Today’s first impressions brings us the Hound Dog 18650 (Neutral) flashlight from Malkoff Devices. The word “flashlight” feels like a bit of a misnomer with this one — it’s more like a hand-held mini searchlight.
Before I dive into this post, which is more of a mini-review, I wanted to take a moment and acknowledge the amazing customer service from Malkoff Devices. While placing my order I ran into a bit of a hiccup — both Gene and Cathy (the owners of the company) quickly responded to my e-mail and got things sorted out. On top of that, everything was shipped out in less than a day, and received two days later, including a small thank you note! It really feels great to be able to support a small business like this one.
Now, on to the flashlight… the Hound Dog I ordered was the neutral “turnkey” version. It comes complete with the Hound Dog 18650 head, MD2 body and tailcap, Nitecore D2 charger, and one 18650 3,500 mAh protected Li-ion rechargeable battery. I then added a couple of additional 18650 cells just to be prepared (one can never have enough batteries). Overall, this kit is an excellent value for what you receive!
Upon opening the package, I was struck by how just how small the light is compared to its specifications. Photos found online don’t really convey the true scale (or lack thereof) of the Hound Dog. For something that is putting out 1,000+ lumens, it is very portable and comparatively lightweight (while only a little front-end heavy). Fit and finish are outstanding: perfect knurling, thorough anodizing, impressive LED centering, and buttery-smooth operation of the head and tailcap.
When you order the Hound Dog 18650, either as a kit or as a standalone part to add to an existing MD2 body, you’re given the choice of color temperature. You can pick either 4,000K (“Neutral”) or 5,700K (“Cool”) — and depending on your intended usage, one might be better than the other. The lower color temp. of 4,000K is going to seem warmer and more yellowish (better in rain, fog, snow, etc.), while the higher color temp. of 5,700K is going to appear cooler and closer to a pure white (better for perceived brightness). I went with the 4,000K due to the variety of weather we frequently encounter here in the Pacific Northwest.
The first night after receiving the light it was immediately put to the test for a typical task: nighttime canine walking. I’m happy to report that the Hound Dog passed with flying colors. Low mode (see dog walking photo below) offers around 30 lumens, and it is useful for the majority of situations, along with being long-running, too. High mode is just a quick partial turn of the head away, and it blasts out a whopping 1,000-1,100 lumens! No matter the mode, there is enough spill to easily see around you (thanks to the large reflector), but keep in mind that this light is definitely intended as a thrower first and foremost.
For backup purposes, the Hound Dog can also run on a pair of CR123A primary cells. While runtime will be significantly less on high mode (to the tune of around 5 minutes), on low mode it looks as though it will easily run 6+ hours. (This is based off of CPF member INFRNL’s awesome runtime graphs.) Impressive for a light originally designed around an 18650 cell!
In closing, the Hound Dog is one heck of a light, and is backed up by an exceptional company and lifetime warranty. It can fill a variety of roles; whether you need a light for typical household use, outdoors spotting, personal protection, travel, or even disaster preparedness. It’s really a jack-of-all-trades and a welcome addition to the gear drawer here.
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