Weapon Light Choices – Push Button Activation vs Pressure Switches

    I often get questions on my social media pages about Weapon Lights. There are a ton of variations on the market today and it can sometimes be overwhelming. The most asked question I get is what kind of activation is best when running it on a PDW or rifle set up? I usually start to inquire how they plan to mount and use the weapon light and go from there.

    Push Button Activation

    Push button activation is probably the simplest ways to run a light. There is no wires or pressure switches so it keeps the gun extremely low profile. Push button activation is great when paired with a 45 degree offset mount like the Haley Strategic ThornTail2 SBR mount for the Surefire M300 series. If you’re using a mount that makes it easier for your support hand to activate the light, then push button activation might be the best option for you.

    The Surefire pressure switches for the M 300 Series and Scout Lights are great because they have the momentary activation or push for the constant feature. I have also run the X300 and TLR 1 series on a rifle before and with these it’s typically easier to use the push button activation rather than a pressure switch. The Streamlight TLR 1 HL light is fantastic as a rifle light because the toggle switch is extremely easy to activate when the light is mounted on the top of a hand guard.  Another great option for a push activated light is the Inforce WMLx. With 800 lumens, the WMLx has fairly good battery life and is a self-contained system that manages to keep a low profile.

    Pressure Switches

    Pressure switches take an ordinary rifle light and give you the ability to mount it anywhere on the hand guard while still giving you control of the light. Often times pressure switches have multiple configurations depending on the company you buy from. Surefire, for example, has pressure switches with a momentary activation pad and a button for constant light built in so you can quickly pick what kind of light you want projected. My Rattler is a good example of how pressure switches can make a weapon light easier to run.

    The handguard on the Rattler doesn’t have 45-degree M-LOK cutouts so it makes it very difficult to mount a light at a 45-degree angle. With my pressure switch setup, I can run the light on the outer side of the gun and mount my pressure switch around the top of the handguard so I can easily activate the light. I run an Anvl Ukon mount with RMR so I don’t have much room on the top handguard for accessories. With a pressure switch, I can easily activate the light without it obstructing my view. One downside to pressure switches is the fact they can sometimes fail if the internal wire running from the light to the pressure switch is crushed or torn. If you’re looking for a bulletproof system the push button activation will probably be slightly more reliable.

    Overall Thoughts

    Either system has its merits and works great in various situations. I run both options and they can both be effective when used correctly. Usually, I prefer a pressure switch in most situations even though they aren’t always bulletproof reliable. I have seen some pressure switches fail but haven’t had one fail on my rifles yet. The Surefire pressure switches are usually fairly expensive but I have had great luck with them. In general, pressure switches give the user more options when mounting a weapon light. I do value a push button activation system as well though and I often run those on short AR pistol setups. Let me know what you guys think about weapon light options in the comment section below. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out on my Instagram page @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.

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    I’m an avid shooter and love educating whether it’s at my job or in the shooting community. I’m an average joe that really loves talking with other people about firearms and other passions
    .I’m active on Instagram on @fridgeoperator @just_pistols @thedailyrifle.