I have an Update for you on the Cloud Defensive OWL.
Here’s a message from the CEO, Sean McCauley:
We just wanted to give you an update on your Optimized Weapon Light order.
The OWLs are in production now and working their way through the process of starting out billet aluminum and then turning into the most advanced weapon light produced. So they’re coming, as promised. We do have some updates for you on features and timelines – stuff we would want to know at this point if we were you.
As we announced via our social media channels, we did make a design change to the OWL a little while ago. And, admittedly, it was late in the process to make such a change. Originally, the system was designed to run on three (3) CR123 batteries. And it worked fine. It was bigger and heavier than we wanted. Many saw this version at SHOT Show, when the OWL was introduced. However one thing you’ll learn about us: We exist for the end-user. And your combined feedback was that you wanted the OWL “smaller, lighter and brighter”. We knew we could do that and could not in good conscious sell you guys a light that was less-than our best effort. We’ll never bring a product to market just for the sake of getting a fast sale. That’s not how we roll.
So we listened to your feedback. And then made an in-line design change to facilitate those requests. That meant extensive structural change to the system and electrical updates to accommodate the single 18650 rechargeable battery required for the task. So while the concept didn’t change, pretty much every dimension on the OWL did change. It meant making a pivot on our battery purchases and other production and support equipment. In fact, it had significant down-stream implications for production. Those are challenges we were able to handle and we are in production now.
It did slow us down from our original timeline for late summer 2018, however. Because of those changes, we are now expecting to ship the OWLs around Thanksgiving. I know that part sucks – we hate a delay too. If we can beat that timeline, we certainly will. We’ll never rush a product to market for the sake of the timeline though. The quality you guys demand is our top priority. So while we know the delay in the release is not great, we also know the end result here is a light unlike any other. One that is worth every dollar you paid and every day you wait.
If for any reason you need to cancel your order due to this, rest assured you will receive an immediate refund. But if you have gone this far, I sincerely hope you’ll stay the course with us and be able to put the OWL on your gun this fall. Everything we do here is for you guys, we want you all happy, and the OWL is going to be awesome.
As we get further into production, keep an eye on our social media. We’ll be doing a lot of pictures and video to show you guys your OWLs as they come to life. There will be a lot of behind the scenes stuff and just overall fun content in the coming months. It’s a bit unprecedented to do that in the world of manufacturing but we want to share the excitement of the project with you guys as much as possible. And as consumers ourselves, it’s the kind of stuff we would want to see.
Now, the good news for you in this extensive. You’re getting a light with capability and equipment you had not been aware of previously. And you are actually getting a few things you did not even intend to pay for.
A few bullet-points for you on it:
– OWL is now a little bit shorter than it’s competitors. A substantial change given the size of the original version you have seen.
– OWL is now over 30% lighter that it was before. A very substantial thing and that alone was worth the delay.
– The OWL now runs on a single 18650 rechargeable battery now. Because the 18650 is simply far superior to the CR123s and even 16340s. It has an incredible amount of energy density and as such, we can get performance we were not otherwise getting. Lumen/Lux/Candela ratings via ANSI lab testing will be completed for the official numbers. But simply said, this is more powerful than it was before…and it was easily beating the competition in its prior form. So your OWL will be very potent.
– With the new battery selection – it means your OWL is now upgradable, with the ability for you to simply put a different head on your light at any point in the future.
– Due to our change in moving to an 18650 battery, we felt it would be unreasonable for us to just ship the light without a battery. I feel most would agree with that statement and then expect us to ship the light with a battery. But we are doing one better for you: We’re shipping every light with TWO batteries. And due to the unique electrical system, the OWL adjusts the output on the light, based on the specific battery that you run. That means, you can control the output and run-time by using different batteries. Pretty cool when you stop and think about the implications of that. Nobody has that level of control on their weapon light. But you will.
So, one of the batteries you will get will be a Samsung battery. The other will be a Sanyo battery. The Samsung battery will give you maximal output. The Sanyo will give you a couple of hundred less lumens (roughly speaking and it will be hardly perceptible) but significantly enhanced run-time. So, based on your need, you can run those batteries (or others) to fit your mission profile.
– We are ALSO shipping each OWL with a custom charger for those batteries. It’ll have both an AC cord and a car adapter. It’s a “smart” charger, with an LCD display. This keeps you safer when charging your batteries, gives you more data during the charging process and makes evaluation of the battery charge a lot easier too. The value on this alone is substantial. It’s professional-grade and will serve you very well.
– The OWL runs on any 18650 that you put in it, protected or unprotected. Flat-top or button-top. Nobody else we know offers this kind of flexibility. This means you will have a wide potential selection of batteries. It means you are less-restricted.
As always though, quality batteries are all we will ever recommend you use. We’ll have a list of those for you. If you run cheap or poor-quality batteries in any system there is risk involved in that. So do not run unapproved batteries in the OWL. And stick to the batteries we tell you to use. And if you need more batteries, they are widely available and we will sell them at a price that most likely will beat anybody else. We’re here to help, not gouge you.
One more thought on the 18650 battery, in general: CR123s are not rechargeable. They are one-time use. And they average about $1.50 per battery for a quality cell. Not cheap. That would have been $4.50 for each “set” of batteries in the original OWL design. Conversely, the 18650s are good for hundreds of cycles. If you go with even highly conservative numbers, you can easily get 200 cycles from one of these batteries. That means your single 8 dollar 18650 battery is the equivalent to $900 in 123 batteries in the previous OWL design. Another fun note to give you an idea of the capability here: At 300 discharge cycles, the Samsung battery we are shipping you is good for 70% charge retention. And the average 18650 at only 50% charge has more energy density than 2 brand new CR123s. Like I said, powerful. And these things are good for a long time.
– The lug design and integrated switch are 100% intact as before. And we upgraded the switch cover as well so you’ll have a more tactile feel in that.
– The field-serviceable lens is still in place as well. As is the integrated tool in the tail cap for attaching the OWL to your weapon. Nothing has changed there.
– We removed the programmability feature of the light because our beta-testing revealed too much potential for end-user friction. Basically, if you ask 10 people how they want a programmable switch to work, you get 10 answers and nobody agrees. But, because we have an electrical system unique to anything we have found, we have the ability to control the light with our pressure switch in a way that others can not: You have a momentary and a constant-on capability with the same switch. It’s VERY intuitive and it’s the fastest way to control your light. Your thumb never has to come off the light to fully control it.
– Cost. We are actually going to increase the price of the OWL due to the changes made. But for you, that just means you got an even better deal than you thought – certainly an outcome we are glad to give you in thanks for your early support of our project.
– If you have any questions about anything, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]
The journey to bring the OWL life has been (and will continue to be) a fun one for us. We’re fully committed to doing right by you, the customer and end-user. There is no doubt in my mind you guys are going to be very happy when that package arrives on your door this fall.
In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to email us if you have any questions. We are always here to help. And we appreciate your support more than you know. So on behalf of everyone at Cloud Defensive, I’d like to say THANK YOU! We’ll keep working hard for you guys.
Cloud Defensive LLC