Gearing up for a successful nighttime hunt doesn’t have to be expensive. A powerful flashlight paired with your existing optic can be used effectively out to 200 hundred yards or more for under $110. However, white LEDs aren’t ideal for predator/varmint hunting. I’ve found that green LEDs offer a better balance of brightness and contrast over red LEDs while preserving your own night vision. Wildlife biologists have proven certain species of hogs and other wildlife cannot see the green spectrum of light. In my experience, it’s tough to say. Sometimes they run with the light, sometimes they don’t.
My last hunting light gave out after 8 years of faithful service, so it was time for an upgrade. Having recently reviewed the Acebeam L19, I knew they offered high quality lights at an affordable price point. So, I chose the “L17 Tactical Flashlight” with a green LED as my new hunting light. I picked the L17 for its small size, light output, and the silent electronic tail switch. I’ll go ahead and mention that Acebeam is manufactured overseas in China.
Weight – 5.29 oz w/o battery
Length – 5.53 in.
Bezel Diameter – 1.57 in.
Body Diameter – 1 in.
Drop rating – 1 meter
Water resistance up to 5 meters
Warranty – Limited lifetime warranty, 5-year warranty for factory defects, 24 months free repairs.
MSRP – $74.90 w/o battery. $109.70 with battery, remote tape switch, and rail mount.
What’s in the box
The L17 comes with accessories and extra parts to maintain your light. Inside you’ll find a wrist strap, extra rubber switch cover, spare O-rings, and a nicely constructed nylon belt holster with a Velcro closing cover and button snap belt strap. Mine came with the optional Acebeam 18650 3100mah battery with on board Micro-USB charging port. I also received a picatinny rail mount and tape switch.
Removing the L17 from the package revealed the anodized aircraft grade aluminum host that is machined to perfection and paired with a giant TIR optic sitting on top of the OSRAM green LED. The overall fit and finish is superb, and the build quality exceeds its price point. I’m always amazed at how well constructed these lights can be. There are no rattles with the battery inserted, and it feels well balanced in the hand.
The rubber tail activation switch features the Acebeam logo and has very little tactile feedback. This was on purpose and makes the switch completely silent. Some may not prefer this, but it doesn’t bother me. My last hunting light had a tail cap that was louder than a dog training clicker. It ruined several opportunities for me throughout the years when using it in a blind. A vertical knurling pattern surrounds the tail cap for easy battery removal. Both the host body and tail cap have nice thick square cut threading that come pre-greased from Acebeam. The threads are clean and operate smoothly.
A tactical ring sits just below the tail cap and allows for easy one-handed operation. The flashlight body has two flat sides allowing the L17 to sit comfortably between your fingers. It is not integrated and can be easily removed. The pocket clip is useful, and I found myself using the pocket clip a lot more than the holster. The L17 is just the right size to fit comfortably in the pocket. There is a dedicated notch where the pocket clip sits so it doesn’t rotate and scratch the coating.
The strike bezel is made from stainless steel and is a nice contrast from the black anodized body. There are some nice, machined grooves near the head that aid in heat dissipation and are just visually appealing. The lens is a total internal reflector which results in a tight beam hotspot with nice round light distribution.
Acebeam’s 18650 battery is longer than your traditional 18650. My flat top 18650 batteries wouldn’t work with the L17, but a button top would. If you don’t have 18650s you can always use a couple CR123’s. The Acebeam 18650 features a Micro-USB charging port that charges the battery within 3-4 hours. A small indicator sits on top letting you know when the battery is full and ready to be charged. The battery can also be used as a battery bank thanks to the unique charging cable allowing users to plug in an additional USB to draw power from the battery.
Operating the L17 is simple and intuitive. There is only one way to turn it on and off with the tail switch. Just press and release the tail switch to turn it on and off. With the light on, press and hold to cycle through low, medium, and high. With the light off, press and hold for 3 seconds to activate ultra-low-light mode. If you rapidly press the tail switch four times you will activate the strobe. The L17 will remember the last used main setting and return to that brightness during next use. It will not remember the ultra-low-light or strobe settings. It does have a lockout setting if you hold down the switch for more than 5 seconds. Hold it down again to unlock.
Just like it’s bigger brother, the L17 is like a lightsaber cutting through the sky. The green light emitted from the Osram LED appears to be more blue-green than yellow-green if that makes sense. On the visible spectrum, I’d subjectively put this around a 520 – 525 nm wavelength. Most true green lasers that you’re accustomed to seeing are around 570 nm wavelength. The green color really helps contrast dark bodies against the tree line or in the trees. When I would use red hunting lights, wild hogs and coyotes would often blend into the background. Green makes the dark subject stand out more for me.
The beam pattern is uniform and tight with a distinguishable hotspot. The TIR optic does an incredible job at controlling the beam out to distance. I had no problem illuminating out to 600 yards. Acebeam claims this will reach out to 820 meters, and I believe that is accurate based on my non-scientific testing.
Turbo mode heats up the head quickly, but I can’t think of a situation where I’d really have it on turbo for more than a few minutes. It never got too hot to touch or uncomfortable to hold. When the battery gets low, the light will flash three times indicating it’s time to be charged. Overall, the L17 impressed me with how far it could throw in such a small package. I think I prefer the L17 over the L19 due to the smaller size.
The Acebeam L17 is a very capable compact thrower at a great price point. I found the silent tail switch to work as advertised and I quickly got used to no audible clicks when activating the light. The battery life is enough to last me through a night of scanning and shooting. I like having removable batteries as an option in case you need to change them on the go. And I appreciate I can use the Acebeam battery as an optional power bank if I need to. I would like to get another one in white LED for everyday use, but the green is excellent for nighttime hunting and night vision preservation. The build quality, light output, and size make it a no brainer addition to my nighttime hunting gear.