Light Review: Olight M23 JAVELOT

Olight have taken the popular M22 Warrior and updated it by giving it the ‘JAVELOT’ treatment. The result is the M23 JAVELOT. After the success of the first few Javelot models, Olight have been updating a few existing models, like the S30RII and M22 into Javelot versions with uprated emitters and throw.

 photo 09 M23Javelot angle reverse P1160532.jpg

Taking a more detailed look:

The M23 JAVELOT is supplied in a sturdy plastic case.
 photo 01 M23Javelot boxed P1160500.jpg

Everything is held in cut-outs in the foam liner.
 photo 02 M23Javelot box open P1160506.jpg

Starting off with a look at the unconventional holster design. The retention flap has a hole cut into it through which the tail-cap protrudes. This gives access to the tail-cap switch.
 photo 03 M23Javelot holstered P1160512.jpg

Both sides of the holster feature cell holders. For CR123 these are not that secure, but for 18650 they work well enough (though the cell is partly exposed and could be damaged.
 photo 04 M23Javelot holster cells P1160513.jpg

Now we see why you might want access to the tail-cap switch while the light is in the holster. The bottom of the holster has a hole cut in it allowing the M23 to be used while fully inside the holster.
 photo 05 M23Javelot holster base P1160517.jpg

On the back is a Velcro belt-loop and small D-ring.
 photo 06 M23Javelot holster loop P1160519.jpg

Supplied with the M23 is the holster, CR123 cell holder, diffuser, spare O-rings, a lanyard, the instructions and two CR123 cells.
 photo 07 M23Javelot contents P1160526.jpg

Externally the main difference between the M22 Warrior and the M23 JAVELOT is the stainless steel bezel.
 photo 08 M23Javelot angle P1160528.jpg

The entire head has heat-sink fins along it.
 photo 10 M23Javelot heat sink fins P1160534.jpg

A side view of the steel pocket clip.
 photo 11 M23Javelot clip1 P1160537.jpg

Another view of the strong pocket clip.
 photo 12 M23Javelot clip2 P1160539.jpg

The pocket clip fits into a cut-out on the battery tube, and the grip-ring has a notch in it which fits over a lug on the steel pocket clip. This prevents the pocket clip or grip-ring rotating.
 photo 20 M23Javelot clip fitting P1160564.jpg

With the supplied diffuser fitted, the stainless bezel is hidden. You can’t fit the M23 into its holster like this.
 photo 14 M23Javelot angle diffuser P1160544.jpg

Inside the tail-cap, the negative terminal is a sprung plunger. The tail-cap/battery tube connection is hidden and uses a special design to fit into the conical opening at the end of the battery tube.
 photo 15 M23Javelot tailcap P1160548.jpg

The switch is large and textured.
 photo 16 M23Javelot tailcap switch P1160550.jpg

Threads on the tail-cap end of the battery tube are square cut and fully anodised.
 photo 17 M23Javelot threads P1160555.jpg

Threads on the head end of the battery tube are square cut and bare aluminium.
 photo 18 M23Javelot head threads P1160556.jpg

Unscrewing the battery tube fully shows the contacts in the head, with the positive spring-terminal, bare threads plus ring-terminal for the twisty interface.
 photo 19 M23Javelot head contacts P1160561.jpg

For its excellent throw the M23 uses a deep, smooth reflector.
 photo 21 M23Javelot reflector P1160574.jpg

Looking straight into the reflector.
 photo 22 M23Javelot LED P1160580.jpg

And a closer look at that LED. Olight describe this as a ‘customised high intensity CREE XP-L LED’.
 photo 23 M23Javelot LED close P1160586.jpg

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 the wife won’t have one!

The beam does have a reasonably warm tint and as expected for a JAVELOT light, there is a very strong hotspot. This might be a bit fatiguing to use indoors which is why there is a diffuser supplied.
 photo 24 M23Javelot indoor beam P1170305.jpg

Popping on the diffuser and we have an entirely different experience (the exposure here is the same as without the diffuser).
 photo 25 M23Javelot indoor beam diffused P1170308.jpg

Outdoors it is clear this is a thrower!
 photo 26 M23Javelot outdoor beam P1170240.jpg

And just to see, the result with the diffuser is good (the exposure here is the same as without the diffuser).
 photo 27 M23Javelot outdoor beam diffused P1170243.jpg

But we need more range, so here we are at a golf driving range with the 250yard marker easily visible, and beyond.
 photo 28 M23Javelot outdoor beam golf P1170221.jpg

Modes and User Interface:

The M23’s output is controlled by the forward-clicky tail-cap switch and twisty interface at the head.

Available modes include High, Medium, Low and Strobe.

From OFF, either click or half-press and hold to turn onto the last-used constant output mode.
From ON, either click the switch or release the half-press to turn OFF.

From OFF, double-tap and click (or hold) the switch to activate High.
From OFF, triple-tap and click (or hold) the switch to activate Strobe. While strobe is activated, the twisty interface does nothing.

From ON, loosen-tighten the head to cycle through High -> Medium -> Low -> High etc. (it is as the head becomes tight again that the mode changes). Tightening the head while the M23 is OFF does nothing.

This operation allows you to set the output to Low, but still have direct access to High (double-tap) and Strobe (triple-tap) via the tail-cap switch alone.

Batteries and output:

The M23 runs on either 1x 18650 or 2x CR123.

To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

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.

___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
Olight M23 JAVELOT using specified cell I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
High – CR123 950 0
Medium – CR123 361 0
Low – CR123 38 0
High – 18650 918 0
Medium – 18650 365 0
Low – 18650 38 0
Diffuser Test High – No Diffuser 861 0
Diffuser Test High – Diffuser 584 0

* Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.

Peak Beam intensity measured 39700 lx @1m giving a beam range of 398 m.

There is no parasitic drain.

Overlaying the two runtime traces from 2xCR123 and 1×18650 shows that CR123 initially gives a slight boost in output for the first few minutes before the output for both power sources converge. This happens during the controlled output reduction to just over 600lm for the regulated level. CR123 runs out of steam earlier (as expected) falling out of regulation at around 35 minutes. 18650 holds regulation until about 55 minutes with a less sharp fall-off.
Both traces end with a period of inconsistent flickering output instead of cutting out.
 photo Olight M23 Javelot runtime.jpg


This section is included to mention any minor niggles I come across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

No issues were encountered during testing.

As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar ‘issue’ that might be fixed in the same way.

The M23 in use

I’m going to get the main issue out of the way first – the holster. I can see what was intended with the holster, but for me it presents three main problems in use. Firstly getting the flap over the tail-cap, so you can secure it is far too difficult as it is a tight fit and doesn’t easily go over the M23’s tail-cap. It is possible that as it wears it will become easier, but this will only be due to the material softening and becoming frayed. Secondly the tail-cap switch is exposed, and with the design used for the tail-cap connection, it cannot be locked out; no lock-out and an exposed tailcap is going to lead to accidental activation. Lastly on the holster, though the ability to carry spare cells is welcome, by leaving them partially exposed, they can be lost or damaged; I don’t trust the cells holders myself.

The holster is full of good ideas, but I don’t find them to work terribly well.

Onto the M23 itself, and things swing back to positive – it is a typical single 18650 size light, with solid build quality; you definitely would feel confident that you could use the strike bezel if needed.

Rather than having the typical tail-cap to battery-tube connection that uses a battery tube with a flat end (most common), in the M23, Olight uses a design where the inside of the end of the battery tube is conical and the tail-cap contacts are pushed into the cone as you tighten the tail-cap. This means it is far less likely to break the connection, as the tail-cap needs to move significantly to lose contact. It makes the connection very robust, but does prevent the user from locking-out the M23 by unscrewing the tail-cap.

The pocket clip is very strong, a bit too strong for normal use. If this is going on your load carrier PALS webbing, OK, but for many users it will probably be too stiff.

Of course we must appreciate that JAVELOT beam. The custom XP-L Hi LED certainly does its job with plenty of power and an excellent hotspot. Unlike completely throw-orientated lights, the M23 manages a high beam strength without making the hotspot too small; it seems completely ideal for a light this size.

Normally I’m not keen on using lights with throw at close ranges, but the M23 seems to manage this in a way that is perfectly usable. However as a frosted glass diffuser is supplied, you can easily go full flood (at the expense of 33% loss of output) and have a perfect indoor flood-light beam. With the diffuser fitted it will not fit into the holster.

It is possible to tailstand the M23 even though the large switch boot (18mm) protrudes slightly. The combination of three large cut-outs around the button (giving easy access), and the large button itself make the M23 responsive and reliable to control.

The user interface seems extremely well suited to a ‘tactical’ design. Putting strobe to one side (all serious users of tactical lights I’ve spoken to don’t want strobe as it can be just as disorienting to the person using it), at least it needs a deliberate triple-click to activate it. Unfortunately, if you are ‘signalling’ with the M23 you can accidentally get strobe. Taking just those constant modes, you can easily set the M23 to be effectively a ‘high only’ light or a ‘low-high’ light. Setting high with the twisty interface means that your first press is always high, and if you double-tap the button you still have high. Setting low with the twisty interface means that your first press is always low, and if you double-tap the button you get high. Swapping between these configurations is easy and of course you could also make it ‘medium-high’ as well.

Overall a well thought-out light with solid build and a great beam; another JAVELOT success.

Review Summary

_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
Things I like What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
Strong beam with great throw for its size. Holster has issues.
Solid build. No lock-out.
Frosted Glass diffuser included. Strobe can be activated when signaling.
Well though-out UI. Pocket clip too stiff for most users.
Large, easily accessible button.
Can Tail-stand.
Durable tail-cap connection design.


Discussing the Review:

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