PD36R: An Improvement Worth Noting
I’m not going to lie— I like my LD30. A lot. Nonetheless, I recently decided to try out the LD30 as my carbine’s dedicated weapon mounted light (more on that test to come…) and with the LD30 removed from my pocket, I opted to give Fenix’s PD36R a look for my new EDC light.
Superficially, the PD36R is about equivalent to the PD35v2, but with the benefit of a slight strike bezel and improved clip. I have to admit that while the PD35v2 is a great flashlight, I never felt like the larger PD35v2 offered enough benefits to make me turn my back on the smaller lights for EDC. If I were an airplane mechanic or drove a police car or a fire truck, I’m sure I’d feel differently… but, alas, I drive a desk for a living. Once the initial “I’ve got a new flashlight glow” wore off and the LD30 showed up, the PD35v2 went into my camping kit and never found its way back out again. I never disliked the ’35… I just couldn’t grow to love it for EDC.
So when the PD36R showed up, my first thought at unboxing was… “Meh, the 36 looks like it’s just 1 more than the 35. Big deal.”
But time proved me wrong.
Remember, the only issue I had with the PD35v2 was in pocket carry. For one thing, the old-style clip that keeps the butt-end sticking out and whapping into things throughout the day grew tiresome over time. The PD36R has the new-style clip that sits deep in the pocket so that the rear disappears, yet it is still held away from whatever else happens to be in that same pocket. This is a small detail, but an important one for somebody who wears dress slacks all day. The other big change is the PD36R’s subtle strike bezel out front. This may need some explaining…
In my line of work, I’m not allowed to carry anything that is a weapon, yet I’m also expected to be the first guy to show up on-scene if a lunatic walks through the front door. I find frequent use for my light as a tool— as just a light. That said, I can take a small bit of comfort in the fact that this tool in my pocket can moonlight as a defensive weapon if absolute need be. The thing is, I don’t like to carry a lot of weight in my pocket, and the “Knights of the Round Table” strike bezels on the TK series are just too much for me. That, and a decade back when I used to carry a TK, more than one pair of slacks ended up with a hole worn through to my underwear because of those things. Here with the PD36R, I get a usable strike bezel that neither adds weight nor destroys my garments.
It’s also worth noting that many experts who advocate lights for defensive EDC recommend a light that is slightly longer than the width of the hand when held in a closed fist. This way, the light can be used to hammer strike in either a forward or rearward motion. As much as I like the PD25 and LD30 for EDC, they don’t check that box, whereas the PD36R does.
And, finally, there’s the new 21700 battery. After carrying my PD36R almost daily for over a month at work and around the neighborhood for nighttime walks with my family, I’d like to report the battery limits… but I haven’t found them yet. I finally just shrugged it off as a mystery of the universe and threw the PD36R on the charger to top it off.
All in all, I like the PD36R. That said, I’d really love to see Fenix come out with a “PD” version of the LD30 so that I can tag team it with the PD36R. My fantasy “PD30R” would allow me to have a totally inconspicuous EDC flashlight for times when I’m in more business-like attire, and then reserve the PD36R for nighttime walks and camping ventures when its size and striking capabilities are more appropriate.
Until that time arrives, though, I’ll be happy to EDC my ’36 all day long.