Editor’s Review: MAGLITE ML150LR (officer.com / Frank Borelli)

Editor’s Review: MAGLITE ML150LR (officer.com / Frank Borelli)

Editor’s Review:

Technology has evolved and MAG-LITE has kept up with the times. Take a look at the ML150LR LED driven rechargeable flashlight.


 DECEMBER 19, 2018

One of the oldest – and most respected – names in the flashlight industry is MAG-LITE. When I started my career in law enforcement, and even before that when I was in the military and/or working security jobs, MAG-LITE was the go-to brand of flashlight. Back then, all lamps used incandescent bulbs and all flashlights used batteries that weren’t rechargeable… or lithium for that matter. The most common light you’d find was the 6-C-cell or 4-D-cell light, usually in a ring hanging just behind the left hip of a police officer. A lot has changed since then. Technology has evolved and MAG-LITE has kept up with the times. Take a look at the ML150LR LED driven rechargeable flashlight.

Pushing over 1,000 lumens of light (high power) from the LED lamp assembly, the water-resistant light measures just under 11” long, just over 1” in diameter and weighs under a pound with batteries (about the same diameter as a C-cell light).  Yes, that’s weighing under a pound with batteries. At the high power setting, the fully charged light will last over three hours. There is also a second, lower power setting that produces 138 lumens and does so for eighteen hours. That’s longer than any shift should ever last. That 138 lumens may not sound like much as compared to the 1,000+ lumen output, but you need to remember that as little as 15 years ago, a 65 lumen flashlight was considered bright enough to be “tactical.” Finally, there is a minimal power setting they refer to as “eco mode” wherein the light produces 25 lumens… for over three days. 25 lumens is sufficient for searching your trunk to find your raincoat or to see the path you’re walking so you don’t kick that skunk hiding in the shadows.

The ML150LR is MAG-LITE’s first mid-size flashlight to use Lithium Iron Phosphate rechargeable battery systems.  The Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are reported to be safer than older rechargeable systems and allow for faster recharging – about 2.5 hours from dead stick to fully charged.

The flashlight comes packaged with the recharging cradle and necessary connection cord for both office/home and vehicle. The charging cradle automatically controls the charge rate and cannot overcharge the battery.

Directly from the manufacturer’s website as to why this flashlight was evolved into what it is today:

As white-light power LED technology has improved, Mag Instrument R&D has been paying attention. With latest-generation LEDs, it’s possible to produce more light with lower power consumption than could have been imagined even a short while ago. But new ultra-bright LEDs also brought new challenges: They generate lots of heat; and if an LED overheats, its efficiency plummets. As its temperature rises, the LED demands more and more power to make less and less light. Heat management, therefore, is a critical challenge, one that holds the key to unlock the full light-producing potential of the newest, brightest LEDs. Mag Instrument has met that challenge by developing an innovative heat-sinking technology. The ML150LR™ is the first flashlight to employ that recently-patented technology, which is exclusive to Mag Instrument.

To test the light, I made sure it was fully charged and then set about abusing it a bit. It is rated to withstand a drop from one meter onto hard surface, so I did that… about two dozen times without any ill effect (other than the dings to the finish and surface metal) observed. The production materials say that the light is water resistant… so I set it on an outdoor table and ran a hose on it… for about a half hour without any ill effect observed. Finally, I turned it on, high power, checked the time and left it sit. When I came back three hours later, it was still on and didn’t seem seriously diminished in its brightness.  I recharged it, set it for low power, turned it on and left it, checking every four to six hours. It lasted all of a day while I was up. That was from about 0530 that morning until approximately 2200 that evening… or roughly 16.5 hours.

Each light is serial numbered which makes it easy for the agency armorer or quartermaster (or supply sergeant) to inventory and keep track of any agency owned lights. Some agencies still have sanctions against metal bodied lights over a certain size, but to me that’s a matter of policy and ease of administration. Train the officers right and give them the best equipment you can find. In ugly situations, we will all use whatever tool we have at hand to defend ourselves however it can best be used. Sometimes the flashlight is a lighting tool, and sometimes – no matter what size it is – it’s an impact weapon. Take that reality into consideration as you write your policies and set up your “low light operations” training.

For more information about the
MAG-LITE ML150LR flashlight, check out the webpage for it.


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