Online Exclusive

The Streamlight TLR-1 HL: A Review

Long time readers know that I am a huge fan of having, being trained with and controlling a handheld powerful flashlight.  Being able to conveniently mount that light onto a gun – handgun, rifle or shotgun – only adds to its potential versatility and value.  While I’m not normally a fan of having a handgun mounted light as a primary flashlight, there are certainly applications for such (SWAT, K9, military, etc) and I’d never argue with a person who felt that having a light mounted on their handgun for home- or self-defense was necessary.  All that said, I recently was able to test the Streamlight TLR-1HL which has proven quite handy.

Let’s get the “data points” out of the way first.  Straight from theStreamlight website:

The TLR-1 HL provides a 630 lumen blast of light for maximum illumination while clearing a room or searching an alley. Its wide beam pattern lights up large areas so you can identify who or what is nearby.

  • C4® LED technology, impervious to shock with a 50,000 hour lifetime
  • 12,000 candela peak beam intensity and up to 630 lumens.
  • TIR optic produces a concentrated beam with optimum peripheral illumination
  • Run Time: 1.25 hours regulated run time. Solid-state current regulation for consistent illumination level
  • Powered by two 3-volt CR123 lithium batteries with 10-year storage life
  • Rail grip clamp system securely attaches/detaches quickly and safely with no tools and without putting your hands in front of muzzle
  • Mounts directly to handguns with Glock-style rails and to all MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny) rails.
  • Includes keys for Glock-style, Picatinny, Beretta 90two, S&W 99 and S&W TSW
  • Machined aluminum sealed construction with black anodized finish
  • Ambidextrous momentary/steady on/off switch
  • User programmable strobe can be enabled/disabled
  • Fits existing light bearing holsters
  • 3.39” (8.61 cm); 4.18 oz (118.6 grams)
  • Operating temperature: -40°F to +120°F.
  • IPX7 waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes
  • Lithium Battery Notice under TECH DOCS
  • Remote switches are available as optional accessories and must be used in conjunction with 69130 remote door switch. All switches and door switch are sold separately. Reference TLR Accessories Brochure in DOCS/INFO tab for more information.
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Assembled in USA

After reading through all that and with my test TLR-1 HL in hand, I decided my first step should be to test the “waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes” claim.  I wasn’t going to drop it into 3.3′ of water, but I have some 5-gallon construction buckets available and promptly filled one of them to the brim.  That’s about 1.5 feet deep and I dropped in the TLR-1 HL.  It was a little less than half the water pressure at one meter so I doubled the time just to see if the math would work.  Ultimately, the LIGHT had to work… and it did.

About 65 minutes later I pulled it out of the bucket, shook it off and turned it on.  It worked both with touch/push pressure and the locked-on position.  I guess I should briefly explain: the on/off switch is a rocker arm centered on the back of the light with a center pivot point.  The result is a switch you can activate from either side of the weapon (making it ambidextrous).  Further, (on the left end of the switch) if you push it down you get “touch activation.”  If you push it up it “clicks” on and stays lit.  It’s the opposite for the right end of the switch: up is touch, down is click.

Now, what happens if you “double tap” the switch?  Well, the TLR-1 HL has a programmable strobe function that you can deactivate if you wish.  I happen to know the value of having a strobe function so I wouldn’t disable it.  To turn it on / active it, you “double tap” the switch.  A quick push/push in the touch pressure direction gives you the strobe light which stays functioning as long as you maintain the touch pressure (or until the batteries run out; whichever comes first).  If you want to turn the strobe on without having to hold pressure on the switch end, you can push the switch into the click-on position, click-it back off and then back on (quickly) and it will click on in strobe mode.

The light reportedly produces 630 lumens of light.  I don’t have a laboratory facility so I can’t measure that but I can tell you that it’s DAMN bright.  I also can’t measure the exact pace/frequency of the strobe mode but I can tell you that it is disorienting.

The TLR-1 HL is equipped with a universal/picatinny rail clamp mount that is both spring-loaded AND screw on.  If the screw is loose, the spring pressure helps to keep the light in place.  For mounting the light, the spring pressure makes the job easy.  Loosen the screw sufficiently to get the clamp sides over and onto the rail while you’re holding in the screw, let the spring pressure grab the clamp, tighten down the screw.

I found one mention of MSRP online and it wasn’t from the Streamlight website.  That “mention” was in the $250 range.  However, after Googling “Streamlight TLR-1 HL” I got several returns from sites selling this light for below $150 and a couple below $140.  Given the functionality and light output I think that’s a pretty good price.

Stay safe!