By Drew Forge
Olight’s done it again, guys. They’ve got another innovative light in the stable – and this time the offering is absolutely tiny, brutally powerful, and encompasses everything you need in a pint-sized weapon mounted light, with no frills to scoff at. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Olight PL-Mini 2 “Valkyrie”.
Brilliant Progress With The Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie
In contrast to the full-sized beast of a light that Doc Montana reviewed – the Olight Baldr Pro – the tiny light I have in my hand is a masterful blend of compactness and power. At 2.57 ounces total weight, just over two inches in length, and one and quarter inches wide, the Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie offers 233.46 lumens per ounce of weight, for a total of 600 lumens (!) and 2500 candela total output from its CREE XP-L HD bulb.
For perspective, let’s compare that to the stalwart industry-standard-for-a-long-freakin-time Streamlight TLR-1 (I light I love and still use to this day). The TLR-1 positively dwarfs the Valkyrie, with a length of 3.39 inches and 4.2 ounce weight, plus a battery case that must be wide enough to host its payload of two CR-123A batteries. The TLR-1 also only shuffles out a yawn-inducing 300 lumens, however its intensity is much more focused at 12,000 candela. If we go with my completely-arbitrary-yet-fun-for-me metric of lumens per ounce of weight, the TLR-1 comes to the table at a dismal 71.43 lumens per ounce. Remember: 5 years ago, the TLR-1 was top of the light heap; today’s offerings by many companies – Olight included – leave the old faithful weapon lights positively in the dust. Times, they are a-changin’…and Olight is at the forefront of that change.
Simpler is Betterer
Performance notwithstanding, my favorite part of the Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie is Olight’s denial of unneeded features. In stark contrast to other Olight products I’ve reviewed like the Warrior Mini EDC flashlight, the Valkyrie offers two settings: On and off. A weapon light (or any illumination device that stands to be used under high stress environments) needs particular qualities: easily-enacted controls that don’t require fine motor manipulations, and utter simplicity to keep the operator from drowning in options when they just need the damned thing to turn on and work. In my mind, it would be terrible to need 600 lumens of stark, searing output to illuminate a threat and then triggering the light to find out that it was left in a 5 lumen “moonlight” mode. No, a weapon mounted light needs clarity of operation first and foremost – and I’m happy to see that Olight didn’t encrust this businesslike light with unnecessary features, just to say they could.
Speaking of easily-enacted controls, the Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie boasts the simplest set of activation hardware you could ask for: a plain set of paddle switches – one living on either side of your pistol’s trigger guard for ambidextrous purposes. A simple quick downwards tap on either switch sends the 600 lumens of photon love towards your target. Another tap turns the Valkyrie off. Holding the switch down for longer than a tap activates the momentary mode, where the light stays on for only as long as you have your finger on the switch. And that’s it. No useless strobes or multiple power levels. On and off. I love it.
The Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie offers a feature no other weapon mounted lights can say they have: complete housing adjustability. To eliminate the fuss of switching out picatinny rail keys to match your gun, Olight offers just two keys (though the installed “Glock” key works with every gun I’ve tried it on.) and an innovative patented sliding housing system. Flip the simple paddle lever to open, mount the Olight PL-MIni 2 Valkyrie on your rail. Then, before you flip the lever to the closed position, grip the body of the light by the “OLIGHT” logo, and simply slide the light for and aft into the position that suits you, your grip, and fingers. A flip of the lever locks the whole works in place sturdily. This feature ensures maximum ergonomic capacity as well as widespread platform compatibility, and it’s an elegant solution that works.
As an FYI, this light cannot be used with the new breed of micro-compact semi-auto handguns like the SIG Sauer P365; these guns usually require a proprietary rail system, though the aftermarket seems to be coming around – here’s hoping Olight comes up with a light for these tiny defensive pistols.
As the case of the Valkyrie is sealed in order to help its IPX6 water- and dust-proof rating, there is no capacity to swap out batteries as they are drained through use. The solution? Make that sucker rechargeable! Olight doesn’t use troublesome USB ports that allow water permeance and difficulty cleaning corrosion; instead, they developed a proprietary system that uses a snap-on puck-type magnetic charger, a la the Apple Watch, to provide a charge to the Valkyrie’s sealed on-board polymer lithium ion battery. At the base of the charger’s blue anodized casing, there is a small built-in indicator that lets you know the charging status. It’s simple – red means it’s currently charging the Valkyrie, and green means the light’s battery is topped off and ready for action. A quick tug pulls the charger off the light with no fuss and no worries of damage if you need to rip that light off the charger in a hurried emergency.
The battery provides enough juice for a continuous hour of powered-on time; this is better than the very similar but laser-bearing Olight Baldr Mini’s 40 minutes of use. (for my review of the Olight Baldr Mini on SHTFblog.com, click here.). It took about an hour and a half or so to top off my PL-Mini 2’s battery.
I really dig the Olight recharging system, but I will admit that I have had the polarity of the magnet on an early Olight Baldr Mini reverse polarity and repel the charging cable. This is frustrating, but the Valkyrie carries a two year warranty. I have an inquiry in to the powers that be at Olight to see how to remedy this issue; I will edit this article with the solution as it is provided.
Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie In Action
As happens with the fast-paced gear review world, I got this Valkyrie just a few days before the deadline for the flash sale that Olight wanted me to highlight , so I didn’t have time to run the light through a low-light training course or something similar. However, use around my house and while out running around at night in the woods with my 4Runner produced some positive results when used as expected.
Inside the house, the beam of the Valkyrie was perfect – bright white, with the hotspot covering a 32” door frame opening at about 15 feet. This focus level provides a useful amount of light in a goldilocks-sized area (not too big, not too small) to illuminate a home intruder threat at close range. This size beam would be ideal for finding, identifying, and blinding a bump in the night in a poorly lit parking garage or while you’re out walking the dog in an area without neighborhood street lamps.
In the woods, the Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie brightly lights up a wide area at the advertised 100-meter beam throw range. For a person that hunts coyotes or bobcats at night over bait, (as is popular around these parts) the Valkyrie would easily illuminate a dog-sized target at about 75 yards or so without adding significant mass to a lightweight hunting rifle. For a night racoon hunter or similar, the Valkyrie would be just the ticket to provide the necessary light to cleanly dispatch a treed ‘coon without making the pistol too heavy to lug around while traipsing the woods chasing hounds. Low-light rat and pest eradication would be far simpler indeed with the addition of this svelte, powerful little light to your varmint rig. A small, powerful light provides options far beyond the scope of defensive pistol use, and should be considered for a wide range of utility.
Wrapping It Up
Olight continues to provide innovative, slick lighting solutions for our lives, and this Olight Valkyrie PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie is certainly no exception. A versatile, low-mass and low-weight product with startling amounts of illumination hosepower, the Valkyrie is a great option for the party who needs portability and utter light power above all. Currently priced at about 90 bucks, it’s the world’s first micro-sized rechargeable light with a sliding rail to maximize utility and ergonomics. Quality is very good for the price point, and the host of other daily-used Olight products I have tells me that your Valkyrie will be a sturdy, reliable option that will serve you well – no matter what you choose to install it on.