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|FIRST LIGHT USA Tomahawk MC with TRS platform|
|Monday, 10 November 2008 19:32|
Some may have felt the Liberator was too unconventional, but First Light also brings us the very practical Tomahawk series. The format is similar to the Pentagon MOLLE light, however the Tomahawk is a much more powerful, thus a tactical capable package. The first use intent is to be belt or vest mounted with the metal clip providing solid hands free illumination. Wherever your torso points, the light points. When more precise pointing is needed one can quickly unmount the light and control it with their hand. To expand uses the Tomahawk includes a finger loop that improves grip and is a handy way to get the light briefly out of the way to use full finger control. As a bonus, an additional large finger loop is included good for when wearing gloves or if you are just a beefy dude. Examples of great times to use the loop would be needing to change a magazine, use a pen, type on a keyboard, or grab some dirt-bag trying to run away. The Tomahawk doesn't fully fit in one's fist, but allows a good enough grip while being a heavy duty item to allow it to be a solid attitude adjuster when combined with a punch.
The Tomahawk is made up of 3 main pieces consisting of the main lamp head, battery tube which holds 2 CR123 batteries, and a bottom cap. When getting more specific: O-rings are also included for water protection, the metal clip with tube wrap for grip, and the finger loop. All materials are made for heavy use especially with the foundation being aerospace-grade aluminum. To change batteries the tube or cap can be unscrewed off. To change or remove the clip or finger loop the battery tube must be detached. The clip uses a classic ring to attach however the finger loop relies on contact with the main head / lamp assembly to keep it in place. This can be a little messy functionality wise since if you are trying to rotate the direction the head / lamp faces in, you can easily start to unscrew it from the tube and thus have the risk of the finger loop falling out even if the head and tube are not fully detached. To prevent this the clip and loop must be rotated counter clockwise only since when done clockwise the body starts to unscrew.
For controlling this bad boy there are 3 buttons are on top of the main head. These include the constant on button, cycle control, and the momentary on pressure pad. The momentary pressure pad will default to full power white light (120 lumens) since the Tomahawk was designed with tactical intent. The momentary on pad is also substantial in size and U-shaped to allow easy use. To get to lower power settings the constant on first must be engaged then the cycle control pressed if not currently on the power setting desired. To change colors the light must be off then the user keeps pressing and holding the cycle control button until the color desired is on. Technically one can get away with quick taps, but then it is hard to see which color you are on. The colors will cycle between red, blue, and purple (other color combos are available). To get good ol' fashioned constant white light on, the user must hold the constant on button down for about 1 second. To prevent accidental discharges and for travel, the Tomahawk can be put into lockout mode by holding the constant on and cycle buttons down for about 2 seconds. To unlock, one just does the same action again. I have some concern that when in lockout mode the red lock symbol lights up if any button is pressed. If tossed in a gearbag for long term storage I could see this as a problem that one of the buttons could be pushed up against slowly wearing down the battery by lighting up the lock symbol.
The default metal clip is grand and all, but First Light went a step further to make a custom TRS (Tactical Retention System) mount. The main connection system uses 2 short MALICE clips or MOLLE-LOKs which are screwed onto the the base. These can be detached and rotated to allow the Tomahawk to be mounted in a vertical or horizontal position. When mounted verticaly the light can be rotated left and right and when mounted horizontaly it can be rotated up and down. I mostly see myself desiring up and down rotation capability, however it is all up the user and their needs. To interface with the base the metal clip and grip tube is removed and replaced with a hard tube that has an extrusion to snap into the base. To mount, the Tomahawk easily slides into the TRS base while a thumb button exists for a hassle free release. As a nit-picky note, the connection is a little loose allowing some wobble. This issue is minor though, and overall the TRS is more secure than the metal clip since a button is required to release.
I'll admit when first using the Tomahawk, the button combinations were pretty confusing. Since this is the MC (multicolor) version, there is a lot of functionality to try and milk out of 3 buttons. That noted, after about a week of light usage, I felt confident I could reliably get the Tomahawk to do what I wanted. It sometimes takes a balancing act since it is top heavy, but the Tomahawk can stand upright if placed somewhere flat. When using with weapons the Tomahawk isn't quite as hands free as the Liberator, yet certainly is better than using typical flashlight shapes. Other than the fact that I wish the finger loop connected in a way that didn't rely on the head lamp to be tightened down, the Tomahawk is pretty friggn' rad. I don't think 10 of the classic military D-cell angled flashlights put together could even compare to one Tomahawk. With this MC version you don't even have to dick around with putting filters on and off, colors are available with the press of a button. On that note, First Light offers other variants that include strobe and infrared capabilities. Although the price is by no means cheap, I highly recommend the Tomahawk for a daily use tac light.