Finding a weapon light for your compact pistol has been a challenge for consumers that many companies have attempted to resolve with little success. Previous offerings always seem to sacrifice performance for size or vice versa. Some are exclusive to the gun they fit, forcing you to buy multiple lights for different guns.
With no viable options on the market, I chose not to carry a weapon light on my carry pistol for a long time. I’ve relied on a separate LED flashlight that sleeps next to my gun at night or in my pocket when I’m out. Having a light allows me to clearly identify any threats and surroundings. However, this setup isn’t ideal. It’s an extra step to take out my flashlight if I need to use it in self-defense. The biggest advantage of having a pistol light is being able to keep both hands on the pistol while illuminating the target.
Here are a few main points I’m looking for in a good pistol light:
- Reliability – it must work when you want it to work and not suffer from battery drain if left untouched for a prolonged period.
- Brightness – the light must have enough output to see everything in front of me clearly. Anything above 400 lumens is more than enough for close range/home invasion encounters.
- Controls – must be instinctual and intuitive. Every second counts and fondling for a button to push is the last thing I want to do.
Until recently, other pistol lights with high output cost well over $200. Olight just released the new compact PL-Mini2 Valkyrie that meets my requirements and costs only $89.95. The PL-Mini2 puts out an impressive 600 lumens and has a max. throw distance of 100 meters. It has a variety of unique features without sacrificing performance at a price point that fits in everyone’s budget. The coolest thing about the PL-Mini2 is the adjustable base that allows you to fit it to almost every pistol with a rail. It will fit on anything from a Springfield XDE to a Glock 17. A complete list of compatible firearms can be found on Olight’s website. They are truly taking weapon light innovation to a new level.
Beam Distance: 100 meters
Max. Performance: 600 Lumens
LED: Cree XP-L HD CW
Charge type: Magnetic USB charge base
Compatible Batteries: Integrated Customized Li-Ion Battery
Waterproof rating: IPX6
Weight: 2.57 oz.
Length: 2.07 in.
Head diameter: 1.26 in.
Body diameter: 1.28 in.
The PL-Mini2 comes in a neatly packed cardboard carton and is available in 2 different colors – black or desert tan. Inside you will find your flashlight, magnetic USB charging cable, 1913 rail mount, T6/T8 wrench, and the instruction manual.
Each time I’ve owned and handled an Olight product, my expectations have been blown away. I find the PL-Mini2 is no exception and is a quality product. The all-aluminum housing is perfectly machined with nice smoothed beveled edges. The anodizing job is done well, and the printed logos are clear and neat.
There are no rattles or shakes– the sliding base and quick release lever are as solid as they come. Looking into the lights head you notice the reflector and lens are both perfectly polished showing no scratches with a well-centered Cree XP-L emitter. Micro switch controls placed on the back of the light provide positive tactile feedback when manipulated and are streamlined with the body. The control switches are the only thing on this light that are not aluminum, but it doesn’t bother me. I assume they use plastic so they can seal the actual switches inside the body with a rubber seal. A metal switch could damage the rubber and jeopardize the water resistance. On the left side of the light is a rubber coated red LED low-battery indicator light.
Installing the PL-Mini2 couldn’t be easier with the quick-detach lever. It takes less than 5 seconds to mount on the rail, adjust the light to your trigger guard (if needed), and locks on solid. This is a much welcomed change over the screw on weapon lights. Olight also did a great job of making the lever low profile.
The PL-Mini2 fits a wide variety of full size and compact pistols.The PL-Mini2 fit on my Springfield XDS, Glock 19, and SIG P320-FS without issues. The standard Glock rail insert that comes pre-installed works fine on all my rails. If you find it loose, try the other 1913 rail mount. I put a total of 500 rounds down range between my 3 pistols and didn’t have any problems with the PL-Mini2. I did notice on the full size P320, the frame of the pistol blocked a small portion of light at the top of the beam.
The control switches are inline with the body and are activated by a downward press. I’ve had other lights with tilt style switches that activate when holstering, but these micro switches don’t suffer from that problem. I prefer the downward activation versus other lights that have side activation switches. With the side switches, there’s noticeable muzzle movement. The downward motion helps mitigate movement in the sight picture. To use the PL-Mini2, press and hold either switch down for momentary on. A quick press and release of the switch puts the light in continuous on mode. Press and release again to turn it off.
Both switches are naturally manipulated by your trigger finger or thumb. When the light is installed properly against the trigger guard, your trigger finger naturally meets the control switch for the light. With any new piece of equipment, you will have to train properly, but the PL-Mini2 to me almost requires no training since it’s so easy to operate. I have pressed the switches on both sides of the PL-Mini2 countless times without failure. It turned on every time I clicked the switch as expected.
The PL-Mini2 will give full output of 600 lumens for about 2-3 minutes before gradually dialing back the output to protect the unit from overheating while delivering longer run time. Olight specifies only 1 minute of full output, but it seems they often understate it’s performance and over deliver. If you’re unfamiliar with light output, 600 lumens is a lot. To give you a point of reference, your traditional D-Cell MAGLITE is only 168 lumens. Needless to say, when you’re on the receiving end, it’s blinding. I setup a target in the backyard at 70 feet and had no issues seeing exactly what it was or the surrounding area. It is more than enough light to illuminate any room in your house. I would say anything over 600 lumens is almost too bright for indoor use.
Having 2-3 minutes of max output I found to be more than sufficient. In most cases, I wouldn’t expect to have the light on for more than 1-2 minutes at a time. After a few minutes the light still puts out plenty of light to see whatever you need to identify. The light needs about five minutes to cool down before the max output can be achieved again. The LED color temperature is cool-white; similar to the color found on most of your commercial LED flashlights. The beam profile has a small hotspot, a medium corona and large spill. This allows the light to cover a relatively large area while maintaining bright focus in the center.
From a full charge to dead, the PL-Mini2 lasted 2.5 hours. After 1.5 hours the light was too dim to be used in a self-defense situation, but the light remained on for another hour. At the 61st minute mark, the low battery indicator light turned on and was completely dead another 90 minutes after that. To charge the PL-Mini2, plug in the USB charger to a power source and place the magnetic ring near the base of your light and it will snap into place. If you have other Olight flashlights with a magnetic USB, it will NOT work with the PL-Mini or PL-Mini2. The polarity of the magnet is reversed for their weapon lights. The charge indicator on the cable will turn from red to green when it’s fully charged. It took 65 minutes to recharge. Some of you may view the rechargeable battery as a con, but I personally like not having to purchase obscure battery sizes. Besides, the low battery indicator will tell me when it needs to be charged.
Olight put the PL-Mini2 through rigorous tests to earn the IPX6 water resistant rating. However, this rating doesn’t certify the light is waterproof and capable of being submerged. If you’re interested in the specifics on the testing method, you can view that here. The PL-Mini2 can handle being in a heavy rainstorm (and then some) which offers more than adequate protection. Just don’t go swimming with your light. To put it to the test, I ran it under the sink for 5 minutes and had no issues.
The best part about the PL-Mini2, besides the compact design and performance, is the price tag. At $89.95, it’s not going to break the bank. It’s impressive output and small size makes it incomparable to any light on the market. The only light that comes close to the size and output is the Surefire XC1-B that is over 3 times more expensive and has half the lumen output.
Olight saw a lot of success with the original PL-Mini and listened to customer feedback to refine it into the PL-Mini2. The main complaint about the PL-Mini was the quick detach lever was bulky. The PL-Mini2 solved this issue and is even more compact in design and fits on a wider variety of pistols. It fits all my pistols with rails, allowing me to switch to different guns without buying more lights.
There are several holster companies making PL-Mini2 compatible holsters. I got my G19 Kydex holster from Werkz LLC in Idaho. White Hat, and Safariland are also making PL-Mini2 compatible holsters. Perform a quick google search and you’ll find several companies with a wide variety of holster styles for the PL-Mini2.
Some may view the rechargeable, non-removable battery as a con, but I find it to be a plus. The magnetic charging base allows me to easily snap it on to charge and it can be easily pulled of if you need to remove it quickly. A low-battery indicator tells me when it needs to be charged, and if you are carrying frequently its not a big deal to throw it on the charger a couple times a month. The last test I am still performing is the shelf-life test. I’m going to let the PL-Mini2 sit fully charged for 1 month and then perform the duration test again to see what kind of performance I get or if any battery drained occurred during that time.
I would highly recommend the PL-Mini2 to anyone looking for a compact weapon light that outperforms everything else on the market in all categories. It weighs only 2.57 oz. so you won’t notice a huge difference on your loaded weapon. The adjustable base is solid and well-made. It fits all of my pistols with rails…I’m hard pressed to come up with a reason why you shouldn’t try one and because of this, the PL-Mini2 earns the title of best compact pistol light currently available.