Debuted at SHOT Show 2020, the TLR-9 and TLR RM 2 by Streamlight share the same body housing design, core materials, and performance, but it’s what separates the two that makes them uniquely different. With variance in the tail cap switch assembly, the user has the unique advantage of opting between either a new full-sized pistol weapon light, or long gun light with pressure switch. Both offer Streamlight’s 1,000 lumen output and affordability.
Fully-length in design, The TLR-9 is an extension of other compact Streamlight designs in that it is specifically intended to mount to full-size (5” barrel) handguns with an associated picatinny rail. This includes many 1911s, competition, or targeting guns.
Made from a 3.87” body consisting of 6000 Series aircraft-grade aluminum, the housing is intended to be shock resistant against heavy usage.
Much like the TLR-8 FLEX, the 9 has an interchangeable, ambidextrous switch module that includes a high, and low pressure pad to accommodate a wide variety of shooting styles with either a continual ON or momentary. The switch module also allows the user to program the TRL-9 between continual ON and STROBE (if activated) by double tapping either switch within a ¼ second.
The custom light optic produces 1,000 lumens (or 10,00 candela) in a narrow beam with peripheral illumination that reaches 200 meters before dispersal. In front of the optic, the TLR-9 glass is a Borofloat high temperature glass designed to have a high degree of heat and impact/abrasion resistance.
The TLR-9 is powered by two CR123 lithium batteries that provide the light an average 1.5 hours of continual runtime, or 3 hours on continuous strobe. The battery compartment is sealed via rubberized gasket to avoid penetration of moisture. A special design feature of the TLR-9 includes the same “Safe ON/OFF” design (built into the lens cap) similar to other Streamlight WMLs that prevents accidental activation.
A series of different mounting keys are included with the TLR-9 that provides compatibility across a wide variety of handgun platforms.
With an overall measurement of 3.87” (L) x 1.18” (W) x 1.27” (H) and an operating range between -40 degrees Fahrenheit, to 120 degrees. It is rated IPX7 and sealed against moisture thanks to a rubber gasket and enclosed housing to provide waterproofing.
TLR Rail Mount 2
Similar to the TLR-9, the TLR Rail Mount (RM) 2 is a full-length weapon-mounted light design. The RM 2 is specifically intended to mount to rifles using an associated picatinny rail on the handguard. This application includes many AR-15s and other modern sporting rifles.
Made from a 3.20” body consisting of 6000 Series aircraft-grade aluminum, the housing is intended to be shock resistant against heavy usage.
Unlike the TRL-9, the RM 2 has a fixed tail switch module, which includes a rubberized push button on the top, and underneath a female connection port for the remote pressure switch. The tail switch module also allows the user to program the RM 2 between continual ON and STROBE (if activated) by double tapping either switch within a ¼ second. The remote pressure switch itself connects into the RM 2 at a 90-degree elbow to the WML for improved wire management in relation to the switch and rail space.
Similar to the TRL-9, the custom light optic produces 1,000 lumens (or 10,00 candela) in a narrow beam with peripheral illumination that reaches 200 meters before dispersal. In front of the optic, the RM 2 glass is also Borofloat high temperature glass.
The RM 2 is also powered by two CR123 lithium batteries that provide the rail mounted light an average 1.5 hours of continual runtime, or 3 hours on continuous strobe. The battery compartment is sealed via rubberized gasket to avoid penetration of moisture. Much like the TRL-9, special design feature of the RM 2 includes the “Safe ON/OFF” design into the lens cap.
The same series of mounting keys are included with the RM 2 that provide mounting compatibility across a wide variety of handgun platforms.
With an overall measurement of 4.55” (L) x 1.18” (W) x 1.27” (H) and an operating range between -40 degrees Fahrenheit, to 120 degrees. The RM 2 is also rated IPX7 for waterproofing.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Good (4/5): While the overall body housing is similar, the TLR-9 has an MSRP of $240 while the TLR RM 2 has an initial list of $225. The obvious minimal cost difference between the two resides in the variance of the tail switch modules. Both have similar performance, similar light output, and similar materials—thus the only real difference lies in the purpose of how they are applied. The TLR-9 is obviously intended for full length handguns with integrated MIL-STD-1913 rails, and comes with two different types of tail switch pressure pads. In contrast, while the RM 2 has the same housing it is clearly intended for long rifle applications and comes with the remote switch module as found in Streamlight’s ProTac series. Thus, it comes down to how one intends to use which light for the task at hand. In comparison there are very few dual-designed weapon lights on the market. Many users simply adapt a handgun WML to fit a long rifle, such as Surefire’s X300 ($299-429). However, for the handgun market of 1k+ lumen weapon lights, the price can range drastically from Olight’s Valkyrie ($99) to Surefire’s XH35 ($299). For long rifle weapon lights there is Cloud Defensive’s OWL ($369) to Modlight’s crushing 1350 lumen, 18350 ($330). While there are a number of technical and performance aspects that separate them all; for its price and design, both the TLR-9 and RM 2 are in a good price point to make them competitive amid the civilian market while yielding a good level of performance.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): Again, while both weapon lights threw the same comfortable degree of lumens and offered the same level of function, from a comfort aspect what separated the two was again the differences in tail switches and how the light was applied.
- Much like the TLR-8 FLEX, the TLR-9 came with interchangeable high/low switch modules that allowed the user to opt between which worked better with their preferred shooting style/presentation. Given that the TLR-9 is intended to work with full-length handguns, it still gave a flush front with the barrel and did not excessively protrude or snag. On shorter or sub-compact handguns however, the TLR-9 did protrude noticeably. There was no notable negative influence from either switch module on point of impact, as determined by the approach of the thumb to the switch. The included rail mounting keys helped ensure a positive hold, although it was noted as a negative that the key for the firearm used in evaluations (a Springfield competition XD) wound up not being the key per the instructions that fit—although an alternate key did eventually work.
- In comparison, the RM 2 as a long gun light had its own integrated switch module, with the optional female port underneath for its included pressure switch. This granted the user the option of using the light as a stand-alone device, or attach the pressure switch for added rail placement. It should be noted the 3 ¾” pressure switch had a 7” length of cable between it and the base of the WML that accommodated full-length rails as well as short barrel ones. The included rail-grabbing segments for the pressure switch, in conjunction with the included zip-ties, helped ensure a solid/secure hold although less than aesthetically pleasing. It should be noted the RM 2 itself had a rather large body profile against the rifle (both in width and length), something that could only allow it to be mounted in the primary 3 or 9 o’clock positions and felt rather cumbersome or tall off the rail in comparison to other more compact long gun lights, such as by Modlight.
- Durability – Good (4/5): From a durability aspect, the TLR-9 and RM 2 were roughly equal, in that they both share many of the same traditional robust Streamlight elements (aircraft-grade aluminum housing, Borofloat glass, shock-proof internals). Over the course of several live fire iterations, each weapon light was struck accordingly on the housing and light bezel with a loaded magazine 10 times before re-engaging the target at 15 yards. The process repeated itself until all four magazines were expended. At no point did the light flicker or falter, nor did the center-mass of the illumination drift from target. The durability testing did result in minor surface marring (cosmetic) but nothing that compromised the base metal or the light itself.
- Functionality – Good (4/5): Again, functionally both the TLR-9 and RM 2 held the same level of good illumination and functionality as previous Streamlight designs, with the traditional ON/OFF and momentary programmable modes (though a little tricky to engage/disengage). They both also featured the same “Safe ON/OFF” feature in the light emitter that prevented accidental emission as well as was a good feature for long-term storage. As with the comfort of how each weapon light was used, their switch modules delineated where the two differed in overall function.
- The TLR-9, for a full-length handgun light, the ensuing hardware took a little time to transition between the high/low pressure pads (i.e. not a simple snap on/off). But this allowed for the best fit to the personal grip and presentation of the user. As with the TLR-8 FLEX, for larger hands the high switch proved a more comfortable option with its taller profile, and with less distance (however minor) needed to move the thumb down and forward to engage the switch. Smaller hands may like the low switch option, as it enabled the switch to be directly in line with the thumb and thus drive the thumb forward into the switch. In all, preference was determined by the user, and the only way to figure out which option worked best was through trial and error.
- In contrast, the RM2 had a dual rear switch module (with a direct pressure pad for thumb activation, or a port in which to connect the remote switch) for use while mounted at a comfortable point on the rail. The direct pressure pad did have a tactile feel to activation that aided in recognizing when the light was in use. One notable negative aspect of the RM2 was the direct pressure pad on the rear of the housing lacked a protective cage or lockout feature, similar to one found on an Inforce weapon light, that could prevent accidental activation. The connecting remote switch had a nice 90-degree angle to the male connector that allowed it to immediately push the connecting cable down to the side rather than necessitating it coming directly back along the top of the rail. It should be noted that the remote pressure switch does not have the two button feature as the ProTac, but is just a single activation button.
- Weight – Average (3/5): Given the two weapon lights share roughly 70% of the same design, the TRL-9 weighed in at 4.26 ounces (with batteries) while the TLR RM 2 came in at 4.55 ounces (with batteries), so the difference in weight was minimal. Moreover, the general light weight of the weapon light did not pull the barrel nor disrupt the balance of the firearm. In comparison, the weight of the Olight Valkyrie (3.4 ounces) or the Surefire X300 (4 ounces) show that the weight of the TLR-9 is fair (or at an evaluated score of 2) amid other handgun lights on the market where compact sizes trump lumen output. Oppositely, the Cloud Defensive OWL (11 ounces) and the Modlight 18350 (4.27 ounces) show that the RM2 is more on par with the market, and had a good (or evaluated score of 4) overall weight ratio for long rifle weapon lights. Thus, between the two different weapon lights, they scored appropriately (or average) in this category.
Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)
Product Link: https://www.streamlight.com/en
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.