Nitecore MH12S Tactical Flashlight Review

Nitecore has released a new version of the MH12 series of lights.  The MH12S is a 21700 tactical, dual switch flashlight, and offers USB-C charging!  Read on for some thoughts and testing!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.

Versions

There are a bunch of different lights under the “MH” name.  The MH12 also has the MH12 V2, MH12 GTS and likely many others.  But of this specific light there are no versions or options.

Price

These are listed at $89.95 and you can buy yours now at nitecorestore.com (affiliate link).  That includes the cell, too!


Short Review

This is another good entry inthe MH12 series by Nitecore.  The emitter being used (Luminus SST-40 is good, and overall things perform well.

Long Review

The Big Table

Nitecore MH12S
Emitter: Luminus SST-40-W
Price in USD at publication time: $89.95
Cell: 1×21700
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP?
Switch Type: Both
Quiescent Current (mA):
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Chargetime
Power off Charge Port
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1800
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 1489 (82.7% of claim)*
Candela per Lumen 14.9
Claimed Throw (m) 294
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 683lux @ 5.926m = 23985cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 309.7 (105.3% of claim)*
All my Nitecore reviews!
  • 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’s Included

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights what's included

  • Nitecore MH12S Flashlight
  • Nitecore 5000mAh 21700 cell
  • Lanyard
  • Spare o-ring
  • Friction fit pocket clip
  • Charge cable (USB to USB-C)
  • Hard belt holster
  • 21700 to 18650 adapter
  • Manual and paperwork

Package and Manual

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights manual

Build Quality and Disassembly

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights laying on side

Build quality is good – this light is basically like the MH12 V2 that I reviewed previously.  Pretty standard Nitecore fare here.  The main/first thing you’ll probably notice here is that this light is long.  Maybe it’s to be expected and it’d certainly be ok in the belt loop, but this isn’t a light you’re going to pocket.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights showing emitter

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights showing tailswitch

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights showing side switch

The tailcap has adequate knurling for good grip when removing.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights showing tailcap knurling

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights tailswitch side view

The body has three big blank rings – more on those later.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights showing clip attachment points

The head end has some knurling too, but doesn’t come off.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights showing charge port closed

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights charge port open

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights 21700 and 18650 adapter

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights 18650 adapter

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights charge cable usb to usb-c

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights charge cable usb to usb-c

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights showing smooth reflector

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights pocket clip off

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights pocket clip on end

The clip has some lanyard holes also, but I’d prefer the tailcap loop.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights pocket clip

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlights pocket clip on head end

There are minimal cooling fins on the light, but this is really designed as a tube light.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight cooling fins

The threads on the tail end are fairly fine but square cut, anodized and well lubed.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight tailcap off

The tailcap has a beefy and long spring.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight tailcap spring

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight tailcap spring

The positive end also has a spring, too.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight tailcap and head springs

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight tail off showing 21700 cell

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight tailcap off cell inserted

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight on low

With the light headstanding, light can be seen because of the crenelations in the bezel.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight bezel letting light out

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight lanyard installed

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight cooling fins

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight knurling

Size and Comps

Officially:
141mm long
25.4mm head and tube diameter
27.2mm tail diameter
Weight: 75.5g.

If a light will headstand, I’ll show it here (usually the third photo).  If a light will tailstand, I’ll show that here, too (usually the fourth photo).

Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+.  Mine’s a custom “baked” edition Nichia 219b triple.  A very nice 18650 light.

And here’s the light beside my custom engraved TorchLAB BOSS 35, an 18350 light.  I reviewed the aluminum version of that light in both 35 and 70 format.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight beside torchlab boss 35

Retention and Carry

There are a number of ways to carry the MH12S.  First I’ll mention the pocket clip.  It’s a fairly standard friction fit clip.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight beside pocket clip

The clip can attach in any of these three smooth spots on the body.  And it’ll work in either orientation in any of those three grooves.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight pocket clip grooves

It’s not really a deep carry clip but the light is so long that the balance is fine with the clip in the position shown below.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight pocket clip head most position

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight pocket clip head most position

There’s also a lanyard hole in the tailcap.  It’s a nice large opening, and allows easy attachment of the lanyard.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight lanyard installed

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight lanyard installed

Finally is the hard plastic belt holster.  I couldn’t get the MH12S to fit perfectly in this holster.  It’ll fit securely but not all completely into the holster.

Both switches are still accessible, and the light may be operated while installed.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight in holster with light on

Power and Runtime

A single lithium ion cell powers the MH12S, and that cell is included.  It’s a 5000mAh standard 21700 cell, with a button top.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight 21700 cell

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight 21700 cell with light open

The cell fits into the light in the usual way – positive end toward the head.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight 21700 cell installed tailcap off

Also included is an adapter which allows the use of a single 18650 cell or two CR123 cells.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight 21700 cell with 18650 adapter

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight 18650 adapter

Here are a couple of runtimes.  Output does initially peak well above the claimed 1800 lumens, but drops off steadily to settle at around 1100 lumens.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight runtime graph turbo

The output on High is much more stable.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight runtime graph high

Both low voltage warning and low voltage protection were observed on the MH12S.  At around 3.2V the switch blinks slowly blue.  Then around 3.0V, the switch blinks fast blue.  And the light finally shuts off at around 2.8V.

Onboard charging is included on the MH12S.  This is by way of a USB-C port in the head.  An appropriate cable is included.

The charge port has a press-in cover, and it’s quite secure.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight charge port open

Charging looks a little funny here, but this looks just like it did on the MH12 V2, so I suppose this is just Nitecore’s charge circuit.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight charge graph

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
Turbo 1800 45m 1489 5.51
High 1050 3h15m 871 1.82
Mid 300 7h15m 308 0.48
Low 50 45h 47 0.08
Ultralow 1 1500h ~ ~

PWM

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.  And here’s the worst PWM light I have ever owned.  Also one of the very first lights I ordered directly from China!

User Interface and Operation

Two switches control the MH12S.  First is the mechanical tail switch.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight tail switch

The switch is very proud, as you might expect on a tactical light.  This does prevent tailstanding.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight tail switch

Next is the indicating e-switch on the side of the head.  The indicating portion is right in the center.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight side switch

There are two mode groups.  Daily (default), and Tactical.  Here’s a UI table for Daily!

State Action Result
Off Click Tail Switch (TS) On (Mode Memory*)
Off Hold TS Momentary Memory
Off Click Side Switch (SS) No action
On Click TS Off
On Click SS Mode Advance (Daily: Low toward High)
(Tactical: High toward Low)
Off Holt SS and Click TS and continue holding SS for ~5s Mode group change (indicated by fast blinking switch)
Upon release, the light will turn on.
On Hold SS Daily: Strobe then Beacon then SOS (then back to Strobe)
Tactical: Strobe (only – no other modes in this group)
Any Strobe Click SS Return to previous steady output
Off Hold SS and Click TS – release both Battery indication (Blinks ones digit, then pauses, then blinks tenths digit).
Upon release, the light will turn on.
  • Four main modes plus strobe can be memorized in Daily.  In Tactical, only High and Strobe can be memorized.

LED and Beam

The emitter is a Luminus SST-40.  Nitecore calls it the SST40-W.  Despite us being able to wish this “W” indicated “Warm,” it seems the W actually indicates that the emitter is 6500K.  I find that reasonable.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight emitter luminus sst-40-W

The reflector is smooth and relatively deep.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight reflector

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight on low

The bezel allows light to show even when headstanding.

nitecore mh12s tactical flashlight light showing when headstanding

These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.

Tint vs BLF-348 (KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b version) (affiliate link)

Test light is on the left!

I compare everything to the KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b BLF-348, because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!

Conclusion

What I like

  • Nice build quality
  • Dual mode group user interface
  • Good and very simple user interface
  • Complete package
  • Utilizes USB-C charging
  • Charging is not proprietary!

What I don’t like

  • 6500K emitter
  • Light is very long

Notes

  • This light was provided by Nitecore for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • For flashlight related patches, stickers, and gear, head over to PhotonPhreaks, another site where I write!
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Author: zeroair

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