This article originally appeared on BlackSheepWarrior.com
and the guys over there were cool enough to let us share it.
For about a year, my main rifle mounted weapon light was a Streamlight TLR-1 (See our review here). The TLR-1 provided a blinding 135 lumens of light but was only capable of infrared radiation (IR) output with the installation of an IR filter (IR Filters don’t work well with LEDs in general). After experiencing poor IR performance with the TLR-1/ IR filter combo, I turned to the molle mountable Streamlight Sidewinder. The Streamlight Sidewinder has a dedicated, non filtered IR LED output mode but it is not weapon mountable. The set up worked but it wasn’t optimal, and I began looking for another option.
After reviewing my options, I settled on the SUREFIRE M952V Millennium Universal Weapon Light. The M952V is a dual output white light/IR LED with a proprietary integral Swing-Lever rail clamp. The M952V boast two LEDs of which one is a dedicated, unfiltered IR LED (KM3 Bezel). The particular M952V-TN that I have is not the most up to date version that SUREFIRE offers.
The white light LED is around 100 lumens and has a distinctly blue hue to it. Whereas the newest version on SURFIRE‘s product page is approximately 150 lumens (Unknown if the light still has blue coloration). The IR LED on the other hand is quite strong and easily lights up a human sized target at 100 + yards. Switching between output modes is as easy as pushing the KM3 bezel forward and twisting. The M952V does give a slight auditory feedback when the KM3 bezel reseats itself; however, it is avoidable and you can feel it seat even when wearing gloves. In situations where absolute light discipline is required, the KM3 bezel can be placed in a neutral position which will ensure that neither white light or infrared radiation will be emitted.
Activation of the weapon light is accomplished by depressing either the provided tape switch or manipulating the tail cap button. The tape switch provides momentary on while the tail cap has the capability of constant on mode. The tape switch is removable as well.
Attaching the light to the weapon system is stupid easy! SUREFIRE‘s M93 Swing-Lever mount doesn’t require any tools to adjust the tolerance and will not damage your weapon rails.
One thing you might want to consider when mounting the light on a weapon is the direction that the M93 lever is pointing when seated. I always mount my lights on the right hand side of my weapon; when the light arrived it was set up in a way that the M93 lever faced forward when seated. This set up offers the potential for any manner of foreign objects such as slings, brush you name it, to hook on the lever and detach the light platform. My remedy for this problem was to unscrew the M93 mount and re-attach it so the lever faced towards the rear of the weapon (Be sure to use thread lock).
If you plan on mounting the SUREFIRE M952V on a sub-machine gun, such as the H&K Universal Machine Pistol (UMP) or short barreled rifle (SBR), then take into account the fact that side folding stocks may not give you enough room to deploy a tape switch. This problem can be avoided by simply removing the tape switch and relying on the push button tail cap.’
Battery life is good with around 2 hours of run time on two (2) 123 batteries. I use the IR output mode intermittently so I do not know what the full run time is; however, it should be considerably longer than the white light output mode.
Most of us have been faced with changing batteries in total darkness, and those familiar with SUREFIRE’s products will find it quite easy. I personally found that the batteries can be changed very quickly by detaching the light and twisting the main body of the light while firmly gripping the tail cap assembly. The other option is to twist the tail cap while, being careful to ensure the tape switch cable does not bind.
The SUREFIRE M952V is not cheap! A new updated unit will set you back around $595.00 USD on SUREFIRE’s website. You can also check out ourLinks page and find a retailer that carries the full line of SUREFIRE products. Also, of note is the SUREFIRE M720V RAID WeaponLight which is a more compact version of the M952V (I have not personally used it yet). Battery Junction sells it for $560.00 USD.
When considering the price point of this product, remember the amount of R&D that goes into a light like the M952V. Other non U.S. made products may look alike but internally, the electronics are not the same. Its always nice to support U.S. jobs as well.
Bill Janson is a former Recon Marine and founder of Eleven 10, a Kydex and nylon gear manufacturer specializing in self-aid/buddy-aid products for law enforcement and military. www.1110gear.com – facebook.com/1110gear