The Klarus XT12S is a really interesting tactical flashlight. It is a compact version of the Klarus XT12GT. It “looks” like a full size tactical offering (think Nitecore SRT7GT) but in a smaller, more manageable size/footprint. I like my flashlights to look tactical, but I want them to fit in my pocket. I’m just not a big fan of carrying a holster on my belt. How a flashlight works is more important than how it looks. But, if I can manage to get both form plus function I’ll take it every time. Couple that with 1600 lumens of output and you get a a formidable flashlight that is extremely bright and tactical.
Note: In the interest of full disclosure, the Klarus XT12S used in this review was provided to me by FlashlightZ.com. FlashlightZ.com is a small flashlight company located in Tulsa, OK. You can learn more about them via their social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. They also sell their flashlights via Amazon.com as well.
The XT12S is programmable – it has a “tactical setting” and an “outdoor setting.” The tactical setting has one touch strobe and one touch turbo, while the outdoor setting has one touch low with one touch turbo and SOS. The XT12S features CREE XHP35 HI D4 LED, with extreme spotlight capability and illuminates up to 402 meters. The fit and finish of the flashlight was good, threads burr free, and the LED nicely centered. It fits well in the hand and is quite ergonomic. It has an IPX8 rating and should work well in inclement weather.
Other Klarus XT12S Features
- Intelligent Digital Charging module; monitors charging progress for safe and fast recharging with over-charging protection.
- Intelligent Temperature protection System (ITS) , monitors and auto-adjusts output levels in realtime to keep LED and crucial component safe for the best balance of performance and equipment safety.
- Intelligent Capacity Indicator shows remaining battery capacity any time.
- Springs at bezel and tail resist shock and drop damages.
- Reverse Polarity Protection; eliminates damage from incorrect battery installing.
- Aero-space Aluminum alloy body with CNC machining; Mil-spec HAIII hard anodizing; lightweight and robust.
- Stainless bezel ring offers protection for crucial components.
- Hardened mineral glass lens with AR coating; scratch resistant.
Flashlight run time on a fully charged battery up to 200 hours in low setting. The 1600 lumens turbo mode is meant to be run for very short periods of time. Like most flashlights, running in turbo mode not only quickly drains the battery but will also cause the flashlight to heat up.
Klarus XT12S Beamshots
When it comes to the usability of a tactical flashlight, a picture is worth a thousand words. First things first. These photos are straight out of my iPhone and no editing was done (aside from some cropping). What’s immediately evident is that the Klarus XT12S is really, really bright. The Cree XHP35 HI D4 LED combined with the Klarus high efficiency circuit is very effective. The XT12S has a narrow focused beam to maximize throw. In fact, it specs out at 402 meters (1318 feet). The following photos were taken with the Klarus XT12S in high output mode (1600 lumens). Distances for these photos ranged from 30 feet to 130 feet.
More on the Klarus XT12S size
The XT12S is what I classify as a midsize tactical flashlight. Here it is shown next to a Kershaw Blur EDC knife.
Here is the XT12S next to two full size tactical flashlights (a Thrunite TN11 and a NItecore SRT7). The Klarus is shorter and the head diameter is smaller than two full size tactical flashlight examples. The biggest advantage to this size of flashlight is that you can still fit in you front pants pocket rather than carry it in a holster. Plus, you get 700 lumens more of output.
Here is a close-up of the magnetic charging port which allows you to charge the battery while it remains in the flashlight. There are a couple of things to consider with this type of charging system. On the plus side, this is far more water resistant than a conventional rubber plug over a micro-USB port. You’ll never yank this flashlight out of your pocket, pull off a cover and expose your flashlight to water damage. The real issue to me is more about the proprietary nature of this charging cord. You just can’t run to a store and buy one. It will have to come from Klarus. If you don’t want to charge in-flashlight you can by a stand alone charger. This is the type of charger I prefer so I always have a battery ready to go.
The charging port color changes from red to green when fully charged. During use it changes from green to yellow to red to let you know how much battery life is remaining.
The rechargeable battery for this Klarus is proprietary. If you want the full output of 1600 lumens you’ll need to use this battery. The XT12S will also use non-Klarus 18650 or CR123A batteries, but the output will be lower.
The Klarus XT12S uses a dual tactical tail switch to change lighting modes. It also gives you instant access to the strobe which is a nice self defense feature. I’m a big fan of the dual tail switch. It’s nice to have access to the on/off switch and mode switch in one place.
You get a crenelated strike bezel with the XT12S. It probably isn’t going to break auto glass very easily but it would definitely leave a mark if you were to use it in self defense striking blows. If you really want a crazy strike bezel Klarus makes one for this flashlight. It would definitely be the ticket if you want to make this flashlight into the ultimate non-lethal self defense tool.
Front and rear internally mounted springs protect against shocks and drops.
One feature on this flashlight I really like is the tripod mount. Couple this flashlight with one of the little flexible tripods and you can set it up so you can illuminate and area while working, setting up a tent or some other activity.
Klarus XT12S Review Conclusion
Here are my parting pros and cons for the Klarus XT12S.
- 1600 lumens of output
- Looks very tactical yet can fit in your pocket
- Dual tactical tail switch for easy access to your strobe and lighting modes
- Good fit and finish – overall quality similar to Fenix and Nightcore
- Proprietary battery & charging cable
- Included anti-roll attachment wasn’t the correct one for the flashlight
The real draw of this tactical flashlight is the 1600 lumens of output. If you need an extremely bright mid-size tactical flashlight, the Klarus XT12S is a good option.