Weaponlights are becoming a standard-issue item on every weapon.

The new SIG M17 is the first general issue handgun the United State’s military has fielded that comes with a rail system from the start. Weaponlights are an invaluable tool for anyone who carries a weapon professionally or for defensive purposes, be it inside or outside of the home. Concealed carry isn’t just a civilian concern anymore, either. The military has specifically adopted the SIG M18, a compact variant of the M17, to make concealing a firearm easier. Smaller guns need smaller lights, and the TLR-7 from Streamlight is a smaller light.

A smaller size is often associated with less performance, but with the TLR-7, you’d have a hard time making that argument. This small and compact weaponlight still packs 500 lumens of light with a reported beam distance of 140 meters. The light runs off a single CR123A battery and will give you 1.5 hours of runtime.

Size-wise the TLR-7 is 2.15 inches long, 1.27 inches tall, and 1.18 inches wide. Its total weight is 2.4 ounces. It’s a small light, with a decent runtime, and a powerful enough beam for most applications. It won’t replace a TLR 1 or a Surefire X300, but as far as small lights go, it’s going to get the job done.

The Compact Handgun and the TLR-7

The TLR-7 best fits on compact handguns roughly the same size as a Glock 19. The light sits flush with most guns this size and allows you to keep the weapon’s size minimized while equipping a light. It’s somewhat silly to attach a full-sized light to a compact gun. At that point, just carry a full-length gun with a full-sized light.

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The TLR-7 maintains the compact nature of a compact gun. In my experimentation, the TLR-7 fits flush with the CZ P10C, the Walther P99, the SIG 320 compact, and the Glock 19. It will likely sit flush with most compact handguns.

A Glock 19 sized firearm is almost universal, and if you can only own one gun, I always suggest a firearm this size. It’s small enough to carry but big enough to pack a punch. They typically have excellent capacity and offer an accessory rail for lights.

The light has a constant on and a momentary mode. Momentary is a bit different with this design: if you want to use momentary hold the button down for more than one second. When released, the light will shut off.

The TLR-7 is also perfectly capable of being used in both concealed carry and home defense scenarios.

Performance Matters

The 500 lumen light sits in a decent sweet spot of power. It’s bright enough to be used outside at handgun ranges, but it’s not so powerful that it’s hard to use it inside buildings and homes. The 1.5-hour runtime would mean guys and gals using it for duty likely want to top off their batteries nightly, but on the bedside table, you’re likely good to go for quite some time.

To test the TLR-7, I went to the range with 34 rounds of 124 grain +P ammunition. This is the actual ammo I carry daily, and I wanted to run two magazines of it through the gun to test for a few things.
First, and most importantly, is the light going to go off because of recoil? It’s pretty bad if you fire a round or two, and your light flips off.

Second, is the TLR-7 going to move up and down the rail? It needs to be secure and unmoving throughout the course of fire.

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Range Time with the TLR-7

To tell if the light flickers, I set my phone to record and laid it facing up at the gun and light. I recorded all 34 rounds to see if the light switched off, even just momentarily, during the course of fire.

The good news is the TLR-7 stayed on without issue, and it didn’t flicker or fail in any way. It also remained locked on tight to my gun and didn’t budget up and down the rail.

Next, I wanted to see just how long the light actually ran. I set it up with a full battery and set a timer to go off every twenty minutes. I can say that the battery lasted slightly more than 1.5 hours but did so in reduced power output. We got at least 1 hour and 50 minutes of life out of this model, although the power output’s reduction makes it really only useful at indoor ranges.

What Else Should You Know?

The TLR-7 is IPX-7 rated for submersion up to a meter for 30 minutes. It can operate at temperatures ranging from -40 degrees to over 120 degrees. The TLR-7 can also fit on numerous rails. Streamlight provides a weapon’s key kit to ensure the light matches your rail system. The TLR-7 is a robust, and duty quality weapon light that’s a perfect weaponlight for a concealed carry gun.