Review: Streamlight TLR-4 Weapon Light and Laser

Not too long ago I had a package show up here at the Gunmart Blog Test Kitchen from the good people over at Streamlight. Inside of said package was one of their weapon mounted light/laser combo offerings… the Streamlight TLR-4 Compact Rail Mounted Light and Laser Sight.

Streamlight TLR-4

I have talked in the past about how far we have come (in such a very short time) with regards to the quality of weapon mounted lights and lasers that we Gunnies now have at our disposal. It wasn’t too long ago that the mere idea of mounting lights and lasers to firearms was an almost inconceivable notion. Back in the day, Duct-taping a giant Maglite to your rifle was pretty much the only option you had available. Fast forward to today’s time and you will be hard pressed to find a firearm that can’t be easily equipped with a laser or light option. Its truly remarkable… and something that I sometimes have a hard time wrapping my head around.

When I opened up the box that Streamlight sent me and pulled out the Streamlight TLR-4 I had another one of those moments of disbelief. In fact, I actually chuckled when I first held this thing in my hand. I once again found myself not being able to wrap my head around how they are able to take a laser aiming device and  a powerful flashlight and put it all together into such a compact package.

Upon first inspection you can tell right away that the TLR-4 is incredibly well constructed. The entire thing is only 2 3/4 inches long and weighs in at an amazing 2.8 oz on my postal scale. The TLR-4 runs on one CR2 battery (included) and puts out a 110 Lumen beam of light. Run time is gonna come in at 1.5 hours for flashlight only/flashlight and laser use or  11 hours of laser only use.

The other amazing thing about this light/laser combo is that it is universal. Essentially what Streamlight has put together here is a scaled down version of their previous weapon mounted lights to make something that is very conducive to being mounted on a handgun – even small, subcompact handguns. They designed the TLR-4 to be mounted to the firearm by the use of what they call “rail keys”. Basically the unit accepts numerous different inserts (included) that allow you to use this laser/light combo on just about any firearm with a rail – they even sell a compatible rail adapter for shotgun tubes. The bottom line is that if your gun has a rail or if you can somehow figure out a way to get a rail attached to your gun, this light will probably work on it. Nice!

Installation using the “rail key” system is pretty easy. You basically just have to back the retention screw all the way out if you need to change out the rail key for a different rail and then just reassemble. It doesn’t take long at all and the instructions tell you straight away which rail key you are going to need for which firearm. Then its just a matter of securing the devise to your rail and tightening down the retention screw. You can hand tighten it if you want, but for a more secure fit I would suggest using the included e-clip and included tool to properly secure it.

While the TLR-4 was scaled down to its diminutive size with the intention of being a great tool for handgun owners, what I really like about a light/laser combo that is this small and lightweight is that its a really great option for rifles as well. And that’s exactly what I decided to do my testing of this product with. So after the obligatory photo shoot, I headed off to the range to spend some quality time with the TLR-4 mounted on my AR.

At the range the TLR-4 did not disappoint, and proved itself to be a rock solid and dependable unit. The laser comes “centered” from the factory, so zeroing is quick and easy. I only had to make small adjustments to elevation for the one that they sent me. I will note that I did make considerable adjustments to both elevation and windage just to see if there would be any problems and there were not any at all. The laser is as bright and crisp of a laser as any that I have seen on the market thus far, and I have not had any problems with the unit maintaining zero. It has also maintained zero despite removing and replacing the unit several different times.

Activation involves two toggle levers on the rear of the unit. Both can be used for momentary on and one will toggle the unit to constant on. There is also a small toggle lever in the center that allows you to choose what combination of light or laser or both that you want to use at any given time. Its pretty slick.

Like I said earlier, the flashlight on the TLR-4 is going to give you 110 Lumens of light… which I think is great. At that output, I would classify this as a short range light. I have found that it is going to effectively light up a target for engagement out to about 40 yards (give or take). It will certainly put light out further, but out past that distance you are probably gonna need more light to effectively identify and engage a target. Spill on the light is pretty nice, and the TLR-4 gives more than enough to light up in and around your target out to about 20-25 yards (increasing of course at closer ranges). 110 Lumens also is enough to start blinding and disorienting a person when you shine it in their eyes. Its not necessarily enough output to call this light an offensive weapon, but that firearm that it is attached to will fill that void just nicely.

All of this together adds up to give you a great weapon mounted light/laser combo that is ideally suited for concealed carry/home defense. Overall, this a great unit and I have no doubt that it will give you all the performance you need for a personal defense weapon mounted light and laser.

Amazon has the best price that I have seen if you are interested in picking one up for yourself.

More pics here.

Here are the full specs from their site:

  • C4 LED Tchnology, impervious to shock with a 50,000 hour lifetime. 640-660nm red laser.
  • 5,000 candela peak beam intensity; 110 lumens
  • Runs 1.5 hours ( LED only or LED and laser); 11 hours (laser only)
  • One-handed snap-on and tighten interface keeps hands away from muzzle when attaching/detaching. Securely fits a broad range of weapons
  • Windage and elevation adjustment screw mounted in brass bushing for dependable zero retention of laser
  • Ambidextrous momentary/steady On-Off switch
  • Three position mode selector switch for Laser only, LED illumination only or both Laser and LED
  • Textured parabolic reflector produces a concentrated beam with optimum peripheral illumination. Optimized electronics provide regulated intensity. Laser provides long-range targeting
  • Key kit included for mounting to a variety of weapons (H&K USP models do not include key kit)
  • Uses one 3V CR2 lithium battery (included)
  • Impact-resistant Engineering polymer with durable anodized aluminum facecap
  • Borofloat high temperature glass lens
  • Withstands heat and cold with operating temperatures of -10°F to +120°F
  • IPX4; water-resistant
  • Serialized for positive identification
  • 2.73″ (6.93 cm)
  • 2.81 oz. (79.7g)
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Assembled in USA

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