Fenix PD35 TAC – Tactical Flashlight Review


I just recently did a review over the Fenix PD35 and found it to be an excellent flashlight. Now, I want to look at the tactical version of the Fenix PD35, the Fenix PD35 TAC. This review is going to be a little different, because I want to talk about the differences between the PD35 and the PD35 TAC a little bit, but I’ll be sure to cover all the features of the PD35 TAC and talk about some pros and cons of the flashlight. Okay, so the most obvious difference between these two flashlights would probably be the lumens, I would say. The PD35 gives out 960 lumens, whereas the PD35 TAC gives out 1000 lumens. Not a huge difference, but if you care about that power, then you might want to consider the PD35 TAC. This light is considered to be the best tactical flashlight by many flashlight enthusiasts.

You can also see a difference in the body styles. With both body styles, you have that anti-roll design. They’re pretty much the same size. They both come with a removable pocket clip, but you can see the PD35 TAC actually has a crenelated bezel on the head of the flashlight. I don’t know if I would call it a strike bezel, but it definitely has one, and it could probably be used as a strike bezel. You can also see there is a difference in the switches. While they both have a tail switch and a side switch, the PD35 TAC has a stainless steel side switch, whereas the PD35 has a more rubberized side switch. There is another big difference between these two flashlights, but I’m going to get to that later, because it’s a big feature of the PD35 TAC, so stay tuned.

Okay, so now I’m going to talk more in detail about the PD35 TAC. Fenix definitely did an excellent job with this flashlight. It’s equipped with a Cree XP-L version 5 LED. It does deliver that 1000 lumens, and the throwing distance is up to 200 meters, which is great, and while it’s not the biggest thrower, it’s pretty standard for a tactical 1000 lumen flashlight. It’s an incredibly lightweight flashlight, and because it is about five and a half inches in length, maybe a little less, it’s still considered a pocket flashlight, or at least a flashlight that’s fairly easy to carry around. I was surprised by how lightweight this flashlight is. Without the battery, it is a little over three ounces. For me, in a tactical flashlight, I do need a very lightweight flashlight. Flashlights that tend to be heavier don’t feel as well in my hand. They’re a little slower to maneuver. Lightweight flashlights, they’re easy, they’re fast and ultimately what I want in a tactical flashlight. I like that about the PD35 TAC.

A feature that makes this flashlight incredible and really separates it from the original Fenix PD35 is the two general modes you’re able to choose from. You have the Tactical Mode and the Outdoor Mode. I’m going to start by talking about the Outdoor Mode first. In the Outdoor Mode, you’ve got five different brightness levels and a flashing strobe mode. You’ve got the Turbo, which is 1,000 lumens, High, which is 500 lumens, Mid, 200 lumens, Low, 60 lumens, and Eco, eight lumens. Operating in this mode is very easy. You have the tail clicky, or switch. Just a little side note. I know some people call it “clicky.” Some people call it “switch.” I kind of like the name “clicky” better. I think it’s a little funnier, but let me know what your thoughts are. Just leave them in the comment.

Anyway, so you’ve got the tail clicky, and of course this turns on and off the flashlight and gives you access to that momentary-on, and then you’ve got the side switch that allows you to cycle through the different brightness levels. In the Outdoor Mode, you can access the Strobe mode only if the flashlight is already turned on, and that’s important to note. You can’t access the Strobe mode if the flashlight is off, in the Outdoor Mode specifically. To access it, you need to press down the side switch, and then as soon as you enter that Strobe mode, go ahead and let go of that side switch, and you’ll continue to have a constant Strobe mode. The Outdoor Mode does have that intelligent memory circuit, so it will remember the last brightness level you had the flashlight on and turn on to that last brightness level. I’m really liking the Outdoor Mode. I’m not crazy about the fact that you can’t get into the Strobe mode without first turning on the flashlight, but all in all, I do like the different brightness levels, and I like the user interface.

Now we’re going to talk about the Tactical Mode. First, I want to talk about how to switch to it. In order to switch from Outdoor Mode to the Tactical Mode, just hold down that side switch for about three seconds. The light will flash a couple times, and then you’ll know you’re in the Tactical Mode. Now, in this mode, the side switch can only be used to switch back to the Outdoor Mode, so you’ll really only be using that tail switch. You press the light on, and it will turn on into the Turbo mode. You can half-press. It’ll get into the Strobe mode. Half-press again, it’ll go into the Low mode with the 60 lumens. Those are the three levels that it will cycle between. You can also switch between these three levels by quickly turning on and off the flashlight in between each level, but in the Tactical Mode, the flashlight will always turn on to that Turbo level at 1,000 lumens. It’s a pretty unique Tactical Mode. I definitely really like it. I like those half-presses to get to the Turbo, or to get to the Strobe from Turbo and then to the Low.

I think the idea behind this flashlight is practicality and preparedness, so a law enforcement officer may be using that Outdoor Mode more than anything, but if he or she finds themselves in a more dangerous situation, they can easily switch over to that Tactical Mode which allows for a more simplified and a faster operation. Then they can easily switch it back to the Outdoor Mode if necessary, so I really think that that switching between the two modes, how easy it is, that’s a really great feature to have. In case you were wondering, the two modes, the Outdoor Mode and the Tactical Mode, that is what really separates the PD35 TAC from just the original Fenix PD35. If you don’t really care about the two different modes, I would suggest you go with the Fenix PD35, even if it’s 40 lumens less than the PD35 TAC, just because it’s definitely a more simplified version of this flashlight, but I do really like the two modes on the PD35 TAC.

Okay, so let’s continue with some of the other features of the PD35 TAC. This tactical flashlight uses an 18650 battery, or you can equip two CR123 batteries, just depending on your situation, what you have on hand, or which battery you prefer. You do have reverse polarity protection, so the flashlight and the battery, you will be protected if the battery is improperly loaded into the flashlight, and it also has a low-voltage reminder, so you will see an indicator when the battery is needing to be replaced, which is always a plus in any flashlight. You really don’t want the flashlight to just crap out on you. It’s really great to have that low-voltage indicator so that you know, “Okay, it’s time that I need to pull out my backup batteries, or I need to charge my battery, or just replace them.” Of course, it’s a Fenix flashlight, so you can absolutely expect the highest quality material. It’s made of a durable, aircraft-grade aluminum. It has that Premium Type III hard-anodizing finish. The lens is made from a toughened ultra-clear glass, and it’s got that anti-reflective coating on it.

You have a great knurling pattern design that allows you to grip the flashlight very easily. It’s not going to slip in your hands, and I know we already talked about the anti-roll and the bezel on the flashlight. Now I will talk about what I like about the flashlight and what I don’t like about the flashlight. Starting with what I like, I really, really like the Outdoor Mode and how easy it is to switch into the Tactical Mode. The Outdoor Mode offers a lot of versatility. You’ve got all of those different brightness levels, and with the Tactical Mode, I like how simple it is. It’s very straightforward. It doesn’t require any thought. In a tactical situation, this mode is truly a great mode to have.

I also like how easy it is to switch between the two modes with just holding down that side switch for only three seconds. It’s so quick and so easy. A lot of flashlights that have these different modes of operation, it takes a little bit longer to pick between the two, and often users will just set it in one mode and leave it in that mode and forget about the other mode. But with this flashlight, you’re definitely going to be using both modes, and I really like that.

There are a couple things I didn’t like. I don’t like that you can’t access the Strobe mode when the flashlight is turned off in the Outdoor Mode. I like being able to access the Strobe mode whether the flashlight is turned on or off, so that’s a negative for me. I also don’t really care for the bezel on this flashlight. It’s a little small, so I don’t really know if you’d consider it a strike bezel, and so it seems as though it’s just a design choice, and I don’t really care about that. I just don’t think that’s necessary. All in all, those two different modes and how easy it is to switch between the modes is what really makes the Fenix PD35 TAC shine. If you’re looking for an everyday, outdoor flashlight that can double as a tactical flashlight, the Fenix PD35 TAC is definitely the way to go.

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