Pistol lights once use to be considered a fad or something that only special operations forces or SWAT officers used, but those days have come and gone. In today’s world many shooters are now trusting their lives to pistol lights that they use on their home defense pistols. The Streamlight TLR-1 may not be the newest , smallest or lightest pistol light on the market but it’s long history and track record have more made the Streamlight TLR-1 the gold standard of pistol lights. Some of you maybe asking yourself why we took the time to review something that has been on the market for a while, the simple answer is that with the recent explosion of technology pistol lights are now more affordable and useful than ever. We also noticed that on the site we were a bit thin on reviews of weapons lights so we decided to do something about it. That being said if you want to start highlighting products you haven’t previously done, such as pistol lights in this case, you start with arguably the best one and use it as the standard by which all others are judged.

We have featured a few Streamlight products in the past, most notably the TLR-3 light in a December 2016 article by staff writer Nate Graznow. The company has always made products that at times might have been out of my price range but have always held up to any abuse or austere conditions they have been exposed to. So when I decided it was time to look for a pistol light for my home defense gun I knew based on my previous experiences with Streamlight that their products would be at the top of my list. Ultimately I chose the TLR-1 to review based on a long list of attributes the light has, and honestly part of this equation was based on price. Here at The Arms Guide we like to show you products that the average gun owner can afford, expensive and exotic firearms and accessories are great to look at but at the end of the day we all want the best bang for our buck. So lets take a look at what makes the Streamlight TLR-1 such a great pistol light for your defensive pistol needs.


Name: TLR-1

Manufacturer: Streamlight

Country of Assembly: United States

Length: 3.39″

Width: 1.47 ”

Height: 1.44 ”

Weight: 4.18 oz

Case Material: 6000 Series Aluminum

Light Source: Single C4 LED Light

Light Output: 300 Lumens

Run Time: 2.5 Hours

Lifespan of LED: 50,000 Hours

Battery Type: CR123A (2x)

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Operating Temperature Range: -40*F to +120* F

Operation Method: Rotary paddle switch

MSRP: $100- $130

Streamlight TLR-1 Pistol Light: Effective and Affordable
Photo courtesy of streamlight.com

Why a pistol light ? 

I use to be one of the loudest most critical people when it came to pistol lights, I was 100% against them until I started to think about home defense and tried a few tests on my own. Many people incorrectly assume that pistol lights are cumbersome and aren’t really that useful or that they won’t need them. The vast majority of the anti pistol light community assume that they will either just click on the lights in their house or will carry a flashlight with them when they go to check out that noise in the middle of the night. The problem is that if you aren’t a trained high speed operator and you are awaken in the middle of the night your body won’t be use to the massive surge in adrenaline that you will feel quickly. I may not be a high speed operator but I know that when bad things are about to happen or could happen, that the K.I.S.S principle rules the day. Simple things just tend to work better.

The Streamlight TLR-1 is a simple to use light which is in keeping with my love of all things simple. The rotary paddle switch allows a shooter to use the light as a momentary On-Off setting as well as a continuous On position. This featured is one of the things I like best about the light, it allows me to give a quick flash of light to check out a situation or disturbance or simply press the paddle the other way for a continuous light. Anyone who has any amount of time around a pistol knows that keeping both hands on your gun and in a ready position is the best way to ensure hitting your target. The fact that I can easily reach the paddle on the Streamlight TLR-1 with minimal repositioning of my hands is a definite selling advantage.

There aren’t many negative things that anyone can say about the Streamlight TLR-1. It has an amazing operational history, a lifetime warranty, it puts out a high amount of light and offers easy button free operations of the light. When you combine all of this with a great price point you can see why its been such a popular pistol light for so long. Are there smaller more powerful lights on the market that have lasers and strobes built in ? Yes there are, but they come with a much higher price. This light in our opinion is a great light for someone who doesn’t need the extra bells and whistles of lasers and strobes. This is a light that is designed to do one thing, and that is simply work when you need it to. Wether you need it to work on patrol or in the middle of the night at your house, the Streamlight TLR-1 is a workhorse that won’t let you down.

Thanks for taking the time to read about the Streamlight TLR-1, if you are in the market for a weapon light Streamlight should be one of the manufactures that you check out. The company makes a wide array or lights that will fit on dozens of different brands and styles of firearms. Are you currently using a weapon light on any of your guns? Which ones and why did you choose the model that you did ? We are always eager to hear from our readers and hear your opinions. Drop us a line in the comments section.

Streamlight TLR-1 Pistol Light: Effective and Affordable
Photo courtesy of thetruthaboutguns.com