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Posted: 5/21/2020 1:11:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/21/2020 1:17:24 PM EDT by PFran42]
Based off of the recommendations on the SiOnyx thread I purchased a $19 FandyFire 940nm IR illuminator from Amazon to be used as a helmet light with my SiOnyx Aurora bino setup. Aside from the LED square-shaped throw pattern when the beam is focused to its most narrow setting,  I have nothing but praise for this illuminator.

Skip ahead a couple of weeks and I end up pulling the trigger on a PVS-14. Wow! Big performance jump in low light image quality and real-time view window (when compared to the perceived lag of the Aurora).

Skip ahead another week or two and I pull the trigger on a Surefire X300V. I'm thinking this is going to be a huge step up from the $19 "Chinesium POS".

Boy was I wrong. After playing with both, I believe the FandyFire has a substantially superior throw, spill, and evenness of light pattern.

The most disappointing thing about the X300V is the overall projected "flood" image. The closest thing I can equate it to is shinning a flashlight through a lava lamp. It is like a tie-dye of variations/shades of IR light with noticeable "rings" of shadows. When the FandyFire is set to flood mode, you get an even distribution of IR illumination in the shape of a circle.

Before I get dog piled, I know the Surefire can be jumped out of a Space Shuttle and survive underwater ocean knife fights and yes... For a two way range, I would absolutely choose the X300V. That said, it makes you wonder why Surefire can take a FandyFire design and harden it.

Does anyone else have both of these illuminators and if so, are you noticing the same? (i'm kind of hoping I have a defective Surefire unit).

FandyFire 940nm IR illuminator (runs off of one 18650 battery):

Attachment Attached File


Surefire X300V (runs off of two CR123 batteries):

Attachment Attached File


Link Posted: 5/21/2020 3:48:31 PM EDT
Two different lights. Two very different intended uses.

If you want to see what a FandyFire looks like after it graduates from college, buy a @TNVC Torch Pro Mk.III.
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 6:25:06 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By ThisWildAdventure:
Two different lights. Two very different intended uses.

If you want to see what a FandyFire looks like after it graduates from college, buy a @TNVC Torch Pro Mk.III.
View Quote


I'm sure there are better lights like Modlight and TNVC. I'm just surprised Surefire couldn't get a halfway decent flood pattern out of theirs. That's the reason I asked if anyone else is seeing what I am seeing.
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 6:53:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/21/2020 6:57:55 PM EDT by jortpeterson]
I have both and while I'm not sure I see exactly what you are seeing,they are for totally different purposes. The FandyFire is guaranteed to not hold up to any recoil either just like you said. I do like that I can use a rechargeable cell for it and am currently planning on mounting it to my helmet for an IR headlamp as it should hold up to that. Testing it out on some family land I was able identify targets clear across multiple fields into the woods with the fandyfire when I focused it in which was impressive.
EDIT: Took a picture of the surefire using a sionyx - is this it?
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 7:04:40 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 7:14:34 PM EDT
For the price I'm going to order one of these Fandy's and check it out. My X300V has a great output, no spots, etc. The white light wasn't right with a black spot ever since I got it and it really sucked. The IR was perfect and since always used it for IR i didn't care.

Anyways, I recently sent it to SF, they fixed it, and the white light is MUCH improved. Maybe you got the same issue but on the IR side.

People complain about SF's service and this is the one and only time I used it but it was excellent and quick IMO. I also contacted them and sent it during the height of COVID.
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 7:20:36 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By TNVC_Augee:


What is the battery life on that thing? It doesn't appear listed at the link? My guess would be not long, and no output seems to be readily visible, either? I'm sure it's high, though--a lot of those Amazon China lights are certainly bright as hell, no question about it--but the X300V is rated for 16.75 hours on IR (2.5 hours of WL -- the same thing happens when you compare China LEDs to Surefires when you're talking about white lights, too), I'd be curious to know what the run time of that light is and how much power it's putting out.


~Augee
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I'd need to do exact timing but it lasted four outings at an hour or so a pop, figured I'd recharge it then and it looked like it was 2/3 depleted from the chargers readout. In terms of visible output you can see a faint red glow while holding it and looking straight into it. Can't speak on the power.
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 7:21:25 PM EDT
As TNVC already pointed out, the fact that there are dual LED's inside a single reflector is why the surefire looks odd. the other reason the fandifire is so smooth is that its a reflector-less aspherical lens. it takes the light straight from the LED Die and spreads it out. the surefire can't use that design as Coast copyrighted it in the USA. which sucks because it works REALLY well.
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 7:24:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/21/2020 7:32:37 PM EDT by JoeMal]
I've got both, but only recently acquired the 300V and haven't had the chance to test it yet on IR besides hanging out in the house. I'm headed to my lease this weekend and should have the chance, I'll try to get some pictures and let you know Sunday or Monday.

My FandyFire is a great helmet light for hunting. I can easily see 150 yards on beam and you're right, the flood throw is wide and clean.  Flood really helps work navigating. I'm a poor with two kids in daycare and use an Aurora myself, and on really dark nights helps.

Edit are you seeing this with your Aurora, PVS14, or both?
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 7:38:08 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By TNVC_Augee:


Don't forget that in addition to durability, the X300V is built specifically for a pistol application.

I'm not sure that I agree about the "tie dye" or "lava lamp" artifacts, but there are certainly well defined "zones" to the X300V's illuminator.

Ultimately you've got a couple of different things going on, not the least of which is size/power/envelope, the X300V "needs" to be a certain size and shape to accomplish the job it's designed to do, as well as the dual spectrum LEDs that need to fit into that envelope, and be uncompromisingly rugged and reliable, versus dedicated IR.

What is the battery life on that thing? It doesn't appear listed at the link? My guess would be not long, and no output seems to be readily visible, either? I'm sure it's high, though--a lot of those Amazon China lights are certainly bright as hell, no question about it--but the X300V is rated for 16.75 hours on IR (2.5 hours of WL -- the same thing happens when you compare China LEDs to Surefires when you're talking about white lights, too), I'd be curious to know what the run time of that light is and how much power it's putting out.

Different tools for different jobs, if the FandyFire works for you, then good to go, but IMHO, an 18650 light in general is more than I want on my helmet anyways, and I certainly wouldn't trust it weapon mounted for serious work, maybe hunting or plinking where if you kill a $19 light, no harm no foul, but again, I rather trust that that's not what you're talking about anyways--but those kinds of requirements definitely are a factor in simply "ruggedizing" a light like that for serious use.  

~Augee
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Thanks for putting my thoughts through the “Augee Translator“. You better described the pattern I am seeing. I purchased both as helmet lights so I should have mentioned that I am not using them for their intended purposes.

I am well aware that the X300V is a better overall light but at the same time I can’t gloss over the fact that when both lights are pointed at thick brush at 25-50 yards, the FandyFire provides me a much better view of the foliage, shadows within the underbrush and leaves no room for second guessing whether what I am seeing is real or an intermix of real+projected artifacts/patterns.

Maybe that is the reason you can pick them up new for $212 (which is a $167 discount).
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 7:48:22 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By jortpeterson:
I have both and while I'm not sure I see exactly what you are seeing,they are for totally different purposes. The FandyFire is guaranteed to not hold up to any recoil either just like you said. I do like that I can use a rechargeable cell for it and am currently planning on mounting it to my helmet for an IR headlamp as it should hold up to that. Testing it out on some family land I was able identify targets clear across multiple fields into the woods with the fandyfire when I focused it in which was impressive.
EDIT: Took a picture of the surefire using a sionyx - is this it?
https://i.imgur.com/3dy6N6Ih.jpg
View Quote


Thanks for the pic. The best way I can describe mine vs yours is...

Mine has a similar ringed pattern but it is “splotchier”. My bands of dark rings bow in and out and certain hemispheres within the rings are much darker than their 180 degree counterparts of the same rings. Basically, when I am looking at something like a row of bushes, the patterns within the Surefire flood intermix with patterns of the items being viewed and it in essence, it makes it more difficult to discern what is “real” vs what is a camouflaged “tie-dye”.

With the FandyFire, the intensity, pattern and dispersion are even (when used in flood mode) so when you start looking at bushes... what you see = what is there.

Hope that makes sense.
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 7:53:01 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By will-1:
For the price I'm going to order one of these Fandy's and check it out. My X300V has a great output, no spots, etc. The white light wasn't right with a black spot ever since I got it and it really sucked. The IR was perfect and since always used it for IR i didn't care.

Anyways, I recently sent it to SF, they fixed it, and the white light is MUCH improved. Maybe you got the same issue but on the IR side.

People complain about SF's service and this is the one and only time I used it but it was excellent and quick IMO. I also contacted them and sent it during the height of COVID.
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Sweet. I have no doubt that you’ll understand what I am trying to describe once you have them side by side. Especially with the land features you film in your videos.

Regardless.... The FandyFire is a no-brainer must-have when priced at $19.
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 7:55:02 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By slappomatt:
As TNVC already pointed out, the fact that there are dual LED's inside a single reflector is why the surefire looks odd. the other reason the fandifire is so smooth is that its a reflector-less aspherical lens. it takes the light straight from the LED Die and spreads it out. the surefire can't use that design as Coast copyrighted it in the USA. which sucks because it works REALLY well.
View Quote


Yeah... I have about a dozen of those Costco 400 lumen Coast headlamps. I love the focus ring on those things.
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 7:59:03 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By JoeMal:
I've got both, but only recently acquired the 300V and haven't had the chance to test it yet on IR besides hanging out in the house. I'm headed to my lease this weekend and should have the chance, I'll try to get some pictures and let you know Sunday or Monday.

My FandyFire is a great helmet light for hunting. I can easily see 150 yards on beam and you're right, the flood throw is wide and clean.  Flood really helps work navigating. I'm a poor with two kids in daycare and use an Aurora myself, and on really dark nights helps.

Edit are you seeing this with your Aurora, PVS14, or both?
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Only tested it with the PVS-14.

@TNVC_Augee, does the M300V project with a more uniform pattern? If so, I’ll probably do one of those Echo Arms Frankenbuilds.
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 8:01:49 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By PFran42:


Only tested it with the PVS-14.

@TNVC_Augee, does the M300V project with a more uniform pattern? If so, I’ll probably do one of those Echo Arms Frankenbuilds.
View Quote


I’ve been considering a dual light such as the M300V but I can’t bring my self to do it. It seems like a piss poor compromise on both white light and IR output. Am I better off buying a second light to run when I know I’ll be out at night? I have a modlite OKW for my white light currently.
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 8:25:24 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Synyster06Gates:


I’ve been considering a dual light such as the M300V but I can’t bring my self to do it. It seems like a piss poor compromise on both white light and IR output. Am I better off buying a second light to run when I know I’ll be out at night? I have a modlite OKW for my white light currently.
View Quote


I’m pretty new at this but I am quickly settling into:

Helmet mounted white light/IR plus weapon mounted white light, IR laser, IR illuminator
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 9:02:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/21/2020 9:04:43 PM EDT by will-1]
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Originally Posted By PFran42:


I’m pretty new at this but I am quickly settling into:

Helmet mounted white light/IR plus weapon mounted white light, IR laser, IR illuminator
View Quote


IMO the dual spectrum lights are 100% worth it on the helmet. Some weapons it also makes sense. I just got a brand new M600V for my truck gun/bedroom gun and it’s perfect for my application. I don’t have street lights and stuff like that so the white light punches pretty good and it has a nice tight hotspot. If I’ll use it under IR it’ll help my red dot on darker nights.

The X300V or Inforce WML IR are great helmet lights. The white light is good enough for most things. I almost always only use IR but it’s nice to have a stronger white light helmet option other than a Princeton Tec Charge or Switch sometimes because they’re only good as task lights. Good example, searching the ground for something you dropped, inspecting animal tracks, etc. where you want more light.

Or you can just run IR only and wear a hand lamp around your neck for a better vis light.

ETA: the benefit to the helmet mounted white light is searching for stuff since it’s inline with your eyes.
Link Posted: 5/21/2020 9:42:39 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/24/2020 5:04:11 PM EDT
I didn't bother to take pictures with the fandy because it mirrors your description.

Here are a couple photos from my Aurora and my X300V. Very small amount of layering/sections that I see but it's not a lot.

Attachment Attached File


Attachment Attached File
Link Posted: 5/24/2020 8:51:30 PM EDT
I have 1 of the 10 buck amazon ir lights on my helmets, it was tested in the illumrnator test thread. Runs on 1 AA battery, perfect size for a helmet mount that can light up 200 yards away.
Link Posted: 5/24/2020 10:14:39 PM EDT
Originally Posted By PFran42:That said, it makes you wonder why Surefire can take a FandyFire design and harden it.
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They can, but it would cost $350 because of the name and the SF acolytes would line up for it.
Link Posted: 5/25/2020 11:29:10 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By ashiha:


They can, but it would cost $350 $699 because of the name and the SF acolytes would line up for it.
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and as I said above coast patented the aspherical lens zoom type lights in the USA so on top of surefire tax, they would have to pay for licensing.
Link Posted: 5/26/2020 8:22:38 PM EDT
Just adding that I've had an Evolva T20 style light mounted to several different guns over about 3 years in a $3 chinese mount. No issues with the light being killed by recoil. It's been used on 5.56 (high volume), 300BLK, and most recently .308 (over 100rd now). Great throw, the 18650 batteries last a long time, adjustable beam. It's not tier 1 but it definitely works.
Link Posted: 5/27/2020 6:14:17 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By PlayFront36:
Just adding that I've had an Evolva T20 style light mounted to several different guns over about 3 years in a $3 chinese mount. No issues with the light being killed by recoil. It's been used on 5.56 (high volume), 300BLK, and most recently .308 (over 100rd now). Great throw, the 18650 batteries last a long time, adjustable beam. It's not tier 1 but it definitely works.
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I have 2 of the T20 Evolva’s one of them I killed
Wasn’t even abusing it !!!!very bright very adjustable but freakin hugeeeeee. The one that broke just stopped turning on one day.



The Fandy whatever you call it chicom light come with many names on them are a generic mass produced cheap ir light  and they are bright but not very durable one I had mounted on a bump helmet using it and eventually it just crapped out on me. At first it would turn off then on I kept having to tap it like a horror film then it just stopped working. The other one I have is still working. I wouldn’t try any of them for serious use on rifles but helmet mounted sure there cheap and work.

Currently I have a newer gen 2 Surefire M952v-TN and I’m in love with it as a helmet light. You don’t have to pull the bezel like on the m622v to switch from IR to White it just has a nice smooth click. The ADM Mount is awesome. Love me some Surefire don’t care what the nay sayers say. They just work !!!

Link Posted: 5/27/2020 10:03:07 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By gungrass:


I have 2 of the T20 Evolva’s one of them I killed
Wasn’t even abusing it !!!!very bright very adjustable but freakin hugeeeeee. The one that broke just stopped turning on one day.



The Fandy whatever you call it chicom light come with many names on them are a generic mass produced cheap ir light  and they are bright but not very durable one I had mounted on a bump helmet using it and eventually it just crapped out on me. At first it would turn off then on I kept having to tap it like a horror film then it just stopped working. The other one I have is still working. I wouldn’t try any of them for serious use on rifles but helmet mounted sure there cheap and work.

Currently I have a newer gen 2 Surefire M952v-TN and I’m in love with it as a helmet light. You don’t have to pull the bezel like on the m622v to switch from IR to White it just has a nice smooth click. The ADM Mount is awesome. Love me some Surefire don’t care what the nay sayers say. They just work !!!

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So for a home-gamer you’re saying that you could buy 5 FandyFire’s for 1/3 the cost of a go-to-war illuminator?

I’m pretty sure there’s a value proposition tucked in there.

At the very least.... GET BOTH.
Link Posted: 5/28/2020 12:08:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/28/2020 12:09:11 AM EDT by gungrass]
Well for the price of a m622v $500 new you could buy 90 fandys @ $5.50 a pop lol so yeah there’s value in that. I’ve seen that same generic Ir flashlight listed for several years on eBay. I personally like the cheapo ones with the zoomable head if I’m just out on my property messing around, but if I’m out shooting or trying to kill something Surefire all the way.



Now that being said once you own a Surefire they got you for life. The Gen 2 M952v I’m running I got from turning in a m952v Gen 1 with a cracked lense that I had purchased for $100 and within 10 days of shipping it I had the Gen 2. Your buying more then a flashlight your buying a USA made backed quality weapon light for life. Obviously I own a lot of cheapo lights so there is something to be said about them.

I am surprised Surefire hasn’t increased there ir power on these models that being said I can see down my 300 yard driveway with the IR mode which for me is plenty.

That T20 is really powerful it’s just so big I hated them. I’ve seen the cheapo lights from China explode like a mini bomb from not being set up for recoil so user beware. I’m sure you can YouTube some examples of this.
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