Streamlight TLR-2 vs TLR-4 – Which Is Better? (ANSWERED)

streamlight tlr2 vs tlr 4

Photo by andrew tjahyadi / CC BY

Streamlight’s TLR-2 and TLR4 are some of the biggest names in the flashlight industry. They’ve gotten so popular for a few pretty good reasons. First and foremost they make amazing tools, extremely well-made lights that fill a variety of roles, especially as weapon lights. But which would win in the battle of Streamlight TLR-2 vs TLR-4? We’ll try to find out today.

The TLR-2

TLR2 800 Lumen

The TLR-2 is a full-sized weapon light that’s one of the big boys is handgun weapon lights. It stands apart from the TLR-1 by adding a laser beneath the main flashlight beam. The combination laser and light set up is a versatile tool and gives you the ability to aim or see in the dark, or to both at the same time.

The TLR-2 is also designed for duty sized firearms and is big light and laser system. It’s a powerhouse with the most powerful model shining up to 800 lumens (300 Lumen models [see them here] are also available, and they provide a better indoor beam and a longer battery life). The TLR-2 can come with a green or red laser and additionally can be outfitted with a strobe model. The laser is a 3R Laser product and has a <5mW power output making it civilian legal.

Streamlight TLR-2 HL G: Best Weapon Light...In The World!!
The TLR-4

The TLR-4 is a compact weapon light that stresses small size and a light weight. The TLR-4 is a good mixture of polymer and metal, but mostly it’s made from a hardened and tough polymer. This cuts the weight down significantly and remains very strong and impact resistant.

The TLR-4 shines with 125 lumens and gives an impressive distance for the lumens. The TLR-4 is a small light that is better suited for concealed carry and deep concealment. The TLR-4 also packs a laser system with a civilian legal laser. This smaller version only comes in 125 lumens and uses a smaller battery to cut size. The TLR-4 has an ambidextrous switch and offers a momentary switch. The laser and light can be used individually or at the same time.

Streamlight TLR-2 vs TLR-4 Round 1: What They Have in Common

Both lights are, of course, made by Streamlight and feature excellent overall construction. They are rugged and made to withstand the recoil from any common handgun. The TLR-4 and the TLR-2 features ambidextrous controls and of course have both a light and laser system. Bulb-wise, they pack C4 LEDs that offer a 50,000-hour runtime. These lights have the one-handed snap-on and tighten interface that never requires your hand to go in front of the muzzle. Each comes with a series of keys to allow the light to interact with a variety of different guns and rails.

Streamlight TLR-2 vs TLR-4 Round 2: Where They Differ

The Streamlight TLR-2 is a much more powerful light. It’s well suited for identifying threats both near and far. It casts a wide spotlight style beam quite far and is very wide and fills the peripheral vision. It’s a light that can be used for indoor and outdoors fighting and is comfortable on a rifle or a handgun. Its power makes it quite versatile in that way. The battery life of the TLR-2 is also substantially longer than the TLR-4. The 800 lumen light lasts an hour and 15 minutes longer than the TLR-4.

I do not hate the TLR-4 (see full specs). It’s just not as powerful as the TLR-2. Now, is that a bad thing? In some roles, yes, but other roles prioritize small size and lower power. The TLR-4 is an inch shorter and nearly 2 ounces lighter. It offers a better balance, especially on smaller guns. The lower-powered 125 lumen light is less powerful, but also less likely to bounce off reflective surfaces and distract you. This can be a major advantage when working indoors and in tight quarters. The light is bright enough to see well on the inside of almost any building and does cast a wide, vision filling beam.

Streamlight TLR-2 vs TLR-4 Round 3: Their Unique Roles

We talked roles a bit, but let’s really expand and think about who needs what light. They are both made by Streamlight, so this isn’t two brands fighting for market share, it’s two lights fighting in different niches.

The bigger and more powerful TLR-2 is a full-sized powerhouse, and the best role it can serve is for duty and even home defense. Its size and weight mean it needs to be attached to a larger handgun. Its size makes it hard to conceal for your average concealed carrier. The TLR-2 is often powerful enough to shines through the tint of windows and identify potential threats, something handier for a law enforcement officer than a civilian concealed carrier.

The TLR-4 is smaller, lighter, and is much easier to conceal. Its small size ensures it can attach to smaller weapons, including single stacks like the Walther PPS that are commonly used for concealed carry.

The TLR-4’s lower power is enough for a defender to target a threat and to engage accurately. The TLR-4 isn’t powerful for beat cop use, but is well suited for concealed carry and even home defense concerning light power. The low battery life isn’t a major concern because a civilian is unlikely to be trapped in a firefight in the dark for a long period of time (and if you are, you should move to a new neighborhood).

What roles are you looking for one of these lights to fulfill? There are always exceptions like the TLR-2 is also great if you live on a stretch of property in Wyoming and need to do some late night pest control. The TLR-4 may be a great choice for a plainclothes cop carrying a smaller gun and civilian carriers. Weigh your needs and put them against both lights before you make a final decision.

Streamlight TLR-2 vs TLR-4 – The Good News

Let’s lighten things up, pun fully intended. Streamlight makes both lights, and both are quality pieces of gear at a great price. These combination light and laser systems give users a very versatile system for engaging threats. Whichever you choose, you can have the knowledge that these systems have your back. Good luck!

Streamlight TLR-2 and TLR-4 Rail Mounted Tactical Light with Laser Sight

  • Owner of, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.

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