Streamlight ’em Up

Let There Be (lots of) Light!

Dave’s Ruger Gunsite Scout .308 equipped with a Streamlight ProTac HL-X light
on an offset Warne base alongside a Meopta red dot sight.

On pretty much any outdoor excursion I generally have enough lights available to equip not only myself but also my hunting partner, with a spare or two besides. A pal who fancies himself a wit once asked, “Why so many lights — are you scared of the dark?”

No, I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of what might be out there in the dark. Sometimes there are things out there, and sometimes those things can see in the dark much better than you or I. They may have fangs, claws and a fierce appetite — they may also have knives, clubs, and a fierce drug habit.

Compare and contrast: Dave hung a Streamlight TLR-8 light/laser (right) alongside a ProTac HL-X (left) on the old Mini 14.

Retired cops may shed a nostalgic tear for the 6-cell Bianchi B-Lite (top)
but Streamlight Polytac
lights are smaller, lighter and put out far more light.


My wife Simone and I spend much of our time on our farm, as well as camping, fishing and hunting in remote areas. Over the years I’ve accumulated a fairly impressive collection of high-quality lights. The Polytac lights from Streamlight are far from the most expensive yet they seem to be the ones we use most. They are lightweight, compact, water-resistant, durable and reliable. They put out a lot of light on high beam while offering battery-saving low beam and strobe light options.

Streamlight makes several powerful lights well suited for use on rifles. I like the ProTac HL-X model. It has an integral mounting plate with a large knurled tightening knob, allowing it to be quickly attached or detached from Picatinny-style rails without tools. It can be powered either by two CR-123A batteries or by a rechargeable 18650 battery.

The light has three modes: high, low and strobe. The beam is fairly narrowly focused for long-range use, though there is enough light edge spill to be useful at short range. The high setting output is claimed to be 1,000 lumens, and believe me it does light up the night. Streamlight claims the beam has an effective range of 352 yards. I’m not sure how they define “effective,” but on a dark, clear night I could identify objects to at least 350 yards.

For indoor home security the high setting is almost too bright. I tried it on a Stag Arms AR and on a Weatherby PA-459 shotgun. I have no doubt the high beam would disorient an intruder but in a small room with white or light-colored walls, the reflection could disorient the homeowner as well. The low beam is perfectly adequate, but to really disorient an assailant, activate the strobe feature!

The yellow Dualie Waypoint (above) is Dave’s new favorite home and outdoor light.
The accessory remote switch (below) provides positioning flexibility for the ProTac HL-X light.


Warning Notes

These high-output lights are not toys. Don’t shine them in the eyes of family members or friends to impress them or as a joke. I doubt they would cause permanent eye injury but they are bright enough to cause temporary blindness.

The other caveat is to be aware of game laws regarding lights on firearms. A weapon-mounted light in your home is clearly intended for home defense. While traveling around the countryside at night, a powerful light on your rifle might get you tagged as a poacher. This is why I like the quick attach/detach feature of the Streamlight.

The Streamlight TLR-8 is a compact, lightweight unit housing both a white light and a laser (both green and red lasers are available). It’s an amazing little unit. I should be used to technological change by now, but I still can’t see how they get 500 lumens of white light — and an adjustable laser-aiming device — in a unit about the size of your thumb and weighing less than 3 oz.

Although most TLR-8s will most likely end up on handgun accessory rails, I find these little lights very useful on long guns as well. They greatly enhance the utility of rifles or shotguns intended for home defense, allowing positive identification of the target as well as rapid indexing of the gun. While I haven’t used this model very long, I have used earlier versions of the light for several years and found them to be durable and reliable.

My new favorite all-around light for home, campsite, pickup truck, UTV or boat is the Streamlight Dualie Waypoint. It puts out a tremendous volume of light on high beam and offers low beam and strobe options. It has both forward and downward facing LEDs which can be used separately or simultaneously — it’s great for walking at night, lighting up both what is ahead and what’s at your feet. Additionally, it has multiple options for standing or hanging to illuminate your work area and is also waterproof to one meter and floats! Finally, it runs on four inexpensive and easily obtained C batteries. Street prices run around $60 to $70, which I consider an absolute bargain.


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