makes contact with the body. There are two rings on the head. Those are strategic rings – they very effectively keep the light from accidentally coming off a pocket. In fact they’re a little too effective for my tastes – especially on my 219b version, I had to fight with these rings a little to both get the light on and off my pocket. Of course the clip can be bent out just a shade and that problem will go away completely.
Power and Runtime
The MDC 123 has a specific voltage range for operation. That range is 2V-3.2V. It also strictly excludes 16340 voltage, which is too high and could damage the electronics. That’s a bit unfortunate for me, since I am highly invested in rechargeable cells. On the other hand, primary cells (like CR123’s) have a longer shelf life, a higher capacity, and could be considered less of a bother. I also consider that a good bug-out solution.
A cell ships with (and in) the light. It’s a Battery Station 123A – lithium 3V cell.
The cell goes as most cells do, with the positive terminal toward the head.
I used the light off and on with the included cell. Not much, to be honest, but I didn’t have any other primaries on hand. As such, I tested with the included cell. Since the available cells will vary in capacity, and voltage (likely 1.5V or 3V, as this cell is), I chose to just go with it. This runtime will show the performance of the driver, which is really the important part anyway.
The output just falls off as the voltage goes down – this is an unregulated light. There’s also no LVP – output was very low when I stopped the test – below 10%, and the cell voltage was 0.9. For primary cells, this isn’t really a huge issue.
These MDC lights have distinct PWM. I find it noticeable on low, but per the actual cycle rate it will not be noticeable for most users. PWM is completely gone on High.
For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.
User Interface and Operation
There’s one switch on the MDC – it’s a tail clicky. This is a forward mechanical switch, so de facto offers momentary.
The UI is very simple, and utilizes “on time” memory. Here’s the Malkoff blurb about that:
This light USES ON TIME to determine mode switching. If the light is left ON for more than 1 second, the NEXToff/on cycle will return the light to low. If the light is NOT LEFT ON for 1+ seconds the NEXT off/on cycle will advance the mode. The off time has no relation to the mode switching of the light. In most normal use, the light will always come on in low.
In practice, it’s very easy to get accustomed to.
Here’s a UI table!
|Off||Click||Low (in most cases)|
|Off||Repeated Half Press||Cycle modes (LMH)|
|On||Half Press||No action|
Modes and Currents
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Measured Lumens||Tailcap Amps|
LED and Beam
Both stock options for this light have Cree XP-G2 emitters. There are two temperatures available: 6200K and 4000K. The packages aren’t labeled, nor are the heads, with what temperatures are what. This looks to be the 6200K version, and the measured lumens match with that hypothesis.
There’s an orange peel reflector, and the beam is mostly spot, with a little spill noticeable on High.
These beamshots are always with the following settings: f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.
Tint vs BLF-348 (Killzone 219b version)
I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348, because it’s inexpensive, has the best tint, and [probably] still available!
The Big Table
|Malkoff MDC HA 1CR123|
|Emitter:||Cree XP-G2, CW|
|Power off Charge Port with no Cell?||–|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||250|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||261 (104.4% of claim)*|
|Claimed Throw (m)||–|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||118.8|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||117lux @ 5.492m = 3529cd|
|All my Malkoff 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).
What I like
- Built quality is great (particularly the hard anodizing feel in-hand)
- Potted electronics make this a nearly bombproof light
- Very flashlighty. Forgive me for that, but it is truly something I like about this light.
What I don’t like
- No support for li-ion cells
- I’d love a high-CRI update for this light (but 4000K XP-G2 isn’t a bad option)
Again with the E-series compatibility…. This is the MDC 123 body with a McGizmo Sundrop head. The combo works, because the head is comfortable with CR123 voltages.
Works the other way around, too!
- This light was provided by Malkoff for review. I was not paid to write this review.
- 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!!