My wife gave me a 4Sevens (now FourSevens) Quark 123-2. Unfortunately, that exact model seems to be discontinued now. The new Quark Pro QP2L may or may not be similar, but I cannot find any information on the QPsL’s user interface. I previously owned a Quark 123-2 Tactical and an Eluma SC1 but both disappeared because I kept them in my pocket rather than secured to something. I keep my current Quark on a keychain retractor clipped to a Maxpedtion Versapack. It isn’t going anywhere.
Anyway, the Quark series offers a fairly good value in general. Knurled aluminum body, 8 modes, 230 lumens max output, 0.2 lumens minimum output. Models are available with 1 or 2 batteries, AA or CR123A batteries, 3 different user interfaces, and quite a few different CREE LED “lightbulbs”. I know 230 lumens doesn’t mean much to anyone who isn’t a flashlight nut, so just believe me when I say that this thing kicks. It’s smaller than the old 2AA Mini-Maglites but throws a beam as powerful as those old giant D-cell lights.
The interesting thing about the Quark is how it operates. There are 2 controls: the On-Off Switch on the back, and the twisty-head at the front. The twist-head has 2 settings: tight and loose. When the twist-head is tight, the flaslight turns on at ‘Max’ brightness and tapping the power button changes it to ‘Strobe’ mode.When the twist-head is loose, the flashlight turns on at ‘Moonlight’ (0.2 lumens) and tapping the power button increases the output to Low, Medium, High, SOS, and Beacon (slow strobe). Fresh batteries will power Moonlight for 30 continuous days or Maximum for a little under 2 hours.
Now, let’s say you turn on the Quark with the head loose and increase the beam to ‘Medium’. Tightening the head will cause the output to immediately jump from Medium to Maximum. Loosening the head will cause it to jump back to Medium (or whatever setting was last used with the head loose). Completely turning off the flashlight causes it to revert back to Moonlight (loose) and Max (tight). I personally keep mine set to Max in case I need a lot of light on short notice. If I don’t need that much light, I loosen the head, turn on the light, and tap the power button until it’s bright enough. This helps ensure that only enough light is used and the batteries last longer.
The ‘Tactical’ model is identical except the user interface is different. The flashlight ‘remembers’ the settings that you program in. For example, when I owned a ‘Tactical” I kept the Tight setting programmed for the bright Strobe and the Loose was set to a Medium level. The Strobe was intended to disorient potential attackers while the Medium served as a general light.
The downside of the Tactical is that accessing any other output level is a major pain in the ass. If I wanted to use the Moonlight mode, then I had to reprogram the light for Moonlight. The Tactical is great for someone who only wants to use 2 modes and wants to switch between those modes quickly & easily. The standard Quark is far better for use as a general flashlight. I’m glad that I have a standard Quark, but I’m considering purchasing a Tactical for a rifle-mounted light.
The Quark Mini series only has 1 switch instead of 2. The Mini series is intended to be compact with a streamlined interface. Omitting the reac clicky-power switch reduces the length of the light considerably. Twisting the head tight turns the flashlight on at Low. Quickly turning it off and back on increases the brightness to Medium and then High. They also have SOS, Beacon, and Strobe but those modes are inconvenient to access.
The standard, Tactical, and Mini are the 3 user interfaces, but there are several more sub-versions. “X” models are brighter but less focused. “Turbo” models have a huge reflector for a more focused beam. They’re less comfortable to carry around. Most Quarks have ‘cool white’ colored light, but some are available with different tints in the light. RGB Quarks offer red, green, blue, and cool white light. There were limited editions with warm (yellowish) light, neutral white light, and a broad spectrum light for High Color Rendering Index (CRI).
QUARK 123-2 SPECIFICATIONS (copied from 4Sevens)
Powered by: 2 CR123A batteries (included) LED Emitter: Premium Cree XP-G R5 Voltage range: 3.0V ~ 9.0V Dimensions Length: 4.5 inches Diameter: 0.86 inches Weight: 1.8 ounces 5 Current Regulated Output Levels 3 Flash modes: Strobe, SOS, Beacon Square threads for lifetime smooth operation Type III Hard Anodized finish Fully knurled Reversable/Removable Clip Flexible & secure hand grip accessory IPX-8 Waterproofing Impact-resistant glass lens with Dual-coating – sapphire coating on the outside and anti-reflective coating on the inside for optimal efficiency and durability. T-6061 Aircraft-grade Aluminum Body Stands on Tail (candle mode) Reverse-polarity protection Included accessories: Two 4Sevens CR123A batteries, lanyard, holster, hand-grip, spare o-rings, instruction manual. Typical Output Levels and Runtimes + (LED drive current)
Moonlight: 0.2 OTF lumens for 30 days, (1ma) Low: 4 OTF lumens for 5 days (10ma) Medium: 22 OTF lumens for 20 hours (50ma) High: 85 OTF lumens for 4.5 hours (250ma) Max: 230 OTF lumens for 1.8 hours (990ma) Strobe: 230 OTF lumens for 3 hours Beacon:0-230 OTF lumens pulse for 23 hours
Operating your Quark 1232 is simple. Make sure its batteries are inserted with the positive side (+) toward the head. Ensure the bezel (the ‘head’ of the light) and tailcap are tightened, then depress the tailcap button fully so that it ‘clicks’ and the light turns on.
The two most commonly used modes are Max and Moonlight, the highest and lowest modes. To access Max, you simply tighten the bezel. To access Moonlight, you just loosen the bezel a half-turn. That’s it.
You can also cycle through the Quark’s other modes just as easily. Lightly depress the button momentarily (you don’t need to ‘click’ it off) and the output will switch to the next mode. The mode sequence is determined by whether the bezel is tightened or loosened:
Loosened Bezel: Moonlight -> Low -> Medium -> High -> SOS -> Beacon
Tightened Bezel: Max -> Strobe