Back again for some more Friday Night Lights? Welcome! We are sponsored by ATN Corp, manufacturers of night vision and thermal optics like the THOR LT. As with all of our sponsored series, Friday Night Lights will continue to bring you unbiased news and reviews from a variety of companies. Today we take a close look at the SureFire XVL2. It is a compact all-in-one multi-function aiming laser (MFAL) designed for pistols but has a home on small carbines.
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SureFire Infrared Pistol Lights With Lasers
While weapon lights with integrated lasers are nothing new for SureFire, the XVL2 is rather different from previous models. The venerable X-series pistol lights are an industry standard for ruggedness and pure performance. No other pistol lights hold a candle to them. SureFire makes the X400 pistol lights that have an integrated laser. If you opt for an X400V, it has a vampire head that can switch spectrums from visible to infrared. The integrated laser on the X400V is infrared only. So you have three modes but only one of them works without night vision.
The XVL2 is a much more compact laser module system. You can see how much smaller it is compared to the X400 above. That X400 is longer because it has the tape switch compatible tail cap added to it.
The SureFire XVL2 is rather different from previous SureFire pistol lights. The battery cap is the actual dual spectrum LED module head you see below. Twist the LED module head clockwise so the white indicator dot lines up with the unlock icon and you can remove the head.
It is powered by a single CR123 battery. By having the illuminator head be removable, you can change batteries without losing zero on the laser.
Mounting The XVL2
Similar to the X-series pistol lights, the XVL2 attaches to your pistol or a Picatinny rail using a cross block or sliding T-Slot. Look at the image below pulled from the owner’s manual. The XVL2 comes with three mounting options. The Universal Cross Block is for use with Glock handguns. Both cross blocks are made of some form of polymer whereas the P320 T-Slot is one solid piece of aluminum. I found that the P320 T-Slot fits metal Picatinny rails better.
For the sake of a secure mount, the XVL2 is not toolless. It requires a 7/64 Allen key to loosen or tighten the mounting screw. They provide one for you.
Since the XVL2 is so compact, it fits compact pistols like my Glock 44 perfectly.
However, I prefer to use the XVL2 for pistol caliber carbines instead. It is a perfect light and laser for the Magpul FPG. It fits under the carry handle and you can easily activate it with your support hand thumb.
While the FPG is not real, yet, I will have to settle using the XVL2 on my H&K SP5. Originally I had mounted the XVL2 onto the side of my KAC handguard. This was due to how I would activate the laser module. I do not like switching the laser/light to constant on and having it on all the time. So in order to practice proper light and laser discipline, I mounted the XVL2 to the right-hand side of the handguard. This way I could use my support hand index finger to activate the X-series style toggle switch. If I had to switch shoulders and shoot this setup left-handed, I could easily activate the XVL2 with my right hand thumb.
But there must be a better way. I got the SureFire tape switch for the XVL2 and so now I can mount it at the 6 o’clock position and simply press the rail grabbing tape switch.
There are two remote tape switch options for the XVL2. They resemble the tape switches for the Scout Lights but the side that attaches to the XVL2 is proprietary.
Rather than use the standard plug style connector of the Scout Light tape switches, the XVL2 has a low-profile connector that is held in place with a metal strap. Below you can see the switch plate that covers the contacts.
The remote tape switches come with a metal switch plate that acts as a strap to hold the tape switch connector in place.
Using the XVL2
The XVL2 was designed as a pistol light/laser so its orientation is set to be mounted at 6 o’clock under a rail. Also, the selector switch makes it more right hand friendly.
OFF is when the switch is set to 12 o’clock. Rotating the switch clockwise turns on the visible options, whereas rotating counterclockwise, from the OFF position, enables the IR modes. There is a cheat sheet laser engraved into the bottom of the XVL2. You have 4 visible modes and only 3 IR modes. You do not have an IR illumination only mode.
This is the XVL2 full power version. The XVL2-IRC is different since it is eye-safe only so it does not have the HIGH modes. The photo below is zoomed in so it is a bit blurry but you can see the different settings for the XVL2-IRC. It has two OFF positions and it looks like it does have an IR illumination only mode.
The full power XVL2 lasers are 5mW/47mW for the VIS green laser while the IR laser is 0.7mW/3mW. The white light is 400 lumens and the IR illuminator is an LED illuminator that puts out 300mW. I am not sure why the IR laser is so low powered. I guess SureFire figures this is for a PCC/PDW or a handgun. And yet the VIS green laser is 47mW which is great for use in broad daylight.
Like any full power laser, the XVL2 has a blue anodized safety screw to lock out the higher powered modes. You store it underneath the body next to the cheat sheet of modes.
As I mentioned earlier, the laser module is better suited for right-handed users when oriented at 6 o’clock on a rail or handgun. This positions the selector switch on the left side making it easy for you to read it and manipulate the switch with your left hand. However, if you are a left-handed shooter, you will have to reach over the pistol just to switch modes or switch hands and manipulate the selector like a right-handed shooter.
Mounting the XVL2 at 9 o’clock on my KAC MP5 rail was not great. While it worked, I would forget which side the selector switch was and have to hunt for it. Also, I could not remember what the positions the selector had to be for each mode.
The beam pattern on the XVL2 illuminators is very similar to SureFire’s XC1 and smaller handheld lights like the Titan or their keychain. It uses their MaxVision reflector design.
SureFire’s patented MaxVision Beam produces a beam configuration tailored to the human eye response for the entire field of view. SureFire illumination tools with this optic are perfect for closer-range applications and maintaining maximum situational awareness. The MaxVision Beam is created by a special reflector with precisely engineered facets or undulations optimized for each reflector size. Depending on the model, the reflector will measure 10 mm, 12 mm or 14 mm in diameter. The 10 mm MV reflector has a multi-faceted interior surface, while the 12 and 14 mm MV reflectors have undulations; all three sizes use a highly efficient reflective coating to maximize output.
With this type of beam the intensity varies gradually, from the beam’s center out to its edges, so you don’t perceive the bright center spot when you shine the beam on a wall. The illumination appears to be uniform, even though it is still over 10 times brighter at the center than at the outer edges of the beam. The eye views it as a seamless light pattern. The MaxVision Beam is ideal for headlamps, WristLights, handheld flashlights, and handgun WeaponLights that are most likely to be used at ranges less than 25 meters.
While this is decent for a pistol light, it has its drawbacks on a carbine. The light is what flashlight nerds would call a wall. It is all flood and no hotspot. So it does not throw the light very far.
I found the light to be less than ideal under certain applications. Like shooting through a port or illuminating something on the other side of a vehicle. Without anything in the way, the XVL2 IR illuminator can illuminate out to 100 yards, just as advertised on their website.
Here I used the XVL2 on the SP5 and ran it in a night vision practice shoot. The wide beam was not as bad as I had anticipated in the video above. Having the remote switch helped to make activation effortless.
Final Thoughts On The XVL2
The XVL2 crams a lot in a small package. However, it is not cheap. Retail is $1349 for either the full power or IRC version. It does come in black or tan anodizing. The tape switch is an additional $69 and if you want the rail grabbing switch with constant on, it is $99.
As I mentioned earlier, mode selection is a bit convoluted. It is easier when the light is mounted on a bottom rail so you can more easily see the selector switch. It is very low profile which makes changing the modes a bit harder to do especially if you are wearing gloves. The selector switch is a bit odd. Common laser systems like the ATPIAL and DBAL have the off position at 9 o’clock. Rotate down, from the off position, to activate visible options and rotate up from off to activate IR modes. That is not the case for the XVL2. It is a minor inconvenience but then again the XVL2 is not your standard laser module. I would have preferred the mode selector to be on the bottom that way it is ambidextrous and would make more sense if you mounted it on a top rail of a carbine.
The only thing I would really like to see is a different LED module (the battery cap LED head). Since the LED module is removable, SureFire could make a different one with a different reflector design, maybe TIR lenses to give the light more throw and a better hotspot. That way you can change the head for the application you want. Want longer throw? Use a different head. Want wide flood for indoor CQB distances? Use that head.
For a price of $1349 there are other lasers you can get however not many of them have an integrated white light. The XVL2 is great if rail space is at a premium and you want all four options, white light, VIS laser, IR light, IR laser. Like Joe from Goonin Gear, he runs the XVL2 on his MP5K PDW.