A good headlamp is an essential piece of kit. 5.11 Tactical® has debuted two new aluminum body headlamps for 2020 — the AA (or 14500) battery powered Rapid HL-1AA and the CR123 (or 18650) battery powered Response HL-XR1.
Both headlamps incorporate advanced options into their design. They feature independently controlled LED spot with multiple powers settings and (COB) flood lights. They also feature a mounting system that allows the light to be rotated 180° or removed for use as a right-angle flashlight or clipped to apparel or gear.
The Response HL-XR1 additionally offers a red flood light capability and a removable over-the-head strap. It also has triple the spot output.
The Response HL-XR1 pushes out over 1,000 lumens in peak spot mode, compared to 330 lumens peak spot output for Rapid HL-1AA. In peak spot mode it has a beam distance of 135 meters versus 55 meters for the Rapid HL-1AA. All performance claims were tested in accordance with the ANSI/NEMA FL1-2009 Standard.
5.11 Tactical Response HL-XR1 Multipurpose Headlamp
I requested the Response HL-XR1 from 5.11 Tactical for evaluation, primarily due to it’s higher peak output and red light capability. Additionally, the higher peak spot output of the Response HL-XR1, coupled with the multi output and multi mode capabilities, provides additional versatility.
A red light capability is essential on any headlamp for professional/tactical applications. Although the total brightness of the light has a potentially more significant effect on scotopic (night) vision retention than does the color, our eyes are least sensitive to red light and it’s the least prevalent light at night. For these reasons, our night vision is less impacted by exposure to red light. Red light also improves contrast and aids in reading red-light-readable topographic maps.
Light output is important and is a great comparison tool. However, it’s only part of the brightness equation. Beam intensity, distance and type all need to be taken into consideration when evaluating the effectiveness of a light in different applications.
The Response HL-XR1 provides multiple spot and flood lighting modes with constant-on. Spot and flood operate independently.
All modes are controlled by a multi mode dual side switch that consists of a spot rear switch and flood front switch. The spot rear switch is slightly raised for tactile identification. The multi-mode switch defaults to High when turned off.
You press the spot rear switch once for High, twice for Medium, three times for Low, four times for Glow and once again to click off. Or you can press and hold the spot rear switch for three seconds to go immediately into Tactical Glow and push again to click off.
You press the flood front rear switch once for High flood and click again for off. You press and hold the flood front switch for three seconds for direct red light and once again to click off.
As we all know, output and runtime are inversely related. Higher output provides shorter runtime. Outputs, peak beam distances and runtimes in the various modes for the Response HL-XR1 are listed in the specifications at the end of the article.
The Response HL-XR1 features a regulated circuit and CREE® XPL-HD V5 LED and chip on board flood. The CREE LED emitter is rated for 50,000 hours.
The Response HL-XR1 operates on two different types of lithium batteries. It uses either two CR123 lithium disposable batteries (included) or a single 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable battery. An optional battery sleeve is provided for optimal fit for CR123 battery operation,
If a light will only be used occasionally, or for mission critical applications, disposable batteries are the only way to go. If a flashlight will see frequent, heavy use, rechargeable batteries will provide considerable cost savings.
Always carry spare batteries. That’s obvious, but all too often neglected. There are a variety of battery carriers on the market. I like the Thyrm® CelllVault™ and CellVault XL™ for this purpose.
The Thyrm Cell Vault and CellVault XL take up little space, may attached to PALS webbing or lashed to gear and are designed to keep batteries safe, dry, and accessible. They comply with FAA regulations for carrying spare lithium batteries on board commercial aircraft (see 49 CFR 175.10(a)(18) for complete regulations or call your airline, as there are additional requirements).
A headlamp is such as essential piece of kit essential, that I recommending carrying two of them, as well. As is so often said, two is one and one is none.
The Response HL-XR1 headlamp measures 4.24 inches (10.8 cm) in length. It’s 1.45 inches (3.7 cm) at its widest and weighs 6.30 ounces (178.60 g). The housing is machined out of heavy-duty 6061-T6 aluminum. It’s Type II anodized. The headband bracket is made of a durable polymer.
The Response HL-XR1 has a one meter impact resistance rating and an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance. The IP54 rating means that it’s protected against quantity of dust that could interfere with the normal operation, although it’s not fully dust tight, and it’s also protected against water splashing from any angle.
The headlamp has an 180° ratcheting rotation capability in the headlamp bracket that allows you to adjust and direct the light where needed. It stays securely in the position that it’s rotated to.
The headlamp is removable from the headlamp bracket. It simply snaps off or on the bracket The headlamp is equipped with an integrated patent-pending clip that allows it to be clipped to apparel or gear.
The headlamp can be permanently attached to the headband bracket, if desired, by using a 0.10-inch (0.25 cm) wide cable tie through a slot in the bracket designed for this purpose.
The Response HL-XR1 has has an adjustable elasticized headband with removable over-the-head strap. The relatively hefty 6.30-ounce (178.60 g) weight of the headlamp necessitated the over-the-head strap. Removing the over-the-head strap allows for use on helmets where it may not fit. As of this writing, 5.11 Tactical doesn’t offer a helmet mount adaptor plate/bracket for the headlamp.
The headband isn’t of breakaway design. For this reason, the headlamp should never be worn around the neck. The integral clip on the Response HL-XR1 eliminates any need for this.
To Sum It all Up
The Response HL-XR1 is an outstanding multipurpose headlamp. It’s well-designed and well-made. The sample provided to me for evaluation exhibits excellent workmanship.
The Response HL-XR1 has a MSRP of $79.99. It’s covered by the 5.11 Tactical Light For Life® Warranty. It’s imported.
5.11 Tactical Response HL-XR1 Multipurpose Headlamp
Manufacturer: 5.11 Inc.
Model: Response HL-XR1
Type: Multipurpose Headlamp
Length: 4.24 in. (10.8 cm)
Width (Body): 1.45 inches (3.7 cm)
Weight w/Batteries: 6.30 oz. (178.60 g).
Batteries: Dual Power — Two CR123 Lithium Disposable or one 18650 Lithium-Ion Rechargeable
Output Spot High: 1,021 lumens
Output Spot Medium: 433 lumens
Output Spot Low: 108 lumens
Output Spot Glow: 12 lumens
Intensity Spot High: 4,548 cd
Intensity Spot Medium: 1,715 cd
Intensity Spot Low: 547 cd
Intensity Spot Glow: 51 cd
Peak Beam Distance Spot High: 135 m
Peak Beam Distance Spot Medium: 83 m
Peak Beam Distance Spot Low: 47 m
Peak Beam Distance Spot Glow: 14 m
Runtime Spot High: 1 hour 35 minutes
Runtime Spot Medium: 3 hours 5 minutes
Runtime Spot Low: 6 hours 22 minutes
Runtime Spot Glow: 33 hours
Output Flood (COB) White: 81 lumens
Output Flood (COB) Red: 3 lumens
Intensity Flood (COB) White: 20 cd
Intensity Flood (COB) Red: 3 cd
Peak Beam Distance Flood (COB) White: 9 m
Peak Beam Distance Flood (COB) Red: 3 m
Runtime Flood (COB) White: 6 hours 20 minutes
Runtime Flood (COB) Red: 45 hours
Additional Features: Removable Headlamp w/ Integrated Clip for Gear/ Apparel Attachment, Multiple Output, Multiple Switching, Removable Over-the Head Strap, Rotatable Housing
Dust & Water Resistance: IP54
Impact Resistance: 1 m
Warranty: 5.11 Tactical Light For Life Warranty
* Testing was completed using Energizer® lithium batteries.
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.