EagleTac P20A2 & P20C2 Mark II (XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

Originally posted: April 21, 2010
Last revised: September 20, 2010

Reviewer's Note: The P20C2 Mark II and P20A2 Mark II were provided for review by EagleTac. Please see their website for more info.

Warning: even more pic heavy than usual!

Specifications for P20A2/P20C2 Mark II, according to EagleTac:
Please see my P20A2/P20C2 review for detailed specs of the original models
Please see my T20C2 Mark II review for a comparison to the Tactical version of the P20C2-IIAbout six months ago, I reviewed the first generation P20A2/P20C2 “personal” lights from EagleTac. These new Mark II versions are a revised and improved build, similar to the shift from the original T20C2 to the T20C2 Mark II that I reviewed recently.

For most of the pics below, I will focus on the P20C2-II (the P20A2-II looks much the same, only longer).

By default, the P20A2/P20C2-II come with a stainless steel bezel and a removable black stainless steel clip attached. Included in the package is the manual, warranty card, spare o-rings, extra GITD tailcap boot cover, wrist lanyard, lanyard attachment clip, good quality belt pouch with closing flap and lens diffuser attachment. My samples also came with a rubber tailcap add-on piece to allow tailstanding.

Optional accessories are the RGB filter kit and weapon kit. Please see my original P20A2/C2 review to see R/G/B blue filters in action. Note that although the bezel ring attachment diameter/threading has changed slightly, the original P20A2/C2 RGB kit still fits on the new Mark II versions (scroll down for additional comments on this).

From left to right: Duracell AA, EagleTac P20A2 Mark II, original P20A2, P100A2, P10A2, NiteCore D20, 4Sevens Quark AA-2.

From left to right: Surefire CR123A, EagleTac P20C2 MarkII, original P20C2, T100C2 Mark II, T20C2 Mark II, JetBeam Jet-IIII ST, 4Sevens Quark 123-2.

P20A2-II: Weight 85.5g, Length 161.7mm x Width 25.8mm (bezel max)
P20C2-II: Weight 73.2g, Length 130.1mm x Width 25.8mm (bezel max)
T20C2-II: Weight 114.7g, Length 145.7mm x Width 33.5mm (bezel max)

While the external arrangement seems similar, things are quite different when you look under the hood (more on that in a moment)

On the surface, fit and finish remain excellent on my samples. No flaws in the black type-III hard anodizing. Consistent with other EagleTac lights, the knurling on the bezel and tailcap remains fairly aggressive. Identification labels are very sharp and clear, in bright white against the black background.

Screw threads are anodized for head or tailcap lock-out. Due to the protruding forward clicky, the light cannot tailstand in its default form – but the rubber tailstanding attachment worked well in my testing (introduces some wobble, but I like that it’s easily swappable).

Note that although the lights look similar, the head screw threads are much thicker now on the Mark II, meaning the heads are NOT interchangeable between versions. The threading diameter at the tailcap stays the same, but number of tailcap threads has changed. However, tailcaps from the earlier version are still inter-changeable with the Mk II.

At the bezel, the difference in threading diameter and size is enough that the new Mark II SS bezel cannot screw on to the original P20A2/P20C2 head. However, the original SS bezel can fit on the Mark II head (albeit loosely - it never tightens all the way). But more importantly, the original edition plastic RGB kit and diffuser CAN screw tight on the new Mark II head. I'm guessing there's more tolerance with the plastic bezels for a snug fit. The key point is that holders of the original RGB kit could still use them on the new Mark II versions.

UPDATE: For those of you wondering how to attach the wrist lanyard (above), you first must insert the lanyard clip ring on the tail section of the body, below the o-ring (basically, instead of the clip). You will need to take the o-ring off first to do this, since it is a tight fit. Also, I was lazy in the pic above and didn't take off the clip - but you will need to remove it if you want the tailcap to screw all the way down. It's basically one or the other - the lanyard ring or the clip, not both.

Here’s another major difference – a whole new emitter/pill/reflector assembly, and one that functions as a drop-in module (common to both personal models). Actually, it is literally a screw-in module – which should help with heat transfer away from the pill and to the aluminum body (always a concern with standard drop-ins). You can thus replace the whole pill assembly with other modules, to switch to a different LED or reflector finish.

Here are some shots with the OP reflector module mounted:

The last shot is with the include diffuser bezel attachment screwed on.

The standard cool white version uses the new Cree XP-G emitter, with a R5 output bin (no tint bin reported). Also available from EagleTac is the relatively warm "neutral" XP-E 5A tint with a Q4 output bin. For those of you not familiar with tint bins, please see my Colour tint comparison and the summary LED tint charts found here.

And now for a comparison to other lights. All lights are on Max on Sanyo eneloop (P20A2-II comparisons) or an AW protected 17670/18650 (P20C2-II comparisons), about 0.5 meters from a white wall.

As expected, the OP texturing smooth outs the corona around the hotspot (i.e. hotspot edge is less defined). FYI, in my testing of the T20C2-II, use of the OP reflector module was important to avoid a potential dark void in the center of the smooth reflector’s hotspot. If you have the choice, I strongly recommend you opt for OP.

Of course, there is a flip side to using an OP with an XP-G – throw is considerably reduced from the earlier XR-E Q5 editions.

To help you compare the effects of a diffuser, here’s a comparison of the OP version, taken about 1m from a white wall.

I didn’t retake the RGB filer shots, so please refer back to my original P20A2/P20C2 review for a general idea as to the colors.

User Interface

The P20C2 Mark II has an updated interface, and one that is identical to the new T20C2 mark II.

Like before for the Personal series, tighten the bezel for Turbo, loosen for General mode.

Where things change a bit are the "hidden" modes. Like before, there is a low output mode that can be accessed by rapidly switching the head within a sec or so (i.e. a rapid Turbo-General-Turbo, or General-Turbo-General switch). The low setting is not retained if you turn the light off – it will come back on in Turbo or General mode, depending on how you left the head. Interestingly, the light doesn't just jump from one output mode to another – when going down in output, it rapidly ramps down instead.

What’s new is the addition of strobe, beacon and SOS modes that you can cycle through in the same way as the Lo mode (i.e. just keep doing tighten-loosen-tighten switches to cycle through the hidden modes). A very nice upgrade.

The main complaint with the original P20A2/P20C2 was that strobe was also activated by clicking the tail switch off-on within 3 secs (later reduced to 1 sec). This prohibited momentary signaling. Now, you can enable or lock-out (i.e. remove) this tactical strobe feature by turning the light off-on fifteen times in ten seconds. Very nice to have the option to get rid of it completely!

Strobe frequency was measured at 9Hz, similar to the previous model lights.

Beacon mode was measure at 2Hz, which is a good slow strobe freq IMO.

No PWM (Pulse-Width-Modulation)

Consistent with other EagleTac lights, I was unable to detect any signs of PWM. As the runtimes clearly indicate, lower output levels appear to be current-controlled.

Testing Method: All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for the extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

Throw values are the square-root of lux measurements taken at 1 meter from the lens, using a light meter.

Throw/Output Summary Chart:

As expected from the beamshots, max throw on these XP-G-equipped lights is lower than the earlier XR-E models. However, Max output has increased measurably.

One unusual finding – the Lo mode of my P20C2-II was not that much lower than General mode. I suspect this is an anomaly, as the P20A2-II was consistent with the earlier lights – as well as the modern T20C2-II.

Output/Runtime Comparison:

Note: Effective January 2010, all CR123A runtimes are now performed solely on Titanium Innovations batteries sponsored by BatteryJunction.com. You can compare the generally excellent performance of these CR123A cells relative to the Duracell/Surefire cells used in all my earlier reviews here. I have marked all the new runtimes of lights with Titanium Innovations CR123As on the graphs with an "*".

The P20A2/P20C2 Mark II lights are clearly heavily driven on max. Coupled with their R5 output bin emitters, these are the brightest Cree-based lights in their respective classes (along with the T20C2-II).

Regulation and runtime performance is very good at all levels, consistent with a current-controlled circuit.

Potential Issues

Although I have only tested the OP reflector modules, I know from my T20C2 Mark II testing that the Smooth reflector can produce a dark center void in the hotspot. I understand from EagleTac that OP with be new default on future shipping lights.

Lights use a common drop-in for the emitter/pill/reflector combo, allowing the user to upgrade or swap as needed. However, all drop-ins run the risk of reduced heat transfer to the body of the flashlight. In this case, EagleTac has thoughtfully designed the drop-in to actually screw into the head, which should help with thermal transfer.

The P20C2 Mark II battery tube is only wide enough to take protected 17670, not 18650. If you want to use 18650, you will need to get the Tactical T20C2 Mark II version.

Lo mode on my P20C2 Mark II sample was not as low as expected. This is likely a faulty unit, as the T20C2 and P20A2 models were consistent with each other, and across the various build versions.

General Observations

As with my review of the T20C2 Mark II, I consider these Mark II versions of the Personal P20A2/P20C2 to be definite improvements over the earlier models.

EagleTac has fixed the main issue with the original T20C2/P20A2/P20C2 (i.e. mandatory tactical strobe mode that prevented momentary signaling). You can now enable or disable this feature at will, which is a great improvement (it is off by default)

They’ve also added a few new features and upgrades, such as the hidden strobe, beacon and SOS modes. Like the Lo mode, these are accessed by a tighten-loosen-tighten switch of the head. Like the T20C2 Mark II, max output has increased significantly, thanks to the new XP-G R5 output bin (which is driven harder than in earlier lights).

The build has also seen a few significant modifications – most notably, the new common user-replaceable drop-in module design (allowing you to swap emitter/pill/reflector combos). The optional RGB kit from the original T20C2 is still available, and fits the new Mark II.

What hasn’t changed is the overall build quality of the light, which I consider to be very good. It is certainly hard to argue with the value you get here for the price.

Note that the throw of these new XP-G-equipped modules is not as great as the earlier XR-Es on the original builds. EagleTac informs me that they are working on an optional XR-E drop-in for the T20C2-II, but I don't know if they plan to do the same for the P20A2/P20C2-II.

More than just a fix of the original P20A2/P20C2, these Mark II versions are significant new additions to their respective classes. Along with the T20C2-II, they are definitely worthy of your consideration.

To follow the online discussions for this review, please see the full review thread at CPF.

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