Just a few years ago the idea of concealed carrying with an attached weapon light was a non-starter. I tried with an old Streamlight TLR-3 and found it too bulky and too hard to find a holster I liked.
I basically gave up on the idea of using a tactical light until I got my hands on the SIG P365 and the Streamlight TLR-6 combination light and laser. The TLR-6 comes in a variety of models designed to fit subcompact weapons that don’t traditionally have rails for mounting accessories. The TLR-6 is perfect for popular subcompact handguns models like the SIG P365, the GLOCK 42, GLOCK 43, and the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, etc.
The Streamlight TLR-6 is a combination light and red laser system that’s designed to be as compact as possible for use on small EDC pistols. It packs a 100-lumen beam with a rated effective range of 89 meters.
The red aiming laser is positioned right below the light. The controls are ambidextrous and a small circular push-button is on each side of the unit for ambidextrous switching. Installation, battery change and adjusting for elevation and windage requires an Allen key. You’ll also need it to take the unit apart to slide it over the trigger guard and ensure it’s secured properly.
Putting it to Work
The TLR-6 has three different modes that are easily selectable. When you choose one, they are ‘remembered’ by the unit. The modes include light and laser, laser only, and light only.
To change between the modes you hold one of the control buttons down and press the other. This will switch you between the three different modes. There is a momentary mode and this requires you to hold the ‘on’ button for about half a second to engage.
The advertised runtime of the light is one hour, and the laser can apparently run 11 hours by itself. I timed the unit running the laser and light combo and got one hour and four minutes. While it was annoying to my battery test the Streamlight TLR-6’s 10-minute auto shutoff works exceptionally well. The batteries are the odd CR-1/3N lithium, and the TLR-6 takes two of them.
Ergonomics always matter and the SIG SAUER P365 already has some solid ergos in terms of grip and controls. Luckily the TLR-6 is a natural fit for the little P365. The position of the buttons allows you to activate the light and laser with either your trigger finger or support hand thumb.
The Streamlight TLR-6 and its 100 lumens casts a fairly wide beam that spreads enough to fill much of your peripheral vision. Beam distance is rated at 89 meters.
It’s certainly a shorter range light than the TLR-1 or Surefire X300, but it’s powerful enough for concealed carry. It has enough spill to allow you to avoid pointing the gun directly at everything when attempting to identify a threat.
The TLR-6 is bright and clear enough to fill your field of vision and allow you to establish positive ID prior to engaging. It’s also bright enough to surprise an attacker and buy you a second to establish a solid point of aim.
What About the Laser?
I run the unit as both a light and a laser. I typically prefer my iron sights but in a dark encounter where I need a light, a laser can be extremely handy. If my focus is on identifying a threat in the dark I will have to take that mental moment to be sure I can pull the trigger.
This allows me to focus on the potential threat and not my sights. As the light allows me to identify the threat, the laser is already on target and allows me to shoot confidently knowing I’m going to hit my opponent.
While my above thoughts may resonate with you I wanted to see the numbers and practical accuracy behind my way of thinking. Because of this I set out with a shot timer, some ammo, and a night at my private range.
I set up a target at 15 yards and started from the low ready. As the timer buzzed I activated the light and laser and tested identifying the threat and then firing using the laser only, and then identifying and using iron sights.
Results From Timer
Using just the laser I was able to consistently turn the light on, get on target with just the laser and land an accurate shot in under a second. My best time was .88 with an average of .96.
With sights, my average time was 1.2, with the fastest being a 1.10. The Light shined bright enough to make it easy to see my front sight.
I used two different targets. One with a heart and lungs and one with a head. The laser went for the torso.
The sights went for the headshot. Using the sights was slightly more accurate.
This light and laser combo is certainly more hit than miss and I view the TLR-6 as simply another tool in the box for concealed carry. It’s a good, well-designed option for times that I can’t use a handheld light. As a father of a young child, I can see many a circumstance where I only have a single arm to protect and defend myself and my child. The TLR-6 has taken my P365 to a different level of readiness.
Specifications: Streamlight TLR-6 Tactical Gun Light
High Lumens: 100
Run Time: 1 hour
Beam Distance: 89 meters
Battery Type: CR-1/3N Lithium
Battery Quantity: 2
Length: 2.20 inches – 2.97 inches
Weight: 1.12 ounces – 1.27 ounces
Colors: Flat Dark Earth Brown, Black
Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
Brightness: * * * *
Approximately 100 lumens isn’t a lot of light compared to something like the X300 from Surefire, but for such a small light it casts an impressive beam that will be plenty for most users’ needs. Those 100 lumens shine bright and reasonably far. It outclasses SIG’s own P365 weapon light.
Ergonomics: * * * *
Turning the unit on and off couldn’t be easier. Just a quick touch and the unit is on and ready. I’m taking a star off because the momentary mode requires a long press which means the light is on often longer than just a moment.
Mounting: * * *
It’s simple, but does require an Allen wrench to take the unit apart and then put it back together over your gun. Much slower than something that can just attach to a rail.
Overall: * * * *
The Streamlight TLR-6 is an effective, easy to use weapon light/laser system for subcompact pocket pistols. It’s reliable, easy to use, and bright. Add the fact that it’s also quite affordable and you have a recipe for success.