The most important accessory for your firearms (both pistols and long guns) is quite possibly an illumination tool. Uncertain firepower will almost always lead to trouble, if either you miss your target or you shoot at something you were not intending to destroy. A simple and quite inexpensive solution for this problem is a weapon-mounted light (or WML). This tool will usually provide a tactical advantage, and, most importantly, will take away the uncertainty of where those rounds go.
Unfortunately, even nowadays, many gun owners think that the only applications of weapon mounted lights are in the military and Law Enforcement field. In reality, this tool is almost mandatory for low-light/no-light engagements, especially for civilians. One of the most important applications for such a tool is home defense, a scenario in which almost every gun owner can see himself or herself involved.
In this article, we are mainly going to focus on personal defense applications for civilians: both home invasions and concealed carry. Statistically, vastly majority of attacks occur by nighttime; the intruders or attackers utilize darkness as an advantage, so a flashlight is a vital tool.
For many years, the use of a handheld flashlight in conjunction with a handgun has been the choice for many professionals. The benefit of having a separated handheld light is that you do not have to point a loaded weapon at the possible threat that you are investigating on. While the main cons is of course the impossibility of any one-handed weapon manipulation, which also excludes any long gun application.
Utilizing a WML on a handgun also allows the operator to work both on the light-switch and on the trigger with a single hand, which is essential when wounded or when helping others to safety.
The preferred method used, in the past few years, by many professionals has been the application of both weapon mounted and handheld lights used simultaneously. This will provide the tactical and practical advantages of the weapon mounted light and the safety of the handheld (for all those further investigations on possible “false alarms”, you really do not want to point your gun at the neighbor’s dog that somehow has escaped…)
A weapon mounted light, according to many military and LE users, has to be as simple as possible in order to be operated effectively. While many hand held flashlight have on average 5-7 features (between strobes, brightness levels and special functions), it is mandatory that a weapon mount light only has two
functions: Momentary ON and Steady ON (some people use strobe, but we are not really huge fans).
The operator should not have to focus on the light instead of on the threat while cycling through the light’s functions. Streamlight has applied a very interesting rotatory switch to their weapon mounted light. It can be worked with both the trigger finger (index) and the support-hand’s thumb. If toggled
clockwise it will provide steady ON mode, while momentary only if toggle anticlockwise. This is a very simple and effective solution that requires very little training and practice to be operated. The light comes with the strobe mode pre-installed; if you want to disable it, quickly toggle 9 times the momentary on and keep it pressed on the tenth. This process will able or disable the strobe function.
Streamlight offers the latest version of their TLR-1 HL model with a single 800 Lumen output. The light is powered by two lithium CR123A batteries and it has a runtime of 1.75 hours. The light-beam generated by this light’s LED appears to be very versatile for both indoor and outdoor engagements. A glass-like material prism refracts the light through itself providing the internal light enhancement properties and making the whole product much more rugged
than those using a metal-like reflective mirror. The “spill” of the outer circular beam has a very wide angle making the TLR-1 HL an ideal light for close quarters combat and for peripheral vision, while the very hot center provides a very good “throw” with an approximate reach of 300m, a necessity for distant target acquisition and engagement. At these distances, it is probably going to be mounted on a long gun. Below are two examples of the light beams at 25m and at 50m in total darkness (the camera is in the same position).
The Streamlight TLR-1 HL comes with 4 mounting accessories for Glock, Beretta 90Two, S&W pistol and 1913 Rails. The aftermarket accessories for this light include a remote switch and a dedicated door-switch for rifle applications. If you are interested in purchasing only one weapon-mounted light to be alternated between your handgun and your rifle this is just the right product for you. Most other weapon-mounted lights on the market are offered only as water-resistant while the Streamlight is IPX7 Waterproof.
The light comes in three different colors: Black, Flat Dark Earth and Flat Dark Earth Brown colors; in this article are shown the FDE and Black models.
For more information regarding the Streamlight TLR-1 HL weapon mounted lights please visit: