Released in early 2018, the SPARK Marker Light from Unity Tactical offers the end-user a simple and effective marking beacon to identify friendly positions, equipment, or objectives.
With a flexible, translucent outer silicone shell—the roughly 1.65” square SPARK is a small personal identification marker that utilizes a simple 1-button, 3-function program to cycle through a continual LOW, HIGH, and Intermittent (Blink).
The base of the SPARK comes layered in hook-and-loop for ease of attachment to corresponding panels on equipment, helmets, or other equipment. Included with the SPARK is an adhesive backing of hook-and-loop (male) that allows the end-user to still attach the SPARK to a surface if no hook-and-loop material is available.
Powering the SPARK is a non-replaceable/non-rechargeable battery that provides 200+ hours of continual run-time (on LOW) to the enclosed LED emitter.
The SPARK is available in Green (featured), Red, Blue, White, and Infrared.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Excellent (5/5): With its list price of $18, the SPARK is an inexpensive PID marker in a market otherwise dominated by robust and professional devices easily costing over $100. The SPARK’s inexpensive materials, and practical approach allow it to come in at a much lower price point that is ideal for professionals and civilians alike. Comparative PID markers to the SPARK include the V-Light ($44.75) from S&S Precision, the MS-2000 (M2) LED Strobe Marking Light ($169) from ACR Artex, the VIP IR Marking Light ($180) from Adventure Lights, and the HEL-STAR 6 ($205) from Core Survival. While these alternatives are designed with more robust housing and components, the SPARK is still at an excellent and cost-affordable price point in comparison to the current market of PID marking lights.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): The SPARK was made from a soft, pliable silicon-based material that gave the semi-transparent housing a good overall comfort and the flexibility needed when articulating the ON/OFF button. The base was more rigid to affix on a helmet or other surface, but still had some flexibility to accommodate for the curvature of a helmet’s exterior. The SPARK also had a tangible sensation to the ON/OFF button so the end-user will be able to both visually and tactically feel the function switch. Otherwise the SPARK was not cumbersome nor bulky while mounted on a helmet and was not noticeable in any aspect.
- Durability – Average (3/5): From a durability aspect, the SPARK yielded an appropriate (or average) level of durability for its size and materials. The pliable silicon shell gave the PID marker the necessary level of flex to withstand the impacts of being dropped 10 times from an approximate height of 6’ without breakage or failure to the light, and only minimal surface marring due to contact with the concrete. The SPARK also withstood 30 minutes of immersion without any evidence of saturation or moisture penetration into the interior. It would be unlikely that the SPARK would withstand more extreme usage found in professional applications where an impact certification may be needed—if only because that is likely outside of the context in which the SPARK was designed.
- Functionality – Average (3/5): Functionally the SPARK was simplistic in both design and intent, with a single button to cycle through the non-programmable, three-function setting. The LOW/HIGH settings will allow individuals to find a comfortable setting in low-light conditions or when using night vision devices. Moreover, the HIGH setting is beneficial as a marking element to barricades or barriers at night so that shooters will know where an obstacle or barricade may be positioned. The Intermittent setting was beneficial to utilize the SPARK over extended periods without detrimental impact to the power source. Perhaps the greatest limitation to the overall function of the SPARK is the power source itself, with it being non-rechargeable or replaceable when expended. Thus, once the battery runs out, the end-user has no option other than direct replacement. It would perhaps be a recommendation to Unity Tactical to consider a USB rechargeable power source or something similar. Even if it were to limit the lifespan of the product to 3-4 recharges it would still make the SPARK a desirable product in contrast to the current market that utilize CR123 power sources and can be replaced.
- Weight – Excellent (5/5): Coming in at just 0.75 ounces, the SPARK was not noticeable on the helmet, and thus neither off-balancing or bulky. Indeed, the SPARK had a lower profile than nearly all other PID markers available on the current market. This was beneficial in ensuring the SPARK did not inadvertently peel off when coming into incidental contact with brush or other surfaces. In contrast, the V-Light (0.8 ounces) from S&S Precision, the MS-2000 (M2) LED Strobe Marking Light (4.0 ounces) from ACR Artex, the VIP IR Marking Light (3.9 ounces) from Adventure Lights, and the HEL-STAR 6 (2.8 ounces) from Core Survival all demonstrate just how demure and lightweight the SPARK is in comparison. Thus, for its design and materials, the SPARK is at an excellent weight for its intended usage.
Overall Rating – Good (20/25)
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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