Photo credit: StreamLight
Photo credit: Safariland
Photo credit: Safariland
Way back in 2000 (hard to believe that’s over a decade ago now) I was first introduced to the tactical power of light. Sure, I knew how to use a flashlight before that: turn it on, turn it off, wave it around to put light where you need it, right? That’s common use. I wrote “tactical power of light.” Using a properly powered light strategically can be a huge plus for you in a conflict scenario. That said, just like, “In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king,” it holds true that, “In the land of darkness, the man with the light is king.” Keep that in mind as you read this review of the Streamlight MicroStream and the Rogers Rail Lite which, combined, form an acceptable system for a mounted light on your home defense handgun.
Before reviewing “the system” (the two of them combined), I’m going to look at the individually starting with the Streamlight MicroStream. I measure this little light at just 3.5” long, including the tailcap activation button. The light can be activated by touch pressure on the tailcap button or “clicked” on by pushing the tailcap button until the click is heard. Depending on which method you use, deactivation is either simple release of the pressure or “clicking” it again to turn it off. According to the published materials the unit produces 28 lumens of light powered by one AAA battery with an approximate run time of 2.25 hours.
Now let’s talk about lumens and light output for a moment. Back when I became a Low Light Operations Instructor, I was told that 60-65 lumens was the minimum acceptable for “tactical” use. Certainly, 60-65 lumens is enough to make someone close their eyes or turn their head if you shine it directly into their eyes within five yards or less. Being more realistic in today’s LED light technology world, a tactical handheld light can produce well over 200 lumens and I really don’t consider 65 lumens “tactical” anymore. All of that taken into consideration, I don’t consider this 28 lumen MicroStream a tactical light in any way; however, that 28 lumens is more than sufficient to find your way through a dark area or to look into an unlit space. Further, it’s unreasonable to expect a great deal more from a light being driven by one AAA battery and weighing just about one ounce (1.04 according to the published material). With all of that said, it’s a far cry better than no light at all and is conveniently sized enough that it’s not hard to have available darned near all the time.
The light itself is equipped with a two-way clip so you can clip it into your pocket, lamp end down, or you can clip it onto your hat, collar, etc. with the lamp end shining light where you want it. It also comes with an easily attached/detached lanyard in case you want to wear it around your neck and/or loop the lanyard around your wrist so you don’t inadvertently drop the light.
Sold by itself, I’ve found the MicroStream online for as little as $13.99 which I consider to be an excellent price for a light this convenient and durable (hard anodized aluminum body with an LED bulb will take a LOT of abuse before failing). Now, let’s move on to the Rail Lite mount and then we’ll look at the two together.
The Rogers (a subsidiary of Safariland) Rail Lite is a small plastic unit that uses flex pressure to mount on / dismount from any handgun (or long gun, but what would be the point?) with standard picatinny rails. The unit is specifically designed to work with a short (less than 4”) light with a body approximately ½” in diameter (the MicroStream measures 9/16” outer diameter of the bezel). The plastic loop portion that holds the light is 1.5” long and is adjustable to tighten by way of two Philips head screws. Note that the loop portion doesn’t have to be super snug around the MicroStream light. It just has to be tight enough to keep the light from falling out as the clip on the light keeps you from pushing the light all the way through the loop portion.
Online, the Rogers Rail Lite has an MSRP of $34.95 and that includes the Streamlight MicroStream flashlight as well as the lanyard for the light and a spare tailcap activation button rubber cover. Oddly enough, most of the prices I’ve seen online are HIGHER than the MSRP, which I believe to be an indication of the perceived value of this lighting system.
I can foresee two primary scenarios in which this mounted light system would be used. Having identified that 28 Lumens is insufficient for “tactical” purposes, which would include searching rooms or your home, we’ve also identified that it’s far better than no light at all and would therefore be a good “back up” system. So if your primary light for searching is a higher powered handheld, then the Rogers Rail Lite system is a strong secondary system. That’s one scenario. The second scenario is if you are simply equipping your home defense handgun with a light and you are working on limited funds. It’s hard to beat a weapon mounted light for $34.95 +S&H. Not only do you get the mounted light system, but you get the light, that is easily removed from the mount, for your carry convenience as well.
One last note, and this is not criticism, but a straight observation: Because the Rogers Rail Lite system puts the light beside the weapon (on either side depending on how you put on the mount, so it’s ambidextrous) there’s no holster (that I know of) that will hold the weapon with the system in place. That’s why I feel the primary usage for this mounted light system is home defense, where the handgun is kept in a safe or other secured area but not required to reside in a holster.