For The Night Is Dark

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I’m a little late to the party with the Haley Strategic Partners edition of the Inforce WML (Weapon Mounted Light), but to my mind this version is still very much a top contender amongst the Inforce line up.

Inforce have released their WMLx since the HSP version hit the market and the ‘x’ boasts 500 lumens vs the 200 this model produces, but a lot of people who’ve got far more experience using lights than I have (often in some pretty unpleasant situations) will tell you that the lumen war going on right now with tac light manufacturers is getting a tad out of hand.  This is especially so when you start talking about using lights inside buildings and at closer ranges, which is probably what you’re preparing for when buying a weapon mounted light.  A good friend of mine who’s taken more shooting courses than I’ve had hot dinners (to include many low light courses) says he specifically prefers the old SureFire X300 pistol light with it’s lower output for actual pistol/CQB usage vs the new X300u.  Unfortunately companies seem to really be pushing these big lumen counts and in some situations are entirely dropping the ‘dimmer’ models from their product line, leaving the consumer with fewer options.

Luckily however the HSP variant WML doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and it’s got a lot going for it.  The WML design itself represents absolute, beautiful simplicity in a weapon light and the version from Haley Strategic takes that concept even further to make the very simplest system you’ll likely find on the market right now.  If you’re not a super ninja with a million hours of weapons training under your belt, then when the going gets tough you want simplicity in your equipment, that’s for damn sure.  Manipulating anything, be it on your gear or on your weapon, gets far harder when you need to do it fast and under the slightest duress and that applies even to nice, safe sporting situations.  I’ve no idea exactly how much worse it gets when somebody wishes to do you harm, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be orders of magnitude.

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In terms of function, the HSP WML has one button that does one thing; that is it.  No alternate modes, zero extra switches and levers; nothing.  You press the nicely angled rubber switch on the back and hold it to keep the light shining, as soon as you let go, it stops illuminating things.  My personal experience has been that anything other than momentary activation on a weapon light is not only an unnecessary hassle, but rarely useful and most it’s probably not something you need to be fucking about with when ‘the time’ comes.

The attachment system is just as simple as the operation; 1 small screw to loosen to allow the spring-loaded clamp to open, press on said clamp, place the body on your picatinny and at that point you could just go ahead and use the light, but obviously it makes sense to tighten the screw.  The WML runs on a single CR123 and the all-plastic body is light as a feather; all up mass with the battery is a mere 3 ounces.  The battery is accessed by unscrewing the head, which can be partially removed to lock out the light from functioning.  This thread also features an O-ring so the entire unit is actually waterproof down to 20m.  The other lock out is the swinging gate on the back, which isn’t perfect because it’s certainly not impossible to press the switch with the gate raised, but it is at least very low profile and folds completely out of the way when not in use.  I’ve not tried to remove it from any of my WMLs but it certainly looks possible and personally I’d rather just grip my rifle so that my thumb isn’t rested on the switch, eliminating any chance of a negligent light discharge.

Durability:  I have actually dropped a similar model of WML straight on it’s head on to concrete and the slotted plastic bezel piece around the head did split, but the light remained entirely functional.  The light took all the brunt of the impact since the GBB carbine kit in question was dangling from a 1-point (lesson learned, gear is fallible, your hands should not be), but said ‘weapon’ was very light and the drop distance was short, so I can’t comment on how this light would hold up to a more forceful hit.  It did fairly well though, especially considering the pricing on these.  On that point, the elephant in the room; yes, to my mind the SF Scouts are without doubt the more ‘professional’ option and with those you have a true myriad of choices in terms of heads, bodies, mounts, tail caps and switching options if you go down the SureFire route.  You’ll also get a fair bit more durability with the anodised aluminum bodies, heads and tails, but then you’re paying probably 3 times the price just for entry and if you then pick up a gucci mount from HSP/DD/Gear Sector/Arisaka as well as an extra fancy remote switch (which is the base line for a lot of folks) you’re easily getting to $500 with many other options there to go far higher; I’m sure I could configure a $1k+ light setup without trying too hard at all.  The WML on the other hand is one piece, I’m not aware of any other options for the head or mounting and the switching physically cannot be changed.  It’s incredibly light and supremely streamlined, you take it out of the box, clamp it on your rifle and go.

Compared to the original/Gen 1 WML I have, which featured a really awful switch system with high/low/strobe modes all on the one switch depending on how you pressed, the HSP edition from Inforce really embraces the simplicity of this platform and runs with it to the logical end zone.  At the time of writing, it is available for $123 in Coyote Brown (pictured) and Black from the Haley Strategic webstore.  So if you absolutely need your weapon light to be guaranteed to survive any possible situation, then yes, you should stick with the safe-bet in SureFire.  But for any other applications, be they sporting or otherwise, consider the Inforce offering because it’s a really impressive piece at the numbers they retail.

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