Streamlight TLR-1 vs TLR-7 Weapon Lights: Which is Right for You?

When choosing a weapon light for your handgun, two of the most popular options are the Streamlight TLR-1 and TLR-7 models. But what are the key differences, and which is better for your needs?

In short, although the TLR-1 is significantly larger in size as well as heavier, it is way brighter as well. However, they both offer the same runtime.

Here is a detailed comparison of the TLR-1 and TLR-7 weapon lights.

Streamlight TLR-1 vs TLR-7 Weapon Lights Which is Right for You

TLR-1 vs TLR-7: At a Glance

Size3.39” long2.54” long
Weight4.18 oz2.8 oz
Max Lumens1,000500
Battery2x CR1231x CR123
Runtime1.5 hours1.5 hours
MountIntegrated rail clampIntegrated rail clamp
ControlsAmbidextrous toggleSide buttons
DurabilityIPX7 waterproofIPX7 waterproof

Size and Weight

The most obvious difference between the TLR-1 and TLR-7 is their size and weight. The TLR-1 is noticeably larger at 3.39” long and weighs in at 4.18 oz. compared to just 2.54” and 2.8 oz for the TLR-7.

This size and weight difference is quite substantial when it comes to a concealed carry weapon light. The TLR-7 is much better suited for compact and subcompact pistols. Its minimal size and weight will not throw off your weapon’s balance or get in the way during concealed carry.

The larger TLR-1 may be too bulky for smaller guns but provides a nice robust platform for full-size duty pistols. If size and weight are not an issue, the TLR-1’s larger body can dissipate heat better during extended runtimes.

Brightness and Battery Life

When it comes to lumen output, the TLR-1 is the clear winner. Its high mode outputs a very bright 1,000 lumens, while the TLR-7 maxes out at 500 lumens.

This substantial brightness advantage does come at the cost of using two CR123 batteries instead of one. However, it means the TLR-1 will provide the furthest-reaching illumination for spotting and identifying threats at long distances.

Both lights offer 1.5 hours of runtime on high mode. The TLR-1’s added battery provides reserve capacity, giving it a bit more runtime if you use the lower brightness settings.

Mounting and Controls

For securely mounting to handgun rails, both the TLR-1 and TLR-7 utilize a similar rail clamp system built into the light body. The TLR-1 will fit a broader range of rail sizes due to its larger clamp.

The controls are quite different between the two lights. The TLR-1 uses ambidextrous toggle switches at the rear of the body, providing easy activation from both sides.

The TLR-7 instead has side buttons that must be pressed to toggle the light on and off. Some may prefer the TLR-7’s buttons for quicker one-handed control during weapon manipulation.


Durability is top-notch on both the TLR-1 and TLR-7. They both feature rugged polymer bodies that are designed to hold up to recoil and impact.

The lights have identical IPX7 waterproof ratings, meaning they can be submerged up to 1 meter for 30 minutes without failure. This level of water resistance ensures the lights can handle wet-duty conditions.

The Verdict

When choosing between the Streamlight TLR-1 and TLR-7, consider your intended weapon platform and intended use case:

  • For full-size duty pistols where maximum brightness is needed, the TLR-1 is the better choice. Its 1,000-lumen output and robust build make it ideal for law enforcement and home defense applications.
  • For compact and subcompact concealed carry pistols, the TLR-7 is likely the better fit. Its smaller size won’t overwhelm a small handgun and its lower output is still ample for close-quarters use.

Sum Up

Either light will provide outstanding durability and performance. Just be sure to factor in your handgun size and brightness needs when deciding between the TLR-1 and TLR-7. With a clear understanding of their differences, you can pick the better tactical light for your self-defense needs.

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