When talking about weapon lights, probably the most asked question about lights would be the best rifle light for a defensive AR carbine. There’s no shortage of quality options of WML (weapon mounted lights) on the market but they all have pros and cons whether its size, weight, or brightness. Now don’t get me wrong, I know there won’t ever be a single perfect light for every situation but there are a few different models out there that do a great job considering the size and lumen count.
Size Vs Output
The biggest issue with weapon mounted lights is how bulky the system is compared to the number of lumens and light it produces. Most times, I hear people say they want the brightest light money can buy. Typically they plan on going with the brightest light regardless of what it is an option. This thought process often leads to having a fairly bulky light on the front of your gun though. If you’re not going with the brightest light, then you could either go with the best compromise or the lightest light for the lumen count. Personally, I think finding a happy medium is the best way to go on rifle lights or weapon mounted lights.
The application and what you use your rifle for is also very important. If you’re out in the rolling hills of Montana, the application will be different than someone living in downtown Detroit. If you live in the middle of nowhere with vast amounts of land around you, you may want the brightest light you can find. As a general rule, I look for a weapon light that offers a good amount of lumens without the bulk.
Streamlight Vs SureFire
Now, this could probably be its own article entirely but I do get asked quite often if I prefer Streamlight or SureFire for weapon mounted lights. My answer depends on what your needs are whether it’s financially or performance that is most important to you. If you’re on a budget and need to keep the cost down, I would go Streamlight hands down. Now if we start talking about overall quality and performance, I would choose SureFire every time. I’ve never had a single failure in my half dozen SureFire lights no matter how bad I’ve treated them.
My Personal Picks
My first choice pick for a great all-around light would be the SureFire X300U-B with a pressure switch. For its size, The X300U-B is one of the brightest weapon light options on the market today. The hotspot and flood are great for what you need the light to do and its compact size makes it less bulky than almost everything else on the market. The lumen to size ratio is some of the best on the market and it’s a great overall choice if you’re looking for something compact that packs a punch.
The biggest complaint I’ve heard about the X300 when people see it on a rifle is the fact it was originally designed as a pistol light. The M300 Mini Scout was designed for use on a rifle and offers 500 lumens in a small durable package. The X300 is twice as bright but the M300 is one of the toughest lights I’ve ever had the chance to use. Ive beaten the light on barricades throughout a number of carbine classes. It may not be as bright as the X300 but I know for a fact it will be reliable when I need it most. I have both a push button and pressure switch configuration on my guns and like how simple it is to activate the lights.
In the end, having a reliable weapon light is what matters most. I prefer either the X300 Ultra or M300 Mini Scout from SureFire as my “go-to” weapon lights. Everyone has their favorite but it’s important to pick the right lumen count and sized light for you. I know there will be a fair amount of people who will have their own favorites to disagree with me. Let me know what you think is the best rifle light on the market in the comments below. If you have questions feel free to send me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!
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