FoxFury Rook CheckMate

Review: FoxFury Rook CheckMate

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The FoxFury Rook CheckMate is a compact tactically styled flashlight powered by a pair of lithium primary 123A batteries or a single 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable cell.  Rated to produce 600 lumens at its highest setting, the CheckMate also provides a tactical strobe and lower output 90 lumen mode.

The CheckMate is the most powerful member of the Rook series of flashlights which also includes the 220 lumen Rook MD1 as well as several special purpose lights providing UV and multi-spectrum capability.  The CheckMate used in this review was provided by FoxFury and has a Manufactuer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $233.99.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate – Overview

The CheckMate arrives with the flashlight and accessories packaged neatly inside a foam lined box.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate

In addition to the flashlight, the box also contains a spare set of O-rings, lanyard, extra switch boot, and nylon belt holster.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate

The origin of the rook series name is evident in the design of the CheckMate with its squared off bezel and crenelations at both the head and tail.  Aside from looking like the familiar Chess piece, the design makes it virtually impossible for the CheckMate to roll away when laying on its side.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate

The flashlight is constructed of 6061 T6 aluminum with a matte black hard-anodized finish.  Knurling on the body and the slightly enlarged tailcap help provide a solid but comfortable grip on the light in both underhand and overhand holds.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate

Activation of the light is handled by a click-type switch which provides momentary operation with a partial press and constant-on operation with a full press, and audible click, of the switch.  The CheckMate has mode memory and will return to the last output level used.  Modes are advanced in sequence – High, Low, Strobe – by turning the light off and back on again within one second.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate

Four crenelations are spaced evenly around the perimeter of the tailcap allowing the CheckMate to tailstand and reducing the possibility of accidental activation.  The extra width of the tailcap leaves plenty of space between the crenelations and switch, allowing easy thumb access.  Each crenelation also provides a lanyard attachment point.

The CheckMate fits snugly in the included nylon holster.  A Velcro closure on the front ensures the light stays in place and a fixed loop on the back facilitates attachment to a belt or strap.  The wider tailcap can make it difficult to insert the light into the holster, at least initially, but it becomes easier after repeated use.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate Holster

Removing the head or tailcap provides access to the battery compartment which can hold a pair of 123A lithium primary batteries or a single 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable battery up to 18.8 mm diameter.  The batteries are supported by springs at both ends.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate

The tailcap switch can be “locked out,” to prevent accidental activation, by loosening the tailcap a fraction of a turn.  The tailcap threads are anodized and O-ring seals at the head and tail are used to achieve an IPX7 waterproof rating.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate - Manufacturer's Specifications

 Rook CheckMate
High Output (Runtime)600 lumens (1.7 hours)
Turbo Strobe (Runtime)600 lumens (3.5 hours)
Low Output (Runtime)90 lumens (3.3 hours)
Length5.8 inches (174 mm)
Body Diameter1 inch (25.4 mm)
Head Size1.5 x 1.5 inches (38 x 38 mm)
Weight6.4 ounces (181 grams)

FoxFury Rook CheckMate – Performance

The CheckMate uses a smooth reflector to focus the output from the Cree XM-L emitter into a broad beam with good reach and fairly intense spill.  As typical for most reflector based lights, the beam cuts off abruptly at the edges producing a “cone of light” effect.  The center hotspot of the beam is very white with a bit of green in the surrounding corona.  The spill beam has a noticeably cool tint.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate

The following slides compare the beam of the Rook CheckMate to several other lights to provide perspective regarding its intensity, tint, and distribution.  The beamshot photos may be compared across the full width of the image using the slider and additional comparisons may be viewed using the navigation buttons in the bottom-right corner.

The following flashlights are shown for comparison:

  • Malkoff MD2 with M61 drop-in (Review)
  • SureFire 6PXD-C Defender (Review)
  • SureFire P2X Fury (Review)
  • SureFire EB2 Backup (Review)
  • SureFire P1R Peacekeeper (Review)
  • Streamlight ProTac
  • Elzetta Bravo AVS (Review)

Beamshots – 40 Yards to Swing

Runtime

Runtime tests were conducted using Battery Station 123A primary batteries and an AW 18650 (3400mAh) lithium-ion rechargeable battery.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate

When powered by two 123A primary batteries, the CheckMate provided approximately 30 minutes of regulated runtime followed by an additional 45 minutes of operation before output dropped to 10%.  The lithium-ion rechargeable battery provided less regulated runtime but sustained its output for much longer, running for more than 2 hours before reaching 10%.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate runtime

The CheckMate becomes warm during continuous operation, with the head reaching 132° Fahrenheit during the test.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate – Conclusions

The FoxFury Rook CheckMate is an overall good looking and well constructed flashlight.  The exterior hard-anodized finish is very evenly applied and has a nice matte appearance and texture.  The laser engraving is very clean, sharp, and legible.  All parts fit together as they should and I have experienced no reliability issues with the light.

Output and runtime performance are on par with similar sized flashlights that still use the Cree XM-L emitter.  The ability to utilize high capacity 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable batteries will be an advantage for some users although the larger battery compartment does allow the smaller diameter 123A primary batteries to move around a bit.  Even though the batteries can be heard rattling when the light is shaken, the springs at the head and tail effectively maintain electrical contact.

FoxFury Rook CheckMate

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the squared-off form of the Rook CheckMate but, as it turns out, it’s a pretty practical design.  The slight increase in size, when compared to a traditional round bezel, was a non-issue and I like the anti-roll capability it provides.  The crenelations on the bezel are surprisingly aggressive and definitely make the CheckMate more suitable for holster carry rather than in a pocket.

At the end of the day, the FoxFury Rook CheckMate is an effective, well built flashlight with respectable performance in a very competitive market.

Strengths

  • Effective anti-roll design
  • Supports 123A lithium primary and 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable batteries
  • Aggressive bezel crenelations for self defense (may be a negative for some users)

Concerns

  • The XM-L emitter, while far from obsolete, is not the most efficient LED available today
  • A more rigid  holster could provide better fit and easier insertion/retrieval
  • High price tag

The Rook Checkmate has a 24 month warranty against defects in material and workmanship.  Additional information can be found on the FoxFury website.

FoxFury is a family owned US company based in Oceanside, California that focuses on professional application-specific portable LED lighting.  In addition to conventional flashlights, their product line also includes head/helmet lights, weapon lights, spot lights, and some really slick scene lights (area lighting).  All of their products are designed in the USA and manufactured with USA and foreign parts in either their controlled  plant in Asia or in the USA.

The 123A lithium primary batteries used in this review were provided by Battery Station.

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