Elzetta ZFL-M60 powered by Malkoff

Elzetta has been manufacturing High quality weaponlight mounts for several years now attempting to compete with other name brand companies. Now with the introduction of the ZFL-M60, they have breached the gap into producing illumination tools of their own to fill those mounts. Their goal was to carry the top notch quality along for the ride.

Elzetta ZFL-M60

Elzetta ZFL-M60



Meat and Potatoes

For Elzetta’s first foray into lighting, they have wisely chosen not to compete with the myriad of
companies engineering electronics for well made torches. Instead they have enlisted in a partnership with Malkoff devices, an established and proven manufacturer of drop in LED upgrades for a variety of lights. This company already has a loyal fan following that is sure to enjoy a light built specifically around the M60 platform.

One of the methods that Malkoff has set themselves apart from this saturated market is by their decision to use optical lenses for light collimation rather than the reflector which is the overwhelming standard. As I have stated before, it is this reviewers belief that lensing such as this is the future of lighting. The differences are marked. Instead of the dual intensity nested cone structure so typical of high power LED flashlights, the ZFL-M60 produces a spill beam that does not posses the second steep drop at its edge, but rather tapers gradually to virtually nothing. Even with its relatively narrow focused 8 degree optic, the Malkoff M60 drop-in goes a long ways to eliminating the feeling of “tunnel-vision” fostered by many lights.

Malkoff M60 Module

Malkoff M60 Module

Elzetta’s contribution to this winning combination is an exquisitely machined host designed to apparently very exacting standards both functionally and aesthetically. The fit and finish of the ZFL-M60 is virtually unparalleled by any of the lights I have reviewed thus far. The knurling on the banded body is so fine that it almost seems to disappear when viewed from certain angles, yet it continues to provide a nearly gecko like grip without feeling abrasive. The entire body is extremely solid and well made all the way down to the custom rubber switch boot emblazoned with Elzetta’s signature “Z”.

The M60 drop-in is intrinsically adept at heat management and Elzetta has further enhanced this by shaping their host to provide the most heat-transferring contact possible. By limiting use to a single series of drop-in modules, Elzetta has taken thermal management to a science. Literally every square millimeter of the metal portion of the LED module is in direct contact with the bare aluminum interior of its host body. I am confident that as much potentially electronics damaging heat is being removed as is possible. This is only beneficial to this lights potential longevity and reliability.

Constructive Criticism

Due to the nature of the Malkoff M60 series of LED modules being completely sealed, the Elzetta has decided to forgo the use of a bezel window by merely providing an o-ring seal against the surface of the drop-in lens. In concept this works quite well by eliminating the slight reduction in output that occurs with yet another set of surfaces for light to potentially reflect off from. In practice however, I fear that the relatively softer lens material will be more prone to scratching. If this happens, instead of replacing an inexpensive window, the user must replace the entire functional component of the light. Granted, this would allow you to upgrade to whichever module is best fitting your needs, including the possibility of newer technology as time progresses, but I would rather perform such an upgrade on my terms, than out of necessity.

As excellent as the overarching beam profile is, the specifics can still stand a touch of polish. When out on a white wall hunting expedition, it becomes apparent that the hotspot has a slight bit of a depression in brilliance prevalent throughout (not necessarily a true “donut” as seen in some other lights) and the spill is plagued with minor concentric rings at varying intervals. The fact that the Malkoff M60 utilizes a focusing lens rather than a simple reflector means this is very likely far more difficult to correct than it would be otherwise. I am in no way suggesting that this is just a simple fix, but I do believe that it is one that should be looked into. A flashlight is nothing without a beam of light. To strive to perfect that beam is what every company should do. Thankfully this is not terribly distracting during everyday use, though it still remains noticeable.

In a light as otherwise tactically minded as the ZFL-M60 is, I was very surprised to discover that there is no lockout position of the tailcap to eliminate the chances of accidental activation. The further you rotate the tailcap, the more travel is required to switch the light on, but at no point, up to and including completely unthreading the switch, does it become impossible to complete the electrical circuit. This appears to be an oversight that hopefully will be corrected in evolutionary updates to this light.

Conclusions

The Elzetta ZFL-M60 is a masterful example of “Do one thing, and do it well.” It takes the essences of simplicity and power and crams them into a small, well made package, easy to carry and durable enough to last. I for one, do not think this will be the last time we hear from Elzetta and I certainly hope these two excellent companies continue to collaborate.

Elzetta ZFL-M60 Illumination by Malkoff

Elzetta ZFL-M60 Illumination by Malkoff Devices

Provided for review by the kind folks at:

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2 Comments

  1. Hi.Informative review. The M60 would serve as a excellent lighting tool on the next camping trip.

  2. Thanks for sharing this post. I’m really interested in electronics and technology, so it’s been an interesting read for me.

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