Let’s talk about the Fenix LD20 light. I’m a huge fan of equipment that runs on AA batteries. Yes, CR123s are smaller and more powerful, but I can’t get them at my local gas station, can you? While I stock batteries, In the event that there’s a major disaster, I want to be able to replenish my supplies at virtually any convenience store.
My carbine’s red dot (a Trijicon SRS) runs on a AA, as do the Primary Arms red dot sights on my brother’s and buddies’ carbines. As far as I’m concerned, your flashlight, weapons light and optic should run the same battery. With this in mind, I looked for a mix of quality and cost effectiveness. Fenix sent me on of their LD20 R5 lights for testing almost a year ago and I’ve been using it ever since. I greedily accepted this light and began playing with it. Immediately, I nearly blinded myself by looking at the bulb and turning it on.
Stupid? Yes, but I honestly didn’t count on the LD20 being that darn bright. I mean, it’s not quite as dazzling as my Elzetta, but it’s still really painful.
I used and abused it in rain, snow and just about every other type of weather. I dropped it in puddles (on accident) and drop-kicked it a couple of times (on purpose). After this, I put it on my AR-15 carbine. This was by no means a simple endeavor. The body of the LD20 is irregular in diameter, making it extremely difficult to fit inside a mounting ring. After trial and error (and judicious application of duct tape), I utilized the Elzetta ZORM, using the provided plastic inserts. In this setup, I had the light very far forward on the Samson Mfg handguard, lens was next to the Surefire muzzle brake. In this configuration, the light took a beating every time I fired the carbine. I’ve fired it a lot.
Over the next half a year, I dropped it, used it in the rain and even tossed it in a puddle. Eventually, the inside of the lens became clouded and discolored, though the light continues to function.
Seeking a smaller option for my lightweight carbine, I ordered a Fenix LD10. The fact that I went to Fenix for another model should tell you how much I like the LD20. Though the body diameter is slightly irregular, the LD10 is much easier to mount in the Elzetta ZORM than the LD20. Furthermore, the shorter length makes it much easier to operate when mounted. The light sticks out less than 1.5 inches past the mount, which means that it doesn’t get beaten up by my Surefire muzzle brake. If you run a low-profile gas block and extended handguard, this is something you should take notice of.
Though not quite so bright as the LD20, I find it more than sufficient for weapon-mounted applications, such as room clearing. Both the LD20 and the L10 have similar features. You can set them to high or low intensity and they have a secondary strobe function. To be honest, I find the strobe setting annoying. Though it can be used to disorient a target (when mounted on a weapon), it is intense enough to distract the shooter as well.
I’m very happy with the LD10 as a weapon mounted light and have transferred the LD20 back to its proper role as a hand-held flashlight. Together, these two lights fulfill my illumination needs quite nicely. And of course, I can feed them (or my combat optic) from the small bag of AA batteries in the utility pouch on my BELTminus. If you’re looking for a good AA flashlight, consider the Fenix line.
-By Allen Cosby