A Must-Have Crime Busting Tool.
Over a year ago, I had a look at the Pila GL3 from Permalight Asia. Since that last review, Pila have been hard at work overhauling their whole range.
their website has changed and so have the flashlights. Or have they?
Today I take another look at the GL3 and I’m quite excited. What’s so exciting about something as boring as a torch, I hear you say?
Well read on…
Flashlights come in thousands of shapes and size for a multitude of tasks. They range from a couple of dollars to… well… how much do you want to spend, really?
Lithium powered professional tactical flashlights easily range from about 50 dollars to around 250 dollars but it isn’t hard to spend up to 500 dollars. How much you spend all depends on what you plan to use it for.
For most tasks, a 100 dollar light will happily do the trick so why would you or your department splash out around $150-200 (depending on configuration) for the higher end Pila GL3?
Have a look on the new Pila website – www.pilatorch.com – and you’ll see there are three basic models in the range:
The two Lithium cell GL2 "Cavaliere", the three cell GL3 "Commendatore", and the 4 cell GL4 "Imperatore".
Each model range has a long list of options from Xenon and LED lamp assemblies to LED tail caps in various colours which combined with the Xenon bezel at the front gives the best of both.
But Pila’s best ‘option’ is their Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery system which pays for itself many times over if you use your flashlight even only a short couple of times a week. The New models have a new IBC ‘smart’ charger available in an AC model for the home or DC for on the road. Unfortunately Pila weren’t able to make a charger available for us to review.
But that wasn’t a drama; the new Pila GL3 like the previous model is dual powered using Lithium-Ion rechargeable or Lithium disposable batteries without having to change configuration or losing out on performance.
Also a big plus is that Pila’s older 150A (1200mAh) batteries and their new 300P (1400mAh) batteries are interchangeable; that is to say either batteries will work in the new GL3 and its predecessor. But remember the golden rule to NEVER to mix batteries of different brands, ratings or age!
Talking about batteries, Pila tell me the new charger can charge all your old Pila Li-Ion batteries. All of this means that if you (or your department) already have earlier Pila models, batteries and chargers; you can start introducing new Pila equipment progressively without having to change the whole right away. Good for the budget.
I really like that Pila haven’t changed anything that worked so well on the older models.
So what else have they changed?
They now have a Swiss designed exterior with smoother lines and a hexagonal bezel to stop your beloved illumination tool from straying to far. This was one of the items on my wish list from my last review.
But look deeper than the new sleeker outside and take a look at what’s under bonnet, or more accurately, under the tail cap.
By far the most noteworthy is that they have managed to squeeze out an extra 70 lumens from the previous model’s already impressive 130 lumens for 50 minutes. This brings the total light output in lumens to 200 for 60 minutes! For a light of its size and weight, there is nothing on the market that comes close to that amount of light for an hour.
An interesting but logical change concerns the polarity of the batteries. The old model had the batteries’ positive polarity facing away from the bezel, the positive polarity on the new models like most other flashlights on the market now face toward the bezel. So for those who don’t read their new torch’s operating manual this might save a bit of initial confusion.
It still provides the best portability vs. performance.
Pila have even improved the holster to include a spare battery holder on the side.
To answer the question; what’s exciting about a torch? Well, nothing really, but what is exciting is the great job Pila have done with their new models. They managed to get more out of an already outstanding product; more power (a good 54% more) and more duration (20% more with Lithium disposables or the 300P Li-Ion rechargeables). The GL range’s excellent quality, performance and usefulness haven’t changed.
For those of us in law enforcement and the military, good tactical lighting literally can mean surviving a job or not.
For most others, buying a quality flashlight like a Pila simply means paying a bit more now and a lot less later.
Pila’s slogan is “Engineered to Perfection”. In my opinion – they succeeded.