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Old 04-01-2013, 14:35   #1
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Which pistol light?

PD is buying us all new duty guns... Sig p229 .40 (DAK trigger). Unlike my current pistol, the new 229 DAK's have a rail for light mounting. We can buy the light and they will buy us the correct holster, but I have to decide on a light within the next week so the holster can be ordered.

I don't know the exact light makes/models we have to choose from, but should be getting that info soon. I know the Streamlight TLR-1 (seems highly recommended) and Surefire X300 (twice as expensive and I'm not sure why) will be options. A review article given to us profiles those two makes, along with Insight and S&W models... and they all pretty much rate the same. Only slight differences in maximum lumens and battery life.

As per usual, I would like a quality product at the best price possible. A couple eBay sellers have the TLR-1 for around $110 and TLR-1s for around $130. (that's as much shopping as I've done thus far) Is there any reason a strobe option is needed? I have strobe function on my Streamlight Stinger DS LED flashlight and have only used it to annoy coworkers and cats.

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I figured an updated thread couldn't hurt. All comments/discussion welcome!
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Old 04-01-2013, 15:23   #2
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I would limit my choices to the TLR-1 and X300 you mentioned. They are the most popular WMLs for a reason. I have seen an Insight LED WML (not a converted M3, but a newer model) that had a tendency to fall off the rail. They probably make a fine product, but it's not doing anything the TLR or X series aren't. The last I saw of the S&W offerings was a "micro" light, which would probably not be compatible with the same holsters as the TLR/X. Finally, Blackhawk makes a light that I hate...no momentary function, poor switching, poor durability, drains battery when not used. Forced in to one at work and have never used it in the field.

Also be aware that there are high output versions of the X300 and TLR-1 (like 500 lumens) either available or on their way. There can be such a thing as "too bright", and I never felt that my X200/X300 lights were inadequate.

The primary differences are method of switching, method of attachment, and available accessories.

-Switching: Push forward (towards target) on the switch for momentary, turn switch (either side, either direction) for constant on.

-Attachment: There is a quick disconnect mount that slides on and uses a spring loaded pivot to remove, or a more permanent one that slides through the rail and then has an allen key to remove. I always ran the more permanent style on my duty 1911 and the quick remove on the Glock.

-Accessories: Surefire has an established line of molded tape switches for a variety of guns. I like them, some don't. They're an extra $75-$80 or something like that, but they allow you to activate the light by grip force only, enabling one handed use of the light while still able to fire the weapon.

-Switching: Rotate the switch one direction for momentary, the other for constant on.

-Attachment: There is a round knob with a screw slot in it. Uses a coin or screwdriver to tighten to the rail.

-Accessories: Streamlight has at least a couple of the tape switches out, but I'm thinking the last I saw it was only Glock and M&P. They're a little bulkier than the Surefire ones, but also about half the price.

I prefer the X300 in all three of those areas, but is it really worth an extra $100? Probably not. Also, don't forget that you can place a phone order with Surefire and get something like 20% or 25% off for being LE.
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Last edited by DaBigBR; 04-01-2013 at 15:23.. Reason: Fix tags.
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Old 04-01-2013, 15:34   #3
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Any opinions on strobe vs. non-strobe on a pistol? I suppose it's not a bad option for $10-20 extra (in the case of the TLR-1), just not sure when I would use it.

Anyone aware if Streamlight has a bulk LE discount? Best price I've found so far ($107) is Amazon

(free shipping & no tax).

Last edited by scottydl; 04-01-2013 at 15:35..
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Old 04-01-2013, 15:40   #4
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I have been completely satisfied with my TLR-1 thus far. It is a basic, non-strobe model. It is also the latest generation with higher output than the previous models (300 lumens), and it has an impressive amount of power.

Here's where I got mine:

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Old 04-01-2013, 15:45   #5
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Even lower price found for TLR-1S... $102.99 at MilitaryGear.com. I am also inquiring with them on bulk order discount since they have a quoting page for that option.

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Old 04-01-2013, 15:53   #6
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Make sure you are getting the latest version. I hear that there are plenty or the old ones still around that are being sold at discounts, but it isn't obvious until after the sale. The output is considerably lower (165 lumens or so), but still quite usable. Just don't pay too much for one if it's not the current generation.
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Old 04-01-2013, 16:12   #7
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I roll with an X300 and the DG pressure switch. I think it's brighter and more solid than the TLR lights some of my buddies have.

Don't know why it's so much more. But it is one hell of a light.

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Old 04-01-2013, 16:19   #8
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i personally love my insight WL1-AA pistol light as it uses AA batteries. i did have to have a holster made as i think Raven is the only one that has the light listed on their options list but their wait was too long for me.

as far as duty light holsters go, i would choose the Surefire x300 as it probably has the most holster options from popular duty holster makers like safariland.
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Old 04-01-2013, 16:35   #9
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I am personally NOT a strobe fan. Murphy's Law says you will accidentally activate it at the worst time.
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Old 04-01-2013, 16:51   #10
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I own a TLR-1, TLR-1s, and X300.

I haven't used the strobe option except for when screwing around. It is not bright enough and does not strobe fast enough to really effect anyone's vision.

I really like both the TLR-1 and the X300. The X300 is built a little better and is a smaller package, the X300 is easier to take off the gun (doesn't require a coin or screwdriver) and the light output is higher when compared side by side with the TLR-1,

That said, unless you have money burning a hole in your pocket the TLR-1 can't be beat for the price.

On another note unrelated to their product, I have attended many Concerns Of Police Survivors programs over the years and streamlight always provided flashlights to the kids in the programs.
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Old 04-01-2013, 16:56   #11
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I have a TLR-1 on a personally owned pistol. I keep it in the nightstand for HD. Still not allowed WML's on handguns unless you are on the county wide tac-team. Our tac-team guys have the TLR-1's on their pistols and have been using them since 2004 without any problems that I have heard of.

I have read a review of the TLR-1 and X300 by a supposed electrical engineer and he claims they are both made well, but the X300 is built with heavy duty electronics and wire compared to the TLR-1. Perhaps even over engineered, but very well designed.

If you can swing the money for the Surefire I would, as I am a long time Surefire user. However, the TLR-1's are known to work and are still a tough duty light. I really like mine and have not had any problems with it, but its not seeing any hard use in my nightstand over the last few years. Its very bright and has enough peripheral and focus to work great inside and outside at shorter ranges.

The surefire will cost you about $100 more than the TLR-1. I would stay away from the TLR-3. It appears too cheaply made to use on duty and not sure how many holsters would be made for it anyway.

I am looking but can't find that review of the internals I read a few years ago.
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Old 04-01-2013, 17:19   #12
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I'm not an LEO, but I hope you don't mind if contribute my experience. The X300 is an outstanding light that can take a beating, but it's really expensive. Comparing the two, the TLR-1 is obviously a lower build quality light than the X300. But if a TLR-1 could hold up to abuse, that would save me serious $ because I want to run one type of light on several guns. Anyway, around a year ago I mounted a TLR-1 on my LMT Mk-18 which gets the snot beat out of it. I have smashed that light countless times into barricades, rocks, and other things. It's been in dust, mud, rain, snow, and hot sun--and right next to my smoking hot suppressor. It still works as new. I'm impressed, and will be buying more TLR-1s.

(Edit: I mean the regular TLR-1, not the TLR-1s. I don't like the strobe for reasons already mentioned in this thread).
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Old 04-01-2013, 17:32   #13
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Another vote for the TRL1 light. Love mine but haven't used it much in the field.

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Old 04-01-2013, 18:55   #14
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The X300 might be the Mercedes, but my TLR1 is a trusty Toyota. Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. Simple, functional, gets the job done, for half the price.

I have one that's about 7 years old on my duty gun and one that's about 5 years old on my duty rifle. The newer one is brighter than the old one (better LED), but not nearly as bright as the newest ones. Both have been dropped, kicked, have had incidents with cleaning solvents, snow, etc. Both are doing their job admirably.

If someone else was paying, I'd take an X300. Otherwise, stick with TLR1.
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Old 04-01-2013, 20:19   #15
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I just ordered a X300 Ultra and DG Switch from LA Police Gear for my Sig P229R DAK.

There is an April Fools code "lassie" also saved 15%.
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Old 04-01-2013, 21:37   #16
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My department currently issues the S&W M&P with a Surefire X300 Ultra (500 lumens). I have one of the Ultras, two X300s, a TLR-2, and we have the TLR-1 HL (600lumen) as well as some TLR-1 and 2 strobe models for T&E. In fact, we got one of the original "shootable" X300 Ultra prototypes to test, while they still had the green tint everyone hated (until we used it...Then it was badass, but the public outcry was so bad (I assume) they changed it to the standard cool white tint).

I really like both the Surefire and Streamlight weapon-lights. Surefire does feel a bit more solid but I've never seen a TLR 1 or 2 break. The Surefire, with its TIR lens, has a more focused throwy beam, while the Streamlights are a more "traditional" hotspot surrounded by spill. In trying the TLR-1 HL, I actually think it is great, especially inside buildings. It really lights up a room.

After some pretty extensive testing of both the TLR and Surefire high lumen lights (500 for the Surefire and 600 for the Streamlight, but that doesn't tell the whole story) They didn't affect my night vision in our white-wall shoot-house any more than my standard X300. Bright is bright when it's bouncing off the wall. It sure made it easier to search and clear.

As for the "whole story" when it comes to lumens, there are many people who just want more, and while that's ok, it is almost as important to look at beam profile (is it throwy, floody, a good balance, etc.) and tint (warm like incandescent, cool like old-style LEDs, or more neutral like a florescent) and the light's features once you get above around 200 lumens.

I prefer the Streamlight countour switch to the Surefire DG switch. It is harder to find holsters to fit the larger switch system but it is harder plastic so it draws easier and doesn't hang up like the DG switch can. It also doesn't wear away like the DG switch. We actually had Safariland design a variant of the 6280 to help reduce the potential for wear on the DG switch... We tried to eliminate the potential "hang up" of the rubber-on-plastic from the DG switch and the body of the holster. Though we reduced it, it's not eliminated. The Streamlight is a winner in that regard.

Now, that's not to say the Surefire is bad, it just isn't perfect.

As for the toggle-switching, I'm also a fan of the Streamlight toggle, but I'm a right hander. If I was left handed then I'd probably be happer with the more "ambidextrous" Surefire. As a righty, I can depress the toggle on my TLR-2 with my thumb...It is VERY fast and works well, as recoil simply assists in keeping the switch depressed. It is much more difficult, though accomplished without too much trauma through training, to keep the X300 momentary switch activated through recoil... Thumbs keep wanting to slip off. Now lefties have to push "up" with their thumb on the Streamlight, and that is negative as recoil now works against activation.

My jury is still out on contour switches. I have one on my Ultra and one of the X300s. A partner has the Streamlight contour switch on his TLR-1HL. I like them, particularly if you don't use a thumbs-forward grip (geezers) or if you have stubby thumbs and/or fingers, but I like the "control" of the toggle... I'd run one however given to me, but I'm still not sure which I prefer as they both have advantages and drawbacks.

If I was buying a weapon-light tomorrow to go 10-8 (in the field on patrol) I'd probably go with a TLR-1HL or TLR-2HL... It will be less expensive than the Surefire and they work very well. I like the beam profile, toggle, contour option, and brightness. If I was told this was the only light I'd ever be able to buy, I'd go with the X300 Ultra just because it is almost bullet proof.
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Last edited by Chico Bill; 04-01-2013 at 21:43..
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:12   #17
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Take a look at the Safariland SLR. It works quite well and is easy on the wallet.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:03   #18
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Have used the TLR-1 for a very long time now. I'm very satisfied with the price, durability, and performance of this light. Agency currently issues the strobe version. We practice with it (so people know how to activate it and how to turn it off if activated inadvertantly) but we know of nobody who has actually used it.

The TLR-1 HL puts out around 600 lumens. This is waaaaay bright. So much so that when I saw someone T&E'ing one, there was a huge amount of light splash back. So this one may be too much. The HD versions of TLR-1 are great for rifles because of the distance they can reach. Too big though for handguns.

Also had guys use Blackhawk WML's too. They liked them, but you have to have matching Blackhawk holster as well.

Very few people I know use the Surefire WML's. They are pricey.
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:56   #19
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I like the Streamlight TLR-1s, it's not too bright unless directly pointed at a mirror.
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Old 04-02-2013, 13:03   #20
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Originally Posted by Ship A'Hoy View Post
I like the Streamlight TLR-1s, it's not too bright unless directly pointed at a mirror.
You too, eh?

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