SureFire UB3T Invictus LED Flashlight Review

Over the years, I have reviewed multiple very nice flashlights. The cream of that crop has always been the SureFire flashlights I have had the privilege to review. There is little argument that the folks at SureFire make extremely well made hardware. However, many comments in my SureFire reviews say they are too expensive and that there are comparable, less costly alternatives. So, to get price out of the way, the recently released SureFire’s UB3T Invictus LED flashlight is a whopping $700. I suggest we set that fact aside for a moment to see just how impressive this high end lantern really is…

Other than the Invictus itself, SureFire includes 3 – CR123A batteries and a lanyard.

Operational Design:

Operationally, the Invictus is (in many ways) a more powerful, somewhat more feature rich version of SureFire’s U2 Ultra LED Flashlight I reviewed a few years ago; mainly in its ability to dial in what output you need.  Although, the Invictus has a few more tricks up its sleeve that we will discuss in a bit.

The Invictus is VERY well made.  It is constructed of high-strength aerospace aluminum, mil-Spec hard-anodized for ‘extreme’ durability. It feels solid and able to withstand the test of time and the hard road taken.

Specifications:

  • LED: Not sure exactly which one/type. I contacted SureFire and they literally would not tell me. The tech said it was propitiatory information.
  • Weight (w/batteries): 12 oz (340 g)
  • Length: 8.9″ (22.6 cm)
  • Bezel Diameter: 2.5″ (6.4 cm)
  • Batteries: 3 x CR123A Lithium Batteries

Power Settings and Runtimes:

  • Stage 1: Off
  • Stage 2: SOS
  • Stage 3 (Low/Min): 2 lumens, 84 hrs
  • Stage 4: 8 lumens, 48.5 hrs
  • Stage 5: 15 lumens, 27.5 hrs runtime
  • Stage 6: 30 lumens, 25 hrs runtime
  • Stage 7: 80 lumens, 14 hrs
  • Stage 8: 160 lumens, 7 hrs
  • Stage 9: 325 lumens, 3.5 hrs
  • Stage 10 (Tactical/High/Max): 800 lumens, 1.75 hrs
  • Stage 11: Strobe

Features:

  • Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize output and runtime
  • Eight light-output levels—high for maximum light, low for extended runtime
  • Strobe for tactical applications
  • SOS beacon for emergency or signaling
  • Selector ring provides simple control of output level
  • Large Turbohead TIR lens produces tight, extended-reach beam
  • High-strength aerospace aluminum body, Mil-Spec hard-anodized for extreme durability
  • Coated, tempered window resists impact and thermal shock, maximizes light transmission
  • CombatGrip for secure hold in all conditions
  • Tactical Max-Blast ™ tailcap switch—press for momentary-on at selected light-output setting, press further for maximum light output, twist for constant-on at selected setting, twist fully for maximum output
  • Fuel gauge indicates battery charge level
  • Weatherproof O-ring and gasket sealed
  • Includes high-energy 123A batteries with 10-year shelf life

As you can see, for its power and capabilities, the Invictus packs quite a punch in a relative small package. It is approximately twice the volume and weight of the U2 Ultra LED Flashlight to its left. Not bad considering the Invictus is eight (8) times more powerful and has several added features that the U2 Ultra does not.

The control ring has a solid, well-made feel/action to it. There are definite notches at each setting. The selector ring feels firm, reasonably stiff, and locks into place. The selector ring provides simple control of output level. For any size, big or small, the Invictus is very feature rich. Along with its eight (8) different power settings, the Invictus has SOS and strobe settings; both can be a useful tool out in the field. They are definitely a positive when needing to attract help when you are in trouble.

A well thought out feature of the Invictus is the multicolor LED power indicator or ‘Fuel Gauge’ as SureFire calls it. The Fuel Gauge lets you know if your battery reserve is high (green), medium (yellow), or low (red).

The tailcap is a two-stage screw/press-style tactical switch. Meaning, the cap itself can be screwed down part way that locks the flashlight with the power on at the selected setting. Or can be screwed in all the way, to lock the flashlight on the high setting no matter what power level (except SOS and strobe) it is on at the time.

The end trigger can also, when half pushed in, temporarily power on at the selected setting.  When pushed in all the way, the Invictus is at the high setting no matter what power level (except SOS and strobe) it is on at the time.

The Invictus is a very nice size and weight, especially considering its light output. It has a good feel and balance to it as well.

The Invictus’ 800 lumens of brightness does a great job of lighting up our 1.5 acre pasture/field. I had the UB3T set on its highest setting and gave the Gadgeteer Kid plenty of light to whiz the dog. As you can see, the UB3T’s optics/lens shoots a relatively tight, narrow-focused beam with some spillage to the sides. Although, it is not as tightly focused as the Fenix TD-70 center beam and does widen with distance.

The bottomline is that the SureFire Invictus is a great flashlight, potentially the nicest of my rather extensive collection. It’s quality and features are second to none. At $700, it is difficult to say it is a must have in today’s leaner economic climate; actually even in the economic boom, it would be a stretch. That said, if you have the funding and need (&/or desire) for this type of high end, feature-rich flashlight….the SureFire Invictus will not disappoint.

 

Product Information

Price:$695.00
Manufacturer:SureFire
Pros:
  • - Excellent build and material quality
  • - Great feature set/capabilities
  • - Eight light levels
  • - SOS and Strobe settings
  • - Both moment-on and locking screw cap
  • - Weatherproof/water resistant, O-ring and gasket sealed
  • - Well sized and weighted
Cons:
  • - Very Expensive
Posted in: Gear, Outdoor Gear, Reviews

16 comments… add one

  • Brian B October 23, 2011, 5:28 pm

    There is NO price too great for gear that you depend your life to!! Surefire products are simply the best money can buy and preform as such. Situation must dictate your purchase, so I do agree with Dave. Having said that, I have segmented my flashlight usage into either life-safety or not. Surefire lights are my only life-safety lights with the exception of some of the pen lights that I carry for patient assessment.

    The other item that keeps drawing me to Surefire lights is the no questions asked lifetime warranty. I cannot tell you how many times I have sent lights back due to situational damage and I get the product repaired or replaced with new. I cannot say this about some of the other light manufactures.

  • Tetsubo October 23, 2011, 7:26 pm

    There is no possible way that I would ever pay $700 for a light. Not when I figure a lot of that is the name itself. Surefire has a great rep. They make sure you pay for that rep. I am baffled by how anyone buys their stuff. Even for tactical purposes. Nice light, way too pricey. I also really prefer a simple, on/off, single mode light. I have never needed any other setting.

  • Greg October 23, 2011, 9:22 pm

    Now why couldn’t this be a contest give-a-way?

  • Kevin October 24, 2011, 12:24 am

    I was one of the people waiting for the original 2009 invictus that was never released. Originally, the 2009 invictus was to have a 1.25inch head, not the m3 turbo type head it now has. My main beef with the new invictus is that it follows the standard long and skinny shape for a larger light – I’ve always preferred a shorter, more compact shape when dealing with large diameter heads. I ended up with a sunwayman m30r that I really enjoy. The sunwayman doesn’t get as long high lumen runtime, but is very well made and only $120.

    I still love my surefire LX2 and saint minimus though!

  • jpdanzig October 24, 2011, 10:32 am

    The only folks I can imagine forking out $700 for a flashlight would be rescue or security professionals, and even then I have to wonder if there aren’t less expensive alternatives that would work just as well in the real world…

  • Gary Johnson October 24, 2011, 10:55 am

    Really! I do not understand why anyone would pay $700 for a light with these specifications. The Fenix TK series offers several models with superior output and burn times for a fraction of the cost. The build quality is comparable, while the size and battery choices are broader. For 800 lumens and above, checkout the TK41 (800 Lumens), TK35 (820 Lumens) and TK70 (2200 Lumens). I use these lights on a daily basis and love the battery life and quality. The remainder of the TK Series offer smaller belt compatible lights with outputs between 255 and 468 Lumens. In particular the TK21 and TK35 are belt compatible and amazing lights.

  • Jack October 24, 2011, 11:27 am

    Gosh what an outrageous price for a torch! It may be top of the range but that’s a bit excessive :(

  • andix October 24, 2011, 12:29 pm

    I was very happy with my TK15 and PD30 reserve until this… :)
    Joke aside, I love the incredible power and the strobe, but I can’t stand the huge head, huge price and selector ring.
    I am working a security PT and since in Canada we’re not allowed any weapon (firearm, impact or OC) my flashlight is my primary defense. 300 lumens in anyone’s eyes gives them second thoughts about attacking. But like Gary said above, the TK15 and 21 are duty belt compatible, as is the PD30. I can’t see myself carrying this on a 12-hrs walk. Perhaps good for rich hunters (would compliment perfectly a G-Klasse Mercedes vehicle, IMHO.) But not for guys like me who fork the dough for their gear.
    Also another major quirk I see is the selector ring and activation system. I use fast switching between low levels of light needed for regular inspection and quick powerful bursts / strobes if SHTF. The ring is anything but quick, especially when you’re supposed to operate with one hand and only by touch in fast-paced situations.
    Therefore, a lot of the features are actually rendering the flashlight unreliable for law enforcement / first responders. My 0,02$ – I could always be wrong.

  • Kevin October 24, 2011, 5:08 pm

    surefire makes some of the greatest flashlight UIs i’ve seen.
    my understanding is that in addition to the selector ring, there is a max brightness button on the end. mash that with you thumb and instant blinding light, similar to the LX2 UI.

    as far as build quality, surefire is much better than the fenix lights i’ve used. fenix is still great, and probably more than you need in most situations, it just can not compare to surefire.

  • Kevin October 24, 2011, 5:14 pm

    for belt duty, this is not the light to use, nor is it intended as such. you would not belt carry a fenix tk40 either. i personally would use a surefire lx2 or v2.

  • andix October 26, 2011, 10:13 am

    Without the intention to be ironic – this is a sincere question – what exactly differentiates the two brands in terms of ‘build quality?’ I can’t tell any difference other than the lens on the Surefire being perhaps a bit tougher (thicker?) I also have the 6P and 6P LED and I can’t tell where differences lie.

  • Jerry Danzig October 26, 2011, 10:19 am

    I’m not sure what the difference in “build quality” is here, but there sure is a difference in “billed quality” — about $600!!!

  • mr. parker December 2, 2011, 4:02 am

    I purchased one from e bay from a respected seller. Got here in 3 days and paid about $500, a lot but saved $200 over price listed everywhere else.
    I am a new member of a SAR team in AZ. I also own about 70 acres of a pretty wild area in northern AZ. Not worried as much about illegals or other 2 legged vermin but we’ve got coyotes, mountain lion, plus elk, mule deer and other smaller animals.
    But when something crashes through the junipers, I’d like to know if it’s the neighbors horses, cattle or something else. It’s a great light and extremely well built.
    In my previous life, I always used surefire products. Tried Streamlights and Insight products. Good but not surefire quality.

  • zach February 24, 2013, 7:29 pm

    Re: Brian B, you GO ON and pay $700.00 for a Surefire I will buy lights as capable for a third of the money that work EVERY TIME that I need them! Ridiculous, $700.00

  • Paul April 20, 2013, 1:15 pm

    Surefire is the best. I have been looking at getting this flashlight for about the last 6 months. I own 4 other surefire flashlights. I used to be a streamlight buyer. I can get this flashlight now for $350.

  • Gary Johnson April 20, 2013, 6:57 pm

    It continues to baffle me what people see in Surefire lights. Surefire lights have good build quality, but they are no longer any better than premium lights like the Fenix TK, PD and RC series. The Fenix lights are smaller for comparable outputs. Prices are 1/3 to 1/5 the price of Surefire. Numerous examples of outputs that are 3 to 4 times higher, with maximum run times 2 times as long for outputs 2 to 4 times higher. With Fenix you get a rechargeable 3500 Lumen tool for 1/2 the price of a 800 lumen light from Surefire. 2600 Lumens for $200. Five different lights between 760 and 860 lumens all for less than $150. Try some of the Fenix lights and I think you will agree with my assessment.

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