USA made is a strong preference for me, but I factor lots of variables in these types of choices. If you want a USA made weapon light, your choices are Surefire and Modlite and… I think thats it? Olight is made in China, Streamlight is made in China. These days if you cut China-made 100% out of your lifestyle you cant buy anything. I do strongly support USA made though wherever I can, cost be darned. Off-topic, but guys like originmaine.com make amazing jeans and boots (i got some pre-covid).
Surefire is literally bombproof, and if I were going to battle overseas and bang it on rocks all day thats likely what I’d pick (or ModLite). But to go on a rifle that will sit mostly in a safe, see range use, and maybe a few classes the money saved goes towards ammo or food/rent and I am confident they will turn on when needed.
Also, as an aside… Modlite is making an FDE version of their PLHv2 that is SERIOUSLY calling to me, but my wallet cant take the hit right now.
I too was on the side of disposable batteries for a long time, and mostly still am. However, I am coming around to the idea. For me, it is just a todo-list item every year to check (really replace) all the weapon light batteries and I know 100% that those batteries will run strong when needed. Most of my lights use disposables.
However, having had Olight’s magnetic charging system for a while and running their EDC lights a lot I have grown a lot of faith in them.
First, older rechargables used to drain (a lot) over time. There was a very real risk you’d pick up that light and it has only half a battery left when you need it most. Newer lithium-ion (and specifically Olight branded) only loose like 5% per year max (I dont have the source handy as I write this, if I find it I will edit this post). So you could leave it fully charged in your rifle in a safe all year round, not worry about it and maybe top it off once a year, just like I replace old batteries once a year. The cost savings in just one year is notable (if you have a lot of lights )
The second thing is something I read online which gave me pause… I have a small stash of batteries, but it requires me to go buy more every few years. Right now, the batteries are common enough (mostly 123A or 2032 watch batteries) that you can find online easily and even in a lot of big box stores, sometimes even a convenience store. In a true SHTF scenario, if you use lights a lot you will quickly burn through your stash and not be able to replenish them (because the S done HTF). So if you have a rechargeable light you can recharge via the power grid (if its still up), OR any of the numerous power banks (the kind that charge your cell-phone), USB power off of laptops, AND (the best for last) solar recharging.
Since you only need to charge it once a year or after you use it (for a class/range trip) it almost doesn’t matter where you put the charger. I would not take the light off the rifle, you can leave it on and the mag will connect right to it (you may have to remove the switch if you are using one). If you put it in the safe, you can probably jury rig a portable power bank to attach within reach of the rifle.
The best case is you have a light that accepts both rechargable and disposable batteries, but outside of Surefire DuelFuel and Streamlight’s HL-X I don’t know that is very common. Rechargeables like 18650 and 21700 also have so much more power available to increase brightness, runtime, and often both.