Ultrafire C3


July 17 2001


The Ultrafire C3 is a very popular flashlight. You can find it in different configurations with different branding printed on the tube but the form-factor remains the same. It seems every flashlight enthusiast owns at least one. It is a popular topic of discussion in forums all over the internet. I wanted to find out if it was superior to the C78 which I've been using for nearly two years.

I don't know what it is with Chinese manufacturers but their manufacturing is very inconsistent. You can order an item one week and order the very same item the following week and get something different from what you previously received. It is unfortunate that this is a widely followed practice with all products coming out of China. It does instill in your mind the fact that China is known for counterfeits. I think they have perfected the art of counterfeiting.

If you peruse several Chinese online retailers you will notice the C3 or C78 come with varying configurations. What is frustrating is you never know which configuration you will get. All you can do is place an order for the flashlight and you are at the mercy of the manufacturer which assembly you will receive at that moment.

So here I was on ebay looking for a C3 and found one which presumably has a Cree Q5 LED. I made the gamble and placed my order. Upon receipt I was delighted to see how nicely machined the aluminum body was. The anodizing looked very nice and similar to my C78. I would even say it looks better than my C78. The machining of the threads are well done but were not lubricated. When I inspected the driver I was bemused to find different components than what I was expecting. For one, the traces on the PCB are not gold plated. This C3 has a glow in the dark switch cover and o-rings. The glass lens did not have o-rings to seal it. The reflector is polished aluminum with orange peel texture.



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