Gear, Parts and Accessories

The MagLite Mag-Tac: High End Quality, Average Guy Price

Black, knurled Maglite MAG-TAC compact flashlight

I have been eyeballing the Maglite MAG-TAC flashlight sitting in the warehouse since we got them and trying to justify pulling the trigger on one. I already have enough lumens between my Surefires and Streamlights to burn a hole through the atmosphere, so the MAG-TAC wasn’t a priority. Well a few weeks ago, I got a wild hair and snagged one. I am happy I did.

Black, knurled Maglite MAG-TAC compact flashlight
The Maglite MAG-TAC is a 310-lumen LED light with three modes.

There are many pros to this light—my favorite being cost. If you haven’t noticed from my previous posts, I love cheap. That’s just the way it is. Cut costs wherever you can, so you can drop the proper funds into the things that need them most. This Maglite cost me less than $50 out the door, and frankly, that’s a steal for a good light. All lights are not created equal, so quality for that price is great.

Currently, my daily carry light is a Surefire 6PX Pro. While I don’t think the MagLite is going to take the cake as a replacement for it, it’s definitely something I am going to keep in my car for when I forget my Surefire. It will easily fill the role as a back-up light. I’m not knocking the quality of this Maglite, it’s just that I refuse to give up what has worked for me for so long…cue the people still carrying a 1911.

Without getting too technical, as I don’t have the proper equipment to test the output of the light, I compared it to lights that I have on hand with almost a similar output such as the Surefire G2X and the 6PX. The two Surefires have only a ten-lumen difference from the Maglite. The Mag-Tac definitely held its own, as you will see in the pictures.

This is the Surefire light.
This is the Surefire light.
This is the MAG-TAC.
This is the MAG-TAC.

There are three settings for the light—the first being a momentary one that lasts for about a second. Click the cap two times for constant on. Three rapid clicks are going to give you a low-light setting to save the battery.

What really struck me as great about this light is the knurling on the body. Based off Mag-Lite documentation, it is excited about the knurling as well. It’s not the fine knurling that feels like sand paper in your hand. This was built for the worker who really needs something to grab a hold of. The Maglite Mag-Tac’s deep grooves allow you to grip the body even when it is caked in mud.

Close up of MAG-TAC flashlight knurled body
The Maglite Mag-Tac’s deep grooves allow you to grip the body even when it is caked in mud or whatever gross substance you may encounter.

The lens covering the LED is plastic, which did have me concerned. I feared an extended run it would cause it to melt. We decided to put it to the test. I installed fresh CR123 batteries, turned it on, and walked away. I checked on it every so often until the batteries were dead. All I ended up with was a hot light and a hole in the wallet from wasting batteries. The lens was fine.

I can’t say for certain if it is truly waterproof. However, it is defiantly water resistant. It took an accidental dunk in the lake during a recent fishing trip and came out just fine.

Now we’re down to the one thing that I do not like about this light. This is entirely my fault, as I have said before, I will break anything. To install the pocket clip, you have to insert a 2.5 mm hex wrench (supplied) into the clip to turn a cam. Once the cam engages, it is installed. The down side to all of this is that the hex wrench has a plastic body, which in the turning of the cam I torqued too far and snapped the wrench inside. I guess I am never taking the clip off! I could rib Maglite about this, but let’s attribute it to my gorilla-like strength and failure to read directions.

Overall, this is a solid light and for the price, it’s a worthy investment. If you are looking for something to add to your everyday carry or to mount to a rifle at a sub $50 price, this is an option you definitely need to consider.

Specifications and Features:

  • 310 lumens
  • 182 meters beam distance
  • 1 meter drop resistance
  • IPX4-rated water resistant
  • Machined aluminum housing
  • Momentary, full and Power Save modes
  • 17 hours run time low
  • 1.050-inch head diameter
  • 5.275-inches long
  • 4.8 ounces with batteries
  • 2 CR123 batteries
  • National Tactical Officers Association-certified

MSRP is $95, but CTD price is $49.97. Click Here to Start Shopping Online at Cheaper Than Dirt

What is your favorite cheap go-to light? Tell us about it in the comment section.

Kyle has been very active with firearms since a young age when his father gave him his first .22 and a brick of ammo. This led on to deer hunting in southern Illinois to doves in west Texas. He is Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran and is currently working as a product tech for Cheaper Than Dirt!

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (4)

  1. MagLite was THE flashlight to use some years ago when I was a Probation Officer and doing patrols with the LEOs. I also carried one of the big 3A lights when I was doing security for a National Guard base ammo supply point (ASL) that was out in the hills and only a few miles from a state penitentiary that had more than few escapes (I also carried an unauthorized Mini-14 in the patrol Jeep). I also had numerous Mini-Mags for backpacking and general use. They worked, but I often had to bang them against something to get the light to come on.

    Years passed and now we have a plethora of lights to choose from in every price range, most of which provide a brighter and more reliable light than the Mag used to. I still own several Mags, though most reside in my “prepper” supplies, but haven’t been my go-to light for years. I am more than willing to give this one a try, but if it doesn’t deliver, i will be saddened at what I will have to consider the end of an era.

  2. I have been a Maglite fan for many years but I have noticed in the last couple of years the quality of their 2AA lights have deteriorated to the extent that I am about to quit buying them. I keep one in each truck x3 and in my tool pouch as well as a three D cell light in each truck x3, recently I graduated up to the LED versions and the 2AA versions will not stay lit. They seem to have a connection issue at the base cap and no matter how tight I get the cap (even with channel lock pliers) they still go out just when you need them the most making me bang them on the nearest hard object to regain light.
    I agree with Chris they are losing the respect of their customers trying to compete with the CHEAP lights instead of selling QUALITY like they used to be known for. I am very disappointed in Maglite, I do not mind paying more for a dependable light of good quality and if they do not show me some effort soon I will be moving on to something better.

  3. I got one of these maybe 2 yrs ago. I use it with rechargeable CR123s and it is in rotation with my Surefire E2E when the MagLite set of batteries are recharging. I mainly needed another light for around the house but refuse to pay extortionist’s prices for another Surefire. Good price for a good product.

  4. Why am I so unimpressed?

    Sadly Maglite is more than a decade late to this arena. Zero real innovation, absurd price point for a low end feature set. Its sad to see the once monolithic company fall so far and still fail to get catch a clue about what the market needs or wants, much less innovating its way back to our hearts and wallets.

    Sad to see, but it is a pathetic swing and miss

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