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Posted: 10/23/2002 9:16:08 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/23/2002 9:18:33 AM EDT by ElmerFudd]
I am looking for a home defense/light duty light for my Bushmaster shorty. The prices on these souped up flashlights are outrageous!

The cheapest option seems to be an Insight M3 on a GG&G Tactical Illuminator rail.

Does anyone have any experience with this light and/or mounting? Or any other relatively cheap light options?

Thanks!


Link Posted: 10/23/2002 11:29:17 AM EDT
Elmer,
I've been using the M3 on my Glock 22 and my carbine for about a year. For the money, the M3 is the best there is. Cheap, light, easy to use and durable. I like it so much that I ordered a second light just for my carbine (along with the long springy cable). I had mine mounted like your picture, but I switched to M4 handguards and didn't want to cut them up. So, I put it at 6 o'clock and will use the springy cord/backplate for the carbine.

Hurry quick, Botach Tactical (www.botachtactical) has them for $95 for a limited time. Botach is about 50/50 with me, but the price is right.
Link Posted: 10/23/2002 11:33:00 AM EDT
I use the M3 and M6 from Insight Technology. Both are great, good light beam, price around 100 bucks and easy on and off my glock and M4.

It has been out now for a few years. Beats Sure fire hands down due to their high prices and large and heavy frames.

Good luck

Steve
Link Posted: 10/23/2002 11:44:17 AM EDT
Botachtactical.com had them recently for $95.00 if you like to gamble.

I believe they also have the GG&G rails, along with some other rails.

They also sell replacement parts relatively cheaply. Of note is a pressure tape system the you could use to set up a very efficient tactical light.

M-3 lights are pretty good. Sure Fire sells bullet proof lights, that should survive anything. That also runs the cost way up. The M-3's should survive any reasonable use.
Link Posted: 10/23/2002 3:52:20 PM EDT
Thanks for the comments on the Insight/Streamlight M3.

I ordered one today from arizonagunrunners along with a spare bulb and short handguard mount. Not as cheap as Botach, but I have read so many negative comments on them, I would rather not send my business that way. Who wants the potential hassle of fighting over a credit card charge for a few bucks saved? And then not getting what you ordered for a long time? I priced it there anyway - 2 day shipping was $15 more expensive, plus the unit comes without batteries, which is another $5-10, so I might have saved a total of $15 going with BoTach on a $170 order. Not worth it to me - we need to support the good vendors who charge a fair price, keep inventory in stock, and have good customer service.
Link Posted: 10/23/2002 8:14:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By steve9500:
Beats Sure fire hands down due to their high prices and large and heavy frames.
Steve



M3 beats surefire in price, but that is really about all. M3 on a handgun is a great option. M3 on a rifle is a poor option IMO. Good light, but limited in its usefullness on a carbine.

The light is not as bright or as pure as a Surefire beam, and unlike the Surefire system, it can not be used with a high output lamp assembly (HOLA). Using a HOLA on a Surefire increases the brightness significantly.

I'm not downing the M3, really. I think it is a good light, and it will serve you much better than no light. I might even take a M3 on a handgun over one of the Surefire handgun lights (maybe ) But please, as a rifle light? It just doesnt stack up to the classic 660 series, Surefire's oldest AR lights, much less their Millenium series lights. ANY of the M series are vastly superior for an AR. Expect to pay for the advantages they offer.
Link Posted: 10/24/2002 6:57:48 AM EDT

Surefire lights have a nicer finish than the Insights. Probably a portion of the Surefire's higher cost goes toward obtaining that final polish...not to mention advertising. Surefire controls also feel nicer.

Surefires do have a purer light (no black spots) than the Insights. If memory serves right, I thought the M3 had a brightness edge over a Surefire of equivalent voltage but I don't have the two anymore to do a side to side comparison. Regardless of which is brighter, its not that significant.

What's ultimately important about these lights is reliability and durability. These weapon lights have shock isolated bezel but which is better or are they about the same? Does anyone have hard data showing one has a higher failure rate or is more prone to damage under controlled conditions (drop tests, recoil tests)?

Until such testing is done or there is enough statistical evidence gathered (and it may very well have been done), it is purely anecdotal which is better. If durability and reliability of both are the same, the extra spit and polish of a Surefire isn't worth the extra $150-$200. If I have to pay for it, I'd go with M3. If someone is giving either away free, I'd take the Surefire.
Link Posted: 10/24/2002 8:06:59 AM EDT
The M-3 IT light is appx as bright as any 6 volt SureFire with a "regular" output lamp. A 6v SureFire with a high output lamp will be clearly brighter.

Remember though for the price of a SureFire 500A 9v AR-15 handguard light, you could get 2 M-3's and probably a Streamlight rechargeable personal light.

Bothach, and Bushmaster both sell a "tape switch" mod that replaces the battery cover on the M-3 and adds a pressure pad, along with the original switch. $43.00 on Botach.

As far as tests, several people I know have the M-3 lights. The biggest problem with them is the reflector assembly. The material will bubble or flake with prolonged use. Everything else seems built to take weapons fire. Also I suspect that recoil etc. on an AR is probably less than recoil etc. on a pistol which these lights are made to take.
Link Posted: 10/25/2002 6:17:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/25/2002 6:22:53 AM EDT by new-arguy]

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:
Remember though for the price of a SureFire 500A 9v AR-15 handguard light, you could get 2 M-3's and probably a Streamlight rechargeable personal light.



Very true, but if you get 2 M-3's and a Streamlight, you still wont have a single light that can be used like a Surefire M500/M900. Again, the M-3's are good lights, but have limited use. They will probably suffice for rifle dedicated to indoor use. If you should happen to step outside with it, the light is just too underpowered to be very useful.

The M500/M900/M96xx lights are far better suited on an AR. With a standard or even high output bulb they will be entirely sufficient indoors, they will also increase your light range if things go past CQB. On top of that, put a turbo kit on one of these lights and you have a striking beam of tightly focused illumination out to about 300 yards!!!

Further, if you have a light in your pocket for everyday carry, all Surefire lights have modular components. Your 2 cell surefire carry light (with the singel exception of the "E" series) uses the same bulbs, bezels and batteries as you 2 cell Surefire weapon lights. If you have a M900/M500/M96xx series light, get a Surefire M3 Millenium carry light (not the same as the M3 pictured in the top post!) and you have the same advantage, you are carrying a spare bulb, set of batteries, and bezel. The advantage of being able to buy bezels, bulbs and batteries that will work on all on my carry lights, AR lights and handgun lights is an awesome convenience and advantage worth noting.

The switch options on Surefire weapon mounted lights are far superior as well, especially those found on a M900/M500 series. SEPERATE controls for contant on/off, momentary on/off and disable switches means you wont be making the mistake of turning it constant on when you only meant to have momantary.

Surefire's are far more water resistant than the M3's.

This is just a incomplete list of why the surefire's are "hands down" the best lights you can get. I want to close by again saying that the M3 is not a bad light. Saying so would be incorrect. But you just cant say it beats Surefire, hands down or otherwise. That is also incorrect.

Do you need all the above listed advantages? Thats totally up to the user. But if you need them or not, they are advantages. Next time you wonder why it is the M3 costs $100 and a Surefire M500 costs $300 something, keep this post in mind. If you choose to go M3, thats fine, but dont think you are getting the same light for less. Because you are not.
Link Posted: 10/25/2002 8:17:18 AM EDT
I have been experimenting with various lights lately on my M4s. I have a Surefire M500A that is far superior to my other lights, but I have a M900A on order since I just upgraded that upper to the RAS II hand guards. The M3 works fine on the GG&G rail for a nice light weight and relatively inexpensive setup. I was comparing it last night to my old Classic 6v Surefire. The beam on the ageing Surefire is much more focused, but the unit is more bulky. I have decided to keep the Surefire Classic 6v on that rifle instead of using the M3. The M500 and M900 9 volt systems are sooo much brighter that they are really worth your consideration. I have a M6 illuminator on another M4. It is ok, but not in the durablilty or brightness league of the Surefires. The Surefires cost is shockingly high, but they are great units. Watch-Six
Link Posted: 10/25/2002 7:52:42 PM EDT
Just got the M3 in today and installed it on the left upper handguard. Seems to work well for my purpose - good illumination out to 50 yards or so.

I was a little disturbed to hear of heat problems with the reflector bubbling - anyone else have this problem?

Otherwise it seems the best option for the money. I might get a second unit for my Beretta.

Hard to justify even spending $130 for a glorified flashlight. It's not like I'll be chasing perps through the alleyways of NYC or anything.

All these features don't add that much cost guys. Surefire (and Streamlight for that matter) has a profitable little niche with a nice product and are milking it. Compare what you get with a $20 Maglite to one of these lights - add a shockproof, better light (say another $5 generously), a shock stop on the batteries ($5 generously), and some heat resistant reflector material (another $5). Be real generous and round it up to $50. Where do you get a $300 flashlight?

GOUGING! I love the capitalist system, but I think this niche needs some more competition to cut these outrageous margins down to size.
Link Posted: 10/25/2002 8:24:34 PM EDT
Elmer, I'm not saying it cost Surefire anywhere near $400 to make a M900. However, trying to compare it to a $20 maglight is just a little nieve. You are not only paying for the light and the materials used to make it up, you are paying for all the research and development that goes in to making the most modular, versitile, strongest, brightest, best engineered illumination tools in the world. Period. Not everyone wants or needs such a light. But those that do wont have anything less, nor should they be forced to take something less. So, we pay the priemium price for the premium light. Many of us wish we didnt have to pay such high prices, but I wish the same thing about my ARs and anything else. In the end, if you want the best, you pay what they ask. If not, settle for less. I hope you enjoy your M3, like I said, it is a good light.
Link Posted: 10/25/2002 8:50:24 PM EDT
New-arguy - I have managed a high-volume manufacturing plant, have an MBA, understand R&D and cost structures, and am very good with financial reports. The features in these lights are nice, but certainly not high tech or expensive - machining, polishing, 0-rings, better materials, better bulbs, longer warranties (?) and tighter manufacturing tolerances. Their incremental additions to unit cost are minimal, as is the additional R&D spread over multi hundreds of thousands of units.

The rest is just marketing hype. Which I'm sure they spend much more on than R&D.

Again, compare what you get to a $20 Maglite - worth several times as much, perhaps. Worth 20 times as much - not to me.
Link Posted: 10/25/2002 8:54:22 PM EDT
I understand where you are coming from, but really, a Maglight is worthless on my AR. No practical use whatsoever. So it is difficult to try and compare the two.
Link Posted: 10/26/2002 6:30:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2002 6:32:52 AM EDT by EPD1102]
My 2 cents is "Stay away from Botach". I've had several bad dealings with them and haven't read too much good about them on here. I think it was CMMG that had them for about the same price and the service is much better.
I know several guys who have the M3 lights on rifles and they work fine but they do not work as well as the dedicated Surefire lights. This is one of those cases where you get what you pay for and you have to determine exactly what your needs are and what you're willing to pay.
Link Posted: 10/26/2002 10:17:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2002 10:22:16 AM EDT by AR15fan]
The M3 & GG&G M3 mount is a great setup for a home defense carbine. More than enough light output for any legally justifiable self defense shooting.

If the bad guy is so far away that you cant light him up with the M3, then he is too far away to be a realistic threat to the average home defender.

Active duty military and cops MAY need a brighter light like the Surefire M500A. a home defender will not.

A major advantage of the M3 is it's quickly detachable. I have several AR's, i can only shoot one at a time. One M3 and several $15.00 -22.00 mounts allows me to use the same light on whichever rifle/shotgun/handgun I am using.
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