Sofirn C8G Panga rechargeable tactical LED flashlight – 2,000 lumens, 635 metres. The state-of-the-art! Customer reviews
The tactical torch must be the most highly contested category in the flashlight world. If you have 100 torchies in a (darkened) room you’ll get 100 opinions of what defines a tactical flashlight, along with a fair bit of… retinal retribution (blinding each other).
However most of them would agree that a tactical torch must be:
- compact and light enough for a uniformed officer to carry all the time,
- capable of being turned on and off at full power from a tail-switch, which is easier to find in the dark than a side-switch, and essential if you’re holding it alongside a hand-gun,
- exceptionally powerful, with a perfect hot-spot-and-spill beam profile for maximum throw while still being able to spot movement and shapes “out of the corner of your eye”,
- able to run on a single charge of the battery for an entire night-shift of on/off use, and continuously while arresting a perp or covering an accident scene,
- durable enough to survive years of rough use in bad conditions.
Of course these qualities are also ideal for those of us who need a powerful and robust torch to investigate “bumps in the night”, take part in neighbourhood watch patrols or night-drives at the game reserve, or light up the lounge during loadshedding.
Sofirn’s all-new C8G ticks all these boxes and then some!
I’m calling it the “Panga” because it’s the most versatile blade in the toolbox – I’ve seen pangas used not just for cutting sugar-cane and firewood but also as a meat-cleaver and a terrifying weapon.
Sofirn’s Panga extends the state-of-the-art in two directions – the performance is the best I’ve seen from a tactical torch, while the value it delivers is truly remarkable!
To cover these qualities will take more words than most of my product description, so you may want to grab a beverage and a comfortable spot. If you don’t have the time, the bottom line is… if you’re looking for a compact security torch, you will not get more bang for your bucks – finish en klaar!
Starting with performance, the Panga not only whacks out 2,000 lumens but, more importantly, 100,000 candela. Lumens tell us how “fat” the beam is, candela decide how far it will shine (see here for more). I’ve never before seen a tactical torch that throws a fat neutral-white hot-spot over 200 real-world metres (or 635 metres using the same formula as other torch makers) – or do it for so long!
This is benchmark stuff.
Any 2,000-lumen LED produces a lot of heat at full power, and tactical torches aren’t big enough to dissipate this heat indefinitely, so the Panga turns itself down from “turbo” to “high” after about six minutes… according to Sofirn.
However the Panga uses an “advanced temperature control” system so that, with some air movement around the torch, it will run much longer. And when it does finally step down the difference is hard to spot – sitting at my desk with a stopwatch I couldn’t see it. In short, if I didn’t tell you that the Panga steps down, you’d probably never know.
The 1,000 lumen "high" setting looks nearly as bright, and with a freshly-charged 3,000mAh 18650 rechargeable “super Li-Ion” I got well over an hour of run-time at this level before it stepped down to preserve the battery (you can still go back to high or turbo if you want). Incidentally it features "constant current" technology, which means it doesn't get dimmer as the battery runs down.
At the other end of the scale, the Panga delivers a 300 lumen “medium” beam for around four hours, a 75 lumen “low” for 12 hours, and a 10-lumen “eco” mode for several days. And with a new-generation 21700 battery you can add 50% to these run-times (more on this below).
In short, it’s highly unlikely you’ll flatten your battery during a night-shift or NW patrol unless you forget to charge it. And even if you do forget, the Panga will warn you when you turn it on by showing a red light behind the side-switch instead of the comforting green, telling you to use your spare battery (you DO have a spare, right?)
Then let’s talk about features and value. In terms of fit, finish, materials and construction, this torch is absolutely out of the top drawer. It has the look and feel of a high-end Japanese camera – the tactile feedback from the switches is just right and the electronics are the product of close attention to customer feedback and years of experience.
Unlike many tactical torches, the Panga can tail-stand securely on a flat surface, and it won’t roll off a table when its on its side (unless pushed!) The bezel around the lens is scalloped so that, if you stand it on its nose, you can see if the light is turned on. All small things that make a big difference!
The user interface is deceptively simple. Turn it on at the tailcap and adjust the brightness with the side switch. When you turn it off and on again it will return to the last-used brightness level (low, medium or high). A double click of the side switch brings up "turbo", another double click goes to "eco" (moonlight), while a triple click gives you a dual-frequency defensive strobe.
However, if you do four quick clicks of the side-switch, an interesting thing happens – you change “groups”. While the default group offers you low, medium and high, the “ramping” group allows you to ramp from eco to turbo in about four seconds. When you release the button the torch remembers that setting so you can click off and on all night at your preferred level, while double-clicks alternate between the highest and lowest outputs.
When you remove the tailcap to change the battery you’ll find rubber o-rings to keep the torch IPX8 waterproof/submersible (there are spares in the box) and flawless square-cut anodised threads so a twist of the wrist will “lock out” the switches to avoid accidental activation when the torch is packed away.
One of the Panga’s best features is that it can be powered by either an 18650 rechargeable “super Li-Ion” or a new-generation 21700 Li-Ion with capacities of up to 5,000mAh, giving a third longer run-time. I stock a top-quality 21700 Samsung 50E Li-Ion specifically for this torch. Note that this format does NOT fit into older chargers but my new Liitokala Lii-402+ charger is designed to take it along with all the older sizes!
I’m also glad that Sofirn have resisted the trend to equip the Panga with internal charging, rendering it unsuited to "serious" use. Charging the battery inside the torch means that it’s out of service while the battery is charging, and the connection ports are often a weak-point in terms of waterproofing and durability. For these reasons professionals insist on external charging (and a spare battery!)
In summary, the C8G Panga is a masterclass in flashlight design and function, incorporating the best long-range LED from Cree (the XHP35 HI) with a perfect neutral white tint (which helps you to see better!), the best construction (6061 aerospace aluminium, military-grade anodising, gold-plated contacts etc) and the best electronics (advanced temperature control, regulated output, reverse polarity protection etc).
It kinda reminds me of Freddy Mercury singing “I want it all… and I want it NOW.”
Note that I’m charged a commission if you “check out” the Panga here on my website, but if you pay by EFT-on-invoice I'll pay that commission back to you in the form of a discount – just drop me a line and I’ll make it happen.