XTAR Pacer WK18 Flashlight Review

Preface

Xtar got in touch with me after a long break, and asked if I could take a look at their new flashlight, the Pacer WK18.  So, here it is!


Official Specs and Features

Versions

Only one version!

MSRP

Sorry – I’m not actually seeing a MSRP at the moment.  This light is pretty new!


Short Review

An interesting light with a neat look, but which doesn’t really seem to break any new ground.

Long Review

What’s Included

  • Xtar Pacer WK18 Flashlight
  • Lanyard
  • Spare O-ring
  • Manual

Pictures

Here’s a photo album, a runtime, and some beamshots.

Package and Manual

This Xtar comes in a nice looking white cardboard package with a hang tag, making this a display-ready unit.  Inside, the light and goods are secured in a plastic tray.

The manual is in English only, and is nicely comprehensive.  It includes specs and UI and modes and basically all the needed info.

Build Quality and Disassembly

I found the build quality on this light to be just fine.  The anodizing is of the shiny variety, which can be good or bad.  Through my use of this light, the anodizing has held up just fine.  The threads are unanodized but ACME cut, so they thread nicely.  There are springs on both ends.  The tail end is a bit thin but stiff, and the spring on the head is very robust. The bezel seems surprisingly thick, meaning the reflector is smaller than other typical lights this size.

The light disassembles very easily.  As a matter of fact, this is my main complaint with this light.  The head has what looks to (possibly) be a reversible bezel – one that might be flat on one side and a super aggressive strike bezel on the other.  With that thought in mind, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to unscrew this in order to flip it around.  Doing that is perilous, however:  This is not the bezel unscrewing, but the whole head.  Removal removes the lens after which the o-ring and reflector fall out, and exposes the mcpcb and emitter.  The bezel seems to have no special thread lock, and unscrews very easily.  Further to that, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to unscrew that end of the light to drop a fresh cell in.  There is knurling up at the head which seems to indicate the head or tail might be removed for a cell swap.  But it doesn’t seem so.  I can’t grip the light in a way that opens the head end of the cell tube, but not the bezel.

20170406-IMG_0002

Now, that’s just me, and that happens to be my normal usage, but I bet others will find this too.  It seems as if the loctite is on the wrong threads (because I’m nearly sure the head but not the bezel was meant to be easily removable).

Size

Typical for this type light.  About the size of a Convoy S2+.

Retention

The light comes with a pocket clip installed.  The clip is reversible, so the light can be bezel up or down.  It’s a fairly typical clip that snaps on to the light and pulls off.

There’s also an included lanyard.  It’s meant to connect on the tail end of the light, and there are two holes on one of the tail lips for this.

20170406-IMG_9995

The light will both head and tailstand.

Power

Quite a few options for power here.  Normally one would probably use a single 18650, but two 16340 sized cells will work too.  I tested this light with only an 18650.  For that runtime, the starting voltage was4.19V and the final voltage 2.59.  I was using a protected EVVA 3500mAh cell.  It seems that this cell’s protection doesn’t trip til below 2.59V, which is surprising.  Also surprising is that the Xtar light didn’t shut off, too.  (I stopped the test when the meter was reading less than half of one percent of the starting Lux value.)

I tried the light with 2×18350 and the cells worked just fine, but the extra available voltage didn’t change the output at all.

runtime

User Interface and Operation

There’s a single forward clicky tail clicky on this light.  It has a rubber dome, and some nice grip texture.  It’s a great switch, but probably smaller than what you might expect.  I measure it at about 12mm.  The McClicky for example is more like 13.5.  A very small difference.  The action itself is probably better than that of my BOSS switch (which is an actual McClicky).  Either way, both are good.

The UI is very simple.  Half press over and over to the mode you want, and then fully click to turn the light on in that mode.  Modes cycle L>M>High>Higher.  The manual mentions “Signal Mode” accessible by pressing the switch twice while the light is off, then turning the light on.  I was not able to make this action do any special mode, so I can’t confirm that this option works as intended.  I did get signal mode to work finally, but I can’t hit the mode consistently.  It seems as though the light must be in Moonlight in order to get to Signal (not difficult since after 2s the light reverts to Moon).  Still, it’s a tricky mode to hit.  If you’re having trouble, let the light rest for >3s, then hit the switch thrice quickly and on the third, click fully.

The light also has no memory; it starts in low every time.  I like this feature a lot.  It will turn on into the previous mode if turned on within a few seconds of being turned off, however.

Modes

Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Draw (Amps)
Moonlight  1  47d 0.003
Low 60  28h 0.09
Medium 300  4.5h 0.524
High 1000  3.1h 2.42
Signal 1000

LED and Beam

The emitter of choice is a Cree XM-L2 U3.  I’m not sure what the color temp is for this light.  It’s definitely much cooler than my (very very warm) BOSS.

The beam has a nice useful spot, with a useful amount of spill.  This is brought to you by the very lightly orange peeled reflector.

Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

Xtar PACER WK18
Emitter Cree XM-L2
Emitter Notes L2 U3
Cell 18650
Runtime 18650
Chargetime 18650
Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k] 18650
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1000
Lux (Measured) 694
At (m) 3.099
Candela (Calculated) in cd 6665.04
Throw (Calculated) (m) 163.28
Throw (Claimed) (m) 150

That last shot is, of course, with the BLF-348 on the right. (Yes, it’s rosy enough to make almost anything look green.)

Conclusion

What I like

  • This light is very simple, and easy to use.
  • Seems fairly well built
  • No noticeable PWM, even on low.
  • Cell versatility

What I don’t like

  • Bezel screws off too easily
  • Apparent lack of low voltage protection

Up Next

I hope to get my knives all wrapped up tomorrow, finishing with the Harnds Flipper.

Notes

  • This light was provided to me by Xtar, along with a USB volt meter, which I’ll have some thoughts on very soon.
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