Wurkkos

Review: Streamlight TLR-2 HL G Gun light with Laser sight (2x CR123)

subwoofer

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Author's Statement for Transparency and Disclosure
The test sample/s featured in this article have been provided for technical testing and review by the manufacturer. Test samples are retained by the reviewer following publication of the completed review for the purposes of long term testing and product comparisons.

All output figures and test results published in this review are the sole work of the reviewer, and are carried out independently and without bias. Test results are reported as found, with no embellishments or alteration. Though best endeavours are made to maintain the accuracy of test equipment, the accuracy of these results is not guaranteed and is subject to the test equipment functioning correctly.
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Part of the Streamlight’s well regarded rail-mounted gun light range, the TLR-2 HL G features high lumen (HL) output, and a green laser sight (G) which can be operated independently or together. It uses Streamlight’s quick detach rail-mount system which allows for quick and easy, yet secure, mounting and dismounting without any tools.

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Taking a more detailed look:

The TLR-2 HL G is delivered in a well-presented box.

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Straight out of the box the TLR-2 HL G comes with two CR123s and a bag containing the alternative recoil blocks (rail keys).

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Laying them all out you have the rail keys (Glock-style is already fitted) for Picatinny (1913), Beretta 90two, S&W 99 / S&W TSW, the Allen key for changing the rail keys with spare bolt and nuts, plus a smaller laser-sight adjustment Allen key.

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Here you can see the GL standard key already fitted.

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On the underside of the TLR-2 HL G is the laser module. As delivered this has a high visibility warning sticker which you might want to remove for live use.

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Looking straight down onto the laser unit the vertical sight adjuster can be seen clearly with the label also indicating the modes available via the small toggle switch (Laser/Light, Light, Laser)

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From this view you can see both the vertical and horizontal laser sight adjusters.

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Looking straight into the lens, you cannot see the LED as it is behind a full TIR optic.

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The bezel can be unscrewed and the optic dropped out to give a clear view of the XM-L2 LED. There is a glass lens in front of the optic which is more scratch resistant that the bare optic would be.

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In this next sequence, we look at the battery door opening process. The battery door is kept closed by a lever which cannot open when the light is rail mounted. You have to remove the light to be able to change out the cells.

Just above the batter door / switches you can see a flat lever.

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This lever starts to lift, initially sticking out perpendicular to the rail-mount.

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Then flips over fully, cracking open the battery door.

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The door has a lug which engages into the door opening on the opposite side to the lever/hinge, and this can then be popped out freeing the edge of the door.

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The battery door hinged open.

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Out of the box you find a warning card in the battery compartment.

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Looking inside you can see the physical reverse polarity protection provided by the contact design.

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Cells loaded ready to close the battery door.

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More on this later, but these are the control switches on the back of the TLR-2 HL G.

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With the selector switch in ‘Laser’ the paddle switch rotated the latching direction we have our first glimpse of the Laser sight.

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Moving the selector switch to its central position the output is latched onto the main beam.

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The mount is an integral part of the TLR-2 and is the same used on the other Streamlight rail mount gun lights. It is a tool-less design making fitting and removal simple yet secure.

The first step is to unscrew the rail clamp tension bolt so it stands out as shown.

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The bolt is then pushed in with hand pressure.

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Opening the rail clamp on one side enough to snap it onto the rail.

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And it is on (after lining up the rail key). The rail clamp tension bolt is then tightened to secure it.

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The switches fall nicely to the front of the trigger guard making them easy to access.

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The beam

Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.
The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball "Off-White", and the walls are a light sandy colour called 'String' again by Farrow & Ball. I don't actually have a 'white wall' in the house to use for this, and the wife won't have one!



Starting indoors, the TLR-2 HL G is very bright.

In this animation, the main beam and laser are both on, and then the laser only, at the same exposure. As you can see the main beam at this range washes out the laser.

The optic produces a hotspot with visible square around it that is actually from the square shape of the LED emitter surface. It is obvious, but does not interfere with its use.

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A gratuitous shot of the laser on its own (the exposure has been adjusted to make this more dramatic).

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Moving outdoors to a more normal range there is plenty of light from the ‘HL’ beam. As before, in the animation, the main beam and laser are both on, and then the laser only at the same exposure. As you can see, the main beam at this range still mostly washes out the laser.

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However, the laser is more visible than at closer ranges due to a laser’s very low beam divergence.

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Another gratuitous laser beam shot …….. just because… (the exposure has been adjusted to make this more dramatic).

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Modes and User Interface:

Being a true ‘tactical’ light, the TLR-2 has a simple set of modes.

You can choose from Main Beam with Laser, Main Beam, or Laser only.
Main beam can be steady-on or Strobe.

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The small toggle switch on the back selects the mode.

Main Beam with Laser
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Main Beam only
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Laser only
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With mode selected, the control is via a two-direction paddle switch. The paddle switch has a double ended lever to provide access for left or right handed shooters. When gun mounted (here it is upside-down) Lift the Left-hand paddle fully to latch on the selected mode. Push the Left-Hand paddle down for momentary operation.

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Strobe is accessed by double-tapping the Main beam. This can either be on momentary or latching paddle operation.

Much like Streamlight's other Ten Tap programming, the strobe can be disabled or enabled by tapping the momentary paddle rapidly ten times, but holding it on the tenth time, then holding it until the light goes off after about 1s (indicating successful programming).

The paddle switch is perfectly placed for easy operation by the supporting hand. It is possible (if your fingers are long enough) to use the trigger finger to latch the TLR-2 ON, however this is not something you would want to do in the heat of the moment as it occupies your trigger finger and might delay a response.

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Batteries and output:

The TLR-2 runs on 2x CR123.

To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Streamlight TLR-2 HL G using CR123 cellsI.S. measured ANSI output LumensPWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
High7020
High with laser6980
Strobe37712.1

* Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.

Peak Beam intensity measured 9700lx @1m giving a beam range of 197m.

There is no parasitic drain.

It is unlikely this light will be used in constant-on mode for long periods. If you wanted to use a light in this way you would use a separate hand-held light, not a gun light, so this runtime test may be slightly unrealistic.

Latched on, the initial output is round the 700lm level before making a steady, controlled, drop to a level around 470lm. This is maintained up to the half hour mark before reducing again to 420lm. After 45minutes constant use, the TLR-2 starts to fade, hitting the ANSI cut-off about 1h 20minutes from switch on.

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Troubleshooting

This is a new section I am adding to mention any minor niggles I came across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

No issues were encountered during testing.

As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar 'issue' that might be fixed in the same way.



The TLR-HL G in use

When looking at how the TLR-2 HL G is in use, first things first, mounting and sighting in. The rail clamp is something I really like about the Streamlight gun lights. Quick, easy and secure. For complete security you can use a coin to tighten the clamp bolt fully, but otherwise no tools are needed.

Firmly mounted, the next step is the sighting in. This is super easy if your open sights are already sighted in at your chosen range. With the laser being further from the centre of the bore than the open sights are you will notice an increased sensitivity to range variations, so you need to pick your range to suit. Having decided on the range, simply stand that distance from a suitable surface to shine the laser on. You can then see where it is in relation to the open sights. Using the small Allen key, one axis at a time make adjustments to bring the dot in line with the open sights. This took me a couple of minutes to get it precisely where I wanted it.

And here we are with the dot appearing just above the sights.

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Swapping over to the main beam, you get a very clear sight picture making target acquisition quick and easy.

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If your eyes are adjusted to allow reliable target identification, the laser gives you the instant ‘pointability’ of this type of sighting.

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But for absolute certainty a blast of the main beam makes it all perfectly clear. Here (for the sharp eyed among you) the TLR-2 it latched on, with my trigger finger sitting ‘safely’ on the side of trigger guard.

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The TIR optic does give you the visible square in the beam. When looking through the sights I did not find this any distraction. Instead I could take confidence in knowing how robust the TIR optic is and even if the glass lens were to break, the optic will not be affected.

Activating strobe is easiest using the momentary switching. To get strobe to come on with the latching switch means you have to stop before the point the latch holds the switch on, then release and press again. When done in a hurry this can just result in the beam ending up as the steady output rather than strobe.

For a pistol light with incorporated laser sight, 700pm HL rating, and powered by 2xCR123 the TLR-2 HL G is a neat package. All this at a very competitive price.



Review Summary

______________________________________________________________________________________________
Things I likeWhat doesn't work so well for me
______________________________________________________________________________________________
’HL’ 700lm outputCan be too bright at close range
Incorporated Green Laser sightMode switch can be accidentally knocked
Tough TIR optic
Tool free rail clamp
Responsive paddle switch


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subwoofer

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Reserved for updates...

Thanks to Mr. Tone for reminding me about the ability to disable strobe in this light.

Much like Streamlight's other Ten Tap programming, the strobe can be disabled or enabled by tapping the momentary paddle rapidly ten times, but holding it on the tenth time, then holding it until the light goes off after about 1s (indicating successful programming).
 
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texas cop

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Nov 9, 2011
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Thanks for the review I have the TLR-2 HL model and every thing you said was spot on. I do wish that the output was better regulated. You had me taking a double look at that pistol, I thought at first it was real. Come to my part of Texas someday and I'll take you out to shoot the real deal.
 

Mr. Tone

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Very nice review, I have the TLR-1 HL without the laser. Your comments are spot on. Streamlight makes nice weapon lights and I would highly recommend them for serious use. I have my TLR-1 HL on my duty pistol and it gives me confidence and the sight picture is always well illuminated. The square shape of the spill does not effect the practical use in any way.
 
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subwoofer

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Thanks for the detailed review.
BTW: Where did you get those grips? - Very nice.

Those grips came with the pistol, but it might not be what it appears to be....

Thanks for the review I have the TLR-2 HL model and every thing you said was spot on. I do wish that the output was better regulated. You had me taking a double look at that pistol, I thought at first it was real. Come to my part of Texas someday and I'll take you out to shoot the real deal.

:laughing: Yep, you are right. Being a UK resident, I can no longer get the real deal. I used to own a several pistols before the ban in 1997, and was an active target shooter, but had to hand them over when I got the letter telling me to surrender them to the police.

The pistol pictured is a CO2 powered blow-back licensed replica. Good for handling practice and strips down like a 1911.

That would be great on both counts - coming to Texas, and some proper shooting :thumbsup:

For now I have to make do with my rabbiting gun, a moderated Ruger 10/22, and a few shotguns.

Can this be mounted to a picatinny rail?

As Mr. Tone said, yes, straight out of the box though the GL rail key might allow a little movement. The '1913' key is the Picatinny specific one.
 

SCEMan

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Those grips came with the pistol, but it might not be what it appears to be....

Just took a quick look at your pics and thought the grips would fit my Para P14. Too bad - they look to be very effective. I already have a TLR-1s and it has served me well over the years.
 

CelticCross74

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a buddy of mine has a Glock .45 with a SF light on it. The SF has half the output, is harder to use and cost quite a bit more. I have forwarded this excellent review
 

Mr. Tone

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a buddy of mine has a Glock .45 with a SF light on it. The SF has half the output, is harder to use and cost quite a bit more. I have forwarded this excellent review

Before I bought my first TLR-1 about 10 years ago, I compared the Streamlight and Surefire offerings. I still would have bought the Streamlight even if the Surefire would have been the same price or even slightly lower. The Streamlight just felt more sturdy to me and the biggest deal was that you can actually tighten the Streamlight down if you want. The Surefire just has the spring tension and that seemed to unpredictable given that these lights are designed to be used on weapons, some of which can generate intense recoil. My first TLR-1 was 80 lumens and had a Luxeon LED in it. My newer TLR-1 HL has an XM-L2. The tint sure leans towards blue/purple, I wish Streamlight and Surefire would use a more neutral tint, but I won't go into that aspect anymore.
 

dixiedawg

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Before I bought my first TLR-1 about 10 years ago, I compared the Streamlight and Surefire offerings. I still would have bought the Streamlight even if the Surefire would have been the same price or even slightly lower. The Streamlight just felt more sturdy to me and the biggest deal was that you can actually tighten the Streamlight down if you want. The Surefire just has the spring tension and that seemed to unpredictable given that these lights are designed to be used on weapons, some of which can generate intense recoil. My first TLR-1 was 80 lumens and had a Luxeon LED in it. My newer TLR-1 HL has an XM-L2. The tint sure leans towards blue/purple, I wish Streamlight and Surefire would use a more neutral tint, but I won't go into that aspect anymore.

I too have been sporting a TLR-1 since they first came out. It's a WONDERFUL light. Being a confirmed Luddite and techno-phobe, I'd buy another one if I could. I like modes like "ON" and "OFF" and ... nothing else.

What a great writeup though! Almost tempts me to dart out of the cave for a minute and buy one. :)
 

Mr. Tone

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I too have been sporting a TLR-1 since they first came out. It's a WONDERFUL light. Being a confirmed Luddite and techno-phobe, I'd buy another one if I could. I like modes like "ON" and "OFF" and ... nothing else.

What a great writeup though! Almost tempts me to dart out of the cave for a minute and buy one. :)

The first thing I did with the newer TLR-1 HL was turn off the strobe. No need for strobe on a weapon light in my opinion.
 

Overclocker

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had the TLR-3 for a while. this kind of user-interface is absolute [email protected] the directions for momentary and constant are so confusing when you have to activate it with either left or right hand. which you have to in the real world

i think the inforce APL would work better. and i hope olight doesn't screw up their new Valkyrie
 

Distraido

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Mar 24, 2016
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I purchased this light. I have a question. In the laser + light mode selected and power off, will the light and laser go on simultaneously when powered on? My results were that it will only work in the combined mode if I first go into light only mode first, then switched to combined mode. I can power on and off in the combined mode, but sometimes only the laser will power on in the combined mode. I called tech support and I was told that the light had to be on before I could use the combined mode. I returned the light to Opticsplanet and I'm waiting for an exchange. This is my first Streamlight product.
 

subwoofer

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I purchased this light. I have a question. In the laser + light mode selected and power off, will the light and laser go on simultaneously when powered on? My results were that it will only work in the combined mode if I first go into light only mode first, then switched to combined mode. I can power on and off in the combined mode, but sometimes only the laser will power on in the combined mode. I called tech support and I was told that the light had to be on before I could use the combined mode. I returned the light to Opticsplanet and I'm waiting for an exchange. This is my first Streamlight product.

I had to check before posting.

From OFF (and it has been off for a couple of weeks) I made sure the selector switch was in combined mode, and turned it on. Both main beam and Laser came on at the same time).

Of course following that I was swapping modes and everything worked as expected, main beam, Laser or both together.

The only issue I've had was when using run down cells. The Laser would fail to come on (or fade out) while the main beam was still OK. Might be worth confirming you have new cells and seeing if it is any different.
 

Distraido

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Subwoofer, Thank you.That's exactly what I wanted to know. I'm glad I returned it. I will receive the exchange shortly. Tech support did not understand the problem I was experiencing. And Optics planet asked me to call Streamlight to be sure I was operating it properly. I could not find an answer anywhere. I would have been disappointed with the light if I had to be in light only mode before the combined mode. Thank you for testing it out and reporting your results.
 
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