If you wake to strange noises in your home in the middle night, you’d like to think you’ll be ready for it. It may not be possible to be fully prepared mentally, but you can take some measures that will help.
A few months ago, something slammed into my back door – it was late so already dark out but as a night owl, I was awake and alert. I grabbed my CZ P10C equipped with a Streamlight TLR-7 and quickly moved to my son’s bedroom to station myself between the door and my son. There was another boom, followed by a bark.
A freaking bark.
Moving through the house, I shined my weapon light through a window to give me a clear line of sight to the porch while staying clear of the door. It was my neighbor’s dog, carrying a large stick; more like a log than a stick, but I digress. The noise my mind had identified as a bang at my door was actually a friendly canine dropping a mega stick on the wood porch, just trying to show someone what he had fetched.
While it was a blessing that it wasn’t something more insidious, this incident did serve to put my home defense plan to the test.
Personally, I feel any weapon being used for home defense should be equipped with a weapon light, even carrying a weapon light on my EDC. Streamlight is the brand I tend to stick to and have quite a few in my collection including the TLR-1, TL Racker for my Mossberg Shotgun, Protac Rail Mount HL-X Long Gun Light with Laser, TLR-6 and the one we’re breaking down here today, the TLR-7.
The TLR-7 Inside and Out
Different guns have different purposes and the same can be said about weapon lights. The TLR-7 is a lightweight, compact weapon light designed for compact handguns. Specifically, Glock 19-sized firearms. On my CZ P10C, it sits flush with the end of the frame and is designed for that very purpose.
A flush-fitting light allows a compact weapon to maintain it’s shorter overall length. The TLR-7 is also designed to be lighter which keeps your total weight low because what’s the point of buying a compact handgun if you add accessories that make it longer and heavier?
At only 2.4 ounces, it’s not quite tipping the scales. The TLR-7 is short but provides quite a bit of bright light. It gives you 500 lumens and a reported effective range of 131 feet. It runs on a single CR123A battery and will last for 1.5 hours. That 131 feet range is a bit optimistic. Sure, it’ll go that far, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to identify a target at that distance.
The TLR-7 also has an integrated strobe function, and a momentary mode. The TLR-7 is simple, easy to use and mounts nice and tight. It comes with a variety of mounting keys to allow universal fit between railed handguns.
How It Performs?
Let’s talk looks for a minute, the TLR-7 looks great due to its flush-fitting design on compact handguns. Looks don’t matter when it comes to performance, but it needs to be mentioned. The light doesn’t extend past the trigger guard height-wise which gives a clean appearance to the overall package.
The TLR-7 has ambidextrous controls that allow easy operation with the trigger finger or even the thumb of the support hand. The buttons are very subdued and they are resistant to accidental touches and activations. While it’s not difficult it does take a purposeful touch to activate the light.
The light is clean and bright. It’s designed for compact handguns so it casts a wide beam versus a long-range spotlight. It does fill your peripheral vision and it doesn’t miss out in terms of power and light spread. It’s perfect for indoor situations and it’s not blindingly bright either. Which brings me to my next point.
How Much Is Too Much?
1,000-lumen lights make a lot of sense for police and military members who need light because they’re more likely to use them indoors as well as outside where it’s needed. Indoors, that much light can reflect and blind you which is definitely not something you want in a life-or-death situation.
But while 500 lumens is a bit softer, it still remains highly effective when used indoors.
500 lumens is plenty bright for indoor use and even close-range outdoors use and powerful enough for concealed carry ranges. This also helps keep the unit small and allows it to last 1.5 hours with a single battery.
Weapon Lights that are Just Right
The TLR-1 is a bit too big for concealed carry and the TLR-6 is a bit too small for home defense use. The TLR-7 is the just-right light in this Goldilock’s scenario and, in my opinion, is the best light on the market today. It’s small but rugged and powerful: just right for a variety of roles and fits guns both big and small.
This light also features IPX7 water-resistance with metal construction and comes with a lifetime warranty. So if you’ve been considering a TLR-7, you should go ahead and pull the trigger on purchasing one. Brownells has them listed for $130.97 and they’re well worth every penny. But don’t forget, you’ll need a holster to accommodate it, too and per usual, we’ve got you covered!
Simply head on over to the Shop All Firearms feature on the upper right-hand side of our website, click on your firearm’s manufacturer, select With Light or Laser and scroll through the drop-down to find your model of gun and accessory to see all available options.
Do you use a TLR-7 or other weapon-mounted light on your gun for home protection or concealed carry? What is your plan for a bump in the night?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms based hobbies.