Skip to main content

Review: Streamlight TLR-6

Review: Streamlight TLR-6
The Streamlight TLR-6 is a combination light/laser designed to fit dozens of compact and subcompact handguns, including 1911s without frame rails.

Streamlight is the choice of many serious users in law enforcement and elsewhere. Its products reflect the latest trends in light/laser technology. Streamlight's venerable TLR is its flagship weapon light, and it's developed into an entire line of products.

The TLR-6 is a relatively new combination light/laser meant for smaller guns, and there are models to fit dozens of different handguns. Most of the various TLR-6 units clamp over trigger guards (since most carry guns don't have rails on the frame), but Streamlight does make rail-mounted versions of this product as well. (Ed. note: And even more recently, Streamlight introduced the TLR-7 and TLR-8 for guns with accessory rails.)

The TLR-6 features a polymer housing and is lighter than it looks. With the two provided CR-1/3N lithium batteries, the unit weighs only 1.2 ounces. This light weight is important, especially for those units that clamp around trigger guards. With every shot, recoil forces work on separating the pistol from anything attached to it. The lighter the light/laser, the less force gets applied to it under recoil.

As a unit meant for subcompact pistols, the TLR-6 is relatively small. It is 0.6 inch wide and 1.6 inches tall. The unit body itself is just over two inches long, but some versions of the TLR-6 designed to fit different pistols (such as 1911s without a rail) have a longer polymer housing that clamps over the bottom of the trigger guard.


The activation switch is a round button on either side of the unit body. Because of where it is positioned in relation to the firearm—and depending on how small the gun is or how long your fingers are—you might not be able to work the switch with the tip of your trigger finger. I got two samples of the TLR-6 to test, one that fits 1911s without a rail and one that fits the S&W M&P Shield. I couldn't reach the button of the TLR-6 installed on the 1911 with my trigger finger, but I could on the one installed on the Shield.


There aren't many steps in the installation process, but doing them in the correct order will make attaching the unit to your handgun's trigger guard a lot easier. In other words, don't toss the instructions as soon as you open the package.

I review lights and lasers a lot, and these products are getting so advanced Streamlight doesn't even like using the term "flashlight." The light in the TLR-6 is referred to as the "LED illuminator." It provides 100 lumens. The flashlight beam has a reflector designed to work well at point-blank range or at distance.

For close-range work, the beam the TLR-6 throws is really wide. At a distance of six feet the beam is roughly six feet wide and is dimmer at the edges. The center of the beam is much brighter, which is helpful for identifying threats at distance. At six feet the bright center circle is about a foot wide; at a distance of seven yards, the bright center is about three feet wide, and the entirety of the light circle is more than 15 feet wide.

The laser positioned below the light is a 640- to 660-nanometer red laser. At seven yards the red dot is a quarter-inch wide but looks bigger. Like all modern red lasers, it is more than bright enough to see indoors or outside at dusk or in darkness, but it's tough to pick up outside on bright or sunny days.


You have your choice of using either the flashlight or the laser or both. I love the simplicity of the controls. Push a button (either side) to turn the unit on. If you want to change modes, press both buttons at the same time and the unit will cycle through your options—light only, light and laser, or laser only. To go into momentary activation mode, press and hold either the on or the off button.

The interesting thing to me is the listed battery run time. Using the flashlight only, the battery will last an advertised one hour. Running both light and laser, the battery will last...one hour. Using just the laser, battery life is listed at 11 hours. This tells me the laser barely draws any power compared to the flashlight.

I think a light on a handgun has far more utility than a laser, but never forget, if you're shining that light or laser (or both) at someone, you're pointing a loaded gun at them, too.


I understand more options are always better, but if you just want a laser for your handgun and really don't know if you'll ever use the light function, I think you'd be better off getting a dedicated laser-only unit because they're much smaller and don't affect holster fit, which is always an issue when you start clamping accessories to a handgun.

However, if you do like the light/laser idea and think the TLR-6 is the unit for you, Safariland and Comp-Tac are offering holsters to fit various pistols with the TLR-6 attached.

Streamlight makes its housings in a huge number of fitment variations, and it's extremely likely there's a TLR-6 to fit your gun. If not, or if you want to be able to move your TLR-6 from one gun to another, Streamlight also offers the TLR-6 Universal Kit, which includes one light/aser module and six housings for use with 18+ subcompact handgun models.

The TLR-6 Universal Kit has a suggested retail of $210, whereas individual TLR-6 units have a suggested retail of $175. A quick Internet search turned up street prices for various TLR-6s to be in the neighborhood of $100. Streamlight is the choice of many serious users in law enforcement and elsewhere. Its products reflect the latest trends in light/laser technology. Streamlight's venerable TLR is its flagship weapon light, and it's developed into an entire line of products.

The TLR-6 is a relatively new combination light/laser meant for smaller guns, and there are models to fit dozens of different handguns. Most of the various TLR-6 units clamp over trigger guards (since most carry guns don't have rails on the frame), but Streamlight does make rail-mounted versions of this product as well. (Ed. note: And even more recently, Streamlight introduced the TLR-7 and TLR-8 for guns with accessory rails.)

The TLR-6 features a polymer housing and is lighter than it looks. With the two provided CR-1/3N lithium batteries, the unit weighs only 1.2 ounces. This light weight is important, especially for those units that clamp around trigger guards. With every shot, recoil forces work on separating the pistol from anything attached to it. The lighter the light/laser, the less force gets applied to it under recoil.

As a unit meant for subcompact pistols, the TLR-6 is relatively small. It is 0.6 inch wide and 1.6 inches tall. The unit body itself is just over two inches long, but some versions of the TLR-6 designed to fit different pistols (such as 1911s without a rail) have a longer polymer housing that clamps over the bottom of the trigger guard.

The activation switch is a round button on either side of the unit body. Because of where it is positioned in relation to the firearm—and depending on how small the gun is or how long your fingers are—you might not be able to work the switch with the tip of your trigger finger. I got two samples of the TLR-6 to test, one that fits 1911s without a rail and one that fits the S&W M&P Shield. I couldn't reach the button of the TLR-6 installed on the 1911 with my trigger finger, but I could on the one installed on the Shield.

There aren't many steps in the installation process, but doing them in the correct order will make attaching the unit to your handgun's trigger guard a lot easier. In other words, don't toss the instructions as soon as you open the package.

I review lights and lasers a lot, and these products are getting so advanced Streamlight doesn't even like using the term "flashlight." The light in the TLR-6 is referred to as the "LED illuminator." It provides 100 lumens. The flashlight beam has a reflector designed to work well at point-blank range or at distance.

For close-range work, the beam the TLR-6 throws is really wide. At a distance of six feet the beam is roughly six feet wide and is dimmer at the edges. The center of the beam is much brighter, which is helpful for identifying threats at distance. At six feet the bright center circle is about a foot wide; at a distance of seven yards, the bright center is about three feet wide, and the entirety of the light circle is more than 15 feet wide.

The laser positioned below the light is a 640- to 660-nanometer red laser. At seven yards the red dot is a quarter-inch wide but looks bigger. Like all modern red lasers, it is more than bright enough to see indoors or outside at dusk or in darkness, but it's tough to pick up outside on bright or sunny days.

You have your choice of using either the flashlight or the laser or both. I love the simplicity of the controls. Push a button (either side) to turn the unit on. If you want to change modes, press both buttons at the same time and the unit will cycle through your options—light only, light and laser, or laser only. To go into momentary activation mode, press and hold either the on or the off button.

The interesting thing to me is the listed battery run time. Using the flashlight only, the battery will last an advertised one hour. Running both light and laser, the battery will last...one hour. Using just the laser, battery life is listed at 11 hours. This tells me the laser barely draws any power compared to the flashlight.

I think a light on a handgun has far more utility than a laser, but never forget, if you're shining that light or laser (or both) at someone, you're pointing a loaded gun at them, too.

I understand more options are always better, but if you just want a laser for your handgun and really don't know if you'll ever use the light function, I think you'd be better off getting a dedicated laser-only unit because they're much smaller and don't affect holster fit, which is always an issue when you start clamping accessories to a handgun.

However, if you do like the light/laser idea and think the TLR-6 is the unit for you, Safariland and Comp-Tac are offering holsters to fit various pistols with the TLR-6 attached.

Streamlight makes its housings in a huge number of fitment variations, and it's extremely likely there's a TLR-6 to fit your gun. If not, or if you want to be able to move your TLR-6 from one gun to another, Streamlight also offers the TLR-6 Universal Kit, which includes one light/aser module and six housings for use with 18+ subcompact handgun models.

The TLR-6 Universal Kit has a suggested retail of $210, whereas individual TLR-6 units have a suggested retail of $175. A quick Internet search turned up street prices for various TLR-6s to be in the neighborhood of $100.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot

KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot

If you're in the market for a 17-round, compact .22LR pistol that's feature packed, then the P17 is definitely an option for you. At less than 14 ounces fully loaded, and barely longer than a dollar bill, the P17 is concealable for pretty much anyone. The threaded barrel, Picatinny-style accessory rail, ambidextrous safety, ambidextrous magazine release and three (3) 16rd magazines come standard. That's a lot of value added in such a small package.

Taurus G3c

Taurus G3c

Taurus introduces the compact version of their wildly successful 9mm pistol; the G3.

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these two models – the KelTec PF9 9mm and the Ruger LCP II .22LR – are no exceptions. They are effective for personal protection but only if you put in the time to practice.

Dan Wesson Kodiak 1911 10mm

Dan Wesson Kodiak 1911 10mm

The Kodiak is a long slide 1911-style semi-auto complete with 6-inch bull barrels and chambered in 10mm.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all others will be judged.SIG P365 Review Compact

SIG P365 Review

James Tarr - October 31, 2018

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all...

The number of accessories and aftermarket upgrades for the SIG P320 is only going to increase.SIG P320 Accessories and Upgrades Accessories

SIG P320 Accessories and Upgrades

James Tarr - December 14, 2017

The number of accessories and aftermarket upgrades for the SIG P320 is only going to increase.

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit againstJudge Postpones Oral Arguments to Stop California Microstamping Law 2nd Amendment

Judge Postpones Oral Arguments to Stop California Microstamping Law

Handguns Online Staff - May 07, 2014

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit...

With the introduction of the XD-M Elite line of pistols, Springfield Armory one-ups itself.Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Precision Review Reviews

Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Precision Review

James Tarr - August 21, 2020

With the introduction of the XD-M Elite line of pistols, Springfield Armory one-ups itself.

See More Trending Articles

More Accessories

The best gifts for this holiday season from Handguns Magazine.Holiday Gift Guide (2019) Accessories

Holiday Gift Guide (2019)

J. Scott Rupp - November 15, 2019

The best gifts for this holiday season from Handguns Magazine.

Check out these great gift options for Dad on Father's Day!2019 Handguns Father's Day Gift Guide Accessories

2019 Handguns Father's Day Gift Guide

Handguns Digital Staff - May 07, 2019

Check out these great gift options for Dad on Father's Day!

Last year Brownells began offering Brownells-branded Glock-pattern slides and barrels, and currently it has two Brownells-exclusive Polymer80 frame models to complete your build.Brownells Polymer80 Kit for Glock Pistol Builds Accessories

Brownells Polymer80 Kit for Glock Pistol Builds

James Tarr - June 18, 2020

Last year Brownells began offering Brownells-branded Glock-pattern slides and barrels, and...

The new Streamlight TLR-8 G is a rail-mounted green-laser/light version of the popular compact TLR-8 red-laser/light.Streamlight TLR-8 G Laser Sight Review Sights

Streamlight TLR-8 G Laser Sight Review

James Tarr - July 24, 2019

The new Streamlight TLR-8 G is a rail-mounted green-laser/light version of the popular compact...

See More Accessories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Handguns App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now