Light Review: Fenix LR40R V2.0

Fenix are updating and upgrading the already impressive LR40R, bringing us the LR40R V2.0. New, intuitive, combined rotary and push button switching design, uprated maximum output power in both light and power bank functions, and a new built-in battery pack with 3 x 5000mAh cells, taking onboard power to the max. Join me in this review of the Fenix LR40R V2.0 to see how it performs.

Review Videos

Starting with a short format sixty second review:

Onto a full video review covering many more details:

What is in the box?:

A good look round the LR40R V2.0’s holster – Things to look out for here are:
This is a holster style Fenix have used on several lights with larger heads, from the TK35 and many more. There is an adjustable band that fits round the head and can be left snug, or tightened right down. The body of the light slips into a tubular pouch. The holster has a fixed belt loop, Velcro belt loop and a D-loop hanger.

A good look round the LR40R V2.0 – Things to look out for here are:
There is a lot to see here. Quickly focusing in on the combined rotary and click switch with charge indicator before moving onto some details of the finish and shaping of the body. Heat-sink fins are thick and shallow, making them very tough. Then the LED and Bezel details, showing the different flood and spot LEDs, plus the safety sensors that you can activate to protect the LR40R V2.0 from damaging object coming too close to it.
Lastly a few shots of the combined charging and power bank port.

The beam

Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.

The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball “Off-White”, and the walls are a light sandy colour called ‘String’ again by Farrow & Ball. I don’t actually have a ‘white wall’ in the house to use for this, and my wife won’t have one!

For the LR40R V2.0 beamshots there are the individual spot, flood and then combined flood plus spot beamshots. In all cases the relative exposures are the same to show how the beams compare separately and combined.

Batteries and output:

The LR40R V2.0 runs on a built-in battery pack (3x5000mAh) designed to maximise performance for over size (not needing a battery caddy).

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

Take a close look at the headline figure for Spot/Flood Turbo!!

This gallery is packed with performance information.

First is the USB input charging trace, taking the LR40R V2.0 to full charge.
The next USB power trace is the power bank output from the LR40R V2.0, in this case used to charge a Oneplus 9 Pro phone. This is only part of the capacity of both phone and LR40R V2.0 and is only to represent the power bank output.

Now comes the full maximum output runtime trace, followed by just the first 60s of the same output.

Last are two thermal images, one from the start of runtime where the head of the LR40R V2.0 is hottest, then one which comes near the end of the runtime where in fact the battery pack is hotter than the head as the cells give their last bit of power.

The LR40R V2.0 in use

It is a serious light, for serious use and is both large and heavy, but at the same time, considering its performance, it is very compact. The next gallery below, showns the LR40R V2.0 in my hand (I take XL size gloves), it is perfectly comfortable while being completely hand filling. The weight is were this can become a bit tiring for more extended use. 850g isn’t much carried in a bag or on your belt, but nearly a kilogram filling your hand, and I’ve tended to do a bit of hand swapping when carrying for more than a few minutes.

Just like when deciding if a large camp knife or axe is worth carrying the weight when out in the wild, you will need to positively decide you want to carry the weight of the LR40R V2.0. If you want that 16000lm output, then it is worth the weight.

Multi-function devices tend to make compromises and I do prefer dedicated gear. However, with the LR40R V2.0 the only compromise made with regard to the inclusion of the power bank function is that if you do use this you are taking away your lighting capacity. The power bank output is excellent, the LR40R V2.0 as a power bank is far too heavy for this to ever be a primary function, but as an ‘can also do’ feature is well implemented. I would always prioritise the battery capacity of the LR40R V2.0 for light output, and only if there was really no other choice would I use it as a power bank.

Despite being familiar enough with the controls, I still find myself ‘hunting’ for the output I want. The switch labels are too small to easily distinguish the padlock from the parallel beam lines, spread beam lines or combined straight and spread lines, so whatever setting the ring switch is actually on, you end up turning it one way or the other to find the one you want.

Once you have decided on the rotary switch position you want to use, then swapping to the central click switch (press-and-hold for on and again for off) simplifies the choice enormously, just leaving the brief press (while on) to change output level.

Setting the ring to lockout (padlock) resets the controls, so when you then unlock, you can only initially rotate the selector ring to spot. From locked, this will always go on to the lowest spot mode, a useful reset (however the flood mode and combined flood/spot does remember the level it was last used on).

When you have so much power in such a small package, you do have potential for things to go wrong. The first level of protection is the lockout position on the mode ring. Carrying this light in a bag could be hazardous if it were to switch on, but the LR40R V2.0 has a simple lockout mode.

Add to this another protection feature that is built-in; a feedback sensor, measuring light reflected back at the LR40R V2.0 when the head is too close to a surface. When this protection is activated (it can be disabled), the maximum output is reduced when the feedback sensor is triggered, and automatically increases again once the head of the LR40R V2.0 moves far enough away from the obstruction. This is toggled on and off while in lockout mode; press and hold for 5-10s and two flashes means the protection is enabled, eight flashes means it has been turned off.

16,000 lumens gives you a true wall of light. These output levels totally eclipse the biggest performers of a few years ago. Yes the 16,000 lumens is a burst mode, but the LR40R V2.0 then settles on a solid 9,000 lumens for an extended run – this is the really impressive feat of the LR40R V2.0.

Review Summary
The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond that covered in the review.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

What doesn’t work so well for me

Barely distinguishable mode label engravings.
Holster’s head securing strap can be a little fiddly.
Built-in battery ultimately restricts product lifetime.

Things I like

16,000 lumens burst.
Solid extended run at 9,000 lumens!
Clear 5 segment battery level indicator.
Safety ‘feedback sensor’ output downshifting.
Power bank function (USB-A).
Fast charging via USB-C (QC 2.0 and PD2.0)
Spot mode resets to low after being locked.
Belt holster included.

Knife Review: Spartan Blades USMC KA-BAR

Take a classic knife, let Spartan Blades perform their magic on it, including using MagnaCut for the blade steel, and you have the Ultimate Elite Edition USMC KA-BAR! This is a detailed Review of the Spartan Blades USMC KA-BAR made with CPM MagnaCut steel.

In this feature review we are looking at the PVD – Tungsten DLC (Flat Black) blade coating with similarly coated butt cap and guard, plus the black leather sheath. The Spartan Blades Elite USMC KA-BAR is also available in ZrN (Flat Dark Earth) and with black or coyote Kydex sheath.

I first saw this awesome knife at IWA 2023, and could not wait to get hold of one.

Review Videos

Starting with a short format sixty second review:

Onto a full video review covering many more details:

What’s in the box?:
Just to point out that the challenge coins and mini patch shown with the box here are not included as standard, but are extras you can order as well if you would like to.

You can see on the box that the USMC KA-BAR is part of the Spartan Blades Elite Grade range – top performance in every way.

A good look round the leather sheath – Things to look out for here are:
The black leather sheath is one of three sheath options. It is a traditional layout and construction, stitched and riveted, and made from high quality leather.
Very nicely embossed into the front is the Spartan Blades logo, along with KA-BAR trademark.
The retention strap is located near the butt, again following a traditional pattern of sheath design.

A good look round the knife – Things to look out for here are:
Unmistakable clip point blade with sabre grind and long fuller, all in a black finish. Deeply Laser engraved next to the guard is the large KA-BAR branding and tiny version of the Spartan Blades logo – plus that magic word MagnaCut. This KA-BAR has a straight, asymmetrical guard, and you can also see the rounded plunge line. For this Spartan Blades Elite version, the handle is Kraton G which is super durable polymer.
The butt cap is held in place with a interference fit pin that passes through the end of the tang. When looking at the knife tip close up, this shows the factory edge, matt/flat finish and the little flecks are from the leather sheath.

The Blade and Handle – Detailed Measurements:
For full details of the tests and measurements carried out and an explanation of the results, see the page – Knife Technical Testing – How It’s Done.

The blade is made from CPM MagnaCut steel.

The Factory edge up close:

Followers of Tactical Reviews will know my views on factory edges, but to recap:

Anyone using a knife will need to sharpen it. That first factory edge is just like the first tank of fuel that a new car comes with (or first charge of the battery).
A good factory edge is a ‘nice to have’ but not a ‘make or break’ for a good knife, as you will be putting your own edge onto it soon enough.
The factory edge does however indicate the care a knife maker has put into the final finish.
It is for this reason Tactical Reviews measures factory edge sharpness and specifications, and includes this information in the detailed technical testing.

As a further look at the factory edge, this section has been added to include some high magnification photos of the factory edges.

What is it like to use?

This is a knife design that has been in active service since 1942. Clearly a tried and tested design.

Before going into more about the Spartan KA-BAR, I wanted to pause a moment to look at a couple of other Spartan Blades Elite knives.

Spartan Blades, as well as producing their own fantastic designs, have brought at least one other all time classic back to life and up to date. Here is the Harsey Model II (original design), EK Commando knife (classic), as well as the latest KA-BAR.

And back to the subject of this review – the KA-BAR and how it handles. Shown here is a gallery of the knife in hand. I take XL size gloves.

Comfort and stability is excellent with the Kraton G polymer handle. Molded to represent the original stacked leather handle, but without any of the fragility or other issues a leather handle has. This material also provides excellent shock absorbency if batoning or striking with the blade.

The asymmetrical guard allows for the thumb to reach over easily and press down on the spine. It is a mid sized fixed blade and handles well for this class of knife.

In this final gallery, the first four images represent a cutting test carried out with the factory edge, and a 1″ manila hemp rope. It is a test I slightly regretted starting as the specially prepared rope turned out to be exceedingly tough to cut. I’ll explain why…

Rope cutting tests for me have always had a few flaws and the biggest of these being lacking consistency and being very wasteful, so I went and added my own twist. To overcome those issues, I tightly wrapped clean, new, rope in a brown paper strip with a water soluble gummed back. This was then allowed to dry and kept indoors to keep it fully dry.

The idea was to stabilise the fibres so each cut would be the same (instead of the rope structure collapsing and spreading), while at the same time allowing a thinner ‘slice’ of rope to be cut each time.

Well, unfortunately this was so stable, the rope was almost like a wooden dowel when trying to cut it, with virtually no give or flexibility. Because of this, each cut was very hard work and fatiguing.

Shown is the starting sharpness measurement (BESS 275g), some of the cuts and rope fibres, then the sharpness after 16 cuts (BESS 406). At this point I had to stop. The sharpness had dropped, but was still cutting well enough, and if I could have carried on, so could the knife thought the cuts were less clean.

One of the things I love when carrying this knife is that I have a classic design, but in the very latest materials. A proven design, but tougher and more reliable than ever. Truly an ‘Elite Grade’ knife from Spartan Blades.

Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

What doesn’t work so well for me

Being very picky – the laser engraving has ‘catchy’ raised edges.
The above point is very very picky!
Nothing else.

Things I like

Spartan Blades build quality.
CPM MagnaCut Steel.
Classic time-tested design.
Choice of leather or Kydex sheaths.
Kraton G handle material.
Hardwearing PVD flat/matt blade coating.