Two very popular items in the shooting world currently are micro-compact pistols and tactical laser sight/light combos. However, combining both can be difficult depending on the gun make and model. There aren’t many laser sight/light combos that fit micro-compact firearms.
Micro-Compact Pistols Need Micro-Compact Accessories
The problem with micro-compact pistols is their size. They’re small. Well duh, right? So while some, such as the excellent Springfield Armory Hellcat, come equipped with a version of a Picatinny rail on the front of the frame, finding a laser/light combo to fit properly is challenging. The short frames don’t often provide enough rail room for the laser/light systems designed for full-sized handguns.
One example is the Crimson Trace CMR-207G Railmaster combination laser/light. Because it’s relatively compact and set up for universal fit on firearms equipped with a Picatinny rail, I decided to try to fit the Railmaster to the Hellcat. But the Hellcat has only one rail slot, located near the front end of the frame. There was simply no way to attach the CMR-207G to it. I turned to Streamlight for a light/laser combo that would work with a micro-compact.
A Laser/Light Combo Designed for the Hellcat … And More
Even if the Crimson Trace Unit had fit, it is fairly large in comparison to the Hellcat. Weighing 3.5 ounces, it would have changed the Hellcat’s balance and made it more muzzle-heavy. Adding more weight reduces one of the advantages of using that handgun for everyday carry (EDC). Streamlight created the new TLR-6 to resolve the micro-compact and laser/light issue.
The TLR-6 was not only available for the Hellcat on Streamlight’s website, but also for a long list of small and large handguns with or without rails. Models are available with a red-laser/light combo or as the light only.
TLR-6 Specifications and Features
The TLR-6 is lightweight and blends almost seamlessly into the Hellcat. Powered by two CR-1/3N lithium coin batteries, an all-polymer case contains the module. It holds the 100-lumen LED light and the red aiming laser as a single unit weighing only 1.27 ounces … with batteries installed! The batteries are loaded at the bottom through a trapdoor, even while the light is mounted on the weapon. Once the batteries are in position, the trapdoor clicks easily and solidly back into place.
The TLR-6 does not use a traditional clamping mechanism. To install it, remove three screws from the left side of the TLR-6 and separate the light into two halves. Be careful when you separate the halves as there is nothing holding the module in place once the screws are removed.
Once separated, push the halves with the module in place together around the rail and the triggerguard. Then gently push until the halves meet. Screw the three Allen screws back in place but don’t overtighten them.
Operating the Streamlight Laser/Light Combo
The TLR-6 has a large pushbutton switch located on each side of the light. There is no master off/on control. The switches can easily be set for constant on/off or momentary on/off, as well as laser only, laser off or both laser/light. The pushbuttons are set flush in the light, and there’s no chance of being accidentally activated. I set mine for constant on/off and both laser/light.
Once the setup was complete, I sighted the laser dot in at 20 feet, using the easily distinguished windage and elevation ports. I adjusted the laser dot so that it was positioned just slightly above the aligned front sight.
The TLR-6 is so lightweight it does not affect the balance of the Hellcat, which is a remarkable achievement. However, that achievement didn’t come without certain compromises. First, the lumen output had to be attenuated so that smaller batteries could be used. Output was reduced to 100 lumens. Though that doesn’t sound like much, it easily lights up my totally darkened basement to reveal anyone or anything hiding inside. The other compromise is the small batteries themselves. Total run time is one hour. And there is a 10-minute automatic shutoff in any of the modes selected.
Currently, there are 21 different models of the TLR-6 available for numerous firearms. If weight savings is a critical issue for you, look no further than the TLR-6. I found the TLR-6 for sale on Optics Planet for $104.79; a remarkably low price for a product with Streamlight’s quality. Look to SwapRig for holsters that fit the Hellcat with or without the TLR-6 attached.