I have always been an advocate of lights on any firearms being used as self defense weapons. You really want to see what you’re aiming at when things go bump in the middle of the night. And while I’m not a noob, imagine my surprise when I noticed that the instructions packaged with the Streamlight TLR-1 HPL includes a blurb stating that the light can be mounted on a GLOCK or other pistol’s “universal rail” (via changing rail keys of course). While that may be technically possible, I’m not sure I’d recommend it . . .
Just to see, I mounted the TLR-1 HPL on my Springfield XD Tactical, the largest handgun I own. While the light maintained its integrity while mounted on the XD, it definitely made the pistol a tad front-heavy. I didn’t fire the XD while the light was mounted because, as you can see this is definitely a long gun light.
The TLR-1 mounted easily on my AR. I had to switch out the rail keys to mount to my Picatinny rail, rather than the standard rail key labeled “GL”. This was also a simple process and the step-by-step instructions are easy to follow, just in case. The only tool needed was the included hex wrench. Streamlight packages four different rail keys, so the TLR-1 will mount on virtually any rail.
This light looks really great on the AR-15, in this case, my Wyndham upper on a Sun Devil lower. I chose to mount it on the left rail rather than the bottom because the toggle switch was easier for me to access from that angle.
When mounted in a position that is comfortable for me, I was easily able to turn on the light, turn off the light, and enact the “strobe” option. Although I’m unsure of when I would ever want to or need to use the strobe option, it is available. The light can also be programmed to remove the strobe option from it’s operational functions and the directions to do so are in the instruction manual. I did disable and enable the strobe function just to say I did and to see if the instructions were accurate, and of course they were. It is pretty simple to do this should you decide the strobe isn’t something necessary.
The photo below is with the light attached to the AR-15 and aimed at a Mosin Nagant 91-30 in the corner (just to give some idea of the detail that can be seen) at a distance of 2 and 7 yards. It is quite obvious that it will illuminate much further.
When it comes to brightness, the TLR-1 HPL is hard to beat. At 775 lumens, 48,000 candela peak beam intensity, a wide lens, and a LED bulb, the light created is unbelievably bright and covers a large area. Streamlight says TLR-1 HPL works up to 438 meters (479 yards) and I see no reason to dispute that. It effectively turns the night into day.
I’m extremely impressed with the power of this light. Because it’s so bright, one could have a problem focusing on the sight immediately if it’s turned on in the dark. I didn’t have any problems, but your mileage may vary.
Durability is also top notch. The light is made of machined aluminum with a virtually unbreakable polycarbonate lens with a scratch proof coating. It’s IPX7 waterproof and O-ring sealed.
While I didn’t try hard to destroy the TLR-1 HPL, I did scratch at the lens with pen and it didn’t do any damage. I also didn’t submerge the light in water as destruction of this product was not my goal. I did get it wet, though, simulating rain, splashing the lens and the battery compartment area. The unit took a licking and kept on lighting.
The last stress test I did, was firing the rifle with the light on. Leaving the light on for longer than three minutes will make it hot to the touch, but that’s to be expected. (There’s a label helpfully proclaiming “HOT” in case you aren’t sure). That was the hottest I felt this light. I could touch without being burned, but it definitely was warm. Still, the light held firm through hundreds of rounds of fire.
Specifications – Streamlight TLR-1 HPL Weapon Light
Weight: 5.3 oz. with batteries and standard switch
Length: 4.83 inches with standard switch
Illumination: 775 lumens; 438m beam distance; 48,000 candela peak beam intensity; runs 1.75 hours
Power: Two 3V CR123A lithium batteries
Price: about $125 street
Ratings (out of five stars):
Installation * * * *
While you may have to change out the rail keys to get it installed on your particular gun, it’s a simple process. A rank beginner could install this light with negative perspiration.
Ease of Use * * * * *
Once mounted in a position that’s comfortable for you, the light can be used easily, effectively, and quickly.
Illumination * * * * *
If I could give it more stars in this category, I would. There’s no comparison. It illuminates perfectly, in my opinion.
Durability * * * * *
The lens wouldn’t scratch even when I tried to do it. When wet, it still functioned at 100%. I didn’t try to destroy the TLR-1, but it will handle quite a bit of torture and abuse.
Overall * * * * *
This is the best light I’ve used and it will remain on my AR-15. It provides incredible illumination, performed beautifully and looks good on my AR, too.