Can’t SHOOT What You Can’t SEE: Top Pistol And Rifle Weaponlights

    Background image: PILart/Shutterstock

    On the eve of 2020, everyone should be comfortable with the idea of adding weaponlights to pistols and rifles that are used as tools for protection. Forget the sun going down: walk into a building, into a parking garage, under a bridge or into the woods from bright daylight and a quality weaponlight may give you an advantage in a defensive situation. But before you decide to drop hundreds of dollars on a new supercandle (Copyright Pete, 2019), let’s take a look at some weaponlight considerations.

    Can’t SHOOT What You Can’t SEE: Top Pistol And Rifle Weaponlights

    My idea of a perfect EDC pistol setup includes night sights, a spare magazine, a quality holster and of course a solid weaponlight. If I choose the subcompact GLOCK G26 that for some reason still lacks a rail, I’m conscious that I’ll need to use my EDC flashlight in one of the accepted off-hand activation techniques. (Except that FBI flag-waving silliness that attempts to make the attacker believe you are eight feet tall.)


    I’m willing to bet that 99% of shooters who carry a weaponlight have never attended a low light class or even pulled a trigger in near darkness. I make a point to shoot a formal course of fire in low light at least once a year. Having a range at home gives me the added ability to more easily try out new lights, night sights and other equipment at dusk.

    For those of you who shoot at indoor ranges, most of them will offer low light instruction throughout the year. Get a group of friends together and put all that fancy new gear through its paces.

    For those of you who are lucky enough to live in the country with land you can safely shoot on at night, check out some online resources for DIY familiarization. SureFire’s Field Notes series is an excellent collection of top-shelf instructors imparting their weaponlight wisdom.

    Here are some considerations when shopping for a new weaponlight:


    Besides, lumens versus candela, the internet debate over how bright is too bright for weaponlights or EDC flashlights is probably the most controversial subject in the supercandle world. In my reasonably knowledgeable opinion, I would suggest buying the brightest weaponlight you can afford. Of course, that’s if everything else is equal – don’t sacrifice durability or controls for a few hundred lumens.

    The point is, you aren’t going to blind yourself in an all-white room using super bright weaponlights. If anything, you will disorient your attacker and have a better picture of the threat.

    Battery life:

    In general, you should expect one to two hours of continuous operation at high output levels, no matter which brand or model you choose. However, get in the habit of changing out the batteries in your weaponlights at least once a quarter.

    CR123A Batteries – About $22

    As a reminder, lithium batteries should be recycled and not just chucked into a landfill. Check here for a drop off center near you (home improvement stores are usually a good place to start).

    Holster Choices:

    Great, you just picked out the newest, hottest weapon light ON THE PLANET. Good luck trying to find a holster that will fit your EDC setup. In reality, with technological advances and the number of quality holster manufacturers, the delay in finding a custom holster with a new weaponlight is much better than it has been in the past. Do not try and use a holster made for a different pistol/light combo – you want something that is confidence inspiring.


    Weight is mostly a concern for weaponlights on rifles and carbines. Push those ounces out on the end of a 16” barrel and fatigue may become a factor in longer “engagements”. The same thing goes for a pistol with a light when you are locked out on target.

    If nothing else, running a light on a rail may affect your grip, control of the weapon and holding aim on a target. See the above training section for guidance.


    Push buttons versus paddles – each manufacturer has its own system of controls. And what works for you may be crap to someone else. If you get the opportunity, hit a larger LGS and ask to try out a few different brands of weaponlights attached to your EDC.

    Staff picks:

    I polled the staff this week and came up with a list of the top weaponlights on the market. There are varying price ranges, features and output levels, but we are fairly certain you’ll find something that works for you.

    Thanks for reading TFB. Be safe and we’ll see you here on the blog.

    SureFire XH30 WeaponLights with MasterFire (RDH) Interface – 1000 Lumens

    About $235

    This powerful and versatile XH30 WeaponLight was created to interface with SureFire’s revolutionary MASTERFIRE Rapid Deploy Holster. It features a unique bezel with cam slots, and pin slots on both sides of the body, which serve to lock the light into the holster and secure the weapon at an advantageous angle for quick deployment. As a tactical weapon-mounted light, the XH30 is remarkable on its own. It features a recoil-proof LED paired with a Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens which creates a far-reaching, high-intensity beam with ample surrounding light. Constructed of lightweight but strong aerospace-aluminum body with a Mil-Spec hard anodized finish for superior toughness — and then O-ring and gasket sealed for weatherproofing — this tough-as-nails WeaponLight never needs to be babied.

    The XH30 includes two mode selector switches. One for toggling between 1,000 blinding lumens of light to gain a superior advantage in the dark and 300 potent lumens when less light is needed, but there is still the need to engage a threat in low-light conditions. The second switch toggles between continuous light operation and a disorienting strobe mode. Activating the XH30 is achieved via one-finger, ambidextrous switching located at the rear of body. Optional DG grip switches (for pistols), which allow for surgical activation without altering your grip on the weapon at all, are also available. And the versatile XH30 can be easily and securely attached to any pistol or long gun equipped with a Universal or Picatinny rail via its Rail-Lock system.

    • Cam-slotted bezel and rear locking lugs on battery housing interface with MASTERFIRE holster for secure weapon retention
    • Serves as the interface for the MASTERFIRE holster system for almost any pistol with a tactical rail
    • Undulated reflector creates a broad, smooth MaxVision Beam for close-quarter applications; beam pattern optimized for the human eye
    • Dual output, mode selector slide-switch for toggling between 1,000 and 300 lumens of continuous light output
    • Attaches securely to both Universal and Picatinny accessory rails

    SureFire Masterfire Rapid Deploy Holster

    About $149

    The Surefire Masterfire Rapid Deploy Holster (RDH) is a revolution in Holster design. The Masterfire is ergonomically designed to release and present a handgun quickly and on target. An open top design securely cradles almost any handgun, including a suppressed handgun with a red dot sighting system and keeps it at the ready for rapid deployment when using the Masterfire RDH and any of the H series weapon lights. The Masterfire also has Level 3 retention with a primary and secondary lock system. Four solid locking points via any of the H series weapon lights ensures failsafe weapon retention. The new line of H series weapon lights including models with integrated lasers are dedicated interfaces between virtually any handgun with a light rail and the Masterfire RDH.

    The integrated light activation paddle switch is engineered to activate all H series weapon lights automatically when the weapon light toggle switch is turned on, where it is swept past an embedded actuator within the Masterfire RDH. Drawing a handgun without automatic light or laser activation is as simple as slipping the paddle switch to the off position. The holster can be adjusted to fit almost any sized hand with two included release button adapters that snap on to the dedicated release button. Adjustable belt stays make fitting the Masterfire to any duty belt easy. Features: – Works only with X300UH, X400UH-A-GN, X400UH-A-RD and XH15, H Series Weapon Light.

    • Level 3 retention with primary and secondary lock Systems
    • Light actuation mode switch facilitates automatic light and/or laser Activation when presenting the firearm from the holster
    • Drain Hole- water and debris will not collect in holster bucket

    SureFire Scout M600DF Dual Fuel – 1500 Lumens 

    About $226

    The M600DF Ultra Scout Light is a lightweight, compact WeaponLight featuring an ultra-high-output LED that delivers 1,200 lumens of blinding white light with 123A batteries and 1,500 lumens of light with the SF18650B MICRO-USB rechargeable lithium-ion battery. A proprietary Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens shapes the recoil-proof LED’s light into a beam with plenty of reach but enough surround light to accommodate peripheral vision, making the M600DF ideal for medium to longer-range applications. The rugged M600DF attaches quickly and securely to any MIL-STD-1913 rail via its integral thumbscrew clamp. A slight press of the Z68 tailcap switch will activate the momentary-on, while fully depressing the tailcap until it clicks will activate constant-on. Constructed of lightweight aerospace aluminum, with a Mil-Spec Hard Anodized finish, and O-ring sealed to keep out the elements, the tough M600DF will endure combat-like conditions without any sacrifice in weapon maneuverability.

    • Virtually indestructible LED emitter Regulated to maximize light output and runtime
    • Generates 1,200 lumens of blinding light with SF123A batteries (included), and 1,500 lumens with the SF18650A rechargeable lithium-ion battery (sold separately)
    • TIR lens shapes versatile beam with enough reach and Surround light for close-to longer-range operations
    • Mil-Spec hard-anodized aluminum body, tempered window and O-ring seals make light rugged, durable, and combat ready
    • Dual fuel light powered by either two SF123A lithium batteries with a 10 year shelf life and an optional SF18650 lithium-ion rechargeable battery (sold separately)

    Streamlight TLR-2 800 – Green Laser – 800 Lumens

    About $299

    The Streamlight 69265 TLR-2 HL G provides a blast of light for maximum illumination while clearing a room or searching an alley. The ultimate in target engagement enhancement, this rugged high lumen weapon light with integrated green laser fits most hand guns and long guns. This light/laser combo features a fast and tool-less rail clamp for rock solid repeatability on a wide variety of weapons. A tethered battery door and latch mechanism prevents battery door loss while providing easy battery replacement. Its best-in-class lumen output delivers an overpowering beam with extensive range, wide peripheral coverage and selectable strobe mode. The daylight visible green targeting laser uses the latest direct drive diode that burns brightly in extreme temperatures.

    • C4 LED technology, impervious to shock with a 50,000 hour lifetime; 510-530nm direct drive green laser with wide operating temperature range
    • Streamlight TLR-2 HLG Tac Light with laser Black Finish Includes Rail Locating Keys for Glock style 1913 Picatinny S&W
    • White and green laser settings. TLR-2 HL G runs 1.5 hours (Laser/LED simultaneously). 17 hours (Laser only). Operating temperature: -40°F to +120°F
    • Green laser provides high-visibility long-range targeting
    • Includes keys for Glock-style, Picatinny, Beretta 90two, S&W 99 and S&W TSW
    • Class 3R Laser Product (Does not exceed Class IIIA emission limits), <5mW power output
    • This is a Class 3R Laser Product, 510-530 nm, Output <5m

    SureFire X300 Ultra – 1000 Lumens

    About $268

    This enhanced version of SureFire X300 Ultra now delivers a stunning 1,000 lumens of LED-generated output focused by a precision TIR lens, creating a far-reaching high-intensity beam — with a larger center spot — that offers the power to positively identify threats at significant distances while temporarily impairing an adversary’s vision. This intense beam also provides extensive peripheral illumination for maintaining situational awareness. The rugged X300 Ultra with its T-slot thumbscrew clamp — attaches securely to the Universal and Picatinny rails (fitting more models than ever before) found on most handguns. As always for this best-in-class model, it features integral one- finger ambidextrous momentary- and constant-on switching and can be equipped with SureFire’s optional DG handgun grip switch.

    This versatile WeaponLight also attaches to the Picatinny rails on long guns — more securely than ever before and can be activated via an optional XT remote switch that gives you precision control of the light while letting you maintain a proper grip on your weapon.

    • Special off-white high-performance LED produces 600 lumens, biased in the yellowish-green spectrum optimal for human vision
    • Precision TIR lens creates a smooth, tight beam with enough surround light for peripheral illumination
    • Switching-Ambidextrous push/toogle, integral, ergonomic one-finger ambidextrous momentary – and constant -on switching
    • Integral aluminum T-slot mounting system offers rock-solid attachment to railed hand guns and long guns equipped with MIL-STD 1913 rails
    • Construction: High-strength aerospace aluminum with Mil-Spec anodizing; coated, tempered window
    • NOTE: Refer the User Manual before use. Bezel diameter: 1.125 inches

    SureFire M300 Scout Light – 500 Lumens

    About $250

    Compact and extremely powerful, the M600 Ultra Scout Light uses a high-performance, virtually failure-proof LED to produce 500 lumens of blinding output, and it continues producing tactical light for 1.5 hours on a set of batteries. This model is identical to the M600 Ultra Scout Light but does not include a remote tape switch. Its output is focused by a Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens into an intense, far-reaching beam that also provides significant peripheral illumination, making it ideal for close- to longer-range applications. The compact M600 Ultra minimizes added weight, frees up rail space for other accessories, and increases weapon maneuverability compared to larger WeaponLights. It attaches by means of an integral thumbscrew clamp to long guns equipped with a MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail.

    This model (M600U-Z68-BK) comes with an installed click-type pushbutton tailcap switch: press for momentary on, press further to click constant-on. The switch is shrouded to minimize the chance for accidental activation. A remote tape switch can be ordered as an option, or order the previously mentioned M600 Ultra Scout Light, which includes this switch. Constructed of high-strength aerospace aluminum with Mil-Spec Type III hard anodizing for superior toughness and corrosion resistance, the M600 Ultra is O-ring sealed to keep out the elements. And, like all SureFire WeaponLights, it’s built to withstand the rigors of combat.

    • High-performance, recoil-proof LED generates 500 lumens of blinding white light and continues producing tactical-level light for 1.3 hours
    • Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens creates versatile beam with enough reach for medium-range applications and sufficient surround light for peripheral vision
    • Tailcap click switch—partially press for momentary on, click for constant-on activation; patented lockout feature prevents accidental activation
    • Construction: Mil-Spec hard-anodized aerospace aluminum, optically coated tempered window, O-ring and gasket seals
    • Thumbscrew clamp securely attaches to any MIL-STD-1913 (“Picatinny”) rail

    Streamlight TLR-1 – 800 Lumens

    About $119

    The Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL Weapon Mounted Tactical Light provides an 800-lumen blast of light for maximum illumination while clearing a room or searching an alley. Its wide beam pattern lights up large areas to identify who or what is nearby.

    This lightweight, compact, high lumen lithium battery powered tactical flashlight features the latest in shock-proof power LED technology and provides 1.75-hours of continuous run time. A tethered battery door and latch mechanism prevents battery door loss while providing easy battery replacement. The rail clamp is designed to rapidly attach/detach from the side of a weapon. When enabled, the strobe can be activated on two or more momentary paddle hits.

    • C4 LED delivers 12,000 candela peak beam intensity; 800 lumens; 245m beam; runs 1.75 hours
    • Securely fits a broad range of weapons. Item dimensions is 3.39 length x 1.47 width x 1.44 high in inches
    • One handed snap-on and tighten interface keeps hands away from muzzle when attaching/detaching
    • 6000 series machined aircraft aluminum with anodized finish with high temperature, shock-mounted glass lens
    • TIR optic produces a concentrated beam with optimum peripheral illumination; Battery Quantity – 2


    About $94

    The APL Gen3 MIL-STD-1913 flashlight has a concentrated 400 lumen, high-intensity tight beam in a water-resistant, glass reinforced polymer body with textured paddles for a non-slip grip. These Weapon Lights by InForce offer fast target identification activated by an ambidextrous on/off switch that provides constant or momentary light. The INFORCE APL Gen3 Universal Rail Mounted Light weighs less than 3 ounces and mounts to any MIL-STD 1913 or universal rail, making this an extremely versatile weapon light. Choose the INFORCE APL Gen3 Weapon Flashlight for a compact weapon light perfect for close to mid-range combat!


    • 1/4 turn of head engages lockout mode for travel, transport, & storage.
    • Textured paddles for optimal non-slip grip.
    • Integrated clamp interfaces with MIL-STD-1913 and Universal rails.
    • Non-slip switch controls constant & momentary functions.


    • Functions: Constant/Momentary.
    • Mode: White.
    • Output: 400 Lumens.
    • Runtime: High Efficiency LED Provides up to 1 1/2 Hours.
    • Mount: Integrated MIL-STD-1913 and Universal rails.
    • Activation: Ambidextrous On/Off.
    • Lockout Systems: Head Rotation.
    • 400 Lumens of vibrant white light designed to fit specific model from the following brands – Beretta, Canik, Colt, CZ, FN, Glock, H&K, Kel-Tec, Kimber, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, Springfield and Walther
    • 1/4 turn of head engages lockout mode for travel, transport and storage
    • Textured paddles for optimal non-slip grip
    • Integrated clamp interfaces with MIL-STD-1913 and Universal rails
    • Non-slip switch controls constant and momentary functions. Made In The USA

    ACEBEAM K75 Flashlight Ultra-long Throw 2734 Yards

    (Find your own mount)

    About $329

    ACEBEAM K75 puts a high lumen output but generates a lot of heat at the same time running in the turbo mode, please acknowledge before purchasing. VERY HOT

    POWER Mode:

    Ultra-Low: 7 lumens; 7.5 days
    Low: 120 lumens; 40000cd; 400 meters; 31 hours
    Mid 1: 380 lumens; 99856cd; 632 meters; 16 hours
    Mid 2: 1250 lumens; 289982cd; 1077 meters; 5 hours 15 minutes
    High: 2500 lumens; 559504cd; 1496 meters; 2 hours 15 minutes
    Turbo: 6300 lumens; 1562500cd, 2500 meters; 1 hour 45 minutes
    Strobe: 3000 lumens; 3 hours 15 minutes

    ECO Mode:

    Ultra-Low: 7 lumens; 7.5 days
    Low: 120 lumens; 40000cd; 400 meters; 31 hours
    Mid 1: 250 lumens; 69960cd; 529 meters; 21 hours
    Mid 2: 600 lumens; 189660cd; 871 meters; 10 hours 30 minutes
    High: 1700 lumens; 389376cd; 1248 meters; 3 hours 30 minutes
    Turbo: 3000 lumens; 679800cd, 1649 meters; 1 hour 45 minutes
    Strobe: 3000 lumens; 3 hours 15 minutes

    Battery: 4xACEBEAM 3100mAh rechargeable batteries (Included)
    Max output 6300 lumens
    Max beam distance 2500 meters
    Size: 843.90g without batteries
    Weight: 218mm (Length) x 126mm (Head dia.) x 53mm (Tube dia.)
    Utilizes one LUMINUS SBT-90-GEN2 LED with excellent performance
    Maximum output up to 6300 lumens with monstrous 2500 meters far-reaching beam distance
    ECO and POWER mode switch toggles between Everyday and Search-and-Rescue settings
    One-handed, one-button for easy and fast operation
    Intelligent temperature controller is used to adjust brightness and prevent overheating
    Rear tripod receptacle brings extra functionality
    Battery level indicator lights for easy power monitoring
    Lockout mode prevents accidental activation
    IPX68 waterproof

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    Editor In Chief- TFB
    LE – Silencers – Science
    [email protected]