Cloud Defensive established itself, first with its tape switch controls and then with its Optimized Weapon Light. But in 2020 it released the REIN weapon light that builds upon the lessons and knowledge gained in producing some of the most durable lights on the market.
The REIN (aka the Rail-Mounted Environmental IllumiNator) has two designs; a standard body (featured in this review) and a “micro” variant with a smaller tube. The standard-sized REIN is made mostly from certified 6061-T6 aluminum and has an overall length of 6.172”, with the largest diameter of 1.40” at the head. And while the REIN can be run independently via its push-button tail switch, the 2.75” polymer remote switch can be mounted to any picatinny rail and has a profile of just 0.5” off the top of the rail itself.
The REIN itself consists of three parts; the head, body and tailcap. Each part is machined to precise specifications, and then anodized to meet ANSI/PLATO FL-1 impact resistance standards with a black satin exterior. All segments are sealed with a silicone ring to ensure against water and dust penetration. As such the REIN has been certified in IPX8 immersion testing for use while under 100’ of water for up to 24 hours.
The head includes the REIN light element, which produces an emission of 60,000 candela (or 1,400 lumens) of warm-toned light. This is due to the combination of the electroformed reflector, power supply, and warmer LED emission that allows the REIN to project light further. 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. Therefor while the REIN does have an impressive 1,400 lumens (a common industry metric of measure) its crushing 60,000 candela is greater than the OWL and for surpasses most industry weapon lights. This allows end-users to recognize targets at a greater range. The head also includes a bezel made from S7 Tool Steel for maximum strength and impact resistance. This bezel secures a 3mm thick glass that while robust, is the leading sacrificial element to the light that can be easily replaced without necessitating factory-level service. The glass is described by Cloud Defensive as low-iron glass, with 98% light transmission that was 40% thicker than other market competitors.
In the mid-section of the REIN, the body 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 REIN 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 to allow for adjustment between the space of the included 18650 rechargeable battery, and the tailcap connection so there is less risk of movement or separation. The 18650 power cell itself will provide for 120 minutes of continual runtime on a single charge.
But where the REIN really emerges as unique is in its tailcap design, something that Cloud Defensive put a lot of thought into in terms of control and cable management. The tailcap is a segmented design that includes a four-way slotted base, the push button/remote switch module (which includes cable to the rail-mounted switch), and the retaining ring. This design allows for not only the full-range ON/OFF push button to be independently operated from the rail-mounted remote switch, but institutes redundancy that if one were to go down, the other could still continue to be used to function the REIN. Additionally, the user can remove the switch module and adjust the cable output to any of the four slot positions from the REIN body that best suits not only the user’s needs, but weapon configuration as well.
As part of the switch module, the rail-mounted push button/remote switch includes a number of features in its own right. 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 removable sides are 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 is currently only available in Black (featured), with plans for an FDE colored variant in 2021. It also includes a charging unit for the 18650 battery that comes with a UBS power cable.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Good (4/5): With a sticker price of $279.99 the REIN represents the current efforts of Cloud Defensive to offer a direct competitor to weapon light industry leaders. It incorporates many of the design features and functions that are long held as the “gold standard” for such accessories. The materials and new switch technology, combined with the included rail switch, translate to the REIN being at a very good price point within the market. In comparison, its predecessor the OWL ($369.99), the Surefire Scout Light Pro Duel Fuel ($319 w/o rail switch), the Modlight PLHv2-18650 ($279.00 w/o rail switch), and the Streamlight Protac Rail Mount HL-X Long Gun Light ($129.99 w/rail switch) all illustrate the REINs price point, with its inclusive rail mount and lumen output, are well placed.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): The REIN threw a warm-toned 1,400 lumens that, unlike the glaring “white” light from other weapon lights, the REIN’s emissivity didn’t flood a room, hallway, nor blind the user going back to them in an enclosed environment. The result was a lower intensity on the eyes, but still illuminated the space or target(s) at a greater 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 could be easily recognized without looking. Users should note installation of the rail-mount switch was a bit tricky because the improved cable between it and the main body is thicker and stiffer, but by utilizing the early out or full cable channel—a comfortable medium was found. The tailcap switch of the REIN 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 REIN’s picatinny rail mount placed the weapon light exclusively at a direct 3 or 9 o’clock position off the rail which could prove a reach for some users to operate the tailcap switch. Aftermarket options are available that can place the REIN in a more comfortable position, but not included. One suggestion to Cloud Defensive would be to consider adding different light modules of the REIN at various lumen outputs that would allow the end user to customize their weapon light based on individual needs for output and comfort.
- Durability – Excellent (5/5): From a durability aspect, the REIN appeared to have been made from the same T6 aluminum as the OWL. And with Cloud Defensive’s lifetime warrantee, the REIN had an overall excellent level of strength to resist impact and abrasion (also reflected in its ANSI/PLATO FL-1 shock testing and IPX8 waterproofing). Honestly this was a lot more than what most civilians will ever put their WMLs through, but it is good that Cloud Defensive builds that level of durability into its product. Perhaps the weakest point of the actual REIN itself was the 3mm-thick sacrificial emitter lens that can be easily replaced (something we’ve previously broken on the OWL). We struck the REIN unit repeatedly with a 2”x4” piece of lumber to the main housing and bezel, tail cap switch, and front light emitter. The result was superficial markings. Then we performed five drop tests from approximately 6’ above raw concrete. The goal was to evaluate the REIN against impacts it may encounter in the field. That said, the hardened steel bezel of the REIN’s light head was what took a majority of the drop-impact against objects, with only very minimal surface marring that never penetrated the lower layers of metal. And unlike the OWL we evaluated, the 3mm lens did not crack suggesting that with less mass the REIN mitigated the impact better than the OWL. We also left the REIN out, buried in the snow and in the ON position for over an hour, but the unit was still going strong afterwards. Some concerns were raised over the rail switch durability itself, but Cloud Defensive responded, saying “The polymer the REIN switch is made out of is a proprietary glass-filled nylon blend that we had made. It is impervious to the elements, incredibly light-weight, and is remarkable when it comes to surviving impact. Also, the switch itself is fully potted—that is to say if you cut it in half, it looks like a rock. We use a special high strength epoxy compound and basically fill the switch housing up so it becomes completely solid and impervious to shock”. Cloud Defensive further stated that much like the REIN itself, the rail switch is covered by a lifetime warrantee if there was ever a problem.
- Functionality – Good (4/5): Functionally, the REIN offered a variation of weapon light that is unlike its predecessor the OWL. The light was more consistent with traditional designs that consumers may be more familiar with to include; in-line mounting with a rear-facing pressure switch, and the rail-mounted control switch. The performance of the REIN’s light emitter and lumen output allowed its beam to penetrate through various photonic barriers (lights at/between/behind the target) and ambient interference (smoke/fog/debris) with ease. Without getting into the scientific elements, the warmer tone of light simply allowed more usable light to stretch the distance (think wavelength of light) and illuminate the target’s surface. One notable element was that the REIN had a solid central illumination point, but the radius of diffused light around it had a definitive, controled boundary/hard line and didn’t simply spill outward (as opposed to the performance of a Surefire that floods an area). While this meant that all the available light was directional and would only illuminate what you wanted, it also meant that anything on the periphery wouldn’t—so something for end users to consider. 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.
- Weight – Good (4/5): Overall, the complete REIN kit (Light, battery, mount, and rail switch) weighed in at 8.54 ounces (while providing 1400 lumens). Whereas each element; light w/battery and picatinny mount (7.76 ounces), the light w/battery (6.91 ounces), or light w/o battery (5.29 ounces) illustrated just how varied the overall unit weight was. In the case of the REIN, its weight was neither noticeable, distracting, nor pulled on the front end of the rifle during recoil impulse. In contrast, the OWL (9.9 ounces for 1250 lumens) was the only alternative weapon light that weighted more than the REIN. The Surefire Scout Light Pro Dual Fuel (5.5 ounces for 1200 lumens), the Modlight PLHv2-18650 (5.4 ounces for 1350 lumens), and the Streamlight Protac Rail Mount HL-X Long Gun Light (5 ounces for 1000 lumens) weighed in less than the REIN showing that while the REIN does offer superior light output, it does so at a slighter weight.
Overall Rating – Good (21/25)
Product Link: https://www.clouddefensive.com/rein-weapon-light/
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, 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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