Flashlight/Laser Mounts?

Seeking information on flashlight & laser mounts to attach on a picatinny handguard rail system. I am not informed on:

  • which brands are reliable
  • what makes the product reliable
  • pros/cons on certain products/features
  • any “must know” info when it comes to flashlights/lasers

I like flashlights that have a SOS setting. The green lasers have also caught my attention.

Thank you for your time.

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There are many quality 1913 rail attachable weapon lights and/or lasers on the market. A lot will depend on the size your specific handgun, how it fits (size & balance), and if there are compatible/affordable holsters available. I have a couple Olight products: light only, PL-mini Valkyrie II and a red laser/ light combo, Baldr-RL-Mini. Both work well on my compact & subcompact 9mm’s.

I hate to suggest that you Google something, but that’s how I find things that work for me- e.g. what is the best weapon light/ laser for a (insert your specific firearm)? If you have a relatively common platform, there will be many example pictures and maybe some YouTube videos.

Other brands: Crimson Trace, Streamlight, Surefire, Viridian. All of these have their fans and some may have a strobe (SOS) function. As far as reliability, I read the negative product review first, then go to the positives

Good luck in your search.

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I use the inforce light on my M&P 4” compact 9mm and I love it. It’s my home defense gun. I can’t speak about others because I have minimal experience with them. But on YouTube you can find good reviews on weapon mounted lights. I chose mine because it had good reviews, it looked good on the gun, was inexpensive and it served the intended purpose. On my M&P 9mm Shield I have a TLR6 light laser combo mounted on the trigger guard which I also love and serves its purpose.

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I’ve have a Streamlight TLR-1, and surefire X300 ultra. Both are nice and very bright, and I’ve never had a problem as far as the rail attachment mechanism, or dependability as pertains to the light doing what it does. I will say both are a little large, and the Streamlight lense gets really freakin hot… The surefire doesn’t seem to, may be due to the longer housing over the LED? The Streamlight has a strobe, and it’s quite effective, but the surefire doesn’t. The surefire is pricey as well (it cost almost 4/5 of what the pistol it’s mounted to costs). All that said, I am perfectly satisfied with both of them, and to me, it was money well spent.

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Hi @DeeB Can you clarify some of your questions, as they seem a bit ambiguious. We’d like to get you the help/answers you need.

What are you looking to mount this laser/light on? “picatinny handguard rail” sounds like an AR rifle. Is that what you meant? Many pistols have a picatinny rail underneath the barrel, but it doesn’t have a handguard so that’s a little unclear.

I’m not aware of a weapon light that has an SOS function, but most of them do have a strobe function. Is that what you meant? Some folks really like a strobe as it is disorienting to whoever is looking at it. However, I find the strobe also disorienting being behind the firearm, so I don’t use it. A good weapon light with sufficient lumens (usually over 500lumens, depends on the distance) will absolutely disorient/distract (and possibly even pain) someone if you aim it at their eyes/face.


  • which brands are reliable

For pistol lights, the major players are Surefire (USA made, expensive), Streamlight (I think USA/China made depending on model, very reasonably priced), and Olight (relatively new player, China made, very very reasonably priced). There are lots of other choices as well, but IMO these are kind of the flag-bearers in the light market for pistols. Rifle lights are a bit of a different animal.

If money is no object, grab a Surefire. They are absolutely positively battle-tested (literally) and are widely used among LEO/MIL for duty use and will withstand tons of abuse and/or last virtually forever. They have an outstanding reputation. If you plan on carrying this pistol/light combination, holster support should be very good. I do not think any of these models are light/laser combos, they are light only. These mostly use disposable batteries.

If money is an object (as it is for most of us), Streamlight has several models that have very good light output, are very widely used (good holster support if that matters), have several different sizes, and have a very good reputation. Several of their models have light/laser combos. These mostly use disposable batteries.

Olight is the newest player and is perhaps the most innovative. Their lights have outstanding output and have choices with either disposable batteries or rechargeable (or both!). Their recharging options are super hi-tech and neat and convenient. They have a variety of sizes/form factors, several of their models have light/laser combos. They do not have the long-term reputation that Surefire and Streamlight have, but most people like/love theirs. Because they are newer, they do not have widespread holster support if this is for a conceal carry pistol.

  • what makes the product reliable

Mostly, it is experience and reputation of doing things the “right way” for a long time. But basically the materials used, assembly methods, electronics components used. Buy from a reputable brand with good customer service (like the ones listed above) and you should be fine.

  • pros/cons on certain products/features
  • any “must know” info when it comes to flashlights/lasers

This kinda depends on the features you want. Everything is about finding the balance of light output (lumens), light distance (candela), run time, size/form factor/weight, and cost.

The green lasers have also caught my attention

Red vs Green laser. Green is generally considered by most people to be more viewable in more situations than a Red laser. Green lasers used to drain batteries faster, but newer models that seems to not be an issue. Green is usually a little more expensive. Mostly this comes down to personal preference as you individually may see red or green better. Some lights have an integrated laser (especially pistol lights), but rifle lasers will usually be a separate component.

Thank you for your time.

If you have a budget or price range, and can tell us exactly what you are mounting it on and what the use-case is (home defense, concealed carry) we can probably give you a narrow range of choices to look at.

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Manipulation of the on offs is pretty easy.
backview_
This is the back of a surefire. It is on/off only. On the back on each side is a lever. If you push down on one side the other goes up, and vice versa. It’s pretty easy to just flick with your thumb. Up or down is on and middle is off. The Streamlight works the sam, except left up is strobe, middle is off, and left down is solid.

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I appreciate your time/input in the questions that I have posted. I am planning on mounting these products on a rifle for home defense.

And by SOS, I meant strobe lights… but, I read where you mentioned how a good light can distract a person from seeing and may even cause damage to their eyes, w/o that strobe effect. I never looked at it from that viewpoint, and I am now leaning towards not getting a strobe light. I can imagine in my head how trying to switch back and forth from strobe-to-regular in a firefight can be an inconvenience.

Money is always something that plays a role in what I buy, but I am willing to pay more for products that I know I can trust.

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Hello, I have used Streamlight products for a number of years as a volunteer firefighter, police officer and personal use. They have never let me down!! Very dependable!
I have a couple TLR-1 HL it’s 1,000 lumens and very bright! Here is some info.
https://www.streamlight.com/products/detail/index/tlr-1-hl

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Welcome to the family! We’re glad you found us!

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For the strobe lights, most weapon lights will have some mechanism to activate a strobe. I don’t like them because it seems like it is equally as disorienting for all parties. A light with high lumen output will be extremely disorienting for the recipient, more on that below… I linked all the reviews to Mr Guns N Gear on Youtube because he’s a pretty good reviewer, is fair in comparisons, and spends a decent amount of time (10-15min) on each light which is enough to form a good opinion. Also, he happened to review all the lights I list :slight_smile:

I’ll start with giving you the “easy” pick. A solid, balanced, overall value choice for a rifle weapon light is the Streamlight HL-X. Make sure you get the kit which includes pressure pad, tailcap and mounting hardware. Pre-panic, you could often find it for ~$100, not sure what the prices are now. They have a new version which has a laser built in that costs a little bit more. The beam pattern is a pretty good balance of spill/flood (lights up a wide area) and throw/hotspot (the tighter the hotspot the farther the light throws). The spill is plenty for home use (gives good situational awareness), the hotspot is great at “blinding” a recipient and will throw a decent distance outdoors. It is 1000 lumens and 27k candela. It runs on either 2 CR123A batteries (disposable), or 1 18650 battery (rechargeable). Streamlight in general, and the HL-X in particular has a very good reputation for durability. Review, Review with laser.

Other choices…
Modlite PLHv2 - arguably the best overall light out there, 1350 lumens and 54k candela, and it costs $300 (without a mount). Has great balance between spill and throw, but is much more focused to increase the beam’s distance. It ONLY uses 18650 rechargeable batteries because the power draw is too high for CR123A batteries. Modlite is made in the USA. They also make a slightly smaller version with the same output, but shorter runtime (uses 18350 battery instead). Review.

Modlite OKW - This one is a pure thrower, great if you have a lot of property and need to actually see 100+ yards. Similar to the PLHv2, it’s $300+ not including mount and the same battery rules apply. Review.

Surefire M600DF - Also known as the DuelFuel, it uses both CR123A or 18650 batteries. Surefire has legendary durability and a looooooong track record with LEO/MIL. Also $300+. It has 1500lumens and 16k candela, so it has a lot of flood/spill but doesn’t throw very far. It would be a very good choice for indoor use, but not so much for outdoors. Also made in the USA. Review.

Olight Odin & Odin Mini - Olight is pretty new to the market, but has brought a lot of innovation. The light has an easy to use quick detach from the mount, quick charging attachment, and unique cable attachment to the pressure pad. They come as a kit with mount and pressure pad, similar to the Streamlight HL-X. The Odin has 2000lumen and 22kcandela so it throws a lot of light, the Odin Mini has 1250lumens and 14k candela. They use a slightly larger/thicker batteries, a 21700 for the Odin and 18500 for the Odin Mini, so they are a bit chunkier than the other choices above. They seem to be pretty reliable, but they have nowhere near the track record of the other choices. Retail price is $160 for Odin and $140 for the Mini, but Olight has several sales a year which can save you quite a big chunk of money (their EDC lights are amazing). Olight is made in China. Review Odin, Review Odin Mini.

You can also use any of the pistol choices listed, many people will run a pistol light on their rifle usually at 12o’clock (top of the rail). They are very lightweight, so they can be especially useful on a lightweight build like for an AR pistol or PCC. They have a lot of spill so for indoor use its a great choice, not so much if you need a bit of distance. If you decide to go this route pay special attention to the buttons/switches to activate it as they are not all easy to manipulate on the top of the rail basically inverted upside down from their normal orientation.

Here is a video I’ve posted before of several popular weapon lights lighting up a group of people at various distances. The intent was to see how much of a person was visible, can you identify what was in their hand, etc. Please watch till the end, the group being lit up talks about how the light affected them being on the receiving end.

Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics has one of the great videos on explaining why you want “all the lumens”. He discusses a bit on controlling bad guys with light and the amount of information you can gather with low-lumen lights vs high-lumen lights.

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Welcome to the family brother @Adam34 and God bless you.

Thank you! Much appreciated! :grin:

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Thank you much!!

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