Let’s face it. Everyone who carries a handgun should carry a light, too. You never know where or when you’ll have to use your handgun in a defensive situation, let alone the lighting conditions you’ll be dealing with. And properly identifying the threat is pretty important.
Some of us carry a flashlight as part of our EDC gear, but a weapon-mounted light is quick, convenient and works well when your off-hand is otherwise occupied. And a compact light like the Streamlight TLR-8 G sub lets you comfortably put a lot of illuminating power — not to mention a green laser — on even your micro-compact carry pistol.
The TLR-8 G sub is powered by a CR123A battery and cranks out 500 lumens. That means it has enough illuminating oomph to be light up any area of your home and to comfortably let you see target out to 25 yards and beyond outdoors at night.
The compact TLR-8 G sub fits well and is perfectly at home on compact and full size pistols like the FN 509 Midsize Tactical above. It’s almost a full inch shorter than large weapon lights like the Streamlight TLR-2 G so on a compact of full-size pistol, it won’t extend past the muzzle. That will keep it free of much of the carbon that longer lights collect.
Streamlight makes a red laser version, too and you’ll save about $70 retail over the green laser model. Green lasers are not only more expensive to make, but green light is about six times more visible to the human eye. That’s why green lasers are much more readily visible even in daylight.
If you’re one of the growing legion of people who carry a micro-compact, the TLR-8 G sub is made for you. Streamlight makes the light in four models. There’s one for the SIG P365, one for Springfield’s Hellcat, a GLOCK model and a standard 1913 rail version, which is the model tested here.
If you carry a micro-compact, be sure to order the right model for your gun. As you can see here, the mounts for these tiny nines are very different. If you carry a Hellcat, the 1913 version will not fit on your handgun.
The smaller guns Streamlight lists the 1913 model for include the M&P M2.0 subcompact, Beretta Px4 Storm subcompact, Springfield XD-E and similar.
The TLR-8 G sub gives you a lot of ways to customize it. The light comes with high tail activation switches installed, but low switches and a small multi-tool are included as well. That lets you change out the switches by pushing out a roll pin with the multi-tool.
You can install a low switch on one side and a high switch on the other if that’s how you like to roll. You do you, but I like the high switches. They’re ideal for activating the TLR-8 G sub with my support hand thumb.
Basic activation of the TLR-8 is simple. A momentary tap of one of the switches and the light is on constantly. Press and hold either switch and you’re in momentary mode. The light/laser will shut off when you release the switch.
You can choose to use the TLR-8 G sub’s light, laser or both simultaneously. To change between functions, hold down one of the switches, then press the other one to choose the functionality you want.
Zeroing is straightforward using the included multi-tool. You can zero at whatever distance you choose, just keep in mind the effect of parallax on the point of impact at varying distances. Or, you can do as I do and adjust the beam to be parallel to the bore axis. Then you always know POI will be about two inches over that green dot. Simple.
The TLR-8 G sub has a strobe mode as well. You activate it using Streamlight’s “10-tap” system. Press either switch ten consecutive times quickly (within a quarter second), holding the button down on the tenth press. That will either activate or deactivate strobe mode (the unit comes with strobe deactivated).
Once strobe mode is activated, you can use strobe light with a quick double-tap of either switch.
The TLR-8 G sub has an IPX4 water resistance rating. That means you can’t dunk it in water, but it will withstand being sprayed or carried in the rain. I sprayed mine pretty thoroughly in the shower and with the kitchen sink nozzle, dried it off and it kept on ticking. I also tossed it in the freezer overnight. It’s still working fine.
The TLR-8 G sub gives you literally everything you need in a quality weapon light for your home defense or everyday carry gun. It gives you all the illuminating power most people will ever need, lighting up any room in your house and giving you plenty of visibility outside in the dark as well. And it does all of that in a shorter, smaller package that works with the most popular micro-compact guns.
Specifications: Streamlight TLR-8 G sub weapon mounted light
Output: 500 lumens, 5000 candela
Length: 2.51 in.
Weight: 2.77 oz.
Run Time: 1.5 hours light and laser, 11 hours laser only
MSRP: $477 (retail about $319 with green laser, $249 with red laser)
Rating (out of five stars):
Overall: * * * * *
This isn’t an inexpensive weapon light/laser. You’re paying for the lumens, the build quality, the compact design and Streamlight’s lifetime guarantee. You can save some money with the red laser model, but I’ve found green lasers are noticeably better. Your mileage could vary. Either way, no matter what gun(s) you plan to mount the Streamlight TLR-8 G sub on, it’s a lot of weapon light/laser in a pleasingly small package.