Fenix PD35 Tactical 1000 Lumen Flashlight

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(Note – this light was supplied for review by Fenix Lighting. I am in no way endorsing the light nor the company and I am not compensated for doing the review. But it is only fair to recognize and thank them for sharing a sample so that TFB readers can learn about the product.)

Fenix is one of the more established Chinese manufacturers of high quality flashlights. 5-10 years ago Fenix offered tactical users, hobbyists, vocational users, etc., a quality alternative to Surefires and Streamlights at a competitive price.

These days there are so many brands coming out of Asia (and the US) that it’s hard to keep up with them all, but Fenix is still going strong and building quality, value priced lighting tools/flashlights.

The light I’m sharing with you is the PD35 Tactical Edition 1000 lumen pocket light. Specifications of this light :

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From the Fenix web site:

The Fenix PD35 TAC (Tactical Edition) LED Flashlight, remains in its pocketsize form but surpasses the traditional PD35 in performance and tactical employment. Designed with the military and law enforcement professionals in mind, this flashlight is measured at less than 14cm (5.5 inches) long and features up to 1000 lumens in turbo output while throwing it’s beam a distance up to 200 meters. In Outdoor Mode, the PD35 TAC delivers six output modes including a variable strobe. Switch to the new Tactical Mode to activate rear-switch only operation for fast, simplified mode selection of momentary, turbo, low and strobe. The PD35 TAC is powered by two CR123A or single rechargeable 18650 batteries .

The light was supplied with 2 CR123 batteries, a holster, lanyard, instructions and a warranty card. You can also use rechargeable 18650 cells but RCR123 batteries are not to be used. My tests were conducted with a freshly charged AW18650 cell.

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After having used the light for a couple of weeks I find that the ‘outdoor’ mode is more useful to me. In this mode the side switch cycles through 5 levels of output (Fenix states 6 levels with one of them being the strobe mode.) Measurements of output in my integrating sphere are as follows:

Lumen reading
Level 1     6.719
Level 2    56.875
Level 3    168.750
Level 4    457.813
Level 5    828.125

I find it quite refreshing how close to stated output the actual outputs are.

Switching between Tactical and Outdoor modes is easy. You simply press and hold the side button for 3 seconds. When in Tactical mode the side switch is disabled and you activate high, low and strobe from the tail switch.

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The emitter is a relatively modern Cree XP-L(V5). Fenix uses a smooth reflector that does a nice job of providing good throw and enough spill to illuminate the area around you.

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The PD35 comes with a removable clip. I’m not a big fan of most clips, but that’s my personal preference. If you like clips i suppose this one would do the job. Thankfully a decent nylon holster is supplied – if I were to carry this and depend on it for my job I would use the holster.
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The tail switch button is recessed behind a lip that allows for the light to tail stand, albeit slightly wobbly.
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As with most Fenix lights, the tint tends toward a cool white. My personal preference is for the newer high color rendering emitters. Again, that’s personal, but it’s fact that depth perception is better preserved with the higher CRI lights. I wish Fenix would consider offering such an option. Here’s a side by side of a light equipped with a Nichia 219B emitter – rated at 92 CRI. This photo is darn close to what my eyes see. In real use, the Fenix looks “white” and the other light looks neutral. This photo shows the stark differences between the two, and reveals that typical slightly greenish tint that so many Cree emitters have.  Obviously, Nichia equipped light left – Fenix right
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Pros:

Build quality
Lifetime warranty against defects
Small and lightweight
Simple operation
BRIGHT
Relative bargain

Cons:
No different tint options
No on board charging
Limited to 6V max

This one is purely subjective, but it would be nice if the light had a lower low setting. Most of you know how very useful a ‘firefly’ level is – .01 lumen or so. In a very dark environment, such a low level with days of run time an be very useful, plus it allows navigating in pitch dark without affecting night adjusted vision.

The light is available from many popular sources including Fenix-Lighting for typically around $75 or less.



Dan M

Love firearms and flashlights – and they go well together. I’ve been admiring and writing about quality flashlights for about 9 years…built my own integrating sphere….done a few mods. Proof positive that a 59 year old can still love toys!


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  • Aaron E

    Saw these at SHOT Show and from the limited exposure they seemed to be well-built and quality lights. No rattle, nice construction, nice lighting options, and very bright high/strobe output. It would be nice to have a small USB port for charging, but as is they are nice.

    One thing I caution about is anything above around 500 lumens has a significant flash-back blinding potential (light up a window, mirror or other reflective object and you get blinded). The higher lumes are great in open areas, not so much in buildings, etc. Also, I wasn’t able to see if the body got hot after prolonged “on” mode, especially on higher lumen settings. Something to consider, but initial observations were positive.

    • alternator

      I’ve had many Fenix lights, and most have been of pretty good quality. I’ve also been impressed with their competitor, Klarus. See CandlePowerForums.

  • alternator

    Flashlight manufacturer lemmings are all jumping over the cliff with side switches now, which are stupid. Too easy to depress, as is even the tail switch, since the “ears” that protect it do a lousy job. Turns on inside belt pouch when just sitting down. Mega lumens don’t compensate for piss poor designs.

    • Kivaari

      Yep.

    • R H

      I actually own this exact light. While I am not typically a fan of side switches, I don’t mind the user interface on this light. As for the light turning on while sitting down, that has not been my experience at all. The tail switch on mine is fairly stiff. I have been carrying it every day in my back pocket using the clip, and have yet to have any issues. I keep it to where it comes on in high mode, so I’m sure if it did turn on I’d be feeling the heat real soon!

    • iksnilol

      I actuallu like side switches… anything is better than a twisty.

      • alternator

        Point well taken. Twisty switches are thankfully pretty rare now.

      • MeaCulpa

        Multi mode with only a tail switches are way worse than twistys “oh you want the flashlight to shine at an adequate and non battery draining constant light mode? Just hold the switch down for 3 seconds, than pres the switch 5 times rapidly, the hold it for 2 seconds then 2 more rapid klicks! Oh it’s in SOS mode!? Turn it off with twelve rapid presses and start over” stupid. I’d take a nice old maglight any day over that nonsense.

    • Dan M

      While I understand your position on side switches, they are probably not relevant to this particular light. I may have done a poor job explaining the function of the side switch. Important to note – the side switch has absolutely NO FUNCTION when the light is OFF. You can hold the side switch down all day when the light is off and nothing happens. It is strictly for MODE SWITCHING or LEVEL SWITCHING when the light is on. In fact, when the light is in ‘tactical’ mode, the side switch does nothing unless you hold it down for 3 seconds – then it changes the light to outdoor mode. So for one carrying the light in a holster with concerns of the side switch activating the light, rest easy – it won’t. As for the tail switch, that’s subjective. I think it’s a pretty good design and would be not that easy to accidentally activate via the tail switch. YMMV

      • alternator

        I own it myself. I can read instructions. I pull it out, gripped in my hand, obviously. I press the side switch accidentally. It is no longer on max lumens. It no longer does me much of any good in a defensive situation. True story. That’s why it went into a drawer. I can’t trust it. YMMV

        • Dan M

          Fair enough. I suppose if I always wanted max lumens I would put it in tactical mode. Then the side switch would have no effect unless I held it a while. I’m not defending the light, just commenting on operation.

          • alternator

            I appreciate your review and perspective. Thank you. Flashlights can get people pretty riled-up!

        • Franco

          I use mine every day and have never accidentally hit the side switch. I don’t have it mounted on a firearm but I keep it by my door and use it to walk the dog and it goes in my pocket when I go out and plan to be out after dark. It gets a decent work out. My defense long guns have streamlights with a single on/off tail switch.

  • Gregory

    Eagletac has been producing lights more powerful than this one for a while.

    • Menger40

      Fenix has been producing lights more powerful than this one for a while too.

  • Gary Kirk

    It’s a light.. On off.. Maybe a tape switch if it’s weapons mounted..

    • Paladin

      I’ve EDCed an original PD35 for a few years now, the adjust-ability is pretty useful. I don’t always need face melting output, but sometimes I do. It’s nice to have multiple options in a single package.

      • Cymond

        I really like the idea of the old FourSevens Quarks or the Nightcore SRT lights. A twist changes the light’s mode, while the tail cap is the power switch. That way, you can actually feel and change what mode the light is in without turning it on.

  • Kivaari

    Side mounted switches lead to lighting your belt mounted pouch on fire. In the day time you don’t notice the light, just the smoke. Yep!

    • R H

      How so when the side mounted switch only adjusts the brightness?

      • Kivaari

        Intensity. That is if the switch is also side mounted. We carried Streamlights having a button on the side. A car seat in Caprices hit mine just right to activate it. It will set a pouch on fire or seriously melt the case. The smoke is a clue you have an issue.

        • R H

          Ok…so irrelevant to this review

          • Kivaari

            pretty much

      • alternator

        Both switches are poorly protected. Nitecore is even worse, I think.

    • Kyle_D

      Been carrying Fenix personally and in me job as a firefighter/AEMT and I’ve never had a problem. The side switch is easily disabled completely leaving the tail switch the only switch thats operational.

      • Kivaari

        I should have been more specific. Lights with a side on-off switch pose a risk. The Streamlights we used were dangerous.

        • Kyle_D

          Ahh makes sense. With these light only the tail switch is on/off. The side switch is brightness levels only. The side switch like I said can be completely disabled, which is what I do, and then a full click press on the tail does on/off, while a half press without clicking does brightness levels. Whats also nice to is it has mode memory so it always turns on in the mode it was last in when turned off, and it does momentary on with a half press when the light is off. They really are great lights, and I would never pick another brand after all the great lights I’ve had from them.

  • Kyle_D

    Nice to see a Fenix light on the site. Been using various Fenix flashlights for years as a Firefighter/AEMT and I’ve never felt suspicious about its durability, or brightness, and I’ve always been confident in its ability to work and do its job perfectly every time I need it.

  • kazetsukai

    I have EDC’d the original 850lm PD35 for upwards of 3 years now, and it takes a beating.
    Hopefully their 1000lm successors do the same.

  • whamprod

    My EDC for about a year and a half now is the PD35. I love it. I have a PD40 in the glovebox of my car too.

  • Franco

    I have several Fenix lights and I do have this one. It’s bright and has excellent beam pattern. Hard to beat for the money. Use the rechargeable battery, they last a lot longer and hold a charge too.

  • This is a nice little light, originally designed for use by law enforcement. Beam is a little inconsistent, but has more to do with batteries than anything else, but 1000 lumen light should be able to get the job done in just about any situation.