INFORCE proved that they could make a weapon light unlike anything else on the market with the release of the excellent WML. The WML really knocked my socks off so I had high hopes when I first learned about the new INFORCE pistol light, the APL. Now that I have had a few months with the APL, lets see if it lives up to those expectations.
The APL, like the WML, is constructed almost entirely of polymer with metal where necessary like where screws interface with the body of the light, where the bezel screws into the body of the light, and the bezel itself where the light sheds heat from the LED. The light puts out 200 lumens for 1.5 hours from just one CR123A battery. The single battery form factor and polymer construction keep the APL to a scant 2.83 ounces which is pretty amazing.
The APL’s switching system is completely original. It consists of 2 large paddles – one on each side of the light – that flank the trigger guard when installed on a handgun. The paddles are designed to be large and easy to activate. The user needs only to lightly press these paddles inward to activate the light.
My favorite things about the WML are the 2 separate lock-out features that INFORCE thoughtfully included. They also included a lock-out feature on the APL. In order to ensure that the light cannot be activated, the user needs only to loosen the bezel about 1/4 of a turn. The bezel is made of aluminum and is o-ring sealed for water resistance.
The APL’s locking mechanism is easy to use. It has a small lever that pulls away from the body of the light to release it from a rail and is pushed toward the light to attach it. It is easy to use and it works.
Observations from Use
I spent time with the APL mounted on a handful of different Glocks and used it as a carbine light mounted in the 12 o’clock position. It filled both rolls very well.
The light may look bulky when viewed on its own, but once you see it in person, you will probably be surprised at how compact it is. I know I was. It really isn’t any wider than most handguns that it will be mounted on which makes it noticeably slimmer (1.2″) than most pistol lights. It is also fairly short in overall length (3″) compared to most pistol lights on the market. This small size and extremely light weight make it an excellent choice for use on a CCW handgun. Several holster manufacturers are already set up to bend kydex for your favorite handgun with an APL attached. The compact size and light weight really make this light stand out.
The switching system is mostly good but it isn’t perfect. I like that the paddles are large and easy to activate – even with heavy gloves. I like that the switch also lends itself well to use on a carbine mounted on the top or side rails. In fact, with the APL on a carbine side rail, the user can press down to activate the light which actually works quite well. My one potential issue with the switch is that it requires the user to press laterally which can impart some side movement to a handgun. INFORCE shaped that paddles with a beveled edge on the top that, with some reshaping, could allow the light to be reliably activated by pressing down. That would give users some options.
The mounting system is also good but not quite perfect. It is extremely easy to use. The lever system is smooth and it really seems to lock down tight to the rail. It is also great that it allows the light to be affixed to a firearm without having to slide the light on from the front. This keeps the user’s hand away from the muzzle. INFORCE provides 2 different cross bars that are easy to replace, one for universal rails (most handguns) and one for MIL-STD-1913 rails. I find that the universal cross bar works well enough on both handguns and 1913 rails that I just use it. However, no matter where I attached the 1913 and no matter which cross bar I used, I found that I could never fully close the lever when the APL was attached to a rail. It always stuck out a very small amount which seems like a snag issue waiting to turn into a loss of light issue, though it never even came close to happening in my testing.
The lock-out feature is nice to have. It is very common for those who use pistol style weapon lights and soft gun cases to find that their batteries are dead after a trip to the range because the case can accidentally active the light. In some cases, the light can overheat and cause the batteries to vent which is a much bigger inconvenience than just changing the batteries. The lock-out feature can prevent this. Though, if you are a police officer or armed citizen carrying the APL mounted on a carbine in a soft case in your trunk, it is quite possible that you could forget to undo the lock-out if you are in a hurry to access your carbine. You will want to carefully weigh the pros and cons of using this feature.
The beam profile of the APL is quite good for indoor use. It has a broad profile with bright spill beam. There is a hotspot at the center but it is not as defined as most and transitions smoothly to the bright spill beam. It really illuminates a large area. The runtime seems to be true to what is advertised.
I own several of the big name pistol lights and, in spite of the issues that I mentioned above, this is the best pistol light that I have used to date. The locking lever issue can be fixed by the user with some trimming (if it even needs fixing at all). The paddle “issue” can be overcome with training or a slight modification. Neither of these issues could over shadow the ease of use, the versatility, or the compact size and light weight of the APL. There is room to improve but the APL is a tremendous light.
Impact Weapons Components carries the entire INFORCE weapon light line up. Check out the APL at ImpactWeaponsComponents.com.