By Guy J. Sagi
Blackhawk has apparently discontinued this weaponlight, although there are still plenty available at retailers and on line. The people who work for Blackhawk are some of the finest folks on the planet. Thanks to my attendance at the grand opening of one of this company’s factories in Montana and a visit to its headquarters, I know for a fact they make no apology for being aggressive in producing the finest gear for people who go in harm’s way—whether that’s a law enforcement officer, our men and women in uniform or a homeowner trying to keep his family secure while waiting for authorities to arrive.
The tactical flashlight market is fiercely competitive, and although I haven’t inquired as to why the Xiphos NT Night-Ops is no longer listed on its website, I do know Blackhawk has a policy of producing the very best, or the SKU goes away. I surmise with the huge number of companies now offering chip-driven tactical flashlights, this may have been a strategic withdrawal.
The Xiphos NT Night-Ops (75204BK) is billed by most retailers as being waterproof to at least 10 meters. I was confident in that claim, even though I wasn’t thrilled with the battery-compartment seal. Unfortunately, in the 60 minutes it took my grandson to take pictures of it in a glass of water, the unit quit working. There was no light at all, even though it was functioning perfectly prior to submersion.
In its defense, after 12 hours of drying at room temperature both the strobe and the flashlight functions were back (I took the CR-123 battery out to facilitate drying). The odds are pretty good most people aren’t going to get their weaponlight that soaked, but it could be a concern for those in law enforcement or the military.
There are three modes; momentary, constant beam and strobe. Toggling between them is as simple as one press, two presses and three, respectively. The unit runs on a single CR123A battery, and light-output claims vary as much as maps to the Lost Dutchman Mine. One website has it as producing 180 lumens from that single battery, another 65. I’m sure as the weaponlight evolved the amount of light it produced increased (so be careful when you buy), but the box on the unit I tried to drown claims 90 lumens. That’s plenty of power for handgun distances, anyway.
The manner in which it attaches to a dustcover rail is very convenient. If you’ve had to slide other lights down the rail to the desired position, you know the frustration when things fit tightly. You don’t want it rattle on the gun, but you didn’t sign up for an eight-hour workout. The Blackhawk mechanism lets you slip it right on the slot desired, tighten down the cam screw and toss the lever. I checked on an AR’s Picatinny rail and it went on just as fast as it did on my Springfield XD.
The polymer body is sturdy, wiggle free, flat black and Blackhawk tough. I’ve used this unit extensively in the past and it has never failed on the range, or hiccupped until the water test. It never has wormed loose, either.
Although usually billed as being leftie friendly, the lever is slightly larger and easier to index for righties. Don’t get me wrong, it’s workable but not quit as intuitive. It also mounts with a slight, 1/8 inch or so, offset to the right of the bore (if you’re looking at the muzzle). It measures 3.1 inches long, 1.1 inches wide and 1.4 inches in height. With the battery installed it tips the scales at 2.6 ounces.
It may not be listed on the Blackhawk website anymore, but I like this unit enough that it still rides on my XD. So if you happen to run across a good deal on the Xiphos NT Night-Ops, be careful about which unit you’re purchasing you might strike pay dirt—it never hurts to add backup lighting to your defensive strategy.
Editor’s Note: Only a few hours after we posted this story, Blackhawk informed us an improved version of the weaponlight is about to be introduced. It’s called the Night-Ops Xiphos NTX Weapon Mounted Light and here’s how it performed .