Best Pistol-Mounted Weaponlight

Question: I am looking to purchase a weaponlight for my nightstand pistol and have seen several options. Which light is the best for my needs. It needs to be cost effective but work when I need it. -Bill in Indianapolis.

Answer: There are really two good options right now, the Streamlight TLR-1 and Surefire X300. Let's discuss the Streamlight first.

The Streamlight TLR-1 is the best quality weaponlight that Streamlight is manufacturing right now. Don't be fooled by it's published light output of 135 lumens. The actual output will be much less. The TLR-1 is a reliable light with a machined aluminum body that should serve you well for years to come. They are powered by two 3-volt lithium batteries and weigh in at 4.2 oz. The TLR-1 is imported, hence the relatively low street price of $100.

Avoid the older Streamlight M3. Although inexpensive, they suffer from problems, such as losing contact at the rear battery door and falling off the pistol while shooting.

All of the Streamlight weaponlights work off of a toggle switch that can be turned temporarily or permanently on.

The Surefire X300 is the updated version of the popular X200 series. The difference is the X300 has an output of 110 lumens versus 65 in the X200. Aesthetically, they are the same. The X300 weighs 3.8 oz., making it a bit lighter than the TRL-1. The Surefire is made from machined aluminum in the USA. It, too, runs on two 3-cell lithium batteries.

One of the best features of the Surefire is it's user interface. The toggle switch on the Surefire appears similar to the Streamlight at first glance. The difference is that the Surefire is temporarily activated by pressing the switch forward (in the direction of the muzzle). Releasing the pressure deactivates the light. This system is simpler to operate and easier to master.

To permanently turn the light on, toggle the switch up or down and it will lock on.

The biggest negative of the Surefire is cost. It goes for $250. The good news is that they can be found online used for much less making it a more appealing option.

The bottom line is that if price is the largest factor, then the TLR-1 will probably work fine. If you want the best option, look for a used X300 in good condition. I think you'll be happy you held out for the Surefire in the long run.

Find Surefire Flashlights on eBay!

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