In this Streamlight TLR 7A review guide, let's take a look at this compact light I've personally carried and often utilized during low-light training sessions.
The TLR 7A Flex version is undoubtedly an improvement with upgraded control ergonomics, making it easier to activate the light.
Here are the aspects I appreciated and found lacking, which should assist you in making an informed purchasing decision:
|Max Output — White Light
|500 Lumens / 5000 Candela
What's Included In The Packaging
The Streamlight TLR 7A Flex comes in a standard Streamlight packaging that includes:
- Streamlight TLR 7A Flex
- 1 CR123A battery
- Streamlight sticker
- Mini Streamlight catalog
- Allen wrench
- Retainer clip remover
- Low & high control switch
What Is This Light Best Used For
The idea here is that if you're in the dark, so is a potential threat. However, a criminal in the dark may see you, and they just need to identify an opportunity. In contrast, a defender needs to see clearly to make informed decisions.
Since the original light suffered from an inferior switch design which made it difficult for most shooters to activate the light. The TLR 7A's upgrade toggle switch has made it very popular for Glock 19, Smith Wesson M&P compact, HK VP9, and many more.
TLR 7A Flex Core Features
Improved Control Switch
Streamlight has upgraded the light with the new HIGH and LOW switch options, which come standard with the TLR-7A Flex, making it one of the easiest pistol lights to activate while shooting one-handed and without breaking a two-handed grip.
Either you wear gloves or not, the light is easy to turn on and off. The same goes for during the winter time when your hands are freezing cold.
Based on testing, the high switch is our favorite as it sits higher for better finger reach & feels more tactile.
One thing Streamlight can make the switch better in a future product release would be to extend the paddle switch a bit out to increase the surface area for better contact.
Modes Of Operation
The TLR 7A is a very effective compact light with easy ambidextrous activation.
- Single click - Constant on
- Press & Hold - Momentary
- Double press - Strobe
Note: TLR 7A all feature strobe mode via Streamlight's TEN TAPS procedure.
To activate strobe mode: Press one of the toggle switches 9 times, hold on the 10th press until the light flashes then off.
To return to normal mode: Repeat the TEN TAPS programming procedure
When the strobe mode is activated, you can still operate constant on and momentary modes as normal.
Size & Weight
The TLR 7A Flex is the same size as the TLR 7 as far as the overall size profile. With the interchangeable control module, the TLR 7A Flex stretches slightly longer so the user can reach the control toggle switches much easier with index fingers.
The light only weighs about 2.4 oz with a battery installed, and it's so light that it's almost unnoticeable, which makes carrying it hassle-free.
Overall it looks great and feels great for mounting on any compact size pistols.
The NEW Streamlight TLR 7 Sub review on our site if this catches your eye. This light is a smaller version that fits sub compact handgun frames.
Or check out our TLR 7 Sub VS TLR 7A to see more side by side comparison.
Lumen & Candela
The TLR 7A Flex can output up to 500 lumens & 5000 candela on a fully charged CR123A battery, and it's best used for illuminating targets of interest in low light up to 7-40 yards with maximum light beam brightness & hot spot.
The 500 lumens can lit up things nearby, but at a distance of up to 70 yards max the user wouldn't be able to clearly see besides the dimmed silhouette.
However, under ambient lights or fog, the most effective light can reach roughly about 16 - 20 yards
For personal defense use, it's absolutely important to see clearly what the target is, and if it's a person you need to see what he/she is holding in their hands to make the best judgement.
Lumen intensity is important, but Candela is king when it comes to identifying targets at longer distances.
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Beam Pattern & Color Tint
The TLR 7A features a well-balanced beam with a focused hot spot and flood beam designed for close-range tasks within 30 yards. This allows you to blind a potential threat using the hot spot while illuminating your surroundings with the flood beam, enhancing situational awareness without directly aiming the light at the subject.
Additionally, the beam emits a warm tint, which provides more neutral and accurate color representation in low-light conditions. This is crucial for correctly identifying targets.
What you should avoid is a bluish-tinted light as it can distort color perception in low-light situations.
The light uses a single CR123A battery that lasts about 90 mins. Any CR123A batteries on the market will work.
To install the battery, the LED head has to be removed first, then insert the battery into the body.
What can be improved ? - As the weapon light technology advances for higher lumens & candela ratings, we are looking forward to seeing the Streamlight TLR 7 evolve into the use of a higher output rechargeable battery for higher lumen & candela output without increase in its overall size.
The LED lens bezel of the TLR7A has a safety mode that lets you turn off the light completely. This prevents accidental light activation when carrying it in a holster, where the toggle switch might bump into clothing or objects without your knowledge.
While we're still testing its practical use, our initial impression suggests that this feature might make users forget to turn it back on and surprise them in emergency situations. We strongly advise keeping the safety mode off at all times.
Mount & Rail Keys
The TLR 7A Flex includes different mounting keys that fit various handgun frames, including the Glock rail and Universal options.
You can securely tighten the screw mount using the back of a shell casing, a coin, or a flat-head screwdriver. It's recessed to maintain a flush profile on the side of the gun.
The TLR 7A consists of durable 6061 T6 aerospace aluminum. When used normally, the light has a long lifespan.
However, if you use the light for airsoft or simunition training, the lens may crack upon direct impact.
The lens bezel head contains built-in threads that attach to the light's body. If the lens breaks, you can replace the light head under Streamlight's Limited lifetime warranty.
It is IPX7 waterproof, allowing it to withstand water splashes for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter, though it's not suitable for complete water submersion.
- Reduced overall size profile for conceal carry & faster holstering
- Significantly improved control ergonomics
- Includes multiple mounting keys for different rail systems
- Super lightweight
- Optimized beam pattern for close-range application
- The lumen & candela intensity is great for close-range use but not for beyond 30 - 40 yards. For that, we need to a high candela light.
- Still uses CR123A battery
The Streamlight TLR 7A Flex outshines other compact pistol lights. It boasts improved controls and a sleek design that complements most compact pistols.
In low light, the TLR 7A effectively illuminates targets for personal defense and performs admirably during range drills. It's suitable for both compact and full-size handguns.
Priced under $140, it's the top choice for compact handgun lights.
Can the TLR 7A switch work on the original TLR 7?
The upgraded control module switch DOESN'T WORK with the older design because their circuit boards are different.