With falling leaves and cool temperatures becoming the norm across much of the United States, hunting season is hitting its stride as millions of venison-hungry men and women take to the outdoors in their quest to bag that elusive buck. And fur season isn’t far behind; in fact it's already in effect in some states and eager hunters everywhere are taking a good look at their equipment as they contemplate replacing or upgrading items to better their odds in the field.
Whether it's that early morning walk, in complete darkness, to the tree stand; or tracking a blood trail as darkness envelopes the surrounding area, flashlights play a major role in many successful hunts. It isn’t just getting to the location, or finding fallen game; oftentimes it's about finding game at all and sometimes it’s quite a bit more serious as weather conditions deteriorate and the hunter must find his/her way back to the camp/vehicle.
There are lots of flashlights purported to be the ideal tool for hunters. Some are charlatans and unfit for the task, while others are up to the job but the user must also buy a host of extras – batteries, chargers, mounts, modules, pigtails, etc. – just to make a complete system (that will function as needed). It can get really expensive, really fast.
Life is full of choices; my choice for a hunting flashlight system is the Odepro KL52. I am familiar with the brand and own several other models (of theirs) and find them to be extremely well-made products that provide a ton of bang for the buck. Not only do they work as they should: they work when I need them. And that (to me) is the most important thing.
What's in the box?
The Odepro KL52 hunting kit includes the following:
A plastic case (very similar to many cases that come with other tools). It has foam inserts with cut-outs to hold all the items. It's lightweightt and easy to carry. Best of all, it keeps all of your flashlight system in one place.
2 18650 batteries (3000 mAh)
Dual bay battery charger
Plastic battery case (so the spare battery doesn’t roll around)
Pigtail (remote cable switch)
4 modules (white, red, green, IR)
3 “bottles” that hold the modules not in use
Picatinny rail mount
Scope mount (mounts the flashlight to the scope)
Owner's manual and Warranty card (two years warranty)
The KL52 is a zoom-able flashlight, with a rather unique physical zoom: the zoom consists of a tube within a tube and is activated by twisting the tail to zoom in or out. I find the method to be very easy to operate and rock solid steady (absolutely no creep or wobble). Zoom to the position wanted and it stays there until you decide to change it.
The switch is located in the tail. It has a textured rubber cap that provides good traction for the finger and the tail end is cut out on two sides; making it easy to operate the KL52 while wearing gloves. The switch is stiff, but not too stiff, and has an audible click when fully pressed.
The pigtail (replace the standard tail switch) has two buttons: press either (and hold) to turn the light on. Release the switch and the light turns off. The pigtail switch has a barely audible click when pressed.
The KL52 has instant on – half-press the switch. Fully press the switch to keep the light on.
The KL52 has memory (white module only) – once the light has been on for a few seconds (in whichever mode) it will return to that mode (including strobe and SOS) when it is next turned back on. I like this feature quite a lot, as I usually want my flashlights to turn on in the low mode.
The modules are made of brass and feature thick springs. They are very well made and easily changed from one to another. To change modules, simply unscrew the head of the flashlight, then unscrew the module currently in the flashlight. Screw in the desired module and screw the head back on. I tested replacing the modules in full darkness and found it to be quite easy to do. (Using the flashlight to first select the module wanted – then going through the process of changing modules).
The module system isn't quite as easy (for the user) as is twisting the head or pressing buttons. But it is far more effective – as each module is centered in the reflector and can take full advantage of that premium positioning. Another advantage is the stability of the module system – meaning its simplicity is far less likely to cause problems while out in the field.
The lens is convexed, toughened, glass with a coating to prevent reflections
The KL52 is waterproof to 2 meters (IPX -8). Meaning it won’t fail you while you’re out hunting in that downpour.
Drop resistant to 1 meter
Reverse Polarity protection – prevents damage if the user puts the battery in wrong.
Regulated Power – maintains constant current output
The KL52 is 5.82 inches in height (when zoomed in).
The KL52 is 6.73 inches in height (when zoomed out).
The head diameter is 2.12 inches
Without the battery, the KL52 weighs 8.72 ounces
The Odepro KL52 is anodized (protects against scratches and wear) and a matte black. The head features grooves (for heat dissipation). The body has grooves that are a roughly ¼ inch apart. It is very comfortable in my hand and I find the grip to be more than adequate.
The build is fantastic; it's obvious that Odepro puts a great deal of thought behind their products and the KL52 is no exception to that. The threads operate smoothly, with no sign of grittiness or obstruction.
The KL52 will tail-stand, albeit not all that steadily. Removing the lanyard helps it tail-stand better.
I find the charger to be effective and relatively fast. I'd guess – since I don't bother timing how long it takes to charge batteries – that it takes about 4-5 hours to charge a fully depleted battery. It may be a bit less than that, but I don't believe it is any longer. I just put the battery in the charger and go do something else while it charges.
When I get a new flashlight I make it a point to use that flashlight extensively so I'm aware of its capabilities and any faults. With heavy use of the KL52, I've only charged one battery (outside of the initial charge) and I've used the KL52 (daily) for about 1 month now. I have no doubts that the KL52 will easily make it through a full day of hunting – especially so when one considers the fact that the flashlight comes with a spare battery.
Lumen outputs and run-times
Red – 100 lumens and a max distance of 375 yards. Run-time of 3.3 hours
Green – 110 lumens and a max distance of 452 yards. Run-time of 4.1 hours
IR850nm – distance depends upon night vision device. Run-time of 2 hours.
White – max of 800 lumens and max distance of 400 yard. Run-time of 1.6 hours.
Low mode (white module) is rated at 36 lumens.
Medium mode (white module) is rated at 240 lumens.
High mode (white module) is rated at 800 lumens.
I could not find the run-times for the two lower modes (white module).
I do not have the equipment to test the manufacturer’s claims, but I suspect that they're close (if not under-represented). The white light, in particular, seems to be equally bright to some of my other flashlights that are rated up to 1100 lumens. My guess is that the KL52 is probably somewhere around 1,000 lumens on high mode. It is very bright – and very effective.
I do not have the equipment to test the IR module. It sits unused until I get a scope that can make use of it.
With all but the white module, there is but one mode – on. There are no choices, but on or off.
With the white module, there are 5 modes in total.
Low, medium, high, strobe, SOS – back to low.
Half press the switch to temporarily turn the light on. Fully press (and release) the switch to keep the light on. Fully press and release the switch to turn the light off.
While off, half-pressing the switch will run through the modes. Once you’ve reached the mode desired, fully press the switch (and release). After 3 seconds (on) the flashlight will return to that same mode if shut off and then turned back on.
While on, fully press (and release) the switch to change modes. The flashlight will turn off, then fully press and release the switch again to change modes.
As with any zoom-able flashlight there are multiple beam profiles. I find the flood beam (zoomed in) to be very pleasing and quite wide. It is very useful for scanning all of an immediate area.
The spot beam (zoomed out) isn’t quite as pleasant to view (IMO) because of the square shape (of the beam) and the small amount of spill. Still, it is extremely effective for reaching out to far distances, and the thing about square beams is just a personal preference issue. I compensate by not zooming all the way out; leaving things be as the beam is still a smaller circle (net yet going to the square shape).
Most often I end up using the KL52 in flood mode or somewhere in the middle of the range. I love the fact that a simple turn or two will take me to spotlight mode or return me to flood mode.
The light (white module) is on the cool side; not quite bluish, but certainly not a warm light either. It does a great job of illuminating objects near and far and is easy on my eyes.
I have heartily recommended the KL52 to several of my friends (hunters and otherwise) and will continue to do so. My recommendation isn't just a matter of the KL52 providing a full system at a great price – although that certainly plays a part – it is mostly centered on the fact that the KL52 works when you most need it. Everything after that is gravy.
In testing the KL52 – along with a few friends – have used it in the field; testing it to see how easy it is to change modules, how well it works, and how effective it is. We've managed to see quite a number of animals while out in the field and I can say with confidence that the KL52 will meet/exceed expectations.