Released in 2022, the Sidewinder Stalk is the latest in hands-free illumination in the Sidewinder line of products from Streamlight. The Stalk is a variable helmet mount illumination device that provides adequate light for the tactical environment without becoming a hinderance.
Made from a high-impact nylon polymer housing, the 5.51” (L) x 1.81” (H) x 0.86” (W) Stalk features an LED light head on an extended, flexible stalk that allows the end user to adjust the beam location to best suit their needs. Rubberized gaskets at all openings give the Stalk an IP67 water and dust resistant rating.
The main housing for the Stalk allows the end-user to select through multiple modes as the mission allows. The ON/OFF activation button is rubberized to protect against moisture penetration. At the Selector Wheel located on the top of the Stalk, the disc rotates to cycle through:
- W: White Light – Three intensities (LOW/MED/HI) selected by using the activation button to press-hold, while the LED emitter cycles between the three different lumen outputs. Release to select the desired output level. Depending on power source, the HIGH lumen output varies between 57 lumens (AA battery) and 76 lumens (CR123a battery).
- IR: Infrared emitter
- C: Color – Three colored LED emitter (Red/Green/Blue) selected by pressing the activation button five times, and holding on the fifth. This will cycle the colored LED light and release when the desired color is chosen.
- Off: Off
Behind the Selector Wheel is a three-position Identify Friend-or-Foe (IFF) throw switch that activates the strobe emitter located in the center of the Selector Wheel. The throw switch includes a lock-out bar that keeps the switch in the center OFF position unless removed.
At the rear of the Stalk is the battery cap that grants access to the power unit after removing its own lock-out bar. The Stalk is multiple power device, and can utilize either a AA lithium battery (giving a 23m beam on HIGH for 6 continual hours), a AA alkaline battery (giving a 23m beam on HIGH for 3.8 hours of continual runtime), or a CR123a battery (giving a 28m beam on HIGH for 5.6 continual hours).
The Stalk also includes multiple mounting platforms that allow the main unit to be used in a variety of configurations. While the Stalk is principally designed for Ops-Core’s Arc-Rail system; users can opt for an E-Mount Kit that enables the Stalk to mount to MICH style helmets, a hook-and-loop panel (with Arc-Rail segment) for direct mounting to any associated helmet panel. A Rail Mount (for STD 1913 picatinny rails) is also available for Team Wendy rails, as well as two variants to mount the Stalk to night vision helmet mounts.
The Sidewinder Stalk is available only in tan (featured).
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Good (4/5): With its list MSRP of $128, the Sidewinder Stalk brings together a multi-function helmet light in a durable unit body. Multiple mounting solutions ensure that the Stalk can be utilized regardless of equipment. In comparison, the closest market alternatives that are similar to the Stalk include the Princeton Tec Charge ($109.99), and the Surefire Helmet Light ($171.00)—however neither of those options include an integrated IR/IFF strobe feature. As such, the price of the Stalk is good in contrast to the market and the added features provided that are not included elsewhere currently on the market.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect, the multi-function and variable lumen output of the Stalk ensured the helmet light provided a good level of overall comfort to the end-user. With the LED element having an output between 57 and 76 the white light was neither blinding nor overwhelming, and allowed the end-user to select the appropriate setting based on mission needs. Likewise, the color settings had an output between 8 (for blue) and 20 (for green) lumens, so lower powered output settings made tactical low-light settings easier to maintain discipline. Elsewhere, it was noted both the Selector Wheel and activation button both gave a good audible and tangible click when manipulated that helped convey operation without directly being in the visual line of sight. The only negative aspect from a comfort perspective relates to the overall bulk of Stalk when using any other mount excluding the Arc Rail mount. While the Stalk was clearly designed with the Ops Core rail in mind, giving it a tight and flush mount against the Arc Rail, the E-Mount and Rail Mount gave the Stalk a much more pronounced profile off of the side of helmet. Perhaps a suggestion to Streamlight that could close that disparity would be to offer a variant of the Stalk with an integrated 1913 rail mount designed into the main housing body so it could direct-mount to other helmet rail designs.
- Durability – Average (3/5):As a helmet-mounted light, the Stalk encountered frequent contact with various surfaces regardless if worn on MOLLE or the helmet, especially in more dynamic environments such as indoors or field brush. That said, the polymer housing mitigated all of those impacts very well, and the lens to the LED emitter did not become compromised in any way. Drop testing was performed (by dropping the Stalk at shoulder height 10 times onto finished concrete), and despite some superficial marring consistent with nylon polymers, neither the body nor controls became damaged. It should be noted at one point the Stalk took a strike directly on the battery cap and the LED emitter stopped functioning – but after changing over from a CR123a to AA power source, the Stalk resumed functioning. Additionally, changing back to a CR123a the Stalk also continued to work. This may have been the result of a minor separation between the connectors when dropped, but by switching power sources that connection was reestablished. The various mounting styles also held up well and maintained a solid/secure lock to the Stalk despite the various impacts to the light.
- Functionality – Good (4/5): Functionally, the Stalk demonstrated good performance to project sufficient lumens at variable outputs so that the end-user could read maps, manipulate controls, or otherwise function in any dark environmentally. The LED stalk and Selector Wheel were easy to manipulate while mounted to the helmet, and the latter smoothly selected the desired light setting. The programming between intensity and color necessitated those settings be pre-selected before use, as performing those program selection actions was a little challenging while the Stalk was mounted. The IR strobe lock-out bar and battery cap lockout-bar both ensured positive control and prevented accidental usage or opening. Perhaps the only aspect of the Stalk’s functionality recommended for improvement would be the restrictive unit design for Arc Rail only (as previously discussed) with the alternative mounting points proving to give the Stalk a rather pronounced profile off the helment.
- Weight – Average (3/5): The Stalk emitter housing and light weighed in at 2.6 ounces, yet the final overall weight was determined by the mounting method selected. Each of the alternative mounts (E-Mount, Rail Mount, Hook-and-Loop) had a miniscule mass in comparison, and added an average of just 0.2 ounces. Regardless of power source opted for, the combined functions packed a lot of functionality into a very lightweight package. None of this added to, nor resulted in the Stalk becoming off-balancing when mounted to one side of the helmet or the other. In contrast, the Princeton Tec Charge (1.67 ounces), and the Surefire Helmet Light (3.10 ounces) illustrate that the Sidewinder Stalk is appropriate (or average) in terms of weight within the market and with its design.
Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)
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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