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Cloud Defensive OWL – Optimized Weapon Light

This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com

Cloud Defensive has been making weapon light accessories that focus on controlling the tape switch. Now they are bringing out their own weapon light: The Cloud Defensive Optimized Weapon Light (OWL)

It was teased briefly at SHOT Show but unfortunately I had schedule conflicts that prevented me from seeing it in person.

The OWL was designed to solve the issues they saw in existing weapon light systems.

  • External wires.
  • Tape switches.
  • Threaded heads/tail-caps.
  • Needing dedicated/aftermarket mounts.
  • Multiple switches for momentary/constant-on operation.
  • Inadequate output.
  • Poor run-times.
  • Sub-optimal light color (temperature) which impacts the performance.
  • Sub-optimal beam patterns.
  • Tools required for installation and maintenance.

The OWL is a 3x cell light that features an offset design with quick-change heads and tail cap. It is similar in concept to the BE Meyers MAWL laser. It too has an offset design with a central pressure pad with quick change head and rear section. This allows you to quickly change the setup for left or right-handed shooters. You simply remove the head and tail cap, rotate the pressure pad 180 degrees then reinstall the head and tail cap.

Another added feature to the QD tail cap is that it also doubles as a tool to tighten or loosen the nut that clamps the OWL to your top rail.

Cloud Defensive claims that the OWL pumps out around 1500 lumens and is user programmable. It has two output settings. 100% power or 60% power. You can even configure the OWL to have 100% on momentary and only 60% for constant on.

Their quick change head allows for easier battery changes. They also will be offering up different beam pattern heads. They will have a head for maximum throw and one for lots of spill. So you can configure your OWL for any task you need.

The demonstrations of the OWL is impressive. Here is a video clip where they show how well the OWL throws light compared to the Streamlight HLX.

  • A one-piece integrated solution with optimized ergonomics.
  • Estimated 1400 -1600 Lumens and about 45,000 Candela (estimated as of publication). With a USA-made electrical system, we invested in the best components money can buy. That gives us output, efficiency, and run-time that others don’t have. And now you get the best performance money can buy.
  • A Quick-Disconnect light head and tail-cap. Yes, you read that correctly.  Our patent-pending Lug-Lok technology gives you a light head and a tail cap that are removable without traditional threading. A few degrees of rotation and you can immediately remove the head or tail-cap. Battery changes are now lightning fast and easy to do. Working around the muzzle or suppressor is now a breeze. Faster and safer.
  • Precision machined from Certified 6061-T6 aluminum.
  • Type III Anodized to MIL-STD. “Hardcoat”
  • Made 100% in the USA. Manufactured and assembled 100% in-house at our production facility. 
  • Uses either three (3) CR123 batteries or three (3) 16340 rechargeable batteries. Our electrical system senses what batteries are present and adjusts for those batteries.
  • Run-time at 100% power is industry leading. Nobody puts out this many lumens for this long. It’s not even close.
  • Run-time at 60% power (960 lumens) is also industry-leading.
  • Multiple modes of operation. The OWL is user-programmable. Select what is right for your mission.

1) Full power, all the time (momentary and constant-on)

2) Full power for momentary, 60% for constant-on. Roughly 960 lumens at 60%.

3) 60% power all the time (momentary and constant-on)

  • An industry-first multi-purpose switch allows for momentary and constant-on operation. Momentary until the switch is held down for several seconds, then constant-on engages. Constant-on is disengaged with a simple tap of the switch. A hard-programmed safety mode during Power Mode 2 ensures full output is restored via over-ride on the switch. Press the switch during 60% constant-on and you are immediately back to full (100%) output.
  • Fully Ambidextrous. The reversible design allows it to be mounted on either side of the host weapon. Just disconnect the head and tail, reverse the batteries and swap the head/tail from their original position. And now it’s left-handed.
  • Field-Serviceable Lens. Our FSL system allows for the damaged lenses to be changed out in a matter of seconds, by the end-user.
  • Dual-tool built into the tail cap. You attach OWL to your weapon with the tool in the tail cap. You replace your lens with the tool on the tail cap as well. This dual-tool feature makes the OWL a tool-free design.
  • Waterproof to IPX8 standards
  • Shockproof. Dustproof.
  • No external wires to deal with.
  • No external plugs or sockets that are susceptible to water/debris.
  • Lifetime Warranty with 2 reasonable exceptions: 1) Lens. If the lens is damaged, this is not a warranty situation because the user can change the lens in about 60 seconds. 2) Cosmetics. It goes without saying but these are hard-use tools. Cosmetic damage is part of the game. Everything else is covered. Forever.

The OWL is up for preorder for $299.99 on their website. They will sell the first 500 units at this introductory price and after that, they will sell for $339.99. The OWL is slated to ship this coming June. I am impressed with the performance although I question the need for a 3xcell light. Surefire is able to crank out 1500 lumens out of their DFT Scoutlight using a 18650 Li-ion rechargeable cell. Cloud Defensive did plan for rechargeables and the OWL will run 3×16340 rechargeable cells.

Another minor issue I see is this design does not look like it will play well with laser aiming modules like a DBAL, MAWL, or PEQ15. Even if you move the laser behind the light or in front, I see that the OWL could get in the way.  Hopefully, I will be able to get one in for review and can fully assess the OWL and how it works with other devices.

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