As humans, we are stuck being daytime creatures because we do not see (and do) well in the dark. At night, our ancestors crawled back into a cave or hut before securing the entrance and lighting a fire. We use lights, whether handheld or weapon-mounted, as feeble replacements for the missing Sun.
The TLR-7A on a M&P 2.0 Compact, a concealed carry pistol light.
Pistol-mounted lights go way back. How far? I was not an early adopter when I started carrying a SureFire 6volt Classic on my work pistol in 1999.
Over the years, several other companies have entered that market. Most of the offerings have been full-size lights designed with duty use in mind. However, what about the concealed carry and home defense markets? Just a tiny fraction (pun intended) of companies have tried to field a smaller light that works with concealment designs.
Looking down a darkened residential hallway.
While I do not carry or advocate from a concealed weapon-mounted light (WML), there was a time when my professional and personal situations intersected in such a way that it was a must for me.
Last year, Streamlight sent me one of their TLR-7A concealed carry pistol lights.
What are the details and specifics of the 7A light?
Looking down that same hall at a backlit Mr Target mannequin.
With a single CR123 battery, it puts out 500 lumens at 5000 candela. The run time is an hour and a half. Streamlight says the beam is good out to 140 meters. I do not have an issue with lights that extend beyond the muzzle of my pistol (remember what my first pistol light was); others do. The TLR-7A is just over two and a half inches long while weighing two and a half ounces. Mine is black in color, and flat dark earth is available as well.
The bezel around the bulb has a “Safe-off” feature to prevent accidental activation. I encountered this unintentionally. It does work as designed.
The two-way arrow on the bezel is the lock-out feature’s indicator.
In 2000, I took a week-long low light instructor class taught by Ken Good and Barry Dueck, then with the SureFire Institute. As partners, both used the manual strobe to great effect; they should have since Ken is credited with developing it. I understand the intent behind it and how it can work when done with a partner. Regardless of my thoughts on strobing, the TLR-7A can mechanically strobe if that is what you want.
With the TLR-7A, I have not experienced any issues with it loosening up and self-detaching from the rail. Based on experience, I use a thread locker on the cross-bolt screw. And apply witness marks.
At least one company – Emissary Development – has designed and produced after-market paddle switches.
While a fair amount of users can activate the light’s switches with their trigger fingers, I do not advocate for that. There is too great of a chance that you’ll inadvertently end up contacting the trigger. An efficient and safe way to turn the light on is with the thumb of your support hand as you go into a two-hand grip. What you do with the handheld light you started the event with is a topic for another article.
Streamlight’s Wedge handheld light and the TLR-7A combine to give the concealed carrier illumination tools.
It is not much of a secret that I am a big fan of the Smith & Wesson M&P platform. After twenty-plus years of carrying a 1911 on duty as a road deputy and investigator, I started with the .45ACP M&Ps in 2010. In 2012, I switched to a polymer frame 9mm with a thumb safety, and later, I transitioned to the 2.0 9mms.
As a result of that, as well as being a left-hander, I have experienced the difficulty in finding support gear for less than common gun/equipment combinations. One of the handful of companies that I know can meet my requirements is JM Custom Kydex. When I started on this evaluation, I reached out to JMCK and bought two holsters to support it. One is an outside-the-waistband (OWB) model, and the other is an appendix inside-the-waistband (AIWB) design.
The JMCK AIWB holster I have been using with the M&P/TLR-7A combination.
Tony Mayer and the crew at JMCK did not disappoint. They shipped me exactly what I asked for.
I have taken multiple long drives with an M&P Compact and the TLR7a in an AIWB holster during the time I have been using it. Position the holster and adjust the foam pad as appropriate for you; it then works as a very comfortable combination.
An outside-the-waistband holster from JM Custom Kydex for the M&P/TLR-7A combination.
The Streamlight TLR-7A is not a duty light, but it is a viable light for concealed carry (should your individual situation warrant it) or defense of a smaller residence in an urban area.
JM Custom Kydex