Back in August there was some discussion, on another forum, about the Streamlight TLR-1s. The discussion prompted me to contact Streamlight who quickly put me in touch with their Public Relations department and I received the light a few days later. Since then, I have been using this light on many different weapons and have experimented both indoors as well as out. I even took it for a swim in my pool.
As far as bang for the buck goes, at just under $100.00, the TLR-1s is tough to beat. I’ve seen a number of similar lights around the same price point or less but to be honest, none of the others have the same brightness, throw, or overall quality that the Streamlight product has.
The TLR-1s fit my full size pistols just fine. It also mounted to my Glock 23 with no issues other than the length being considerably longer than the barrel. The shorter Glock was also the only handgun that I saw any noticeable difference in accuracy with while using the light. It’s also obvious to me that after extended use with any shorter barreled handgun this light is going to see some direct wear and tear on the top of it. I don’t think I would recommend it for use on smaller pistols.
The TLR-1s mounts to a standard picatinny rail with ease using a single screw. A spring applies pressure to the screw allowing you to push the screw in, mount the light where you want it, then tighten the screw. As previously mentioned, I tried the light on multiple guns and had no issues with recoil loosening the mount. I may have “accidentally” bumped it a few times too and again, no effect on the mount or the light itself.
Although the light does have to be removed to change the batteries, the battery compartment seems to be pretty well built. The instructions don’t tell you how to open the compartment though and as simple as it is, when you don’t know how to do it, it may take you a few minutes to figure it out. I thought I was going to break it when I loaded the batteries the first time.
They say this light is waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes but my experience was a bit better than that. I turned the light on and stuck it in my pool then sat down and watched a movie. When I went back outside to check on it, the light was still on and the current in the pool had moved the light to a depth of about 5 feet. I let the light sit there for almost another hour before it went out. At this point I removed the light and set it on a towel inside to dry. The following day I opened it up and all was well with no leakage detected. I swapped out the batteries and the light came back to life.
This is a 160 Lumen light and the “s” in the model indicates that it comes with a strobe feature. The primary reason I’ve waited so long to post this review is that I wanted to give the light a fair chance by actually using it instead of just saying how I thought things might work out. The single biggest concern I have about this product is the activation of the strobe feature. The “s” model is advertised as a “programmable” strobe. To me, this means the possibility of different strobe patterns, strobe speed, or the ability to adjust the .4 second time frame which the strobe can be turned on. Unfortunately, when Streamlight says “programmable”, they mean you can completely turn the feature off…And that’s it. After over 5 months of “getting used to the switch”, I’m still unable to reliably activate the strobe feature. It typically takes me multiple attempts during which time I am paying more attention to the light than whatever it is I’m supposed to be stunning with the strobe. I have not been able to access the strobe with my thumb on either a shotgun or AR-15 configuration, only with my right index finger while mounted on various hand guns.
The issues I had with the strobe might be easily overcome with use of one of Streamlight’s remote switches. There are 3 models to choose from: The Remote Tape Switch which is perfect for vertical grips, the Long Gun Remote Switch for use on standard rifles, and the Shotgun Coil Remote Switch. The MSRP on these switches is $43.00 however they also require the purchase of a new battery door which has an MSRP of $53.00.
I don’t see any glaring problems with the quality of this product although I would not rely on the strobe to function flawlessly when needed. Due to limited holster options and the overall size of the light, it’s not something I would want to use on any sort of carry handgun. However, I’d have no problems sticking one on an AR, a shotgun, or a bedside full frame pistol. For my use, home defense is where it’s at.