Monday, October 3, 2016

How One Flashlight Started This Site or the Curse of the Nitecore

It may seem odd, but there were two forces that conspired to make this site a reality.  The first was the fact that with my first son on the way and with the fear of mounting expenses, my fun budget went from small to non-existent.  The second thing was my love affair and then sudden divorce from the Nitecore EX10:


As you can see I had a very nicely upgraded version with the titanium bezel and the pocket clip.  The light itself was pretty sweet--Piston Drive mechanism, three outputs, a 130 lumen high, all from a single CR123a battery.  This was a present from my wife for my 31st birthday.  It was a light that started my gear obsession.  I carried a folder since high school when my Dad returned from Boston with a Delica in tow.  But my flashlight game was weak.  The Mag Solitaire was a long time companion and it was terrible.  It was so bad that eventually I just stopped carrying it.

Then I moved to New England and power outages became more of a thing, especially in the winter. I wanted a light and it was right around this time that I discovered the great Flashlight Reviews.  I read everything.  I watched as new emitters were released and I found the rabbit hole that is CPF.  Then I discovered the McGimzo PD design and I was enamored, but I couldn't bring myself to spend $500.

It was around that time that the Nitecore brand took off and the release of the D10/EX10 lights was super exciting.  I found a retailer that offered a pocket clip and a swap out on the bezel.  The crenelated bezel was very handy and allows for light to leak out when the light was placed emitter down on a surface.  It was, at the time, the closest a mere mortal could get to the amazing McGizmo customs.

And my awesome wife bought it for me for my birthday.  Weird as this sounds I can still remember sitting in a booth at a restaurant looking at it, while she was in the bathroom.  It was a glorious upgrade from the Solitaire.  

This was my kit at the time:


It was basic, but it had all my bases covered.  I still have the wallet and watch.  Let's not talk about the knife--it was terrible.

About a year later a massive ice storm hit New England.  We were without power for five days.  Through all of the hassle, the Nitecore did me well.  It's ability to tailstand was great and the then crazy high of 130 lumens was blinding.  Living without electricity for that long was not pleasant, but it was not as bad as I would have imagined, in part because I had a nice light.

Then one day the clip came loose and the screw fell out.  I had to send away for a replacement.  It was not an easy process to get the screw.  But reattaching it was a monumental hassle.  The clip actually did not screw into the light.  The screws passed through holes in the end of the tailcap and inside the tailcap was a small threaded plate.  You had to align all six screw holes to reattach the clip.  In the process the light got beat up and the clip got damaged.  After that, it was never right.  The clip kept falling off and the backing plate threads got stripped.  I sent off for another backing plate, but it too had the same problem.

After about three months of hassle, the EX10, my favorite light of all time (up to that point) basically drove me crazy.  I decided I would try to sell it to recoup some of the costs.  I found EDCF in part through an effort to sell the light and that sent me down the path that led to this site.  It also started by scoring method as I created the basic 10 point scale for the search for the EX10's replacement.  

The EX10 had another part in making this site.  My wife contends that selling the light, a light she got me as a gift, was rude.  In hindsight she was right.  She also contends that selling the light caused there to be a curse placed on me whereby I would never be happy with a piece of gear, regardless of how good it was.

And so, the EX10 begot my method of searching for gear, my scoring system, and my insatiable (or cursed) hunger for new and interesting things.  And that is how the EX10 started this site.


I eventually did get a McGizmo--it too was a birthday present.


It was the McGizmo Haiku and, despite what you might think looking at the long list of lights I have reviewed since, it has been everything I wanted in a light and still is even five years after I got it.  That light is just amazing and even with a "weak" emitter, the reflector and form factor are so good I still regularly carry it.  Its a beautiful piece of kit.  It is also proof that you should just save up and get what you want from the start.  I spent probably $800 on lights before I bought my McGizmo.  I could have just bought the McGimzo from the outset and saved myself $800. 


  1. I'm sorry...what knife is that in the bottom photo? I think I'm in love.

  2. Looks like one of Steve Karroll'a knives. Find him on FB.

  3. Lol. I like the way your wife thinks.

    But your grammar still needs work. It's "its" not "it's," above.

  4. Tony, I usually don't comment, but can't help it on this one. If there is a curse, I for one am really grateful you've put up with it. I found your site when I was a 1L back in 2011. On your recommendation, I bought a ZDP189 Dragonfly II. It has become my 'beloved' for so many reasons. A few slipjoints find their way into my pocket as well (most notably, a Case Peanut) but the DFII is still fantastic. I'm also a very thankful recipient of your Bellroy Note Sleeve give-away.

    Where you (at the time) were a defense attorney, I became a prosecutor after law school. Needing a good briefcase and that was not 10 pounds of leather, I got a Tom Bihn Cadet after reading your review. That bag will never need replacing.

    As for flashlights, I read all your reviews but have never strayed from my trusty Maratac AAA. It's small and works and has never let me down.

    All that said means huge thanks from a loyal reader who appreciates your time and effort to give unbiased and brutally honest reviews of quality gear. Keep it up and tell your wife thanks from your readers!


  5. Glad you started it. We have very different preferences, but there aren't nearly enough reviewers casting a truly critical eye at the gear we love.

  6. I still have an EX10 and the D10. Both great lights. Locktite fixed my clip screw problem but I agree with you, dumb design.