I recently reviewed the INFORCE APL and mentioned that it worked well mounted in the 12 o’ clock position on a carbine. That statement spawned a couple of emails that asked if the APL obscured the sight picture when used in this position because it looks too bulky. So, I took this as an opportunity to compare the height of 4 of the most commonly used 12 o’ clock carbine lights: the Surefire X300, INFORCE WML, INFORCE APL, and Streamlight TLR-1.
I’ll let the above picture do some of the talking (click it for a larger version). The red line indicates the rough center of the optic which is mounted at 1/3 co-witness height. The green line represents the height of the tip of the front sight. The black line represents the height of the tallest light (the Streamlight TLR-1). I will tell you that, with the front sight up, you will not really even see any of these lights in your sight picture.
The lowest of the 4 is the INFORCE WML (WML review). It is a tremendous option due to its light weight, great switch, and clever lock out features. I absolutely love using this light in the 12 o’ clock position.
The INFORCE APL (APL review) is only slightly taller than the WML and, believe it or not, it is shorter than the Surefire X300. The picture has a bit of distortion near the edges that makes it appear otherwise but I can verify that the APL is about 1/16″ shorter than the highest point on the X300 (the battery compartment latch). Its switch lends it self very well to being mounted in this position and it is the lightest of all the lights shown.
The Surefire X300 is the third tallest light in this comparison but only because of its battery compartment latch. Without the latch, it is basically the same height as the APL. Its switch works very well in this position and it is used quite commonly for this application.
The Streamlight TLR-1 is the tallest light of the bunch but it still doesn’t block your sight picture. The switch is less ideal than the other lights (I find it to be better for right handed shooters since I think press down on the rocker switch is more intuitive and ergonomic for momentary activation). In spite of all that, it still works great.
You can rest assured. All of the above lights, including the APL, work very well in this role. If you would like more information on the advantages and disadvantages of 12 o’ clock mounted lights, check out our previous article on the subject.
Thanks to Stickman for the inspiration. He recently created a similar image with a few popular RDS.