FENIX TK16 FLASHLIGHT
I recently purchased the Fenix TK16 flashlight, which I can definitively say is the best hand-held tactical light that I’ve owned to date. I’ve used numerous hand-held and weapon mounted lights from most major manufactures (Sure-Fire, Streamlight, Pelican, UK, and others) during my thirty-four years as a police officer in Los Angeles County, CA, and overlapping twenty-five years as a law-enforcement and civilian firearms and tactics trainer. My prior experience with Fenix products—all very positive—stems from having owned the PD-35 (pre-2014 model) and having purchased 2014 model PD-35 flashlights for my wife, three adult children and sister. My family all love their Fenix PD-35s and still comment on them after two years of use.
I specifically selected the TK16 to use while attending a week-long NRA Law Enforcement Handgun/Shotgun Instructor Development School in San Diego, CA. The nineteen course participants represented municipal, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as military and civilian security contractors. During most of our low-light training exercises we were only allowed to deploy hand-held illumination and not use our weapon mounted lights. My Fenix TK16 far outshined (pun intended) all other lights on the range and generated inquiries and complements from fellow students.
The TK16 dual tactical tail cap switch allows the operator to control all functions from the end cap and not have to shift one’s grip to actuate the control features. The large round, centered tail switch gives you either momentary-on or constant-on depending on the amount of pressure applied while the smaller angled mode button scrolls through the four power modes (turbo-1000, high-400, mid-150, and low-10 lumens) and controls the 1000 lumen strobe. The strobe can be actuated either by pressing the mode button while the light is off or holding it down for about one second while the light is on.
The controls are simple and intuitive and the four output modes are well thought out for police or civilian defensive use. The 1000 lumen turbo mode enables you to dominate large areas—exterior open spaces or large warehouse type interiors—with light. It has a bright center beam (hot-spot) that ranges quite far, enabling positive threat identification at well over 100 yards, and a wider peripheral lighted area for good situational awareness. The high (400) and mid (150) are perfect for clearing smaller interior rooms and hallways while preventing bright splash-back from light colored walls. The 10-lumen low mode is sufficient for reading maps or writing notes/citations without affecting your night vision and has a 150-hour runtime.
The TK16 build quality is extremely high. Its design, fit, and finish are equivalent to, if not better than other companies’ tactical lights in far higher price ranges. The flashlight head is about 3/10 inch wider than the barrel and features a raised and scalloped strike-bezel for hand-to-hand defense and lens protection.
I ran the TK16 on the range without it’s included lanyard and it was easy to hold under my strong-side arm during reloads. The lanyard is well made, consisting of a flat braided paracord loop, joined by a plastic connector to a much lighter gauge nylon cord loop. I believe that this is designed to break away (to prevent injury) if the loop gets caught on an obstacle, such as a chain-link fence during an area search or foot-pursuit. The light itself has two lanyard loop connecting options, one near the endcap and one on the barrel flange.
The raised, star-shaped barrel flange (I lost my instruction manual and can’t remember what Fenix calls this piece) helps keep the light from slipping out of your hand when wet or slippery from perspiration. The flange prevents excessive roll when the TK16 is dropped or thrown on the ground, and—combined with the momentary end-cap actuation—allows the shooter to perform the palm-squeeze technique (aka: Sure-Fire technique) of low-light shooting with a handgun. The pocket clip—attached by an integral flat metal friction ring just forward from the barrel flange—is very strong and tight. I’ve worn it clipped inside the pocket of heavy BDU pants and lighter dress pants and it held its position without shifting every time. This clip is so tight in fact, that you might need two hands (one holding your pants material) to snap it over your pocket edge. I will need to remove the pocket clip to carry the light in my leather uniform duty-belt back-up flashlight pouch.
Unfortunately, the included nylon pouch is worthless for law enforcement use and seems to have been an afterthought. It lacks sufficient structure to prevent the light from flopping around and the Velcro closure is slow and noisy, preventing rapid or covert deployment. I’m currently looking for an aftermarket belt holder, preferably constructed of Kydex material. The TK16 is suitable as an on-your-person everyday carry (EDC) flashlight, but I still prefer my Fenix PD-35 in that role because of its slimmer, one inch maximum width. I do, however, intend to purchase a second TK16 so that I can always keep one in my car and a second in my range bag. Fortunately, this is possible due to Fenix’s affordable pricing.
The dual-fuel ability of the TK16 is a strong selling point for law enforcement, emergency first responders, or anyone working in the field. You can carry the extra rechargeable battery and/or two CR123A batteries in your pocket and refuel your flashlight as necessary. I purchased the TK16 in a bundle, which included two 18650 Li-ion rechargeable batteries (uses one at a time), a dual AC charger, two CR-123A lithium non-rechargeable batteries (light runs on two), and pocket-sized plastic water tight cases for both battery types. Unfortunately, the lid-seal closure on the spare CR123A carrying case is already beginning to fail, just from bouncing around in my backpack for less than two weeks.
I recommend the Fenix TK16 to anyone seeking an affordable yet high quality, compact, high-output, versatile hand-held tactical flashlight. It’s well suited for either uniform or plainclothes law enforcement officers, emergency first responders and civilians.
Pros: Affordable, high quality, high output, intuitive control placement/design, dual-fuel ability, versatile
Cons: None for the light. Included floppy, noisy nylon case unsuitable for LE/tactical use.
MV Tactical & Firearms Training, Inc.
Thousand Oaks, CA