Malkoff M60 Mod

When I bought my first Surefire 6P flashlight, I found that the Malkoff M60 (now replaced by the M61) was one of the best P60 LED drop-ins.

I like the beam profile produced by the optic in the Malkoff M60, a hot spot with useful spill. The disadvantage of the Malkoff M60 – for me – is its single mode. I do not need 100% brightness all the time – lower levels of light are sometimes more useful.

One of my favorite flashlight mods is using the DealExtreme 16-Mode 3W 3.7V 7135 Circuit Board for Cree and SSC Emitters (SKU 7612). I like this circuit board because one of the groups has only low-mid-high, with no strobe. I’ve modded my Lumapower D-Mini, an Ultrafire C2 and a few P60 drop-ins with this board.

The modes are in three groups:

1. Low (10%) – Mid (35%) – High (100%) – Strobe – SOS
2. Low (10%) – Mid (35%) – High (100%)
3. Low (10%) – Mid (35%) – High (100%) – Special Police Type Strobe – Slow Strobe (3Hz) – Super Slow Strobe (1Hz) – SOS

Malkoff M60 with driver board removed

I recently bought a Surefire 6P flashlight body that was bored to accept a larger diameter 18650 battery. I thought the DX 7612 would be a good mod for a Malkoff M60. The main problem was getting up the nerve to try to mod the Malkoff M60 because of the possibly destroying a $55 drop-in, but I decided to try it.

The sealing material used around the circuit board and LED in the M60 is called potting. The rear of the drop-in is sealed with this material. I thought it would be a hard material but I found the it was actually soft and rubbery. I used a jeweler’s screwdriver as a chisel to start removing it. As I got close to the circuit board, I used a little lacquer thinner to soften the black sealing material. When I removed all the potting from the top of the board, I used some more lacquer thinner to soften the material in the gaps in the side. After removing the solder, I was able to pry up the circuit board and remove it.

The diameter of the DX 7612 board is about 17mm. The Malkoff had about 16.5mm diameter space for the board, so I used a Dremel sanding band to reduce the diameter of the 7612.

Malkkoff M60 with DealExtreme DX 7612 driver

As I disassembled the Malkoff, the robust design was easy to see. When I desoldered the Malkoff circuit board from the housing, I could tell from the way it retained the heat (because of its mass), how well it would work as a heat sink inside the flashlight body.

With the DX 7612 on high and an 18650 battery, the modded Malkoff output looks pretty much the same as the stock Malkoff M60 on high with two RCR123s. I haven’t taken any measurements, but the specs for the 7612 says it puts out 1000ma @ 3.7v, and since I didn’t move the LED or the optic, it seems like my modded Malkoff M60 is just like the stock one but with different levels.

Surefire 6P Switch Mod

Surefire 6P Flashlight
Surefire 6P Flashlight (photo courtesy of SureFire, LLC)

I bought a Surefire 6P to house my Malkoff Devices M60 drop-in. You have to be kind of a flashaholic to understand that sentence.

Surefire describes the 6P as a “Compact (pocket sized), high-intensity incandescent flashlight for tactical, self-defense, and general use. (It) produces a smooth, brilliant, pre-focused tactical-level beam with three times the light of a big two-D-cell flashlight.”

The 6P’s stock lamp assembly is a P60 incandescent lamp. You can stop right there and you have a great flashlight that puts out 65 lumens.

Malkoff Devices M60 Drop-in
Malkoff Devices M60 Drop-in

The Malkoff Devices M60 drop-in (now replaced by the M61 with a Cree XP-G) uses a Cree XLamp XR-E LED (Q5 bin) as a replacement for the incandescent lamp. In addition to being more rugged, it puts out 235+ lumens. Gene Malkoff, the creator of the M60 says, “It will easily illuminate objects at 350+ feet and will blind opponents within a 100 foot radius.” That’s what we want.

Naturally, when I get something new, I take it apart and think about how to mod it. My new Surefire’s switch seemed like a good candidate.

The Surefire Z41 tailcap is standard on the 6P. It has a momentary option by pushing the tailcap switch. Rotating the tailcap will turn on the light for constant operation.

Surefire Z41 tailcap
Surefire Z41 tailcap with McClicky switch

Most of my flashlights use a forward clicky switch. A slight press of the switch (before it clicks), will momentarily turn on the light and a full press (when the switch clicks), will latch it on. I’ve put the McClicky switch in seven or eight of my flashlights and thought it would work well in the Surefire 6P. I could have bought a Surefire Z59 Click-on Tailcap Switch or the Oveready McClicky Kit for USD $22, but it’s more satisfying making my own.

I yanked out the insides of the existing switch and unscrewed the retaining ring. Sometimes the retaining ring is glued. I’ve put the tailcap in a ziplock bag and boiled it hot water for five minutes and the glue will release.

McClicky Switch
McClicky Switch with soldered brass tab for contact

Since I only had a plastic retaining ring to hold in the new switch, I soldered a piece of brass to the McClicky switch so that it contacts the inside of the switch housing. I put a dab of solder on the contact on the other side so the retaining ring would seat the switch flat inside the tailcap.

If you have an aluminum or brass retaining ring, there is no need to solder a tab – just screw it in. You must be careful about the inner part of the retaining ring contacting the positive connection on the raised plastic below the contact spring – it will short out the switch and be “on” all the time. A piece of shrink tubing or electrical tape wrapped around it will prevent a short.

Using that piece of brass also meant I had to remove the anodizing from the inside of the housing so the brass tab makes electrical contact with the side of the tailcap. With one mod that I did, I lost the lock out function, which “prevents accidental activation of light during tactical engagements, transportation, or storage,” according to Surefire. On another mod, the lock out still worked. In my case, I’m very unlikely to have a tactical engagement, so I can remove the batteries for transportation and storage.

  Glow-in-the-Dark Silicone Tailcap
Glow-in-the-Dark Silicone Tailcap

To bottom it off, I replaced the black rubber push button cover with a Glow-in-the-Dark Silicone Tailcap…maybe a not too tactical feature.