Too Much of a Good Thing is Wonderful

Tactical Lights from Crimson Trace
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Crimson Trace has had quite a year.

An innovator in the laser field, Crimson Trace is perhaps best known for its Lasergrips that unobtrusively integrate a laser aiming module into a pistol’s grip panel, making what many considered to be the first practical carry laser. To this it has added a line of red dot optics and riflescopes, as well as tactical lights. One of the hallmarks of true tactical lights is not necessarily that they are mounted on a weapon, but that it’s bright enough to actually be a weapon all by itself.

The CWL-202 from Crimson Trace packs 900 lumens into a light that’s
under 6” long and comes equipped with all the hardware to mount it to any
firearm with KeyModel, M-Lok, or 1913/Picatinny rails.

Rated at 900 lumens, the two-cell CWL-202 and its 500-lumen single-cell little brother the 102 certainly fit in that category. For those of us who remember when 60 lumens was a big deal (it hasn’t been all that long, folks), it’s almost unbelievable that LED technology can fit that amount of light into a package about the size of a roll of quarters. You kind of have to see it to believe it, but these lights are too bright to use for utility purposes, as in close quarters the splashback of the light dazzles the user’s eyes even without looking directly into the beam. You can imagine the disorienting effect of getting it directly in the eyes.

Crimson Trace’s new tactical lights pack a lot of light into a compact, adaptable package.
Suggested retail on the 4” long, 500 lumen CWL-102 is about $80; the 5.3” 900 lumen
202 model comes in around $100.

The brightness alone isn’t the impressive part, though. Both user-configurable models come as handheld lights complete with 123 batteries and a tailcap-located pushbutton switch and a separate tape-style pressure pad switch for use on a weapon. Both the tailcap switch and bezel around the lens are scalloped which protects them and gives added functionality if the anodized aluminum-bodied light is used as an impact weapon.

Both the single-cell 102 and two-cell 202 come with batteries as well as a pressure
pad switch and mounts for a 1913/Picatinny rail or KeyMod/M-Lok forends. The package
also includes the two hex keys needed for the KeyMod/M-Lok mount; you’ll need a Torx
wrench for the Picatinny mount.<

The light can be installed on a weapon with one of two included ring-type mounts. One of the two mounts works on 1913/Picatinny rails, while the other can be installed on either KeyMod or M-Lok forends using either a pair of M-Lok screws and nuts or a KeyMod adaptor plate with its own pair of screws and nuts. While it’s theoretically possible to mount it to a handgun, it’s better equipped for use on a long gun. In either of those two configurations, the mount must first be attached to the rifle before installing the light in the mount, as the two bolts that hold the mount to the forend are accessed through the top of the mounting ring. Since the Picatinny mount clamps to a rail with the customary knurled screw, the light can be installed in the mount before or after it’s clamped on the rail.

The pressure pad switch has both momentary and constant on switches and can
be attached with either Velcro strips or the double-sided tape that comes attached
to the bottom of the switch. Note the scalloped end of the standard tailcap switch.

To install the light in either mount, first remove the tailcap and then slide the flashlight body, tail first, into the mounting ring and tighten the two Torx screws (Picatinny) or single hex screw (KeyMod/M-Lok) that hold it in place. Whichever endcap you choose can then be screwed back on. The pressure pad switch has both an on-off switch and a momentary pressure pad, and is held in place on the gun either with two-sided tape or with a pair of Velcro straps, which can also be used to keep the cable that connects the switch to the light secured and less likely to snag on things. Thoughtfully, the cable can swivel in the endcap, so removing or installing the endcap with the switch in place isn’t as likely to kink the cable as it would be if the cable could not turn.

The lights come with a 1913/Picatinny style mount (left) as well as a KeyMod/M-Lok
mount (right) that has the KeyMod adaptor and screws already in place; the adaptor
will need to be removed and the screws replaced to use it on an M-Lok forend.

Mount with the M-Lok screws and nuts installed.

In either KeyMod or M-Lok configuration, the mount must first be attached to
the rifle before installing the light in the mount, as the two bolts that hold the mount
to the forend are accessed through the two clearance cuts in the top of the mounting ring.

A very impressive package, and even more so at its reasonable price point. Suggested retail on the 4” long, 500 lumen CWL-102 is about $80; the 5.3” 900 lumen 202 model comes in around $100. Both come with all the mounts and accessories mentioned here.