“Hello there,” I uttered as we drifted into the Streamlight booth at SHOT 2020.
Unfortunately, no one replied, “General Kenobi!”
No one even really noticed me fawning over a few new lights, including the TLR 9, and the new low profile long gun lights the TLR RM 1 and RM 2. Fast forward to the summer of Corona and the 7th apocalypse, and we are seeing the release of the RM 1 and RM 2 long gun lights.
These lights were different from anything Streamlight has ever produced, and in many ways, they are quite unique in design and execution.
I’m a big fan of Streamlight’s and find their lights to be a great compromise of both quality and price. Read on to see if they deserve to be on your pistol and long gun.
Table of Contents
Meet the TLR RM 1 and RM 2
The TLR RM 1 and RM 2 (and the TLR 9) are all derived from the TLR 7, which is a compact weapon light released just a few years ago. It’s easily one of my favorites for Glock 19ish sized guns.
These new lights use a head similar to the TLR 7, and the RM 1 looks nearly identical to the TLR’s head.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
Not everything needs to be a Modlite or an OWL (although both are outstanding lights).
Streamlights are still duty capable and plenty durable.
The RM 1 and RM 2 and their sleek low profile design and more than reasonable price point put them high on my list.
Streamlight graciously sent me both, and I’ve been making the rounds with them. The TLR RM 1 and RM 2 are somewhat identical, at least in general, shape, and operation. The big difference is the overall size and power.
The RM 1 is the little guy. He’s compact, stout, and offers you 500 lumens with 5,000 candela. It runs off of a single CR123 battery. It’s 3.2 inches long and weighs only 2.74 ounces.
On the other hand, the RM 2 is the big guy, and he gives you 1,000 lumens and 10,000 candela. The TLR RM 2 feeds from two CR123 batteries. The light is 4.55 inches long and oddly enough 4.55 ounces.
That kind of symmetry pleases me.
Both lights function for 1.5 hours and are generally a bit different than most of Streamlight’s WML line. Streamlight is quite traditional with their light designs–typically round and bulbous in nature. The RM series is quite a bit different.
They use a ramp style body that is reminiscent of Inforce rifle lights. The ramp style design keeps the lights closer to the gun and is low profile. At the back of the body and bottom of the ramp, you have a larger rubberized button that’s easy to access.
Below that button is a remote switch port, and with the complete package, both lights include a pressure switch.
Who Is It For?
The TLR RM 1 and RM 2 are perfect for home defense.
They are small, lightweight, and easily attached to AR-style rifles, as well as PCCs, and shotguns. The small design makes it perfect for keeping your gun nice and light.
The ergonomic design allows for it to be a natural fit on any weapon. I’ve become partial to attaching it to small PCC like pistols like the CZ Scorpion. The reason being is that a lot of rifle lights are rather large for the small weapon, and a lot of pistol lights don’t offer ergonomics I want on a sub-gun.
I’ve also been keeping the TLR RM 2, and its 1,000 lumens of power of my home defense shotgun. It’s also a perfect pair, which ties back to the means and design of the light itself. The design is perfect inside of tight buildings and delivers an excellent vision filling performance.
We’ll talk a bit more about performance in the next section as well.
The TLR RM 1 and RM 2 are also relatively affordable optics, especially when you consider how new they are. They are priced a bit more than the ProTac series, but still well below the most affordable Surefire lights.
These lights are derived from a pistol light.
They won’t offer the same power and performance as a Surefire Scout or the aforementioned Modlite. Those lights do offer more range, and if you are mounting a light to a carbine you want to use outdoors, then those are going to be a better option.
Check out our Favorite AR-15 Lights.
The TLR RM 1 and its 500 lumens and 5,000 candela most certainly make it a better indoor light than out. The RM 1 has a very limited throw compared to regular long gun lights, and it does have a good wide beam with lots of spill. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, as long as it’s paired with the proper gun and for the right task.
The TLR RM1 is an inside-the-house light It’s small and light size honestly makes it well suited for big guns that are still smaller than most. It lights up the entirety of the largest room in my house and delivers me peripheral light, too.
If you wanna go a little bigger, the TLR RM 2 packs double the punch at double of the RM 1 with 1,000 lumens and 10,000 candela. The compact head sign does limit throw a bit, but it’s still a light that can transition from inside to home to outside of it.
That being said, the light is still limited in its throw, and when it comes to outdoor use, the light is going to be more challenged for range and overcoming photogenic barriers. It packs enough range to cover my big backyard from one side to another, though.
As far as outdoor use goes, the TLR RM 2 is perfectly suitable for that task. With that said, I’d want a light with more throw if I was a police officer working in an urban environment with random bits of ambient light, or if I was patrolling through the fields of Helmand again.
Inside the home, the light is still quite bright with a wide spill to cover all 180 degrees of your peripheral vision. It’s bright enough to be blinding and to cast a punishing beam of light to positively identify any kind of threat.
I took both lights out into the field (the field being my backyard, which to be fair, is very large) and tried a few tests out. First, I wanted to do a photogenic barrier test. I used an Ivan target with an ASP Tungsten flashlight that shines at 475 lumens.
Here is the Before Photo and what my camera and I saw.
Keep in mind cameras don’t do a great job with lights at night, at least not the basic Canon I use. The 475 lumen light is creating a photogenic barrier and preventing me from seeing who is shining it.
The TLR RM 1 was actually able to overcome the 475 lumens easily and light the target up. The 1,000 lumens the TLR RM 2 defeated the barrier so flippin’ easily. It lit that poor target up.
Next, I went to my home range, and I had a shape target setup. I started 50 yards with both lights. Here both lights made identifying the shapes on the target easily enough.
Going out to 100 yards changed things quite a bit. The little TLR RM 1 tried its might, and I could see the big white target, but no shapes. With the TLR RM 2, I could see the dark-colored square on the target.
If you look closely at these pictures, you can see it as well. Both Streamlights do very well for their size and cast a lot of light for such a small package.
Ergonomically both lights are identical outside of their weight and length. The lights come with Streamlight’s rail key kit to fit various rails regardless of their spec, but the 1913 model seems to fit everything on long guns.
One of the benefits of the small light, and its unique design is the fact you can place it anywhere on a gun, and it seems to fit naturally. You can position the light at various angles from traditional side mounts to bottom mounts and even a 12 o’clock position if you’d so choose.
Once positioned, the big button on the back end is plenty easy to reach and activate, regardless of the angle in which the device is positioned. This allows for a dynamic range of mounting solutions that might be required for odd guns.
The button is raised a bit more than similar Inforce designs to accommodate a pressure switch port. I think it’s a worthy addition and feel the pressure switch adds more ergonomic options and even a secondary point for light activation for weird positional shooting.
The button itself is textured and rubberized and is easy to feel, and you’ll know where it is purely based on its tactile nature. A slight press turns it on, and if the button is held down for more than 1 second, the light goes in its momentary mode. A press and release leave the light in constant mode.
If you choose to enable the strobe mode, you can turn the strobe on with a double-tap of the switch within ¼ second of each other. To turn the strobe mode on, you have to press the rear button nine times and then hold it on the 10th press until the light shuts off. Now you have the strobe programmed.
The strobe is disabled in the same way it’s activated.
The constant and momentary controls are mimicked over to the pressure switch, and the pressure switch is massive. It’s very easy to engage and equipped with some 3M adhesive pads to attach to most guns. There are also rail attachments included.
The pressure switch attaches to the light at 90 degrees, and this allows you to have a lot of freedom in positioning the pad.
If you want to keep your gun slim, then these lights are likely one of the best ways to do so. If you want to mount your like in an unconventional manner, well, here you go. If you want a small and lightweight light with long gun ergonomics, then here you go once more.
I’ve mentioned the Inforce lights a few times, and you can most certainly see the influence involved in the TLR RM’s construction. The Inforce lights were met with a bit of issue regarding durability due to the polymer frames.
The good news is that the Streamlight’s are made mostly of metal.
Specifically, these lights are made from 6000 series machine aircraft-grade aluminum. The finish is a type 2 anodization for incredible durability. I’ve had a TLR 1 for years now, and the finish is still crazy good.
The switch cap is made from a hi-impact polymer that is chemical and heat resistant. This small portion is placed well away from the stress zones of the light. The lens is called Borofloat glass, and it’s a high impact, high temperature rated, shock-mounted AR coated lens.
I wear my sunglasses at night….
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
They defy tradition and are an excellent choice for small weapons or weapons in which you want an unconventional mounting option.
They aren’t for everyone, but they do fill a niche that’s wide open on the market.
What do you guys think? Like it? Love It? Hate it? Let us know in the comments! You might also like our list of the best Shotgun Lights for Home Defense, too!