Impact Weapons Components (IWC) produces a huge variety of mounts that are compatible with the Surefire Scout mounting interface. So, when it was announced that Streamlight would be producing lights that would share this mounting interface, IWC had a vested interest in ensuring the new ProTac Rail Mount lights are compatible with their entire line of mounts. They tested the lights themselves and then boxed up a ProTac Rail Mount 1 and 2 for me to test since I already own a wide variety of IWC light mounts.
This article will not necessarily be a full review of the ProTac Rail Mount lights though there will be elements of a review. The main thrust here is how these lights work with IWC’s mounts. I tried these lights on several different light mounts and on several different firearms.
The following mounts were tested and found to perfectly:
- THORNTAIL KeyMod
- THORNTAIL SBR
I will share specific thoughts about each combination below.
SMC and SMCXL
Tested on the following:
- AR-15 with MOE SL Hand Guards (MLOK)
- AR-15 with MOE Hand Guards
- AKM with MOE AK Hand Guards (MLOK)
In my opinion, this is the most exciting combination of mount and light that I tested. The SMC and SMCXL best represent the entire point of the ProTac Rail Mount lights – affordability. These are mounts that do not require a rail in order to achieve excellent light placement which makes the entire combination of hand guard, mount, and light very affordable.
The combination of the SMC light mount with Magpul’s MOE Hand Guards is pretty well vetted at this point. It works. The SMC and longer SMCXL move the light forward and offset it from the mounting point. This serves to clear gripping space on the hand guard and places it where it can be activated easily. It’s not just an affordable option. It’s a very good option that is hard to top with any other mount/handguard combination.
You can spend more on a hand guard, mount, and light combination but you will not necessarily get a more functional setup than what this represents. Additionally, this entire setup (for AR-15s) can be executed in such a way that there is no permanent change to the host rifle which may be attractive or necessary for some users.
Tested on the following:
- AR-15 with Fortis REV 12 Rail
- AR-15 with Parallax Tactical FFSSR KeyMod Rail
The THORNTAIL KeyMod is a unique mount in the IWC line. It mounts to KeyMod and accepts standard tactical lights via a flashlight ring, Scout pattern lights, and rail mounted lights. Like the everything else in the THORNTAIL line, it places the light in an offset position.
Interestingly, the Protac Rail Mount 1, is functionally and dimensionally similar to another light that IWC played a role in developing, Elzetta’s Mini CQB. I compared the two lights directly and while the Mini CQB is certainly the better made light, they are both functional options. The Mini CQB offers bomb-proof quality with a more flexible integrated mount. The ProTac Rail Mount 1 offers acceptable quality, a lower price, and AA battery compatibility.
If you need to place the ProTac Rail Mount light even closer to the rail than the THORNTAIL KeyMod allows, you can check out any of IWC’s inline mounting options. These mounts will mount on a similar footprint but hold the light closer to the mounting surface.
THORNTAIL and THORNTAIL SBR
Tested on the following:
- AKM with Ultimak Railed Gas Tube
- AR-15s with various rails
This is likely the most flexible mounting setup that I tested simply because of the proliferation of mounting rails. This brings the forward and offset light position of the THORNTAIL line of mounts to any firearm with a standard Picatinny rail. I tested it on the usual suspects but it could also be used on anything from a Ruger 10/22 with the right rail to a Marlin 336 with a XS Sight Systems Scout Rail.
I am impressed with these lights and the various mounts that IWC offers (which is why I own so darn many of them). The ProTac line of hand held lights has been used in weapon mounting and CCW applications for years before the release of the Rail Mount lights and seem to be trustworthy at a very attractive price. I think the various combinations represented here offer some very good budget options for shooters who aren’t ready or able to drop the coin on a premium light like a Surefire Scout or Elzetta CQB Mini.
If you are concerned that these may be “knock offs” of the Surefire Scout lights, please read my previous post on this topic.
To see more thoughts on the unique functionality of the Rail Mount 1, please read here (especially if you like the idea of a AA compatible weapon light).
Thank you to Impact Weapons Components for providing these lights for mount compatibility testing. The lights are available from Impact Weapons Components. All of their compatible light mounts may be viewed on their light mount page. You can use the discount code “triggerjerk” to save 5% on your purchase of IWC branded items.