Mission First Tactical Torch Backup Light

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posted on April 10, 2014
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The Mission First Tactical Torch Backup Light White/Red (TBLWR) only produces 10 lumens of white light-pale by comparison to today’s 300- to 500-lumen weapon-mounted searchlights-but its humble output provides a functional and gentle illumination generous enough for the average room. You may not be reading books by it or dazzling a home invader with a disco light show, but you will be able to identify your target or find your way to the safe-room. Add its dual-output red LED to preserve your night vision with an MSRP of $59.99, and this unit is a great backup choice for anyone whose home-defense strategy includes railed shotguns or carbines.

Truthfully, my first impression of the TBLWR did not inspire much confidence. It reminded me of a small pet turtle that lives in a translucent paint tray posing as a lagoon in my pre-teen’s bedroom. The reptile wasn’t much help during two burglaries and one attempted home invasion, so I had my doubts about the new, flat-black and tactical-looking version.

That demure stature may be its biggest strength, though. Its primary mission is a backup-not your primary lighting system-and it fulfills that role without adding unnecessary weight or protrusions prone to snagging. The TBLWR weighs .79 ounce (22 grams). To put that into perspective, that’s almost identical to the weight of a pair of Hornady 55-grain SP Brass .223 Rem. cartridges.

Once installed on a side rail, it added less than .4 inch to the width of the carbine I used for testing (off the gun, measured from the top of the unit to bottom of the Picatinny rail mount, it’s .655 inch tall). Overall length is 2.23 inches and its 1.5 inch width completes the turtle-like profile.

Installation’s familiar, and hardly needs explanation. A 1.48-inch-long setscrew locks the light firmly onto the rails and must first be removed (Loctite Threadlocker 242 Blue has been applied, so a flathead screwdriver is required). The polymer housing then slides onto the rail. Replacing the setscrew locks it solidly in the desired location, thanks to .075 inch of its diameter invading the Picatinny’s groove. Wait until you’re confident the spot you picked is right before applying more Loctite, and make sure you apply forward pressure during its tightening to prevent movement under recoil.

To minimize the chances of inadvertent operation, the TBLWR’s self-contained activation switch is recessed. There are two LEDs in the unit, one red and the other white. With one quick press it produces a constant, low, red light. Two clicks and that output about doubles. Hold down for two seconds and the white comes on. With another tap the unit powers off. There is no momentary activation setting. A pair of 2016 lithium batteries powers the unit and should provide 12 hours of runtime. Replacement doesn’t require removal, either, since the cover is located atop the light.

This thing works well and does not upset your long-rifle’s balance or ability to move through a darkened home. If you, too, believe darkness is your friend, then the ability to use night-vision-saving red light is an added bonus. As for the unit being waterproof to depths of up to 1 meter, it was still working after 12 hours submerged in a small tank-unlike pet turtles.

Murphy’s law makes a backup-especially in a life-or-death situation-mandatory. And the Mission First Tactical Torch Backup Light White/Red fulfills that illumination role without breaking the bank.

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