Time for another weapon light review – this time it’s the Olight Baldr Pro from Olight.
If you’ve been following along here at SHTF Blog, you’ve probably noticed that Olight, a manufacturer and distributor of higher-end illumination solutions, has been flooding the market (and our hallowed digital pages) with innovative new designs, as well as revamps to upgrade existing platforms Olight already has on the market.
The Olight Baldr Pro I’m reviewing here is one of the latter – a spiffed-up, hot-rodded weapon light belonging to the Baldr family of lights, to include the Baldr Mini (see our review of the Baldr Mini here), the Baldr IR (infrared laser), and the Baldr RL (red laser).
The name “Baldr” originates from Norse ancient mythology; Baldr (also seen as “Balder” and “Baldur”) is the son of the God Odin, and the brother of Thor… and Baldr just happened to be the Norse God of Light.
This fact brings us full circle to our test subject – which certainly lives up to its mythological namesake. The Olight Baldr Pro throws a positively scorching 1,350 lumens/16,900 candela out of its high performance NW LED bulb to a theoretical distance of 260 meters, which is about 1/6th of a mile. The light can also be set to push out a lower 300 lumen output to help preserve battery life a bit.
Light and Lasers
In addition to its blistering white light output, the Olight Baldr Pro has another tool in its arsenal for you to use: a green laser emitter. This is built into a small tubular pod on the bottom of the light body, opposite the integral picatinny rail mount.
The Baldr Pro offers the end user a way to control what the light kicks out; there is a bottom-mounted switch with three positions: laser only, laser and light, and light only. The chosen mode is then activated by one of two flat, push-type switches located on flush-mounted fingers, located in the extreme rear of the light housing, one on each side of the light. A simple single press-and-release will activate the light and/or laser.
A long press on the switch will provide a momentary function, where the light/laser are only on as long as you’re holding the switch. Pressing both side switches together will toggle the built-in strobe function. A quick double-tap on either switch will bring the slight to the lower power setting.
The light has a memory, so whatever power setting the light was on when you turned it off is what it will re-activate at when you fire it up again.
Unlike many other products that Olight offers, the Olight Baldr Pro is NOT rechargeable and instead relies upon a steady diet of pairs of CR123A batteries. The Baldr Pro does come with batteries, but you should certainly have some extras stowed away (read how to store batteries).
When set to the full-tilt 1,350 lumen output, the pair of fresh CR123As will only power the Baldr Pro for about 115 minutes. The lower, 300 lumen setting will increase runtime to 210 minutes on new batteries. Of course, if you activate that laser, battery life will decrease accordingly.
Overall dimensions of the light are not large, and lend themselves well to either a mid-sized or full-framed pistol, or a long gun. Its 3.3 inches of length and 4.55 ounces of weight (approximately the same size as a Streamlight TLR-1, for frame of reference) are very manageable on either a handgun or rifle/shotgun.
The Olight Baldr Pro muckles onto your bullet-launching device via an integral picatinny mount that is secured with a flat pivoting lever. Push the lever forward to unlock, push it back to lock the Baldr Pro in its current location. Simple and effective.
What’s in the Baldr Box?
Olight offers excellent, attractive packaging, and the box the Baldr Pro comes in is no different. Opening the package reveals the light ensconced comfortable in a molded plastic tray. Mine was provided in a very pleasing limited-edition color called Gunmetal Gray, but they are also available in the stalwart black finish, as well as a bronze color called Desert Tan.
Along with the light of your chosen color, you’ll find in the package the multi-lingual instructions, a small T6/T8 Allen-type wrench for laser adjustments, and an extra picatinny rail key to expand the types of handguns the light can attach to (the Baldr Pro comes set up for a Glock by default).
A nice touch by Olight is to include a pair of extra screws for the rail, and a pair of extra screw adjustments for the laser. Spare parts for high-wear or easily-stripped items is always good stuff, so kudos to Olight for making that happen.
The Olight Baldr Pro in Action
The Olight Baldr Pro is an outright beast of a handgun light. I mounted our test light to a few different handguns to get a feel for how it affected the handling characteristics of its parent handgun. The light snapped right onto a Gen3 Glock 17, Gen4 Glock 19, and an early-production SIG Sauer P220ST.
The SIG Sauer’s heavy all-stainless steel construction didn’t really seem to change much dynamically after the light was mounted, but the Glocks definitely got a skosh nose-heavier. The end of the light projected out furthest from under the Glock 19’s shorter barrel, obviously – but still the Baldr Pro snuck out past the muzzles of the Glock 17 and the SIG.
While this means that you will likely get muzzle blast finish wear on the top of your Balder’s bezel (Hello operator look!), but you will also not have the light’s beam protruded into by your handgun’s barrel/slide, creating shadows in the beam.
Holding any of the pistols with the light attached found the side-mounted paddle controls intuitively located, and easy to activate via my trigger finger with the gun in a ready-to-fire position. The rocker switch to select light vs. laser isn’t very easily reached with the gun up and ready, requiring you to turn the gun, put eyes on the light, and switch the mode according to your needs. All of this coincides with an officer’s advice on handling home invasions.
The light at full power is positively stunning; its tight beam is excellent for projecting the Baldr Pro’s illumination into concentrated areas for long-distance throw, or using as a quick-reference basic no-sights general emergency aiming point. The green laser is easily picked up at night, obviously – but it works under many conditions with the lights on. Bright sun certainly makes finding the green laser dot a bit more difficult, and you’ll be hoping for shadows or an overcast to help your sighting arrangement out.
The light offered no issues, but I did find that out of the box, the laser tended to flare badly in low-light situations. This perplexed me, until I realized that the long, streaking flare was caused by skin oils or shipping grease on the laser emitter’s protective lens; a quick wipe with a alcohol cloth eradicated the issue nicely, resulting in a nice round green dot on target as one should expect from a laser.
Adjusting the laser’s point of aim was quick and easy; I set the pistol up on a rock-steady location in my house, and projected the laser down the length of my home – I figured the light will be living on a home defense pistol. With the pistol still, I looked through the sights and dialed the laser adjustment screws with the provided Allen key until the laser dot just peeped over the top of the front sight.
Done, quick and easy. I was happy to find that the laser’s point of aim did not change after the light was removed and remounted several times. Recoil from handguns and a pump-action12-gauge shotgun had no effect on the point of aim from the laser.
Battery changes are quick and easy – lift the green locking flap on the back of the light, and the battery case door swings open, allowing you to drop the existing batteries out of the light.
The Olight Baldr Pro performed as one would expect from a purposed-designed weapon light. During a quick Baldr “torture test”, the light survived about 350 9mm and .45 ACP rounds, several mag dumps through an AR-15, and 50 rounds of assorted buckshot from a Remington 870 with no functional issues or laser point of aim changes. I have confidence that the Baldr Pro will be a powerful, reliable and sturdy tool for your SHTF rig or a defense arm.
For those of you planning on popping this bad boy on a carry handgun, have no fear: Olight provides a holster manufacturer that provides quality pistol-packin’ apparatus for your gun with a Baldr Pro on it. You can find the holster choosing site here.
Wrapping It Up
Olight seems to be right at the forefront of providing state-of-the-art illumination systems with a high quality level and a reasonable price tag. For a long time, I was a die-hard Streamlight and Fenix guy, but Olight’s penchant for innovation and quality have certainly swayed my illumination worldview. The Baldr Pro is as good as anything you’ll find from other high-end manufacturers – possibly even better.
The Olight Baldr Pro offers a magical combination of features: quality of manufacture, a lavish suite of well-thought-out features, high output, excellent reliability, and a decent price tag. If your plans for weapon-mounted lights gravitate towards sturdy super performance instead of rechargeability and small size, the Baldr Pro is absolutely right up your alley and should be at the top of your list of good gear to grab.
As a bonus, if you keep an eye on Olight’s website, they frequently offer stellar sales as well as product bundles where they pair lights or accessories together to create a greater value package for the end user. Just a heads up from your ol’ buddy Drew.