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1/1/08 - New from TangoDown is the SureFire Helmet Light Rail Mount. This allows the SureFire Helmet light to be used as a navigation light on a weapon, similar to the nav lights on the SureFire M900 vertical grip weapons light. When a tactical weapons mounted light is just too bright for some circumstances, the helmet light mounted on the weapon with its three levels of intensity might come in handy. The TangoDown mount consists of a rail with an adapter for the SF Helmet light attached to it. Two cross bolts tighten the mount to any 1913 rail. The mount does not have to be slid onto the rail - loosening up the bolts opens the locking plate enough to slip it over the rail. The mount is position where the Helmet light toggle switches can be activated by whichever hand you're using. The SF Helmet light is then slid onto the mount until the locking tab clicks and locks. For a right hander, the recommended position is on the left rail. It can be mounted on the bottom rail as well to allow for a side-mounted main light.
I'm a leftie, and found that mounting it on the top rail worked for me, as illustrated below. I use the thumb of my right (support) hand to activate the switch on the right side-mounted X300 weapons light. I can reach the Helmet light toggle switch with my thumb without changing my grip. The LEDs on the Helmet light clear the folded-down front sight without a problem.
SureFire Classic and Nitrolon Lights
2/17/05 - The
'Classic' 6P handhelds with L60 lamp modules were my first weapon
lights when they first came out. Robust, lightweight, and simple,
they were the first compact high-output weapons lights I had seen.
The 1" body diameter meant that they could easily be mounted
in a variety of mounts. I first used the KAC flashlight mount, but
in my experience, the light kept loosening in the clamp, even with
loctite, and it wasn't quick-detachable. Plus it wasn't cheap. I then
bought a set of Leupold QRW low rings, which I like as they're easy
to detach and low profile. They worked very well (never loosening,
and less expensive). My 6P's have the P61 bulbs in them for higher
output, but at the cost of shorter battery life. Mounted on the side
of the rail, my short thumb found it awkward to reach. Enter the Yankee-hill
offset angle mount, which places the tail cap in exactly the right
position for me. I like the thumb activation better than a pressure
switch, but if I'm using a pressure switch, the TangoDown vertical
grip already has a switch pocket on its side.
2/17/05 - SureFire's
Scout light is their latest ultra-compact and lightweight 6V. The
Scout Light (M600A) has an integral rail mount with a single thumbscrew,
and comes with a KL4 LED head and Z68 pushbutton tailcap. The KL4
head is bright (65 lumens) and produces a brilliant white, wider beam.
The UE07 tape switch can be used with the Scout, for momentary activation.
SureFire Millennium Universal Light
2/17/05 - The 'MU' system comprises of a series of 6, 9 and 12V lights with integral rail clamps (throw-lever or doual thumbscrews). Light bodies, shock-isolated bezels, lamps, tailcaps are interchangeable to configure the lights in a multitude of ways. Shown below is the far-reaching 9V M961XM. It uses a LU10 bezel with a MN10 (125 lumens) or MN11 (225 lumens) lamp. This is the dual thumbscrew model, with XM tailcap. The XM tailcap module has a push button switch, and a removable tail pressure switch. The tail switch plug socket has a cover when not in use. The push button is momentary or constant click on. The plastic portion of the tailcap can be rotated to place the pushbutton in the optimum position, and it also has a lockout feature (by rotating the entire endcap - not just the plastic portion)
SureFire SR Rail Mount Tape Switch
- The SRxx Rail Mount Tape Switch is a plug-in tape switch with rail
clip that fits the Scout Light, Millennium Universal Weaponlights
(or any XM dual tailcap), and the X200 Tape Switch tailcap. The 'xx'
stands for the length of the cable and plug - the 7" SR07 is
shown below. The SRxx consists of an XM-type metal plug that plugs
into the socket in the flashlight tailcap, a length of cable, and
the rail clip with switches. The rail clip is made of flexible material
and snaps onto any 1913 rail. I think the compound could be hardened
up a bit so it's a bit more secure on the rail.
|3/4/04 - Surefire's X200 light is their 'latest and greatest' pistol light as of SHOT 2004 (Feb, '04). It uses an ultra-bright (60 lumens approx) 5-watt Luxeon LED instead of an incandescent bulb to provide its light source. Not as bright as some of their other pistol lights, but definitely more compact, and bright enough. The X200 has an aluminum body and bezel. 2 DL123 3V batteries provide It is supplied with a couple of different adapters to fit a variety of different handgun rails - universal and picatinny. I had a picatinny rail installed on the dustcover of my P14.45 by GG&G. They did an excellent job, and the X200 locates perfectly on it. The toggle switch works by rotating it either way with a finger for constant-on. The momentary switch is activated by pressing forward on the switch.|
Para-Ord P14.45 by Smoking Hole Pistols
Streamlight TLR-1/SureFire X200A comparison
|5/15/06 - Streamlight's TLR-1 debuted
just before the SHOT show 2006 and was seen in quite a few booths mounted
on railed pistols. Sized a bit smaller than their M3 series, but slightly
larger than SureFire's X200, its retail price is less than half that of
the X200, making it very attractive to those who wanted an X200-type LED
light, but balked at the price. I won't bother with the technical specs
of the TLR-1; you can read them on the Streamlight website here.
I'll just go over some general features that might help people make up
their minds about which one to get - X200 or TLR-1?
The TLR-1 is slightly heavier, and as I mentioned before, slightly larger than the X200. Some vendors had mentioned that it'd fit holsters meant for the X200, but I found this to be not the case. The TLR-1 will not fit my Safariland 6004 meant for the X200. It'll fit rigid holsters sized for the M3, and soft nylon ones meant for railed pistols. That kind of pissed me off because I was hoping to use it in my 6004. Now, I can't, and I'm not going to buy another holster just to fit it.
Overall, I prefer the look and aesthetics of the X200 better - the TLR-1 is a bit blocky and very slightly cruder in comparison. The attachment method is less likely to loosen up, though. Instead of the plastic rails of the X200 that require you to slide the light onto the rail from the front, the TLR-1 has aluminum rails, and rocks onto the rail without having to slide it from the front. The right rail is spring loaded, and the tension is adjusted via a slotted thumb screw. It's not as fast to install and remove as the X200, but it hasn't loosened up on me the same way the X200A (first gen) did. The first of the X200's had only two screws holding the plastic rails to the body. After a few dozen rounds, my rails would loosen up, and the light would rattle around. Yes, I used loctite. The 2nd gen X200's have 3 screws per rail to deal with this problem but since I don't have one, I'm not sure if it's been solved.
The TLR-1 has a bright, tightly focused beam, just a tad brighter than the X200A with more throw. The beam spot is circular, while the X200 has a diamond-shaped spot. The TLR-1 spot is also more even. Like the X200, the TLR-1's battery cover is also the rotary switch. Rotating it counter clockwise turns it on momentarily, and clockwise turns it on. I prefer the momentary option of the X200, which is activated by simply pressing the switch forward on either side. I'm a lefty, and completely ambidextrous features are important to me. The TLR-1 switch seems a bit cheap, but on the other hand, X200 switches can be fragile when taking on and off, too (I've seen a few broken J-hooks when trying to replace the switch to the pressure type).
I don't see any practical difference in illumination performance between the two, and I'm guessing that people will be making their decisions based on price or the little details. The TLR-1 is defintely a step up from the M3 series. Overall, I like the X200 better as it's a more 'refined' and bette made product. However, I'm not sure it's worth two to three times the price of the TLR-1. If the TLR-1 meets your needs and budget better, and you've already got an M3 or holster to fit it, I think it's a decent value and provides a more affordable alternative, with comparable illumination performance.
|Switches||Battery cover removed||
On Kimber Warrior
9/20/06 - Surefire's
followed their X200A
(above) about a year after the A model was introduced, some time in
2005. Some changes were made to the original A model, which the B shown
here incorporates. Look at the above writeup to see the early/original
X200A without the changes.
X200B and Gen I X200A rail guides
Rail lock option
||Battery cover retaining pin|
The main difference between the X200A and X200B is
the bezel assembly and lens. Both utilize the same 5 watt Luxeon LED.
The X200A lens is convex like a fish eye, and focuses the beam into
a narrow spot. Based on operator requests for a wider beam for searching
small rooms in closer quarters, the B model was developed. The X200B
has a flat lens and ripple-coated reflector that produces a beam that
has a brighter periphery and a more diffused center spot. While the
A has a longer throw (reach), the B is better for indoor use as the
beam illuminates a larger area which makes it easier/quicker to find
things. Liken it to trying to paint a wall with a narrow paintbrush
vs. a roller.
DG switch - The standard X200 switch is a rotating
toggle which turns the light on and off. Rotating the switch either
way locks the light on. Pressing forward on the switch turns it on momentarily.
When I'm using the standard switch, I use the thumb of the support hand
to press forward and activate the light. This can take its toll on the
front of my thumb if I don't have gloves on. Unless the switch is rotated
and locked in the 'on' position, you cannot use the light one-handed
properly. SureFire came up with some switch options to address the issue.
Shown here is the DG (DevGroup) switch - DG-18 for the 1911 with integral
rail (different handguns require specific DG switches). The DG switch
replaces the standard battery cover/switch assembly. It extends from
the battery cover backward along the trigger guard follows the curve
down the front strap where it ends in a small pressure switch. The switch
is activate by rearward pressure from the middle finger using a normal
grip. One-handed activation of the light is now possible. In fact, it
seems too easy at the beginning, as a normal firm grip activates the
light automatically, especially when drawing the weapon from a holster.
Some practice is necessary to adjust your grip pressure and relax the
middle finger enough so that it doesn't activate the switch upon obtaining
your grip on the weapon. It was explained to me that "a momentary
white light AD is incidental if you're already drawing the weapon to
engage or in anticipation of an engagement with a threat." Weapons
lights should not be used for searching for a non-threat or general
use - a handheld flashlight should be employed for that purpose. Makes
sense to me.
|X200A and B beam comparison||
6/24/08 - The XTxx Rail Switch Tailcap is a replacement tailcap for the X Series Weapon lights (X200, X300, X400) that combines a push/toggle function with a remote rail mount tail switch. The 'xx' stands for the length of the cable and plug - the XT07 includes the 7" SR07 rail mount tape switch shown below.
The XT07 retains the rotary toggle switch function on the X Series tailcap - press on it for momentary on and rotate it for constant on. In addition, there is a lockout toggle switch which is used to activate or turn off the system. By turning it off, no switches will work and the light cannot be accidentally activated. The lockout toggle switch itself is protected by a 'tail' protruding from the cap. Above the toggle switch is a socket for the SR07 remote rail mount switch.
On carbines, I generally use the
push button tailcap on a light mounted on the weak side, and activate
it with my thumb. I wouldn't typically have use for an SRxx tape switch
on a carbine, but have illustrated it here for those who may want
to mount the X300 on the opposite side, and use the SR07 switch to
activate it. The SR07 switch can always be unplugged and the XT tailcap
used instead of the standard one, for the additional lockout toggle
7/7/07 - I was recently out on the shooting range with a group of buddies, going through some carbine drills with my LMT MRP and it had my M600A Scout light mounted on it. The single thumbscrew was tight when I had checked it earlier. After the drill, which required some running around, we were walking back to the line when someone said 'hey, did anyone lose a Scout light?', holding my light up that they had picked off the ground. The thumbscrew had loosened and my light had fallen off my weapon, unknown to me. That's a $375 light that I could have lost! Luckily, I was on a range where it was easily found, and it was during a non life threatening situation. But what about the people who lay their lives on the line in places that aren't as convenient as a shooting range? No wonder I've seen so many weapons lights and other items dummy corded or zip tied to weapons - they fall off!
I've always been a bit unsure of how secure the thumbscrews on SureFire mounts are as I've had them loosen up a bit before, but not before I caught it and snugged them back up again. The thumbscrews also get in the way of TangoDown rail panels, so I wasn't too happy with them. After the near loss of my Scout, I remembered that Mark LaRue made replacement mounts for the Scout and MU Series lights, with his familiar and proven quick-detach locking lever system. I've got LaRue Tactical mounts on all my optics and they are SECURE and will NOT loosen when correctly adjusted (follow the link for a more detailed description of the LaRue system if you're not familiar with it). It was time to replace the SureFire thumbscrews with something better.
LaRue Tactical makes two replacement mounts that replace the integral thumbscrew mounts on the SureFire lights - the LT-172 for the Scout lights, and the LT-170 for MU-series lights like the M900, M951 and M961weapons lights. Both are direct replacements for the stock mounts and require only a couple of minutes to install. They come with all the necessary hardware and tools, plus a little vial of blue Loctite. All you do is unbolt the thumbscrew mounts, then bolt on the LaRue ones. Like the other LaRue mounts, they're type III hard anozided with a matte black finish, with steel locking levers. The LT-172 has the lever safety lock, which prevents the locking lever from being opened unless the safety lock is slid open. It's a redundant feature if the locking lever is correctly adjusted.
iThe mounts can be attached to the lights with the locking lever pointing forward or backward, and either above or below the rail, depending on where you mount the light on the weapon. It really doesn't matter - just attach the mount to the light in the orientation that's most convenient and provides access to the lever.
The LaRue mounts place the lights slightly further aways from the rail than the thumbscrew mounts. I found this to be better, as the thumbscrew mounts placed the light bodies so close to the rail that the head/bezel had to be forward of the rail. The LaRue mounts provide more head clearance if you choose to place the light further back. The locking lever is less obtrusive than the thumbscrews, but most importantly, provides the assurance that the mount isn't coming off when you don't want it to. That assurance is cheap, considering the price of the host lights. If you have any of these lights, I consider the LaRue Tactical upgrade mounts a 'must', not just a 'nice to have'.
6/3/11 - The LaRue Tactical LT-171 is an upgrade to the A.R.M.S. #17S Short Single Throw Lever mount, by providing an adjustable lever which the A.R.M.S. product does not.
The LT-171 has a standard STANAG width channel and is designed for small pocket scopes or laser attachments. In this case, I'm using it to replace the mount on a Laser Devices DBAL A2. The A.R.M.S. #17S that came with the DBAL has a non-adjustable lever, so the tension varies from platform to platform. The LT-171, with its infinitely adjustable speed lever allows me to adjust the tension to ensure that the mount does not shift and the zero does not change.
As with all LaRue mounts, the LT-171 is hard anodized with a matte black finish. It has a single adjustable LaRue locking lever. The bottom of the LT-171 has a single recoil lug - it's as solid as a mount can get. The LT-171 can be installed so that the locking lever is on the left or right side of the rifle. The LT-171 comes with an adjustment wrench, but no additional hardware. The original hardware off the unit is used.
The LT-171 is a direct swap-out for the A.R.M.S. mount on the DBAL, and took only a minute or two. No modification is necessary with this particular DBAL model - I'm not sure about previous or later variants. Note that when the mount is installed to the unit, the lever adjustment screw cannot be adjusted with the supplied wrench since there's no clearance between the bottom of the unit and the screw to allow a wrench to slip over the nut. I just pre-adjusted the lever tension on the rail before attaching the unit to it. I recommend you do this as well. Since I'm a lefty, and the DBAL is currently mounted on the SCAR 16S, I installed the mount with the lever on the left, so that it doesn't interfere with the charging handle knob on the right. If you're having issues with the A.R.M.S. mount tension, the LT-171 will fix it.
8/15/08 - LaRue
Tactical offers two offset flashlight mounts; the LT-606
single light mount and the LT-607
double stack light mount.
The LT-607 double stack light mount has four rings to mount two devices, like a light and laser. It can be ordered with different combinations of the three ring sizes so different diameter bodies can be accomodated at the top or bottom.
Like the other LaRue mounts, they're type III hard anozided with a matte black finish, with steel locking levers. Both have the lever safety lock, which prevents the locking lever from being opened unless the safety lock is slid open. It's a redundant feature if the locking lever is correctly adjusted. They come with all the necessary hardware and tools, plus a little vial of blue Loctite. LaRue's redesigned lever adjustment tool is a great improvement over the original one.
iThe mounts can be attached to the lights with the locking lever pointing forward or backward, with the light either above (high) or below the rail (low), depending on how you activate the light on the weapon or prefer it placed.
For a wrap-around hold on the vertical grip, the single light mount places the light at just the right position for push-button activation with your thumb. With the double stack mount, you can activate the lower light with your thumb, but the upper one will require a tape switch unless you have a freakishly long thumb.
I don't use a wrap-around hold on the vertical grip, and run the support thumb along the support side. So, being a left hander, my right hand thumb points forward and can activate a light mounted on the right side of the rail. I've illustrated the double stack mount on a para FAL, set up for lefty use. I don't have a suitable laser, so I've mounted two lights in the double mount for illustration in the 'high' position, above the rail instead of below. I can activate both tailcaps easily with my right thumb. Something like a SureFire laser would work well in this setup.
4/4/05 - Never
satisfied to rest on their laurels, Vltor has improved their Scout
mount. Newly redesigned, the Vltor Scout mount addresses the issues
that some had with the original version. The original one was of ring
design, with the same clamp providing tension on the mounting rail
and the flashlight. Due to manufacturing tolerance buildup on both
lights and rails, you could end up with a loose light, or
a loose mount on the rail. Later versions addressed the issue of a
loose light by adding a setscrew, which marred the finish of the light.
It worked, but wasn't optimal as it didn't address an undersize rail,
which meant a tight light, but loose mount. It also meant that you
had to mount the light to the rail then use a hex wrench to tighten
the set screw - defeating the quick on-off capability.
3/1/08 - The Vltor SM-OCG (Scout Mount - Offset Classic G-series) light mount debuted at the '08 SHOT Show at the beginning of February. This neat little offset light mount is able to accomodate both 1" diameter lights and the larger G2 Nitrolon (approx 1.040"). Like he did for the Scout mount, Eric Kincel came up with an innovative clamping system (patent pending) that tightens down on both the rail and the light body at the same time, even if the light body diameter changes. This elminates the need for two mount sizes. The SM-OCG has two thumbscrews, and the rail clamp is 1.75" long. It's made of aluminum and has a Type III hard anodize coating. The mount drops the light down below the side rail, and also brings it in closer to the handguard, so it's easier to reach and doesn't stick out as far on the side. Mounting it on the 'strong' hand side (right side for right handers) puts the push button tail cap within easy reach of the thumb, if you hold the vertical grip by wrapping the thumb around it.
For those of use who don't wrap the thumb around the vertical grip, but instead keep it along the 'weak' side of the gun with the 'thumb forward' hold, the mount can be attached upside down, or on the top rail, which puts the light at the 10:30 (for right handers) or 1:30 (for left handers) positions, as shown below. Mounting on the side or top rail puts the light at approximately the same position and is activated with the thumb pressing forward. I've mounted it on the side rail of the CASV-M as the top rail on the CASV is taller than a normal rail. On the right photos below, it's mounted to the top rail of a VIS.
Another application for the SM-OCG is for helmet mounted rails. It's shown below with a NovaTac EDC-120T mounted to a Gentex TBH with Ops-Core ACH -ARC rail. It places the light close to the helmet creating a lower profile.
7/24/09 - Vltor has introduced the quick-detachable version of their SM-OCG (Scout Mount - Offset Classic G-series) light mount, the SMQ-OCG. It features an ADM locking lever mechanism instead of the dual thumb knobs, which enables the easy attachment and removal of the light from a rail.
The SMQ-OCG light mounting ring is a separate piece from the base mount. When the ADM locking lever is tightened, it tightens both the ring around the light body, and the clamp to the rail. The ADM mechanism consists of a lock lever with a lock button on it, attached to a square profile cross bar threaded on the end. The cross bar serves as the recoil lug as it fits into the rail's cross slot, preventing any fore or aft movement. A hexagonal head slotted screw fits into a recess in the light mounting ring and is threaded onto the cross bar. The clamp is spring loaded by two small springs in the mount. To unlock the lock lever, the lock button is pushed and the lever opened. Opening it loosens the clamp and the mount can then be removed from the rail by rocking it off. The clamp tension is adjusted by pressing on the lock lever when it's in the open position, compressing the two small springs and letting the hex screw protrude out of its recess. The screw can then be turned. Releasing the tension lets the screw return to its recess where it is prevented from rotating. The lock lever assembly can be removed and reversed so that it opens from the front or rear.
Both the SM-OCG and SMQ-OCG are shown below in the three right photos for comparison. The base of the SMQ-OCG is only about .050" thicker, and the rest of the envelope is the same, save for the locking lever. In the first photo on the left and third photo from the right (side view), the ring looks uneven relative to the base. This is because it's under spring tension and without a light body in there, may not be pushed unevenly. When a light is mounted in the ring, it evens out, as seen in the 2nd and 3rd photos.
9/17/08 - The Cree Q5 LED Drop-in Lamp from TNVC (Tactical Night Vision Company) is an LED replacement lamp for most flashlights that uses SureFire P60 or P61 lamp modules. It drops in without any alteration or spacer needed, and provides 256 lumens of intense white light. This drop-in lamp triples or quadruples the output from any 6P-type flashlight.
I've been holding off from getting an LED drop-in lamp for my SureFire 6P-type lights, simply because there are so many out there that the choices can be confusing. Some of the conversions require spacers; some require removing an outer spring; some create a gap between the body and the head. All I wanted was a simple drop-in conversion that is a direct replacement for P60 and P61 lamps. I have a P60L lamp, which provides 80 lumens and is a nice replacement for a P60. However, I wanted more output than that of the P61 (120 lumens, incandescent) but it had to be an LED.
When Victor at TNVC started offering his Cree Q5 LED drop-in lamps, I picked up a few with high expectations. These lamps are a direct replacement for the SureFire lamp modules and run on 4-15 V with an output of 256 lumens. Runtime with a 6V flashlight is 2+ hours. I tested them in a variety of lights shown below: 6P with shock-resistant bezels, G2 Nitrolon, C2 Centurion, Scout light, Digilight USA, and a Vitalgear F2. The lamps functioned perfectly in all the lights I installed them in, no gaps, no alterations or fitting, no problems.
I was really impressed with the amount of light these
lamps put out. Even with half-dead batteries, which produced yellow
incandescent light, the LEDs were blinding. The orange peel reflector
produces a very bright and focused hot spot with a usable side spill.
I compared it to my MN11 225 lumen incandescent bulb in my SureFire
M961 9V weapons light, which was my most powerful light so far. The
throw of the Q5 LED drop-in lamp was as good as or better than the
MN11. The MN11 has a wider beam and lit up a larger area at a distance
of about 50 yards but I preferred the white light of the Q5.
The TNVC Q5 exceeds the performance of the larger, heavy 9V incandescent weapons lights in a lightweight 6V package - with longer run times and no filament to break. At 256 lumens, and costing about the same price as the SureFire 6PL lamp at 80 lumens, these are a no brainer. Note that the TNVC Q5 may not fit some lights, even though they use P60 bulbs, like the M951. It will fit the following SureFire models - G2, G3, 6P, 6PD, 9P, Z2, G2Z, C2, C3, Scout (with incan head) and M2.
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