5.11 Tactical has a reputation for being a tactical clothing company. Its pants basically started the tactical clothing revolution. However, as the new 5.11 Response XR2 Dual Power Tactical Flashlight demonstrates, the company delivers much more than that.

The Response XR2 dominates the tactical/utility light pack when it comes to lumens, boasting an output of 2359 lumens. That is nearly 20 times the maximum LED power output that was available only a decade ago!

The Response XR2 comes with four CR123 batteries, giving it a length of 8.94 inches and a “with battery” weight of 9.09 ounces. The size and weight make it a capable close-range emergency striking implement, especially with the aerospace-grade aluminum construction and crenelated bezel. The XR2 is rated at IP68 water- and dust-resistance, which means it is water-submersible to 2 meters. It can also survive a drop from a distance of 1 meter. In other words, it is more than tough enough for most police or civilian usage.

Weight (with batteries) 9.09 ounces
Length 8.94 inches
Beam Distance 215 meters
Diameter 1.61 inches at head, 1 inch body
Power Source Four CR123 batteries or two rechargeable 18650 batteries


The XR2 is not a pocket tactical light, although there is a standard pocket-type clip affixed below the lamp area. There is also a small hole drilled in the tail-cap switch to attach a wrist lanyard, which might be a very handy addition.

Powerful Options

This is a pretty amazing light in terms of power. When I took the XR2 outside, it illuminated my entire front yard (a three-quarters-acre lot). The XR2 makes an excellent utility light for searching land and outlying buildings and would be great for tracking missing people. And it would certainly take out an opponent’s night-adapted vision when shined in his or her face.

The Response XR2 features four modes, activated through the tail-cap switch. The high mode delivers 2359 lumens (with a run time of two hours), though it may get awfully hot if locked in “constant on.” The directions advise that it is “normal for the flashlight’s aluminum body to get warm during continuous use.” The medium mode delivers a still-very-bright 1334 lumens for two hours and 13 minutes, while the low setting delivers 75 lumens and an almost 27-hour run time. The strobe mode also operates at the 2359-lumen output. These test statistics were obtained using Energizer CR123 Lithium batteries. When installing the batteries for the first time, you’ll find an orange plastic tube. Don’t throw that away! It is designed to hold the CR123 batteries in optimal operating position.

Mode Run Time Lumens
High 2 hours 2359
Medium 2 hours, 13 minutes 1334
Low 26 hours, 52 minutes 75
Strobe 2 hours, 40 minutes 2359

Rechargeable Option Available

The Response XR2 utilizes dual power — an important feature on a light that has a lumen output this high. While CR123s are much cheaper than they were 10 years ago, I imagine that you will burn up the batteries very fast if you use the XR2 on a regular basis. Fortunately, you can upgrade to rechargeable battery power with the 53403 charger kit and two 18650 rechargeable batteries. The kit sells for $49.99 on Optics Planet. While that may seem a bit steep, it will certainly save a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on CR123s.

The 5.11 Response XR2 is a fine tactical/utility light that would be great as an emergency light in a car, RV, plane, backpack or boat. And those who get lost while hiking, camping or crashing in remote areas would greatly benefit from the strobe mode for summoning rescuers.

Could Use a Switch-Up

One definite change I would like to see to make the XR2 a dedicated tactical light is the control switch. Because of the length of the XR2, a second control switch on the body of the light (in the traditional flashlight switch position) would make it easier to use with a standard flashlight grip (rather than a tactical or syringe-type grip). This is important for use in an area search. Changing how the modes cycle would also be a great tactical upgrade. As currently set, the light cycles through the power and strobe modes by quick touches. This setup makes room-clearing difficult, as one could end up inadvertently cycling down in power level or activating the strobe mode.

Utility Over Tactical

During my test, I found that I had to wait a full four seconds between switch manipulations to keep using the high-power setting. Four seconds is way too long in a law enforcement building-clearing operation, which involves multiple quick flashes of a tactical light. When the light is set in the medium, low or strobe mode, shutting the light off automatically cycles it into the next mode unless you wait for approximately six seconds, which takes you back to the high mode. While not ideal for true tactical work, the switching sequence is not as consequential when using the XR2 as a utility light.

As of this writing, the 5.11 Response XR2 is not on the 5.11 Tactical website, as it is a new addition to their flashlight line. However, I found it was available at ChiefSupply.com for $109.99.

If you are looking for a tactical/utility and emergency light with a powerful signaling strobe, the 5.11 Response XR2 belongs in your kit.


5.11 Tactical: 511Tactical.com
Chief Supply: ChiefSupply.com

About Scott W. Wagner

Scott W. Wagner is a criminal justice professor and police academy commander from Columbus, Ohio. He has been a police officer since 1980, working as an undercover liquor investigator, undercover narcotics investigator, patrol officer, SWAT team member, sniper and assistant team leader. Scott is currently a patrol sergeant with the Village of Baltimore, Ohio, Police Department. He has been a police firearms instructor since 1986 and is certified to instruct revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun.