We all know tiny guns are awesome right? Well of course they are. But these days, more and more manufacturers (with each new weapon release) have been throwing light laser combos on their guns. So I guess “compact pistol flashlight” was just a bit longer to type out. Since those options are starting to flood the market – I thought it would be a good time to share our honest thoughts and impressions of what’s out there.
We went with three different manufacturers in this test: Crimson Trace (owned by LaserMax), Streamlight, & LaserLyte. Every manufacturer has a different approach as to how they want you to use the lasers or lights – so I’ll cover reliability over the long haul, ease of use, “portability” and pretty much everything that we felt was important when deciding on whether you should add one of these toys to your compact carry pistol.
Best Compact Pistol Laser Light Combo Reviews In 2023
1. Streamlight Rail-Mounted Weapon Tactical Flashlights Streamlight Model TLR-1
The Streamlight TLR-1 Rail-Mounted Weapon Tactical Light with Mounting Keys is an intense beam of light that holds up under extreme conditions. One of the strongest and most durable gun-mounted flashlights, it uses the latest technology to provide incredible brightness through fog, rain, and snow.
The C4 LED will last 100,000 hours in constant operation, so you’ll never have to replace your Streamlight Tactical Weapon Flashlight again. The Streamlight TLR-1 has a locking mechanism to prevent accidental activation, and it can be mounted on a rail or Picatinny mount. The Streamlight Tactical Weapon Flashlight is made of aircraft aluminum with an anodized finish, so it will last virtually forever.
2. Product Info for Streamlight TLR-8 Tactical C4 LED Weapon Light w/Laser Sight
Experience the latest generation of a classic laser sight and light combination that has been used extensively by law enforcement, the Streamlight TLR-8 Tactical LED Weapon Light/Laser Sight. These Green Laser Sights from Streamlight now include a red laser sight that can be used with or without the 500-lumen light for assistance in aiming. The redesigned Streamlight TLR-8 Tactical Handgun Light is sleek and low profile so it can be mounted on more handgun models, giving you more options in holsters.
3. Product Info for Streamlight TLR-2 HL High Lumen Weapon Flashlight
Streamlight’s most dependable self-defense lights, the TLR-2 series, are now better than ever. The TLR-2 HL High Lumen Weapon Flashlight is the most powerful pistol light on the market, utilizing our patented detachable high-output xenon flashlight emitter paired with a high-efficiency red laser sight (both are activated separately). This combination results in a 1000-lumen blast of light for maximum illumination while clearing a room or searching an alley, combined with an integrated red laser sight for longer-range targeting.
How To Choose The Best Compact Pistol Laser Light Combo
Look at the Results First
Believe it or not, lumens are not the most accurate way to measure output, but they are regrettably the most common.
Instead, whenever possible, use the candela rating. While the volume of light is measured in lumens, the intensity of light is measured in candela. In other words, an 800-lumen light option produces more light than a 500-lumen option, yet brighter light has a higher candela. If the candela rating is sufficient, you can receive usefully bright light without a 1,000-lumen model.
The Controls are Next.
Look for controls that can be readily turned on or off but that initially present some resistance. You want a light that is simple to use when you intend to use it but difficult to activate accidentally, such as when drawing your gun or putting the light and weapon into a holster.
Choose a light that can be turned on with your trigger finger if at all possible. It is advised that you test the light out in person PRIOR to purchasing; if you are unable to do so, be prepared to send one back.
You might not be able to use both hands if you need to defend yourself by drawing your rifle. Numerous shootings in self-defense take place at close range, and your support hand might be occupied. Look for controls that you can quickly turn on or off with your draw hand.
Do you like an alternative lighting option or a strobe?
A strobe function is a matter of personal preference, but outside of stories or idle speculation, there is little proof that using one will benefit you greatly. Light functions that are unnecessary can complicate operations and hinder the response.
Instead of being used for simple illumination, strobe lights are more effective as a signaling tool.
However, lasers can be useful de-escalation instruments; this is known as “red dot compliance” by some. Reflexive activation is essential for defensive handgun use, even when using a light/laser combination.
Like other elements of using a gun, turning it on requires smoothness, and speed, and should feel natural; otherwise, you’re just adding delay.
It depends on the individual whether they prefer a red or green laser when it comes to color. The most identifiable feature of lasers is typically a red dot, which makes them more useful as a point shooting assistance than as a precision sighting tool. Accuracy wins gunfights, therefore this feature makes lasers a great point-shooting aid. If you’re interested in non-lighted sight solutions for your handgun, we also discuss pistol red dot sights.
Arrangement & Form Factor
A light that can only be mounted to particular handguns or requires something other than universal rail mounts is not ideal, thus the mounting system is also crucial.
Another criterion is form; a large pistol light on a compact or subcompact defeats the purpose, while a mini light on a larger gun wastes the opportunity to illuminate. Aim for a balance between size and fit.
Choose a device with batteries that are either rechargeable or easily changeable. While AAA arrangements will minimize the size of the device without requiring more specialist CR123 or CR123A batteries, which are not always easy to buy but are not necessarily impossible to get, dual-AA delivers the most dependable power.
The best shelf life is provided by rechargeable lithium batteries, which also prevent swelling and leakage that can be problems for alkaline batteries and damage your investment.
Resistance to weather and water
Unless you intend to use your firearm outside or bad weather, water and weather resistance are essential considerations and frequently components of higher-end models. However, they are less crucial than other requirements.
The ideal experience will be produced by achieving a balance among all these variables, and that is what our list of pistol lights delivers. Each has its own advantages; some fit easily inside your CCW vest, while others are better suited for your nightstand safe. Make a list of your top priorities, as you should with everything in life, and think about compromising on the rest.
The LaserMax guide rod laser is a good way to incorporate some extra firepower into your shooting. It is easy to install, durable and shock-proof and can be used with pistols, rifles, and shotguns. This powerful laser is made from high-quality materials and offers clear targeting so you can use it for hunting or target shooting.
If you want to protect yourself in low light situations when you are alone, this compact gun laser light combo offers fast reaction time and is ideal for traveling as it weighs less than three ounces and offers a comfortable fit for most handguns. The Crimson Trace White Hot LED Laser Sight fits well on the Glock 19 model of 9mm handgun.