Why mount a light on a long rifle?
I've already discussed in another article concerning weapon mounted lights that considering most home invasions occur in the nighttime and since one of the basic firearm safety rules state that you need to “be sure of your target” tactical lights are absolutely essential with handguns.
They're also essential for long rifles.
This remains true for both home and professional use.
In fact, I can't imagine not having a mounted light system on any firearm.
I've also covered some of the tactical light gun techniques such as the FBI technique and Ayoob technique, etc. But these require training since it essentially necessitates operating a weapon safely and effectively with only one hand.
For civilians, the mounted light is usually the best way to go
Here are the advantages:
- the light is always available with the weapon – you never have to be concerned about ensuring you also picked up the light
- the mounted light allows the use of both hands to control the weapon
- the light is automatically pointing in the right direction
- using a mounted light doesn't require additional and specialized training as does a separate light source
There are, of course, a few disadvantages such as you may be pointing the weapon at someone or something you don't want to fire at but need to do so because you need to illuminate the situation. Obviously, keep your finger off the trigger.
Additionally, mounted lights add dimension and weight which is especially problematic in covert situations, however, this is more related to handguns as opposed to long guns.
In conclusion, the advantages simply outweigh the disadvantages.
So what systems are available and recommended
There are a number of commonly available systems but three of the best are discussed below:
There are other systems, such as Inforce but the lights above have pressure plates and are really the cream of the crop.
SureFire M600 Scout
If there is one word to describe SureFire, it would be “overbuilt”, and the Scout is no exception.
Powered by 2 AA alkaline or lithium batteries, the Scout is anything but small. It generates 500 lumens for a full 1.5 hours and can be operated either from the pressure plate or the shrouded tail switch. The SureFire is sealed against the elements and built with aircraft aluminum. Most users state it's expensive but worth every penny. In any life or death situation, your gear is always worth its weight in gold.
Streamlight TLR-1 with Long Gun Kit
I've covered the Streamlight TLR-1 before on TactBright. And it continues to be one of my highest rated mounted lights for good reason. It's rated at 800 lumens and uses 2 CR123A Lithium batteries. The TLR-1 has a run time of 1.25 hours and works with or without a pressure switch or the Long Gun Kit.
It's lightweight at 4.2 ounces and small at 3.4 inches and is available in black and dark earth. Finally, it's equipped with an easily accessible strobe. It's simply one of the most versatile mounted lights you can own for both hand and long guns.
Streamlight Pro Tac Rail Mount
The Pro Tac Rail Mount is a totally dedicated long gun mounted tactical light. Unlike the TLR-1 and M600, the Pro Tac Rail Mount is designed specifically for long guns. It boasts 625 lumens for a full 1.45 hour. The Streamlight is only 5 ounces and comes in at 5 inches. It runs on 2 CR123A lithium batteries and includes a dedicated fix-mount and remote pressure switch.
The light has high, low and strobe and can be configured to work selectively. Without a doubt, the Pro Tac Rail Mount is one of the most favored long gun tactical lights.
Best of all, it's very reasonably priced.
Conclusions and Recommendations
You really can't go wrong with any of the above mounted tactical lights.
Although the Surefire Scout may be the gold standard, and the Streamlight TLR-1 may be the most versatile, the Pro Tac would really be the best bang for the buck.
Three great light from two superb USA tactical light manufacturers – take your pick.
I believe, the Streamlight 8806 Pro Tact Rail Mount HL-X is the best professional Tactical flashlight rail mount available.