SureFire E1L-A Outdoorsman – Overview
The SureFire E1L-A Outdoorsman is a compact dual-output flashlight designed to provide extended runtime. Powered by a single 123A lithium primary battery, the E1L-A is rated to produce 5 lumens for 41 hours in low mode, and 90 lumens for 6 hours in high mode. Output is focused with a Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens to provide a tight beam for additional reach while providing limited spill for peripheral vision.
Like previous versions in the Outdoorsman line, the E1L-A utilizes a pushbutton tailcap which provides momentary operation with a partial press of the button or constant-on activation with a full click of the button. Unlike tactical lights, such as the EB1, the E1L-A always turns on in low mode first, with high mode selected with an additional press or click of the tailcap switch.
The SureFire E1L-A has a MSRP of $225
SureFire E1L-A Outdoorsman – First Impressions
The E1L-A uses the same aerospace aluminum body and tailcap as previous generations of single-cell E-series lights, with a Mil-spec hard anodized finish and 2-way steel carry clip. The knurling on the body and tailcap provide adequate grip when using the E1L-A in a cigar hold.
As with the EB1 and E2DL Ultra, the E1L-A features a completely redesigned head with a spring contact for the positive battery terminal. Designated as the KE1, the E1L-A head shares the same exterior design as the head on the E2DL Ultra, minus the crenelations, and features a band of flat surfaces around its circumference. Unfortunately, due to the short overall length of the E1L-A, these flat surfaces do not provide any anti-roll capability.
The E1L-A can be broken down into its component parts (head, body, and tail cap) which are interchangeable with those from earlier E-series lights.
The E1L-A is slightly longer and heavier than previous versions of the E1L, with the difference due entirely to the increased size of the new head. As a result, the E1L-A is front-heavy but due to the small size of the light, this has not been an issue.
I have always been a fan of the SureFire 2-way pocket clips and was very pleased to learn these would be included on the new E1L-A. However, the copy I received had the same short, straight pocket clip as found on the earlier versions of the E1L, E2E, L4, etc. A quick e-mail to SureFire confirmed that this was in error and I received a new 2-way pocket clip in a couple of days. Kudos to SureFire for the quick response.
Even with the increased size of the KE1 head, the 2-way clip holds the light securely when clipped to a pocket and is more than adequate to attach the light to the brim of a cap. With its small size, the E1L-A is extremely comfortable to carry when clipped in a jeans pocket.
45 lumens (4 hours*)
90 lumens (6 hours*)
3 lumens (48 hours)
5 lumens (41 hours)
4.00 inches (102 mm)
4.10 inches (104 mm)
|Weight (w/ Batteries)||
2.8 ounces (79 grams)
3.1 ounces (88 grams)
1.00 inch (25.4 mm)
1.125 inches (28.6 mm)
* Manufacturer’s Rating
SureFire E1L-A Outdoorsman – Performance
As expected for a TIR-equipped light, the E1L-A provides a beam that is more tightly focused than what one would expect from such a small light. The center hotspot is bright enough to easily recognize objects at distances approaching 50 yards. The light also provides a fairly wide spill beam which is effective to 15-20 yards.
The E1L-A beam appears smoother with less obvious rings than older generation TIR lights, such as the E1B and E2L. However, this difference is only noticeable when illuminating flat surfaces from up close. The spill provided by the E1L-A is broader than these earlier lights but is not as bright.
When compared to other TIR-equipped lights, the most notable characteristic of the E1L-A beam is its green tint. The tint is very pronounced when illuminating lightly colored surfaces but is much less noticeable during general use.
In terms of overall output and beam profile, the E1L-A compares closely to the E1B Backup (110 lumen), E2L (KX2, 45 lumen), and L1 (65 lumen). The photos below show side-by-side comparisons of the E1L-A to these lights in a variety of situations. The spill was greater than what is shown in the photos.
The beams can be compared across the full width of the image using the slider, while additional images can be accessed by using the navigation buttons in the bottom-right corner.
Stone Bench (Approx 20 feet)
White Garage (20 yards)
Wooden Swing (30 yards)
Tree and Garage (35 yards to tree, 30 yards to front of garage)
Extended runtime is the hallmark of the SureFire Outdoorsman series of lights and the E1L-A does its part to maintain that tradition.
The extended runtime is achieved, in part, by stepping down to 75% output after 2 minutes of operation. The step-down is barely noticeable and, in fact, I did not notice it at all while actually using the light. It only became apparent as I was conducting the runtime test.
The E1L-A maintains this level of output for another 5.5 hours before falling out of regulation and declining in output down to 10% at the 6 hour mark. The E1L-A was still producing a small amount of light at the 7 hour mark when I ended the test.
Over the course of the test, the head of the E1L-A never felt warm to the touch. As the battery voltage began to drop, the E1L-A reached its “highest” temperature, only 3 degrees Fahrenheit above ambient temperature.
SureFire E1L-A Outdoorsman – Conclusions
The E1L-A Outdoorsman is well suited for its intended usage as a general purpose outdoor utility light with its compact size, long runtime and respectable output. In terms of output, it compares well with earlier models which traditionally were more powerful than their ratings would indicate. However, it appears the design of the E1L-A was focused more on the increased runtime than sheer output.
With this in mind, I consider the programmed step-down after 2 minutes of runtime to be a good compromise between output and runtime. In most cases it won’t be noticed and, if that extra 25% output is truly needed, the light can be reset to full output by simply switching it off and back on again.
- Useful output in a small package
- Excellent runtime with 5.5 hours of regulated output followed by well over an hour of diminishing, but useful, output.
- Parts compatibility with other E-series lights.
- Inclusion of the 2-way pocket clip from the EB1
- Very green tint to beam. I’m fairly tolerant to tinted beams and in general use, the E1L-A beam works fine for me. However, it can be somewhat distracting in some cases.
- Current retail prices (~$180) are high when compared to other SureFire lights with similar specifications. Expect these to drop as more retailers get the light in stock.
My only two wishes for the E1L-A would be 1) a little less green tint and 2) lower price.
The E1L-A Outdoorsman is compatible with SureFire’s new F04-A Diffuser, F05-A Red Filter, and F06-A Blue Filter. Visit their mini-review to see more about these attachments as well as beamshots when used with the E1L-A.
Additional information about the E1L-A can be found on the SureFire website. Share your thoughts or questions in the comments section below or head over to CandlePowerForums and join the discussion there.
Have you ever wanted to know what goes into the production of SureFire flashlights? Check out our exclusive Behind the Scenes look at the SureFire machining and production facilities in Orange County, California.
SureFire E1L-A Outdoorsman – Photos
The following photos show the E1L-A with both the 2-way pocket clip as well as the older short and straight clip. New E1L-A’s should be shipping with the 2-way clip installed.