Light Up the Night: A Streamlight TLR-9 Weapon Light Review

Weapon lights serve different purposes. Some are meant for concealed carry or home defense, which I’ve written about elsewhere. Others are more suited to outside or “duty” work. These tend to be a bit larger, fitting better on full-size handguns. And often, they’re a lot more powerful than their compact counterparts. The Streamlight TLR-9 is one of those larger workhorses. With lumens equal to my rifle light and an impressive candela rating, the TLR-9 will do whatever big job you need it to do. This doesn’t mean you can’t use it for concealed carry or home defense, because you certainly can. It’s just that, in this guy’s opinion, other lights do those jobs a little better. But, by all means, you do you.

Streamlight TLR-9 weapon light
The Streamlight TLR-9 weapon light can do whatever job you need, though it’s not our first choice for concealed carry. (Author’s Photo)

The Streamlight TLR-9 is a feature-rich, high-quality light. We’ll explore that in a moment, but let’s start with the specifications:

TLR-9 Specifications

  • Lumens: 1,000
  • Max Candela: 10,000
  • Beam Distance: 200 meters
  • Run Time: 1.5 hours
  • Length: 3.87 inches
  • Weight: 4.26 ounces
  • Anodized machined aluminum construction
  • IPX7 waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes
  • Ambidextrous rear paddle switches
  • User-enabled strobe function
  • The “Safe Off” feature prevents accidental activation, saving battery life
  • Powered by two CR123A batteries (included)
Streamlight TLR-9 weapon light
The TLR-9 is feature-rich, to say the least. (Author’s Photo)

TLR-9 Notable Features

We’ll address the TLR-9’s brightness in a moment, but let’s start with a few functional considerations. The light attaches firmly to standard Picatinny rails, though you do need a flathead screwdriver for installation. Streamlight does include a multitool, but the screwdriver edge is polymer and doesn’t hold up well against the machined aluminum screw. I’ve only used it a few times and the edge is already showing some wear. But I have plenty of screwdrivers, so it isn’t a real problem. I prefer the convenience of a quick-detach mechanism, but it’s not enough to sour me on the TLR-9.

Streamlight touts the “safe off” function, in which the user unscrews the lens a bit to disengage the contact point from the battery, similar to many flashlights. They say it’s to prevent accidental activation and save battery life, but I don’t see that as an issue. I’ve never accidentally turned my weapon light on, and I don’t want to have to think about whether I need to tighten it down before using it. I actually left the red label marking the safe off function on the light to remind me to NOT engage it.

The rear paddle switches are tactile and easily manipulated. The light itself can be moved along the rail to adjust for longer fingers. I easily engage the paddles with my trigger finger, and it’s ambidextrous since there’s a paddle on each side. I like that Streamlight includes both high and low paddle switches. I chose the high, but it was nice to be able to try them both.

TLR-9 paddle switches
Choose between high or low paddle switches. (

Running the TLR-9

The Streamlight TLR-9 is a serious weapon light. The 1,000 lumens and 10,000 max candelas bring the daylight. In fact, when working with it indoors, I think it’s too bright. The reflection from light-colored walls can be intense, and if you hit a mirrored surface, it’s a problem. Of course, suddenly hitting an intruder in the face with that beam will likely blind him, at least momentarily, so the TLR-9 offers that advantage if you want it. I personally prefer a less powerful beam indoors. Your mileage may vary, and you should do what works best for your situation. If that means you want a 1,000-lumen light, then I say let ‘er rip!

Outdoors is where the TLR-9 really shines (See what I did there? You’re welcome). It’s bright and it really lights up the shadows. The stated range is 200 meters, and while I can pick up some stuff that far out, I wouldn’t say that it’s always clear. To be fair, however, what the heck are you going to engage at 200 meters, at night, with a handgun? The TLR-9 gives you plenty of light within and beyond normal shooting distances.

Streamlight TLR-9 weapon light
The TLR-9 is a big light packed with 1,000 lumens and 10,000 max candelas. (Author’s Photo)

The paddle switches have different operations for sustained light, quick on and off, and strobe. You need to train with these operations if you plan to run a light. Cruising around with your light on all the time can help you see, but it also ruins your night vision and can make you a big fat target. Understand what you want your light to do for you and learn how to make it do that. The paddle operations give you those options but it’s up to you to know how to employ them. Low light and night shooting classes can help with that. The TLR-9’s strobe function is disabled from the factory. The user manual explains how to enable and use it if you want.

A Big Light

The TLR-9 is not a small light. It’s fairly lightweight at 4.26 ounces, but it’s long. This would not be my choice for concealed carry, though you could if you really wanted to. I attached my TLR-9 to my new IWI Jericho II, which I plan to run from a battle belt. I say “plan to” because I’m still searching for a suitable holster. But holsters for some gun-light combos can be hard to find. Unfortunately, my love of IWI firearms has taught me that. So, I may have to go the custom route.

The light’s size means I sometimes knock it around more than smaller lights, but the TLR-9 hasn’t suffered for that. The anodized aluminum body is solid and having run Streamlight products for a number of years now, I’m confident it will hold up well.

IWI Jericho II with TLR-9 light
The TLR-9 works great on my IWI Jericho II. (Author’s Photo)

Final Thoughts

I really like this TLR-9 light. I like Streamlight products in general. They’re good quality lights, and you won’t have to hide the receipt from your spouse, unlike some of their peer or near-peer competitors. The TLR-9 is bright, functional, and durable. Like any accessory, it fills some roles better than others, but it can be a very capable do-it-all light if that’s what you need.

Streamlight products currently equip four of my firearms, both handguns and long guns, and I’m very happy with all of them. So, if you’re looking for a great quality light, for not a lot of money, maybe check out the TLR-9 here at Gun Mag Warehouse. Bet you’ll like it as much as I do.

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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