Ledlenser MT Series - Lighting the Night
Reviewed by James Morris
Ledlenser torches have become a well-known brand in New Zealand. Designed in Germany, and manufactured at Ledlenser’s factory in China, Ledlenser products are recognised as reliable, efficient and perfect for the tough life they get here. Twin brothers Harald and Rainer Opolka founded Zweibrüder Optoelectronics in 1994 and designed the first Ledlenser torch – the Ledlenser V8. Their bank wouldn’t lend them the money to get the business up and going so the determined brothers went it alone. Within a short time they had surprised themselves ‒ and their bank! ‒ by turning over more than €200 million worth of torches. Now the company has more than 1500 employees and are world renowned.
I’ve had three of their torches to use and review over the past couple of months. They are three of a new series of outdoor handheld torches: the MT6, MT10 and MT14; all of them are pocket-sized and claim amazing capabilities.
The most important two things I look for in a handheld torch are how bright it is, and how long it will run before the batteries go flat. The MT6 puts out 600 lumens, whereas the MT10 and MT14 deliver a maximum of 1000 lumens. Under full power it’s claimed that the MT6 will go for 8 hours, the MT10 6 hours and the MT14 9 hours.
The MT10 especially got plenty of use as it fitted my torch clamp which goes onto the scope of my .308 and made for some lethal night-time hunting. The MT10 and MT14 are rechargeable torches, which I’m not a huge fan of for long hunting trips because if one goes flat when you really need it, you can’t just change the batteries. That is where the MT6 is preferable, but its 3x AA batteries also make it much bulkier and heavier (250 grams), whereas the MT10 is only 156 grams. While it has the same lumen rating as the MT10, the MT14 has a larger battery and its weight comes in at 253 grams.
After using them for hunting and farming for a couple of months without recharging them, I decided to put new batteries in the M6 and charge the other two up, and see just how long they went for. A major grievance I have with some of my LED torches is that they eat a set of batteries in an evening, far quicker than the manufacturer’s quoted figures. So how did the Ledlenser MT torches stack up?
I turned them all on at 7am, and left them running throughout the day ‒ I even took them to the office with me. The MT6 went all day. By 5pm it was certainly dimmer, but it was still going. The MT14 and MT10 also went for longer than their quoted battery life.
All three torches have four settings: power, medium power, low power and strobe. They’re all water resistant, have focusing beams and have a front switch with an energy status indicator. The other function which I always try to remember to use is the transport lock, which locks the torch off so it can’t accidently come on in your backpack or pouch. I do have a wee gripe here though: it takes a painfully long time to turn that lock on and off. It’s not a biggie but certainly takes noticeably longer than my old Ledlenser.
They were all well-built with a solid metal chassis and certainly don’t feel “cheap”. Importantly they come with a fantastic 7 year warranty, which I had occasion to test with one of my earlier style Ledlenser head torches; it was replaced on the spot by the latest model.
In the field the torches all lit the night up; compared to what was available only 10 years ago they’re quite amazing. When I lit up a few animals with these pocket torches, I noticed that the beams aren’t as concentrated as those from my older, bulkier Ledlenser and therefore they’re harder to use for properly identifying and shooting an animal at the light’s range limit. In saying that, I certainly can’t say that they don’t light the place up, though! One night on my sika roar trip we were navigating our way back to camp during Cyclone Cook in the Kawekas. Simon Gibson and I were trying to figure out which of the rolling ridges to take whilst being blown about, with high speed rain lashing our faces. Our head torches weren’t as helpful as we’d have liked but when I pulled the MT10 out it surprised us by just how good it was. It certainly helped get us on the right route.
I used them often out rabbiting, possuming and farming. I had particular success on a neighbour’s lucerne paddock that was getting a hard time from a mob of pigs. Jonesy and I snuck our way across the paddock to where we knew the pigs were coming out of a big gorsey gully. When I turned on the MT10 attached to my scope the pigs were less than 100 metres away and, surprisingly, didn’t look up from their activities. I hastily put holes in three of them. Jonesy was frustrated by the end of it, as every time I fired and worked my bolt the light was taken off of the hogs, so he didn’t get a chance at all! He needs a similar set-up if he wants to do more of that, I reckon!
I thoroughly enjoyed using these top quality German-designed torches. I didn’t totally abuse them, but they certainly did everything that was quoted in the specs, and didn’t let me down. I’d like to see the focus be a little sharper (as was the case with an older model I have), but otherwise there aren’t any complaints from me.
My pick of the three was the MT10, just because of its size and versatility (i.e. it sits on my .308).
On a side note: remember to identify your target, especially at night time ‒ and remember that darkness isn’t a safe backdrop! No deer is worth any sort of a firearm-related mishap.
Ledlenser MT Series
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