I love my shotguns, and I’m a big fan of using the shotgun for home defense. Setting up a shotgun for home defense is pretty easy. Add a light and load the proper buckshot load, and that’s about all the accessorizing you need to do. Rather than spend money on gadgets, get training because shotguns can be extremely challenging to use effectively without plenty of practice. I can’t provide you training or gadgets, but I can at least deliver you an opinion on the lights available, and today we are talking all about the Streamlight TL Racker.
Adding a light to a shotgun can be somewhat difficult, especially if it’s a pump shotgun. Unlike an AR, the handguards don’t extend to the end of the barrel, and controlling a light while you control the pump-action can be incredibly difficult. There are certainly a number of effective means to add a light, but the light integrated into the pump is one of the most ergonomic options. The Streamlight TL Racker is exactly that.
Streamlight took a page out of the Surefire book and released what is seemingly the second-only flashlight integrated pump. The TL Racker adds a light to your weapon without adding much bulk and or a complicated system of lights, pressure switches, and mounts. Drop the TL Racker on your gun and call it a day.
The TL Racker Bright and Shiny
One thing the Streamlight TL Racker offers over the Surefire option is power. The Streamlight TL Racker utilizes 1,000 lumens of bright white light backed by an impressive 20,000 candela. That’s a lot of power, and the TL Racker utilizes a nice wide head to cast a beam both far and wide. It certainly has more range and more power than your average home defender needs. I’d rather have more than less.
The TL Racker is 8 inches long, 1.95 inches wide, and 2.64 inches tall. It’s not much bigger than most pumps, although it does weigh 12.1 ounces.
That’s a fair bit more weight than a normal polymer pump, but it doesn’t cause the shotgun to feel unbalanced. It’s about 5 ounces lighter than the Surefire model as well.
The TL Racker uses two CR 123A batteries and has a run time of 90 minutes. Not too bad for the power level. The TL Racker works with the Mossberg 500 series, the 590 series, and Maverick 88. A separate model with the shorter Shockwave/SBS guns, and of course, we have a Remington 870 model as well.
The TL Racker seems to retail for right around 150 dollars, making it roughly half the price of the Surefire series lights.
Putting In Work
I’ve mounted the TL Racker to my Mossberg 590A1, and it’s an excellent companion. Mounting is easy and takes about five minutes total. It’s really no struggle. Once installed, the Streamlight TL Racker is rigid and unmoving.
Streamlight heavily textured the outside of the pump with a rough texture as well as a more overt ribbing that’s similar to the old-school honeycomb textures on classic shotguns. Texturing is important to me. I use a push/pull method to control shotgun recoil, and without a good grip, my hand may slide, and I’ll lose control of the gun. With the TL Racker, this isn’t an issue.
The controls are nothing more than a massive button that runs almost the entire length of the TL Racker. The Streamlight logo you see is the button that activates the light with the press of a button. The TL Racker has two modes, momentary and constant. The momentary mode works by holding the button down for more than half a second. Once released, the light shuts off.
Constant mode is activated by a quick press of the button. Not too much beyond that. The massive size of the button makes it very easy to activate regardless of where your hand finds the pump. It takes zero effort to find the button, and the light provides plenty of tactile and audible feedback with every press.
Perfect For Home Defense
The wide head and reflector of the TL Racker cast its beam wide and far. It fills up your peripheral vision and will certainly fill up a room with light. Outside it casts a beam quite far and makes it easy to identify targets out to 50 yards without issue. Fifty yards with a shotgun sounds far until you factor in Federal FliteControl and slugs. With either, this light allows you to reach the max range with your shotgun.
The beam is cool white in color with a rather large hotspot. From across my house, I can easily see some spider webs in the corner of my far hallway and a fine layer of dust on the baseboards I need to clean. The TL Racker pulls no punches and provides more than enough light to identify a threat and establish positive identification.
If you need to chase pests away and keep foxes out of the henhouse, then the bright light is perfectly suited for chasing them down across the field and in the yard. From a duty perspective, the TL Racker casts a light far enough to be useful for military and police purposes. You can easily follow a moving threat due to the wide hotspot and establish that necessary threat ID before pulling the trigger.
Plus 1,000 lumens backed by 20k candela, which will most certainly blind a threat upon its gaze. Those precious seconds it can buy can be lifesaving.
The main downside to the TL Racker is that big button and its relatively light resistance to activation. Those prominent buttons make it tough to grip the TL Racker without placing a finger on the button. This could lead to light discharges unintentionally when your blood and adrenaline are pumping. It takes some practice to keep your hands off the buttons and prevent a negligent light discharge.
Lighting it Up
The TL Racker from Streamlight is a surefire tool for home defense and duty use. (Excuse my pun, or don’t I’m not your dad.) The Streamlight TL Racker casts a bright and wide beam that eats through the darkness and ensures you positively establish identification to a threat. The TL Racker is a powerful option that’s ergonomic and capable. Check it out here if interested, and let us know what you think below.