Story and Photos by Joshua Swanagon
Picture this. During a backpacking trip with his uncle, deep in the Rocky Mountains, a young boy decides to take a late day hike and check out the area. Figuring that there was plenty of time before sundown, he sets off. Sometime later he realizes that the sun is going down and he is far from camp, so he starts back. Unfortunately, he doesn’t make it back before night has fully set in and he is without a flashlight.
If you are picturing a pitch-black scene, with a young boy staggering around in the dark, trying not to trip on anything or fall off any ledges or cliffs, you have a pretty good idea of the scenario.
It is lessons like those that shape a man and direct his actions as an adult. Which is why I like flashlights, and always try to have at least a small flashlight somewhere nearby.
Fast forward to a few years ago, on a fateful night, deep in the Amazon jungle, when I learned the importance of a flashlight that is durable and waterproof. I’m not saying that I only select waterproof flashlights now but it sure is high on my list of desired features.
With all of that said, I am always on the lookout for a good flashlight that checks all the boxes, without being too cumbersome for EDC. I think I have found that in the Mechforce, Mechtorch Gen2.
Right off the bat, I loved the smaller size of the Mechtorch Gen2. At 3.38 inches long, and just over an inch wide, the Gen2 takes up little space in any pocket and fits perfectly in the hand for typical use or self-defense.
The Gen2 features a removable, CNC milled pocket clip, which is very tight and holds the flashlight securely in the pocket. It does stick out a bit, so if you like to drop your flashlight into your pocket, you might opt to remove the clip for a smaller footprint.
The titanium housing is very thick and robust, weighing a hefty 4 ounces with the battery. I realize that doesn’t sound like much, but in a pocket with keys and a knife, it gets a little heavy. This is not necessarily a bad thing though, as the Gen2 is very solid and has a heavy-duty, bomb proof feel to it—which is perfect for self-defense.
Speaking of self-defense utility, I was really happy to see that it has a fluted striking bezel, which dramatically adds to its effectiveness. Also, the glass is hardened dual AR coated Japanese glass, from Nikon, which is extremely thick and looks like it will be able to withstand some serious blows.
The entire body is covered with grooves and texturing that help provide maximum grip during any kind of use, from typical use when wet to locking it in to deliver hard self-defense blows. The head also features 16 slots, around the entire extremity, designed to house tritium vials (not included), to enhance the aesthetics and make it easier to find in the dark.
The Mechtorch Gen2 utilizes 1 rechargeable 18350 li-ion battery, with high amp discharge for maximum power. Although the flashlight itself does not have a charging port (presumably for waterproofing reasons) it does come with a charger, so you are not left to find one for yourself.
The battery compartment is accessed by removing the head, which includes a rubber O ring to add to the waterproof capabilities of the Gen2. Once you access the battery compartment you will notice dual spring battery suspension, which provides excellent shock resistance during use and prevents the Gen2 from switching modes when bumped (as some flashlights with multiple modes do).
The brightness setting of the Gen2 is programmable all the way up to 1,300 lumens, via 3 Nichia Natural White, 219CT, 5700K LEDs, mounted on a copper PCB (Printed Circuit Board). The internal gasket/shim is constructed of glow in the dark material, just to add another layer of cool—and I really dig it. The Gen2 utilizes a flood beam and has no adjustment to tighten it up for a throw beam, but I haven’t found that to be a detriment yet. I was able to light up an entire area for roughly 50 feet.
The tail cap switch features a rubberized cover with the company logo embossed into it, for traction and aesthetics. The switch is also recessed, allowing you to stand it on end, if desired. The light is actuated by a full clicky (press of the switch), which then allows you to cycle through the different settings via a tap (half press).
As I mentioned in the beginning of the story, I like things that are waterproof, and flashlights are no exception. The Gen2 has an IPX7 waterproof rating, which keeps the flashlight safe in depths of 3 feet, for up to 30 minutes. Since I am not diving with this flashlight, that is more than enough for me. However, to test it, I did turn it on and submerge it in water for 15 minutes, with no issues at all. While in the water I turned it on and off numerous times, to see if that would have any negative effect, and it did not.
I am a personal fan of the stonewash look, which is the finish on my test Gen2, but it is also available in many different anodized colors, so you can pick the flashlight that best fits your lifestyle—because I can almost guarantee that it will be in your pocket from the time you receive it.
One of the coolest features of this light, is the completely programmable Dr. Jones H17Fx FET driver.
Although it can be pretty hard to enter programming mode, there are a lot of great options you can do with the Gen2 once you are in. To enter programming mode you have to turn the light on, enter a mode you would like to change (it comes with 4 modes already programmed, which I will go into more in a minute) and perform 8 rapid taps on the switch.
When I say rapid, I mean rapid. Each tap has to be .2 seconds and done in rapid succession. I had to do it with two hands, one to hold the light and one to tap the switch as fast as I could. Fortunately, 8 is not a hard-set number, you can exceed it by a couple taps, so you don’t have to be completely precise.
As I mentioned, the Gen2 comes preprogrammed with four modes—Moon, Low, Mid and Turbo—that can be cycled through via taps on the switch. The brightness settings range from very dim, all the way up to 1,300 lumens, and can be adjusted—in 24 brightness increments—while in programming mode.
Moon is a very low setting, that is perfect for map reading or any use under extreme dark conditions, when you don’t want to compromise your night vision—I’ve even used it to help highlight a subject for photography. Low is perfect for most normal use. Mid is approximately 650 lumens, when you need something just a little brighter. And finally, Turbo is the full 1,300 lumens, when you really need to light things up.
As well as the brightness settings, you can also program different strobe functions, from full strobe to beacon and pulse—which are great for signaling, in an emergency.
There are two groups that contain the different modes, and you can program them any way you see fit. Maybe one group can be set for solid beam lighting and the other group can be different various strobes and beacons.
However, with that said, in order to switch between the groups, you have to enter programming mode. So, it wouldn’t be helpful to have strobe in the second group, if you intend to use it for self-defense purposes, because you won’t be able to access it quickly enough during a high-intensity conflict.
This is where it gets pretty cool—you can add up to 7 modes (in total) to each group. Although the preprogrammed modes are perfect for most use, I wanted to add the strobe to the first group, without having to lose any of the current modes. So, I just added a mode (bringing my total to 5 modes in the first group) and added the strobe— which I set for the full 1,300 lumens (you can even adjust the brightness of the strobe).
So, I now have two groups. The first is my main group, with four steady beams and a strobe for self-defense. The second is my emergency group, with beacon and pulse, for signaling.
Although it can be a bit hard to get into the programming mode, and can take some work figuring it all out once you are in there, it is completely worth the time and effort to do so. You will most likely be completely satisfied with the settings out of the box, but if you do want to customize it, the Gen2 gives you full control.
I will admit, with a price tag of $224.95 – $259.95, it is a bit pricey. Over the past couple years, I have checked out some of the small EDC flashlights in this price range and scoffed at them, thinking they were just cashing in on the EDC craze. But after getting my hands on the Mechtorch Gen2, from Mechforce, I have changed my way of thinking.
The Gen2 has checked all the boxes for me when it comes to a flashlight. It is extremely durable and perfect for self-defense, waterproof, totally customizable to my personal preferences, has great output, good battery life and fits right in any pocket, so it is with me when I need it.
If you are the type that recognizes the benefits of always having a flashlight on your person, or if you just like the idea of having a small, handy flashlight that you can fit into your glovebox or bedside table, you owe it to yourself to pick up a Mechtorch Gen2. K&G
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Flashlight SpecificationsLEDs: 3X Nichia Natural White 219CT 5700K LEDs (Made in Japan) mounted on copper PCBLens: Carclo 10507 LED Clear OpticGlass: Hardened dual AR coated, 99% transmittance Japanese glass from NikonGreen GID Gasket included (Glow in the dark)Driver: DrJones H17Fx FET DriverWaterproof: IPX7 ratedBattery: Single Efest 18350 (included)Dual springs, shockproof suspension designOutput: Maximum 1,300 LumensPocket Clip: 3D CNC machined titanium pocket clipExtra: 16 Tritium Vial slots (Tritium Vials NOT included) Size: 1.5mm OD x 6mm LongDesigned and assembled in the USA
Driver SpecificationsH17Fx Driver w/ lucidrv2 – 7135 + FETDesigned by DrJones, this driver is one of the most advanced flashlight driver currently existTriple-channel output (2 X 7135 channels, 1 X FET chancel)Temperature sensor with full thermal control and protectionTwo custom brightness mode groupsEach group can be programmed up to 7 brightness modes22 levels of brightness settings from #1 firefly to #22 full turboThree types of strobe modes– Fast and disorienting– Beacon (a short blink every 4 seconds)– Double-pulse blink with oscillating brightnessConfigurable memory settingsBattery voltage checkMode lockingBump proof
DimensionsImperial: W 1.12″ x L 3.38″ x H 1.06″Metric: W 28.5MM x L 85.8MM x H 27MMWeight: 4.0 OZ with battery inside (113 gram)
MSRP: $224.95 – $259.95
MechforceArizona Custom KnivesKnifeCenterUrban EDC Supply
Joshua Swanagon has studied survival in both urban and wilderness environments in Colorado and Michigan for most of his life, while also adding experience in harsher terrains abroad. He utilizes his experience and years of diverse martial arts and combatives training and real world application as a self-defense/combatives instructor, published freelance writer and Field Editor for various magazines in the fields of knives, survival, self-defense and tactical subject matters. Joshua also brings with him his years of experience as Editor of, and Subject Matter Expert for Knives Illustrated Magazine.
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