The single 18650 Thrower market has been rapidly expanding lately and many manufacturers want to make sure they have a slice of that pie. Does JETBeam’s RRT-1 have what it takes to stand out in such a crowded market or does more of the same translate into too much of a good thing?
Meat and Potatoes
With such a huge offering available currently, it has begun to be a little difficult to differentiate between all the myriad models in this popular genre of lights. The JETBeam RRT-1 joins such lights as the 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 and the Ray Tactical X60 and keeps pace with them nearly feature for feature. Size, output, LED, focus and appearance all find themselves so closely matched that the deciding factor on most lights in this category is User Interface. While others have gone with everything from basic to new and proprietary, JETBeam has chosen the tried and true control ring that is a favorite of many flashaholics including yours truly.
3 outputs plus a strobe may sound like quite a simplistic setup in today’s world of infinite choices, and in many ways it is, but the simplicity of operation is where this torch genuinely shines. When mode selections are as easy to locate with the light on or off with just a twist of the dial, you spend less time concentrating on how to use your light, and more time just using it. The strobe feature of the RRT-1 is worth mentioning because it is the first light I have yet seen with a non-consistent strobe frequency. It is constantly adjusting from a very rapid to a rather slow flash and back again and I imagine would be very disorienting.
JETBeam has stuffed the current favorite R5 bin Cree XP-G LED into the Raptor RRT-1 pushing it hard enough to hit the 350 lumen mark and uses a large smooth reflector to collimate the beam and expel it on it’s way down-range. The result is predictably a small, tightly focused hotspot with a large usable transitional corona and a wide spillbeam that is still surprisingly useful. There is once again a number of rings and minor artifacts in the beam, especially in the corona region, but JETBeam cautiously warns you in their literature that those could appear. Their reasoning is that this light is built specifically as a throw based torch and as such, the smooth reflector has been chosen to further that cause in spite of such potential inconveniences. Thankfully these are rather minor and not terribly problematic in practical use, so I will let it slide this time. At least they warned me.
The anodizing of the RRT-1 takes on the same pewter cast that was found on previous offerings I have reviewed. This really is a fantastic color for a light. It escapes the boring black found on nearly every other tool in this category, without attempting to venture into any wilder colors that may not be to everyone’s liking. The fit and finish of the light appears to be flawless to me, with the durability of the coating likely putting into the Type-III anodizing area. This light has taken a number of unintentional drop tests onto concrete with only minor wear to show for it. The lighter shade of the control ring itself gives a fantastic final touch creating a dual-tone look that is the aesthetic icing on the cake.
Once again I run into a huge pet peeve of mine. The Raptor RRT-1 is using the same semi-protruding tailcap switch that I take issue with on so many other lights. Only occasionally will I see one that doesn’t really present a frustration when this concept is implemented. How can a light that is supposed to be intended for tactical use (its naming acronym stands for Rapid Response Tactical) intentionally offer a hindrance in the way of activating the switch? Since this light is so incredibly head-heavy as to be only barely tail-standable in the first place, I really don’t see the advantage gained here over a true protruding switch.
Though the UI method is something to be lauded to be sure, it isn’t without complaint. The three levels chosen by JETBeam for this torch are placed a bit too closely together to gain maximum usefulness. The gap between levels is definitely distinguishable during mode selection, but if you turn the light on in a darkened room with dark adapted eyes, you can easily question whether you were correct in your pre-selection of output. I would have preferred that they use the current low as a medium mode, and choose something significantly lower for their minimum output. I can understand the usefulness of not choosing a “moon” mode for the bottom end, but something a bit stealthier would probably serve a better purpose than having all three modes so closely spaced. As a final UI note, I would also recommend losing the “Standby” mode selection that is, in my opinion, of dubious usefulness. I really can’t see a situation where it would be better to use that option than to just hit the tailcap switch in the first place.
JETBeam has offered absolutely no extras meant for flashlight retention with this light. Due to it’s slightly ungainly size and shape, it is really not a pocket light in the least respect. This is ideally a belt-holstered torch and probably should have been shipped with one as an included extra. In order to actually force myself to carry the RRT-1 around on a daily basis, I resorted to stealing a large holster from another light in my collection.
The JETBeam Raptor RRT-1 is a well built torch with some serious firepower. It’s simple to operate UI makes it a joy to use in spite of potential better selections for output. It is also a good looker, sure to turn a few heads, day or night.
Provided for review by the kind folks at JETBeam.