When asked, I emphasize that one of the most essential items in your duty load out, or everyday carry gear, is a strong, bright light. However, not just any light will do. When selecting a weaponlight, you’ll want a durable, high-lumen, weapon-mounted light to illuminate your path, make threat evaluation easier, and aid in target discrimination.
By Gordon Meehl
Some may disagree with having your primary means of illumination in a fixed position, favoring a less rigid, more mobile, compact handheld flashlight. For a lot of reasons however, a “loose” light is not always a very well thought out option when having a gun in hand. Even the most compact handheld lights can be distracting and cumbersome in high stress scenarios.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a standalone flashlight and have it easily accessible. In fact, I have several that are put to use on a daily basis. I am saying, however, with your gun in hand, a weapon mounted light gives you the essential advantages of using a two-hand unaltered grip, and the assurance that the brightest part of the light is tracking true with your point of aim. The additional weight of pistol-mounted light can also aid in recoil management. There are a plethora of other reasons, but this article is a review of one of the best, and most popular, weapon lights available.
Having been on the market for more than a few years, the base model Streamlight TLR-1 HL is nothing new. What is new however, is the latest in the Darwinian evolution of this CR123A-powered weapon light. As with it’s predecessor, the HL designates this model as “High Lumen.” The TLR-1 HL’s latest iteration outshines the previous version with near 25% bump up from 630 lumens (12,000 candela peak) to 800 lumens (15,000 candela peak).
A Quick Explanation of the Numbers
Lumens is a measure of the total amount of light projected. Candelas is a measure of the brightness of the center or focused beam. By example, a laser has a high candela measurement but low lumens (i.e. an intense beam but not enough to light your way). For weapon lights, suffice it to say you want a lot of lumens and a lot of candelas.
In the box, along with the light, you’ll find batteries, a hex key and Glock-style, Picatinny, Beretta 90two, S&W 99 and S&W mount keys. The keys provide the mount with the adequate spacing allowing the proper purchase to stay firmly attached to your weapon’s rail system. I’m not sure if it’s standard procedure but my light came with the Glock key already installed. All I had to do was put in the batteries and mount it to my G34.
Mounting is very easy and doesn’t require any tools. With the key that matches your rail system in place, loosen the side bolt, and push the bolt to open up the jaws of the mount. Slide it on the rail so it’s tight against the trigger guard, release the bolt, and hand tighten it. This mounting system not only keeps the light secure, it also keeps your hands away from the business end of the gun.
The ergonomic position of the switch makes using the light easy and intuitive. With the light mounted against the trigger guard, your trigger finger easily extends to manipulate the switch. You don’t have to have surgeon-like dexterity to operate the switch. The multi-position switch allows you to put the light in the following modes: constant on, toggle on, constant strobe, and toggle strobe. The strobe is not only good for ’70s disco night, it effectively disorients anyone on the other end (just ask my wife). Powered by 2 CR123A batteries, you can light up to 245m in front of you for more than 1.5 hours.
Streamlight states that the light is waterproof down to 1m for 30 minutes. Accepting the challenge, I submerged the light in about .5m of water and left it there for about 25 minutes. After the time expired, I toweled off the TLR-1 HL and took it outside in the rain. Without hesitation, it easily lit up the tree line 20 yards behind my house and a good part of the house about 50m behind it.
The TLR-1 HL comes in Black, Flat Dark Earth and Flat Dark Earth Brown. Streamlight also offers a number of accessories allowing users to modify the TLR-1 HL to match their intended use. Most significant of these accessories is the rifle mounting kit so your pistol isn’t the only firearm in the safe that gets a little Streamlight love.
At under $120 dollars, you get more than your money’s worth in a durable, high-powered weapon light (click here).
Specifications and Features
- C4 LED technology, impervious to shock with a 50,000 hour lifetime
- 800 lumens; 15,000 candela peak beam intensity; 245m beam; runs 1.75 hours
- Engineered optic produces a concentrated beam with optimum peripheral illumination
- Powered by two 3-volt CR123 lithium batteries with 10-year storage life
- Rail grip clamp system securely attaches/detaches quickly and safely with no tools and without putting your hands in front of the muzzle
- Mounts directly to handguns with Glock-style rails and to all MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny) rails.
- Includes keys for Glock-style, Picatinny, Beretta 90two, S&W 99 and S&W TSW
- Machined aluminum sealed construction with black anodized finish
- Ambidextrous momentary/steady on/off switch
- User programmable strobe can be enabled/disabled
- Fits existing light bearing holsters
- 39” (8.61 cm); 4.18 oz. (118.6 grams)
- Operating temperature: -40°F to +120°F
- IPX7 waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes
- Lithium Battery Notice under TECH DOCS
- Remote switches are available as optional accessories and must be used in conjunction with 69130 or 69161 remote door switch. All switches and door switch are sold separately. Reference TLR Accessories Brochure in DOCS/INFO tab for more information.
- Long Gun Kit available (#69262). Kit includes TLR-1 HL with thumbscrew, “safe off” door switch, remote pressure switch and mounting clips, and two 3V CR123A lithium batteries.
- Available in Black, Flat Dark Earth, or Flat Dark Earth Brown.
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Assembled in USA
- Long Gun Mounting Kit
- Remote Battery Door With Lockout
- Trigger Guard Contoured Remote Pressure Switch
- Infrared Filter
- Green Flip Lens Filter
- Extra Batteries
Cheaper Than Dirt! also carries a number of holsters to accommodate whatever pistol on which you mount the TLR-1 HL.