Concealed Carry Hand Guns - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - BY CCH STAFF

Streamlight’s new TLR-8 weapon-mounted light/laser can get you through the dark­est sce­nar­ios.

By CCH Staff

The more you prac­tice low­light shoot­ing tech­niques, the more you ap­pre­ci­ate a good flash­light. And the more you prac­tice flash­light tech­niques, the more you ap­pre­ci­ate hav­ing a light at­tached to the weapon.

There are many good tac­ti­cal flash­lights on the mar­ket. But the tech­niques for us­ing a flash­light in con­junc­tion with a hand­gun usu­ally don’t al­low for your nor­mal two-handed hold on the gun. Some­times you’re OK for the first shot, but it can be dif­fi­cult get­ting the gun back on tar­get for a fol­low-up.

A weapon-mounted light (WML) can solve that prob­lem. Once used pri­mar­ily by tac­ti­cal units, as the de­vices have be­come smaller and lighter in weight, they have be­come more prac­ti­cal for wide­spread, every­day use.

One of the best new ones is the Streamlight TLR-8. De­signed to be mounted on the rail of compact and full-sized hand­guns, the TLR-8 com­bines a pow­er­ful light with a max out­put of 500 lu­mens, with a red laser for an ex­cel­lent sight­ing al­ter­na­tive in low light. It has many qual­i­ties that should make it a pop­u­lar if not nec­es­sary hand­gun ac­ces­sory.


The TLR-8 is pow­ered by one CR123A lithium bat­tery, which is pretty easy to find these days. You ac­cess the bat­tery com­part­ment by un­screw­ing the light’s bezel. You can do this with­out re­mov­ing the light from the weapon.

Long, nar­row power switches run ver­ti­cally along each side of the unit.


They make the light easy to op­er­ate in the dark, un­der stress. Press ei­ther switch and the light turns on or off. Press and hold a switch briefly and the light switches to mo­men­tary-on mode. Re­lease the but­ton and the light goes out. That’s a good tac­ti­cal fea­ture be­cause a light can also make you a good tar­get.

Press­ing both but­tons al­lows you to tog­gle through the dif­fer­ent modes: light only, laser only, and light and laser to­gether. There’s a strobe mode too that, once you pro­gram it in, ac­ti­vates with two quick touches.

The TLR-8 is 2.15 inches long, so it’s not a bulky add-on. It weighs less than 3 ounces—not much—but it’s at the muz­zle where ev­ery lit­tle bit can help with re­coil con­trol.

The TLR-8 comes with an as­sort­ment of adapter plates so that you can fit it pre­cisely and se­curely to your par­tic­u­lar gun. The clamp that se­cures the TLR-8 to the gun’s rail is held tight by a sin­gle bolt. It is slot­ted so you can use a screw­driver to tighten it, but a quar­ter or other coin will do. The bolt is also knurled, so you can hand-tighten it too in a pinch.

Ad­just­ing the laser for windage and el­e­va­tion is easy us­ing the in­cluded tiny hex wrench. I sighted it in to be on tar­get at 15 yards. Closer or be­yond that to rea­son­able hand­gun dis­tances and I was still putting hits where they’d do da­m­age. Re­mov­ing the TLR-8 and re­mount­ing it didn’t seem to af­fect the zero ap­pre­cia­bly. That’s good to know if you will be tak­ing the unit on and off the gun.

The Streamlight TLR-8 has a sug­gested re­tail price of $350. The com­pany of­fers a TLR-7 model too with light only, no laser, for a sug­gested $215. Ei­ther one is a wor­thy ad­di­tion to your self-de­fense gear that can give you greater ca­pa­bil­ity in low light when most con­flicts oc­cur. CC

The Streamlight TLR-8 light/laser combo al­lows you to light up a threat while main­tain­ing a proper two-handed hold on your pis­tol. The TLR-8 is shown here on a Ruger Amer­i­can Compact in .45 ACP.

The TRL-8 is a pow­er­ful light in a small pack­age, with a max­i­mum out­put of about 500 lu­mens.

Top Right: The laser of the TLR-8 can be ad­justed for windage and el­e­va­tion us­ing the in­cluded hex wrench.

The Streamlight TLR-8 uses one CR123A bat­tery. It can be re­placed eas­ily with­out re­mov­ing the light from your weapon by un­screw­ing the bezel.

Top Left: The TLR-8 is compact and what lit­tle weight it does add to the muz­zle end of the gun also helps in re­coil man­age­ment.

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