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Sofirn SF47T Tactical Flashlight Review

Sofirn SF47T Tactical Flashlight Review

If you’ve landed here looking for a highly technical review of the Sofirn SF47T tactical flashlight, you’re likely not going to find what you’re looking for. But if you simply want to know what aspects of this flashlight are good, bad and frankly ugly for the average user, then you’ve come to the right place. The SF47T is a long-throw tactical flashlight capable of illuminating objects up to 1100 meters away. That’s about 0.68 miles for you American readers. In my experience of taking this flashlight to the outer reaches of my suburban / countryside divide as well as a lake in Ontario’s cottage country, the flashlight definitely achieves this level of throw. The 1500 lumen LED is extremely capable of projecting a massive amount of light a long distance.

BUILD QUALITY & ACCESSORIES

The construction and overall quality of this Sofirn flashlight are very good. It’s not quite OLIGHT quality good, but given its price, it’s still impressive. The flashlight body is made of Aerospace grade 6061 aluminum and is finished with a matte black semi-gloss coating. This mid-sized thrower features many grooves and grips throughout the body, aiding a solid grip at all times. Weighing in at 315 grams (0.69 lbs) without the batteries, this medium-sized flashlight is definitely more of a tactical flashlight as opposed to something you’d carry around every day in your kit. 

Combined with some aggressive crenellated bezels, the weight makes for a decent self-defence weapon if the need ever arises. The Sofirn SF47T also comes with a lanyard in the box and has O rings built into the body of the tail to serve as handy and nearly indestructible attachment points. 

Combined with some aggressive crenellated bezels, the weight makes for a decent self-defence weapon if the need ever arises. The Sofirn SF47T also comes with a lanyard in the box and has O rings built into the body of the tail to serve as handy and nearly indestructible attachment points.

The SF47T comes with a fairly standard USB charger that lets you plug in via USB-A cable to recharge the included 21700 lithium-ion batteries. The charger did a fairly good job recharging from nearly any device I plugged it into, but I’d suggest using a 60W charging cable for optimal recharge speed.

The mineral glass lens, coupled with a deep and smooth refractor, provides excellent light clarity without any noticeable distortions to the light beam. The only flaw I noticed was a fair bit of dust trapped on the inside of the lens, which, frankly, is inevitable, even in higher-end flashlights.

PERFORMANCE

As previously mentioned, this is not a technical review, so you won’t find the intricacies of lumen casting and all that here. That said, the flashlight seems to perform well at nearly everything it claims to do. Its run time claims appear to be fairly close to the actual truth of what I experienced in various flashlight modes, but where it may fall down is the cone of light it projects. In nearly every mode and test I performed, I found that this thrower’s cone of light was extremely tight, making it ideal for long-distance illumination but rather inferior to even some of the most simple EDC flashlights when it came to short-distance lighting. Again, I’m not saying that this is a massive flaw, as the flashlight is designed for that long-distance throw purpose, but I’m simply saying that you shouldn’t expect a wide field of light from this light baton. 

BATTERY PERFORMANCE

The SF47T is powered by two 21700 lithium-ion battery cells, which is, frankly, A LOT of battery power to keep this flashlight running even at its most intense Turbo mode. Even while outputting a whopping 1500 lumens of light, the batteries will power the flashlight for almost 3.5 hours. That length of maximum power run time is an impressive feat.

USER EXPERIENCE AND USER INTERFACE

Using this flashlight is both a wonderful and utterly frustrating experience. Simply put, there are parts of the experience that are intuiting, natural and even quite clever. And yet, other parts will leave you wanting to rip your hair out. 

Let’s start with the good. The flashlight can be easily separated into three components: the head, the body, and the tailcap. Each component is held in place with precise and solid threads that have run smoothly every time I’ve used them. 

Next, the physical ON/OFF button in the tail of the flashlight is made of a grippy and texturized rubber that feels responsive and has just the right amount of “clickiness” for hitting the sweet spot of auditory and physical feedback that you want from a flashlight of this size and shape. 

Another well-executed part of the UI is the three-coloured indicator on the button that allows you to change modes. Green means that you have more than 50% of battery charge remaining, red = 50-10% battery left while flashing red means less than 10% battery left. I would have gone with a green, yellow, red scheme, but it’s a clever way to show battery status without needing an additional and unnecessary LCD. 

And to conclude the positives of the UI and user experience of this flashlight, I should mention that they design of the heatsink into the head of the flashlight ensures that any excessive heat from running the flashlight in Turbo mode for excessive periods is nicely confined to that area of the flashlight. It never felt uncomfortable in any way, shape, or form. It exuded a nice body/head weight ratio, making it easy to carry and hold for longer periods. 

Now let’s talk about the inexplicably bad design around the operation of this flashlight’s modes. Even after having read the manual several times, I’m honestly still a bit confused as to activate and deactivates this flashlight’s eight modes. Any device that relies on a single button to activate this many modes of operation through various double, triple, and secret incantations needs to rethink its UI design. From a manufacturing standpoint, you want to keep things as simple as possible. But as companies like TESLA have shown, simply getting rid of all the buttons for the sake of minimalism and reducing moving parts, AKA, saving manufacturing costs, isn’t always the right answer. 

Simply put, the UI of this flashlight’s operating modes is difficult to memorize and baffling at best. At worst, it is merely inferior to other manufacturers who have made the operation of their tactical flashlights far more intuitive. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Length: 247.5 mm
  • Head diameter: 55mm
  • Peak intensity – 303.750 cd
  • Weight without battery: 315 grams
  • 1500 lumens max
  • 8 light modes
    • Low
    • Medium
    • High
    • Turbo
    • Moonlight
    • Hidden Strobe
    • SOS
    • Beacon
    • IPX waterproof rating
    • Oskram KW LED

CONCLUSION

If you’re looking for a capable medium-sized tactical flashlight for throwing light a long-distance with a fairly narrow but powerful beam at an affordable price, this flashlight will fit those needs. It’s fairly compact, serves multiple tactical needs and goes a long way towards giving you a mid-range thrower with long-lasting batteries. Just don’t expect to learn how to use it overnight. That will take some time, and maybe even the use of a decoder ring or divining rod. 

Sebastian Arciszewski

Sebastian Arciszewski

An enthusiast of all things minimalist. I love simple design and always look for an aesthetic that complements how an item works. Because after all, a design is how a thing works. You can find me on twitter: @sebastian_a