Testing Fenix’s Rechargeable Weapon Light, the GL19R

Fenix is generally not well known for its weapon lights. I only knew of the company via my cousin who had one of their handhelds. That flashlight was astonishingly bright so when I saw that they offered a pistol light, I had to give it a try.

The GL19R has a great form factor. The single-cell design allows for it to be very slim. With a width of just under 1.25 inches, it is not much wider than my Glock. Though compact, the body does not skimp on durability. The entire unit feels very robust, and it is shock rated to one meter. I tested this rating by dropping the light multiple times on concrete from about four feet. The lens was undamaged, and the unit remained fully functional.

The charging port and QD lever are both on the right side.

This light runs off a 18350 rechargeable battery. The battery is accessed by unscrewing the bezel, but it rarely needs to be removed since it is recharged through a USB-C port on the exterior of the unit. I like that the battery is a standard size and that it is removable. Unlike other rechargeable lights with built-in batteries, I am still able to swap batteries if I want. I am also able to keep the light topped off at a full charge in between uses.

Turbo at 25 yards.

The output is reported to be 1200 lumens on turbo and 350 lumens on high. You may ask, as I did, “why not call it high and medium”? I think it is because “turbo” is not meant to be run continually. This setting starts off at 1200 lumens and regulates itself down to a lower output as the light heats up. I don’t have an issue with this because weapon lights usually aren’t activated long enough to overheat. You can switch between high and turbo by holding down one of the switches and tapping the other.

This unit can also be locked out to keep it from coming on in transit. This is done by holding down both switches for five seconds until the light flashes and turns off. It is taken out of lockout mode by holding both switches for one second.

I did not have any issues mounting this light to my Glock 19. The quick-detach mount is adjustable so you can find the proper fit for your rail. When compared to other QD mounts, this one is very low profile. 

I tested the water resistance by leaving the light under a running faucet for half an hour. The plate retained some water, but the light was not fully submerged. The results were mixed. The light stayed on for the entire duration of the test but some of the functionality was lost. After drying it off I was unable to switch the light back to turbo or put the light in lockout mode. Even with a full charge, I was only able to turn the light on and off.

The next day, to my surprise, the light had regained full functionality. I suspect a small amount of water entered the unit and then evaporated overnight. The IP68 (fully submersible) rating on the packaging is obviously a stretch. The IP65 (water jet) rating on the website is much more believable. Knowing this, I would trust this light to work in heavy rain or if dropped in a puddle but not much more.

Turbo at 50 yards.

As we all know, lumen output alone cannot tell us how good a light will be at illuminating targets at various distances. This light allocates a good portion of its output to flood but there is a defined hot spot in the middle of the beam that gives this light decent throw. I was honestly surprised the first time I shined this light across a field. 50 yards edge to edge and 100 yards long, I could see everything. 

Turbo at 100 yards.

My biggest problem with this light is the switches. To activate the light momentarily you press either button for at least one second and release. For constant-on, you press either button for less than a second. I think the one-second hold-out time for the momentary operation is too long. When there is a bump in the night and you need to investigate a noise in your house, it definitely doesn’t take an entire “one, one-thousand” to verify if there is a threat in the kitchen pantry before moving on to the next area. Quite a few times I found myself with this light staying on when I didn’t mean for it to. 

Overall, I think this is a good light. Fenix did a great job creating a high-output light with a good blend of flood and throw in such a small and affordable package. My dislike of the switches and the issues with the water testing makes me think twice about using this light on a defense gun. But, for people that don’t use the momentary function and aren’t in wet environments, you may not have any issues. Either way, for an MSRP of $99.95 this is one of the best options in the sub $100 price range. 

Check out Fenix’s website for more info on the GL19R or to order one for yourself.

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About the author: Garrett Negen has a wide variety of skills and interests. His profession as an engineer in the steel industry falls right in line with his hands-on approach to his hobbies. Whether it’s ham radio, shooting, hunting, etc., Garrett is always happy when he has a project to work on.

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