Gear Review : Streamlight TLR-7 HL-X

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Streamlight seems to be all in on the TLR-7 design. They took the market by storm a few years ago with a compact 500-lumen light and have built the basic TLR-7 head into an entire series of lights. The TLR-7 head occupies the TLR-8, the TLR-9, the TL RM1, and the TLR RM 2. Streamlight has released two new TLR-7 designs. We have the TLR-7 X, and the subject of today’s discussion is the TLR-7 HL-X.

The major light companies have had to step up their game recently. Companies like Modlite and Cloud Defensive have produced brighter and brighter lights, and Streamlight and Surefire have each responded by doing the same. The TLR-7 HL-X is Streamlight’s attempt to turn up the brightness with their seemingly favorite compact weapon light.

The Power!

The power is significantly amplified from 500 lumens and 5,000 candela to an impressive 1,000 lumens and 22,000 candela. To accommodate this increase in power, we have slightly larger lights. The original TLR-7s were 2.58 inches long and weighed 2.64 ounces. The new HL-X lights are 2.98 inches long and weigh 2.88 ounces. The CR123A battery is another sacrifice to the Lords of Lumens and the Creators of Candela—well, kind of.

The TLR-7 HL-X offers versatility in its power options. You can still use CR123A batteries, but your power drops to 500 lumens and 11,000 candela. To get the most power out of the light, you have to use the included rechargeable SL-B9. The SL-B9 provides half an hour of full power, or an hour at an optional 500 lumens and 11,000 candela. The CR123A provides 1.5 hours of power.

The TLR-7 HL-X uses ambidextrous controls to work the light. The dual switches provide an instant and momentary mode. The light comes with additional paddles to offer varied length options, but I found the stock option to be perfect. Streamlight uses a programmable system that allows users to add a strobe mode if they want one.

Why Power Matters

How much light do you need? Less is rarely the answer. The more powerful the weapon light is, the more capable it is for self-defense. A boost in the TLR-7’s power takes it from a concealed carry light to a potential duty option. The light is smaller and lighter than the TLR-1 HL but provides slightly more power. The larger TLR-1 puts out a thousand lumens and 20,000 candela. The TLR-1 also uses two CR123A batteries and lasts up to 90 minutes.

With 1,000 lumens and 22,000 candela, you have a light that can throw itself quite far. Streamlight claims a beam distance of 297 meters; I’m sure some light shivers make it that far. For realistic use, the light can go out to 50 yards quite competently. At 50 yards, I can reliably make out a man-sized iPSC target. At 25 yards, I’m overwhelming the target with light.

If someone hides from you, they aren’t likely to present their entire body, so you’re searching for an even smaller target. This means the increased power still has increased value at close range. Another benefit to the power of the TLR-7 HL-X comes from the light’s ability to pierce through photonic barriers.

These barriers include other light sources and things like smoke, fog, etc. The TLR-1 HL-X did a great job of overpowering the brights from my car and allowing me to see past the brights and into the driver’s seat. Even dim overhead lights can affect your lights’ ability to see a potential threat, and the TLR-7 HL-X can cut right through them.

Running and Gunning

The TLR-7 HL-X features a series of rail keys that make it easy to mount the light on various guns. This includes guns as small as the P365 XMacro up to full-sized duty-type handguns. The buttons sit perfectly for easy access, and using the light takes no effort. You don’t have to break your firing grip or make any effort to find the button visually. It’s just there, sitting alongside your trigger guard, positioned perfectly for easy reach.

I mounted the TLR-7 HL-X to a Polymer80 Glock clone and worked numerous drills with the light. You want to use the light as little as possible in a defensive event. Using a shot timer, I worked on drills from low-ready and high-ready positions. For the drills, I set a random beep timer with a wide variably on my Pocket Pro 2 and walked left to right on the range. My new berm is massive, so I have plenty of room to move.

As soon as the timer beeped, I activated the light, found the target and shot. The beam from the TLR-7 HL-X provides a focused hotspot with a corona of white light that provides a fairly wide beam pattern. This makes it easy to quickly locate the threat and get the gun up and target. For handguns, this beam wide beam makes sense. Handguns are close-range weapons and you want periphereal filling light when at all possible.

Light It Up

Withstanding recoil was never an issue, and the white light never flickered so much between shots. The most I ever had to do was wipe the lens off after any range trips. The battery lasts longer than 30 minutes. I got 33 total before it dimmed significantly. The charge time took 2.5 hours before the battery fully recharged.

Streamlight has a real winner with the TLR-7 HL-X. I’d love to see what they can do with the TLR-1 by adding power. If I had to pick out a downside, it would be holster compatibility.

The longer head will make finding holsters difficult for the time being. However, give it a few months, and I’m sure we’ll have a handful of options for the more popular guns on the market.

Specifications
Lumens – 1,000
Candela – 22,000
Length – 2.9 inches
Weight – 2.88 ounces
Street Price – $165

Ratings (Out of Fire Stars)

Overall *****
Streamlight scored high with the TLR-7 HL-X. It’s an impressively powerful light for its size. With the advent of guns like the P365 XMACRO, it only makes sense that we see more efficient and smaller lights storm the market. The controls are fantastic, the lights bright, and while the battery life is short I doubt you’d run it for a half hour in any violent event.

 

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