I received lately the Rico Alpha-9 flashlight from Redwolf Airsoft. I first had my doubt about the tactical light. It looked kinda wierd and when do we play at night? But it does provide a cool look, esspecially the the built in "navigation" LED lights. The specifications on Redwolf Airsoft provided me more insights on this product. The light delivers a 250 lumen output and was originally designed for actual military use (a replica of the Surfire M900 series!), and it is not a toy but a serious flashlight designed for weaponry. It also has a 3mm poly-carbonate lens making it virtually indestructible to airsoft gun fire. And all this for only 169 USD (an origional Surefire M900 will cost you over 650 USD). This flashlight is it really worth to have in your inventory. So thanks go out again to Redwolf Airsoft and in special Paul Chu himself who provide us with the oppertunity to review this piece of equipment. Here we go...
This tactical light is designed to produce sufficient amount of light to allow an operator in a low light environment to safelu illuminate targets. According to RICO themself. Here is some additional information from Redwolf Airsoft:
Stylish new tactical weapons system from RICO is rugged and a high performer, and is a similar design as the SureFire M900 sold for over USD650. As seen used by US military personel. Constructed with a high quality polymer body and aluminum skeletal frame, this light is impact resistant from a 2 meter drop, as well as water resistant. Super strong 3mm poly-carbonate lens means that the flashlight lens is indestructable with any airsoft gun. Full aluminum lamp housing with striker flashlight head and butt cap. Powered by three CR123A batteries, which drives the 250 lumen INSIGHT bulb for very strong illumination! Dual integrated white LED lamps serve as navigation lights for stealth movement. Thumb screws ensure tight attachment on your gun. A main high power bulb is activated through either a twist knob on the back of the main flashlight housing, or by dual-sided pressure switches on the broom-handle grip. The navigator lights on either side of the main bulb can be activated using a third pressure switch onthe back of the unit, allowing the operator to light up an effective 10 - 15 feet of visibility with white light for moving around. MSRP is USD275 but you can get it here for USD168! Note that this Alpha-9 unit is designed for serious training use and is not a simple toy. It's ruggedness and performance exceed that of many real-steel lighting systems. Highly recommended!
The complete Alpha 9 Tactical Light Weapons System
Here we will provide you with some common characteristic details of the tactical light weapon system. The packages comes with the tactical light, a usefull handguide and that's it. Unfortunately batteries are not enclosed, but you can find the CR123A 3 volt batteries in every comon electronic shop. Further you are ready to go! The tactical light is standby and ready for usage... Here some detailed info on the light itself:
Weigt (w/o battery) 640 g
Weigt (w battery) 690 g
Length 182 mm
Width 52 mm
Height 145 mm
Water Resistance Operates under heavy rain
Brightness (Main Lamp) 250 Lumens Peak
Drop Resistant 2 meters max
Continous Operation approx. 60 minutes
Further below is a quick overview of the major components:
Main Light - 250 lumen replaceable lamp unit
Main light pressure switch - Pressure-activated on either grip side
Navigator light - Two integrated white LEDs for private illumination
Navigator Light Pressure Switch - Activates navigator lights
Rocker Switch - Selects between "allways-on" and "pressure-on"
Case - The body is made from high impact composite materials
Chassis - Milled aluminium skeleton chassis is strong and durable
At first view it might look a bid odd to you. A wierd combination of asome sort of light bulb together with a grip. But when attached to a rail system it really looks great! Together with for example the CA M15 CQB this light really gives you the professional looks.
Aside from the fact that the grip looks gorgeous there are a lot of buttons and pressure pads on it. How do they operate? The grip is basically a vertical RIS grip with a lamp system built into it, featuring two sets of illumination sources. A whit and bright shining main flashlight and a white LED powered socalled "navigation light". To either side of the grip you'll find carefully placed pressure pads, so the grip can be operated by the left or right hand!
A good view on the pressure pads and the on/off switch
Firstly the rotary switch at the back of the lamp, also named the Rocker Switch can be seen as the power button. The switch has 3 functional options; on (right position), off (center position) and pressure switch (left). In the off position the main lamp won't work. In the on position the main lamp will constanly be turned on. And offcourse in the pressure switch mode the main lamp will only turn on when you push the pressure switches, either the left or right pressure switch. This switch does not influence the usage of the "navigation" LED lights!
Second the smaller pressure pad on the back of the grip activates the two low wattage 'navigation' white LED lights at the front of the grip. The low wattage LEDs are designed for 'covert' use, in situations where the main light is just too bright and will really give your location away. Socalled private illumination. Simply when you push the pressure pads the "navigation" light's turn on, when not puched the lights are of.
And last we have the main pressure switches which we mentioned above, they turn the main light on and of when the tactival light is in the "pressure mode".
A nice view on the rail attachment, navigator lights and the main light.
Further the attachement and detachment of the tactical light is really easy to do. It just works like the most rail systems; loosen te two mounting screws, bring it up onto the rail and slight the retainer claws over the edge of the rail. When all is in place, thighten the mounting screws back again. When all went well the light should fit perfect to your rail. One big advance to this system is that the light is now already properly aligned with your rifle!
When having problems with the 250 lumen (!) main light, the light bulb can be easily replaced. Just unscrew the lamp housing (counter-clockwise) and the bulb can be removed. It is not adviced to insert a larger lightbulb because of heating probelms. And really with a light bulb of 250 lumens this is really not necessary!
To start we need to insert the batteries. The batteries are stored in the grip (3 CR123A 3 volt batteries are used), unthread the graphite coloured grip base to insert the batteries. Remark to insert the battery polarity with the + facing inwords. Be sure to insert the batteries properly because it might cause serious damage. Also ensure that the water resisting o-ring is seated properly.
Unscrew the bottom of the grip and insert 3 CR123A batteries. There you go!
The Main light provides the ultimate beam for close to medium range engagements. The light is good concentrated and even for 50 yards the tactical light is still useble. Unfortunately the light uses quite a lot energy and can only be used for 60 minutes. This is way to short during a full 12 hour night op.
Ergonomically the grip is a pleasure to hold, and the fact that the lamp is built into the grip itself means that it is placed close to the muzzle, and therefore the lamp will shine more accurately in the direction of the target.
Pressure pads work well and react accurately. The pressure pads are also large enough to be very useable with gloves on.
A lot of 'quick detach' gear tends to fall off very easy. This is happily not the case with this tactical light, even though the attachment system is very simple it is incredibly effective, and only going to come off when assisted by a user.
The navigation LEDs are spaced far enough apart to be well out the way of any extended muzzle breaks or barrel additions. The navigation lights are commonly used for personal illumination. Actions like reading your map, opening your bag etc. This light can be really usefull for your team. It can even be used for signalling to your teammembers, very handy!
I really like the RICO Alpha 9 Tactical Light Weapon System! If you want a powerful light and are serious about it, this is the product for you. Really a good piece of equipment to have in your inventory. It will help you in airsoft situations lacking appropriate lighting, whether it be outdoors or indoors. Unfortunately it will only help you for 60 minutes, so my advice is; take some extra batteries with you. The operation and usage of this tactical light are great! And offcourse has Redwolf Airsoft a very nice pricing on this product, only 169 USD. Besides Redwolf also sells a Flashlight Package 195 USD, this package includes the batteies and a 2 spare light bulbs! So my doubts are gone and I am looking forward to my next night op! In the furture we will add some nice in-action photo's. To finish with we have a nice wallpaper included made by Redwolf Airsoft, some manufacturer warnings and a comparison between the Rico Alpha 9 Tactical Light and the Surfire M900 series.
Here the wallpaper:
Click to enlarge
Here are the latest warnings from the manufacturer:
* In some rare situations in extreme cold, the main light may flutter a bit during full-auto fire (when mounted on an AEG). The reason is the battery spring on the lower end cap becomes a bit stiff and hops the battery up and down thereby breaking electrical contact intermittently. An easy fix is simply to pull on the spring and lenthen it a bit. This solves the problem completely.
* Please make sure you have read the instruction before you put the batteries into flashlight, wrong direction of batteries installation will damage LED light.
Also compare this RICO Alpha 9 Tactical Light Weapon System with the real Surfire M900 series! Are there any differences? For sure in price ;)
Southern Industrial Trading Co. Ltd. (Manufacturer)