Streamlight TLR-3: Simple is better

     I recently tested the Streamlight TLR-3 rail-mounted tactical LED light. In the tactical world, simpler is better. The TLR-3 proved itself an excellent addition to the tactical inventory.      The Streamlight TLR-3 is a 90-lumen, C4...


     I liked the molded flat surface on the bottom and its narrow profile. It didn't interfere with the characteristics of my gun, nor did it impede my ability to shoot barricaded. I mounted it to my Glock 22 and it was a smooth draw from my Bianchi Vision 90 holster. The simple construction and O-ring seal kept the TLR-3 water tight, and the impact-resistant polymer did just fine under shock tests.

     Streamlight uses a Borofloat high temperature glass lens, a temperature and chemical-resistant product often used for engineering applications. It has all of the excellent properties of glass, including its ability to remain transparent in adverse conditions, yet adds shock resistance. This is an excellent choice for a product that will be exposed to hot gases, warm LEDs and abrasive deposits.

     The reflector is a fairly deep parabola with a textured surface. It throws a concentrated center beam with diffused edges. At about 5 yards distance, the beam is only a yard wide. It delivers reduced peripheral light for a building search, but it is tight enough to encourage target focus.

     I was able to test the mounted light on a foggy evening and it produced less backscatter than several of my patrol lights. It punched through low visibility well and allowed for better target identification down alleyways than a similar 120 lumen light. This is an important feature, as the user of this product will likely want to know how it does after dousing a home interior with smoke.

     The front side of the TLR-3 is machined aluminum. It seemed to regulate the heat buildup well, and the regulated circuit kept the beam consistent throughout the life of the power cell.

     Streamlight made this product a little smaller and lighter by using the CR2 cell instead of the usual CR123 cell. At first I was a little concerned, as this is usually a more expensive cell. However, a quick look at some suppliers suggested that the prices have some parity now. Bear in mind CR2 cells generally are a few hundred milliamp hours short of the CR123. But my TLR-3 didn't know the difference, and the 1.5 hours of regulated run time is more than reasonable.

     The Streamlight TLR-3 is an excellent selection for the tactical user. It is small enough to fit in a pocket and bright enough to fit in an entry team's kit. Streamlight has proven that simpler is better.

     Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer who teaches at Hartnell College in Salinas, Calif.

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