Need help deciding on which pistol light to buy?
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I have extensively used the SureFire XSC and the Streamlight TLR-7 Sub on my Glock 43x and Sig P365.
They both are great lights, but I think the Streamlight TLR 7 Sub is a better option for most people.
Let me compare the Streamlight TLR-7 Sub vs the SureFire XSC.
SureFire XSC vs Streamlight TLR 7 Sub
First, let me start by saying I have full reviews of these pistol weapon lights, and I will link them at the bottom.
These lights were designed for small concealed carry pistols that are extremely popular now—specifically the newest slim-line pistols like the Glock 43x, Sig P365, and the Springfield Hellcat.
While you can’t go wrong with either of them, price is the most significant deciding factor. The SureFire costs about double what the Streamlight does.
In most cases, a more expensive product will have more features and do the intended purpose better than a cheaper alternative. For these items, this is not the case.
|Streamlight TLR-7 Sub
|RechargeableLifetime warrantyExtreme DurabilityMade in the U.S.A.
|Bright (500 lumens with 5,000 Candela)1.5 hour run timeHigh, Low, Strobe modes
|Short battery life350 lumensExpensiveNo strobe modePropriety batteries
|Extends past muzzle slightly on some gunsLimited beam adjustability
The Surefire is more expensive and uses rechargeable batteries while being less bright. It is probably slightly more reliable and will take more abuse than the Streamlight, but it’s not worth the extra costs.
The Streamlight is slightly larger, but you barely notice the size difference when mounted on your pistol.
The mounts are similar but different, and the Streamlight has a strobe mode feature. Also, the Surefire is made in the USA.
|Streamlight TLR-7 Sub
|1 hour 30 minutes
|Removable, USB Rechargeable
These are designed for three major types of pistols:
- Glock 43x MOS – (reviewed)
- Sig Sauer P365
- Springfield Armory Hellcat
These lights won’t work on some specific sub-models of these guns. For example, the P365 and the P365XL will work with the SureFire XSC, but the Macro model will not.
The lights will also work on some other guns, but these are just the top 3 I see people putting these lights on.
Streamlight makes the TLR-7 Sub in a 1913 rail style, so it can work on various guns, rifles, and shotguns if you get that version.
Peak brightness only lasts so long on fresh batteries and then dramatically diminishes over time. This is with any flashlight.
The Surefire started at 350 lumens in my testing but decreased almost immediately.
The 30-minute advertised run time is not accurate. After 30 min of continuous use, the light was almost entirely dead, and after about a minute with fresh batteries, the brightness dropped by about half.
The Streamlight starts with peak brightness at 500 lumens and is advertised for 1.5 hours.
This light also diminished in brightness but was nowhere near as quickly as the Surefire. After an hour of continuous use, the light was dimmer but still very usable.
The hotspot at the center of the light spill was also more defined and brighter than the Streamlight.
Size and Weight
If you want the smallest, lightest, and smallest footprint available, then SureFire wins in this category.
The XSC is 1.94 inches long and only weighs 1.7 ounces. It’s short and works well if you want a flush-fit weapon light or you want to get as close to flush-fit as possible.
The TLR-7 Sub is 2.51 inches long and weighs 2.39 ounces. The housing is narrower and tubular, whereas the SureFire is more stocky. The TLR-7 Sub sticks out past the muzzle.
I’m used to a X300 on a Glock 19, so a light extending past the muzzle doesn’t bother me at all, and I like the aesthetic.
The weight difference of about 1 ounce is barely anything, and an extra ounce of weight won’t kill you.
I have never been a fan of rechargeable batteries on anything and always felt like they didn’t last long, and the technology was never there yet.
I have a personal bias for rechargeable batteries and find this a somewhat gimmicky marketing tactic.
SureFire takes a specific B12 battery that they only sell, and it costs about $30 for a spare. If you get this light, you will likely want to pick up an extra.
Then you need to use their charging dock, and they give you a cable but no brick and expect you to have your own already. You probably do,but that should be included for the money this light costs.
I’m also a person who will forget to plug things in to charge and don’t have the patience for it. I’d rather just swap out batteries in 2 seconds.
The SureFire does have what they call a “fuel gauge” on the batteries, it’s just a battery level indicator.
The Streamlight uses the good old reliable CR123A batteries.
I like to use this comparison. Would you rather have an electric vehicle or a good old combustion engine? I know the EV is better on paper and is technically better, but I’ll take the gas engine every time.
A good thing both of these lights do is change the battery without having to take the light off your weapon.
The ergonomics and how these lights are activated are very similar, with little difference.
They use ambidextrous paddle buttons to turn on. It is intended to be activated with your support hand thumb.
The TLR-7 Sub can use two different functions, high and low output modes—also a strobe mode.
Overall, there is a good design for both models. The button position is slightly different, so you won’t know which is better for you unless you try both. These differences are only minor and not a determining factor, in my opinion.
I have been a massive fan of SureFire throughout the years, and it’s sad to say they dropped the ball with this light. It seems they are just money-hungry now.
You’re paying twice as much to get half the performance.
Unless you like the rechargeable batteries or like the fact that the SureFire is made in the USA, the clear winner is the Streamlight TLR-7 Sub.
It’s a better choice because it’s brighter and less expensive, and I like the CR123A batteries and have a decent stockpile.
There is nothing wrong with the XSC, and it is still a good light, it’s just way overpriced.
I dive deeper into these lights if you want to read my full review of these separately.
- Streamlight TLR-7 Sub
- SureFire XSC
- 350 Lumens
- 2,000 Candela
- 30 min (single B12 battery)
- Reliable and built tough
Price Check: Optics Planet, Palmetto State Armory, Primary Arms, Brownells, Sportsman’s Guide, GunMag Warehouse, Grab A Gun, Cabela’s, Amazon
Streamlight TLR-7 Sub
- 500 Lumens
- 5,000 Candela
- 1.5 hr battery life (single CR123A)
- Strobe Mode
- Reliable and built tough
Price Check: Optics Planet, Palmetto State Armory, Primary Arms, Brownells, Sportsman’s Guide, GunMag Warehouse, Grab A Gun, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Amazon
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