Feb 14, 2013

5.11 ATAC A1, JETBeam BA10, BBQbuy Mini Cree

Per the 5.11 website this flashlight is "Powered by (1) AA battery, the ATAC™ A1 Tactical Flashlight throws a brilliant 103 ANSI FL1 Lumens of light while providing 50 minutes of runtime on (HIGH), 28 hours on (LOW) and over 2hrs on strobe utilizing an intelligent switch designed to silently cycle through all 3 light modes." This flashlight is made out of aerospace grade aluminum and was purchased for $49.99 at atlantictactical.com.

Per Amazon, the Jetbeam BA10 has a "Premium Cree XP-G R5 LED, Powered by one AA battery (not included), Aero grade aluminum alloy construction, High performance reflector-based optic system, Fully regulated advanced power management, Reverse polarity protection circuit, 2 modes of output, AR coated scratch-resistant mineral glass lens, Type III hard-anodized finish for corrosion and scratch resistance, IPX-8 Waterproof (submersible up to 2 meters), Impact resistant to 1.5 meters."  I paid $32.99 from Amazon.

Per Amazon, the BBQbuy min cree "7W 300LM Mini CREE LED Flashlight Torch Adjustable Focus Zoom Light Lamp, Super mini size, bright, blinding effect, Skid-proof design & waterproof design, Output bright can come to 300 lumens (MAX). This mini flashlight can use AA size Alkaline, NiMH, and lithium 14500 batteries." I bought it from Amazon, but through an offer on slickguns.com I only paid $1.50 for shipping, due to a special they were having.

Reason for Purchase:
The 5.11 A1 and the BA10 were purchased specifically for duty work and now are used for EDC.  I purchased them specifically because they were small, accept only one AA battery and had momentary on/off and a low light mode.  The BBQbuy was purely an impulse purchase, mainly because it was pretty much free.  I have used each one of these as an EDC light and as a backup light for duty work.  I stopped carrying the A1 and BA10 because they were too small for what I needed and ended up buying a 5.11 R1 just because it fit the bill, but that is another review.

First Opinion:

The 5.11 A1 is 4.2 inches in length and weighs 3.1oz, it is the thickest out of the three lights.  The A1 has a heavy construction and looks like it can take a beating.  The A1 has three modes, high at 103 lumen, low at 11 lumen and a strobe function at 103 lumen.  It comes with a large metal clip that can be used for belt carry or pocket carry (which I prefer) and it makes the flashlight face downward.  The bezel has very small teeth, not really for striking, but it is not completely unusable if needed for that purpose.

The Jetbeam BA10 is 4.13 inches in length and weighs 2.11oz without battery, with battery its around 3oz.  It light in comparison to the 5.11 A1 but still pretty sturdy.  The BA10 has two modes, from high to low with the twist of the front bezel, high is 160 lumen, low is 12 lumen, both with momentary on/off and steady on button.  The bezel is rounded and is not designed for striking.  The flashlight comes with a clip but it is flimsy, and frankly it sucks.  It comes with a lanyard which I like and is narrow enough to fit into a pocket with no issues.

The BBQbuy 3.8 inches in length and weighs 2.4oz with battery.  Max output is 300 lumen, the low output is probably around the 20 lumen area (cannot find it documented anywhere) and the strobe is 300 lumen.  It has momentary on/off by push button and steady on.  The head of this flashlight is telescoping and shows a wide beam as well as a narrow isolated beam (see pictures).  The bezel has teeth but its not for striking as the flash "bubbles" as high up as the teeth.  The clip is large and comes attached via two small screws which I put some blue loctite on when I received it.

In the Field:
The 5.11 A1 works very well, except for when the battery starts to get low.  Then the flashlight becomes utterly useless.  Now I thought it was the battery first, then I tried different batteries and figured it was the light itself.  It starts to pulsate at some point and then starts to function every other time you tap the rubber button.  That becomes annoying but more than obvious that the battery needs to be changed.  The battery normally lasts for a week or so of daily usage, on duty (so a lot of use).  EDC the battery will last for more than a month and a half, with the typical intermittent usage.  The biggest issue I had with the 5.11 A1 is that I acrried it in my front left jeans pocket and when seated inside a vehicle it would turn on.  This was due to the placement of the clip and the height difference between the clip and the on button.  Depending on the jeans/pants I would wear I would end up running through a few batteries at a time (thankfully I use rechargeable batteries).  The light is very sturdy and built well.  I have no complaints about its durability.  I have dropped it several times and never had any issues with functionality.  A little rough around the edges but nothing substantial.  The modes, momentary on/off and high/low/strobe worked well and never gave me an issue while switching between modes.  The low lumen mode was very good for indoor/paperwork, once selected, clicking the button to steady on was easy and presented no issues.

The Jetbeam BA10 worked very well, out of the three lights this one is the easiest to use, as it only has one mode, momentary on/off and steady on/off. It has high and low modes which can be set by turning the front bezel clockwise to low and back, counter clockwise, to high.  The light is durable and was dropped a few times (I do that often).  The glass has never broken or scratched even though I used it for duty work for about 6 months straight (did not need a very bright light for what I was doing at the time).  The battery life has never been an issue.  Duty work with daily usage gave about two weeks worth of life from one AA battery and EDC use gave more than two months use.  This light is thinner than the 5.11 A1 and is a three piece design.

The BBQbuy is pretty cheap.  The design is not streamline and unlike the BA10 or 5.11 A1 this flashlight is not shock or water resistant.  So when I drop it, it stops working and I have to slap it on my hand a few times for it to start back up or take out the battery and put it back in.  I used it on duty for all of twenty seconds.  The light field is too wide and takes more work than I am willing to do to get it to the right light focus.  The only redeeming quality of this light is that the light can be focused into a small beam which looks like a key stone (see picture).  The glass is a bubble and up to the level of the teeth of the bezel, so striking someone with it would suck as it would break the glass.  Not to mention the flashlight is too small to hit someone with, even the 5.11 A1 is too small, but still bigger than this light.

Ownership and Usage:
Consider the below pictures of the light beam outputs.  They are at a white wall at about 10 feet distance.  My primary usage for these flashlights is in an urban setting so I have never used them in the woods/sticks/suburban areas.  Door to door, vehicle and hallways is all I really used them for, mostly searches and often for gun in hand activity, which the BA10 and 5.11 A1 worked well for this as they had momentary on/off and a low lumen setting (which will not blind you when you clearing a home/indoor with white walls). 

5.11 A1 high:
5.11 A1 low:

BA10 high:
BA10 low:
Ultrafire wide:
Ultrafire focused:

Final Thoughts and recommendations:
There are literally hundreds of flashlights out there, thousands if you count the really crappy kind.  I chose the BA10 and the A1 specifically because they were niche enough in their respective categories of flashlights that I could get the performance out of them that I needed for the specific task that I needed.  I understand there are way more niche brands out there like Fenix who make niche specific flashlights.  Of course there are bigger light manufacturers like SureFire, Streamlight and BlackHawk.  I am going to review the 5.11 R1 and the Streamlight MicroStream (which I use now on duty, primary/backup).  The best type of flashlight is the one you need for your specific application.  Some need massive 10 option programmable 500+ lumen flashlights, some need a single mode on/off with low lumen.  What I would suggest, however, is to get a flashlight that has all the options you are looking for.  The 511 A1 and BA10 did exactly what I wanted and for less than I wanted to pay.  These were not ever meant to be primary duty flashlights, those need to have very specific attributes, but for more specific applications these little lights do just fine. 


  1. I have a BA-10. I think it's a great light. I use a rechargeable 14500 in it, which more than doubles the lumen output. I highly recommend using them, even though the light gets hotter quicker. Nice reviews.

    1. Thank you for your comment.

      I did not think about using a 14500 rechargeable to up the output as I was mainly focused on the AA ability/ease of use. I will have to try it.

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