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Thread: Vampire Worth It?

  1. #1
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    Vampire Worth It?

    I've had a dedicated night time set up for a few years now. It's a 11.5" with a IR and visible red laser (non IR illuminator), and a Inforce WML. None of the attachments are state of the art, but I'm not a door kicker, so it seemed to suit until I finally got the time to do more than cursory night time shoots. I'm having trouble engaging targets under trees without an illuminator using the IR laser and PVS-14s, and when doing some indoor shooting, the only illumination I was getting was from spill from dust and my IR laser. I really haven't liked the Inforce sine I got it, I don't like the activation switch or inability to use a tape switch.

    Would a Vampire take care of my needs? Could I use it to engage targets using my DBAL to 100-150 yards? Would it be useful for indoor NODS shooting? I guess the real question, is the Vampire a good choice to replace the Inforce and get the most out of my NODS, or should I just save my duckets and get a MAWL or similar? Kind of dump what I've got and go whole hog.

  2. #2
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    The two options you mention are vastly different in price. So much so, that it's hard to give an apples to apples comparison.

    I think the MAWL is a good piece of equipment. Its performance is great (even compared to something like a FP PEQ15), but its main selling point is the button layout. Having the ability to adjust flood and intensity on the fly is great. The MAWL itself is pretty beefy though (roughly 12oz) so any setup you decide to run a MAWL on is going to become heavy quick. Just something to keep in mind. The range selector button itself feels a little "cheap" for what you pay for it, but it does work. The "long range" option is a pain to work with one hand, but that mode isn't often used (for me at least) so it's not a major issue, just an annoyance. If having the ability to rapidly change between modes is a priority, then the MAWL is probably the best option available. the illuminator is very clean in comparison to the PEQs and SF Vampire heads I've used.

    Now, on to the SF Vampire head. The biggest drawback I've found with the Surefire Vampire heads is the inability to quickly change between white and IR light. You have to turn the head to the correct orientation to get the desired output, and although it's doable...it's certainly not ideal. The performance of the M600V head is certainly usable inside of 100m and on dark nights out to 150m or so, but the white light performance is extremely lacking. The IR light itself is also not nearly as "clean" as a nice laser based illuminator. The spill of the beam is somewhat rough, which takes some getting used to. I'd likely steer someone away from a vampire head setup unless they had a specific need for it. I'll be replacing mine at some point.

    The third option not mentioned is to run a dual light option with a good IR laser. Something like a Modlite IR850 and a Modlite OKW/PLHV2, both on separate switches. This would allow you to have a white light and IR light setup separately to allow quick access to both. The IR850 would provide much better performance than the SF Vampire, and the white light output would be be leaps and bounds better than the poor 350 lumen output of the SF Vampires white light. The setup seems heavy, but would likely be very similar in weight to a MAWL and 18650 white light setup. It would also be much cheaper than the $3,000 MAWL setup. You could run this setup with dual 18650 bodies, dual 18350 bodies, or a mix of the two. Just another idea.

    It all comes down to what you can justify spending for your intended use. You can certainly get buy with less than a MAWL.. but the MAWL is nice to have.

  3. #3
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    The Vampire lights are a good supplement to a laser illuminator. Rogue556 hit the main points above, but to answer your question directly-

    Yes, a Vamp is more than sufficient for CQB. I use a TAPS Sync switch and have room filling IR light in conjunction with my laser. You will be able to throw illumination out to ~100y. I mostly use my PEQ illuminator for outdoor shooting and the Vampire to illuminate indoors.
    Last edited by GTF425; 05-12-21 at 08:04.

  4. #4
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    A Vamp will absolutely do what you need indoors. However, outdoors, the MAWL is a totally different game. I believe in white-light indoors, anyway, and would (did) choose the MAWL.

    Also, it can be tempting to think you can move a flashlight type illuminator like a Vamp or Modlight around to whichever gun you want to use, and just aim through the daytime sight. I think thats a great capability, and everyone should practice shooting that way once in a while. But, when the chips are down, any 24hr M4 should have an IR laser/illuminator if outdoor capability is important. I have a Modlight IR940 (or similar 900+ number) that I sometimes use with a red dot sight. It works well at close range and while Iím shooting alone, but outside of those conditions a DBAL D2, LA-5, MAWL-C, or Peq-2 crushes that setup. Other flashlight illuminators will work further, but are still limited.

    If you are willing to give up both white and IR light intensity in order to have both in one unit, the Vampire is the best (Probably. I havenít tried the new Streamlight) game in town. The model with the laser is probably the one I would go with for a rifle. If you are looking to just add a bang-for-buck illuminator, then Modlight or Arisaka probably have the best options, and TNVC sells an interesting-looking option, as well.

    In comparison to the other options in this thread, a MAWL has none of the downsides and all if the upsides. If you can live with the price.
    RLTW
    ďY-you realize that nighttime makes up half of all time?Ē -Rick Sanchez

    Disclosure: I am now affiliated with a tactical training center, but my opinions are my own, and not anyone elseís, unless specifically stated otherwise by myself. I am also contracted as an austere/conflict medical resource and consultant by another org. I don't speak for them here, either.

  5. #5
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    The guys that have already posted have much more experience with NV and how to use them than I do, but I'll offer some of my experience to think about.

    My setup that I've decided on is what I call the "Poor Man's MAWL", which is a CQBL-1 on a Unity TAPS Sync that controls the CQBL and a separate IR illuminator at 1:30. I keep my WL (Modlite PLHv2) at 11:30 on a clicky tailcap switch.

    In terms of the IR illuminator, I've tried the Modlite IR850 and now currently have the Malkoff EX IR 250 from Arisaka (LINK)

    The reason I switched from the Modlite is due how bad it would autogate my tube. Indoors, both illuminators will autogate the tube, with the EX IR 250 being somewhat less as bad as the IR850, but the real difference was outdoors. Even outside, the IR 850 would autogate so bad that I would only be able to see what was in the hot spot of the beam, while everything else pretty much blacked out. The EX IR 250 didn't autogate much, if at all, and had a very smooth beam profile and nice hot spot. Also, I really didn't notice much of a difference in the actual throw of the light downrange at 100+ yds.

    Regarding the whole setup, here are the pro's as I see it:
    - Price - Used CQBL + IR light setup was around $800 (All new would be about $1200)
    - Weight - Around 10-11 ounces BUT you have the option to drop the IR light when you know you don't need it
    - Modularity - I can have another rifle set up with the CQBL and simply move the IR light from one rifle to the other (also cost-saving)
    - Switchology - I have a very defined difference between activating my white light on the clicky cap VS my IR spectrum on the TAPS switch. No real way to mess that up.

  6. #6
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    Ah crap! Where was the easy button I was looking for? My problem is that my first hand "government" training experience reached its zenith with a PEQ-2 and PVS-14's. Other than that, it's with the self purchased gear as listed above. I'm going to have to research all the suggestions above before I can ask more questions. Thank you all.

    I didn't want to purchase the MAWL unless that was the only thing I can find that would suit my purpose. It also doesn't sound like a vampire will do it either. I'm fine with my current set up as long as I'm standing in an open field, but that's about it. The problem is that I'm lucky enough to be able to shoot under tree cover or indoors at will, and I'm getting more into night shoots since I have more time than in the past. Also, real life isn't standing in the middle of a pasture shooting at steel from seventy five yards.

    Again, thank you all.
    Last edited by STAMarine; 05-12-21 at 13:16.

  7. #7
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    I highly recommend the M600V, and if you have a suppressor, the TREX suppressor mount (actually made by Arisaka).

    To answer your specific question, I think 150 yards is pushing it. The LED IR lights are basically for close range, where the laser illuminators are too intense and too tightly focused to work. 100 yards is about where you're losing your LED and the laser illuminator is starting to take over.

    A MAWL is far from your only option, though. I've definitely heard good things, but I've not used one personally. I know a lot of what people like about them is the ergonomics. In any case, there are definitely alternatives.

    For my money, I want full power lasers no matter what. I haven't used any commercial laser aimers, but I had the first generation of what became the PEQ, and they were originally low power only. I've also used my PEQ at low power, which I think gives me a pretty good idea of what it's like.

    There is one commercial laser that people say is useful at longer ranges, but I can't remember which one. I'm sure someone will chime in with the answer though. If I remember right, they're about 1200 dollars.

    For full power, the most common is the PEQ15A. There's a pretty steady supply that trickles down through the smaller dealers. Contrary to popular belief, they're not stolen, and they're not illegal to own. I'm sure some have been liberated in the past, but you can say the same thing for lots of stuff. The ones I've seen that were proven to be stolen were all beat up, though, so you wouldn't want them anyways. Going rate for the new manufacture from a dealer is 2k-2,500, and that's brand new, full kit.

    Full power Steiners are also often available from the same dealers. I've never used a Steiner, but people seem to prefer the PEQ.

    The last option is Wilcox. They will sell a full power laser to anyone with a military ID, so if you have one, or have a buddy who does, you can order one directly from them. I think they start at like 3,500, so basically the same price as a MAWL. I have never heard anything about them good or bad, so they seem to be rare in the wild. If I were going to pay upwards of 3k for a laser, though, I would make good and sure it was at least full power.

    My 600V: https://i.imgur.com/mG8hK9v.jpg?1

    Absolutely love that setup. It's also really nice being able to turn the light to the off position when stowing it in the bag, so that the pressure pad doesn't get activated and run down the batteries. Much more convenient than unplugging the switch every time.

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    double

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by okie View Post
    I highly recommend the M600V, and if you have a suppressor, the TREX suppressor mount (actually made by Arisaka).

    To answer your specific question, I think 150 yards is pushing it. The LED IR lights are basically for close range, where the laser illuminators are too intense and too tightly focused to work. 100 yards is about where you're losing your LED and the laser illuminator is starting to take over.

    A MAWL is far from your only option, though. I've definitely heard good things, but I've not used one personally. I know a lot of what people like about them is the ergonomics. In any case, there are definitely alternatives.

    For my money, I want full power lasers no matter what. I haven't used any commercial laser aimers, but I had the first generation of what became the PEQ, and they were originally low power only. I've also used my PEQ at low power, which I think gives me a pretty good idea of what it's like.

    There is one commercial laser that people say is useful at longer ranges, but I can't remember which one. I'm sure someone will chime in with the answer though. If I remember right, they're about 1200 dollars.

    For full power, the most common is the PEQ15A. There's a pretty steady supply that trickles down through the smaller dealers. Contrary to popular belief, they're not stolen, and they're not illegal to own. I'm sure some have been liberated in the past, but you can say the same thing for lots of stuff. The ones I've seen that were proven to be stolen were all beat up, though, so you wouldn't want them anyways. Going rate for the new manufacture from a dealer is 2k-2,500, and that's brand new, full kit.

    Full power Steiners are also often available from the same dealers. I've never used a Steiner, but people seem to prefer the PEQ.

    The last option is Wilcox. They will sell a full power laser to anyone with a military ID, so if you have one, or have a buddy who does, you can order one directly from them. I think they start at like 3,500, so basically the same price as a MAWL. I have never heard anything about them good or bad, so they seem to be rare in the wild. If I were going to pay upwards of 3k for a laser, though, I would make good and sure it was at least full power.

    My 600V: https://i.imgur.com/mG8hK9v.jpg?1

    Absolutely love that setup. It's also really nice being able to turn the light to the off position when stowing it in the bag, so that the pressure pad doesn't get activated and run down the batteries. Much more convenient than unplugging the switch every time.
    Ok, that is beginning to get me to where I can start looking for what I need. LED illuminators like the vampire would be what one would use indoors where there isn't enough light for NODs, but a Laser illuminator would be too powerful for the NODS under the same conditions. By the same token, LED illuminators would be too weak for outdoor use at distance, but laser illuminators would be used to illuminate the target for laser pointer sighting in that instance? So that's why you're running the PEQ and the Vulcan, correct? Even if I replaced my DBAL and WML with this setup, I'd still be less in than a new MAWL.

  10. #10
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    I have a Vampire on one of my rigs. I keep it on my SBR because I know it is limited range.

    The two drawbacks are switching to white light, and the inability to focus or aim the light to your laser. For CQB, no problem. Extended out to 100 or 200, then maybe itís a mediocre option.

    I did manage to kill a coyote with mine between 150 and 200 yards. Fortunately, it wasnít a pitch black night.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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