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FOG HORN Gear Reviews March 2010

Streamlight’s Bright Star the TLR-3


By: Sal Palma

A couple of months ago, I contacted the


folks at Streamlight to arrange for a
sample of their new TLR-3 with the
intent of using said sample on a 9mm
sub machinegun review that I am
working on. After receiving the TLR-3, I
fell in love with this little weapon light,
and I decided, right then and there, that
it would be a terrible injustice not to
give it its own review. So here it is. However, both the TLR-1 and TLR-2 are
Streamlight has been giving the market a bit too clunky, especially when
a run for its money with the mounted on some of the compact
introduction of the TLR-1 and TLR-2. frames that now permeate the market.
They later blew the doors off the In response to the overwhelming
competition when they adopted the C4 acceptance of compact frames by law
technology, which did a number of enforcement and consumers,
things. First, it increased run times, next Streamlight introduced the TLR-3. Boy
it dramatically increased MTBF, and did they knock the ball out of the park
finally it increased light intensity. with this design1.
They were able to do all that at a price
point that left the competition in the
dust.
Streamlight’s weapon interface is
absolutely rock solid and the user
interface is simple and decidedly
effective.

1
I used a Walther P22 to illustrate the dimensional
relationship between a Streamlight TLR-1 and a compact
sized frame.

Copyright, Sal Palma dba Twobirds-Flying Publication, 2010. All rights reserved. ~1~
FOG HORN Gear Reviews March 2010

If this is your first exposure to weapon


mounted lights, you may be asking
yourself why I, as a homeowner, need
one. This is a valid question that I think
deserves some discussion.
In a home invasion scenario your best
strategy is to gather your family
members in a room or area of the house
that you can defend – meaning one Second, the light can be used to
access point. Your next step is to call navigate through the house. By using
911 or hit your alarm panic button. With the momentary switch position you can
your family safely with you, your focus is move through an area without giving
now on covering that single access away your exact position. They can also
point. This means that you will engage be used to momentarily blind your
anything that comes through that assailant.
access point with a controlled and Finally, the light can help you
continuous stream of fire. concentrate your fire; by placing the
Being in your home also provides you light’s hotspot on the target’s center of
with a tactical advantage. You know mass, you can engage your target
every nook and cranny, so turning every without having to align your eye with
light on, in the house, may not be a your sights. This tactic greatly increases
good defensive strategy. This is where the speed at which you can respond to
your TLR-3 becomes indispensible. your threat. Note that home invasions
Weapon mounted lights provide the are defensive scenarios and not target
following benefits. shooting; the key to success is to get
First, they free up the support or weak your weapon into action as quickly as
hand so that you can maintain a two- possible.
handed grip on your weapon. This is Defensive engagements occur at
essential for weapon control and distances that are 7 yards or less. Here,
weapon retention. use of a weapon mounted light will give
you a decisive advantage and
Streamlight’s TLR-3 is ideally suited for
your home defense firearm.
The firearms most often purchased by
law abiding citizens, for home use, are
the compact and sub-compact designs
from Glock, Springfield, SIG, Beretta,

Copyright, Sal Palma dba Twobirds-Flying Publication, 2010. All rights reserved. ~2~
FOG HORN Gear Reviews March 2010

Kar, Kel-Tec and Smith & Wesson. With the muzzle will not interfere with the
exception of the revolvers, virtually all light’s function.
semiautomatic models ship with an It is this level of flexibility that certainly
accessory rail. Those rails may be 1913 makes this a great light for just about
Picatinny compliant or they may be a any application.
Glock style mount. The signature of any Streamlight
weapon mounted lighting system is how
well the beam of light is collimated.
Streamlight’s reflector is flawless and
produces a tight beam with a well-
defined hot spot.

Streamlight took this into consideration


and thoughtfully provides, with every
light sold, a variety of crossbars to adapt
the TLR-3’s mount to any style accessory The picture above illustrates this idea.
rail. The central bright point is what we refer
to as the hot spot. At short ranges, like
those encountered in a home defense
scenario or in CQB/CQC, the hot spot
can be used to concentrate your fire.
Placing the hotspot over the target’s
center of mass will consistently produce
center of mass hits, even under stress.
Note the intensity of the hot spot. In a
dark house exposing your assailant to
that hot spot will temporarily impair his
or her vision. Next, examine the area
In the picture above you see a highly surrounding the hot spot; note that
customized SIG P226 wearing a there is a flood of light. This is the
Streamlight TLR-3. Note that the light’s peripheral lighting that is essential for
housing sits well below the centerline of navigating and detection.
the bore so attaching a suppressor to The TLR-3’s C4 technology is impressive.

Copyright, Sal Palma dba Twobirds-Flying Publication, 2010. All rights reserved. ~3~
FOG HORN Gear Reviews March 2010

This light is capable of continuous 90 to  Streamlight’s TLR-3 offers a rock


85 lumens of intensity for a period of solid and flexible mounting
1.1 hours on a single CR2 battery. The arrangement, which can even be
LED itself is good for 50,000 hours of used in a suppressed firearm.
operation and is impervious to recoil.  The housing is rugged and IPX7
Finally, the polymer housing is not only waterproof.
light weight but it’s constructed to  The C4 LED produces a blazing
deliver an IPX7 waterproof rating. You 90 lumens of intensity with a 1.1
won’t be able to exit a submerged hour runtime on one CR2
submarine with it but rest assured that battery.
you’ll have a functional light even in  The light source is good for
heavy rains. 50,000 hours and is impervious
All of this technology would be useless to shock and recoil.
were the light difficult to use; however,  The user interface is intuitive
this is not the case. Streamlight and ambidextrous; providing
provided an ambidextrous rocker access to all modes of operation.
switch, as the user interface, which can  All for a market price of $90 to
be operated with the weak hand’s $80.
thumb. For a right hand shooter, press
the switch down and the light operates If your home defense firearm has a
in the momentary mode. Push up with mounting rail, get a Streamlight TLR-3
your thumb and the light operates in and you’ll never have to wonder about
the continuous mode. where you left your flashlight.
A left hand shooter would press up on
the switch with the right hand’s thumb, -SP
for momentary activation, and press
downward to activate the continuous
mode. I myself never use the
continuous mode, but it’s nice to know
that you have it and that it’s easy to
access.

Conclusion

I cannot say enough about this light.


In a small and lightweight footprint, it
provides everything that its larger
brethren can.

Copyright, Sal Palma dba Twobirds-Flying Publication, 2010. All rights reserved. ~4~