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Old December 14, 2010, 10:16 AM   #1
JerseyDrez
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Handheld light vs. dedicated gun light

I've been wanting to add a flashlight to my carbine and it seems like most rifle owners prefer to have handheld lights mounted to their guns instead of dedicated gun lights (such as TLR series, insight m4, etc), or 'pistol' lights if you will.

The obvious advantage to a handheld vs. a dedicated gun light would be the numerous uses of the flashlight off of the gun. You could still use the flashlight for work, around the house, etc, and quickly mount it to your rifle before bed. The pistol light would serve only as a gun light and nothing else. The only advantage to the pistol light is that I could switch it from my carbine to pistol, but I am using my carbine as my HD gun right now so it would stay on that.

I am caught between mounting a TLR-1s or a streamlight tl-2/surefire G2. The handheld lights will require a mount, and an offset rail which bring the price closer to the TLR-1s' $110 pricetag. I would love a high-end Surefire light but I don't want to spend that much. And the Fenix's are night lights yet I am not a fan of the bezel-twist for turbo mode (max output mode) in a HD situation.

I am leaning towards the TLR-1s, so I can dedicate it to the rifle. I like how it is made to fit/work on a gun, that it's a blinding 160 lumens, and also has a strobe function. AND it's very easy to use. I don't think I would end up using the handheld for other purposes, I'd probably just keep it on and keep on using my Surefire handheld for those 'other' purposes.

Are there any other major pro's/con's to either? What are you using and why?

Thanks.

Edit: And please don't give me the "mounting a light on a gun brings bullets to your face" or any of those things. It is very difficult to hold a flashlight in one hand and fire a pistol in the other while staying on target with both, and rather impossible with a rifle/carbine.
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Last edited by JerseyDrez; December 14, 2010 at 10:24 AM.
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Old December 14, 2010, 11:03 AM   #2
Poodleshooter
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Quote:
What are you using and why?
Well, I can actually get Sig Stoplites at cost through a friend, but I use something far more mundane: a head mounted multi-LED lamp.
It's hands free, always illuminates exactly where I look,and doesn't require me to aim my weapon at what I'm illuminating. It's also inexpensive, and handy for many other uses. I seldom touch a handheld flashlight these days,as I find them too cumbersome when performing manual tasks.
Downsides are that I have to go one handed to change the beam/turn it off, and the aforementioned "makes me a target" issue.
Fortunately, most of my home invaders are possums and coons who seldom fire back.

If I didn't use this as a multipurpose light, I'd likely go with a weapon mounted light. Handheld lights are inconvenient in many cases. If I use a handheld light,it's usually a multi-million CP spotlight.
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Old December 14, 2010, 12:11 PM   #3
c0nspire
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"The obvious advantage to a handheld vs. a dedicated gun light would be the numerous uses of the flashlight off of the gun."

I set my AR15 up with the same thinking in mind. Go for a Larue QD offset mount and don't look back: http://stores.homestead.com/Laruetac...ail.bok?no=196. I mount my light in the 11 O'clock position and it's outstanding. Yes, you're paying more, but the Larue mount is top notch, won't loosen, and is super easy to remove and snap back on. I have used all manner of light mounts now and if you want to keep removing that light, nothing else comes close.

"I am leaning towards the TLR-1s, so I can dedicate it to the rifle. I like how it is made to fit/work on a gun, that it's a blinding 160 lumens, and also has a strobe function."

The strobe function leaves something to be desired IMHO. I bought a TLR-2s before I purchased the Larue/G2 setup above. You have to double-tap the switch on the TLR-1s and 2s. You can only double tap down on the left side of the switch and up on the right side (as mounted with the pic rail facing up, as if mounted on a handgun). You cannot reverse the switch either (I already tried that). That narrows down your mounting options to be able to use the strobe. Additionally, you have to double tap the switch very quickly. I can't repeat it consistently, and as such, find the strobe to be all but useless. It's a fantastic product, just know that the strobe function isn't all it's cracked up to be.
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Old December 14, 2010, 03:06 PM   #4
demigod
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G2s are trash and require too much upgrade to make them a good base for a weapon mounted light. I have a few of them on a gun, and they suck... bad switches, etc.

Here's my home Defense gun light. Cree LED in a solarforce host/body. And a switch that won't turn on if I throw the gun in a case of the back of the truck or whatever.

Don't mix your house/utility lights and weapon lights. Get the gun light mounted and leave it on there. Otherwise it won't be there when you need it the most.

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Old December 14, 2010, 03:07 PM   #5
Erik
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Pistol lights adapted for use on carbines and rifles offer a relatively small footprint. That's important to some. They are particularly popular with folks preferring a 12 o'clock mount.

Hand held lights adapted for use on carbines and rifles offer greater versatility in the replacement and/or upgrading department.

--

"Don't mix your house/utility lights and weapon lights. Get the gun light mounted and leave it on there. Otherwise it won't be there when you need it the most."

Agreed.
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Old December 14, 2010, 03:08 PM   #6
demigod
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For years I used to clip on an M3 light when I thought I needed the light mounted. Now that LEDs are actually decent lights, I can leave the light on full time and not worry about damaging the lamp.

Here's another Cree/solarforce combo in a GEAR Sector mount. The best mount I've ever tried so far. The light doesn't slip under recoil.

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Old December 15, 2010, 12:39 AM   #7
JerseyDrez
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All are well-said opinions on both ends. I liked the comment about keeping your gun light as your gun light and your recreational/work light just as that.

Conspire, thanks for explaining the strobe feature on the TLR's. I am actually on Youtube now trying to find videos that explain the strobe feature to see how it works and how easy it is for them to operate.

I am still not sure what I am going to do. I know I want a bright light that is easy to turn on/use, is reliable, and doesn't have 4,000 settings and modes.

On a pistol, the TLR-1 (or any TLR for that matter) is easy to operate. I was just playing around with one on a blue gun last week. But on a side rail of a rifle, I feel like it might be difficult to turn on with my thumb. Although if it is difficult at first, nothing some range time and home practice can't solve.

I will admit that I don't want a huge handheld mounted on the side, I would like something rather small/light and that is why I was leaning towards the TLR. It's compact, light, and easy to use. The rifle is going on is light (a little under 6lbs) and I don't want a lot of weight on it as I like the easy maneuvering it provides. A handheld is not that much bigger than a pistol light, depending on the length/width, but I don't want to have to be messing around with turning a knob or clicking the on switch 3 or 4 times for max output. I want to be able to click the button to turn it on and that's it, no fumbling or numerous clicks.

Edit: You know what, after reading my post, my reply said it all in the last paragraph. "...leaning towards the TLR. It's compact, light, and easy to use." That's exactly what I want in a light and that is exactly what the TLR provides.
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Old December 15, 2010, 02:26 AM   #8
Incognito
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Get the TLR-1; you'll like it. Perfect for HD purposes. I've been using one for 5 years on my duty pistol. If I broke it today, I wouldn't hestitate to buy another one tomorrow. This is probably the most widely used weapon mounted light on the market right now, and for good reason.

Also, I don't know if the disco mode (strobe) feature is a new thing, but mine never had it
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Old December 15, 2010, 02:49 AM   #9
JerseyDrez
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Streamlight came out with a new TLR-1; the TLR-1s...the "s" standing for "strobe" I believe.

I believe the only other feature the TLR-1s has other than the strobe mode is a higher lumen output. The new "s" model has 160lumens, while the original TLR-1 has 135 lumens.

And thanks for the TLR suggestion That is what I am most likely going with!
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