Maglite Flashlights

By Chuck Hawks

Experimental machinist Anthony Maglica founded Mag Instruments ( in 1955 as a one-man machine shop (job shop) in Los Angeles, California. Tony introduced the first Maglite flashlight in 1979 and has expanded the line over the years as the popularity of Maglite flashlights has grown. Mag Instruments, Inc. now employs about 850 people and is an internationally famous American success story.

All Maglites are made in the USA and constructed with precision machined aluminum alloy cases for durability. They are shock and water resistant; high grade rubber seals are used in every model. Most models even come with a spare lamp secured inside the tail cap. The light beam is adjusted (spot to flood) by turning the bezel. They are anodized inside and out for improved corrosion resistance and the cases are knurled for a positive grip. The C and D cell models have a recessed, three position (off, momentary and on), self-cleaning switch. Maglites are generally available in a choice of colors, the most common being black, red and blue. In North America, South America and Japan, Maglites are covered by a Limited Lifetime Warranty; elsewhere they come with a 10-year warranty. Maglites have become the standard of comparison among flashlights.

I have used Maglite flashlights over the years in my home, cars, boats and motorcycles. I have taken them hunting, fishing and camping. As I write these words, I own Maglite flashlights that use two D cells and three D cells, Mini Maglites using two AA cells and two AAA cells and tiny Maglite Solitaire flashlights that use only one AAA battery. I don't need a flashlight as big as the four, five and six D cell models so beloved by police departments all across the US, but they are available for anyone who does. So are models powered by two, three or four C cell batteries.

Maglite 6-D cell flashlight.
Maglite 6-D cell flashlight. Illustration courtesy of Mag Instruments, Inc.

The D cell Maglite flashlights come with replaceable White Star Krypton lamps and can be upgraded to Magnum Star Xenon lamps if desired. The standard light output of the two D cell model is 36.5 lumens or 16,200 peak beam candlepower. For the three D cell model, the numbers are 76.8 lumens or 22,000 peak beam candlepower. Four D cell Maglites put out 122.1 lumens and up to 23,000 peak beam candlepower. Five D cell models have a prodigious light output of up to 32,200 peak beam candlepower and 119 lumens. The giant six D cell model, very useful in an emergency as a baton, has a 162.6 lumen and 30,333 peak beam candlepower rating. The big guy (shown above) is 19.5 inches long, 2.25 inches in head diameter and weighs 50 ounces with batteries. The continuous run time for all D cell models is 9-10 hours on alkaline batteries. For comparison, the 2008 discount retail price of a black three D cell Maglite is about $19.00.

C cell Maglites are also supplied with White Star Krypton lamps and these can be upgraded to Magnum Star Xenon lamps if desired. The standard light output of the two C cell model is 36.5 lumens or 14,400 peak beam candlepower. The three C cell model provides 76.8 lumens and up to 20,000 peak beam candlepower. The four C cell model provides 122.1 lumens and up to 24,000 peak beam candlepower. The continuous run time is five hours on alkaline batteries for all C cell models. The four C cell Maglite retails for a discount price of around $20.00.

Mini Maglite 2-AA cell flashlight.
Mini Maglite 2-AA cell flashlight in camo finish. Illustration courtesy of Mag Instruments, Inc.

The traditional two AA cell Mini Maglite flashlights (shown above) come with a replaceable LM2A001 lamp. Output is 2,952 peak beam candlepower and 15.2 average lumens. Run time is 5.5 hours on alkaline batteries. The AA cell Mini Maglite is probably the most popular model with hunters. It weights only 3.78 ounces with batteries and is one-inch in head diameter and 5.75 inches long. Focus (spot to flood) is by a � turn of the head. The Mini Maglite is O-ring sealed to keep moisture out and the tail cap is vented to reduce the chance of gas build-up. Available colors include black, red, blue, silver, gray and camo. You can even convert the Mini Maglites into electric candles to illuminate a small area by unscrewing the flashlight's head and sliding the rear of the barrel into the head, which then becomes a stand. The two AA cell Mini Maglite packaged with a nylon holster and batteries has a 2008 discount retail price of approximately $10.00.

Mini Maglite flashlight candle mode.
Mini Maglite flashlight candle mode. Illustration courtesy of Mag Instruments, Inc.

Three AAA cell Mini Maglites come with a replaceable LM3A001 lamp. Light output is 15.6 lumens or 488 peak beam candlepower. Run time is two hours on two alkaline AAA batteries. Like the AA Mini Maglites, the AAA Mini's convert to electric candles. The 2008 discount price is around $9.00.

The Maglite Solitaire uses a LK3A001 lamp. It provides a light output of up to 213 peak beam candlepower and 2.3 lumens. Run time is 3.5 hours on a single AAA battery. This little flashlight is small enough to serve as a keychain fob, and often does. In 2008, the Solitaire is selling at a discount price of around $7.00.

New from Maglite are LED flashlights. These are offered in two AA cell and three AA cell Mini Maglite configuration and full size two, three and four D cell models. I suspect that the two AA cell Mini Maglite LED will be the most popular with outdoor sportsmen. It is styled after the standard Mini Maglite and it can also be configured as an electric candle. The difference is its three-watt LED sight source, which typically has a light output of up to 75-80 lumens. The Mini LED measures 6.6" in length and weights 4.15 ounces with batteries and retails for a 2008 discount price of about $24.00 with batteries and a nylon holster. The Mini Maglite LED offers features that include what Maglite calls Balanced Optics, a highly refined reflector combined with a quality LED for a brilliant, adjustable beam. Another feature is Intelligent Energy Source Management, which balances high brightness with efficient power usage. These are the Maglites of the future!

Back to the Outdoor Accessories Page

Copyright 2008 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.