I’ve always waffled on buying a Laulima light — they look amazing, but the larger lights seemed like they wouldn’t offer something I would use over my HDS, and the Hoku is a twisty, so it was out. Recently-ish, they came out with the ‘Slim’ lineup of lights, which run off a 14500-sized cell — these are fantastic looking. I snagged a Malihini Slim in Titanium second-hand, and I fell in love.
Power, Size, Materials, Emitter
This light comes in various options across the board, but know that you pick the light body, add a driver, and a clip for the light — three steps, three things in the cart needed. (Don’t worry, they’ll email you if you mess up here.) This Malihini Slim is titanium, with an H17Fx driver, a Nichia 519a 3500k emitter, and a full-length dimple clip (black switch boot) if you want to replicate the setup.
First, the light body: Holy shit, you guys, this light body is so nice I cannot express it to you in words. I’ve seen well-made lights and nicely finished lights. Laulima takes the metalwork to a level I’ve not seen. You can always tell in the threads, and wow, are these threads smooth like butter. The machining overall is outstanding. The size is killer, too, offering a slimmer profile than a 16340/18350 sized light while still giving you something large enough to handle easily. The length is long enough for a full-hand grip.
The driver is something easily programmable with a multitude of options. It runs off high-output flattop 14500 cells and emits impressive light. This is an excellent all-around driver, giving you many programming options and quick-switching to groups. It’s not as quick to use on the fly as Anduril is if you want to take advantage of different modes/groups quickly, but it does offer good features. That would be my only gripe with the driver: a faster/more straightforward way to swap groups.
Nichia’s 519a remains my favorite emitter, and this 3500k offering is stellar, as expected. The beam shape it emits is ideal for an EDC light, offering enough throw for walking and looking at what made a noise — while still giving a broad enough beam and spill for close-up work. The 3500k temp feels warmer than that but is still cool enough not to feel out of place during the daylight hours. It’s a near ideal ‘only light’ color temp as it isn’t jarring in the middle of the night either.
In Use and Carry
The best part about using this light is holding this light. The grooves on the barrel, the dimples on the head of the light — they offer a tremendously good tactile response. The overall size and taper mean you can easily handle the light without fumbling when mode switching or using the light. And the machining gives the subtlest of texture to the entire light. It’s all very satisfying and very ‘this is something special’ feeling.
Even the clip, in this regular length configuration, is easy to slide on and off but also holds very securely — there’s no worry about your expensive light dropping to the concrete below. The only visible marks on my light from using it exist on that pocket clip — as it should be in a way, but which I also find a little surprising given how much I’ve carried this light.
It’s a heavy light, not stainless steel heavy, but nowhere close to being a featherweight. That gives this light an overall solid feeling, that indestructible feeling you get with things that feel heavier than they visually look like they should be.
The H17Fx driver on mine is set up such that two quick taps take you to a turbo, but otherwise, the light moves through a Low-Med-High setup I chose, and importantly it always comes on at low. I’ve found that to be a really good setup here, with my only complaint being that the low would be great if it were about 50% lower than it already is. I’m a bit of a super-low-output snob, and while it is a decently dim light on the lowest setting, I do find myself yearning for a little lower output.
Even though this light comes in longer than most I carry, the smaller diameter means it carries a bit better in my pocket. At the same time, the weight makes the light known in my pocket.
The tail switch is nicely recessed, keeping accidental activation to zero for me and allowing your thumb to quickly index where the control is, even in the dark.
My only wish for the design of this light would be for a spot to install a tritium tube which would help locate the light in the dark. So give me a tritium spot and a lower-low — near perfect if we hit those, even without, still near perfect.
This light is stupidly nice, the beam shape is great, and it feels fantastic in your hand. My original note, when I created the outline for this light, was, “I am so buying more Laulima after this,” and I already have. That’s how good this light is, and so far, there’s only been a handful of lights I have experienced which warranted that feeling/action on my part.
It’s not an inexpensive light, but once you pick this light up in your hand, you will not wonder why it costs that much. Highly recommended.