Surefire X300U: A vs B vs XH35 vs XH30
Ever since Surefire came out with their newest version of the X300U (the B version) there has been quite a bit of confusion as to what the differences are and which is best suited for a particular application. This article will outline the differences and provide some insight as to which would be best for your intended use.
X300U-A on the left & X300U-B on the right
REVISION: 08/02/2018 Surefire X300UA/B Upgrade.
On August 2nd, 2018 Recoil Magazine broke the news that the X300U-A & B would be getting a significant output upgrade to 1,000 lumens (11,300 candela). These lights will fit all existing X300U-A/B holsters and will be offered in both black & Tan
We'll have the new versions VERY soon (Week of August 6th) and you can see them below.
First a little history...
In 2015 Surefire discontinued the public sale of their popular X300U-A to release the brand new “upgraded" X300U-B model. However since they still had a contract with a government agency to supply them with the older X300U-A model, Surefire decided to make the “A” version available for public purchase again in 2016.
Well that's cool but what's the difference?
Really, there’s not a whole lot. The older versions of the X300U-A (produced prior to 2016 before they were originally discontinued) had an output of 500 lumens. (click here for a great article on lumens) When the X300U-B came out they boosted the lumen output to 600 lumens (another great article is here) while still maintaining the same runtime. Once surefire started making the X300U-A publicly available again they increased its output to 600 lumens as well.
The only other difference between the two is the mounting system. The X300U-A uses the older style Rail-Lock® Mounting System. which is best suited for polymer framed handguns.
The Rail-Lock Mounting system on the X300U-A-TN
The X300U-B uses the T-Slot Mounting Rail System which is best suited for metal framed handguns as well as AR-15 or similar style rails. The T-Slot system is also used on the X400 series of weapon lights. The main issue that people had been experiencing with the T-Slot style mount on polymer guns is the overtightening of the light causing reliability issues with the gun or under tightening of the light causing the light to come off. The Rail-Lock system is definitely prefered for use on polymer framed handguns but for use on an AR, the T-Slot has some distinct advantages.
The T-Slot Mounting System
An X300U-A with a Unity Tactical EXO Mount
The Rail Lock system (A) on the left and the T-Slot (B) on the right
The only other difference between the 500 lumen models and the new 600 lumen (and now the 1,000 lumen) is the activation paddles. The original X300U-A have a longer narrower design while the X300U-B and new production X300U-A have a shorter, stubbier paddle. Really the only way to tell if you have the new 600 lumen X300U-A or the old 500 lumen X300U-A is to look at the paddles. There won't be any other markings on the lights themselves that show the lumen output.
The old (500 lumen) X300U-A on the left and the new production (600 lumen) X300U-A on the right.
It should also be noted that some holsters are made for the X300U-A and NOT the X300U-B. It is best to verify with the manufacturer to see if your holster/light combo will work before purchasing. Most holsters will work with with both models but it's alwayws best to verify.
The Raven Concealment Systems VG3 Holster will work with both versions.
REVISION: 12/20/2017 Surefire XH35 Masterfire.
On December 18th, 2017 Surefire announced the release of the XH35. It's a 1,000 lumen rail mounted pistol light similar to the X300UH-B released earlier this year. It uses the same T-Slot mounting system (covered later in this post) as the X300U-B and uses Surefires Masterfire Rapid Deploy Holster.
The XH35 and the Surefire Masterfire Holster
The Surefire XH35 is meant for use with Surefires Masterfire holster which is an OWB holster that offers active retention and is compatible with nearly every handgun that has the light attached since the retention is on the light. The holster also allows a suppressor to be used on the pistol if desired.
The XH35 is NOT compatible with current X300U-A or X300U-B holsters and as of this post there is only one company making an IWB holster for it but more are expected to become available in the future.
The light itself features a 1,000 lumen output and uses Surefires newly developed MaxVision beam which offers more of a flood as opposed to the traditional concentrated hotspot found on the X300U-A & X300U-B models as well as all their other popular lights from years past.
The XH35 also has different mode settings activated by a button/switch on the bottom. The available modes are:
-Off/ High Strobe (1,000 lumens)
-Off/ Single Output Low (300 lumens)
-Off/ Single Output High (1,000 lumens)
It should be noted that the activation switch is exactly the same as the original X300U-A & X300U-B. Press in for momentary and toggle up or down for constant on. Pressing the switch multiple times will NOT change the output of the light or switch through different modes. The light has different modes but they are only changed by the two buttons on the bottom which are partially shrouded and difficult to move. It's pretty much impossible to inadvertently switch between modes.
The selector on the bottom of the XH35 to switch between modes.
X300U-A in front & XH35 in the rear.
X300U-A on the left & XH35 on the right.
The XH35 on the left & X300U-A on the right.
REVISION 07/10/2018 Surefire XH30 Masterfire.
At the 2018 NRA Annual Meeting (NRAAM) Surefire announced their XH30 1,000 lumen weapon mounted light. This is basically the same light as the previously released XH35 light but instead it features the Total Internal Reflector (TIR) which is the beam pattern found in the original X300U-A (& X300U-B) as well as nearly every other light they've produced. It's the bean pattern that Surefire is known for and provides deep penetration through photonic barriers and illuminates well at further distances.
It is identical in shape, size, function and compatibility with the XH35. The only change to this light is the beam pattern, which for many will be a very welcome change.
These lights are in stock and shipping now! GET YOURS HERE
A picture of the XH30 at NRAAM 2018 taken by Recoil Magazine
*Special Note About Surefire Packaging
It’s pretty safe to say that any X300U-A model you purchase from a retailer will be the upgraded 600 lumen version although it may be possible that a few still have some old stock and you may wind up with the lower output 500 lumen version. As time goes on the odds will go down.
Every X300U-A that we sell is guaranteed to be the 600 lumen version.
It should be noted that Surefire has tens of thousands of boxes created for the old X300U-A (500 lumen output) and are labeled as such. Rather than throw out those old boxes and (money) they have been placing stickers that say “600” over the “500” marking on the box. This applies to both the X300U-B and the new X300U-A versions. It’s no cause for concern, just something to be aware of if your box has a sticker on it. SEE THIS PRESS RELEASE FROM SUREFIRE
The press release from Surefire regarding the packaging
These pictures show the stickers that you might find on the package.