Whenever the subject of LED torches is raised, one name that is automatically mentioned is Wolfeyes. It seems this torch has become the de-facto standard by which others are judged....and with good reason! I thought I'd grab the Wolfeyes and the new kid on the block the EDI-T P3 which is making waves amongst AHN members at the moment and see what all the fuss is about. It just so happens that Glen from Wolfeyes and Evan from Accurate Shooters are both sponsors of AHN and were generous enough to submit their torches for review, so a big thanks to you guys!
     The two torches submitted for review were the Wolfeyes Sniper 260 Hunter Solo, which is an Australia only special that Glen has assembled specifically for the demands of local shooters with a special smooth reflector for extra range and gunmount tailcap pressure switch . And the second torch submitted was the EDI-T P3-250 ADA Limited Edition, which as the name suggests is also a special edition with the Australian Deer Association logo on the torch body. Evan tells me he donates $10 from each torch sale to the Darling Downs ADA branch for the next three years.

     The torches are of similar size & weight, the Wolfeyes is 138g and 130mm long with a 25.4mm body diameter and the EDI-T P3 is 100g and 110mm long with a body diameter of 27mm. Both use the Cree Q5 LED chip, and there the similarities end.

     The Wolfeyes uses a fixed focus lens and a smooth reflector, it is powered by a protected LRB168A (18650) Li-Ion rechargeable battery (included) and is fully regulated with a burn time of 2hrs 20mins on high power output of 260 Lumens, of which 2hrs are regulated meaning the torch will not dim as battery power is consumed. This model of the Wolfeyes only has high power mode as it's sole purpose is as a weapon light. The torch is supplied with a quality fast charger that can charge two batteries at a time and being a protected battery, there is little risk of explosion. Build quality is superb, with heavy duty alloy construction and fully O ring sealed throughout, the other nice aspect of the Wolfeyes is the torch is upgradeable as more powerful/efficient LED chips become available and just having the torch in your hand you can feel why Glen is confident in offering a 5 year warranty on his product.

Side by side comparison of size

EDI-T P3 scope mounted using LED Lenser mount

     The EDI-T P3 uses a twist focus mechanism to change from flood to spot beam, but where it really differs from most any other torch is the lens assembly. There is no reflector and the aspherical lens focuses the LED emitter itself, resulting in a very intense and focused beam that is a bit strange at first as the beam (when focused) appears square in shape. The torch is rated at 250 Lumens and runs on three AAA alkaline batteries (not included). Being a non-regulated design, run time and indeed light intensity from a set of batteries largely depends on the type and quality of battery used, however a quality set of batteries should give a couple of hours of undiminished light. Construction of the torch is somewhat lightweight, and is rated as weatherproof. The torch was supplied with a lanyard, a set of barrel mounts and a pouch. The torch came with no documentation but I understand a standard 12 month warranty applies.

     After installing a set of AAA Eneloop batteries and switching on the EDI-T P3 for the first time, I was gobsmacked. This thing really pumps out a very intense & focused beam. When fully focused, it is a true pencil beam with practically no spill light at all and I'd have to agree with Evan's claims that it is the most powerful single LED AAA powered torch on the market. At 30m the beam is quite narrow and not the circular beam I'm used to but it is very intense. The focus mechanism is quite stiff to operate but it certainly won't be bumped out of focus easily. The simple on/off tailcap switch is also a much better design for the shooter than stuffing around with half a dozen special light modes that just get in the way and no one ever uses anyway. I then removed the Eneloops and installed a fresh set of Energizer AAA batteries to see if I could detect much difference between the alkalines and the rechargeable Eneloops. To my eyes, the Energizer alkalines were a touch brighter.

EDI-T P3 at 30m

     Before firing up the Wolfeyes, I placed both supplied LRB168A Li-Ion batteries in the supplied charger and left it to do it's thing. While waiting for the batteries to charge, I installed a pair of CR123A non rechargeable batteries and switched on the torch. As expected, the Wolfeyes produced a powerful even light with a central hotspot and despite the smooth reflector there were almost no artifacts in the beam at close range at all. The Hunter Solo version of this torch also uses a simple on/off tailcap switch that supplies full power when on without the distracting silly modes. The tailcap pressure switch is a beauty as it allows momentary activation via the pressure switch or permanent on/off mode via the tailcap switch. Once charged, I fitted the LRB168A Li-Ion batteries and thought they provided the same light output as the CR123A's. Glen also supplied a red LED module which I fitted and tested, but as it's only good to 30 or 40m I doubt I'll use it much...still a nice option if ever needed.

Wolfeyes at 30m

     Next task was to mount the torches. The Wolfeyes came supplied with a Picatinny/Weaver type mount which I prefer. Unfortunately this mount is designed for a laser and therefore a little longer than would fit on my TPS ring to rail adapter and so I used a standard 1" Weaver ring to mount the torch. Having a 25.4mm (1") body diameter is a real advantage in mounting options. The EDI-T P3 came supplied with a pair of barrel mounts, but I find them fiddly to use for other than a permanent mount and on my rifles anyway, they tend to affect the point of impact, so I prefer a scope mounted solution. The P3 having a 27mm body diameter means a bit more mucking around in getting a mount to suit. I found by wrapping electrical tape around the torch body, I could use a 30mm QD ring with my TPS adapter or an LED Lenser mount designed for their P7 torch. Both mounting solutions provided a nice compact setup that worked well in the field and I really like the quick attach/detach option these mounts provide, without fumbling with small screws and Allen keys in a dark paddock.

Wolfeyes mounted using TPS adapter and 1" Weaver ring

EDI-T P3 mounted on CZ452 with LED Lenser mount

     As it turned out, I had an invite from Thomo to come on a mid-week search and destroy mission on an apparently overrun property which was rotten with rabbits. This sounded like a perfect opportunity to put the lights through their paces. On arrival I met Thomo and his young apprentice Ash and we set up the rifles just before last light. I put the Wolfeyes on my HMR and the EDI-T P3 on Thomo's Lithgow using a 30mm QD ring. A few rabbits were scurrying about on last light before the lights were really effective and I managed to nail one with a satisfying pop. Which was just as well as the rabbits proved very conspicuous by their absence for the rest of the night. Thomo did lite one up at around 50m and executed a nice headshot offhand with the Lithgow, I handed the HMR to Ash and we soldiered on moving from vantage point to vantage point. The difference between the Wolfeyes and the P3 was quite noticeable, with the P3 outranging the Wolfeyes by a good 40 or 50m thanks to it's narrow & intense beam. The Wolfeyes however did have a broader beam that was easier to search with in amongst the tussocks of spear grass at shorter ranges, whilst still providing adequate light to 100m or so.

Lithgow .22 and EDI-T P3 combo

     We'd been hunting for an hour and a half and both torches were still going strong with no noticeable drop off in beam intensity. Pretty good performance I thought considering they were switched on most of the time being used to search for targets. We caught the reflections from the eyes of a fox out at around 160m or so. Ash got down & comfy over bipods with the HMR and using the output from both torches took a very nice chest shot and nailed the fox. A very good effort as I think this is about the limit of these torches and that's only if looking through the scope to positively ID the target. I've heard all sorts of claims of 200m or more but I don't consider seeing an eye reflection only as a good yardstick for rating torch range at all. With the naked eye, the Wolfeyes is good for 100m or so and EDI-T P3 for maybe 140m, of course these things are subjective and may depend on age and eyesight too but I've not seen a genuine 200m compact sized torch yet.
     By the end of the night we'd been going for about two and a half hours and the Wolfeyes was still the same brightness but the batteries in the EDI-T P3 were losing ground and the beam was a little diminished. So in conclusion I really liked both products and they certainly lived up to expectations with the EDI-T P3 going quite a bit beyond expectations with it's narrow powerful beam.  For build quality, strength and long life, I'd have to give the nod to the Wolfeyes, but in outright power and performance the EDI-T P3 is a clear winner. What I'd like to see from manufacturers is the inclusion of quality quick detach scope mounts for their torches. Few shooters would choose a permanent mount, so the fiddly barrel clamps are of limited use to most.

Australian Hunting Net 2009