I have already reviewed KR1 here, but it was getting a little crowded so this variant is getting its own review. Most of the content below not pertaining to the LED or driver is going to be a copy & paste from that review.
- The Boring Stuff
- What comes in the box?
- Design & Construction
- Size & Measurements
- User Interface
- Modes, Brightness, Throw, & Tint
- Driver & Regulation
- Emitter & Beam
- Carry & Ergonomics
- Batteries & Charging
The Boring Stuff
I purchased this light with my own money from the manufacturer’s website. Here is the official product page. Below are most of the official specs, but there are no official output or throw specs listed for this configuration.
What comes in the box?
The box is standard fare from Emisar/Noctigon. It’s plain brown cardboard with a closed cell foam insert and hand-filled sticker indicating the contents. The following items are included in the box:
- The light itself (the clip shown is not the one included by default)
- Two spare o-rings
- Any additional accessories you select when purchasing (none in my case)
Design & Construction
KR1 has a unique and attractive design. It uses curves and fine milling instead of hard edges and rough knurling like most other lights. There’s nothing else quite like it besides it’s sibling, Noction KR4.
Build quality is excellent, as I’ve come to expect from Hank. The threads on the body are thick, square cut, and anodized (though, mechanical lockout doesn’t fully work). The threads for the bezel are pretty nice too and are trapezoidally cut. The threads aren’t quite as smooth as I’d like and will squeak occasionally, so they probably need more grease. There are thick, strong, gold-plated springs at either end of the body tube. The anodizing is a bit chalky out of the box but will break in and smooth out with time.
If I could make one change to the design of this light, I would eliminate the anodizing on the tailcap threads as well as the o-ring holding the clip in place. It’s just not as secure as I’d like. The clip can still move around a little bit and the o-ring is easy to tear by accident (fortunately, a replacent is included in the box. I had to use mine.) Mechanical lockout doesn’t even work anyway (more on that momentarily).
If the threads weren’t anodized, they could carry current instead of relying on the tailcap to be precisely tightened. That would also allow the tailcap to clamp directly onto the pocket clip, holding it in place. There wouldn’t be a gap left if you don’t use the clip anymore either. Fireflies has been doing this on some of their recent models and I think it’s fantastic.
Size & Measurements
|Maximum Head Diameter||35.0|
|Reflector Hole Diameter||11.0|
|Body Tube Diameter (internal)||18.8|
|Body Tube Diameter (maximum)||27.7|
|Body Tube Diameter (minimum)||24.0|
|Body Tube Length||67.5|
|Ride Height (sticking out of pocket)||2.6|
|Pocket Clip Space (for pants material)||~2.5|
|Pocket Clip Space (at mouth)||~2.3|
|Pocket Clip Width||9.2 (tapers down)|
|Pocket Clip Thickness||1.1|
Weight without battery: 121g
Weight with Samsung 30Q battery: 167g
This is an enthusiast light, so it’s fitting that it has the best enthusiast UI: Anduril 2. It’s a highly-configurable and feature-rich UI that’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s a joy to use if you know it well. I’m not remotely prepared to do a whole UI breakdown, so I’ll just direct you to the official Anduril 2 Manual which has a UI table at the bottom. With that said, here are a few of my favorite features. Most of these are highly configurable or optional, so if you don’t like one, you can probably disable or change it!
- Momentary Turbo
- Adjustable Thermal Ceiling
- Adjustable Stepped Modes
- Manual Mode Memory
- Shortcuts to & from Moonlight, Turbo, and high.
- Battery voltage readout
- Sunset timer (dims to off)
Note: My sample came with firmware version 2021-11-12-0273, which is for Noctigon DM11-12V. Some variants may come with Anduril 1, so be sure and request that Anduril 2 be flashed before shipping if it matters to you.
Modes, Brightness, Throw, & Tint
Disclaimer: Lumen measurements were taken on a Texas Ace 3.5″ Lumen Tube. A candela measurement was taken at 10 meters with an Opple Light Master III on the highest brightness, and other candela figures were calculated relative to that. CCT & DUV data was taken for each mode from a few feet away at the center of the hotspot with the Opple Light Master and Waveform DUV Calculator. Runtime tests were performed with the Ceilingbounce app on my smartphone. All of these tests were performed with a fully charged Molicel P26A battery unless otherwise specified. I cannot measure moonlight directly, so moonlight readings are calculated based on the brightness relative to the next-lowest mode. None of this is professional equipment, so take all of these measurements with a grain of salt.
These measurements were taken after I swapped in a 4500K LED from Convoy. Take the CCT & DUV readings with that in mind, as Hank may be using a different bin of 4500K.
|Level||Lumens (@ Turn-On)||Candela (@ Turn-On)||Throw (meters)||CCT||DUV|
Why those modes? Anduril 2 has 150 levels, so doing measurements and tests for each mode is virtually impossible. I’ve got this light set up how I like it with 5 levels. Bottom of ramp is level 1 and top of ramp is level 120. I’ve set up the stepped ramp with 4 steps so, with turbo added, I get the 5 modes I like.
Mode Spacing / Ramp Speed: Mode spacing is good. There are no oddly large or small jumps. Ramp speed is good, being consistent throughout. Anduril 2 also will allow you to adjust the ramp speed should you so desire.
How does it compare to the official specs? There are no official specs for this configuration.
Note: Before doing any testing I calibrated the thermal sensor. All tests were run with the thermal ceiling at the default 45C.
Performance: Turbo lasts for a solid minute before beginning stepdown, and the stepdown is very slow. This is a big change from most of Hank’s lights where their output plummets shortly after turn-on, sometimes even before the 30 second mark. Sustained output is right around 500 lumens.
LVP: Is present and works great. Anduril has the best LVP implimentation I’ve seen. When the cell reaches 3 volts (approximately), the light will dramatically reduce its brightness to serve as a low voltage warning and to extend battery life, then will shut off when the cell reaches 2.7v.
Driver & Regulation
This particular LED selection requires a 12V boost driver. This is a relatively new offering in KR1, and it’s a welcome one. Boost drivers tend to be significantly more efficient and better regulated than the Linear or FET drivers that Hank typically uses.
Regulation is excellent, with only the highest modes being affected by cell voltage once it gets really low.
Note: All regulation measurements are taken at turn-on so they do not reflect any thermal or low voltage stepdowns that may occur. A value of 0 indicates low voltage shutoff immediately upon activation.
Thermal regulation: Is present and works very well. Anduril has the best thermal regulation I’m aware of. Best of all, you can customize the thermal limit on your light. If you’re just ceilingbouncing or always wearing gloves, you can increase the thermal limit to 70C for higher sustained output. If you want to make sure the light never gets too warm, you can leave it at the stock 45C or even lower it down a bit.
PWM: No PWM is visible to my eye. I did some testing on each mode with an Opple Light Master III and found some flickering (but not PWM) on the lowest mode and some sawtooth on Low (level 40). The other modes were flicker-free.
Parasitic Drain: I could not get a reading I was happy with. Hank’s boost drivers don’t seem to like being connected to a DMM.
Emitter & Beam
There’s some foam pads inside the head for some reason, perhaps to help support the reflector? I know Hank started doing this for the SBT90 variant because there’s no centering gasket, but the FC40 version does come with a gasket, so I don’t understand the purpose of the pads.
KR1 is available with a huge variety of emitters. I chose Getian FC40 3000K, but I didn’t like the tint very much so I quickly swapped in a 4500K. Hank lists FC40’s in four CCT’s: 2000K, 3000K, 4000K, and 5000K, but Getian’s binning is not that narrow. My emitter that measures 4500-4600K is actually the “4000K” bin that Hank carries, and of all the “4000K” FC40’s I’ve had, they’ve all landed about 4500K. All of the available color temperature are high CRI as well, with a rating of R9050 which is quite good.
You can tell based on the candela/lumen ratio of 5.6 that this is not a thrower. In fact, it’s quite floody! The spill width & brightness are similar to KR1 SFT40, but the hotspot is much wider. There’s are hints of tint-shift in the corona and at the edge of the spill, but it’s only noticeable when you’re looking for it on a white wall. Overall this is a fabulous general purpose or EDC beam. It’s not so floody that it lacks throw, but it’s wide enough even for close up illumination. The tint is quite nice as well. There’s a very slight dark spot in the center of the hotspot from a few feet away, but just like the tint shift, it’s only detectable if you’re looking for it specifically in a highly uniform surface.
In the beamshots above, the trees where I’m aiming the hotspot are 175M away. In the beamshots below, the park bench where I’m aiming the hotspot is 42M away.
KR1 is somewhat unique in that it uses an electronic tailswich. The vast majority of tailswitches are mechanical (they connect & disconnect power completely). An electronic switch just sends signals to the controller, and the controller stays powered all the time. This allows for more complex actions like holds and multiple clicks in a series.
To accomplish this, KR1 uses a dual-tube body design. The outer tube provides structure for the light and power to the controller, while the inner tube carries electrical signals when the user presses the switch. Below you can see a KR1 fully disassembled, with the inner-tube removed and sitting to the right of the main tube. The inner-tube is captured and sprung, which makes Noctigon KR series lights more reliable than similar options in the Lumintop FW line.
For an e-switch, it’s remarkably quiet. This is the only e-switch in my collection that I can actuate silently if I press it right. It’s not the best feeling switch though. It can feel a little rattly and it can wobble from side to side while you’re pressing it down. Reddit user u/-Cheule- made a great video that explains how to disassemble and modify the tailswitch to make it feel a lot nicer. I did this mod to mine, and it improved it a fair bit.
One minor downside to this switch setup is that mechanical lockout doesn’t work. When you press the switch with the tail unscrewed a little, the switch itself makes electrical contact and the light can activate. But, the light thinks you’re trying to do a factory reset, so if the switch gets held down while mechanically “locked out” your light can reset. That’s only happened to me twice during my year and a half of owning KR1’s, so it’s not a huge deal, but it’s something to be aware of. Use electronic lockout or remove the battery on these KR series lights.
A more significant downside is that it’s a bit accidental-activation prone. That’s still only happened to me a handful of times since owning KR1’s, but it’s worth noting. My D4V2’s with raised retaining rings have never come on in my pocket by accident. I don’t carry anything locked out because I find it cumbersome, but that’s definitely an option. Anduril has the least-cumbersome lockout mode I’ve seen because you can still use the light even when it’s locked out. You just can’t access high modes (unless you fiddle with some settings) and the light will only stay on as long as you’re holding the switch.
Carry & Ergonomics
KR1 is an ergonomic masterpiece. It is by far the most ergonomic tailswitch light I’ve ever used. In a reverse grip especially, it just feels right. A cigar grip works remarkably well too, thanks to the curves in the body tube. I cannot stress enough how perfect KR1 feels in-hand.
KR1 carries differently depending on the clip. By default, it comes with an extremely roomy clip (which happens to also fit Convoy S12 in the right of the photo below). If you have SUPER thick pants pockets, this clip might be worth considering. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and request the Noctigon KR4 Deep Carry Clip (shown installed on my KR1 throughout the review, and in the left of the photo below) when you place your order. It is worlds better for typical daily carry.
A basic lanyard is included in the box, as well as a lanyard attachment ring. This ring replaces the pocket clip, since there’s no lanyard hole built into the body of the light.
Batteries & Charging
KR1 accepts unprotected flat top 18650 batteries. Just make sure the cell you use can provide enough current for your driver. A 10A discharge rated cell will be plenty for everything except the SBT90.2 option. Here’s a list of compatible, high capacity, 10A discharge rated, unprotected, flat top cells with pricing and purchase links. I used a Molicel P26A for all my testing of this GT-FC40 version.
No charging solution is included with KR1. It can’t fit USB-rechargeable cells either, so you’ll have to have a separate charger.
Here are some lights in the same class and how they compare.
Acebeam E70 CRI: More expensive, longer & narrower, different (worse) UI, 21700 battery instead of 18650
Convoy M21B FC40: Less expensive, longer, different UI, mechanical tailswitch, 21700 battery instead of 18650
This section is not comprehensive. If I didn’t include a particular light here, it doesn’t mean it’s bad or doesn’t deserve to be here. I simply cannot list every possible competitor.
This is a fabulous EDC light. I’ve always considered KR1 to be a pocketable size light that I’ll carry when I need a thrower specifically, but not for general EDC. This FC40 version changed my mind. The ergonomics, clip, UI, and beam are all so nice that I haven’t been able to keep it out of my pocket since I bought it.