At the 2010 SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas I came across Gary Grundy at the Helios Systems booth. Grundy introduced me to the Cyclops Universal Flashlight Deployment product that Helios Systems has produced. The concept for the Cyclops is that a user can have different flashlights without having to worry about having a separate flashlight carrier to house the different flashlights.
Just looking at the Cyclops you can immediately notice its unique retention design and shape. The Cyclops looks like an orthodox cross or maybe even a Christmas angel. Attached to an oval-shaped base that houses the retention clips on the back side of the Cyclops, the rear frame is predominately a narrow vertical strip of self-lubricating nylon. But about 3/4 of the distance to the top of that narrow strip, the rear frame extends out in an open-arms shape about two inches from center line in both directions. This creates the rear strap. The head of the rear frame also flares out in a kind of halo-like appearance.
At the edge of the “arms” strap there is a hinge pin system similar to a door hinge. This hinge is attached to a flexible front strap that has what could be described as a neck brace on the middle of the strap on the top side. That “neck brace” is called the bell cradle and guides flashlights into the carrier. This hinge system is very unique and a central part of the Cyclops’ design to allow various flashlights of different designs and sizes to fit securely in the Cyclops carrier.
Behind the front strap are two more retention bars that run perpendicular to the front strap in a vertical fashion. These vertical straps take on an “X” pattern that flares out at the top and bottom. These straps are attached to the overall carrier at the bottom where a horizontal bar attaches to the base and creates a rest for any flashlight placed into the Cyclops carrier. The straps are not attached at the “X” and are flexible to allow retention for different sized flashlights. The vertical straps, however, do not have the hinges like the front strap, but instead are free standing at the “X”.
The Cyclops is made mostly from self-lubricating nylon making it light weight yet relatively sturdy. The Cyclops comes with two, metal attachment clips to secure the Cyclops on a variety of carriers. The first clip is slightly more wider than the other and is intended for belts, duty rigs or other larger clip-on areas. The second clip is more narrow and I was told is designed to fit the Molle style gear common in military and tactical equipment.
To secure a flashlight into the Cyclops the user places the bell of he flashlight onto the bell cradle (“neck brace”), while pushing the flashlight into the backstop. The user then simply rotates the flashlight upward or towards the body while pushing the flashlight down into the carrier. To retrieve the flashlight the user grabs the flashlight body, pulls the flashlight slightly away from the body while lifting up. The Cyclops has a patented ability to rotate up to 32 degrees parallel to the direction of the flashlight pull and then the sheath will snap back to its original position. Most draws will only require an 18 degree parallel draw or less. I can attest that the twisting motion is stiff enough that repeated rotated draws should not be a problem.
The Cyclops is approximately 4 3/4 inches tall and 3 5/8 inches wide, with a depth of about 2 1/4 inches from the rear of the belt clip to the front of the bell cradle. The Cyclops’ universal design makes it larger than most flashlight carriers. According to Helios Systems the Cyclops should accommodate most flashlights with a handle length of 4.5 inches to 8 inches and a bell diameter not exceeding 1 3/8 inches. Helios Systems also advises that the flashlight weight should not exceed 2 pounds.
In addition to these unique features the Cyclops base has the ability to mount the carrier in various angles for rapid deployment. By simply unscrewing the base retention screw the user can rotate the base and mount the carrier so that the flashlight extends outward at various clock positions. The 12:00 position has the flashlight extending straight up while 6:00 has the flashlight extending straight down. The 3:00 and 9:00 positions allow for deployment on a horizontal plane forward or backward, and then there are angled positions at 1:30, 4:30, 7:30 and 10:30. The adjustment literally takes less than one minute to complete. This feature is available on both the duty rig base and the Molle base.
Helios Systems recommends a periodic check of the Cyclops for proper rotating function and to make sure the action is smooth. Should field use cause the Cyclops to become dirty Helios Systems cautions users to not use petroleum-based solvents or lubricants as such products can damage the self-lubricating nylon, causing the Cyclops to become brittle and prone to breakage. If cleaning is ever needed the user simply needs to place the Cyclops in an enclosed container with warm water a few drops of dishwasher detergent. Shake the container for about one minute, allow to sit for a couple of minutes, and repeat if needed. Once done, rinse the Cyclops with clean water and dry as much as possible.
I found the design, concept and materials of the Cyclops to be unique and practical for use. Most civilian users should find the Cyclops a very versatile addition to their equipment lists. However, with many police officers today carrying more and more equipment on their duty belts I could see a potential spacing problem with the Cyclops’ wider design that also extends the carrier further from the body. In my follow-up article, I’ll cover this concern in more depth as I evaluate the Cyclops after carrying it on duty.
Helios Systems offers the Cyclops at the MSRP of $29.95 making it reasonably priced.
Helios Systems also offers several other products, including a universal O.C. spray holder called the Vulcan and the soon to be released Hydra and Hydra-Multi. The Hydra is a universal single pistol magazine holder, and the Hydra-Multi is a universal multi-tool holder.