Monday, 9 January 2017

The Pelican 1920, Gen2 vs Gen 3.


Quite a few months ago, I picked up a Pelican 1920 Generation 2 at Mountain Equipment Co-op. This new incarnation was long awaited upgrade to the 1910-20 series of pocket flashlight making the family more competitive with other choices on the market. Both the 1910 and the 1920 Generation 2 were released in Spring of 2014. I finally got around to picking one up in May of 2016.

The Generation One 1920 vs The Generation Two 1920


The Generation One 1920 only had one light mode with a click on/off/momentary tail cap. It generated 67 Lumens with a throw of 81 meters. Powered by two AAA batteries, it boasted 2 hours and 45 minutes of run times. This made its a decent every day carry light. But it was too bright for a casualty assessment light and not bright enough for tactical carry.




Enter the Pelican 1920, Generation 2, Dual Output LED. Housed in the same slim pen light aluminum body with clip, this newest generation possessed a dual light mode. The high mode produced 120 Lumens with a throw of 87 meters with a runtime of 2 hours and 45 minutes. The low mode produced 12 Lumens with a throw of 27 meters with a runtime of 8 hours and 30 minutes. The controls were still the familiar click on/off/momentary tail cap. It was still powered by two AAA batteries which a plentiful, cheap and easy to find internationally. Due to advancements in LED technology, Pelican was able to make a massive leap forward with Generation Two 1920. This flashlight transitioned into an excellent everyday carry light that was bright enough for patient assessment. So it would serve a dual purpose for me. It was still not bright enough to use as a tactical light, not even as a back up tactical light.



Happy with the changes to the 1920, I purchased it and started to carry and use it as a everyday carry light and in my clinical practice. It was performing well and meeting my expectations that goes with Pelican Products.

A few months later, my cousin asked me to assist him in a flashlight selection for naval work. This was for non-tactical tasks within an operational setting. In thanks for my efforts, he offered to pay me in beer. Happily, I rose to the challenge. We proceeded to the local Mountain Equipment Co-op to browse local selections before going online. I was surprised by what I found on the shelf.

Pelican had released the Pelican 1920, Generation 3, Dual Output!



The Generation Two 1920 vs The Generation Three 1920


Outwardly, there was no obvious changes between the generations. It was still the same anodized pen light aluminum body with clip and the same simple on/off/momentary tail cap controls. It was still powered by two inexpensive and easy to find AAA batteries. The real changes are internal. The high output mode now produces 245 Lumens with a throw of 81 meters with a runtime of 2 hours and 15 minutes. This is double the Lumens with a modest loss in runtimes and minimal changes in overall throw. The low output mode now produces 15 Lumens with a throw of 25 meters with a runtime of 8 hours and 45 minutes.  A modest increase in output with a gain in overall runtimes and minimal changes overall throw.

The Pelican 1920, Generation 3: Dual Output LED had evolved into a truly multipurpose light with this higher output. It was an excellent everyday carry light. It produces a clean beam powerful enough for clinical assessment without bleaching the area being examined with too much light.  It is now bright enough to use as a backup tactical light or a low profile tactical light.



Performance Comparison


Pelican 1920, Generation 2: Dual Output LED





All of the pictures were taken at night with Pelican 1920 Generation 2 Dual Mode as the only light source. No ambient or other light sources. 

 • High/Low
 • Light Modes: On /Off / Momentary
 •120/12 lumens 
 • 2hrs 45mins/8hrs 30mins runtime
 • OAL: 14 cm (5.5") 
 • Weight w/ batteries: 62g (2.2 oz)
 • Weight w/o batteries: 40g (1.4 oz)
 • 2 AAA Alkaline Batteries
 • Aluminum with Type II Anodized Body
 • Polycarbonate Lens

Pelican 1920, Generation 3: Dual Output LED



All of the pictures were taken at night with Pelican 1920 Generation 3 Dual Mode as the only light source. No ambient or other light sources. 


 • High/Low
 • Light Modes: On /Off / Momentary 
 • 224/21 lumens • 2hrs 15mins/8hrs 30mins runtime
 • OAL: 14 cm (5.5")
 • Weight w/ batteries: 62g (2.2 oz)
 • Weight w/o batteries: 40g (1.4 oz)
 • 2 AAA Alkaline Batteries
 • Aluminum with Type II Anodized Body
 • Polycarbonate Lens


Closing Shots


My only real complaint is that I would like Pelican Products to mark the generation on the light. All generation have a similar body and without side by side comparison of performance a Gen 2 could be mistaken for a Gen 3 especially in a family that has a lot of Pelican flashlights!!!

"It is now bright enough to use as a backup tactical light or a low profile tactical light."

It is generally agreed without any controversy that a minimum of two hundred lumens is required for tactical applications. I personally think you should carry the most powerful light you can for tactical employment. I have never been in a gunfight where I wanted to see less. Five hundred lumens  would be my personal lower limit for a primary handheld flashlight. We do not use light in tactical work to see. We use them to IDENTIFY threats, allies and dangers. This is an important distinction. 

"I have never been in a gunfight where I wanted to see less."

Anything technological will fail. It usually fails at a rate that is inversely proportional to need. Simply, it will fail when you need it most. This is the niche of the Pelican 1920, Generation 3: Dual Output LED. It is a perfect low profile secondary tactical light. With its dual modes, this inexpensive, slim flashlight will fit into many different roles and environments seamlessly.





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