Good things come in small packages. Cliches are cliches for a reason, and the DE-01 lives up to that particular cliche. At a scant 3.8 inches overall and a 5.2 ounces, it’s even smaller than the DE-03 – the AA version in the dark energy series of tactical illumination. This little guy has more output though, than his slightly bigger brother, despite the diminutive size. This puppy puts out 188 lumens from its CR123 battery via a cool white Cree R5 LED bulb with optical grade polycarbonate lens and aluminum reflector. In layman’s terms – this thing is bright as hell.
It can operate in 4 modes like the rest of the Dark Energy series, with momentary on, 100 percent, 40 percent, and strobe. Couple that with IPX07 protection against water immersion for up to 30 minutes up to 1 meter, and you can drop it from just as high without worrying. It also comes with SOGs signature stylish clip – which dons their logo. In addition, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
OK, now the technical stuff is out of the way. Overall, this is a solid light, and I really can’t believe how powerful. It runs on a CR123 battery which many tactical lasers, holo sights, and other tactical gear run on – so you can have a pretty modular load-out and carry a backup. At full bore, the factory rates this with a 77 minute burn time at 100% and 22 hours at the lowest setting. The T6 aluminum casing is textured, rugged, and good to go, with the bezel on the end being sharp enough for striking should this be when you find in your hand.
Compared to it’s slightly bigger brother, the differences in size aren’t that great. With the pen for scale, either one of these is both concealable, and super bright. The smaller guy has a couple dozen extra lumens, and slighly shorter battery life, but other than that and the battery size, they’re pretty close. The DE01 is rather stumpy, and doesn’t fit in the hand as well as the DE03 which runs on a single AA battery. However, it would make a great low profile backup light of able to be clipped to a vest or pack and take up near zero room, but have nearly 200 lumens at the ready to light up the night. I like it overall, but would opt for something bigger for everyday use.
Pros, what we like: Built like a tank, drop and immersion proof, textured aggressively, and tactically applicable with 4 settings including a strobe. Also, it’s blindingly bright. I mean it.
Cons, what we don’t like: Kind of awkward and stubby for extended or tactical use. Other than that, no complaints.
UPDATE 3/2018 — This light, and it’s counterparts, are running flawlessly. In fact, I used one of them in a low-light shooting competition, and the beam was bright, even, and quick to ID targets. Overall, it’s rugged, and the batteries last quite a while – which is amazing given the power output. The rugged design and aggressive checkering make it my go-to series for an EDC light, when I’m running a weapon without a light attached. Grab one!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Castiglione lives in Atlanta, and is an avid outdoorsman and competitive shooter.
Where-abouts include getting after it in his garage gym, practicing martial arts, hitting the trails, or running CrossFit and Strongman competitions for his non-profit which holds fundraiser fitness competitions dedicated to aiding Bully breed rescues, dog rescues, or other non-profits with similar missions.