Since their introduction a few months ago, the triple-emitter Sportac LED drop-in modules for SureFire hosts have been very popular with enthusiasts looking to boost the output from their P60 SureFire lights. Featuring all brass heatsink construction, the Sportac triples provide a single output level and are available with a choice of emitters, either Cree XP-G2 S2 Cool White or Nichia 219 High CRI (Color Rendering Index) LEDs.
Sportac also manufactures drop-ins with a heatsink sized for the common 18650 P60 hosts from manufacturers other than SureFire. Those 18650 P60 drop-ins will not fit SureFire lights due to the heatsink being squared and not tapered at the bottom.
This review will focus on the Cool White XP-G2 and High CRI Nichia 210 triples for SureFire hosts. Both drop-ins retail for less than $40.
Sportac Triple Drop-Ins – Overview
The triple drop-ins arrive packaged in small plastic containers similar to 35mm film canisters. Inside the canisters, each drop-in was sealed in a plastic bag and cushioned by a small piece of foam. It was interesting to note that both canisters had the same label, showing the specifications of the XP-G2 version, with the only difference being an added sticker applied to the Nichia 219 container.
Both drop-ins use the same Bicom 20.1mm lenses and are visually identical aside from the different emitters.
The threaded aluminum retaining ring may be unscrewed allowing the lens to be removed.
The drop-in has a short spring capped with a brass “button” with a nylon insulator around its edges. The brass contact surface is slightly recessed but worked fine with all but one of my AW flat-top rechargeable cells.
The triples were test-fitted into a variety of SureFire hosts with no issues. With a couple of older hosts, the drop-in caused a barely noticeable gap between the Z44 bezel and flashlight body but this did not affect operation or the integrity of the light. The drop-ins fit well but are not snug and will likely require wrapping with copper tape to maximize heat transfer to the flashlight body.
Sportac Triple Drop-ins - Manufacturer's Specifications
|3 x Nichia 219 CRI-92 5000K||3 x Cree XP-G2 S2 Cool White|
|ANSI FL-1 Lumens||676||925|
|Lux @ 1 meter||2100||4200|
|Beam Distance||100 yards (91.4m)||141 yards (129m)|
|Runtime (2xCR123A)||.8 hours||.8 hours|
|Runtime (3xCR123A)||1.1 hours||1.1 hours|
|Voltage Range||2.7V - 9V||2.7V - 9V|
|Weight||1.3 ounces (36g)||1.3 ounces (36g)|
Sportac Triple Drop-Ins – Performance
By their very nature, most P60 triples have very floody beams and the Sportac triples are no exception. The XP-G2 version has a large hotspot when illuminating a nearby surface while the Nichia triple is slightly more diffused. As expected, the XP-G2 triple is noticeably more powerful while the Nichia is slightly warmer and provides better color rendition.
The following slides compare the Sportac triples against a variety of other lights to provide perspective of their output and beam profile. The beamshots can be compared across the full width of the image using the slider and additional images can be accessed by using the navigation buttons in the bottom-right corner of each image.
In addition to the Sportac triples, the following lights are used in the comparison:
- SureFire P2X Fury (link to review)
- Mac’s Customs Triple XP-G Neutral
- Malkoff M91A Cool White
- Malkoff Wildcat V4 Cool White (link to review)
- TorchLab Triple XP-G2 Neutral (link to review)
- Malkoff Wildcat V5 (link to review)
Beamshots – 30 Yards to Swing
Beamshots – 40 Yards to Swing
Beamshots – 5 Yards to Building
The following beamshots are not indicative of actual light output as they were slightly underexposed to highlight the center hotspot of each beam.
Sportac Triple Drop-Ins – Runtime
The broad voltage range of the Sportac triples allows them to operate with a wide variety of battery configurations comprised of 1 or 2 lithium-ion rechargeable batteries or 2 to 3 lithium primary cells. Runtime tests were conducted with each triple using the following battery combinations:
- 2 x Battery Station 123A
- 3 x Battery Station 123A
- 1 x AW 18650 3100 mAh
- 2 x AW 18650 3100 mAh
The 123A batteries used in these tests were provided by the fine folks at The Battery Station. Without their great support, this level of testing would not be possible.
An OVEREADY bored SureFire C2 was used as the host for these tests and was equipped with a Cryos Z44 Cooling Bezel and body extensions for the different battery combinations. A cooling fan was used for all tests.
The XP-G2 triple produced consistent output levels across the various battery configurations and demonstrated stable regulation when powered by two lithium-ion cells. With a single AW 18650 3100 mAh lithium-ion battery, the XP-G2 triple remained in regulation for approximately 15 minutes before beginning a long decline in output.
Regulated runtime with lithium primary batteries was just under 10 minutes for 2 x 123A batteries and approximately 40 minutes with three cells. After dropping out of regulation, output falls abruptly to about 30% of the initial output and then slowly recovers to 60% over the next 30-45 minutes. This peak is followed by a long decline as the batteries are depleted.
Output levels were very consistent with the Nichia triple as well, with only slight difference in runtimes when compared to the XP-G2 version.
Both triples are capable of producing substantial heat when operated continuously for prolonged periods of time.
Sportac Triple Drop-Ins – Conclusions
I was just a little bit skeptical of the Sportac triples when they were first announced. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe they would work as advertised, but rather I wasn’t too sure how useful such a powerful drop-in would be without at least one lower output mode. Now that I have used them both for a while, I have begun to change my stance as their broad floody beams are much less overwhelming than the output numbers would make them seem. Still, 600-900 lumens are too much for some tasks but both drop-ins are very effective in open spaces.
Both drop-ins have received several hours of use without issue. Runtime, when considering the output, is very respectable and the drop-ins have excellent regulation when powered by two lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Primary 123A batteries also work well although they are not up to the task of powering the triples for extended lengths of time.
The triples appear to be well constructed and solid although they seemed very slightly undersized in all of the SureFire hosts I tried them with. This is not particularly unusual with P60 drop-ins but I was a little surprised they did not fit more snugly since these were made specifically for SureFire hosts. This is more of a curiosity than an issue as the situation is easily remedied with a small amount of copper tape, as with many other types of P60 drop-ins.
The Sportac triples have performed well and there is no doubt they represent a nice value for anyone looking to upgrade an old P60 SureFire with a single-mode floody drop-in.
- Solid regulation when powered by two lithium-ion batteries
- Wide 2.7V-9V operating range allows battery flexibility
- Affordable price
- Selection of beam tints
- Less versatile than some other drop-ins due to having only one output mode
- Beam is very floody and does not have very much reach (may be a strength to some users)
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