If you are looking for a compact, yet bright flashlight for EDC, you may wish to consider the Nightstick MT-210. I’ve had one for several months, and while it is not perfect, it is an adequate performer.
However, it does have some drawbacks that you need to be aware of before you buy it. Otherwise, you may wind up disappointed. The light appears to meet the performance specifications Nightstick claims, but I have a hard time recommending the light.
Let’s take a look at the light, how I tested it and why I am hesitant to recommend the light.
The Nightstick MT-210 is a very compact flashlight made by Bayco Products. The company makes a wide variety of industrial products like work lighting, booster cables and extension cords. In more recent times, the company introduced the Nightstick brand of flashlights that cover applications from law enforcement to hazardous materials.
Part of the Mini-TAC Pro line of metal flashlights, the MT-210 is slightly longer than the AA battery that powers it. It is drop resistant, waterproof, rated at 120 lumens and even has a belt clip. Bayco includes an Energizer Industrial alkaline battery to power it.
As with most modern flashlights, this one uses an LED instead of an incandescent bulb. This gives the flashlight better impact resistance, longer life, higher efficiency and more of a white color to the light beam. Bayco uses industry standard CREE LEDs in the MT-210 flashlights.
Bayco does not give suggested retail prices. However, I have seen this model light in the $20 – 30 range at a number of different online retailers. Like many of the other tactical flashlights on the market, the MT-210 is made in China at ISO 9001 certified factories.
Bayco adheres to the voluntary ANSI/NEMA FL 1 flashlight standard that allows consumers to make better comparisons of flashlights between manufacturers. These standards are not perfect and often misunderstood. Jump down to the testing section for additional information on how this light performs.
|weight (as stated by manufacturer)||2.2 oz|
|weight (with battery as measured)||2.1 oz|
|impact resistance||2 meters|
|waterproof?||30 minutes @ 1 meter|
I was immediately drawn to this light due to its very compact nature. I like to carry a flashlight everywhere I go. In cargo shorts, I will typically carry a Pro Tac HL, but for most everything else, I have been using the Streamlight Pro Tac 2AAA. Since the MT-210 has a higher output rating (more below) at about half the size, I was very interested in trying it out.
The flashlight tucks very neatly into the corner of a jeans pocket, and I found that it did not get in the way of my normal use of the pocket. I could reach in and grab something without getting hung up on the light.
In addition to being compact, the MT-210 is very lightweight. With the battery, I found it came in at 2.1 ounces. It did not add any perceptible weight to my EDC (every day carry) gear.
Although it felt impossibly small in the hand, I was able to use the light in conjunction with a handgun for room clearing and target identification.
My biggest concern with the light was that it was so small I might misplace it. Fortunately, I did not.
As with many of the modern flashlights, there is more than just one output level built into the MT-210. In fact, there are four: high, medium, low and strobe. The measured output levels are as follows:
One of the things I would like to see changed is the removal of the medium power level. In use, I found no need for it, as the useful light it gave me was not really any different from the low level. Essentially, I found it superfluous and thought it could be removed entirely from the light without any loss of usefulness.
Also, I think I would be happy if the low level output was cut in half. For small tasks – such as providing light to get a key in a door or reading a note – 30 lumens was still a bit of overkill for my tastes.
The Streamlight ProTac 2AAA that I reviewed, by comparison, has a low mode of only 10 lumens. I found that to be a very good output level for many things.
Skip down to the power section to see how well a single battery performed at the high output level.
Disco Inferno: the Strobe Mode
The strobe mode seemed to work very well: flashes were bright and fast. Standing on the wrong side of the light, I can say that the strobing was somewhat disorienting in low light.
I’m not sure that many people know how to properly apply a strobe flashlight for maximum effect. Frankly, only a few people get the kind of training they really should with flashlights anyway. A strobe mode in this light is not something I would consider necessary, but it is there if you want it.
Janet Knew It’s All About Control
One of the major problems that flashlight manufacturers have to overcome is how to create a switching system that allows the user to quickly access the various output modes. Some systems do a very good job, while others are just plain awful. I found the Nightstick falls somewhere in the middle.
The MT-210 has a single push-button switch located in the tailcap. There are a pair of wings that help to prevent an accidental activation of the switch.
A half press of the switch gives the user a momentary activation while a complete press clicks the light on in a constant mode. Multiple half presses will advance the light through the different output modes. The order is high – medium – low – strobe.
Some lights will only advance to the next mode regardless of how much time has passed. This means that if you are trying to work a room with momentary illumination, you only get the desired mode 25% of the time.
Fortunately, the flashlight quickly resets back the the high output mode. So, if you press several times rapidly, you will cycle through the options. However, if you pause between presses, the light will only output at the high mode on each press.
The problem I found was that the pauses to get the light to reset back to high were too long for my needs. If Bayco tightened up the timing so it took shorter pauses to reset the switch, it would be a much better control system.
The button is pretty stiff and requires more force to activate that I would like. There is nothing wrong with it – just my personal preference.
I would much rather see this light reduced to either a single output (high only) or to a high/low with the elimination of the strobe and medium modes. This would simplify the controls greatly without eliminating any of the features that I would need in a light of this size.
Fortunately, Bayco offers the Nightstick MT-100 series that does away with the extra modes. These lights have a single mode with constant- and momentary-on functionality. The MT-110 uses a single AA battery and is rated for 90 lumens for 60 minutes. It has the same drop resistance, but is not waterproof.
Manufacturers can make all kinds of crazy claims when it comes to marketing their flashlights. The ANSI/NEMA FL 1 standard was introduced to help consumers better compare the claims made by the different companies. However, the standard is voluntary, not aggressively enforced and can be gamed in their current state.
It is imperative that independent testing and evaluation be done to provide you with the best information before you spend your money. To better serve you, I developed my own testing criteria and strictly follow it on each flashlight review I do.
- the runtime of a flashlight to 50% and 10% of the peak output,
- the amount of heat a flashlight generates,
- if the light is drop resistant, and
- if the light is water resistant.
Check out my page on flashlight reviews to get the full rundown on how I test these things.
Output Over Time
Using an integrating sphere, I am able to measure output over time. This does not measure lumens, but rather tracks the amount of total output measured in lux over time. These measurements are not absolute numbers, but relative to the time and to other lights I have tested in this sphere. It is not possible to reliably convert the lux readings to lumens using my sphere.
With a fresh Duracell Coppertop alkaline battery, I measured output as reflected above. As you can see the light output drops significantly almost immediately. After only 6 minutes, the flashlight’s output drops below 50% of the original output.
I ran an output test twice on this flashlight. Both output charts looked very similar. I also compared my measurements with the runtime chart provided by the company (below.) As you can see, the company’s measurements are similar to my own.
The following video is a visual representation of the light output for 90 minutes. The surface is a glossy dry erase board, so the light may appear brighter in the video that it would in person. The light was set up at 18″ from the target surface.
As you can see, there is a noticable drop in light output around the five minute mark, leveling off at about the eight minute mark. This also corresponds with the measured output.
I suspect that many people will change batteries in a flashlight around the point where a flashlight output is cut in half. If this is you, you will be swapping the battery a lot with this flashlight.
Since output drops more than 50% in only 6 minutes, I have real problems in recommending this flashlight as a tactical light. Since it limps along at about 1/3 of the peak output for nearly 3 hours, it may make for a decent prepping light if you understand that it will not be good for the rated output levels.
As I stated in the original article, the MT-210 does not generate much heat. External temperature measurements reinforced my observations:
The peak external temperature only reached about 87.7˚ F in my measurements. This is actually cooler than the outside temperature on the day I measured it. Ambient temperature when I took these readings was approximately 78˚ F.
I never felt the light get warm during normal use, nor did I feel any heat coming from it when running it constantly in the final lighting test I ran. If you accidentally left this light on, it would not melt gear or burn your skin.
So, just how much visibility does that peak output provide? Below are a pair of photos separated by a slider. The dark photo on the left is the control photo taken at the same exposure as the one on the right. The right photo was taken seconds after the first with the MT-210 on the high setting with a fresh battery.
Both photos were taken at a distance of 25′ to the target.
For the sake of comparison, here is the MT-210 (left) and the Streamlight ProTac 1AA (right.)
Bayco uses 6061-T6 aluminum for the flashlight body. The company states the MT-210 has a “Type 3 hard anodized finish.” Presumably this is the MIL-A-8625 Type III hard coat anodizing. Type III anodizing provides a high degree of corrosion resistance and abrasion/wear resistance through an electro-chemical process that bonds the finish to the base metal. In fact, 50% of the thickness of the finish is under the surface of the treated metal.
Anodized metals are not immune from scratches or other damage. I’ve got a few AR-15 receivers with plenty of nicks and scrapes. However, the process provides an increased level of protection when compared to other kinds of finishes.
I did not find that the anodized finish on the MT-210 was particularly durable. The simple act of removing the belt clip left two rather obvious scratches in the finish of the light body.
This flashlight is rated as being resistant to a drop onto a hard surface from 2 meters. I dropped the flashlight from 2 meters using three different positions: head first, tail first and side first. The drop surface was a concrete sidewalk.
The MT-210 survived each of these drops without any obvious damage to the controls, LED or lens. The light continued to work normally after the impacts.
However, the light’s finish was significantly damaged on each drop. The point(s) of impact suffered removal of the black finish and visible deformation of the aluminum underneath. This is not terribly surprising as it was dropped onto concrete from a distance of more than 6.5′. However, the damage is more than what I’ve seen on other flashlights dropped from the same height.
According to Bayco, the MT-210 is waterproof to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. I ran a test that had the light suspended underwater at slightly deeper than 1 meter for 30 minutes. The light passed this test without a problem. See the video below:
There was no water intrusion, and the light worked normally. I can’t ask for anything more than that.
The Nightstick MT-210 is the first flashlight from Bayco that I have ever reviewed. It has a lot of positive attributes including its small size, light weight and resistance to drops and water.
Sometimes people will fail to calculate the ongoing costs of a product when considering it for purchase. CR-123A batteries, for example, are exceptionally useful in tactical flashlights, but they are not the cheapest thing to replace on a regular basis. Since this Nightstick uses a single AA battery, ongoing maintenance costs should be inexpensive.
However, the relatively short period of time that the unit can put out its rated 120 lumens is disappointing. If you replaced the battery every time the flashlight output drops below 50%, that would be roughly every 6 minutes of use.
Due to the nature of the ANSI standards, a flashlight can drop from the peak output quickly but still maintain a high output rating. That is one of the reasons why honest evaluations of flashlights coupled with the measured performance curve are so important to consumer purchasing decisions.
The switch needs to either have a high-only option, or drastically reduce the amount of time between presses that will cause it to change modes. As it is now, clearing a room using multiple flashes can cause the output modes to change.
Does the MT-210 deserve your consideration? Perhaps, but you should know what you are getting so you do not have unrealistic expectations. In this, Bayco should be given a great deal of credit. Many manufacturers bury the performance curve information on their products, but Bayco does not.
For a tactical flashlight, I cannot recommend the MT-210. It’s not a bad light, but it simply isn’t suitable for tactical use in its current form.
There are a number of alternative lights on the market that provide better light output over time and have better switches for tactical use. Two flashlights you may wish to consider are the Streamlight ProTac 1AA and the ProTac 1AAA. Both are single cell flashlights that provide a significantly greater degree of light output for a longer amount of time.
In the interests of complete transparency, there are some things that you need to know about this Nightstick flashlight review.
You, the reader, are my customer. Without your support, this site means nothing. Therefore, I want to make sure I give you the best information I can. Where I fall short, I expect you to hold me accountable and tell me about it.
The flashlight was provided to me by Bayco for the express purpose of testing and evaluating it. I did not promise to do a positive review of the MT-210, merely a fair one. No money or other forms of consideration were exchanged or offered for me to do the review.
At this time, Bayco is not an advertiser, nor am I in any talks with them to be one.
Some of the links in this review are to Amazon.com where I can earn a small referral fee if you decide to purchase the product from that site. The fee – also known as an affiliate commission – does not alter the price you are charged. Though small, the commissions do add up and help keep the site running. Click here to see this flashlight on Amazon.
This review was originally written in December of 2014. It has been updated in August of 2015 to meet the current flashlight testing standards I have implemented. More on these tests can be seen here.