Little guns are reaching new heights and we are expecting more and more of them. These days little guns, subcompact, and micro-compact pistols are coming with rails and optics slots. On top of larger, more efficient magazines, we expect our small pistols to perform a lot more like big guns. With that in mind, companies are shrinking accessories to make them a little easier to use on these little guns. Today we’re looking at the Surefire XSC, a micro-compact weapon light that gives little guns lots of light.
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The XSC is designed specifically with the modern micro-compact in mind. In a day and age where the Picatinny rail is standard, the micro-compact world has twisted that a bit. The smaller frames call for different rails, and Sig, Springfield, and Glock all do their own thing. Luckily, Surefire makes individual XSC models for the Sig P365, Springfield Hellcat, and railed models of the Glock 43X and Glock 48.
Today we will focus on the P365 variant. Besides the rail attachment, the lights perform identically. Just watch which one you order.
Enter the Surefire XSC
The Surefire XSC is a little light. I mean a very little light. It weighs a mere 1.7 ounces. The optic is 1.94 inches long and has a bezel diameter of .78 inches. The XSC is small enough to stick behind the barrel and slide of the P365XL and sits nearly flush with the Glock 43X’s shorter slide and barrel. For its small size, the power is impressive.
The beams cast 350 lumens backed by 2,000 candelas. Don’t get me wrong. It’s no Cloud Defensive OWL that’s able to penetrate the darkness for hundreds of yards and beat back high beams, but for a little light, that’s not bad.
It’s enough light for the ranges a micro-compact pistol is typically used for. These are defensive pistols, and it’s unlikely you’ll be taking shots at 50 yards in the dark as a concealed carrier. It’s not impossible, but seemingly unlikely. If you need a bigger light, you might need a bigger gun.
Setting Up the XSC
The XSC uses a rechargeable battery system. This proprietary rechargeable battery is what helps keep the light so much smaller than the competition. A CR123 takes up room, and smaller batteries exist but don’t have much output. A proprietary rechargeable battery allowed Surefire to keep things small but also powerful.
The battery lasts 30 minutes at peak output. That’s not a ton of time, but if you keep the battery fresh, it’s not like you’re searching for Bin Laden at the local Walmart when the power goes out. The XSC comes with a charging mount. You pop the battery out of the XSC and attach it to the mount, which is plugged into the wall. Popping out the battery isn’t difficult. It is held securely, though, and would be difficult to accidentally release, if not downright impossible.
This mount is pretty neat. It’s got enough room to fit two batteries, so you can always have a battery ready before you start your day. Extra batteries tend to cost about $40 or so. It’s easy to always have an extra battery on tap. The charger attaches via a USB cable and can be easily plugged into a wall or carport. Surefire includes a set of 3M tape to lock the charger down as well. Probably pretty convenient for a vehicle, but my wife says, “Nah” for her real wood nightstands.
In the Dark
Testing flashlights and weapon-mounted lights is always a good bit of fun. My kiddos get into it and like to buzz around the backyard with whatever light I’m testing. (If it’s a WML, it’s obviously not mounted to a gun.) I’ve tested quite a few handgun lights, and the Surefire XSC uses a rather unique beam style.
It’s admittedly perfect for a small gun with close-range expectations. The beam has a slight hot spot, but the beam is evenly balanced and spread across a large and wide beam. It’s almost nothing but spill and fills a huge portion of your vision from left to right. The distance claims to be 97 meters, and these claims are always tricky. Sure, maybe the light reaches that far, but it’s not useable that far in terms of being able to identify a target.
The true range of the light is about 25 yards for a nice bright and easily established positive identification. You can stretch its legs a little further, but not too much more than that. At 25 yards, the beam is pretty large and gives you a nice wide design that means you can bounce the light easily enough off walls and floors.
Take the light indoors, and the beam shines supreme! It fills a room with light. If I was in a parking garage or inside my home, this would be more than enough light to fill a room with bright white light. It’s certainly enough for a rapidly moving defensive situation.
Light Vs. Light
In the world of lights, there is something called photonic barriers. A photonic barrier is basically a wall of light that prevents you from seeing whatever is shining the light at you. Have you ever run into an idiot driver who doesn’t dim their brights? That’s a photonic barrier. In the world of WML and flashlights, you need a more powerful light to overcome the photonic barriers of light being cast at you.
The Surefire XSC isn’t powerful enough to beat back most photonic barriers. If there is a light between you and a potential threat, it might be difficult to use the XSC to see the threat. This could be the threat holding a light, or potentially a street light, headlights, or whatever between you and the threat. It takes a fairly powerful light to beat through these barriers, and the XSC and its small size just can’t provide that power.
Simplicity is Good
Ergonomically the light is very easy to use. Its lightweight and short design help with concealability. The controls consist of an ambidextrous, low-profile paddle. Press it inward, and boom, you have light. A quick touch turns the light on, and a long hold activates the momentary mode. It’s simple but very effective and easy to use with your trigger finger or even your support hand thumb.
It’s simple, and simple is good. There is also an onboard battery gauge with three small LEDs that light up with the press of a button. When all three LEDs blink, it’s between 80% and 100% charged. When two LEDS blink, it’s between 51% and 50%. When one LED blinks, it’s between 16% and 50%. When one LED flashes consistently, the battery is down to 15% or less.
The Surefire XSC packs a micro-sized punch. For its size, it might be the most efficient WML on the market. It’s smaller than the competition and offers some decent power for such a little light. It won’t outshine a full-sized light, but it’s functional on a small gun. The Surefire XSC grants you plenty of power for a micro-compact weapon and for the close-range self-defense most concealed carriers would deal with.