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Thread: ar-15 weapon light

  1. #1

    Default ar-15 weapon light

    Hi guys, I'm looking for some suggestions on a led cr123 light for mounting on an ar-15. I guess I'm open to 1 or 2 cells, 1 might even be best. It will be going into the alzetta mount and have a tape switch connected to it. I thought about surefire g2 and a cree drop in but that seems like it might just be wasting money. Is there a light that already has some good cree leds in it that will hold up to the recoil that I can buy at a place like dealextreme that will still take a quality tape switch (I hear the pelican one may be the way to go). Any advice?

  2. #2

    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    I've spent a lot of time this past month working on the same problem. I had both an AK and a Mossberg shotgun I needed to setup lights for. Needless to say, I went thru a few different setups before I settled on what worked best for me.

    First, I thought I wanted a tape switch. So I got a cheap little setup that included a 6P knockoff and a tape switch. After playing with it for a few weeks, I decided the tape switch wasn't the best way to go. For me, I wanted the ability to turn the light on, and keep it on. Since you must keep pressure on the tape switch to keep it on, that wasn't going to work. Plus, there is always the possibility of accidentally squeezing it in a tense moment and acitivating the light, with I didn't care for either.

    I ended up going with a Brinkmann Maxfire host with a Q5 drop-in. I almost ended up with a G2, but decided the Maxfire with the momentary on AND the click-on worked better. The G2 has momentary on, just no click on, so you'd have to twist it. Again, not as simple as the Brinkmann. The Q5 light is plenty bright, bordering on too bright for inside use. Outside, it's just right. Being an LED, it's inherently more shock-resistent than an incan. It also turned out to be a lucky stroke that the click-on tailswitch on the Maxfire is exceptionally stiff. It all but eliminates the possibility of accidentally clicking it on, while using it for momentary flashes. Viking Tactical makes a wondeful off-set mount for flashlights, that if mounted on the side rail of a free-float handguard, puts it in a perfect position for your offhand thumb to activate it.

    For a total of $35, $15 for the Maxfire and $20 for the Q5 (can be had for $10 thru DX) , I ended up with a perfect setup for both my shotgun, and my AK. I liked it so much, I bought a second set of each.

    Just my 0.02
    Last edited by Lost Time; 01-24-2008 at 12:22 PM.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* X Racer's Avatar
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Surefire C2/C3/6P/9P with a Malkoff M60 Q5 dropin, and a switch of course...

    Doesn't get any better than this...

  4. #4

    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    I've gotten pretty used to the tape switch on the surefire foreend on my 870, I'm kind of going for a similar setup here just hopefully without paying the surefire premium this time. No rails here btw.

    In case any one was wandering, the reason I'm considering the 1 cell light is that my stock has a compartment that will hold 3 123's. My sight takes 2 of them and if I had a 1 cell light I could have a complete change of batteries onboard.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    The most important issue here is what your intended purpose for your rifle is. If it is airsoft, or you only intend to use it for plinking, then the DX stuff should serve you just fine. If you intend to use the rifle for home protection or other gunfighting roles, then spending the extra cash on a Surefire or Pentagon weaponlight should be a requirement.

    Another thing that would assist in giving some useful suggestions is exactly how is your rifle set up? Railed handguard, Barrel mounted light, Vertical grip, etc....

    Either way I suggest you shop around here on the Market Place, ebay, or other source for some seperate Surefire light parts. A G2 body along with a 6P bezel, and the tailcap assembly of your choice, along with a quality made LED drop-in module from either Malkoff Devices, BugOutGear, or one of the Q5 drop-in modules from Lighthound will work great. I wouldnt suggest using a light that works on less than 2xCR123 batteries as it just doesnt make much sense on a rifle. I recommend Calvin Hall of BrightFlashLights.net for all of your Surefire needs. His website is not yet up, but his contact info is on there.
    "One is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." (Lt. COL. Jeff Cooper U.S.M.C.)

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* madecov's Avatar
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    On my AR I'm running a Wolf-Eyes sniper Q5 with a clickie switch.

    It's plenty bright, but has more spill than I like for a carbine. I may put my BOG Q5 in my maxfire and use that (an unconsidered option, though I would worry about heat transfer). When funds permit I may change to either the newest Typhoon II, a Deree, or Tablo. On a carbine I think throw makes more sense than on a shotgun where engagement distances will be shorter.

    On my Shotgun I'm running the old style PILA G2 with a PILA tape switch and Wolf Eyes Q2 module. The PILA/Wolf Eyes tape switch also has a side mounted forward clicke attached that allows the light to be turned to constant on if needed. The Q2 gives more than adequate light for a shotgun and has the side spill you need indoors.
    In god we trust.........all others are suspects
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  7. #7

    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Its a real ar15, its not going to be kicking door in for years in iraq or getting banged up in a squad car every day, just riding along for some trips to the range and sitting around for home defense just in case. That makes it hard for me to justify spending big bucks on it. If the light breaks on a trip to the range one day, I'll order a new one. The rifle has standard midlength plastic handguards, no vertical grips, no rails, etc, just a plain rifle.

    This is the mount I'm looking at using http://www.elzetta.com/Webpages/interactive.htm

    The reason I'm considering a 1 battery unit acceptable is because its just an inside the house defense thing. Realistically I'm not going to be going outside and lighting something up 100 yards away. If it can reach from one end of the hall to the other, it'll be good. Worst case I imagine all the 1 cell units with a good led wouldn't have any trouble across the yard even.

    Is there a reason to buy a g2 if I'm just going to be putting a new bulb and tailcap on it? It seems like you're throwing a lot of the light away and an import light with a metal body and a decent led in it already might save some cash and be a better heatsink. Has anyone broken the cheap ones with .223 (its a real gun but it isn't exactly .308 we're talking about here) recoil? Do any have standard tailcaps that would take the pelican tape switch cap? Something like this maybe? http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.3343 Not cutting edge but less than the $40 or so I'd spend on a g2 and cheap conversion. The real question is if it will take the recoil and the tape cap. Or if I'm just not fully appreciating the difference..
    Last edited by Soybomb; 01-24-2008 at 06:26 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Quote Originally Posted by Soybomb View Post
    Its a real ar15, its not going to be kicking door in for years in iraq or getting banged up in a squad car every day, just riding along for some trips to the range and sitting around for home defense just in case. That makes it hard for me to justify spending big bucks on it.
    The fact that you may be relying on your rifle for home defense is more than enough reason to spend a little extra to get a light you can rely on as well. Remember, I am merely suggesting you spend maybe $100 on a custom G2 body/6P bezel/LED Drop-In set-up, not a $400-$500 M900 weaponlight set-up. No sense in spending another $25-$50 on another light after your initial set-up fails or breaks when you can spend a little extra the first time around and have something that will last you many years. Think on it Brother!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Soybomb View Post
    This is the mount I'm looking at using http://www.elzetta.com/Webpages/interactive.htm
    Thats is a nice little mount that will work perfect with the light set-up I am suggesting.


    Quote Originally Posted by Soybomb View Post
    Is there a reason to buy a g2 if I'm just going to be putting a new bulb and tailcap on it?
    That is why I suggested getting seperate parts, and building up the light to your preferences. Seperate G2 body only (no bezel or tailcap), seperate 6P aluminum bezel, and the tailcap assembly of your choice. I would go with a Z49 clicky tailcap instead of the tapeswitch which will give you both momentary on and constant on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Soybomb View Post
    Has anyone broken the cheap ones with .223 (its a real gun but it isn't exactly .308 we're talking about here) recoil? Do any have standard tailcaps that would take the pelican tape switch cap?
    .223/5.56 Recoil is not a concern with a quality LED light source.
    "One is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." (Lt. COL. Jeff Cooper U.S.M.C.)

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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light



  10. #10
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Quote Originally Posted by carbine15 View Post
    Well, the light could always fall off when you need it most.
    "One is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." (Lt. COL. Jeff Cooper U.S.M.C.)

  11. #11
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Quote Originally Posted by Soybomb View Post
    The reason I'm considering a 1 battery unit acceptable is because its just an inside the house defense thing.
    Seriously, you might want to reconsider using an AR-15 for home defense.
    Keep in mind that most homes are just wood frame and sheetrock for the most part, and any round fired inside the home (where you miss the perp) is going to sail right through the walls and create a hazard for people in other rooms of the house and even in homes nearby.

    Think about hiding 3 or 4 pistols around the house where a perp won't imagine them to be but where you can get to them quickly.
    9mm or .45 caliber lose energy quickly so either of those might be a bit safer for defense.
    I've got two Bushmasters myself, but I never gave any thought of them for use as home defense.

    Just thinkin...

  12. #12

    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    That is why I suggested getting seperate parts, and building up the light to your preferences. Seperate G2 body only (no bezel or tailcap), seperate 6P aluminum bezel, and the tailcap assembly of your choice. I would go with a Z49 clicky tailcap instead of the tapeswitch which will give you both momentary on and constant on.
    Thanks, I didn't know they were sold body only. The vendor I asked for a price quote from on didn't mention that was an option. Is there a 1 cell body similar to that thats threaded the same?

    Carbine15, is that sarcasm I detect? Perhaps this is stuff that the flashlight enthusiants know but my 1st instinct was that a decently constructed led light is going to suffer problems related to recoil to a much lesser degree than a bulb would and that foreign knock-offs would be just as good for all but the daily user. I'm up for quality mounts, switches, etc but burning money just for a name on a tube just seems pointless to me. I love my surefire foreend on my shotgun and my aviator is nice too but my brinkman light with a cree drop in really outperforms them both for a tiny fraction of the cost. I realize its a totally different light but I think a basic plain led ar15 light should lean more toward it than the special requirements of the other 2 lights.

    Zenster I think thats just a common misconception. The ar15 is very well suited to the task and probably safer than a pistol, its part of why you see ar15's replacing mp5's with police across the country. For related reading see http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=210739 http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=206589 and http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/20...-home-defense/ for a good starter
    Last edited by Soybomb; 01-24-2008 at 06:59 PM.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* madecov's Avatar
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Quote Originally Posted by carbine15 View Post
    Both those styles of mounts are about as horrible as it gets. They have a tendency to shoot loose under even the mildest recoil. The Elzetta is a decent mount.

    Even though you say your not kicking doors, spend a few extra dollars and do it right the first time. You'll save money in the long run.
    In god we trust.........all others are suspects
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  14. #14

    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    I did some night training with my .308 M1A scout and a Streamlight Strion duct taped to the fore end by a well known big city SWAT/military special operations instructor with experience in gunfights, day and night. Fired lots of rounds with the light on and had no problems. Another student did the same with a different flashlight (Surefire 6P?) taped to the instructor's M1A Scout and didn't have any problems either. Everybody else was working the mounted Surefire to .223 AR/M-4 solutions.

    Nobody had any light related function problems, but the Surefire Scout wasn't bright enough for target illumination at 100 yards and was only adequate to see the target at closer distances. Brighter is better, and not just for long range, but for better threat discrimination.

    If you put together a solution and shoot 500 rounds through it without problems, I'd say it's probably a safe bet. It's the only true way to know what is reliable--but even then, there are no guarantees.

  15. #15

    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    http://www.tacticalsupply.com/produc...light-tlr2.php

    Yes, it's expensive (street price should be lower than that quoted on the Web page above), but it's worked well on my Bushmaster M4A3. I just don't like wires. Again, as many of the posters in this thread have pointed out, go with what feels comfortable and meets your requirements.
    Regards,
    Steve

  16. #16

    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Quote Originally Posted by Zenster View Post
    Seriously, you might want to reconsider using an AR-15 for home defense.
    Keep in mind that most homes are just wood frame and sheetrock for the most part, and any round fired inside the home (where you miss the perp) is going to sail right through the walls and create a hazard for people in other rooms of the house and even in homes nearby.

    Just thinkin...
    My first thought exactly when he said "one end of the hall to the other". To the OP, unless you live on a large piece of property with no relatively close neighbors, and unless you live alone, you may want to seriously reconsider a .223 for home-defense. There are many other weapons that are better suited for home-defense, without the fear of over-penetration.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Quote Originally Posted by Soybomb View Post
    Thanks, I didn't know they were sold body only. The vendor I asked for a price quote from on didn't mention that was an option. Is there a 1 cell body similar to that thats threaded the same?
    To clarify, most Surefire dealers DO NOT sell SF parts seperately, and this is not a factory option. But some dealer who do alot of SF volume tend to end up with a bunch of spare SF parts such as bezels, bodies, tailcaps, etc. You will need to shop around a bit, but if you look around on ebay, the CPF Market Place, etc. you should be able to locate what you are looking for pretty easily. That is why I recommend BrightFlashLight.net (Calvin Hall) as he tends to have a bunch of brand new spare parts in stock. Not sure why you would want to go with a single CR123, but Surefire does not currently make anything like that, and im pretty sure a 1xCR123 1" body will be too short to work with the mount you want. Personally, I would go with a 3xCR123 light like a G3 or 9P with that mount as it will extend the tailcap further back making activation easier. However using a G2 or 6P (2xCR123) in that mount will work just fine, and you will be able to easily activate it by using either your index finger, or your support hand thumb to activate it. I would suggest you try out a Z49 clicky tailcap before you decide to go with a tape switch as tapeswitches are too easy to accidentally hit when you dont want any light, and they rarely stay put.
    "One is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." (Lt. COL. Jeff Cooper U.S.M.C.)

  18. #18

    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Again, as many of the posters in this thread have pointed out, go with what feels comfortable and meets your requirements.
    I'm trying but the overwhelming number of recommendations have completely ignored my own criteria. "I'd like an affordable light to go in this mount with a tape switch." "Here's a rail mount surefire light thats $250. You don't want a tape switch"

    There are many other weapons that are better suited for home-defense, without the fear of over-penetration.
    I'm more worried about over penetration from my 9mm handgun, ymmv

    Not sure why you would want to go with a single CR123
    Mostly just because I can carry 3 spare batteries on my rifle, my sight takes 2, and I'd like to make that last extra cell a change for the light. I figure with in house distances I should be able to get a sufficiently bright light from that for my uses. So really its about convenience and recognizing that I don't need a 100 yard light. I have already emailed the mount manufacturer to ask about 1 cell lights.

    but Surefire does not currently make anything like that
    I'd probably prefer it not be a surefire just for economy but isn't the e1e a 1 cell light? There's got to be a cree drop in that would get something around 60 lumens.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    If you are looking for a solid light that will provide more than adequate illumination for indoor use out to about 40-50 yards then the Streamlight TLR-1 is an excellent choice. It is so light that will not mess with the weight of the gun and can be mounted just about anywhere. If you need illumination for long range outdoor use, go Surefire Incan.

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  20. #20
    Flashaholic USM0083's Avatar
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Quote Originally Posted by cslinger View Post
    If you are looking for a solid light that will provide more than adequate illumination for indoor use out to about 40-50 yards then the Streamlight TLR-1 is an excellent choice. It is so light that will not mess with the weight of the gun and can be mounted just about anywhere. If you need illumination for long range outdoor use, go Surefire Incan.
    Chris
    +1 on the TLR-1. I got mine for $104.00 delivered, and LA Police Gear has it for $88.99. It's rated 80 lumens, and comparing it to my other LEDs, including a P60L, it looks like 80 torch lumens. For such a small reflector it has a nice tight beam, very good out to 50 yards, and the color is very white.

    I first used a G2/P60 and shock isolated bezel in a offset mount, but the beam was too floody past 30 yards. A LF EO-6 would probably be better, but I had already bought the TLR-1 when I discovered LF. At my work be have forearm lights on our MP5s and 870s, which are P60s in shock isolated housings, and have only blown one bulb in 8 years (that I can remember) The beam is adequate inside, and outside out to 30 yards, but I wanted more throw for my AR. The TLR-1 gave me that in a very compact package that I could leave on the weapon.

    Last edited by USM0083; 01-25-2008 at 10:58 AM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    The idea of having assault rifle(s) at home still frightens me.....

  22. #22
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Quote Originally Posted by deathkenli View Post
    The idea of having assault rifle(s) at home still frightens me.....
    I live next to a cemetary, so I have to be prepared.

    I'm not frightened. Then again, I carry a gun for a living and I get to play with full auto MP5s and M16 Commandos.

  23. #23

    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Quote Originally Posted by deathkenli View Post
    The idea of having assault rifle(s) at home still frightens me.....
    You can't be sure they're not causing mischief and chasing school children if you don't keep them at home.

    If it makes you feel any better though despite being scary and black they're usually far less powerful than grandpa's wood stocked hunting rifle that everyone thinks is just fine.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Quote Originally Posted by Soybomb View Post
    I'd probably prefer it not be a surefire just for economy but isn't the e1e a 1 cell light? There's got to be a cree drop in that would get something around 60 lumens.
    Surefire does make several 1xCR123 pocket lights, but none of them are compatible with the mount you picked, and no one that I know of makes any type of weapon mount for a E series pocket light. As far as economy goes, Im sure you've heard it here before, but if you buy a cheap light to try and save money, thats exactly what you will get....A cheap light that you will likely end up replacing with something you should have bought in the first place. As far as the battery storage issue goes, I think you are over thinking it waaay too much. The batteries on your optic and your light are not gonna run out at the same time, and if you are going to be out and about with your rifle for extended periods, you should carry more than 3 spare batteries on you anyway (in your pocket, in a pouch, etc.) Additionally, I do not think you are going to find anyone that makes a tapeswitch (If that is what you really want) that is compatible with any of the 1xCR123 lights out there.
    "One is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." (Lt. COL. Jeff Cooper U.S.M.C.)

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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Quote Originally Posted by deathkenli View Post
    The idea of having assault rifle(s) at home still frightens me.....
    The idea of not having two "assault rifles" and atleast 5,000 rounds of ammo for each of them frightens me.
    "One is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." (Lt. COL. Jeff Cooper U.S.M.C.)

  26. #26
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Quote Originally Posted by deathkenli View Post
    The idea of having assault rifle(s) at home still frightens me.....

    I wish everyone, especially the media, would stop using that term.

  27. #27

    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Surefire does make several 1xCR123 pocket lights, but none of them are compatible with the mount you picked, and no one that I know of makes any type of weapon mount for a E series pocket light.
    That and compatibility with tape switches what was I was afraid of. The mount manu says " If they light body is between 0.7
    and 1.1 inches in diameter and maintains a constant diameter for the length of its body, you should be OK." Thats part of what drove me to look at the knock offs from DX (hoping they would be less stylized and more likely to all use the same cap, etc).

    The idea of not having two "assault rifles" and atleast 5,000 rounds of ammo for each of them frightens me.
    If only...ammo prices The last time I bought ammo it was the 750ish round cans of radway green and I paid $130 a can....*sigh*.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Quote Originally Posted by Zenster View Post
    Seriously, you might want to reconsider using an AR-15 for home defense.
    Keep in mind that most homes are just wood frame and sheetrock for the most part, and any round fired inside the home (where you miss the perp) is going to sail right through the walls and create a hazard for people in other rooms of the house and even in homes nearby.

    Think about hiding 3 or 4 pistols around the house where a perp won't imagine them to be but where you can get to them quickly.
    9mm or .45 caliber lose energy quickly so either of those might be a bit safer for defense.
    I've got two Bushmasters myself, but I never gave any thought of them for use as home defense.

    Just thinkin...
    Actually, the standard 55gr. FMJ ammo fired from an AR-15 will penetrate walls LESS than most any full-powered handgun ammo. This is extensively covered on AR15.com (and other weapons-related sites) and has been proven in many actual trials.

    Check around on the internet and I'm sure you'll be able to substantiate what I'm saying. But do your own research. Don't believe me or anyone else when it comes to life and death matters such as collateral wounding, etc.

    Here's a good start: http://www.olyarms.com/index.php?opt...d=14&Itemid=26
    Dead Nuts

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  29. #29

    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Doesnt exactly fit the criteria you specified, but this is my take on an AR mounted weaponlight.

    Pentagonlight x3, modded with SEOUL p4 by milkyspit.
    In a Larue tactical light mount
    with a pentagon tapeswitch on a tangodown grip.

    200+ long lasting, far reaching lumens.









  30. #30
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    Default Re: ar-15 weapon light

    Nice setup aml.

    I go back and forth between tapeswitch and clicky tailcap. My last AR build utilizes the Daniel Defense 9.5FSP Lite FF rail and offset light mount to put the lights Z49 tailcap switch in just the perfect location for my weak thumb while using the vertical fore grip. It uses an old 9P body with shock isolating bezel (with FM33 red filter/cap) and Malkoff Q5 dropin. This setup gives me the option of night vision saving low red light output or a whole bunch of illumination. I like the ability to use momentary or click it on too.

    The tapeswitch vs. clicky issue is very much personal preference and mission requirements based. Nothing works best for everyone.
    Dead Nuts

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