The first combat shotgun with a mounted light that I encountered was the futuristic-looking High Standard Model 10 (HS10). It was produced from 1967 to 1977. I saw it in the armory of a neighboring police department around 1980, where it was sitting unused … apparently with good reason.
The HS10 was a semi-automatic bullpup design with a removable flashlight incorporated into the carry handle. I never saw one used in the field since the design was awkward and unreliable. As bad as the HS10 was, it brought to light an important need for a shotgun-wielding police officer: the ability to illuminate dangerous suspects without help from other officers.
In the Past…
When the first incandescent weapon lights appeared for use with handguns, they worked pretty well (though they would be dim by today’s standards). When these lights were affixed to shotguns, the results weren’t great. The incandescent filaments couldn’t stand up to the recoil and would fail after just a few shots.
Once LED weapon lights came of age, everything changed. It became possible to attach a lightweight and powerful light that could withstand recoil to pump or autoloading shotguns. But this was usually via remote switching pads and cords affixed to the light — less than desirable in genuine hard-use situations.
Streamlight TL-Racker Is the Future
Streamlight has solved all those previous issues with the new TL-Racker Weaponlight. This self-contained system replaces the existing pump forend on Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 and 590 shotguns and provides dominating tactical illumination.
The Streamlight TL-Racker forend houses an 850-lumen LED light with a 237-meter beam range, powered by two CR123 lithium batteries. The switch features momentary and constant off/on capability. The body of the TL-Racker is made of impact-resistant nylon, and the light has an IPX7 waterproof rating. The ambidextrous switching pads run most of the length of the TL-Racker and can be activated along multiple points, allowing it to accommodate various hand sizes.
Attaching the Streamlight TL-Racker
For my review, I requested the TL-Racker that fits the Mossberg shotguns since I had an older 590A1 Tactical on hand. The 590A1 Tactical features an M4-type adjustable buttstock and pistol grip.
Based on my experience with Remington 870s, I thought that mounting the TL-Racker would be a quick job. I had purchased a spanner tool in advance for stripping the magazine tube and thought I was ready. However, I ran into some additional issues due to the M4 stock blocking the trigger group. Since the Mossberg trigger group needs to be removed first to detach the forend, I found that I first had to disconnect the M4 stock, stock adaptor and pistol grip assembly. The process would have been less time-consuming if my 590A1 had a standard stock. The actual mounting of the TL-Racker went off without a hitch.
I was very pleased with the results. The TL-Racker is a great addition to the shotgun, making defending home and property in low-light situations much more effective. 850 lumens of lighting power attached to a 12-gauge makes for an overwhelming defense system.
The Streamlight TL-Racker is the best pump shotgun weapon light system I’ve ever worked with. It has all the lighting power I need. And this power comes without a troublesome power cord and remote switch. It functions smoothly once mounted and doesn’t interfere with pump operation. Its ambidextrous off/on switching system operates perfectly for right or left-handed shooters and accommodates people of different statures. I found it for sale online for about $118.
About Scott W. Wagner
After working undercover in narcotics and liquor investigations, Scott W. Wagner settled down to be a criminal justice professor and police academy commander. He was also a SWAT team member, sniper and assistant team leader before his current position as patrol sergeant with the Village of Baltimore, Ohio, Police Department. Scott is a police firearms instructor certified to train revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun.