Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: SpiderFire Infrared X6V-IR

A while back I reviewed my Yukon NVMT 3x24 nightvision scope but didn't manage to take any pictures of it "in use" as I couldn't manage to work out how to get my iPhone to do a macro-enough capture of the display. However, Omega loaned me her Nikon d3100 and with two tripods and some jiggery-pokey, I managed to capture some images. Sure there is a camera adapter but all I wanted to do at this stage, was demonstrate the features of my new flashlight, the SpiderFire Infrared X6V-IR  which apparently is fitted with an IR 3W CREE LED.  I set the scope up in my hallway, and adjusted as best I could to do a "down the barrel" set of photos to demonstrate both the flashlight and the Yukon scope. Actual view of my long hallway is much clearer through the scope, its a camera focus issue.

The SpiderFire is a machined aluminium body, with 2 CR123 batteries. It features a press button on/off tailcap and a glossy paint coating. The reflector is pretty standard geometry and finish, and there are three LED emitters bundled into the lens housing. It comes in a hook-and-loop, and PALS/MOLLE compatible nylon pouch, with a retention lanyard.

The light is powered by two CR123 cells and when viewed from anything other than an acute angle, there appears to be no discernible visible glow. At acute angles the emitters are a strong deep red, and can generate a recognizable red flash when looking "down the barrel" to an observer downrange. This caused me some trouble, which I'll get to later.

So, some further testing: My hallway is around 10m long, to give you an idea of the scale here, and again, the poor-focus is my inability to photograph the internal screen of the Yukon, rather than the optics of the Yukon itself. Compare the top picture which is the passive view of the hallway, with this one, where the internal IR illuminator of the Yukon is on.  The beam is tight and bright, and when viewed directly puts a nice ~1m circle in the center of the field of view. As I previously reported though, both the scope and its internal illuminator have indicator lights which essentially shine directly into your off-scope eye and also drains the single CR123 battery in the process.

This photo is of the SpiderFire held just above the Yukon, and shone down the hallway. It really drives back the shadows, filling the doorway and the far end walls. I took it out into the night of my suburban street, and could see its light glinting off treetops in the next street, but a bit ineffectively, given the ambient lighting from streetlights and the city. It cast a useful beam at around 25m down a somewhat darkened laneway, which gives an idea of the range.

Last time I used my Yukon at Stargate Lasertag LRP, I had also wanted to have an additional source of IR illumination, not only to boost the range, spread and brightness of what my Yukon can discern but also to have a light I could set up AWAY from my position. As stated, when active, the IR lights cast no visible beam, but the actual emitter was visible and brought unwanted attention to my position. In future, where possible, I hope to set the SpiderFire up at a pinch point, and stand-off, gaining the benefit of a passive scope, with the added illumination in a dark place of my choosing.

IR is an interesting technology, night-vision is an all-around awesome concept, and I wish that more goodies were available for me to order to play with. The SpiderFire certainly makes a good start in this, and definitely adds to the ability and depth  of penetration into the murk in very low light and total darkness situations. When all the lights go out, I'll be glad for the ability to see into the Abyss, without the Abyss being able to look back at me.


  1. These IR-Infrared-LED-Flashlight-Torch torches are also available as UV LED Flashlight Torch and ultra violet flashlight.

    1. very cool Brent, I don't have as much use for UV lighting (that is, unless eldrich horrors arise) but having the option there is good, thanks for the heads up


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