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First Gear | HybridLight, Suarez Universal L-Mount

First Gear | HybridLight, Suarez Universal L-Mount

Photo credit: A1F Staff

If you’re looking for our PCC build, stand by—we’re waiting on some parts, and we’ll get back to it soon. In the interim, we’ve got a couple more modest gems that just appeared, and which are striking us as worthy of both a first look and more investigation.


Light, tough and waterproof, we know the pink will be the big seller. Realtree, schmealtree. Oh, wait …. Photo by A1F Staff

We’re a long way from done in terms of looking at HybridLight devices, and not only because the boss just flopped one on our desk with that “take a look” nonchalance of which we’ve grown wary. His eye for quality in nearly all things is legend, and he isn’t fooled by—or afraid of—cost. He’s a you-get-what-you-pay-for guy with good taste: the “cheese” merchant’s ultimate nightmare, in other words.

Those instincts are looking to be first-rate on HybridLight. Our initial sample is a simple flashlight: palm-sized (6 inches), LED, two brightness settings. But go right ahead and say, “So what?” We dare you.

Any messing around with the Journey 160 model will demonstrate the hazards of such guesswork based on the unprepossessing exterior. We were struck—and a little apprehensive—by the light weight: only 4.5 ounces. Then, a suspicious flat that dominated one side—clearly a solar charging capacity. The last straw was the O-ring-sealed end cap, from under which the HybridLight genius is made plain: The same 2400mAh battery technology that will store a lighting charge (seven hours high/25 low) for seven years also runs the other way.

If that sounds like it’d be handy for an emergency bump on your cell phone, we’d agree. We ran ours to nothing for a test, and were able to get back up to a suitable “emergency call” level in only 11 minutes (on an iPhone). Not bad for a 160 lumen, lifetime-guaranteed light that can quick charge through mini-USB as well from almost anything, and with the cord supplied.

TrueTimber kit ought to meet about any expedition needs. Even teenagers can stay connected with the charging power here—22,000+ mAh, if our math serves. Photo by A1F Staff

Nor is the Journey the only thing HybridLight has up its self-charging sleeve. Both larger and smaller flashlights are available, as well as a full-up hunting/camping unit (TrueTimber Pro) with lamp-style lights for tent or camp, and garage/automotive (Gas Monkey Garage Pro) kits. There's even a Bluetooth speaker (lantern/flashlight/FM Radio/Micro SD Card reader too) that will double as a charger.

Both the Gas Monkey and TrueTimber kits will net you the HybridLight Mammoth (or separately here), and this may be our favorite. There are lots of work lights out there, we know, but few as versatile. It naturally has all the Hybrid benefits—solar charging, mini-USB rapid charge, and power sharing from a comparatively massive 4800 mAh battery—but adds built in 110/220 volt wall charging, a swiveling (120-degree) magnetic base and flexible neck to both a flashlight mode and an area work light that may be visible from space (150/400 lumens, and 35/18 endurance respectively). 

HybridLights are just the antidote, we think, if all lighting solutions were starting to look the same—and emergency charging to boot!

Visit HybridLight at hybridlight.com; HybridLights are priced from $19 and up.

Suarez International Universal “L-Mount”

As we said here, we’ve got red dot on the brain, or at least a minor case thereof (here and here, too). Given how many sighting hurdles the technology overcomes, and especially for those with several types of vision “issues,” it probably shouldn’t be a surprise. Then there’s a “fast” and “fun” (emphatically both) component we tend to gloss over a bit to get to their instructional and technique benefits: Almost any shooter will improve with some time spent behind a red dot, and that includes subsequent shooting with more conventional sighting technologies.

A major stumbling block, however, can be encountered when “old” meets “new”: Getting a spiffy Vortex Venom or Burris Fastfire III up and running on, say, a much-treasured Gen2 or 3 Glock is a test of both patience and the pocketbook. Sigh.

A compact and straightforward way to optic-up older Gen Glocks with very few compromises. Very well done. Photo by A1F Staff

If you think we’re cuing up a “ta-da!” of some sort, your instincts are flawless. In a recent red-dot immersion with Gabe Suarez, he promised a new version of his “L-Mount” was in the offing, and said article is now in hand. We were fans of the original, as it allowed non-MOS guns to get geared up with at least one manufacturer’s red dot—namely, the superb Trijicon RMR. We grant the financial implications of such a fine pairing could be daunting. Certain maintenance tasks were also more complex.

These barriers of vintage, cost, alternatives and care splinter headlong on the Universal “L.” Like the predecessor, it provides for a secure two-point mount and co-witness iron sights, but will accept at least eight models of red dot from six manufacturers. Unlike the predecessor, the unit does not need to be uninstalled for a “detail” strip of the slide for cleaning or maintenance.

Furthermore, even a modest complement of tools will have your system ready for sight-in in about 10 minutes. That number would have been about two minutes—literally—if our test optic wasn’t the shallow-bodied Vortex Venom (don’t get us wrong, this is a good thing: Closer to the bore) for which the supplied screws were a tad too long. We had the wherewithal handy to modify ours, but your local Fastenal can fix you up in a hurry too.

We whisked by another nifty characteristic of the Suarez L-Mount, but will amend that now. Although the sight radius of any co-witness irons is short, don’t underestimate the utility of adding these and getting them regulated (or order your “L” this way from Suarez in the first place). First off, they’ll help you “learn” the red dot better—new red dotters often struggle with getting on the dot quickly, and the conventional notch-and-post back-ups are a signpost par excellence for integrating this into your presentation. Naturally, they’re a fine back-up to battery failure or more serious damage to your primary (though red dots are damn tough these days). Finally, they’re just about perfect if you have a “can” for your Glock.

Visit Suarez International at suarezinternational.com; Universal “L-Mount” MSRP ranges from $69-199 depending on your choice of co-witness sights.

Frank Winn has been studying arms and their relationship to tyranny, meaningful liberty and personal security all his adult life. He has been a firearms safety/shooting instructor for more than 20 years, and earned state, regional and national titles in several competitive disciplines.

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