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SureFire G2X Tactical Flashlight Review

The right tools can make all the difference. For self-defense illumination, the SureFire G2X Tactical is clearly one of the right tools on which you can rely.

The SureFire G2X Tactical flashlight is a solid choice for self defense and duty use. It is bright with a flood-type beam. Affordable and rugged, this flashlight is made in the U.S.A.

This high-performance flashlight uses a simple streamlined design and is built tough. Five years of constant use have proven its reliability to me. An affordable price point combined with simple functionality makes it very user-friendly. And yes, it throws a generous amount of bright white light.

Full transparency: the G2X Tactical flashlight in this review is my personal flashlight that was purchased from a third-party retailer. The tactical flashlight was not provided by the company.

My Perspective

I’ve been accused of being a flashlight snob. I can understand why some folks might have that opinion.

When I examine a flashlight intended for self-defense or law enforcement use, I expect it to be rugged, reliable and match the published specifications for output and runtime. I don’t think that’s too big an expectation since this is a tool I am relying on for my safety.

Surefire G2X Tactical flashlight review testing
The SureFire G2X Tactical flashlight has a bright center with a significant amount of flood. It allows you to see everything in a room while still providing enough throw to ID a subject across the front yard.

Let’s face it — there are a lot of cheap lights that are perfectly fine for keeping in the truck or around the house for a storm outage. If they die, it is inconvenient but not critical. For a self-defense flashlight, I want something that is going to work every single time I grab it — no matter the conditions.

What Is the SureFire G2X Tactical?

SureFire is well known in military, public safety and self-defense worlds. The company enjoys a solid reputation. Nevertheless, SureFire is just a company and one never knows if a specific product lives up to the hard-earned reputation. Trust, but verify.

The G2X Tactical is a standard handheld flashlight typical of the self-defense category. In general, it is about the size of an open hand, uses a bright LED emitter and has a tailcap button switch for activation.

Surefire G2X Tactical flashlight bezel head and LED
SureFire uses a high efficiency LED to produce a bright white light on a pair of CR123A batteries. The flashlight is rated for a peak output of 600 lumens.

Unlike some of the other lights on the market, the output options are simple with this light — either full power on or completely off. This eliminates the potential for any confusion under stress. While I have successfully used multi-mode flashlights in very stressful situations, I think most people are better served with simplicity. I know I prefer it.

Fully depressing the tail switch clicks the light on. Repeating the process turns it back off. You can make a partial press for momentary “on” activations. The rubber-coated button is textured to help ensure your thumb does not slip even if your hands are sweaty.

The head of the light is aluminum with a mil-spec hard anodized black finish. The body of the light is polymer. SureFire uses large oval reliefs in the body to provide a reasonably grippy texture.

Overall, the light is a touch over 5” in length. About 3” of that is the exposed body that fits easily in the hand. In my experience, it is exactly long enough to hold onto without any excess length.

The G2X Tactical runs on a pair of CR123A batteries. SureFire includes a pair with the light to get you started. To install them, you screw off the tail cap. The end cap threads are precise and smooth. With the rubber O-ring, the flashlight is well sealed against the weather. In fact, SureFire rates the light as being submersible for up to 30 minutes without issue.

According to the company’s published documentation on the G2X Tactical, the light throws 600 lumens of total light output. While this number might not sound impressive compared to some of the cheap import flashlights claiming 2,000 or more lumens, it is a legitimate measurement and not marketing hype. Regardless, 600 lumens is a substantial amount of light output.

Surefire G2X Tactical flashlight waterproof testing
The G2X Tactical is waterproof to one meter for up to 30 minutes. The author tested this in his pool at 1.5 meters for 45 minutes. There was no water intrusion and the light has continued to function normally for years.

The flashlight throws a wide beam of light. It does an excellent job of evenly illuminating a living room or the passenger compartment of a car. While it does not have a tight center spot ideal for illuminating long-range targets, it throws enough of a beam to easily identify someone across your front yard. For self-defense use, I prefer this type of beam — wide and even instead of a tight spot.

SureFire G2X Tactical Specifications

Total Light Output 600 lumens
Peak Beam Intensity Not provided
Beam Distance 187 meters (~205 yards)
Runtime 1.5 hours
Water Resistance IPX7 (waterproof to 1m for 30 minutes)
Overall Length 5.2”
Weight with Batteries 4.4 oz
Batteries Two CR123A
MSRP $89

Runtime Testing

Runtime rating is a specification I believe is easily manipulated by some less-reputable companies to create an inaccurate picture of the light’s performance. Let me explain.

Traditionally, flashlight standards provided guidance on runtime reporting. Paraphrasing the standard, a company would measure the time it took a flashlight to go from the initial output to just 10% of the initial output. That time was the one listed on the package as the flashlight’s runtime.

full brightness SureFire G2X Tactical
With the G2X Tactical, SureFire uses a polymer body. The body proved completely reliable withstanding drops and continuous use in all conditions.

An unscrupulous company could design a light that provided 1,000 lumens of initial output and just a few minutes later drop the output to 101 lumens to limp along for hours. Following the standard, the company could report that the 1,000 lumens light had a runtime of six hours. But would that flashlight meet your expectations in use?

Read this to learn more about what these terms mean: Candelas, Lumens and Everything Else.

SureFire is not one of those companies. Instead, it’s been my experience that the company’s lights tend to be underrated, meaning you get more bang for your buck. I found this was also the case with the G2X Tactical.

Using an integrating sphere, I measured output over time with a fresh set of batteries in the G2X Tactical. Runtime to 10% — the industry accepted standard — was closer to 1 hour 40 minutes. A small, but measurable difference in favor of the consumer.

SureFire G2X Runtime
Shown here is the SureFire G2X Tactical runtime as measured by the author. Testing exceeded the specifications with 60+% output for more than an hour making it impressively efficient.

To me, the most important aspect of runtime is the time to 50% of output. It’s been my experience that I swap batteries on a light when I start to notice an appreciable drop in output. That number is around 50% of the initial output.

Runtime to 50% output was excellent — 74 minutes. That means that for nearly the entire rated runtime of the flashlight, you will get more than 300 lumens of output.

At this point, I’ve run hundreds of flashlight tests. From the perspective of a light matching its rated specifications, this is one of the best I’ve tested.

Field Use

I’ve put this flashlight through its paces. I’ve carried it frequently during the past five years; I estimate 300 or more full days, with many short trips and other activities during the in-between times.

It’s been in the Florida heat, sand and even a pair of hurricanes. I’ve dropped it on concrete, tile and asphalt. I’ve knocked it off tables, the fender of my truck and over the side of a two-story deck. It’s gone swimming at the bottom of my pool and walked several hikes through Maine in the sub-zero wintertime.

SureFire G2X Tactical building search
The SureFire flashlight was exceptionally well suited for building searches. It provided plenty of light, even after a hour of runtime.

Frankly, it’s gone everywhere and survived without any problems.

I’ve had no intrusion of water, sand or dust into the body or head of the light. The O-rings remain soft and are seemingly impervious to anything to which I expose the flashlight.

The polymer body and switch show hardly any marks or scars. The aluminum head has picked up some nicks and dings. A bit of bare aluminum now shows through, giving the light a bit of character. Other than swapping the batteries on a regular basis, I’ve done nothing more than rinse the flashlight’s exterior to maintain it. It just keeps on working.

Final Thoughts

I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of being a fanboy of any flashlight company. I am, however, a fan of this flashlight. It has proven its reliability through years of use. It’s bright and has a very respectable runtime.

SureFire G2X Tactical flashlight with Hellcat Pro EDC
The author’s EDC loadout includes the SureFire G2X Tactical flashlight and a Springfield Hellcat Pro.

I don’t believe personal protection gear should ever be purchased based solely on price. However, I would be remiss if I failed to point out the affordability of this model. It has a suggested retail price of $89. For a top-tier tactical light that is made in the U.S.A., that is downright cheap.

I suspect SureFire can offer these at such a reasonable price because of the polymer body. I think we can move beyond the outdated belief that polymer isn’t durable. Consider that Magpul’s polymer mags run the rifles of U.S. combat troops and every major firearms manufacturer offers high-quality firearms using polymer frames. The polymer used on the G2X Tactical is extremely durable, and I trust it as much as I can any inanimate object.

I can offer this flashlight no higher praise than to share that this is the flashlight I predominately carry daily and always keep next to the bed. I recommend checking it out when you go looking for your next light.

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