Olight PL-Mini Valkyrie
Would Odin himself issue this light?
The Olight PL-Mini was Olight’s entry into a category that doesn’t get a whole lot of attention; the compact handgun weapon light. The notable options on the market to date are: Surefire XC1, Streamlight TLR-7, Streamlight TLR-4, Streamlight TLR-3, Olight PL-Mini, and the Olight PL-Mini 2. I know there are some other options on the market, but from my findings holster accommodations for them are slim.
This light is a sample size of one and I am bringing in some outsider information into the review, just because I think it’s something that needs to be taken into consideration when looking at this light; especially since you might be depending on this light to help defend your life.
The Olight PL-Mini comes enclosed in a cardboard box with a plastic tray holding the contents. If I remember the only things that come with the light is a charging cable and an owner’s manual (I bought it a year ago and lost track of the box). The light itself has simple switch like ambidextrous controls. Tap it once for continuous on, hold it for momentary on. It’s also equipped with a QD mounting system which is pretty nifty, especially if you’re going to rotate the light from a carry gun to a home defense handgun.
Charging explained: When the light is charging, the clear hub attached to the blue docking portion will glow red, when charging is complete the light turns green.
Body Material: 6061-T6 Anodized Aluminum
Battery Type: Internal/Rechargeable
Run Time: 1.15 hours
Bulb Type: C4 LED
Lumen Output: 400
Candela Output: 1,400
Height: ~1.5 inches
Length: 2.41 inches
Weight: 2.19 ounces
Additional: IXP6 rated
The Olight PL-Mini is a light that advertises a great output and a great run time for such a small weapon light, but looks are deceiving. If you go to the listing on Amazon, you will see the following: “Output: 400 Lumens – 60 Lumens (1 + 700 minutes)”
Now, what does this mean? It means that for 1 minute and one minute only, you’re getting the advertised 400 lumen/1,400 candela rating. According to the manual for the next consecutive 10 minutes of use (I am unsure if the initial minute is included in this allotment) the light dims down to 60 lumens; that’s about 34 lumens a minute lost. I’m aware that other lights do something similar to increase battery life but not to this extreme.
To me, the advertised output is disingenuous. Beyond that, I don’t know how they got their candela rating. The Streamlight TLR-7 has a maximum candela of 4,300 yet appears dimmer than the PL-Mini (1,400 advertised). This is may be related to the yellowish light the TLR-7 emits.
Now time for a little bit of conjecture on my end. If the light reduces it’s output over time of use, does it reduce it’s output as the internal battery loses it’s charge? If I charge it on Monday and don’t charge it or turn it on for a month, will it still turn on with the 400 lumen output? Or will it have reduced itself over time?
Also, with it being an internal rechargeable battery, does charging on a regular basis (nightly/weekly) kill the batteries ability to retain a charge? How does one tell that the battery has lost it’s ability to retain a charge? These are all questions I’ve been asking myself that concern me that I don’t have an answer for.
Ergonomics. The PL-Mini Valkyrie probably has the best controls in the compact WML game. They’re far easier to manipulate than the TLR-7, BUT, they aren’t without fault. As a person with bigger hands, I consistently have issues activating the constant mode, and inadvertently get temporary on. To people with smaller hands, you’re definitely going to have some issues getting one handed manipulations depending on the gun it’s mounted to.
Time for the outsider information I mentioned in the beginning. I have had 3 or 4 people tell me now that their controls have gotten jammed up from every day carry use. Just from eyeballing the controls, I do see where debris could get inside of the crevice on the top side and bottom side of the control. With me having no experience carrying this light or pushing it to the point of failure, I felt inputting this information was critical for those looking into buying it.
With the Olight PL-Mini I have about 1,200 rounds downrange with it turned on and about 1,800 additional rounds down range with it just mounted to a gun. So far I haven’t encountered any issues with the light wanting to shut off or flicker during or in-between shots even with rapid fire. That said, the space between the two mounting brackets(?) is fairly tight, so much so that it can be difficult getting it onto guns that aren’t the Glock 19 and you will see signs of wear (pictured below). The wear started to show when I mounted it to my CZ 75 Compact and just progressed every time I mounted it to something that wasn’t a Glock 19.
Side note: If the none-QD attached side could expand a little bit like some other WML’s, it wouldn’t be as difficult getting this light onto them.
“TacCat, do you like anything about this light…like at all?”
Yes! I do! The rim around the lens helps mitigate fouling build up. It helps so much so that it didn’t have any fouling on it after 500 rounds in one sitting.
The low battery indicator, even though it’s necessary, is a really nice feature that I wish other companies would implement.
Light color, I love true white/white colored beams of light. They appear brighter and take more time to adjust to on the receiving end.
And finally, the controls. They aren’t the best by any stretch of the imagination, but using them is a lot easier than the TLR-7 and APL-c in my opinion.
Now to answer the question… Would Odin himself issue the Olight PL-Mini? My answer is… No. There’s enough going on that’s suspect that Odin would just turn his nose up at it. I know a lot of you are looking at this versus the TLR-7 and honestly… there’s stuff about both lights I don’t like that lead me to just go with a full sized WML.
I’ll end up doing a comparison post between these two and giving my opinions on which one you should go with and I’ll be sure to link it in this post when it’s up (I’ll also change the ending here so no one knows it wasn’t here). Until then, I will put this out there. If you have short fingers? PL-Mini>TLR-7. You are taking usability over quality (in my opinion), but what’s the point of quality if you can’t use it efficiently?
As always everyone, thank you for reading this TacCat review, be sure to checkout the links below, and stay safe out there!