Gear Review: Streamlight TLR-6 Tactical Gun Light

Travis Pike for TTAG

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. 

Travis Pike for TTAG

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. 

Travis Pike for TTAG

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 TLR-6 beam is broad enough to allow positive identification of a potential threat. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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 Streamlight TLR-6 is IPX4 water resistant and impact-resistant for durability (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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. 

Travis Pike for TTAG

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. 

Travis Pike for TTAG

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.

Accuracy Difference
I used two different targets. One with a heart and lungs and one with a head. The laser went for the torso.

Travis Pike for TTAG

The sights went for the headshot. Using the sights was slightly more accurate.

Travis Pike for TTAG

Parting Shots 

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
Price: $95-$115

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.

 

comments

  1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    nice twofer and a half.

  2. avatar Neil says:

    I like. Bi wait for the lived with it for x months articles. I see it fits on a shield, G42/43 and P365. A big market. Now for holsters…

  3. avatar B.D. says:

    I think the tl6 is perfect. Especially on something like the p365.

  4. avatar Texican says:

    Where did you get the holster?

    1. avatar Travis Pike says:

      It’s a Crossbreed Dropslide

  5. avatar kevin says:

    I have one on my Kahr CW9, and agree entirely with the review. It makes a good matinee gun. As for any perceived problem with a mounted flashlight on a CCW gun (you know its coming) just leave it switched off if you don’t need it. Carry a separate flashlight to hunt for your car keys.

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    Well I got a Bell & Howell Tac Lite today(Wallyworld) until I figure out what to hang on my AR15. It doubles quite nicely as a handheld handgun light! This light looks good…

  7. avatar REN says:

    The customer service is atrocious. I had two TLR-6 kits. Understand, there is the module(laser and light electronics) and the housing(laser and light fit into). I had four guns and two housings. Rather than purchase multiple kits, as one of the the kits was for my wife. I requested spare housings for my guns. I informed them that I was willing to pay for the housing and they ignored my requests for months. Finally responding after multiple emails that they do not sell or offer housings and I would have to pay for another kit. Just to get the spare housing?…well no thanks. Moral of the story? Not giving them any more of my money. Unfortunately, they are nearly the only game in town and I really liked having a WML.

    1. avatar B.D. says:

      Thats not terrible customer service just because they won’t sell you half a product. They were probably taking so long trying to figure out wtf you are talking about, and how you think it could be possible for them to only sell half a product.

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      Who is “they” some retailer (or internet bandit) or do you refer to Streamlight?

      I have 12yr experience with Streamlight products into Fire Dept market and they have excellent customer service. Actually live American speaking human will answer the telephone if you call during business hours (East coast tine zone).

  8. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Light yes. Laser no.

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      I do agree. No need to chase the dot…..just light it up so I can see the target and sights.

  9. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    As an aside. Mr Zimmerman suggested that we buy ourselves a gift for father’s day. I responded that I had ordered a Behring knife. It was delivered Saturday afternoon. I ordered another one today. Excellent quality. Very reasonable price for a hand forged custom knife, and best of all, a really reasonable delivery time. For now. Get yours while you can.

  10. avatar Chris says:

    I have one of these on my g17. It’s pretty good. Kinda pricey, but you get what you get pay for. I don’t know if it was highlighted but it has two buttons: Hold one and press the other for light only, light + laser, laser only, or off.

  11. avatar Mark says:

    TLR 3 did not fit my pistol was loose and took up to much room in the trigger guard I returned it I own other stream light products, tired crimson trace it fit better but did my research and the arma laser was better Quality and fit real tight noplay and a green laser that is better in the day time then red

  12. avatar SoCalJack says:

    Great review. I have a TLR6 on one of my Shields. 100 lm is OK.
    It’s unknown if poor lighting was a factor in this incident, but this WML review reminded me of it: http://concealednation.org/2019/07/husband-shoots-and-kills-wife-mistaking-her-for-intruder-after-scare-earlier-in-the-day/

  13. avatar Old and Grumpy says:

    The TLR-6 would be a convenient and effective tool to determine if someone approaching in darkness is a threat. But there is a huge potential downside. A civilian who uses a weapon light to illuminate another person exposes himself or herself to potential criminal liability if the illuminated person turns out not to pose a threat within the parameters of self-defense or defense of others. The potential crime is assault, sometimes called aggravated assault depending upon the jurisdiction. The problem of nighttime identification has no definite solution. One can avoid a potential assault conviction by using a small flashlight for illumination instead of a weapon light. As compared to a weapon light, a flashlight requires two preliminary steps—(i) presenting the flashlight and (ii) using it to illuminate the approaching person— before the concealed carrier has a pistol in hand. By the time the concealed carrier has confirmed the threat, however, it may be too late to present the pistol, aim, and fire. And a flashlight can interfere with a proper grip on the pistol. So choose your poison.

    1. avatar Travis Pike says:

      Why not carry both? Situation dictates which should be used.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Have you seen the amount of flat out bitching about “too much stuff” and “too heavy” that goes on in the EDC posts?

      2. avatar Specialist38 says:

        Because there are a group of commenters on TTAG that assume you will misuse a light mounted on your pistol.

        But somehow, a lazer is just dandy…whether you have identified the target or not.

  14. avatar Marty says:

    Streamlight in it’s day was an awesome light. Now a days, most or all of it’s products are made in China. Thanks, but no thanks.

  15. avatar Ticktalk says:

    I have several of these, on a shield and a couple of xd..
    First 100 lumen is dismal outside.. fine for short hallway or small room..
    Try actually finding holsters that can accomodate it.. there are a couple, but beyond iwb, forget it.. I found one for the shield owb. None for an xd..
    Laser is ok at in the dark.. just keep your wrenches with you since it will slip and slide around inside the housing.
    And worst is the battery cover. The slightest tap and your batteries are rolling across the floor. I’ve had them just drop out of the holster after a good belch… yeah you can tape it closed if you like the redneck fix look…
    But they can be had for cheap compared to other brands, so pony up or live with it..

  16. avatar BusyBeef says:

    But I want a green laser . . .

  17. avatar Donetrius says:

    Got one of these on my G43 and I love it.

  18. avatar BASHer says:

    Why the manufacturer does not put the laser on top to keep it closer to the bore is a mystery to me. As a “sight” the laser is going to be zeroed at two distances. Really thought you want a battle sight zero out past it’s effective range and being close to the bore will do more for that than anything else.

  19. avatar Alexander Lenard says:

    Their stuff has gone downhill over the years. Suspect it’s all made in China. Wish more companies had options for buying top quality gear that I’d be willing to pay for rather than a less expensive subpar choice only.

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