I’m a bit partial to Streamlight products. I’ve used a 300-lumen TLR-1 ($250) on my duty gun for well over a decade. There’s no shortage of quality gun lights on the market these days, but the TLR-1 has never let me down. Not only is my TLR-1 reliable, its toggle-activation switch is tough to beat and it’s easy to take off or attach.
The classic TLR-1 is a relatively big light. It’s well suited for a full-sized, openly worn pistol, but for those needing a more compact rail-mounted light, the new TLR-7A is a sensible alternative with two switch options. It’s robust with an anodized machined aluminum housing. Overall, it stands 1.27 inches tall and is 2.58 inches long. It weighs mere 2.4 ounces, which includes the supplied CR123A battery. At the back, the switch housing is constructed of impact- and chemical-resistant polymer. The lens is an impact-resistant Borofloat glass. (Google it!)
The TLR-7A is loaded with technology designed to give the user a tactical advantage. Powered by a single, 3-volt CR123A lithium battery for its 500-lumen to 140 meters, the TLR-7A offers a concentrated LED beam of light with a run time of 1½ hours of continuous operation to the 10-percent output level. A “safe off” feature is activated by rotating the bezel 90 degrees, which prevents unintentional activation and subsequent loss of battery life while stored. (This is a feature you’ll learn to appreciate.)
The TLR-7A can be operated in three modes. A quick press and release of the switch produces a constant light. Press and hold the switch for momentary mode. There’s even a strobe option activated by tapping either switch twice within a quarter of a second. Whether you select a high or low switch, it’s intuitive to employ.
Each unit comes with a high switch and a low switch, enabling us to choose based on comfort and accessibility. This a primary reason to consider this light since gun size, hand size and grip preference can dramatically affect how a shooter interfaces with the gun and the light’s activation switch. As with all TLR lights, the 7A’s activation switch is ambidextrous.
The TLR-7A comes with several mounting adaptors, making it compatible with an array of guns. The unit can be easily mounted to the rail of your handgun without tools and without having to put your hand in front of the muzzle when installing it or changing batteries. For $225.75, the TLR-7A offers a lot of light for the money.