The Ultimate Guide to the Surefire M951 Weaponlight: Part IV
This article is the fourth part in a comprehensive overview of the Surefire M951 Weaponlight. If you haven’t read the in depth overview of the M951’s parts and their generational changes, you can check that out here: Part III
In Part IV, I will discuss alternate parts that can be used to tailor the M951 to user specific needs, or to generally bring the light up to contender status in the current weaponlight market.
During the M951’s production run, Surefire made other filter options besides the FM63IR Filter. These include the FM64 Beam Diffusor (creates more flood), The FM65 Red Filter, The FM66 Blue Filter, and the FM67 Beam Cover (opaque lens with Surefire logo). They allow for some extra functionality with the M951 outside of being solely a blinding tactical light. I personally like the FM65 Red Filter for the lower distance signature and cool color (though it sucks with red dot sights), and the FM67 Beam Cover.
Factory Alternate Lamp Assemblies
In the late 1990s, when the reigning king of lights was a 2D Cell Maglite putting out about 27 lumens, the 65 Lumen P60 Lamp was advertised as “tactical” level light, meaning it could blind an opponent. Despite being laughably weak by today’s standards, having 65 lumens in a light significantly smaller than a Maglite, and with much smaller batteries, meant a lot back in the day.
Today, the P60 Lamp is nothing short of obsolete. This is due to the P60’s incandescent bulb, which is limited to 65 lumens at 1 hour on two CR123 batteries with approximately 50 hours of life. Moreover, the bulb can break or blow out with extended use. In other words, the P60 Lamp is basically a wax candle in terms of brightness and durability when compared to modern LED lights putting out literally several hundred lumens with high peak candela, with no parts that can realistically break or die.
With the incandescent bulb’s inherent flaws, and with the advent of LED lights and modules in the 2000s, Surefire released LED lamp assemblies that fit the M951 which helped keep the light contemporary and competitive, at least to an extent. These include the P61 (120 lumens for 20 minutes), the P90 (105 Lumens for 1 hour), the P91 (200 Lumens for 20 minutes), and the P60L (80 lumens for 12 hours). While none of these were ever issued with M951s to my knowledge, they were widely available upgrade, and still are today. From the date this article is published, all Surefire Millennium lamps are available on Amazon and eBay in no short supply, from about $15 to $30.
I do not at this time have any personal experience with the alternate factory Surefire lamps. Looking at the specs on paper, though, I would only recommend the P60L as a replacement for actual use, as the greater battery efficiency seems like a better attribute than the brighter light with virtually no runtime. 80 lumens is fairly decent amount of light for surveying and even close range blinding as well if used properly, even if it’s a tenth of what some contemporary lights offer.
Aftermarket Lamp Assemblies
I really only have two things to say regarding the LED M951 Lamp aftermarket. First, I do not trust random no brand Cree LEDs on eBay or whatever site at any brightness or beam pattern. Second, for upgrading the M951, I highly recommend buying a Malkoff M61, or any other Malkoff lamp that fits your needs.
Wanting a replacement for the P60 Lamp and a random Chinese LED garbage lamp I got with the light, I checked the web for drop ins that were affordable, reliable, bright, runtime efficient, battery efficient, and easy to acquire. The only one that I found to meet most of these requirements is the Malkoff M61 LED Drop In Module. There may be other good drop in modules that I am not aware of, but the Malkoff M61, given my experience with it, is definitely worth considering. Here are the M61’s specs from their website:
Bulb Housing: Brass
Reflector: Orange Peel
Beam Color: Cool White
Illumination Radius: 350 Feet
Blinding Radius: 100 Feet
Brightness: 325 Lumens
Runtime: 1.5 Hours
Price: ~$48 shipped
The brass housing makes the module heavier than a standard bulb, but helps with heat sinking. The orange peel reflector makes for a beam that is nothing short of excellent. There is very little spill (outer rim/less useful light), decent flood (beam size) and excellent throw (beam intensity at distance), which make for an excellent and versatile hotspot. It could serve both as a CQB light or as an outdoor survey light equally well. In terms of the beam pattern, The Malkoff M61 is on par, if not superior than my M300C Scout Light, if I’m being completely honest.
Granted, the M951 is bulkier, about 5 ounces heavier than the M300C, and generates about the same runtime and brightness using two CR123s to the M300C’s one. However, when properly outfitted and sourced, the M951 costs less than half what an equivalent M300C would cost, and a lot less than the most current Surefire Mini Scout offering, the M312C. I’ll explain this in further detail in the next part of the series, but in short, it is a direct competitor to the Surefire Mini Scout Lights, and in my opinion, a price point contender in the market as a whole.
Lastly for this section, I’ll go over the alternate tailcaps that will work with the M951, which just so happens to be a lot of them. Besides the aforementioned XM07 and UU07, the M951 can take a lot of other tailcaps for user preference, or for emergency or field repair. In fact, the MH90’s back threads are the same thread pitch for 1″ body handheld Surefire lights. If you find that you do not like the stock XM07 setup, and would rather have just a click tailcap, or a momentary tailcap, you can find just about any 1″ Surefire tailcap that will work with the light. This includes, but is not limited to, the Surefire Millennium SW01 Momentary and SW02 Click Switches, and the Surefire Millennium and 6P Derivative Handheld Momentary and Click Switches (Z41, Z48, Z58 etc.).
Another source for brand new Surefire style tailcaps is Oveready. They specialize in addons and replacement parts for tactical lights, including Surefires. They even offer tailcaps that are anodized gray to match the finish off the Millennium series lights, including the M951 (although, as mentioned before, gray’s do vary on the M951 so buyer beware if you are a color coordination autist). You can check out Oveready’s website here.
That covers alternate parts and upgrades for the M951 that I feel are worth mentioning. Some continuing readers probably already have an M951 bolted to the UTG Quad Rail on their PSA/Anderson build. Go forth and upgrade your light now! If you are on the fence about assembling an upgraded M951, though, proceed to my discussion on some prevailing weaponlight options in the current market, and why an upgraded M951 is still viable, in Part V.