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Review: Nightstick TCM-550XL Weapon Light

The Nightstick TCM-550XL is relatively new to the weapon light market but it is from a maker that has been making first responder lights for a long time. Let’s dive right into the review to see how it stacks up.

Overview

The TCM-550XL is a compact weapon light from Nightstick, a division of Bayco Products. It is about 2.5″ long, just over 1″ wide, and just over 1″ tall – a size that allows it to sit well inside the footprint of a typical double stack handgun like a Glock.

It boasts 550 lumen output and uses a collimating lens to produce a beam with a relatively wide hotspot. The runtime for this single CR123A light is published as 2.5 hours.

The main body of the TCM-550XL is machined from 6061 aluminum with a polymer back plate. It weighs in at 2.5 ounces. Other highlights include a paddle style switch and lock out bezel.

Observations from Use

I typically shy away from direct product comparisons in these reviews but in this case it feels unavoidable. The TCM-550XL is similar in size, shape, and execution of at least two features (the lockout bezel and rail clamp) to the Streamlight TLR-7. However, I feel that the TCM-550XL actually has a major advantage over the TLR-7 in that its paddle style switch is MUCH easier to operate and it is brighter with better tint than my TLR-7.

Speaking of the switch, it offers constant/momentary operation. The user interface should feel familiar as it has become somewhat standard across many tactical lights – quick press for constant, long press for momentary. This is a system that works fairly well with just a bit of practice.

This brings us to my first criticism of this light. It turns on instantly but there is a delay in turning off, almost as if the light is deciding whether it should stay on or turn off based on your input. It is just a moment (not even a second) but it is noticeable when running drills. Apart from that delay, the switch is actually very impressive. This is a very compact light but the well designed switch operates as easily as a full size light.

The lockout bezel works well though the detent that indicates the light is locked out can be a little difficult to feel on my example. It is still a thoughtful feature and there are markings on the bezel to indicate where the lockout exists.

The beam profile is very good. It has a wide hotspot with plenty of spill. The TCM-550XL balances throw and spill very well for a compact light. Those 550 lumens do a good job is filling a room with light or extending the range at which you can ID a target outdoors.

I am very impressed with this light. It has standout ergonomics among compact lights, a compact footprint, and good output for a single CR123A light. It has a lot of potential but it shares the same stumbling block to that potential as any new weapon light – lack of holster support. This light has what it takes to be a great CCW light but as of right now, it will be hard to find a holster for it. Safariland has this light listed in their holster finder but all of the compatible holsters are more suited for duty carry, not CCW.

Wrap Up

The TCM-550XL has the size, weight, output, and ergonomics that I look for in compact weapon light. The switch in particular stands out among a lot of compact weapon lights. It ticks all the boxes but until there is holster support, it will be hard for it to reach its full potential.

Nightstick.com

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