Well, a few days ago I ordered my first product of the Streamlight family. The venerable Sidewinder Compact. Now, this is one kickin’ light! It is based off the original Sidewinder that has become standard issue for the USMC.
The light arrived in a plain brown, non descript box. The only marking that might have shown the nature of its contents was the name of the supplier I bought it from on the shipping label. I opened the box with excitement and tore into the snake adorn blister pack with more exuberance than necessary to liberate the little light from its plastic confines.
The instructions were simple. Insert the battery, turn the knob and push the button. They went on further to explain the various features of the light and how to activate them but in true ease of use design, a shorter version is printed again on the light itself, proving that it is not only water proof, it is idiot proof as well!
The Compact comes in two colors, OD and Coyote/Tan. The model I purchased was OD and I find its color to be a close match to my other OD gear. It blends nicely and does not stick out.
The controls are easy to manipulate with or without gloves and provide a high degree of feedback when locked into place. The raised portion of the knob is more that adequate to indicate the selector’s position and provides for confident use in complete darkness.
In use I found the light to be bright and responsive in all modes. The white on full is more than able to illuminate an entire room, the red and blue function well for utility use and the IR is designed to be used for IFF applications.
The ramping up from dim to bright is welcome in such a device in that it aids in discrete use and prevents you from losing your natural night vision by turning on at full intensity when all you wanted to do was sneak a look at your watch!
The case is glass filled nylon and rugged enough to stand up to EDC (Every Day Carry) and is waterproof to MIL-STD-810F, Method 512.4 standards, or the “drop it in the tub with a four year old certification test” that I used!
After purchasing the light I found the headband accessory at another retailer and ordered that as well. I will skip that unboxing experience except to say that the headband was greeted by giddy laughter and a bit of a mischievous grin!
The headband provides another level of hands free use and is made of thick, high grade elastic banding with hardware of equal quality. The front of the band has a glass filled nylon holder that has a slot for the Compacts metal clip and a cylindrical indention to accept the battery compartment thus securing the light. Once mounted, the light can be tilted up and down its full 185 deg. range of travel. It feels secure and free of any wiggle or slop common with lower quality devices.
I would strongly recommend this light for purchase as an all around work and utility light that would be equally at home fishing, camping, in your EDC kit or on the battle field.
Streamlight got this one right!
Prices vary according to retailer so I suggest shopping around and joining their mailing list to get special offers and discounts. Below are some links that you can follow directly to the order page of a few of my favorite online tactical suppliers!