It is Friday afternoon and you are here. I know what you want, candela! Lots of Candela. Z-Bolt was kind enough to send out their Blazer LEP weapon light for us to check out. There have been other LEP lights on Friday Night Lights but this is the only one that has FDA approval. We will go into that later so let’s take a closer look at this high-candela weapon light.
- Friday Night Lights: Weltool Weapon Lights – W35 White, IR or LEP
- Friday Night Lights: Acebeam W30 Long Range LEP Illuminator
- FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Weltool W3 “Featherless Arrow” – LEP (Laser Excited Phosphor) Flashlight
Blazer LEP Weapon Light
First, let’s define LEP for those of you who are not familiar with what that is. L.E.P. is an acronym for Laser Excited Phosphor. It is not like an LED or even a laser. While it has “laser” in the acronym, it is a more complicated process of producing white light. A blue laser is shined onto yellow phosphor and for some reason, it creates white light. Very focused white light. Because it used a laser to help generate this light, it can be argued that an LEP falls under the regulations by the FDA regarding lasers. According to Z-Bolt, only they have FDA approval for their Blazer LEP light and is considered eye-safe for sales to civilians. This is a criteria for US manufactured devices. This does to apply to laser-based devices made outside of the US. But the danger in buying those devices is that they could potentially damage retinas.
Z-Bolt actually had an older Blazer design. I got a chance to check one out last summer. Their design was proprietary. It used an offset clamping mount to attach to Picatinny. What I found the most interesting was their tail cap design and filters.
The tail cap uses a dual switch but rather than Surefire, they went with Insight/Crane plug like most laser systems. See below. The port is offset to the switch. Also, you can rotate the port to position it where you want.
The old Blazer had two different lengths of bodies. One for 18650 and one for 18350. Here is the 18350 body next to my pre-production Weltool LH3.
There are other LEP weapon lights out there. Weltool, which I already reviewed, and Atibal. See the Blazer compared to the others. You will notice a sort of goat eye pupil thing in the Blazer head. My pre-production LH3 head has a similar reflector. But the newer Weltool and Atibal do not have that in them.
Here are the filters for the Blazer that I mentioned earlier. I will go into more about them later.
Consumers Demand Modularity
Z-Bolt heeded the call of the consumer and redesigned their Blazer to be compatible with Modlite/SureFire Dual Fuel bodies. They also made their tail caps Scout Light thread compatible. So now you can use whatever Modlite compatible body you want that fits 18350 or 18650.
Another feature that sets Z-Bolt apart is that their Blazer head is dual fuel. If you use the long body, you can run it off a li-ion rechargeable like an 18650 or you can use 2xCR123s. Run time is different though. You get a better run time with the 18650 battery, 130 mins. But only 90 mins with 2xCR123s. If you use the shorter 18350 battery and body it will only power the Blazer LEP head for 70 minutes.
Since their bodies are now SureFire Dual Fuel Scout Light compatible, their tail caps fit Scout Light bodies. The Blazer LEP weapon light comes with a shrouded tail cap. It is a little bit longer than a standard SureFire Scout Light tail cap. The Z-Bolt tail cap does not have a lock-out feature like the SureFire tail caps. If you untwist the surefire tail cap, it breaks the circuit so the light cannot be activated unless you tighten it all the way and press the tail cap button. This could be a patent issue with SureFire.
As mentioned earlier, Z-Bolt went with an Insight/Crane port for remote tape switch activation of their Blazer LEP weapon light. They made the tail cap Scout Light compatible.
Be careful when using their Crane Port tail caps. Older legacy tape switches have too much resistance and reduce the output of some lights, not just Z-Bolt’s Blazer. Here is what they said on their website. They designed their tail caps to work with Unity Tactical switches.
Z-BOLT® cable port tailcaps are compatible with Unity Tactical Crane-Style laser plug switches and a few other OEMs.Please Note: Many legacy Crane-Style (L3/Insight/EOTECH/Laser Devices/Steiner) switches can’t pass the current needed to run modern, high current draw weapon lights. These older switch designs do not allow “full power” operation of Z-BOLT® LEP, Modlite OKW & PLHv2, or Surefire® LED light heads. Typically these switches reduce output by 15-20%. (mostly related to thread gauge) So beware, your results with these switches may vary. Our tested & approved list:
Unity Hot Button (7” MLOK Laser, FDE) P/N: HBM-IF
Unity Hot Button (7” MLOK Laser, Black) P/N: HBM-IB
Unity Hot Button (7” PICATINNY Laser, FDE) P/N: HBR-IF
Unity Hot Button (7” PICATINNY Laser, Black) P/N: HBR-IB
Unity TAPS, Standard 2x Leads (9” Laser/Laser, FDE) P/N: TAPS-119F
Unity TAPS, Standard 2x Leads (9” Laser/Laser, Black) P/N: TAPS-119B
Unity ModButton Lite (4.5” PICATINNY Laser, FDE)
Unity ModButton Lite (4.5” PICATINNY Laser, Black)
Steiner eOptics / Laser Devices 7″ Remote Cable Pressure Pad Switch P/N: 9120
Please Note: Steiner P/N 9120 will not run the Surefire® KE2-DF light head. (Surefire® M600DF)
How Does the Blazer Beam Look?
I like to call LEP lights “fat lasers”. They are very collimated and have high candela. The Z-Bolt Blazer has 385,000-415,000 candela. A Modlite PLHV2 is only 54,000 candela. See the photo above? The Blazer is shining on a shed 530 yards away. Below is what I can see through my Bushnell LMSS. I took this photo with my iPhone 12 Pro Max. It was taken with the long exposure setting so it appears brighter than what I actually see.
If you recall last week’s Friday Night Lights, I flew my Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual drone out to the utility shed to see how much it was actually being lit up. The Mavic camera is not sensitive to low light and yet it can clearly see this shed at night only being illuminated by the Blazer LEP.
What about further? Z-Bolt claims the max beam throw is 1288 meters. But in my testing, I was unable to see 900 yards. Below is a photo taken with my iPhone trying to look at a tree 900 yards away.
Due to the long exposure setting in my phone, the image below looks brighter than it really is. This is just to show you what you are supposed to see in the image above.
The problem is the area where I am using the Blazer. There is a lot of particulates in the air that make the beam visible. They cause the light to reflect back towards the viewer and create a sort of photonic barrier. It is better to have the light to the side away from the shooter and not be behind it if you are looking at something far away with a scope. In drier environments with fewer particulates, it might work better.
Here are some beam pattern comparisons with other LEP heads.
My iPhone is not high dynamic range enough but the old Weltool and Z-Bolt beam patterns are similar to each other. They have a softer edge to the beam. Whereas the current production Weltool has a hard border blue ring.
The Blazer has a softer edge to it and is more useful especially if you use their filters.
Remember the filters? Z-Bolt threaded their Blazer LEP head to use these beam diffusers and color filters.
The large diffuser is 50º and the smaller one is 30º. The color filters are red and green. The green filter makes the Blazer LEP look like a Jedi light saber.
Without the beam diffuser, you can’t see much outside the beam.
Here is the Blazer with a diffuser. See how the ground is lit up? Yet you can see the 150-yard steel target.
Here is the 30º diffuser and you can still see the 200-yard steel target.
The 100-yard target is closer to the ground so the diffuser lights up the ground better.
Final Thoughts On Z-Bolt’s Blazer
Before the Blazer, I always found LEPs to be rather niche. The extremely collimated beam is not that useful unless you are using magnification but with particulates in the air, I found their use to be limiting. However, seeing a target 500 yards away with just a flashlight and a scope at night is pretty good. I like the filters and beam diffusers Z-Bolt makes for their Blazer. It makes it more useful. I would not use a Blazer as a replacement for a good LED weapon light especially if you want more spill and situational awareness for inside 200 yards. But the Blazer has its uses. Making it modular and compatible with common Modlite/SureFire DF pattern is awesome. Now you can build a Blazer however you want. The crane port tail cap is an interesting alternate option. You won’t be able to use the dual ModButton since it has a crane and SureFire plug. I suppose you could plug the crane plug into the Blazer and the SureFire plug into another weapon light but that seems a bit much to have two lights simultaneously activate. You can use dual crane switches like the Unity TAPS. However, as a standalone light with remote tape switch compatibility, it works well. For more information on the Z-Bolt Blazer, go to their website. They are on sale right now for $288 for the complete light. And $228 – $248 for the heads, depending on what filters and diffusers you want.