Streamlight has done what I thought was just about impossible even of last year: they have built a combo green laser weapon light that has the same LED light output, has similar run times, and is the exact same size as their red laser combo weapon lights.
As an observer and end user (and sometimes advisor) in the area of handheld tactical lighting and weapon lights, I’ve been amazed by the “speed of light” (pun intended) development of new technology and the improvement of existing technology.
In the span of roughly eight years, we have gone from clunky, incandescent, easily broken weapon lights with a lumen output of maybe 40 (on a good day) to LED lights with very odd and decidedly inferior lighting patterns to very capable LED lights with 90-120 lumens to red laser/light combos with moderately high output LEDs (300 lumens or so) to, finally, laser/light combos utilizing very bright green lasers and ultra-high intensity LED lights in the 600+ lumen range.
The quest for practical green lasers has been going on for a long time. Green lasers are desirable due to the fact that they are more visible in bright daylight (or darkness for that matter) than red lasers. But there were some technological issues to overcome before one could consider green lasers practical. Green lasers require more energy to reach their maximum allowable output, 5mW, thereby draining batteries much faster than red lasers. Further, additional circuitry was needed to produce a green color laser (you can’t just put a blue filter on a red laser and get a green one), requiring an overall larger unit, and finally, early green lasers from various manufacturers didn’t run well in the cold. It appears Streamlight has solved nearly all of those problems with its new TLR-2 HL G Tactical Gun Mount light combo.
In May 2013, I reviewed the original TLR-2 G, which was, and still is, an excellent weapon light. Streamlight resolved a number of the green laser issues that existed, but those solutions three years ago were compromises. For example, structural modifications had to be made in order to create a green laser/light combo that could actually fit in a police holster. To do this, Streamlight used one of the battery bays in the standard red laser TLR-2 to house the green laser circuitry that was required at the time. This necessitated reducing the LED power output to a still-bright 200 lumens, since the power supply was 1/2 of the standard TLR-2.
Today’s TLR-2 HL G is radically different. With an LED output of 800 lumens, it bears the Streamlight HL (High Lumen) designation. An 800-lumen strobe-capable LED is incredibly bright. The TLR-2 HL G can generate this much power because the electronics have been shrunken down, so the bay that once housed electronics now houses a second CR123 battery. It is more than bright enough for use in searching large outdoor property areas when mounted on an AR-15. Inside a home, mounted on a pistol like the Glock 21, 800 lumens of strobe light in the face is disorienting to the point of totally dominating an assailant. Yet it’s still easy to shoot from behind the light without being disabled yourself, especially since that bright green laser dot stands out so clearly on your opponent. Runtime of the TLR-2 HL G is 1.5 hours with the light and laser running simultaneously. Simultaneous runtime for the red laser TLR-2 HL is 1.75 hours. Pretty darn close, indeed!
Laser alone run time has also been improved over the previous generations. 3 years ago, runtime for the TLR-2 G green laser alone was only 9 hours, while red laser run times were from 45 to 48 hours. Today, the runtime of the green laser has been increased to 17 hours—still 30 hours short of the red laser. This “issue” is easily resolved by having extra batteries around. 17 constant hours is a very long time to leave any laser running, so with average or even duty mission use, your batteries will last for a very long time.
The operating temperature issue for green lasers has also been solved. Both the standard and HL models of the TLR G will operate down to 40 degrees below zero. If you need to operate a laser at 40 below weather conditions, you might want to consider moving to a warmer climate, since -40 is the same operating envelope for Streamlight’s red laser/LEDs.
The TLR-2 G HL has the same operating system as the other lights in the TLR-2 series. An ambidextrous toggle switch at the base of the light operates the laser/light status. Looking at it from the rear, shifting the toggle to the far left selects laser only. The middle position selects LED light only. Switched to the far right selects both laser and light. The activation levers are ambidextrous. A light press up or down with any of the four levers on either side activates the “momentary on” feature. Rapid double presses on either side will activate the strobe. Pressing straight down on the bottom right lever, or straight up on the upper left lever, locks the light to the “on” position. It can be locked in the “on” or “strobe on” mode. The TLR-2 kits contain mounting adaptors for all types of rail-equipped firearms.
The Streamlight TLR-2 G HL is about as good as it gets in terms of weapon lights, and is easily adapted for pistol or rifle use (the Streamlight Ambidextrous Vertical Grip with Rail is an excellent mounting system for a rail-equipped AR-15).
Streamlight continues to be the leader in handheld tactical, gun-mounted, and specialty lights. Their selection of lighting products is the largest around.
Learn more at www.streamlight.com.