David's Performance and Training Corner
With David Salthouse from APC, Inc.
Director of Training & Program Development

The Key to Keychain Lights

A Quick Look at a Small Light, the Fenix E01

In many of my articles and classes, I really push the importance of having at least one flashlight on you at all times. Not only for defensive reasons, but also for emergencies, or just plain convenience.  For that reason, I think keychain lights are a great, easy to carry addition to your defensive tool box. After years of testing keychain lights of various styles, and having them break in short order, I have finally found a light that is bright, easy to carry, operate and holds up over extended use. That light, and the focus of this article is the Fenix E01.

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the Fenix, please allow me a minute to air my grievances with the majority of keychain lights on the market.

Too Complicated

Many of the lights available are multi feature lights. Push the switch and the light goes on. Push it again and the light dims, or flashes in an pattern. These features are great if you are in lost in the woods and trying to signal for help, but can get annoying when you are just trying to find a keyhole or find something you dropped in the dark.

Too Delicate

I don’t think that people realize how much of a beating a flashlight carried on a keychain takes. Between being shoved in pockets and mashed against keys and other metal items, to being dropped to the floor when you are trying to open your door with your hands full, the typical plastic construction and delicate wiring will just fail over time.

Light Is Not Directed

Many of the keychain LED lights have a bare led, the light is not directed forward. This creates a good spread of light, but lacks any real reach.

Coin Batteries/Batteries Are Hard To Change

No matter how great a light it, the battery is going to die and when it does, nothing is worse than having to buy special tools to open a light. Then have a hard time finding some strange number coin battery.

Enter the Fenix E01

The E01 is a small aluminum flashlight with type III Anodized finish.  It is powered by one AAA battery and is not much larger than one.  The light is covered with knurling to provide a positive grip and has a hole in the tail cap to accommodate a split ring, to attach to a lanyard or a key. A nice touch by Fenix is that even while it is attached to keys, it can tail stand and illuminate a room. The light uses a Nichia White GS LED with a life of over 100,000 hours. The light has no lens, but the cone around the light is bare aluminum and reflects light forward well. The light is rated at about 10 lumens and has an impressive 21 hour runtime.  The light is operated by a twist switch, and while not as easy as a button, is more reliable and you are less likely to accidentally activate in your pocket.

My first impression of the light was that it was pretty solid and while not tiny, was a good size for a keychain. I have carried the light for about 6 months daily know and I have to tell you that even with a good amount of use, I haven’t even changed the battery yet. The light’s knurling provided for a solid grip, even when my hands were wet. The lights output of 10 lumens produces a good amount of light, although this is not intended to compete with a more powerful tactical light. In a pinch, if you had nothing else, it would provide enough light to identify a threat at close range. I can also tell you that the finish is pretty tough, it looks warn, but not damaged.

In conclusion, the Fenix E01 is a great package for a keychain light. The light is durable, attractive, available in many colors and produces a good amount of light for daily tasks. The best think about the Fenix is the price, about $15 from many online retailers. Needless to say, I give 2 thumbs up to Fenix with their key friendly E01! Pick one up and I have no doubt it will serve you well!

Take care and stay safe, remember, failing to train is training to fail.

Stay safe and remember, Failing to Train is Training to Fail!
Email David at with comments, questions, or topics you would like him to cover in a future article.