When I was first looking for a pistol-mountable tactical light, I was torn between offerings from two big companies: the SureFire XC2 and the TLR from Streamlight. Not the Streamlight TLR-7, it wasn’t out at the time, but I was interested in one of the earlier versions. This article originally ran in early 2018; it has been updated and republished.
Streamlight TLR-7 Review (s)
Each pistol light received overwhelmingly positive reviews from both professionals and amateurs alike. Virtually no one had anything bad to say about the quality or longevity of the lights themselves. So for me, it boiled down initially to cost – and while I was waiting to save up enough dough to buy my first TLR-1, Thanksgiving rolled around and with it, Black Friday sales.
Once I saw a TLR-1 for almost 40% off, I bought two – the TLR-1, and the TLR-1 GameSpotter. The difference between the two being the size of the bezel. (The GameSpotter has an enlarged bezel to throw a narrower beam further.)
The only problem I had with either unit, is that they didn’t play well with my Osprey 45 suppressor on my Glocks. The unit protruded just enough that during the unlocking phase where the slide travels rearward, the rear of my suppressor would hit the light and stop the action from fully cycling. For me, this means having to choose between a tac light and a sound suppressor – and that’s not an acceptable situation.
Streamlight Compact Options
Thankfully, StreamLight announced their new series of TLR-7 and TLR-8 lights designed specifically for carrying compact frame guns like the Glock 19x.
The TLR-7 blasts an impressive 500 lumens from its tiny LED emitter, while only measuring a scant 2.15 inches long. Plus the TLR-7 is built from 6000 series aircraft-grade aluminum, so while it’s extraordinarily strong, it only tips the scales at 2.4 ounces.
TLR-7 Battery Life
While the unit only has a run-time of 90 minutes, it runs off a single CR123 battery, and shooters can buy rechargeable batteries from StreamLight to lessen the cost.
The unit comes with a set of eight different inserts that allow it to mount flush with the pistol frame on multiple handguns. The inserts include one for the Walther P99, the Beretta 90T, and a handful of 1913 rail mounts that move the TLR-7 forward and back on the frame.
In testing, the TLR-7 fits like a glove on the Glock 19x and runs great. It has very little impact on the overall size and bulk of the pistol and provides a massive beam of light perfect for clearing rooms or simply identifying targets in low, or no light conditions.
Suppressor-Friendly Pistol Light
But what about my initial complaint – the compatibility with the Osprey and other suppressors?
The new TLR-7 and 8 are small enough that they don’t interfere with the suppressor at all. And combing the TLR-7 with a quality handgun like the Glock 19x and an effective suppressor like the Osprey, makes for a potent home defense tool.
Overall, the TLR-7 is arguably one of the best tactical lights for compact pistols on the market; offering a solid balance between performance, size, and cost.
The StreamLight TLR-7 is available now, and retails for $215.
Jim is a freelance writer for dozens of firearm publications, the host of the YouTube channel Burst Review and the youngest author to write a cover story for Shotgun News in its 86-years of operation. Jim loves anything that goes, ‘boom’ but particularly enjoys military firearms from the Cold War and WW2. When he’s not slinging lead downrange he can be round hiking in the mountains with his wife Kim and their vicious attack dog, Peanut.
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