Almost every single day I am asked questions related to either gun ownership or the 2nd amendment. As so many have recently become new firearms owners the questions have started to shift from what type of gun should I buy to what do I do now? MAny of the recent questions have been based around the “what should I buy now”. As an avid supporter of the EDC movement and a long time shooter the answer I usually give is a weapon light.
The technology behind small lights and weapon lights specifically has changed so drastically over the last 20 years. The invention of LED and 123 batteries have changed the landscape drastically. At the leading edge of these changes is companies like Streamlight and Inforce who have made small, long lasting highly efficient lights that can stand up to the beating thrown at them by military users, police and every day citizens.
Inforce has been kind enough to let us test both the WML (White Multifunction Light) and the APL (Auto Pistol Light). Today we will focus only on the APL. If you do not know about Inforce they are an American based company out of Rhode Island that makes American products that qualify as American Made under the Buy American Act. Inforce is a part of Emissive Energy Corp an American ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturer that designs, engineers and produces optoelectronic systems for Military, Law Enforcement and Federal agencies. For 22 years they have turned electrical energy into light for Military, Police and Civilian users.
Inforce boasts the following specs for this rugged little light.
- 200 Lumens
- 1.5 Hour Runtime
- Ambidextrous On/off switch operated with either hand
- Constant on and momentary flash options
- No tool needed assembly
- Length: 3 in. / 7.619 cm.
- Width: 1.2 in. / 3.048 cm.
- Weight: 2.83 oz. / 80.229 g.
- Batteries: 1 x 123A Lithium
- Fiber Composite Body
- Hight Impact Glass Window
- Precision Optics
- Product ships with (2) rail mounting bars for Universal and MIL-STD-1913 rails
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
Retail at Brownells and Midway for $149.
The box that I received was a very plain white box with a simple description of the product and computer generated image, this is a very no frills delivery and the way I like it. I am not sure if this will very if you purchase the product from a retail location. Upon opening the box I found a well packaged light, an extra rail attachment 2 screws and an allen wrench. These additional items are only needed if you have a Milspec 1913 rail system that is wider then they standard Picatinny system most guns use. Though not very common it is a nice touch to send this to you from the start.
The actual attachment of the light to the gun requires no tools at all. This is a god send for those of us who loose those little allen wrenches or forget where we put them after setting up our gun the first time. Simply flip up the side lever and then slide the light onto your rail system. When it is firmly in place flip the lever back down to lock it into position.
Once the gun is attached you will immediately notice the work and effort put into this light. It is so easy to activate and use. Inforce uses what they call “Bilateral Paddle Switching”. This allows you to activate the light using a paddle switch that is located on either side of the trigger bar. This is a fully ambidextrous solution that allows for different activation techniques as well as both right and left hand shooters. Pushing the paddle on either side will activate or deactivate the light. Pushing the switch and holding it will allow for on-demand lighting that turns off as soon as you remove pressure. Nothing here is complicated, no push one side to activate and another to deactivate that requires you to train, no complicated clicking options this is as simple as it gets and I like that.
You can either activate the paddle switch using your primary trigger finger or the thumb of your off hand. This is a nice touch and allows for multiple methods of deployment in the on=-demand scenario. I prefer to use my thumb due to my larger hands giving me the ability to only have light on-demand and not a constant light source that will give away my position. Other lights may have similar types of switches but none offer such a large easy to use toggle as offered by Inforce this is a huge plus in my book.
Because Inforce is a primarily military based supplier this light was built to have a security feature to prevent accidental light discharge. If you rotate the head of the light 1/4 of a turn the light is disabled and the switch will no longer turn on. While I understand the need for this functionality I cannot stress enough the importance of not using this function in a home environment. There is few things that suck as much as needing a light in a home invasion situation and being unable to activate it. This lockout is a great feature for those trained to use it but in most cases I can see this causing more harm then good to a home user. The good news is if you don’t mess with it the feature wont hurt you so just leave it alone. Note that when I first got my light this feature was activated. So before you call Inforce to complain your new light does not work make sure the light head is tight.
The light emitted is rated at 200 Lumens of white light with a tight beam for close- to mid-range applications and balanced peripheral light for discernment of the surrounding area. In our testing there is no doubt this is a very bright light. It will work to blind an attacker as a less lethal alternative using the On-Demand light option. We tested in completely dark conditions and the concentrated path with peripheral lighting was enough to clear a room. Low light conditions we find to be the biggest test for lower powered weapon lights and in this regard the Inforce light also excelled. Even in a complexly day-lit room it was easy to see the spot light. When taking it to the range and turning off the range lights it was easy to acquire our targets even out at 25ft. There is no doubt that in the close quarters that are inevitable in a home defense situation this light will perform to your required standards.
We do not have a subcompact with rails but on both the Glock 19 and the Sign 1911 the additional weight of the light was almost unnoticed. It will add 2.83 ounces to the front of your pistol but in all but the smallest and lightest guns there is almost no noticeable change. Accuracy and follow up shots have not been affected at all. Though we do not have a holster designed to fit this light most major holster suppliers do offer the Inforce APL as a common accessory. One complaint I have read is that on holstering the gun people will sometimes trigger the toggle and activate the light. This can be overcome in training but is something to be aware of. Further web chatter has indicated that due to the size and dimensions of the APL it is a far better choice then the TLR1 series of lights.
Though not listed on the website or in any of the product materials we have been told that the APL is both water resistant and water proof. Though they don’t recommend it as a dive light. We have tested the light by leaving it in a bucket of water for an hour. When removed it and it worked just fine. We did not pressure test it or expose it to salt water for long periods of time but in normal rain or wet situations you can expect the light to function as intended.
In our shooting tests we fired over 100 rounds with no issue. The light did not come undone, rattle, or fail in anyway. It did get a bit dirty based on the low quality ammo I have been forced to test with due to the ammo shortage, but a simple wipe of the lens had it back to new in no time. This is a quality product made to support our men and women in the armed services and the men and women in blue so no surprise that it is made to take a beating.
In summary the Inforce APL 200 is a sturdy lightweight long lasting weapon light that does not disappoint. It is a no frills easy to attach, detach, deploy and use light that is simple enough for users in high stress situations that will not fail. If you are looking for a light to add to your home defense gun there is no doubt that the Inforce APL will get the job done. Over the years of testing various weapon lights I have to say the bilateral and ambidextrous paddle switching system is one of the best. I am not a fan of pressure switches that activate every time you grab the handle or lights that require multiple clicks to activate. The switch is silent and easy to use and that is a huge advantage in a home defense situation. For the price you can not go wrong with this light and it will last you for years to come.
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We have assembled a collection of photography from Pinterest that may be of interest to you. It highlights how the APL looks on various guns. We claim no right to these images and are displaying them for informational purposes only. Please contact us if you own rights to these images and would like them removed.