Safariland continues to expand its ever-impressive line of firearm-related accessories, with the new RLS – Rapid Light System. Designed specifically to be attached to pistols with a rail system on the front of the pistol’s frame, the RLS is both versatile and practical. The Safariland RLS provides an off-set mounting system that swings left or right depending on the shooter’s preference.
The RLS is designed to be used with a tail-cap push-button on/off switch light, or the optional pressure switch activation system. Once the RLS is swung to the left or right, the shooter can use their off-hand thumb to activate the tail-cap on/off button on the selected light for proper illumination.
Safariland RLS – Rapid Light System
The Safariland RLS™ Light System comes with a Safariland flashlight featuring bright LED technology providing 190 lumens of light in a focused beam on high and 10 lumens on low. Its prism reflector system can penetrate darkness up to 350 feet. This is a decent amount of light, but around the lowest level the BlueSheepDog Crew would endorse for police work. The RLS light can be removed and exchanged for a preferred one-inch diameter light, and can be slid forward or backward to allow proper distance for user operation.
The RLS Mount houses the light in a uniquely designed swing locking system. The RLS Mount locks into position by swinging to the right or left, depending on shooter preference, and slides onto any pistol compact light or Picatinny rail. The light remains locked during firing, but unlocks with enough tension applied. The shooter simply slides the RLS onto the rail, and then swings the light to the right or left to lock the RLS into position.
The Safariland flashlight included in the RLS is (1) inch in diameter, which is fairly standard for small hand-held flashlights and uses (3) standard AAA batteries. The use of AAA batteries is a significant cost advantage over other popular but more expensive flashlight batteries like the CR123 batteries. The AAA batteries provide approximately (2) hours runtime on high setting. The standard RLS light uses a tail-cap push button to control on-off illumination.
Many competitor flashlights, like the Streamlight TLR-1 and the Surefire X300, mount directly under the frame and in-line with the barrel. While this keeps the light going directly forward with no shadowing, they often require the trigger finger to operate. This can slow an officer’s ability to shoot, or unnecessarily cause the officer to leave the light on constantly.
The RLS system, while off-set to one side, allows the support hand thumb to activate the light on/off with much greater ease. The Safariland RLS is not intended to be used with a weapon mounted light holster. Instead, the Safariland Team designed the RLS for on-duty and off-duty officers, as well as civilians, to use with a standard holster of their choosing, eliminating the bulk required for weapon mounted light holsters.
The Safariland RLS also includes an RLSM Duty Mount that will allow the user to attach the RLS to belts that are between 2.0 – 2.25 inches (50 mm – 58 mm). That way the pistol and holster remain standard sized, eliminating excess bulk. The RLS can be carried on a belt, stored in a cargo pocket, or mounted to a tactical holster.
Though not as quick as a weapon-light permanently mounted, some officers or civilian users may find the Safariland RLS much more practical for their uses.
The BlueSheepDog Crew are big supporters of pistol lights, and proper light use in low light conditions. The ability to use light effectively during low light conditions is a critical skill and tactic that must be acquired by all law enforcement officers.
In years past, when pistol lights were non-existent or few and far between, officers had to learn one-handed shooting techniques in conjunction with the off-hand use of a hand-held flashlight. The fairly recent widespread growth of pistol-mounted lights has given officers a much greater resource for light in low light conditions that warrant the sidearm being out and ready. Officers can now use the much stronger 2-handed grip of their choice, providing a much more stable shooting platform.
Regardless of the advantages of a pistol light, a pistol-mounted light cannot be used like a standard hand-held flashlight. With the light mounted to a firearm, the use of a pistol-mounted light must always be used in situations where a potential use of deadly force is authorized. However, the Safariland RLS is easily dismounted and then could be used as any other hand-held flashlight.