Maglite Torch ML300L

What follows is a comprehensive and thorough review of the Maglite ML300L, a torch that we feel is among the very best on the market right now.

Working in security often involves being active at night. An effective security operative needs to be able to assess potential dangers and threats to people or property quickly and efficiently, even in the darkest conditions. That’s why a high-performance handheld torch is an absolute must for most security operatives.

Simply stated, we feel that this Maglite torch fits this description to a ‘T’. It is resilient, reliable, and easy to use in a hurry. Unlike other brands, The Maglite torch was developed with law enforcement firmly in mind, and have a well-earned reputation for working well under challenging circumstances. This makes a Maglite torch an ideal choice for security operatives, first responders, survivalists, and those who serve in the armed forces. Design-wise, these torches are just tougher, and generally perform better under pressure than many other varieties.

Additionally, a Maglite’s ability to switch easily between ‘floody’ and ‘throwy’ modes (a technology pioneered by the manufacturers themselves), allows the user to send a pinpoint of light a long way, or simply illuminate an entire area, both functions are very useful when it comes to security work.

In this review, we’ll be ‘shining a light’ on the Maglite torch, asking whether, as some critics have stated, Maglite is a brand that peaked with the bulky, baton-like police flashlights of the 1980’s and 90’s, or if they’re still putting out quality products at least comparable to those of their peers.

We’ll examine the Maglite Torch’s functionality, usability, and general performance levels, as they pertain to the unique demands of security work. We’ll also present 2 alternative options from the same manufacturer to provide the reader with some context, as well as a slightly better overview of the market in general.

Above all, we’ll be doing what we usually do; namely putting a product through its paces to find out if it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

Table of Contents

Product Overview

Part of the appeal of the Maglite torch brand has always been its versatility. These torches are well suited for activities as diverse as hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, or simply for storage in the boot of the car in case of an emergency. This versatility makes them an excellent addition to any security worker’s gear, because, as any security operative will tell you, you never know what’s going to happen from one night to the next!

maglite torchThe torch makes use of an ‘eco mode’ that only puts out around 58 lumens worth of light. Although not very bright, this is a useful mode for emergency situations wherein extended battery life is a must. Using this ‘eco mode’, this torch can keep emitting light for nearly 120 hours.

On full power, however, the ML300L can put out as much as 746 lumens, which is dazzlingly bright. Amazingly, it can keep this up for around 32 hours!

Even in ‘full beam’ mode, there is still enough light available to illuminate the periphery, which helps the user to pinpoint fast-moving targets, as well as generally see better in the dark.

The lowest power setting (just above ‘eco mode’) will generate up to 130 lumens. It is now easier than ever to switch between these modes, with a new, faster-handling focus system that requires less than a ¼ turn of the head.

The ML300L also features 3 additional function settings, namely ‘Outdoor’, ‘Law Enforcement’, and ‘Military’. Each of these offer a different set of functions available in a different sequence and are ideally suited to the tasks implied by their names. These function settings really show off the levels of design quality and meticulous planning that have gone into making this torch.

The high-quality aluminium outer casing is also very well designed and built. It feels tough, and sturdy, yet also relatively lightweight. This is one torch that won’t weigh the wearer down on long walks.

There’s not much in the way of decoration or superfluous buttons and features, either. Maglite knows what goes into making the best flashlights. This design, then, is almost classically simple, elegant, and minimalist, with no emphasis on frills, or fuss – just functionality. The hand grip fits the contours of any hand neatly and naturally, and the torch never feels slippery, even when the user is wearing gloves.

Maglite has a good name in the security industry, as their torches are usually military grade, made from the best materials, and generally sport high levels of versatility and functionality. A Maglite torch can be used for the same basic purposes as any other torch, but only not any torch can be used for the same purposes as a Maglite torch. 

The ML300L, then, is one of Maglite torch more recent successes, proving that the manufacturer still deserves to be considered an industry leader, and still has a lot to offer the security industry of the 21st century.

Torch Features

Bright Beam, High Performance 

The ML300L can project a 746-lumen beam over 40 metres. For comparison, the light is slightly less than a 60-watt incandescent bulb. It could not, for example, be used in place of basic room lighting, but will be more than enough for most purposes.

When ‘throwy’ mode is active, the spotlight can travel for hundreds of metres, which is a huge plus for security operatives looking to spot trouble in the dark over long distances. This great range makes the torch excellent for use as a searchlight, though we caution against shining it directly at people or animals, as the light can be bright enough as to be disorientating, or even painful.

While it isn’t the brightest torch on the market today, the ML300L will certainly produce as much light as the user is likely to need. Besides, the number of lumens generated is not nearly as important as how those lumens are focussed, targeted, and adapted.

Water Resistant to IPX4 Standard 

Sadly, a water-resistance rating of IPX4 means that this torch can survive only basic water splashes. It cannot be submerged in water (a common complaint against a Maglite torch). It should, however, survive use in the rain. This is one area that, in our considered opinion, could use some improvement. Maybe in the next upgrade?

Lightweight and Portable 

This torch weighs slightly more than the average tennis racquet, making it quite lightweight, and therefore easy to transport over long distances, or carry for long shifts. It is a far cry from the sometimes cumbersome Maglite torch of old, that’s for sure.

Difficult to Damage 

Despite being more lightweight and portable, the ML300L is just as sturdy as any other Maglite torch. For starters, it features a 1m drop distance. The average height of a British person is 1.74m (male) and 1.64m (female), meaning that most people could drop this torch from waist height (or higher) and it would suffer no ill effects.

Battery Options 

We do wish Maglite would have included some batteries (preferably rechargeable) with the purchase, but alas, users will have to locate these on their own time and at their own expense.

Advanced Focus System

The advanced focus system, which is more efficient than those of any previous Maglite torch, it requires less than a ¼ turn of the torch’s head to switch between modes. This is better than switching between modes via a button, as it leaves less room for mistakes to be made in stressful situations. It’s also easy to accurately switch between the brightness modes and other functions mentioned above.

Additionally, the ‘on/off’ button is situated in a slightly sunken position near the front of the torch. This prevents it from being activated by accident and draining the batteries needlessly.

Alternatives

If this Maglite Torch isn’t quite what you’re looking for, you might consider either of these two alternatives, also from Maglite.

Men’s MAG-TAC Maglite Torch

The Men’s MAG-TAC Maglite torch is a tactical torch, designed for situations such as those faced by armed forces, law enforcement, and first response teams. As such, it is a perfect option for security operatives. This model was designed with the help of military tactical consultants and has been tested (and subsequently recommended) by America’s National Tactical Officers Association.

Perhaps the most instantly noticeable feature of this torch is its signature knurled handle, which allows for a secure, reliable grip in almost any setting. If it were to be dropped, however, this torch has a safe drop distance of 2m (twice that of most Maglite torhes, including the ML300L), so it would be well protected.

The MAG-TAC uses high-performance CR123 lithium-ion batteries (included this time) and has a shrouded tail cap (to avoid accidental activation and thus conserve battery life). It also comes bundled with extra carry features, including a pocket clip, and space to attach it to a lanyard.

The light output is only 310 lumens, which is a far cry from the ML300L’s 746 lumens. This is still quite bright, however. It can also send a spotlight over 180m.

The torch also has 3 power modes, a ‘strobe’ function, and a ‘dead man’s switch’ mode that can see it used to attract attention in cases of emergency. The maximum run-time on ‘high’ mode, however, is only 4 hours. It is also basically water resistant, which is always a plus.

Maglite Torch 4

The Maglite torch 4 is a smaller, streamlined, and more affordable model. It puts out only a modest 98 lumens at full power but can do so for around 91/2 hours. It can also project a beam of clear, white light over 267m. It is reasonably lightweight, weighing just 396g, a number which will increase with the addition of the 4 ‘D’ batteries it needs to work (sold separately).

The Maglite 4 is a bit more of a classical Maglite torch in most regards. It feels a little heavier than some models, which gives it a sturdiness and durability that is one of the brand’s key selling points. It’s that mixture of functionality and high performance that make a Maglite torch extra special.

In Summary

Ultimately, we feel that this Maglite Torch covers all the key bases needed to be a truly great handheld torch for security operatives. It’s solid and sturdy without being cumbersome or heavy. It’s well designed and high spec without affecting ease of use, and it can be reliably and accurately operated in a hurry.

With its ability to project a bright light over long distances, or light up an entire space quickly and efficiently, this torch is perfect for activities such as patrolling at night or seeking out troublesome elements. The long battery life, and multiple power modes also offer the user a lot of options, making its versatility another key selling point.

The Maglite ML300L can be used in most weather conditions and, given that the Maglite torch is a favourite of law enforcement and security personnel the world over, we feel comfortable recommending this one to you.