Maglite Drop-In LED: Updating a Classic
Updated: Jul 11, 2021
The Maglite dominated the "tactical" market for many years until the market shifted from large lights to the handheld lights that are now popular. Unfortunately Maglite didn't keep up with the technology to match the performance of the more current offerings from companies like SureFire or StreamLight. Despite the poor performance, there is something comforting about the size and heft of the of the old school Maglite.
Fortunately, there's an option to bring back that old maglite out of retirement.
There are a few companies that are making drop in LED modules that replace the incandescent bulb.
The unit I found from TerraLUX claims to upgrade the output of the light to 140 lumens. I can't substantiate the output, but it does substantially boost the performance of the light.
The photos show how much better the light output is (the image on the left is the original bulb, while the image on the right is the new, drop in unit). The module also doesn't require any modifications to the light itself, so you can still use the spare bulb that is in the tail cap if needed. The install consists of simply unscrewing the capture ring that holds the old bulb in, then replace the old bulb with the new LED unit.
There you go, bring your Maglite out of retirement for less than $20. We will bring you a performance review in the future.