I was at the SHOT Show looking for gear. Well not just gear, but gear that was best of breed, unique and tough. Gear you can bet your life on. Gear pros use. There are typically thousands of vendors at a SHOT show so you have to move fast and stay focused on your task. Staying focused in the land of gear is tougher than it sounds.
Standing at a booth in the Law Enforcement section looking at cop gear I noticed a small crowd at a neighboring booth. It looked like a flashlight vendor to me except the fellow in the booth kept repeating “It’s not a flashlight. It’s a personal searchlight.” “Yeah OK” everyone seemed to be saying skeptically or at least folks were probably thinking the phrase was a marketing slogan. Then the vendor gave us a demonstration of what this light can do. Mind you know we are in an absolutely huge room that is very brightly lit – not the best conditions for a light demonstration at all. He fired up the light and aimed it at a room that was made of heavily tinted glass that was easily fifty yards away and a full story above the floor near the overhead lights. The room is designed so you can’t see inside. The beam cut through the air and lit the room so we could easily see inside. “Holy S#!t” everyone said simultaneously. Then everyone shouted how “How much?” My point is; when you impress professional gear buyers and testers you have a good product on your hands. We were impressed. It wasn’t a flashlight. It was a personal searchlight. I had to have one.
Testing the Light
I headed out to the Blue Ridge Mountains and drove 1.7 miles off a paved road. This put me miles away from a street light or any human produced light and waited until it was 9:20 PM and it was good and dark. I was on a logging road and turned the light on. The light brightly went hundreds of yards. The disconcerting part was that I saw eyeballs looking at me from up close to a long ways away. It turns out there were critters everywhere and I was only packing a .32 auto and as I walked things crashed through the woods. I could easily spot things at 250 yards and light up the road farther than that.
The second trial took place at the Fairfax County, VA Search and Rescue academy. I was going through emergency response training. The class is inside an enormous room with simulated buildings. This class was designed to promote confusion so they turn out the lights, fill the room with smoke and turn on a sirens. We can only use the gear we have with us to do the assigned tasks and everyone’s little tactical lights were not doing the job. I broke out my XENIDE AE X15 and found the highest point possible and we used it to illuminate the needed areas to accomplish our tasks. For contrast I also had a Pelican LAPD 7060 tactical light and the beam was dwarfed by the AE X15. The Pelican is a great light, it’s what I keep bedside next to my gun, but it is not remotely in the same league as the X15.
To describe the output of the X15 I’d say to imagine a car headlight, with a focused beam. It’s that strong. The output is rated over 1,000 lumens, but without getting hung up on the numbers realize that it is a car headlight output, but it is the construction of the beam is what gives this light its mojo – it’s tight.
The construction of the light is top quality. You really notice the weight. It doesn’t feel unnecessarily heavy but its 30 ounces feels necessarily solid. I’ll argue with the tech specs in-so-much that it is rated for 90 minutes of use from a charge. Mine comes in closer to 110 minutes.
So Why Haven’t You Heard of AE Light?
You probably haven’t heard of the AE Light before. That is because they focus on industrial accounts. Their client list includes: police departments, Gulfstream, NASA, border patrols, Air Force, Navy, Boeing, and oil rigs operators just to name a few. That is not to say you can’t get them. You just have to look around to find them for civilian use.
This is a serious light for serious work. It’s going to run you close to $300 for this product and honestly, given the quality, it is worth every penny. If you are a boater, rancher, responder or just want to light up the night and let the bad guys know you see them in your yard this is your light. The only downside is that after a few minutes the lens gets hot. But you can’t generate this much light without some heat and with my light it has never caused a problem. One of the best features is that it is rechargeable. This is a gushing review I know. Rarely do you find something that so exceeds your expectations.
Lumens: AEX15-1000±, AEX20-1200±, AEX25-1500±
Color Temp: 6500K±
Beam: 12deg. fixed
Length: AEX15/20 – 11.5 in/292mm / AEX25 – 13.5 in/343mm
Weight: AEX15/20 – 30oz/850gm / AEX25 – 32oz/907gm
Light Head: 3 in / 76.2mm
Hand Grip Diameter: 1.5 in/38mm
Light Body: Aluminum 6061 Aircraft grade, Hard Anodized Type 111
Power Switch: Sealed Push Button
Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Ion
Run Time: AEX15/20 – 90 min, AEX25 – 120 min.
Chargers: 100/240VAC 50/60Hz / 12-24VDC w/overcharge protection
Ratings: IP67 with standard battery (limited immersion in water)
IP68 EP models and with optional waterproof battery
(Totally protected against dust and long periods of immersion under pressure)
AEX20-EP – Class 1, Division 1, Groups A-F, T4A
AEX25-EP – Class 1, Division 2, Groups A-F, T4A