web analytics

Tag Archives | Surefire

Surefire G2X Saves the Day

This story was carried on my local news yesterday. If you aren’t carrying a flashlight daily, this might convince you. You never know how or when you’ll need your flashlight…

Early yesterday, a Washington man had a road wash out underneath his vehicle due to the flooding in the area. He was able to use his flashlight, a Surefire G2X, as he extricated himself from his vehicle and climbed back up onto the roadway in the dark. Once he was on the roadway, he was able to use the light to warn other drivers about the now dangerously washed out road surface. His simple act of preparedness, carrying a light, may have played a role in saving his life and potentially the lives of other motorists.

See the story at KHQ News (Spokane).

Surefire Limited Edition Tan X300U at IWC

The limited edition Surefire Tan X300U are starting to show up at dealers including our friends at Impact Weapons Components. They probably won’t last long.

Surefire X300U tan

Surefire Tan X300U Preorders

Surefire stated on their Facebook page that dealers are now taking preorders for the upcoming Tan X300U. Check out your favorite Surefire dealer to put your grubby little mitts on one.

Surefire X300U tan

Put Your Carbine on a Weight Loss Plan

I am generally of the opinion that a lighter carbine is a better carbine as long as reliability is not sacrificed. I often write about how a little bit of planning and careful selection of the various components that make up your carbine can shed quite a bit of weight. Enough of you have written to ask for advice to shed weight from your carbines that the idea of writing an article about the best ways to save weight finally penetrated my skull.

This carbine weighs just over 6.5# and could lose additional weight just by removing some "luxury" items.

This carbine weighs just over 6.5# and could lose additional weight just by removing some “luxury” items.

If you read here often, you have heard me say of many small parts that I have reviewed that they may seem like too small a weight reduction to worry about on their own but as part of an overall weight reduction strategy they make sense. Well, this is the overall strategy that I am talking about.

This article will attempt to explore the best places to shed weight form a carbine. In this case, “best” means shedding weight without sacrificing reliability and maintaining an acceptable level of durability. There will be tips and resources for those who already have a carbine that they want to put on a weight loss plan and for those who are building from the ground up (or willing to do a tear down of their existing carbine).

Planning and Resources

A lightweight carbine starts with a plan. You will need to research the various components that you are considering to determine their weight and how they fit into your budget. Choose the lightest parts that meet your requirements for durability and fit in your budget. That sounds simple but it can be an involved process.

While you are planning, consider which parts are off limits for weight loss. This may vary based on your requirements. For instance, since I will not compromise on reliability, I do not alter parts from the gas and recoil systems. That means that I use a steel gas block, a proper bolt, an M16 bolt carrier, and the heaviest buffer that will allow my carbine to function with the ammo that I commonly use. I do not play games with any of those components. I also strongly prefer an ambi-selecter so I am more than willing to accept the small weight gain that comes with the Battle Arms Development selectors.

Spend some time considering whether or not you actually need each item in your plan. Installing a light weight version of something you don’t need is not the best way to save weight. The best way is to never install it in the first place.

Unfortunately, not all manufacturers list weights for their products. If you don’t see a weight listed on the sight try searching to see if anyone has listed a weight on a forum. You can also contact the manufacturer or retailer to see if they will provide the weight specs.


All of these resources can be used to give you a pretty good approximation of the weight differences between various components.

Building from Scratch or Willing to Tear Down

The following carbine lightening methods are best suited to those who are building a new carbine from the ground up or those who are willing to tear down and replace major components of their current carbine. Most of what is listed in this section will usually require that a pre-built carbine be re-zeroed after the modification is complete so figure that into your budget.

14.5 Article Pinned Phantom

Barrel Considerations

The most efficient place to shed carbine weight is at the barrel. There are three main ways to lose weight at the barrel: shortening, lightening the profile, and fluting.

You can save weight but going with a shorter barrel. A 14.5” barrel will weigh less than a 16” barrel of the same profile and gas system.

You can save weight by going to a lighter barrel profile. Lightweight barrel profiles are not the accuracy robbing boogieman that they have been made out to be. In fact, in my experience they tend to shoot better than a typical government profile barrel. However, they can and do lose accuracy as they heat up but this is the case with any barrel profile. Generally, unless I am building a true precision carbine, I go with a lightweight barrel profile.

Finally, there are several shops that will flute your barrel. You are no longer limited to the standard straight fluting with options like spiral fluting, golf ball-like dimples, honeycomb, and more patterns available. Keep in mind that while these will remove weight, fluting will not remove as much weight as just turning the barrel down to a lighter profile.

Combining elements for the three methods of barrel lightening will yield the best results. A 14.5”, lightweight profile with a permanently attached muzzle device will be the lightest barrel option you can easily attain without NFA paper work.

Hand Guards

There have never been more options for those who want lightweight hand guards. There are many good choices and you will basically only be limited by your budget.

It is tempting to think that plastic hand guards are the lightest option but that simply isn’t true. There are a number of free float rails available that are lighter than plastic hand guards. In fact, you can often go as long as 10-13” on your rail and still be lighter than a set of plastic hand guards.

IWC QD Micro in Troy Alpha

Also keep in mind that there are down-stream weight and budget considerations when choosing a hand guard. For instance, Troy’s Alpha Rails are among the lightest on the market but not the lightest. However, they can make use of Impact Weapons Components QD Micro Sling Mount and Weapon Control hand stop (use code “triggerjerk” to save 5% at IWC) which are direct connect components that are the lightest of their type. They are also some of the least expensive. This brings the functional weight of the Troy Alpha closer to lighter rails and makes it one of the most affordable lightweight options. KeyMod rails are another example of this. They are generally on the lighter end of the market to begin with but the availability of direct connect mounts makes them even lighter than a similar rail without the ability to direct connect mounts.

Finally, don’t buy slick sided tube style rail and then mount a bunch of rail sections to it. With proper component selection, you can mount your light, front sight (if necessary), and sling (use an offset sling mount) on the top rail and you can direct connect items like hand stops. You probably don’t need side rails.

IWC QD Micro in MOE

If you are limited to plastic, non-free float hand guards due to your budget. Consider something like the Magpul MOE hand Guards or the even lighter and slimmer B5 Systems KeyMod Hand Guards. You will save weight by using direct connect items like light and sling mounts versus trying to bolt rail sections onto standard hand guards.

Some of the lightest free float hand guards are very middle of the road when it comes to price compared to other rails. These include the Midwest Industries SS Gen2, Troy Alpha, Samson Evolution (and derivatives like the even lighter Rainier Arms Evo), Noveske NSR, and Apex GatorGrip.

MI SS Series Gen-2 Free Float Rail

The new ALG Defense EMR is a particularly affordable option. It has built in sling mounts which save weight.

Don’t overlook the Fortis REV series. People tend to think of the slick tube style rails when they think lightweight but the Rev Rails are likely the lightest aluminum rails on the market. It also has built in sling mounts.

The new BCM KeyMod Rail is the Cadillac here. Its magnesium allow construction makes it strong and obscenely lightweight.

Gas Block and Front Sight

Gas block and front sight considerations go hand in hand with your rail considerations. Standard fixed front sight bases are surprisingly heavy. You can save a considerable amount of weight by switching to a low profile gas block and a separate front sight.

A lightweight extended rail over a low profile gas block is lighter than a short rail or hand guards behind a fixed front sight base.

A low profile gas block can give you more hand guard options on a 14.5" build.

A low profile gas block can give you more hand guard options on a 14.5″ build.

Various Small Parts

There are various weight saving small parts available that, when used in concert, can make a real difference in weight. Most of these are going to require some tear down to install though some can be coaxed into place without much disassembly.

V7 Weapon Systems manufacturers several of these parts including a lightweight port door and port door hinge pin, lightweight Ti takedown pins, lightweight buffer retainer pin, and a lightweight magazine catch assembly.

V7 Ultra-Light Port Door Closed

Weight Loss for the Carbine You Already Have

This section contains gear and strategies for shedding weight that can be completed without tearing down an existing carbine. These are basically all drop-in/bolt-on parts that can save you some serious weight as part of your overall plan.


Stocks can vary wildly in weight and because of that, this can be a key place to lose weight.

The old CAR style stocks are extremely lightweight but they are also difficult to find these days.


The Mission First Tactical Battlelink Minimalist weighs an astonishingly light 5.8 ounces. It is a GREAT option for those looking to shed ounces.

The B5 Systems Bravo SOPMOD and Magpul MOE are also relatively light and manage to pack in more features than most lightweight stocks.

Vertical Grips and Hand Stops

You might be surprised at how much some vertical grips weigh. If you can get by without one, that is your best bet. If you can’t, consider a hand stop instead. Hand stops like the direct-connect Weapon Control MOUNT-N-SLOTs from IWC (use code “triggerjerk” to save 5% at IWC) are extremely lightweight, especially compared to most vertical grips. If you already have a vertical grip but want to lose some weight, consider chopping the vert grip to as short a length as you can comfortably use.

IWC KeyMod Weapon Control M-N-S Side

Weapon Mounted Lights

There are weapon mounted lights that weigh well over a pound and lights that weigh as little as 3 ounces. Your choice here will have a major impact on the overall weight on your carbine.

Lights that require an additional mount typically weigh more than those that don’t. The weight conscious should consider lights that have their mounting interface integrated like the INFORCE WML, Surefire X300 Ultra, and ROSCH Works SL1.

MI SS Series Gen-2 Free Float Rail with Accessories

The INFORCE WML (upgrading to 200 lumens since the linked review was published) weighs a measly 3 ounces and it can be mounted and used comfortably on just about any rail thanks to its unique switch. That is something that can’t be said of most lights.

Unity Tactical EXO 2

The X300 Ultra is the heaviest of those listed above but it outputs the most light at 500 lumens. If you need a lot of light in a relatively lightweight package it is a good option. Don’t forget to add a Unity Tactical EXO.

The ROSCH Works SL1 is the holy grail of lightweight weapon mounted light options. It weighs just 3.2 ounces and has a front sight built in! That means you can save the additional weight of having to install a separate front sight. However, the SL1 will only work with an extended hand guard since it is designed to be mounted on the top rail.

ROSCH Works SL1 Front

Sling Mounts

Slings mounts can vary a little in weight but the main way to lose weight here has more to do with strategy than gear choice (though some gear choices will help).

The lightest front sling mount that I can think of is the one that is built into your rail. If your rail doesn’t have built in sling mounts, then obviously you need to explore some options.

If you have a Magpul MOE Hand Guard or Troy Alpha rail, the IWC Micro QD Sling Mount is going to be your lightest option.

If you have a hand guard that only has a top rail, don’t bolt on a rail section just to add a sling mount. Place an offset sling mount like those from IWC or Fortis on your top rail to keep weight to a minimum.

V7 Weapon Systems Combo Installed

Believe it or not, the rear sling mount that is built into most stocks is not the lightest rear sling mounting option. The V7 Lightweight Castle Nut and Sling Plate will actually reduce the overall weight of your carbine by replacing steel parts and add a rear sling attachment point.


Grips are a pretty personal item. I wouldn’t go with a smaller, lighter grip that didn’t fit my hand. The UCWRG Grip 23 is a relatively light option and it fits me perfectly so that is what I use. You should probably find the lightest grip that fits you rather than the lightest overall grip.

UCWRG Rifle Grip

UCWRG Rifle Grip


Optics should be suited to the purpose of the carbine and their quality is part of the overall reliability of the carbine so you should not skimp here in the name of weight. That doesn’t mean you don’t have some lightweight options.

A full size Aimpoint in mount is relatively lightweight at around 12 ounces. However, an Aimpoint Micro in a mount typically weighs 6 ounces or less and they are nearly bomb-proof. Aimpoint Micros are an easy choice for the lightweight carbine.

Aimpoint Multiple Models

If you want a red dot that is even lighter than the Aimpoint Micro, you might consider a Trijicon RMR. Many do not think of the RMR in the role of primary optic but it works well in this role. Your mounting options will be more limited versus the Aimpoint but they are extremely lightweight.

If you need/want magnification for your application, it is hard to beat the Compact ACOGs for their combination of lightweight and durability. The TA33 in particular is an amazing optic that offers 3X magnification, weighs only about 9 ounces with an upgraded mount, and fits the realistic capabilities of the 5.56 carbine well. I have written about what makes it unique before.

Trijicon TA33

Wrap Up

You should be able to get your carbine to down around 6 pounds (unloaded, not including a sling) with an optic, light, and extended rail by paying attention to the items above. These are not the only places that you can lose weight. It is really up to you as to how much research you can tolerate in the planning stage. If you want to seek out the lightest possible trigger group, muzzle device, detent pins, and so on that fits your purposes, more power to you. Those details can make an overall impact and might be worth your time.

Remember, choose the lightest possible parts that still meet your requirements for reliability, durability, and budget. You should also consider the down stream consequences of the products you choose to your overall weight and budget (ie integrated sling mounts, availability of direct connect items, etc). It sounds simple but it is a quest that will consume you if you let it.

Additional Resources:

PredatorARMAMENT does a great job of stocking many of the newest lightweight rails on the market. If it is lightweight and affordable, they have it.

It is hard to beat Brownells for selection and service. I tend to purchase most of my items there because of the trust they have built with me over the years.

Get Your Dream AR15 Today!

Surefire 2014 Product Video

Surefire released a video to highlight their new products for 2014 and there are several interesting additions. Night vision owners will be happy to see all the new IR options. It is nice to see the M600P Surefire Scout Fury will become a catalog item. The new railed hand guards look interesting and the SL07 Dual Purpose Scout Light Switch seems like it has been a long time coming. The VOC (Variable Output Control) Tailcap also has my attention.

Surefire F04-A Beam Diffuser

The new Surefire Ultra models have tremendous 500+ lumen output with a beam profile that has a fairly tight hotspot. That hotspot may be tighter than you want for some applications, especially if you are using your light indoors. The new F04-A is a beam diffuser that slips onto the 1.125″ diameter bezels of the Surefire Ultra lights. It uses a high grade optic diffuser lens to spread the beam of your light into a wall of light.

Surefire F04-A

I have been using the Surefire F04 (the original 1″ version) for years. There is some light lost to the diffuser but it is minimal. This would be ideal for a Surefire Scout Ultra or Surefire X300 Ultra that is mounted on a carbine that is used for home defense.

If you want a broader, more diffused beam for your Surefire Ultra, check out the F04-A Beam Diffuser.

Review: Prometheus Lights Titanium Pocket Clip

There are a number of great flashlights on the market that do not come with pocket clips. Thankfully, Prometheus Lights is here to help with their Titanium Pocket Clip.

Prometheus Lights Ti Pocket Clip


The Titanium Pocket Clip is, well… it’s just what it sounds like – a pocket clip made from titanium. The specific alloy used is 6Al/4V. The pocket clip has a large ring at one end that can be slipped over the barrel of the light along with an included o-ring when the tailcap is removed. The o-ring serves to remove any play between the clip and the light, and the tailcap, once reinstalled, retains the clip. There are two o-rings provided: black and glow in the dark.

This clip fits several popular lights including the popular Surefire Fury series and Elzetta lights. I picked this up specifically to try it on an Elzetta ZFL-M60.

The quality seems excellent. It has a sort of stonewashed finish that looks great. You can also tell that great care has been taken to remove any sharp edges. Retention is strong and well suited to pocket carry. It is just right.

Prometheus Lights Ti Pocket Clip on Elzetta

Observations from Use

I have been carrying the Titanium Pocket Clip almost daily for a little over a month.  In that time, it has done nothing but hold my beloved Elzetta ZFL-M60 right where I want it and that is all I really need it to do.

It fits the Elzetta ZFL-M60 like it was made exactly for it. The ring that rides around the barrel of the light sits almost exactly flush with the outside diameter of the tailcap. The end of the clip can be nestled perfectly into the lengthwise oval shaped grooves in the light where Elzetta engraves their branding. This keeps the clip from rolling around the body of the light and keeps the Elzetta ZFL-M60 light from rolling when dropped. This is the clip that should come standard on the Elzetta lights!

Prometheus Lights Ti Pocket Lanyard Hole

It isn’t called out specifically on the Prometheus Lights website but there are two cutouts in the clip and the smaller of the two makes a great lanyard attachment point. So, whether it was intentional or not, the Titanium Pocket Clip adds a lanyard attachment point to your light in addition to the pocket clip functionality.

I also tested the Titanium Pocket Clip on several other lights: Surefire G2X, G2L, C2L, and Streamlight PolyTac LED. It worked perfectly on all of them and didn’t preclude the use of constant on like some thicker clips can. In fact, the PolyTac LED makes a dandy budget EDC light with the addition of this clip. I suspect that this clip will fit the vast majority of lights with standard 1″ barrels and removable tailcaps.

Wrap Up

The Titanium Pocket Clip turned a light that I love, the Elzetta ZFL-M60, into a light that I can’t live without. There are so many great lights out there that this will fit. This is such a simple and great product.

Check out the Titanium Pocket Clip from Prometheus Lights at DarkSucks.com.


FURYious Scout

Pat Rogers, head honcho at EAG Tactical and gunfighter maker, is working with Surefire to bring you what they are calling the FURYious Scout. As you might expect from the name, this light features the head from the excellent EAG Tactical version of the Surefire Fury on an M600 Scout Light body. That means you get an awesome, wide wall of light that the Fury is known for on the compact, easy to mount M600 Scout Light body. This should be a heck of a weapon light. Check out Surefire and EAG Tactical.

FURYious Scout - Photo by Pat Rogers

Photo credit: Pat Rogers – EAG Tactical

12 O’Clock Mounted Weapon Lights

Thanks to the proliferation of AR-15s with railed hand guards that cover or extend around the gas block, it has become more common than ever to mount a white light on your carbine in the 12 o’clock position (directly on the top rail of the hand guard). Mounting the light in this position isn’t a new idea, it is has just been made more practical by the way many carbines are being configured.

In this post, I want to address a few questions. Does mounting your light in the 12 o’clock position offer any advantages over other mounting positions? Does it come with disadvantages? Which lights and mounts work best for the 12 o’clock position?

12 OClock Light Mount WML Top Down

12 OClock Light Mount Through the Optic


Mounting a light at 12 o’clock offers several advantages over most light mounting positions, especially the positions that push the light out to one side or the other.

Use of Cover – Perhaps the biggest advantage is that a light mounted in the 12 o’clock position is optimized for use of cover. The light will clear cover while exposing as little of the shooter as possible when shooting over or around cover in either direction. If you must shoot under extremely low cover, you will have to roll the carbine anyway so shooting under cover is basically drama free. This is a distinct advantage over lights that are mounted to one side or the other which cause the shooter to have to slide out beyond cover a bit more to put any light down range.

Reduced Impact of Shadowing – Unless you mount your light so that the bezel is just about even with (or beyond) the muzzle, you will have to deal with some shadowing caused by the barrel and muzzle device. If your light is mounted at 12 o’clock, that shadow will be cast directly down. It only obscures areas of your field of view that are already obscured by your carbine. This is ideal.

Ambidextrous Activation – A light mounted at 12 o’clock offers the ability to easily activate the light with either hand. The light is on the center line of the carbine so it is equally as easy to reach whether the right or left hand is being used as the support hand.

Ergonomics – If your stance supports it, the 12 o’clock position tends to be a very natural position for the thumb of the support hand to reach. It falls somewhat naturally under the thumb, especially if you tend to use a high, thumb forward or wrapped thumb grip with your support hand.

Weight – The lights used for this mounting position tend to be fairly light weight and, in most cases, don’t require an additional mount which also keeps weight to a minimum. Many of the lights best suited to this position weigh less than 5 ounces and some weigh less than 3 ounces.

12 OClock Light Mount Surefire X300

12 OClock Light Mount WML


Special Equipment or Setup Required – The biggest disadvantage to mounting a light in this position is that it will usually require some special equipment and forethought to achieve. Most off-the-shelf AR carbines are not going to allow it. You will need an extended rail that covers the gas block/front sight base, an FSP style rail that wraps around the front sight base, or a bolt on accessory.

Unusable for Some Grips and Stances – The 12 o’clock light really only works if you grip your carbine out at the end nearer the muzzle. The light must be placed in front of the front sight which dictates that it must usually be placed fairly far forward. A tape switch may be used to alleviate this to a certain extent.

Reduced Sight Radius – You may have to move your front sight to the rear by a few notches if you are using a rail mounted front sight in order to have space for the light in front of it. This reduces the sight radius. As a rule, the farther apart your sights are, the easier it is to be precise but this is not nearly as big a deal as it is made out to be – especially since iron sights are likely your back up sighting system.

12 OClock Light Mount Surefire Scout M600

12 o’clock Lights and Mounts

Lights – The most common 12 o’clock light that is seen is the Surefire X300. It has a low enough profile to stay out of the way and a switch that is very conducive this type of mounting. The INFORCE WML is perfect for use on the top rail. It is also one of lightest options available at 3 ounces, including the battery. Users are also having good luck with the INFORCE APL. It is the lightest option on the list. The Streamlight TLR-1 works well for right hand shooters but is less ideal for left handed shooters thanks to its rocker style switch. The Surefire M600 and M300 Scout Lights also work very well even though they are rarely used. They can be used with either the tailcap switch or the tape switch in this position.

Keep in mind that your choice of lights may be limited by the method by which you are mounting it. Not all the lights listed here will work with all the mounts shown due to size constraints. As a general rule, any light that requires a flashlight mounting ring to be attached to the rail or mount will sit too high to be useful.

Mounts – If you don’t have an extended rail or an FSP style rail, then you still have some 12 o’clock mounting options. The most recent is the Midnight Mount from Mossie Tactics. It clamps the front sight base. Hahn Precision makes the Forward Light Mount which clamps to the barrel. Michiguns LTD makes the ILM (Ideal Light Mount) which does requires some modification to the front sight base.

12 OClock Light Mount Surefire Scout Activation

Wrap Up

In my experience, mounting the light at 12 o’clock is demonstrably better than mounting the light in other positions, but how much better is up to the user to decide. The various advantages and disadvantages must be passed through the filter of your experience and checked for compatibility with your shooting style. I encourage you to give a 12 o’clock mounted light a try.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes

%d bloggers like this: