LTR: SureFire Stiletto Pro

A good EDC flashlight needs to be versatile, easy to use, and able to hold up to absolutely everything life exposes it to, day after day. Surefire is known for making some of the best illumination tools money can buy, and their Stiletto series of lights offers a unique feature set that makes them incredibly versatile and useful while hitting all of the standard Surefire checkboxes like quality, performance, and durability. For the last few months, I’ve been carrying Surefire’s Stiletto Pro as my daily driver, and in that time, I’ve come to really appreciate having this light in my possession.

Surefire makes two versions of the Stiletto; aptly named Stiletto and Stilletto Pro. Both lights share the same design language, but there are a few distinct differences between the two models. The Stiletto has a polymer body and weighs in at 2.8 ounces. It’s three levels of light output provide more than enough versatility for any lighting need, with output levels at 5, 250, and 600 lumens. The Stiletto retails for $129 USD. The Stiletto Pro features an aluminum body, which allows for extra heat dissipation and as such light output levels are increased across the board. Low is 25 lumens, great for digging in a bag or in small spaces. Medium is 300 lumens, which is quite a bit of light. Yet, when you need a piece of the sun in your pocket, High gives you 1000 lumens of light output from a light that weighs 4 ounces. Retail on the Stiletto Pro is $229 USD. Both lights feature programmable power switches where you can configure how the light cycles through its respective light outputs. There is a tactical switch at the end of both lights that can turn the light on to high power, or with three taps of the switch engage strobe mode.

Rounding out the feature set on the Stiletto series of lights is a reversible belt clip that lets you carry the light lens down or up. Some users may prefer to carry the light lens down, so that it’s easy to draw the light with their hand on the tactical switch. However, if you carry the light lens up, the Stiletto series lights can be clipped onto a hat brim to make a very powerful headlamp. It’s pretty darn convenient to be able to just clip the light to your hat / collar/ or other piece of gear as needed so you can work with both hands instead of having to go get a headlamp.

In hand, the Stiletto Pro feels great. The controls are easy to find and access, and no matter how you hold the light the controls are always accessible. The light’s unique shape creates a rock-solid grip with both gloved and bare hands. After working with the Stiletto Pro, switching back to a cylindrical shaped flashlight with only an end cap switch feels awkward. In other words, the Stiletto Pro spoils you with how easy it is to use.

Likewise, the Stiletto Pro’s unique shape makes the light a joy to carry in your pocket. It’s unique shape make the light less noticeable and therefore more comfortable when carrying the light, even when it’s in your back pocket and you’re sitting on it. Again, the Stiletto Pro is a joy to live with, and trading it out for a cylindrical flashlight will have you missing the Stiletto Pro.

Charging the Stiletto Pro is as easy as possible thanks to the light’s built in lithium battery and micro-USB port. All you need to do is plug the light in and wait for the fuel gauge LED to turn green and the light is charged. The end. Its so nice not to have to worry about packing enough 123s or other batteries or a dedicated charger. Yet the best part of USB charging is that it’s easy to always have a light that’s starting at full power. There’s no more trying to use up a disposable battery that’s currently in a light, and dealing with reduced output just to use up consumable batteries.

The Stilettos are fully programable, so you can control how the light works. I LOVE the fact that I can start with a mere 25 lumens of light output and cycle up to unleashing the sun on problem if needed. (If you want to reverse the power switch order, you can do that too.) There’s also the tactical switch on the end of the light which lets me go straight to full power. In this configuration, I can use primary switch to cycle up through the light outputs as needed, and I can go full power with just one press on the tactical switch if the situation calls for it. I’ve never blinded myself with the Stiletto Pro by accidentally turning the light on to high power, nor have I ever found myself wishing I could change how the light is controlled.

The Surefire Stiletto Pro has proven to be an outstanding flashlight. It’s has gone everywhere with me over the last few months, and in that time it’s become my favorite / go to flashlight. It’s a joy to carry, awesome to use, easy as possible to charge, and the controls will spoil you from using any other flashlight. So what’s the downside? The price. The Stiletto Pro isn’t cheap, especially when there are a kabillion options for cheap lights out there. Yet, lighting continues to prove that it’s something where you get what you pay for, and there is certainly something to be said for paying more for a product that isn’t going to let you down when it counts.

Point in case – at last light on the last day of his first Bull Elk hunt, my buddy shot his first Bull. From my vantage point on the hill behind him, I was able to watch the whole thing go down through my binoculars. I saw the muzzle flash, watched the bull drop like a sack of potatoes, and then seconds later heard the sound of the rifle shot. I had a 15 minute hike to get to where this all went down in a meadow surrounded by Pinion / Juniper trees. In that time, my buddy’s chineseium USB chargeable million-lumen light had completely stopped working, and he was trying to locate a Bull in tall grass that was 200 yards away with the light on his phone. Thanks to the Stiletto Pro’s 1000 lumen output (and having a birds eye view at one point), I was able to locate the Bull a couple of minutes after linking up with my buddy. When it was time to break down the bull, I set the Stiletto Pro to low power and clipped it onto my hat. My headlamp was dead weight in my pack on that hunt, because the Stilleto Pro once again proved it’s versatility.

The Surefire Stiletto Pro is a great flashlight that has become my go-to flashlight in the time I’ve been evaluating it. It’s versatile enough to provide a touch of light to look in a pack at night, and powerful enough to make short work of finding a Bull Elk that blends in with tall grass. Nothing and I mean nothing has phased this light. Cold, hot, sand, snow – it doesn’t matter. The Stiletto Pro works exactly as advertised every time I’ve reached for it. When I’m not using it, it’s takes 10 seconds to set it up for a charge, and having a light that is always starting at 100% state of charge is so much better than having to consume other batteries, because I’m not cool enough to go through 123s like M&Ms. The light clip makes it easy to go hands free, and the light’s unique shape make for a great fit in hand or in your pocket.


There is no shortage of options out there when it comes to flashlights, but for a top shelf, Made in the USA light that does absolutely everything well, the Surefire Stiletto Pro has proven to be a great lighting tool that’s worth every penny.

FULL DISCLOSURE: The product featured here was provided at no cost to the author for the purpose of this independent product review.

SureFire Maximus

1000 lumens in a palm sized headlamp? It’s a thing, and it’s called the Maximus by SureFire. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to stop doing your favorite outdoor activity when the sun goes down, the Maximus has the light output to help you play outside longer. You can ride your bike faster, find your way better while running or hiking, and have an effective light on your helmet that can actually help you out while riding a motorcycle at night. When you get back to the truck or make it into camp, you can adjust the power on the Maximus with just the turn of a dial and set your light output to anything from 1 to 1000 Lumens.  Silly amounts of light in a compact package – it sounds like the world’s greatest headlamp, doesn’t it?

The amount of light that you can get out of the Maximus at full power is quite impressive, but don’t expect to spend all night burning a hole in the blackness.  At full power, the Maximus will only last around 1.5 hours, so discipline is required to make it through a full night of use without killing the battery in the first 90 minutes.  Dialing back the light output will obviously get you much longer runtimes, and with camp duties typically requiring less than 50 lumens of light, the Maximus has the endurance to go multiple nights without recharging.  Adjusting the headlamp to get the right amount of light exactly where you need it is as easy as tilting the body of the light from 0 to 90 degrees down and twisting the knurled dial to control light output.  The dial works great with bare hands or gloves, and the tilt setting will stay where you leave it – making the Maximus quite easy to use.  Yet, charging the Maximus is where things start to get interesting.


Recharging the non-replaceable Lithium-Ion battery is done from either an AC outlet or the included 12v car charger.  I’ll say it again: Non-replaceable battery.  Make sure to keep that fact in mind, or you could find yourself with a dead battery and dawn still hours away.  Furthermore, you have to use the specific Maximus chargers, so make sure that you pack the chargers with you whenever you’re gearing up for a trip.  SureFire is known for their exceptional build quality and attention to detail, so I was disappointed to discover that the cap for the Maximus’ charging port will refuse to say installed in the body of the light after it’s spent a few miles traveling in a pack or a pocket.  Should your Maximus encounter some real moisture with the charging port open – bad things could happen.  I had hoped this was an isolated issue with my light, but I noticed that the Maximus headlamps that the Expedition Overland crew were using in season three were all having the same issue.  This cover feels like it didn’t get the SureFire design treatment, so hopefully that is something they’ll address in the future.

The only other problem that I ran into with the Maximus was that the weight of the headlamp can cause it to slip down over your eyes if you make a sudden movement during an activity.  While running, or while mountain biking with the light under your helmet, this can make for a painful surprise.  SureFire molded mounts for a top strap into the Maximus, but my headlamp didn’t come with a top strap, and a search of the SureFire website didn’t turn up an official over-the-head strap.  If you’re not moving quickly (say during typical camping) this will be a non-issue for you, but was something I had to engineer a solution for as the Maximus’ light output is something that I had to incorporate into many of my favorite sports.

If you have ever found yourself creeping home in the dark without a light when your ride, hike, or other activity lasted longer than the daylight did, the Maximus is a great tool to have with you.  Toss it on under your helmet, and your mountain bike ride can continue at all but the fastest of speeds.  Likewise, on a dirtbike the Maximus can outshine the crappy halogen headlights on many bikes, allowing you to actually see where you’re going.  If you’re hiking or running at night, the Maximus has plenty of light at less than half power to light your way up like you’re walking down the Vegas strip.  This is where SureFire’s expertise in lighting shines (see what I did there) as the Maximus casts a perfect beam of light that works great at 10 lumens reading a book in camp and at 1000 lumens bombing down singletrack.

Even with it’s faults, the Maximus is a great headlamp.  With the dial control I can get exactly the amount of light output that I want without thinking about making an adjustment.  The dial system is hands down better than using a single button headlamp that has 50 different modes, where I would have to stop what I’m doing to focus on getting the light output I want – and there’s no risk of blinding myself by triggering the wrong mode.  With the Maximus it’s set and forget, and cranking up the sun or dialing it back is just a quick dial adjustment away.

The SureFire Maximus is a very impressive lighting instrument that is exactly what you would expect from something with the SureFire name name on it.  With the exception of the charging port cover and the weight of the unit combined with the lack of an over-the-head strap, the Maximus is a great headlamp.  Its light output is staggering at full power, and the dial system is a great interface over the single button control favored by many other manufactures.   It will be really cool to see what SureFire does with this model in the coming years as battery and LED technology continue to improve.  Hopefully a lighter Maximus with a longer battery life will become a thing in the not too distant future.  As long as you can remember to bring the charger and have enough discipline to use just as much light as you need, the Maximus can work in almost any role in which you place it.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself playing leader when your group is out after dark – other lights can’t hold a candle to what the Maximus can do to the darkness.

Full Disclosure:  SureFire provided the headlamp reviewed in this article at no cost to the author or American Adventurist. This review and others like it are intended to provide you, our readers, with no holds barred updates on a variety of new gear as it becomes available.