[How-To] AR-15 Lights & Lasers Mounting + Cable Management

Chances are, when you start adding highspeed gadgets to the front end of your gun, things can get a little… unruly.

*internal screaming*

Need a quick reference guide for a few different ways to route cables for your lights and lasers?

Follow along below as we show off several different solutions to keeping your accessory leads tidy and out of the way!

11. Steiner DBAL with Unity TAPS
This one sparks joy.

Or take a look at our totally awesome video on it, and if you like that kind of thing — subscribe to the Pew Pew Tactical YouTube Channel!

Table of Contents


Night Vision And You

One of the projects we’ve been working on recently is getting into the night vision game, and one of the fun parts of shooting in the dark is the fact that… the money pit doesn’t end there.

To truly take advantage of a night vision setup, you’re also going to need an IR laser and an IR illuminator for target acquisition and positive target identification, respectively.

Alternatively, just skip the entire shooting part altogether and focus on NIGHTBIKING.

Current Night Vision Setup

On this particular setup, we opted to go with Steiner’s DBAL-A3, which offers both a visible laser, an IR laser, and IR illumination to boot.

Pretty much everything you’d want for laser-blasting in one relatively small package.

5. Steiner DBAL A3 with Surefire Scout
Steiner DBAL A3 with Surefire Scout

However, figuring out a system that allows you to have access to all of the features that the DBAL offers while still keeping the front end of your gun relatively clean is where things start to get tricky.

In our case, we chose a Unity Tactical / TNVC TAPS Sync, Unity Tactical Hot Button, and Surefire Scout light to tie the entire system together, and it’s working out pretty well!

at EuroOptic

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The TAPS Sync gives you two pressure pads, and although it comes with a picatinny mount, can be mounted directly to an MLOK interface as well.

13. Unity TAPS Sync MLOK Mount 2
Unity TAPS Sync MLOK Mount

We’ve got the forward most pressure pad tied into the DBAL’s visible laser, with the rear pad activating both the Surefire Scout and the visible laser simultaneously.

11. Steiner DBAL with Unity TAPS
The entire setup with everything routed.

I’ve also got the Unity Hot Button set up to control the IR laser and illumination controls, and it’s sitting at an ~11 o’clock position on my rail for easy access.

10. Unity Tactical Hot Button MLOK
Unity Tactical Hot Button

Considering the fact that the leads here are quite long, we’ve got a good amount of cable to lock down and secure.

I essentially started by routing the excess Hot Button cable around the unit itself, anchoring the lead at both the front and rear with zip ties to ensure that it’s not flopping around.

Like so.

I made sure I had enough slack to reach the DBAL’s connector ports and then tucked the excess underneath the DBAL itself.

There’s just enough excess leading into the unit so as to ensure that the system isn’t straining against itself.

From there, I let the TAPS lead cables to wrap around the pressure pad unit itself, towards the muzzle.

You might need to play around with it a bit, but this is what I found worked out pretty well for me.

Adding a few anchor points to make sure those cables can’t flop around, I then tucked them underneath the small ledge of overhang that the pressure pad itself provides.

With some initial points anchored, I returned to the rear of the pressure pad, which for whatever reason doesn’t like to sync up QUITE well enough with my STNGR handguard so as to affirmatively grab the rear portion super securely.

Zip tie time!

It also secures the cables to the rear as well.

With everything in place, I repeated the same process of running the remaining excess underneath the DBAL before snaking out just enough to make the final connection to the laser port and the Surefire itself.

Gotta trim those ties too, obviously.

I’ll note here that this is just an initial run at a sensible setup – as I start putting the entire thing through its paces, it’s entirely possible that I might want to revisit the methods and revise them as is fit.

But for right now, it feels okay!


You’re also going to want to rotate the ‘heads’ of the zip ties to the inside of your rail once you’ve got them trimmed, as they can be quite sharp.

Other Setups

The setup below features an Olight Odin with a Picatinny pressure pad mounted directly to the top rail and secured with a zip tie.

at Olight

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing


You can also use a spare bit of bicycle tubing to secure any loose connectors you don’t want to be exposed!

We’ve got a surefire dual pressure pad controlling a Streamlight RM-2 on another upper that sits awaiting its own LAM unit using a Midwest Industries mount, and in the meantime, the bike tubing keeps the spare connector protected from the elements.

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing


Of course, you can also bypass the entire process entirely if you grab something like Cloud Defensive’s OWL!

The light features a pressure pad integrated directly into the rail mount, meaning you’ve got zero exposed wires whatsoever.

It’s pretty damn chungus, though.


Hopefully, you now have a thorough understanding of how to route and use zip ties 😉

How do you set your rifle up? Got any hot zip tie tricks? Let us know in the comments! If you’re ready to give your rifle the ultimate make-over, check out the PPT guide on How To Paint Your AR-15! Don’t have a light yet…check out Best AR-15 Lights.

Tested AR-15 Flashlights
Tested AR-15 Flashlights

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6 Leave a Reply

  • Steve

    How about a discussion on more affordable night vision options if there is such a thing. Thanks

    1 month ago
  • Dan Rosenau

    Hey bud, as a Union Wireman, I can tell you that if you use some pliers and clamp next to the zip-tie ratchetlock, you can then rotate while holding the tail with your pliers. Apply light pressure pulling away and boom, sharp part is gone. If that doesn't suit your fancy just use a razor and cut away the tail flush using firm, consistent, controlled pressure. Great video, you are far and away my favorite gunland presenter. I check in every day to see if you've made new content and I hope you find continued success.

    1 month ago
    • David, PPT Editor

      Nice tips! Thanks much for the support!

      1 month ago
  • Dexter winslett

    Policed 25 years with my light in my weak hand, would not change now.

    1 month ago

    I literally just finished setting up my flashlight a few days ago. You guys are too late.

    1 month ago
    • David, PPT Editor


      1 month ago
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