Wurkkos WKC05 Review – Excellent Budget Rifle Light

The Boring Stuff

Wurkkos sent me this light in exchange for a honest review. Here is the official product page. It’s also available on Amazon. Below are the official specs.

Yes, it looks a lot like a Streamlight Protac Rail Mount HL-X. The resemblance is uncanny. It’s not a fake because they’re not claiming it’s an HL-X, but it’s clear that Wurkkos copied the Streamlight and changed the styling a little to make it slightly less obvious.

What comes in the box?

You get loads of goodies in the box, notably all the same stuff that comes with Streamlight’s HL-X.

  • The light itself with a forward clicky tailcap
  • Pressure pad
  • Two CR123A batteries
  • Tape for pressure switch mounting
  • Rubber adapters for mounting the pressure switch to a picatinny rail
  • Two screws for pressure switch mounting
  • An allen wrench
  • Spare o-rings
  • Four zip ties
  • The manual

Size & Measurements

From left to right:
Convoy S12
Convoy M1
Wurkkos WKC05
Streamlight Protac Rail Mount HL-X
Noctigon KR1

MeasurementMeasured (mm)
Bezel Diameter36.7
Maximum Head Diameter36.7
Length138
Switch Diameter14
Switch Proudness0
Body Tube Diameter (internal) 19.2
Tailcap Diameter (maximum)26
Tailcap Diameter (minimum)24
Tailcap Length32.9

Weight empty: 121g / 4.3oz
Weight with CR123A’s: 153g / 5.4oz
Weight with protected 18650: 168g / 5.9oz

User Interface

The user interface is pretty good. It’s copied straight from HL-X.

StateActionResult
OffClickOn (first mode)
OffHalf-pressMomentary on (first mode)
OffHalf-press twice quicklyOn (second mode)
OffHalf-press 10x and holdCycle to the next mode group
OnClickOff

There are three mode groups available.

  • High-Strobe
  • High only
  • Low-High

My light came in the High-Strobe group. Personally I like the high-only group the best, but if you’re running around for hours using the light to see like in an Airsoft match or something, the low-high group would probably be better so you can conserve battery life.

Modes, Brightness & Throw

Disclaimer: Lumen measurements were taken with a Texas Ace Calibrated Lumen Tube. Candela measurements and runtimes were taken using the ceilingbounce app on my smartphone.

Level Lumens @ Turn-onCandelaThrow (meters)
High (CR123A)98823,300305
Low (CR123A)761,79285
High (18650)84019,810281
Low (18650)621,46276
Wurkkos WKC05

Using an 18650 cell reduces turn-on output very slightly, but it’s not enough you’d ever notice. I highly recommend using an 18650 if you can.

Level Lumens @ Turn-onCandelaThrow (meters)
High (CR123A)102725,555320
Low (CR123A)611,51478
High (18650)104521,556294
Low (18650)551,30172
Streamlight HL-X

Runtime

WKC05 High CR123A: Started out at 988 lumens. From there it drops slowly in output. At the fifteen minute mark, the light was very hot, way too hot to touch. I aborted the test for safety reasons and resumed it in another spot with a fan blowing on it. Theoretically there’s no need for a weapon light to be on high mode for 15 minutes straight so this really shouldn’t be an issue. And if you DO need it to be on that long, you may want to use the low mode to conserve battery life. After the restart it very briefly hit max brightness again and then stepped down (presumably with cell voltage) from there until it eventually turned completely off. There’s a significant bend in the curve at around 45 minutes where it’s lost most of the output. Everything after one hour is well below 100 lumens, but it keeps on ticking so it won’t leave you in the dark on CR123A’s.

WKC05 High 18650: Things look pretty different on an 3000mah 18650 cell. Turn-on brightness is a little (but not noticeably) lower at 840 lumens. I started this test without a fan and the light did heat up, but not as much or as quickly as with the two CR123A’s. I did turn on the fan after about 15 minutes just to be safe, but there doesn’t appear to be any thermal regulation so it should not affect the runtime at all. Brightness tracks downward with cell voltage over the next hour and a half, at which point I aborted the test to protect my cell and it was at 3.04V. You get a lot more brightness for a lot longer when using an 18650. You can get even more runtime than this by going with a 3500mah cell.

HL-X High 18650: For comparison, here’s a test of my HL-X with a 3000mah 18650. HL-X appears to have some more sophisticated circuitry going on. It started out at 911 lumens. There are some stepdowns in the graph but the output is largely flat. Initially it drops down to a lower level than WKC05, and I think that explains why HL-X never got too hot during this test. I’m not sure whether it has thermal regulation or not, but the stepdown did effectively keep it from overheating. Total runtime before I aborted the test to protect my cell was similar to WKC05, just with less brightness in the first half and more in the second half.

HL-X High CR123A: To round out the comparison I also tested HL-X on two CR123A’s. Initial brightness is higher than an 18650 at 1080 lumens, but it settles to a lower sustained brightness than the 18650 did. Once again, 18650’s are better than CR123A’s.

WKC0 Low: I didn’t do a low runtime because I didn’t want to accidentally over-discharge my battery. I did measure the current draw on low mode from an 18650 at 136 milliamps, so that should last 22 hours on a 3000mah cell.

LVP: I don’t believe there is any low voltage protection here in WKC05.

Emitter & Beam

WKC05 uses a cool white, domed, cree XPL emitter just like HL-X. It works fine, but I would prefer they use something domeless and with a nicer tint to differentiate from HL-X. That would eliminate the tint-shift, provide more throw, and look better.

WKC05 on the left, HL-X on the right. Virtually identical beams except that WKC06 has a very blue AR coating on the lens that shows across the beam, especially at the edge of the spill. There is significant tint shift as you would expect from a domed Cree emitter and a smooth reflector.

WKC05 / HL-X
WKC05 / HL-X

Design & Construction

The design of WKC05 is clearly copied from the Streamlight HL-X with a little bit of C8 pattern influence. Copying another company’s work is disappointing and many people find it unacceptable, but they did choose a great light to copy.

I dare say the built quality on WKC05 is better than the Streamlight. The anodizing is nicer and smoother. The threads are much better since they’re all anodized and lightly lubricated. The tailcap threads are super thick and square cut. On HL-X, all the threads are triangle cut and un-lubricated. The inside of the bezel isn’t even anodized. They’re really gritty and unpleasant to use. I’m really impressed with the Wurkkos. It’s clear that they took some of their flashlight-making know-how and applied it to Streamlight’s design instead of just copying it. I’ll get into that in more detail later.

During my testing, I mounted WKC06 to a rifle chambered in 5.56mm and fired 180 rounds over the course of 45 minutes. The light held up just fine.

Switch

WKC05 includes two switches: a forward clicky mechanical on the tailcap, and a remote pressure switch that includes a momentary only section as well as another forward clicky for constant-on activation. The tailcap switch is firm and clicky with a textured rubber boot. I prefer it over the HL-X’s switch, which has always struck me as being too easy to activate.

Wurkkos copied Streamlight’s pressure pad exactly (minus Streamlight branding). That’s a great thing because the mounting options for a streamlight pattern pressure pad are seemingly endless. Three options are included in the box: picatinny, screws, and an adhesive pad. You can also ream out the screw holes a bit and use some M-LOK screws. That’s what I did on my HL-X pressure pad.

Mounting

Just like HL-X, WKC05 includes a Surefire scout mount base milled into the side of the body. That gives you a great deal of mounting options. A scout mount to picatinny adapter is included in the box and it works just fine. I do wish they had included a scout mount to M-Lok adapter as well. That would have made it even more compelling.

In addition to light mounting options, you also get several pressure pad mounting options in the box: picatinny, screws, and an adhesive pad. This is one of the best features of HL-X and I’m delighted to see it from Wurkkos as well.

Batteries & Charging

If you buy from Sofirn’s website, you can buy WKC05 with no battery, two CR123A’s, or one 18650 cell. If you buy from Amazon, you only get the option of two CR123A’s. As the runtime tests demonstrated, an 18650 cell is clearly better, but the CR123A’s will do in a pinch. I wish Wurkkos offered a version with a USB rechargeable 18650 in the box. That would be an incredible value.

HL-X Comparison

Every comparison photo between the two will have WKC05 on the left and HL-X on the right.

There are a few design differences, especially in the head and tailcap. WKC06 has a thicker, glossier finish.

The threads on the Wurkkos are excellent. They’re anodized and lightly lubricated. The ones on the tail are even thick and square cut. Well done Wurkkos! The threads on the Streamlight are triangular cut, weakly anodized, unlibricated, gritty, and unpleasant. Not impressive.

Both lights have a weird centering gasket design I’ve never seen before. They appear to work fine. HL-X has the reflector threaded into the bezel which is odd. Those unanodized threads definitely contribute to the bits of aluminum shavings visible in the previous photos. The Wurkkos’ reflector comes right out like most lights, but I wasn’t able to remove the lens.

Wurkkos’ clicky tailcap looks and feels nicer than HL-X. The switch is firmer too, which I like. HL-X’s switch boot sticks past the tailcap slightly and makes tailstanding a little wobbly sometimes. The tailcaps attached to the pressure switches appear to be more similar. Just look how much nicer the spring looks on the Wurkkos’s clicky tailcap compared to the spring in the Streamlight tailcap.

Physical reverse polarity protection and no spring on the head end. Boo to both of you! These are designed to be mounted to rifles which have recoil, so the battery(s) jump off the flat positive contact when shaken and the lights flicker every time you fire your rifle. This is such a foolish design decision. I can understand Wurkkos blindly copying Streamlight, but how could Streamlight possibly think this is a good idea? HL-X isn’t Streamlight’s only WML with this problem either. The physical reverse polarity protection means you have to use button top cells, which stinks.

The pressure pads and mounts are virtually identical. The Wurkkos pad is about 2mm shorter than the Streamlight pad for some reason but I can’t imagine a situation where that would matter. The forward clicky switch on it is slightly more exposed than the Streamlight and doesn’t have any branding on it.

Competition

Here are some lights in the same class as (make & model) and how they compare.

Streamlight HL-X: Pricing varies quite a bit. I’ve seen it as high as $125 and as low as $83. Streamlight does have a much better warranty, so that’s something to be aware of. Otherwise they’re very similar. HL-X has been torture tested by dozens of reviewers so it has a good track record for durability. WKC05 simply doesn’t have the same amount of exposure so I’m less sure of the durability & reliability.

Feyachi FL11-MB: This is a cheap weapon light that seems to pop up on Amazon a lot. It appears to be of dubious quality, particularly the two 18650’s it comes with. It doesn’t come with all the pressure-switch mounting options either. I would not buy this, but it’s the closest thing I can find to compete with the Wurkkos price-wise. The Wurkkos wipes the floor with it.

Feyachi WL25: This appears to be another HL-X clone, but with even more differences than WKC05. I’ve only just stumbled across it and I don’t have terribly high expectations but it might be worth a look. I do trust Wurkkos’ reputation a lot more than Feyachi though.

Conclusion

Copying another company’s design is morally questionable at best and that’s something you have to consider with WKC05. If it’s something you can overlook, this is hands down the best value long gun light on the market right now. I think for a defensive gun, the Streamlight HL-X is a better choice because it’s been used and proven for years to be a bet-your-life-on-it reliable light. If the HL-X just isn’t within your budget or you’re looking for a light to go on a non-defensive firearm or an Airsoft gun, WKC05 is the way to go.

Thanks to Wurkkos for sending me this light for review!

2 thoughts on “Wurkkos WKC05 Review – Excellent Budget Rifle Light

  1. By chance, is the pressure pad cap (Or clicky cap) for the streamlight hlx compatible with the wurrkos wkc05?

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