Cloud Defensive REIN 3.0: Third Step In Lineage

Initially released in late 2022, the REIN 3.0 weapon light by Cloud Defensive continues to advance the initial design of the REIN by leveraging past knowledge and experience in producing some of the market’s leading weapon lights available.

The REIN (aka the Rail-Mounted Environmental IllumiNator) 3.0 has two designs; a full-sized body (featured in this review) and a “micro” variant with a smaller length body. Much like the previous versions, the REIN 3.0 is made (mostly) from certified 6061-T6 aluminum and has an overall length of 6.17”, with the largest diameter being 1.3” at the bezel/head. And while the REIN 2.0 can be run independently via its push-button tail switch, the 2.75” polymer remote switch is like the REIN 2.0 and can be mounted to any picatinny rail. The switch has a profile of just 0.5” off the top of the rail itself, with a slight reduction in bulk along the side plates for a more ergonomic fit.

The REIN 3.0 consists of three parts; the head, body and tailcap—with each component being fully backwards compatible to the previous REIN. Each is machined to precise specifications, and then anodized to meet ANSI/PLATO FL-1 impact resistance standards with a tan satin exterior (although other finishes are available). All segments are sealed via silicone rings to ensure against water and dust penetration. As such the REIN 3.0 (switch included) has been certified in IPX8 immersion testing for use while under 100’ of water for up to 24 hours.

At the head, the REIN 3.0 High Candela (HC) light element produces an emission of 100,000 candela/1,250 lumens (as opposed to the REIN 2.0 at 71,000 candela/1,100 lumens) of white-toned light. The head of the 3.0 is backwards compatible to previous REIN versions, however, per the FAQ page, the tailcap/spring of the original REIN is not forward compatible to the 2.0 or 3.0 and must never be attempted. The ability of the 3.0 to project its useable light forward is due to the combination of the upgraded electroformed reflector, power supply, and brighter LED emission. It is important to note that lumens are a measure of the potential light during performance. However, without an efficient focal point to concentrate the beam, lumens quickly disperse over an ever-widening range. In contrast, candela is the measure of light that is focused sufficiently to reach the target at a specific distance. While the REIN 3.0 does have an impressive 1,250 lumens (a common industry metric of measure), its crushing 100,000 candela is greater than any previous Cloud Defensive weapon light and allows for greater penetration of useable light through photonic barriers (such as smoke, dust, or opposing light sources). This allows end-users to recognize targets at a greater range.

The light element of the 3.0 includes a similar streamlined bezel as the 2.0, and is made from the same 6061-T6 aluminum as the body. The bezel of the head secures a military-grade 3mm thick glass that while robust, is the principle sacrificial element to the Rein 3.0. The glass is described by Cloud Defensive as low-iron glass, with 98% light transmission that was 40% thicker than other market competitors.

The body of the REIN 3.0 is made from a single piece milled aluminum. It includes the standard Surefire Scout mounting pattern for cross-compatibility with any number of aftermarket mounting accessories. The 3.0 does include a standard picatinny rail mount, that attaches via screw into the body’s mounting points. In addition, the interior of the body includes a patented adjustable battery jack that allows for adjustment/minimization between the space of the included full-sized 18650 rechargeable battery and the tailcap, so there is less risk of movement or contact separation. The full-sized 18650 power cell itself will provide for 65 minutes of continual runtime on a single charge. The REIN 3.0 is also capable of running on two CR123 batteries, although users can expect diminished output doing so.

The REIN 3.0 employs the same unique tailcap design as its predecessor which includes; the segmented four-way slotted base, the push button/remote switch module (which includes a fixed cable to the rail-mounted switch), and the retaining ring. This design allows for the ON/OFF push button to be independently operated from the rail-mounted remote switch. It also allows for  redundancy if one were to go down. Additionally, the user can remove the switch module and adjust the cable output to any of the four slot positions from the 2.0 body that best suits not only the user’s needs, but weapon configuration as well.

Affixed to the switch module, the rail-mounted push button/remote switch includes several features. Primarily, the remote switch has a momentary ON/OFF pressure switch, as well as a separate continual ON/OFF switch with an audible/tactile feel. The 3.0 switch also includes a slightly raised ridgeline around two-thirds of each button to prevent inadvertent actioning of the light. The removable sides of the switch module are similar to the 2.0, and channeled to allow for the cable to be run along either sides, as well as a midway “early out” port that allow the user to maximize cable management.

The REIN 3.0 is available in Tan (featured), Black, Clear Anodized, Flat Dark Earth, and OD Green. It also includes a charging unit for the 18650 battery that comes with a UBS power cable.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): With its list price of $399.99, the REIN 3.0 represents the leading efforts by Cloud Defensive to provide a 1,250 lumen product to the weapon light industry, and a continued advancement in the original REIN design. It incorporates many of the design features and functions that are long held as the “gold standard” for such accessories and is backwards compatible to previous versions. The materials and tail switch technology, combined with the included fully-potted rail switch (that many other companies sell separate), translate to the REIN 3.0 being at a good price point within the market. In comparison:
    • The original REIN (no longer offered by Cloud Defensive): $279.99 w/included rail switch @1,400 lumen
    • The REIN 2.0 (being phased out by Cloud Defensive): $379.99 w/included rail switch @1,100 lumen
    • The Surefire 600U Scout Light, w/SR07 rail switch (sold separately): $481 @1,000 lumen
    • The Modlite PLHv2-18650, w/Surefire Tailcap (sold separately), and Modlite rail switch (also sold separately): $443 @1,350 lumen
    • The Streamlight Protac Rail Mount HL-X Long Gun Light: $129.99 w/included rail switch @1,000 lumen
  • Comfort Good (4/5): The 3.0 threw a white-toned 1,250 lumens that was notably brighter than the 2.0, but not as “warm” in tone as the original REIN. The 3.0’s emissivity did flood a small residential room, with the increased light output having little/nowhere to go aside from wall-to-wall. Hallways were an improvement in giving the workable light a direction to go away from the end-user, thus was not blinding in the enclosed environment. The 3.0 excelled more in open environments whereby the light could punch through the distance and any barriers clearly. In contrast to the REIN, the 3.0 did throw a brighter, whiter light that some end users may find preferable over the warmer tone. However, the result between the REIN, and the 2.0 and 3.0 was the latter two had a somewhat greater intensity on the eyes in dark environments, but all three still illuminated the space or target(s) at a greater distance—with the 3.0 providing the most useable light at the furthest distance. The rail-mount switch also had a comfortable tactile delineation between the buttons for the momentary ON/OFF pad, and the continual ON/OFF pad that was easily recognized without looking. Users should note installation of the 3.0 rail-mount switch was a little difficult because the cable linking the rail switch to the tail switch is thicker and somewhat stiffer than other brands, but by utilizing the early out or full cable channel—a comfortable medium was found. The tail switch of the 3.0 is like the original REIN design in that it combined the momentary ON/OFF halfway down, and then the continual ON/OFF audible/tangible click at the bottom that was easily manipulated in conjunction with, or as a backup to, the rail-mount switch. However, the use of the Cloud Defensive’s picatinny rail mount put the weapon light exclusively at a direct 3 or 9 o’clock position which could prove a reach for some users to operate the tailcap switch individually. Aftermarket rail mounts (that adhere to the Surefire Light pattern) are available (and were utilized for the field portion of evaluation) that can place the REIN 3.0 in a more comfortable position closer to the rail, but are sold separately. Cloud Defensive also offers a Torrent rail mount (also sold separately). One minor aspect from a comfort view was that the 3.0 was like other REINs, in that it necessitated multiple different tools to fully attach (the switch, body, and rail mount all have different bolts), none of which were included with the product. This made in-field adjustment or attach/removal a minor (but notable) inconvenience.
  • Durability – Average (3/5): From a durability aspect, the REIN 3.0 was made from the same 6061-T6 aluminum as the original REIN. And with Cloud Defensive’s lifetime warrantee, the 3.0 had an overall appropriate (or average) level of strength to resist impact and abrasion (also reflected in its ANSI/PLATO FL-1 shock testing and IPX8 waterproofing). Cloud Defensive owner Sean McCauley stated they selected the type of material for the REIN 3.0 over 7075 aluminum saying “Due to poor thermal transfer qualities inherent in the denser metals (such as 7075 aluminum); the more dense materials, the more brittle it becomes“. Thus the 6061 aluminum was the more suitable material, and one also found in other market alternatives. The weakest point of the REIN 3.0 design itself was the 3mm-thick sacrificial emitter lens; that should it become damaged, can’t be replaced without replacing the complete front light element (unlike the OWL whereby the end-user could replace the lens if it became damaged). The REIN 3.0 unit was dropped from a height of approximately 6’ onto raw concrete six times. The objective was to evaluate the 3.0 against impacts it may encounter in the field (such as to the bezel, the tailcap, and the rail switch). When dropped, the bezel of the REIN 3.0’s light head (being the larger center of mass) took three of the of the six impacts against the concrete, yet yielded only minimal surface marring—none of which penetrated the lower layers of the metal. The only notable impact to the 3.0 was, when dropped directly on the tailswitch in one instance, the battery jack shifted inside the 3.0s body and resulted in a loss of connection. After identifying the fault, the battery jack was tightened and full functionality was attained. Despite efforts to recreate this effect, the jack did not shift further during other impacts. Cloud Defensive maintains that once properly seated, the battery jack should not shift further. Additionally, it was mounted and fired next to a Surefire Warcomp with and without the Warden to evaluate how the WML took the concussion and recoil. Aside from carbon marring to the FDE exterior closest to the bare brake (a process that would most likely build over time), no other detrimental effects were noted. The switch module itself was made from a proprietary, fully potted  glass-filled nylon and epoxy blend that made the overall switch body resistant to impact. It should be noted that the rail switch design itself between the original REIN and the 2.0/3.0 was modified (with slightly slimmer side segments). Research showed this design change (combined with improper mounting by the end-user) occasionally resulted in some individuals damaging the sides of the switch mount by overtightening (the recommend spec torque is 8lb.), or using improper tools that resulted in the rail switch hardware (specifically the nut) to dig into the polymer sides and become warped (or “bowed”)—thus allowing the switch to easily pop off the rail. Increasing the thickness of the sides, or providing aluminum side bars would allative the issues for those who may want that added level of security and would be a suggested point of improvement to Cloud Defensive for future designs.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): Functionally, the REIN 3.0 offered an improvement in terms of emissivity over its predecessor, based on changes to the LED emitter and the increase in lumen output. This design change, while higher in lumen and candela over the original REIN or its 2.0 predecessor, allowed the light wavelength to penetrate ambient photonic barriers (lights at/between/behind the target) and interference (smoke/fog/debris) to a greater distance and better effect. However, this increase did come at a cost of greater consumption to the power supply, with a fully charged 18650 battery in the REIN 3.0  lasting approximately 60 minutes, as opposed to the REIN 2.0’s 130 minutes using the same 18650. The backwards compatibility of the REIN 3.0 (sans light head) was an option of benefit should end-user have an older version and need to swap parts (such as the tail switch if moving the 3.0 light head to the 2.0 body) in the event one suffers from some type of damage or failure. The dual-use of power supply for CR123 batteries did offer some alternative use should a charger not be available and the 18650 die, however significant decrease in light output was noted with reduction in brightness and distance of usable light observed. Other aspects of the 3.0 were similar to other market options, such as in-line mounting with a rear-facing pressure switch, and the rail-mounted control switch. The streamline emitter head of the 3.0 was like that of the REIN 2.0, and kept a reduced profile to avoid unnecessary bulk. A notable aspect to the 3.0 was that the central illumination point was brighter and as condensed than the 2.0, but the radius of diffused light around it had a definitive boundary/hard line. The light emission itself didn’t simply spill outward in all directions (as opposed to the performance of a Surefire that flood the area). This translated to all the available light being directional, only illuminating the desired subject area while still pushing through any opposing light barriers, while anything on the periphery wasn’t (this was borne out in the window tint, headlight, and high-beam tests). Meanwhile, from a completely dead battery, the 18650 battery took approximately six hours to fully charge. The ability to adjust the cable output, both on the tail cap and on the rail switch, translated to a very clean and adjustable cable management with no excess, and no need for handguard bands. This brought up perhaps the only limitation of the REIN 3.0—the rail switch itself. The rail switch was ideal for full-length rails, but on shorter rifles, SBRs, or AR pistol-length rails the sheer size of the rail switch (and associated housing) took up a large amount of real estate. This became more problematic if/when using a laser/IR device (none of which the REIN 3.0 is compatible with) on such shorter length rifles. End-users will need to consider this when thinking about their setups as Cloud does not offer any alternatives to their switch design. One suggestion for Cloud Defensive to consider would be the development of a dual-lead switch for integration of more common light and laser/IR function, or to offer an optional tail button for the REIN that would only be for the tail switch itself, and eliminate the cable-attached rail switch so users could then mount the necessary micro switches for their laser/IR device. Some users prefer that style, and the current design of the REIN 3.0 necessitates the use of the rail switch. By offering that alternative it would allow for users to further match their chosen WML to their needs and preferences. It should be noted that the retention ring for the rear switch module of the REIN 3.0 did not share the same threading pitch as the original REIN, and thus was another element of the 3.0 that was not cross-compatible to that specific pre-existing version. Per the Cloud FAQ page, the switch module of the 3.0 (specifically the spring) was another element of the 3.0 that was not downward compatible due to the increased demand of the emitter on the battery (Cloud does have stated solutions listed on its FAQ page to get around this issue).
  • Weight Good (4/5): Weighing in at 6.91 ounces (to include 18650 battery and rail switch) the REIN 3.0 was not that dissimilar to its predecessor the REIN 2.0 (7.25 ounces) in design nor materials. And while the 3.0 does provide 1,250 lumens at start, the 2.0 provided slightly less at 1,100 lumens. The major difference being battery longevity (covered above) using the same power source. In the case of the REIN 3.0 its weight was negligibly noticeable, but neither distracting nor pulled on the front end of the rifle during recoil impulse. Movement in transitioning the rifle between targets was also not unbalancing. In contrast, the original REIN (8.54 ounces providing 1400 lumens) was the only alternative weapon light that weighted more than the REIN 3.0. The Surefire 600U Scout Light (4.8 ounces), the Modlite PLHv2-18650 (5.03 ounces), and the Streamlight Protac Rail Mount HL-X Long Gun Light (6.09 ounces) weighed in less than the REIN 3.0.  Yet the Surefire and Modlite alternatives did not come with an included rail mount, and showed that while the REIN does offer greater light output, it does so at a slightly heavier weight.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

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I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via High Ground Media, LLC, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

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