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2/4/2017 3:30 PM
 

What are the current best/better options for Weapon Mounted Lights for both pistol and rifle? 

I ran Surefire and Insight lights years ago.  Currently I only have 1 Streamlight TLR-1 and an Elusive Wildlife 250 that I have taken a mess of animals with in the last few years on the AR and Ruger MKII.

Where do the Surefire G2 (or similar) with a VTAC or Arisaka type mount fit in?

Are the Inforce lights worth looking into?

I assume LED is currently the way to go?

I would like to avoid tape switches, strobe, multiple buttons, or dimmable output.  Just toggle or push button On/Off with max power.   Low maintenance and durable.

Suggestions for Glock 19 (~200 lumen)

Suggestions for SBR or 16” GP AR (+200 lumens)


Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
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2/5/2017 4:40 PM
 
Strow:

      A couple of thoughts on weapon mounted lights ("WML"). I use WMLs on both handguns and carbines for work. My experience is that simpler is better. I avoid tape switches like the plague. I could never get them to stay where I wanted them to on guns and I had several issues of them becoming un-connected from the light. I typically like to have a WML placed so I can use it with either hand. I believe in being able to switch hands with both handguns and carbines which allows me to address corners etc. better. Lots of folks won't change hands/shoulders with handguns and carbines. That's their choice. I have suffered debilitating injuries of my dominant hand in the past. I train so I can run various weapons with either hand. As a result, I like lights I can run with either hand.

      As to handgun lights, the older Insights lights with plastic frames did not hold up well for me. I migrated towards Streamlights and never looked back. Most of the Streamlights I have are in the 100 lumen range. I may look at one of the TLR1 HL (high lumen) models. Surefire makes great WMLs but they are becoming more and more expensive. I can't see paying $300 for a light when I can pay $100 for a light that does the exact same thing and spend the rest on components.

    As to carbine lights. I really like the 500 lumen Surefire Fury lights. Pat Roger/EAG Tactical (God rest his soul) had a special run of these produced (sadly discontinued) that had a click on/off tail cap and did not have a variety of settings. They were simple and worked. "On" and you got 500 lumens of light and "Off" for well off. I have one mounted on a carbine in an Impact weapons Mount on a MagPul fore-end. All told I have about $190 for the light/mount/handguard. It works like a champ. If you run a free float handguard, there is a company in Hayden ID called Rosch Works that makes an integrated fixed front sight and light using, I believe, Malkoff components that is very slick. The only problem is that it tops out at about 250 lumens. If that amount of light works, great. It obviously mounts on top of the handguard at 12:00 o'clock and is therefore easily used with either hand. I am coming to appreciate more and more an either 12:00 or 6:00 o'clock mount. This isn't much of an issue with the tactical slings I run on these guns. A minor side benefit with this kind of set up is that they fit better in cases without lights sticking out from the sides of the carbine.

     As to lumens, I tend to think that 500 is about the minimum for a carbine. Especially if you deploy it outside. I had the opportunity to take a Carbine II class from Pat Rogers back in 2011 in Great Falls MT. Part of the class had a significant night firing portion. Our course of fire included a 50 yard stage. 500 lumens worked great. I ran a Surefire with a Malkoff head rated at about 235 lumens and did OK but I wished for more light. I saw one or two class members that tried to use handgun lights in the 100 lumen range and they seriously struggled to identify threat targets. I recently returned from SHOT and, after drooling all over the HPG booth, spent some time at the Streamlight booth. I asked if they had any lights that would easily allow me to identify and shoot coyote sized targets at 100+ yards. They showed me a version of the TLR with a larger head that produced a 770 lumen beam. It was very impressive and I may grab one. Streamlight also has a handheld light capable of producing 1,100 lumens. I was initially put off because of all the strobes etc. That said, they provide a set of instructions that allows you to modify the programming to limit the light to On/Off at the highest setting only. I have several friends using them. The jury is still out but so far, so good. 

    LEDs: Yep the way to go.

      Inforce: I'm not impressed with the early versions. I am a bit worried about their durability with plastic frames.

      Mounts: I'd check out the folks at Impact Weapons, Inc. My experience has been very positive. Pat Rogers spec'ed out a light weight version of an EAG/BCM carbine that used their mounts. I am aware of one individual who has one of these carbines and shoots it significantly. He has had no issues with the light (Fury) or IWC mounts. 

     Hope that helps.

 
New Post
2/5/2017 6:58 PM
 
My favorite weapon-mounted light on a G19 has been a Surefire X200B, which has a nice beam shape and modest lumen output, so it does not dazzle my eyes when searching a small room with white walls. (Actually, 99.9% of searching is done with hand-held lights, my favorite being the Surefire LX2, but there are moments I will want to illuminate a justifiable target, especially in a home-defense scenario, when I can be more-reasonably sure a target is not friendly.) The problem is finding an X200B. The original X200, and X200A, have inferior beams.

The X300 is bit brighter than I like in small white-walled rooms, but is acceptable, and its higher lumen output is beneficial in large indoor situations, and outdoors. The X300U is, for me, for outdoors, and very large interiors.

On handguns, I do not favor tape grip switches that extend from the light body, that compromise my grasp of the weapon.

The above is simply my opinion. Others may believe differently, and I do not argue with them, unless it affects my safety in some way. I work big-city police patrol, at night, which does not make me any kind of expert, but has allowed me time to develop an informed opinion over 3+ decades. Actually, my usual duty pistol, after a 14-year break*, is now, again, a 1911, with no light rail. I have enought lights on and about my person, at work, to make a WML, on the duty pistol, optional. As I type this, at home, it is night time, and the pistol within arm's reach is a G19, with the X200B mounted, and it will be on my hip, in a few minutes, when I walk Bella, my GSD.

The new Surefire XC1 may well be the new solution for the G19, but I have yet to try one. i almost bought one a few days ago, but instead bought another hand-held light, a Surefire P3X. (I already had/have a P3X, but misplaced it, and wanted that level of illumination for the Stupid Bowl weekend; and something big could go really wrong. Yes, we are "hosting" the Stupid Bowl today.)

*In 2002, I found that the mandated Safariland 070 duty holster prevented me from obtaining a consistent firing grip on a 1911, to the degree that my safety was compromised, so I switched to a different pistol, and let my "grandfathered" 1911 duty pistols lapse. By 2016, the Safariland 6360 duty holster had become standard, and a different chief, who loved the 1911, returned the 1911 to the list of approved duty handguns.

 
New Post
2/5/2017 8:13 PM
 
I use the TLR-1 HL on my duty weapon which is a Glock 19.I used to run just a flash light with my duty weapon. This was fine until you actually had to do something, like open a door, brace yourself to search under a bed, etc, etc. Now, I wouldn't go without a weapon light for work or home defense duty.

I use the Blackhawk Epoch holster. It was designed for the Glock 17 but fits the Glock 19. As the 17 is longer than the 19 there is a little "play" or movement with the 19. It rides a little lower and can bounce up and down. It hasn't affected my draw or shooting ability, and when locked in is just as secure as a 17 riding in there.

The only issue with weapon lights is that some of them are extremely bright with high lumen output. This can result in a little "backsplash" if you are in doors and the light reflects off windows/white painted walls/etc. Just something to consider and not really a game changer.

As for the price of the TLR, you can usually find it for around $100-130 dollars on most online retailers.
 
New Post
2/5/2017 8:24 PM
 
bc99 wrote:
I use the TLR-1 HL on my duty weapon which is a Glock 19.I used to run just a flash light with my duty weapon. This was fine until you actually had to do something, like open a door, brace yourself to search under a bed, etc, etc. Now, I wouldn't go without a weapon light for work or home defense duty.

 

Put a key ring on your light lanyard and stick your thumb in it.  You can open doors, change mags, etc.
 
New Post
2/6/2017 1:25 AM
 
Take-a-knee wrote:
bc99 wrote:
I use the TLR-1 HL on my duty weapon which is a Glock 19.I used to run just a flash light with my duty weapon. This was fine until you actually had to do something, like open a door, brace yourself to search under a bed, etc, etc. Now, I wouldn't go without a weapon light for work or home defense duty.

 

Put a key ring on your light lanyard and stick your thumb in it.  You can open doors, change mags, etc.

I hear you, never tried that. Still prefer the WML but that's an option.

I also used to like my flashlight just because I could hold it out away from my body at an angle. Anybody shooting at the light would possibly miss, giving up their position. With the WML it's usually pressed right out in front. Bullet magnet anybody? In really dark areas I'll still use my flashlight in my off hand angled up and away, weapon in my strong hand. Good info on this thread

 
New Post
2/6/2017 4:55 AM
 
Thank you all for the replies! It sounds like a pair of boots or two was worn out coming to your opinions!

Ponderosaposse, that is an excellent point about the ability to run the gun right or left handed.

Am I correct that for "inside" use on a pistol that much more than 200 lumens may be to much of a good thing?

For "outside" use 500 or more lumens is nice to have?



Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
New Post
2/6/2017 1:02 PM
 
Hey Strow -

Just throwing in my two cents on the G2s. I've been using SureFire G2s for just over a decade now, and I love them. I don't like having a light mounted on my pistol for several reasons, and I understand the pros and cons of having to hold a light while using the pistol (and train accordingly - it was actually my firearms instructor that started me down this path). The first G2 I owned - and I still have it - just runs. Originally it was dimmable, and now it ended up becoming a single output. I like the push cap, and I like having a high and low output - high out put = short battery life and that frustrates me. I don't know if its the best option out there, but it is a durable one. I know they have some newer models that are high output only. I have a G2X Tactical on my AR currently, which is a 300 lumen high output only light and it works well - same push-button end cap. I have no opportunities for night shoots so I have no idea how well this works at night, and nothing I've seen on their site has told me the range of use. I know a similar light my buddy has, the Streamlight ProTac, has a range of ~200m, but apart from them both having a ~300 lumen output, I don't know how similar the ranges would be.

For civilian use, I'm not sure you need a weapon mounted light to shoot past 200m, but that's really mostly based off my ideas of how they'd be used. If I'm anticipating much night time shooting (which would be hunting for me) at any range, I'd be much more inclined to pick up a FLIR than put a super powerful light with a super short battery life. Indoor use, a light on a carbine makes sense, but if extended (outdoor) night use is anticipated, FLIR would be my call. I've used them hunting hogs with some friends a while back and really loved them. (If I recall correctly one was on a 6.5 Grendel AR and the other on a 6.5 Creedmoor bolt action... so much fun.) Details on FLIR and hunting legality is not my field of expertise, and outside the topic of your post.

Anyways, I don't know your experience with the G2, I just commented cause I saw you mentioned it. I like it. I'm a big fan of Streamlights, they seem to work pretty well, but I don't use them as weapon lights (no reason, just haven't). But the G2s are tanks that are pretty durable.

Anecdotally, we've had some power outages at night here, and when I pull out one of my high out put lights (I have a couple in the 200-300 lumens range, and two that go over 500 lumens), turning them on after your eyes have adjusted indoors ... Really not cool. Ciliary spasms, "sun" spots, and loss of night vision. You can point them to the (white) ceiling and it looks like someone turned on the lights. I'm not sure what's gained indoors by having all those lumens, but I do have a few ideas on what is lost... Definitely a trade off.

Really curious to see other thoughts and suggestions. Solid topic.

- J
 
New Post
2/6/2017 9:58 PM
 
I just picked up one of the Streamlight Protac Rail Mount 2's for my carbine, so far I'm impressed. Their claimed outpput is 625 lumens, I don't have a scientific way of measuring it but it's at least twice as bright as the 200 lumen Inforce WML I had mounted before. I've only got about 150 rounds with it mounted but it hasn't flinched at all and the batteries are still running strong. The Inforce seemed to drain batteries even while just in storage, which isn't ideal. It comes with both tailcap switch and tape switch options and is either a temporary on or click to stay on. It has a strobe function too but you'd have to intentionally cycle the switch fast enough to activate it, so far I haven't done it accidentally. I haven't had the chance to shoot it outside yet, but in playing around "clearing" my apartment 625 hasn't seemed like too much, and my walls are all white.

As far as "how many lumens" is best, the best explanation I've heard is that lumens = knowledge, the more the better. I'll link to a really good video the Sage Dynamics put out that goes into more detail and does a way better job of explaining than I ever could.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cN2K7UhT6rk

"Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children."
 
New Post
2/7/2017 6:58 AM
 
Steamboat - I'm watching that video right now, thanks for sharing it, one part made me chuckle: "If you blind yourself, you either weren't employing the proper technique, OR you weren't employing the proper technique."
 
New Post
2/7/2017 1:36 PM
 
I have two carbines with Surefire 300's mounted at 12 o'clock in front of the BUIS.  Mine are the older 300 lumen versions.  Eventually I'll trade up for the 500l versions.  I just bought a new E2B Surefire Backup handheld (500 lumens)  LOTS more light than my LX2, Triple the light of my older E1 Backup.  I don't think 500 is "too much" for indoors, but maybe its just my old eyes.







You HAVE to carry a handheld light, but I can see how a weapon light on a carry gun is a good idea.  The only one I'd consider is that Surefire XC1 due to its size/compactness.
 
New Post
2/23/2017 12:14 PM
 

+1 for the Surefire XC1

I use one of these on my 19 and it makes carry a lot easier.

 
New Post
3/28/2017 1:13 PM
 
I (right handed dominant shooter) have the Inforce WML on all of my ARs mounted at the 9 oclock (looking from buttstock to muzzle) which allows me to get a solid grip on the forearm and in effect cradle the light under my thumb. I would rather have it at the 12 oclock but that is where my work guns have their lasers and so I keep all my gear standard. I never have had any issues with the Inforce.

As for what makes sense inside a structure and outside, well for me the biggest thing is to make sure that the light doesnt spread too far too fast and give a glowing or "halo" to a wide area - I prefer a strong focused beam to better allow me to use the light as a weapon/disorienting tool. If we are using lights for a search, then the point is different. I say tailor it to your intended usage and job. Nothing will be perfect.

I have TLRs on my glocks and cant say enough about them.
 
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When humans first set foot in a new continent, they came in small groups under their own power, bringing only the gear they needed. Most simply called themselves The People. Over time, those who chose the rougher freer life of the up country came to think of themselves as the Hill People.
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