Nightstick TCM-10 vs Streamlight TLR-7 X: A Light Comparison

There are multiple sizes of weapon lights for handguns, and two of the smallest are the Nightstick TCM-10 and the Streamlight TLR-7 X. I’ve done testing with both lights and have used them on multiple handguns. Choosing between the two is tough because of their equally great quality. I won’t tell you which one to buy because they are both great lights. But we will cover the details of each one so you can decide which light is best for your handgun.

Attaching a light to a handgun is much more popular than it used to be, and people are constantly on the prowl for a new handgun/light combo. I prefer full-size lights when the handgun is large enough to accommodate one. This is because they typically have a little more power, which gives them a longer run-time and a higher output. But some of those lights are just too big for compact handguns. And that’s where these two contenders start to shine.

Streamlight TLR-7 X Red dot

The first weapon-mounted light I ever carried was the Streamlight TLR-1, which I bought shortly after becoming a police officer. It was a workhorse light that I still carry today. However, having a smaller, more compact option is great for handguns with shorter barrels, including weapons like the Glock 19, Walther PDP compact, Taurus G3, and more.

The Streamlight TLR-7 X uses a rechargeable SL-B9 battery and comes with a USB-C charging cable, which is handy to have for those who use their light regularly. You can also use a standard CR-123 battery if you are in the field and don’t have time to recharge it. It loads from the front and uses paddle switches that must be pushed down to activate.

Streamlight TLR-7 X
I like how the Streamlight TLR-7 X sits flush with the muzzle of the Glock 19. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
One thing I like about the TLR-7 activation paddles is how easy they are to push. It doesn’t take much pressure to activate the light, which helps maintain trigger control when firing and activating the light at the same time. At 500 lumens, it’s not the brightest out there, but it’s plenty bright to serve its purpose. Because the light runs on one battery, a higher lumen could decrease its running time.

With the rechargeable SL-B9 battery, the light will run for 1 hour compared to 1.5 hours with a CR123A battery. Other options include strobe mode (which must be turned on to use), momentary, and constant-on modes. You can also adjust the rail mount adaptor to fit on multiple handgun rails. Streamlight provides six adaptors with the TLR-7 X light. It retails for around $140.00 at most online retail stores.

Nightstick TCM-10 Red Dot

Nearly the same shape and size as the TLR-7, Nightstick also offers a great quality light by way of the TCM-10. It’s about the same price as the TLR-7 X. One of the most notable differences is the rail adaptor plate and lumen output. The TCM-10 produces a 650-lumen max output but doesn’t have a rechargeable battery. It runs on one CR123 battery that also loads from the front.

You receive five rail adaptors, which are held on with four screws making it easy to change. I’ve used this light on my Glock 19 and Taurus G4 multiple times and love it. I think the paddle switches are just a little harder to push down than the TLR-7, but I’m just being picky now. According to Nightstick, the TCM-10 will run for up to 2 hours on one CR123 battery.

Nightstick TCM-10 compact
The Nightstick TCM-10 compact light worked great on my Walther PDP Compact. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
I wore this light on my Glock 19 during a low-light shooting session, and it worked great. I like that you can change the battery from the front without removing the light from the gun. I have other products from Nightsitck and have never been disappointed by their stuff. Some brands have failed me before, but neither Nightstick nor Streamlight are on that list.

Why use a handgun-mounted light?

Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it?” There are not a lot of downsides to having a light attached to your gun. But if an incident happens and you don’t have one, it can make a bad day worse. One reason some people don’t carry a light on their handgun is because of holster compatibility.

I remember when it was hard to find a good holster that accommodated a weapon-mounted light. But today, that is no longer an issue. There are a lot of choices when it comes to holsters. Safariland manufactures several holsters for both the TCM-10 and TLR-7 lights. I have also found that any holster made for the TCM-10 or TLR-7 seems to work with both lights. There are more than a dozen other companies that also make holsters for these two lights, so that should no longer be an issue.

Nightstick TCM-10 handgun light.
The TCM-10 compact light by Nightstick. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
We don’t think about the need for light until it’s dark, which is too late most of the time. But having a light on your gun at all times is a smart move. There are places that can become dark in the middle of the day, which is why it’s good to carry a light at all times. If you’re not sure when you may need something, it’s best to just keep it on you, right? As I mentioned in the beginning, not all incidents require light, but when they do, it’s imperative to have it.

Flip a Coin

This information may not have made it easy to pick one of these lights, but I really do like both in this case. The TCM-10 is a little brighter, and the TLR-7 has a rechargeable battery. It may come down to which one of those features you prefer. Both lights use one battery that loads from the front, and both have the same style of toggle switch. You can pick up either one for around $140, making them an evenly matched product. I don’t say this often, but you could flip a coin on this one. So, if you need a compact light for your EDC weapon, picking either one of these lights is a great choice.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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