Fighters: Rifle Lights & Mounts

What do you use?

What did you learn NOT to use?

How did you mount it?

How much battery life?

Where can I get that stuff?


[Pistol lights will be the subject of the next post in this series]

41 thoughts on “Fighters: Rifle Lights & Mounts”

  1. I think I must be low-speed, high-drag – all I have is an EOTech and a Streamlite TLR-1 on my blaster.

    Works OK indoors, but I will have to upgrade to something that is not as easily activated unintentionally. The TLR-1 has an on/momentary rocker switch that can be bumped pretty easily…handy, but vulnerable. If I were going outside the home with it for something important, like varmint hunting, I’d just take it off vs the very high risk of blowing light discipline.

  2. I use Inforce… Light on, identify the target, engage target(s), LIGHT OFF MOVE IMMEDIATELY TO RIGHT OR LEFT, light on, engage, LIGHT OFF MOVE IMMEDIATELY RIGHT OR LEFT. That is the basics. BUT understand this, if you move and shoot with a light on I will/can engage you effectively BECAUSE all I have to do is shoot at your light or slightly to the left or right. In a perfect world/scenario, you have night vision and don’t have to use a light… But ultimately go get training and practice, practice, practice.

    1. Inforce, battery life is very long, cr123. But try to get a triple or double A battery use light, Surefire, Streamlight, etc… Preferably not a light with strobe, high, low. No need keep it simple. High beam so to speak, or H/L push button. Mount it left side/right side of your handguard slightly ahead of where you grip, I use my thumb to push on or off. There are pressure switches you can get, etc. Look around, take a class, use your head. Pretty much all brands are making good lights. Use your head. You can find them anywhere, do a search. TRAINING IS KEY.

  3. Main rifle has a SureFire M600 dual fuel. It can use the 18650 rechargeable battery or two CR123. Mounted at 1 o’clock on an Arisaka keymod in-line Mount. Remote pressure switch mounted on the 12 o’clock pic rail.

    For literally half the price of the SureFire system, I have the Streamlight HLX dual fuel light on my secondary rifle. All the same features as the SureFire, a little fatter though. For equipping multiple people, I’d take the Streamlight.
    Previously I had an InForce WMLX. Not a bad light at all.
    I also have an old (15 years old) Streamlight TLR-1 that sits on my AR pistol. Took that light on two deployments and abused it…it still works.

  4. I have a Surefire G2x mounted on a magpul scout mount. Bought it from one of my coworkers. Mounted on the left side. Not nearly as bright as the TLR1 on my G34, but it’s going to get the job done for now.

  5. Get the lightest weight flashlight with the most lumen. And uses the smallest number of batteries.

    Mount it on top of you rifle squarely. Preferably where the front sight would go.

    This is how all SWAT and tactical units are running their lights.

    It gives you the best line of light/sight index.

    Brand and make are not really important. But Surefire makes great lights, and accessories.

    Currently I have a mix of Streamlight TRL-2 and Surefire.

    It works OK, but is old and the Surefire stuff is still incandescent bulbs. But the new high lumen LED stuff is the best. Especially if it has the strobe feature.

    Lots of SWAT/Cop and military buddies.

    I think the G4 Surefire is the small bright one with the Switch, strobe, and button.

    My buddies Cincinnati duty rifle has the pocket equivalent of a jack light on it.

    1. That IS NOT how most swat teams are running their shit. Left /right, off the center line.

      My friend think about it, you put your light where your BUIS goes, your robbing sight picture from yourself, have to lift your head up and over for a “slick” view of your target area.

      Concur on the rest of your observation. I run an IR, site system, right in behind my Troy folding HK hooded front sight. It to takes up sight pic,,of my targeted area, running standard size Troy sights, I easily pick up the front sight over the IR unit, all my lights are left forward, or right forward with touch pads.

      I,don’t want anything fucking with my line of sight. In fact I’ve recently pulled the two IR units I run. Opens up a lot more visual terrain.

      It’s been my experience that once I re attach the IR DBAL units, they pretty much are on at 60y, I’ve never had to reservoir either unit. For the life of me,,,,, I don’t remember why I zero at 60y, been that way for like ever.

      Please please please, run Buis sights, I’m seeing so many knuckleheads running a dot, or scope, with zero business systems. That shits for posers and novices.

      Don’t care if it’s a pair of cheap MagPul sights, something is better then nothing


    2. You mean mount it under the barrel at 6 o’clock for ability to use std sights with the light. Or, if you have a dot sight, mount it at the right 3 o’clock position, if you don’t want the light to get in the way of your vision, for the right handers. Only the guys with the dbals mount it at 12 o’clock, so they can use the aiming laser, and light at the same time. Or, you can use separate laser and light, one on the left, one on the right.

      1. Russ, 4 o’clock or 9 o’clock, light below barrel creates shade spots. Mil own this stuff, would be unusual to shoot with light below the barrel, admittedly in the beginning like the 80s, we did experiment with lights under barrel, for more real estate purposes.

        We were silver taping large mag lights under the barrel. Everybody training was back then. Surefire was one of the first to shrink flashlights.

        Things were cumbersome back then.

        We quickly discovered the shadow effect, my earliest classes with lights were with LASD HK, sent a fella named Phil Singlton and another ex SAS, to teach, but then we got away from the mp5 series rather quickly once we discovered the deficiencies of the 9mm round

        My agency was one of the first to transition to the colt commandos, away from the mp-5s. went 556, and a few XM177e units. With the long brakes off and a standard m-16 cage screwed on. Select fire, single three, full.

        My first issued auto was a shorty mini 14, good golly miss Molly. What a fucking pile of shit. Had a metal framed stock, that swung right to shorten it up.

        Only recently gone back to a light on a rifle. And a surefire, under a Glock 34 with a lupold Pro, red dot. Thank you BB, for showing me the way!


  6. SF 622v.
    All things vampire head
    If you’re not working nvgs, you are going to be useless 1/2 of the time.

    IR illumination and lasers are necessary for a free state.

    Cans are = to nvg/ir.

    Get there today if you’ve been waffling.
    Cheap gear fails faster than quality gear.
    How much is this worth to you?
    The interwebz is/are full of information and choicez.

    Tick tock

  7. Surefire 6PX in a Magpul Offset Light mount. Long light throw, good spill to light up a room, and built like a tank. Not cheap, no, but nothing good ever is. I have used something like it for near on 20 years now, starting with a Millenium series Surefire light (M951), then a P2X Fury in a Viking Tactics mount, and now the offset mount for use with the thumb forward grip.

  8. Sure fire is the bees knees but pricey. Stream light for general issue and no complaints. Battery life is better than expected even with high lumens presumably because of Led and power management tech.
    Midway has it all with good info and reviews.
    All are mounted 2 o’clock high forward with push buttons only . Pressure pads/wires look cool but get caught in the first bush and preclude quick swap between weapons.

  9. Personally, I’ve standardized on the Inforce lights. I like the overall ergonomics, the price point, and the fact that you can get an IR/White light version for use with NV (everyone is set up for NV if they are serious – if not, sell some consumer crap ASAP and get going!)..

    In particular, I like the single CR123A version with IR capability:

    Available via Primary Arms, Amazon, and a bunch of other places. IIRC my best deals were during Primary Arms sales.

    -BUILT IN MOUNT (this is a superlative concept)
    -low profile
    -decent lumen levels
    -easy on/off with no tools
    -usable at pretty much any location on rail (12, 1:30, 3, 4:30, etc.)
    -quick AND more deliberate lock out options
    -both 1 CR123A and 2 CR123A versions
    -can get in FDE, Black
    -all white and white/IR options

    -perhaps not as robust as some due to polymer construction?
    -decent battery life, though perhaps not as long as some?
    -that’s about all I can think of

    Keep your powder dry (and your target illuminated),

    Atlas Shrug

    1. Forget the CR123a batteries. Use AA. Push comes to shove- again, CR123a’s will be in short supply, and twice their normal over price. If the companies logically charged the same for CR123a’s as AA’s, and tripled their production, then maybe. Using anything with CR123a’s without an unlimited free source, is like carrying a combat weapon in .22 Hornet caliber. Works fine, but can’t get it when it counts.

  10. Cloud Defensive OWL no cables all one unit. Almost indestructible, 1250 lumens, 59000 candela, great if you do not need a Dbal type unit. run one on each main ar, olight pl pros with pressure pads on loaner guns. 1800 lumens, 22000 candela, 6 hour run time IRC on medium which is 900 lumens. Magpul MOS rail sections on loaners, one piece free float forends on main guns

  11. I’m not confident in any rifle lights that aren’t surefire when it comes to hard use. The streamlight protac series seem good for in home use but they haven’t yet proven to me to be durable enough for field use. The inforce is a good low cost option but they are eventually going to break. For the price though I’d consider it if I stocked a few spares.

  12. Am Using: Streamlight RL-2X (dual-fuel 123’s or an 18650); plenty of light, good beam, can be setup to be bright-only when on. I don’t use switch pads; don’t like ’em. Light is positioned such that forward thumb can activate as needed. Mounted in old low Weaver rings that are on a piece of Picatinny. They are sturdy under fire. Continuous-on battery life undetermined. But they’ve been off/on in service for months. On shotgun a CDM-ROC12 mount is used as mounting point. NOTE: take care not to overtighten as even on a full-strength Mossy you can over torque and slightly constrict the magazine tube. Difference between Neanderthal and good might simply be backing off 1/8 of a turn.

    Don’t use anymore Category: Old brownish incandescent lamp lights using only CR123’s. Their time has passed. Also, save the Asian knockoffs with their 4-5 modes they cycle through for the dresser or LR table. “Strobing” is meant to be a technique – not a setting on the light.

    The Streamlights were purchased through Primary Arms on some deals. The ROC-12 shotgun mount from Amazon. There are only a couple places making GOOD 18650 batteries now. Find them online and get the good stuff. NCR’s, made in Japan. They are proper dimension, and properly terminated at the positive end, and won’t rattle around in the light. For 123’s, Duracell went the way of the Brontosaurus. Using Energizer Lithium-Ions, available all over.

  13. Running ” Inforce” left forward light extends to end of barrel brake, if the cans are not on. Oddly enough was just topping off batteries ” extra” last charged end of Oct, 12 batteries, 4 of the 12 took a charge of oooooh 2.00 minutes.

    I’ve accidentally left these in force lights on in the safe several times now. Still running strong.

    Purchased on Amazon when I was still a member, I’ve since severed that company from my purchase plan. I refuse to use anybody or any company taking a fuckimg knee.

    Silly fuckers. Wrote back that I’d be missing out on my ” Prime” benifits, me being such a word smith answered with a hardy, Fuck You, communist supporters.

    Admit I DO miss that one key stroke shopping.

    The lights are all hi lum’s, mounts are aluminum, the inforce mounts closely to the pictinny, minipulated with the forward Thumb. The other brand, no name on em, comes with a mount, sits a bit far off of the pictinny.

    Like anything we don’t like and don’t feel like spending hundreds replacing, I just Deal With It, no big deal. Of spelt is maybe 1/4 inch end of the day it’s nothing.

    And I’m running hi end red dots on Most of my m4s. I’m able to shoot to 4/500 yards, with holdover. I’m building an 18 upper I’ll put a high end Vortex on.

    Wrong place, but I just purchased a set of the new poly plates, the hybred ” shot stop units. Max Vs selling em at a good price, we need to,support him. I did not purchase from him, as for some reason his site won’t allow Max’s site in?.

    I’d reached out to Max, as usual he was right back to me with the link, which again didn’t work. Gone with the Newish Crye ultra lite plate carrier, at 1.5 pounds.

    Incidentally I’ll be purchasing another set, next month, and it WILL be from max. Dudes a great guy, deserves our business. Shoutout to Limeman who turned me onto this new high end tech, and Max.

    Thank you Brother!.

  14. I am running this handguard on an Aero Precision flat top upper–

    (Side note: A 15-inch (or longer) handguard allows you mount your BUIS at the same sight radius as a standard A2 rifle. This handy for a number of reasons)

    This light–

    This stubby grip–

    At first i had the light mounted at 9 o’clock (right handed shooter). Then I saw someone using the stubby grip like a hand stop, with their middle finger right at the joint of the handguard and the grip. I decided to try it myself. Liked it. Also discovered (duh) the grip now dictated where anything else was going to be mounted. With the grip, I absolutely could not find a spot for the light that worked. I needed the light at the 10:30-11:00 o’clock position, but it wouldn’t fit. I wound up taking the grip off in favor of the light. Then I found this little jewel–

    –which allowed me to mount the light perfectly for my thumb to reach the light switch.

    1. Bro-I have the same rail on my main rifle. It’s tits. Same stubby grip too. Two friends have since bought that same rail. It’s amazing.

      1. Great minds think alike. I’m just an old dog cold warrior still learning new tricks. Graduated Small Arms Repair School at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in 1974. Was in the field for Reforger ’75.

        Am also looking for some decent hardware to mount an Inforce light on my Benelli M1 Super 90. So far, looks like a light with a wire and pressure switch might work better.

  15. I don’t use lights because they show the bad guys exactly where you are. Yeah, I know, YOU can see them, and the light dazzles em’ yadda,yadda, yadda. I have lights, I just employ them differently than on a rifle or pistol. I honestly think sometimes that people who have them mounted to guns have never been shot at. I’m wrong, I know, but no lights on guns for me. And I can still remember at night in Germany when one of our M60A2’s would turn on a searchlight suddenly, for reasons I still don’t understand. (shudders)

    1. Hey, see the light and come on into the 21st Century. It has its rough edges, but overall it ain’t that scary.


      Seriously, you should honestly reevaluate your position w/r/to lights on defensive weaponry. Properly used, none of your reasons not to use them exist. It’s all about usage and training.

      They are worth the effort.

      Atlas Shrug

    2. I remember being a driver for a referee, I think it was Reforger ’83, when one of them did that. It startled me a lot, I didn’t know they made lights that bright

  16. SureFire lights are awesome products, but my income and family responsibilities has a say in what I can accomplish.

    Been using Fenix lights on my long arms.
    They are right. We need lights on our weapons. No exceptions. It is the most practical handy useful item in my kit. And until I did so had no conception of the positives and common sense practicality. At night it is THE game changer.
    I’ve coupled the weapon lights with Trijicon RX06 12 minute of angle triangle reticle reflex optic. It is a perfect balance in capabilities, complimentary benefits to a T, unbeatable night sighting features, I am totally content and confident with this set up.

    Got a bit more than two years experience using the products listed below. One weapon mounted rig is used every day, its a constant companion weapon. Zero fails.
    This is the product linkage for what I’m using:

    Cost per kit each, which includes all the parts above in a kit:
    $139.61 per kit
    Shipping is included
    Ordered 5 kits
    Fenix gives 1st time customers a 20% discount
    5 kits: $698.05
    less 20% discount: $558.44

    Done and Done.
    Only longevity quality of products remains to be seen. And only time proves this out.
    Exceeds every expectation I had for a weapon light system.
    Zero issues or negative features.
    Changed everything about night/dark weapon use for me. Can not imagine a weapon with no light on it now. Be like taking my AR and giving me a wheel lock muzzle loader.

    AS described, this light kit saved my dawgs life last week. Maybe mine too, if I did not have a weapon light.

    Stopped a mountain lion dead in its tracks in the wee hours, slinking up thru the hay in attack mode to kill my beloved pooch. Stopped it attacking with the highest setting, I blinded it with the weapon light. Learned a shitload of things in a few seconds.

    I was taking a leak, pecker hanging out, my dawg was 15 foot from away to my exact right taking her pee next to the wheel of a hay rake.
    Noticed the vague shadow of movement, (we have no end of coyote’s and foxes, and feral abandoned meth lab watch dogs around our land. the feral dogs are very dangerous, they attack anything when formed up in packs, anything, got to watch out for all the critters all the time).
    One handed pointed an AR pistol at the spied movement in my peripheral vision. Hit the remote switch, bingo, pinned that cat in place like a bug on a pin. It was apparent it could not see anything from its instant reaction, it was instantaneous. Amazing.
    A holy shit WTF moment. All happened in two blinks.

    Got No Doubt the value of a weapon light now.
    The value of loved ones and excellent enhancement of my weapons capabilities is beyond measure monetarily. The ability to clearly unmistakably identify targets is an outstanding Force multiplier.

  17. Streamlight polytac uses 2 CR123a, also Surefire comparable model (6p?)of 2 CR123a, all mounted with a Viking Tactics picatinny rail mount. allows for some different configurations of angle.

  18. I use a Klarus XT10 mounted at 5 o’clock. It has 3 settings: 430 lumens, medium, and low. At the highest, it’s like a car headlight, but lasts only 2 hours; at the lowest it lasts 21 days. It has a momentary capable switch, but I think it’s to easy to click it on, and have to break concentration to click it back off. Very durable, with a quartz lens, and watertight, but heavy. Outside, I can see everything, but inside the glare on the walls is blinding. I have used the strobe with a blue lens to spook druggies. The TLR-1 tends get bumped on when on a rifle, so it’s in the drawer (waiting on a pistol with rails)

  19. Streamlight HLX dual fuel. Rechargeable 18650s have been very reliable.

    Mounted at 11 o’clock on hand guard.

    Streamlight has performed as well as previously issued Surefire products. Much more budget friendly.

    Fenix PD-35Tac is my EDC light. It is quite good as well.

  20. Surefire M600Us and M300Cs. Gear Sector and I.W.C. mounts. Surefire-branded 123s. Zero complaints.

    First time I turned on a WML I wondered how I ever got by without one. I use them regularly for checking on squawking chickens or barking dogs at night.

  21. M300 Sure fire mounted at 9 0clock on picatinney rail on a
    LMT CQB 5.56, crimson trace green laser up front and ACOG.
    Tapeswitch to surefire is ranger banded to LaRue Tactical foregrip.
    I got no kids, no wife. Spared nothing with my rifle. Cause we are gonna need em. Soon.

  22. I’ve got almost a decade of SureFire 300X on Glocks – with at least 10,000 rounds on one light. Never missed a beat.

    Fenix (bright, nicely made, etc. & “unproven” in my life) for EDC. Got 2 or 3 of them.

    SureFire MD600DF on AR-15s. I like the “rechargeable” option for high-drain batteries. Tailcap switch to the Unity Hot Button. Light is at 1:30 (halfway between top and right side rails) on a Unity Hub.

    Seen someone (don’t remember who) say that they’re making 500 yard hits with red dot and hold overs. Uh, maybe, but I’d pay $100 to see it in person. I can tell you that the 5th Group guys who’ve stuck with Eotechs couldn’t hit shit with their red dots + magnifiers at that distance at their last “9/11 Legion Memorial Match” near Ft. Campbell. I’m seeing a lot of movement over to 1-6 or 1-8 scopes like Vortex Razor or Nightforce for one-optic solutions. The guys who took 1st and 2nd in the lightweight class were capable three-gunners who ran super light rifles (4 lbs.) and red dots, but on the long-range event they hit at 200 and (some) 300, and just took the time penalty for the 400, 500, 600 targets so they could get back to running their 10K.

    If I’m kicking a door to find/recover my kid, I’m taking a red dot. If I’m going on walk about and need to do everything from look a long way across the field or up the hill or into that tree line, as well as have ‘red dot’ capacity, LPVO = win. YMMV.

  23. How did we ever make war before nods and weapon lights. Someone should tell the Pashies it cant be done.
    Someday I will see this magic land where all the people in a group buy several thousand dollars worth of gear apiece and train regularly together. Sadly, as an old green head sock wearer I know that all I’ll ever get to work with is a suddenly motivated (scared) group of barely equipped husbands, sons and fathers. Even a small semi-trained cadre takes immense amount of work to create because people got jobs, lives and families they answer to first and if they dont have that then they’re probably the wrong people to be working with in the first place.
    Get basics in quantity, like bullets, flares, smoke, iron sights, gauze, and train the basics. Adding multipliers later is easy.
    The rest of it is just being Gear Queer.

  24. FYI-
    Bringing optics / lights from indoor AC to outside = FOG

    Prepare accordingly.

  25. A $20 Lumintop EDC flashlight that I got off Amazon – can run standard AA battery but also comes with a higher powered 14500 rechargeable battery for 650 lumens. The pocket clips fits snugly into the “sharks fin” foregrip slot, and by mounting it on the left side it is an easy lift of the thumb to kick on the light. Plus, that light illuminates the front post, so I get a pseudo night vision rig to boot. I wrapped a bit of duck tape on it, just to fully secure it when in the run and gun mode.

    $20, works great, plus oou can dismount it and use it as your EDC flashlight.

  26. I see guys saying use a light that takes AA batteries, and this appeals to me due to availability during less than optimal situations. Does anyone have a recommendation for a weapon light with IR capability that takes AA. batteries, or am I just going to have to go with a CR123 unit and stock up?

    I just recently bit the bullet on buying a PSV-14 that should be delivered in a couple weeks, and am trying to get at least one weapon NVG capable.

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