Let’s take a minute to talk about pistol lights. 

Having a light on your home defense or concealed carry pistol is a smart move. It is absolutely critical that you can see what(or who) you are pointing your gun at, and have positive identification before you shoot ( see rule #4 of gun safety: Be sure of your target and what is beyond it). So naturally, choosing a holster for your light bearing gun is also a smart move.

We get a lot of emails asking if we can make a holster for “B“ gun with “C” light, as we don’t offer many different lights as options for holsters. 

Well, there is a reason for that. Two main reasons actually. 

Firstly, the market is flooded with different light options and we simply will never be able to accommodate every possible light on every possible pistol. Each new light means new molds for each possible light/gun combo. And that is extremely expensive. Some holster makers who specialize in custom  one off holsters can do this. But they still need that specific gun and light on hand to do it. 

We have moved away from that style of manufacturing a long time ago for several reasons. Cost, quality of the holster and lead times. Full on custom holsters are simply too time consuming to make and really, the quality is not as good as with a cnc machined, vacuum formed holster(as we currently use). Not that the craftsmanship isn’t there in the finish, but the fit is never as precise.  

light bearing STI 2011 holster
Increase increased precision means an improved fit

Secondly, and more importantly,  we stick to proven, quality lights as options. In a free market, having options is a good thing. Usually. But sometimes, that can lead to too many shitty options that drown out the good ones. We find this to be the case with lights. There are dozens of options for different lights on the market. And many of them suck.

I’m looking at you inforce.  

We don’t want you to spend your hard earned money on a holster for a light, only to have the light crap out on you, forcing you to buy a holster for a different light later. We’d rather help advise on good light choices to start with. 

*note: light bearing holsters ARE specific to the light. 

We have tried many different lights over the years, as well as paid attention to others experiences with certain brands or models. Most have failed to meet expectations, but 2 specific models have stood out to us to be of good quality and stood the test of time. This is why they are supported much more strongly in our product lines. 

They are the Streamlight TLR-1 ( or TLR-1HL)

Streamlight TLR-1
Streamlight TLR-1

And the Surefire X300U. 

Surefire X300U-A
Surefire X300U-A

Now there is an obvious downside to both of these options which is size. They are not compact lights. For a compact light, the TLR-7 is a good option, but we still prefer the first 2 options. 

For a carry gun, we are advocates of carrying the biggest gun that you can comfortably carry and still conceal. Simply put, you are more likely to train with a gun that isn’t a pain in the ass to shoot. 

Both the TLR-1 and X300 have seen a lot of use in the gun world and by most accounts have stood the test of time for reliability and functionality. 

TLR-1(left) and X300U (right)
TLR-1(left) and X300U (right)

Personally, I’ve had better luck with the TLR-1. I’ve had the same one since 2012 and have only had to change the batteries, which still last reasonably well at 2.5 hours of regulated run time. Which for most people, is a really long time (Unless you are a super cool delta seal ninja,fighting crime by night, which I am not).

At 300 lumens it is bright enough to illuminate well inside most structures and splash back isn’t as blinding.  It’s also very reasonably priced at less than $200. 

The TLR-1HL version runs at 800 lumens with a 1.75 hour run time And costs just over $200. 

The Surefire X300U is pretty much the “go to” tactical pistol light. And for good reason. Surefire  lights have a good reputation for durability in general and this specific light is a great option for your pistol. At 1000 lumens it is much brighter but also has reduce runtime at 1.25 hours. With its extra brightness, you will want to be careful of where you shine it. 1000 lumens is not something you want to shine directly into a mirror and back into your own peepers. It is priced a little higher than the TLR-1 at around $250-300 but is still a good value, especially if you get the package with 12 batteries

One thing to pay attention to with the X300U is whether it is the  “rail lock” or “T-slot” version. Other wise known as the X300U-A or X300U-B. The X300U-A with the rail lock is best suit for polymer framed guns, while the X300U-B is better suited for metal framed guns or pic rails on an AR-15. Both options work in our holsters. 

The X300U is a tad longer
The X300U is a tad longer

Both lights are very similar in size and weight with the X300U being a bit longer. And both use 2 CR123A batteries, as well as operate very similarly. They are both versatile enough to use on an AR-15, especially when used with  a remote switch. But the Surefire is notably brighter

In outdoor areas, the X300U really shines...
In outdoor areas, the X300U really shines…
STI Staccato XC W/TLR-1 and holster
STI Staccato XC W/TLR-1 and holster

Now as I stated earlier, these are not compact lights. They are best suited for guns in the Glock 19 or larger size range. But that is the only real drawback of either of these options and why we choose to support these lights in our growing light bearing holster options. 

We hope this helps you make an enlightened choice for your pistol light. And yes, the pun is strongly intended. 

Stay safe and shoot straight.




  2. Jim says:

    Since you wrote this blog, the TLR-7 has evolved into a very competent and compact 500 lumen light. I have found it’s the sweet spot for me, I’d I’d bet it is the one model that your customers would most like to see you add. Respectfully requesting that you integrate it into your offerings.

  3. David Gill says:


    I am interested in an OWB holster.

    It will be for a Stacatto p with a Trijicon SRO and a TLR-1 HL light

    Can you provide a recommendation?

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