Good evening everyone and welcome back to TFB’s Friday Night Lights. In our recurring series we hope to bring you everything from basic illumination tips like every day carry choices and weapon lights to more advanced topics like the use of night vision and thermal imagery during hunting and in the shooting sports. This week we bring you the SureFire X400V weaponlight/illuminator/IR Laser unit – A tale told by a night vision beginner (me).
But first, some FNL house keeping. Upcoming topics and reviews:
- Pulsar Helion XP50 review – Part 3 (it’s coming, sorry for the delay)
- Having had the chance to use some competing products since using the XP50, I can say with full confidence that I was spoiled right out of the gate. The XP50 is amazing technology at an affordable pricepoint.
- Streamlight Weaponlights review (Friday 7/27)
- Inforce Weaponlights – review
- Ops-Core Carbon Bump helmet (seen here in this review)
- ATN PVS14 – Review
If you have ideas for a future episode of Friday Night Lights, please let me know,
But back to the topic at hand: the SureFire X400V. If you think picking up a new piece of gear can be a bit daunting, trying learning a whole new system and associated techniques. Because that is exactly what night vision is: a combination of techniques and a system of tools working together so that the user can accurately and safely shoot in low light or no light environments. The X400V is a part of that night vision system.
Without a night vision unit (I’m using the ATN PVS14-3 though out this review) the X400V is still a useful, albeit expensive weaponlight. In white light mode, the unit is a practical light casting 350 lumens. The magic happens when you pair the SureFire with a capable night vision setup. If you are unfamiliar with Generation 3 night vision, with some limitations, it’s like being given a comic book superpower: night becomes day. Adding the X400V dramatically improves that superpower, especially when you plan on shooting stuff in the dark.
ITAR Warning: As frustrating as this may be for our readers, I have intentionally left some details of the X400V review undocumented. In the United States, laws and restrictions prohibit the transfer of technology and documentation to prohibited persons. When it comes to the risk of passing information to our enemies, I tend to err on the side of caution. Next week we will have an ITAR primer that will give everyone a slighly better understanding of ITAR and USML restrictions.
SureFire X400V IRC Weaponlight – Specifications
- Max Output — White Light: 350 Lumens
- Tactical Runtime**: 2.5 Hours
- Output / Runtime — IR: 120 mW
- Max Output — Laser: 20 hours
- Length: 4”
- Bezel Diameter: 1.6”
- Weight w/Batteries: 4.8”
- Batteries: CR123 (2)
- MSRP: $879
- Virtually indestructible infrared and white-light LEDs regulated to maximize output and runtime
- TIR lens shapes focused high-intensity beam with significant reach and ample surround light for peripheral vision
- Features integral commercially available infrared laser sight <0.7 milliwatts (850 nm)
- Recoil-proof Nylok® adjustment screws—laser sight holds zero
- Quick-detach rail clamp with adapters for Universal and MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny) rails
- Accepts optional pistol grip and long gun tape switches
- Weatherproof—O-ring and gasket sealed
- Constructed of high-strength aerospace aluminum with Mil-Spec hard anodizing; impact-resistant polymer; coated, tempered window
- Includes high-energy 123A batteries with 10-year shelf life
- Backed by SureFire’s No-Hassle Promise
The SureFire X400V IRc is a highly versatile dual-spectrum handgun WeaponLight that also boasts an integral Class 1 infrared-laser sight for use with night vision devices (NVD). This groundbreaking X400 model—which also mounts to long guns with MIL-STD-1913 rails—features a white-light and an infrared LED in its innovative V-Series head that will meet virtually any mission requirement. – Read More
X400V – Overview
If you own or have used a SureFire pistol weaponlight in the past, the X400V is not much different. The unit attaches to a Picatinny rail with a thumbscrew. Because of the orientation of the IR laser, it is recommended that the unit be mounted at the six o’clock position for easier zeroing. The large rocker switch on the tail cap of the X400V activates the light/illuminator/laser. A smaller rocker switch determines the NV mode (laser only, illuminator only or laser and illuminator only). The bezel of the light determines the overall mode: Off/WH/IR.
For safety reasons, the unit should be left in the OFF position to avoid accidental Infrared exposure that could cause eye damage.
The X400V is very well made, giving the user the feel of confidence in a piece of gear that is meant as a nighttime/darkness targeting solution. Google searches for the X400V May lead you towards some the X400V-A models that did suffer some growing pains in the switches. Fear not, the current models are all the X400V-B that have been in circulation since mid-2016 with a proven track record for reliability.
X400V – IR LIGHT ZEROING
I won’t go into extreme detail on how to zero an IR weapon laser, but here’s how I zeroed the X400V.
- Ensure you have a proper iron sight or red dot zero and your sight is mounted properly
- Using the daylight filter on your night vision device and a night vision setting on your optic, view the dot (or iron sights) through your night vision unit.
- At the desired distance, converge the two dots by adjusting the windage and elevation screws on the X400V.
Other IR laser zeroing techniques can be found here:
Here’s one of my limited criticisms of the X400V: For ease of zeroing, it would be nice to have a visible laser that is slaved to the IR laser. This would allow the user to zero the IR laser in the daylight without the need of a night vision unit. The addition of a visible slaved laser would increase cost and make the size of the unit larger.
Of course, zeroing should be confirmed before actual use.
X400V Controls and Operation
Here’s a limited rundown of the X400V’s controls:
OFF: Unit in the off position
WH: White light mode
WH: White Light Mode with tail cap switch activated
IR: IR Illuminator/IR Laser Mode
X400V – Practical Application
The X400V’s white light is bright, concentrated and very useable. Although I did not have an X400 available for a direct comparison, the beam seems more concentrated than the other X Series of lights.
The X400V’s illuminator made a huge difference when using the ATN PVS14-3. Like a ‘night and day’ difference (pun intended). The beam is as concentrated as the white light beam and was useable out to a practical working distance.
The X400V’s IR laser is sharp and crisp for use at practical distances. After a proper zeroing and confirmation, the laser maintained its zero while being carried through fields and after shooting about 400 rounds. I set my zero for about 20 yards and got good at holdover and holdunder estimations as needed.
IR Illuminator/Laser combination:
Even with the bright IR Illuminator, the laser was at least 5X as bright and easily distinguishable. Target identification was not an issue and hitting steel in the (relative darkness) was a lot of fun.
The SureFire X400V is an extremely capable light/laser/Illuminator that is well built. Two things I wish were included in this model: a slaved visible laser for easier zeroing and the attachment points for the MASTERFIRE holster system. Otherwise, the X400V does exactly what it should: white weaponlight illumination, IR illumination that is extremely useful at all practical ranges and an IR Laser that holds a zero and is both bright and sharp.
This SureFire model lives up to the company’s reputation for hard use gear.