PD36 TAC Is a Game Changer

Ambassador John K.

When I purchased my PD36 TAC, I figured that it would be basically a PD36R with a different tail button. Upon receiving it, then, I was a bit confused because it is actually different enough that I think it really deserves its own stand-alone moniker. Hence, I’m simply going to refer to it as the TAC from here on out.

The TAC lacks the side button of the PD36R—and by extension the illuminated charge indicator—as well as the PD36R’s side charging port. All of these things are attributes that I really like on the PD36R, and I have to admit that my unboxing impression was really kind of negative. Rather than getting an improved PD36R, I felt like I was trading three important things for a different tail button.

In retrospect, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The TAC light is indeed a “tactical” light. It is simpler and more robust—hence the removal of the side button (which can break or get depressed in a fight) as well as the side charging port, which—though unlikely due to its rubber cover—does open a pathway for possible contamination of the internals of the flashlight. And, I have to admit, unscrewing the head to recharge the battery isn’t a big deal at all. So, these attributes aren’t just a “non-loss” but are actually a gain now that I’ve been carrying the light daily for a few months and have gained experience with the new tail switch. The TAC’s switch design allows for easy and lockable adjustment of the chosen power level, which is in fact a big gain that wasn’t at all appreciable for me until I actually gave it a long-term, real-world test drive.

In fact, after swapping back and forth between the TAC to the PD36R a couple of times, I’m done with carrying the PD36R. A couple of times with the PD36R, I found my pocket getting… um… toasty because the PD36R’s tail switch got depressed. One time, I found my backpack glowing after I tossed my PD36R inside, and the tail switch got activated by some other object inside. Did this occasionally happen before? Sure. But, before, I didn’t have the option of the TAC’s lockable switch, so I always wrote it off as the price of doing business. Now, I don’t have to do that!

At first, the lockable tail switch on the TAC did seem burdensome, but after a couple of days getting used to it, it’s a total non-issue. Muscle memory has me switch the button from locked to activated as I grab it out of my pocket… and hot pants are now a thing of the past for me.

If I were to make any suggestions to Fenix, I’d really like to see a different clip on it— something with more deep-pocket carry design.

So, you might notice something odd about this review. Namely, I haven’t talked about how bright this light is. At all. Because, frankly, I think Fenix lights have reached a level where, well… the quality and brightness of the light kind of doesn’t even need to be addressed. The illumination aspect is industry-leading, so I don’t even worry about that anymore. What I’m more concerned about these days is the “carryability” of it and the overall ergonomics. This is where the TAC is a winner.

Now, Fenix, how about designing the exact same flashlight but with a half-lengthed battery for more compact carry? Please?