INFORCE within the last year came out with a new pistol mounted light (APL- Auto Pistol Light) to compete with the likes of the SureFire x300 and Streamlight TRL series of lights. The APL is a follow up to the outstanding INFORCE WML for long guns. The more we use the WML the more we love it. The WML (review here) is a revolutionary way to solve an old problem and was truly thinking outside of the box. INFORCE sent us an APL a few months back for us to do testing and evaluation along with a review. Testing for this review was done on an M&P 9, GLOCK 17 & 19, H&K P30 and a number of rifles. We started our testing hoping the APL would follow in the WML’s footsteps.
First as a rule, I think it’s safe to say that it’s far better to have a flashlight then not. You need to be able to identify your target, and night sights, although nice, don’t really allow for proper identification. Having a weapon mounted light allows you to properly identify your target, not give away your location prior to identification, and allows you to use the darkness to your advantage by momentarily blinding the threat and being able to hide if need be. A pistol mounted light we feel is a far better option vs. carrying a separate flashlight. Having a pistol mounted light allows you to move with both hands on the gun vs. holding the pistol with your primary and the flashlight with your secondary. You are also able to carry/and deploy the light while leaving your support hand free if needed for other tasks like opening doors and move thing out of the way.
The INFORCE APL is a 200 lumen white LED light that has a nice tight beam with limited artifacts and a suggested run time of 1.5 hours. The APL fits both Universal rails and 1913 rails (The APL will not fit the Beretta PX4 storm or H&K USP). The APL has a quick part swap to make this possible that takes about 2 min to go from the universal to the wider rail bar (included) for 1913 rails. The APL has ambidextrous paddle switches on either side of the trigger guard when mounted. It also features a lock out mode to lockout the system for storage so you don’t kill the battery by inadvertent activation, like when throwing it in a backpack.
The APL is super lightweight, under 3oz lightweight. So much so, it is barely noticeable on the gun. The APL does not require any tools to mount the light. There is a lever on the left side that you flip down to mount on the pistol. This process takes seconds and is a huge asset to the system (more on this later).
Our testing stated with fitting. As usual with INFORCE, the APL came with great instructions and online resources. We had no issue mounting the APL on any of the pistols we tried or on rifles at the 12 / 9 o’clock position. The APL mounts in seconds and can quickly be added to most any weapon systems with a rail.
Our testing consisted of 3500 rounds on various pistols & rifles. We purchased Raven Concealment Phantom holsters for use with the INFORCE. Added and removed the APL hundreds of times to different weapons systems. Threw the APL in the lake at the bug out location for a week at a depth of 45 feet and did a series of battery tests. The APL was also thrown as far and as hard as we could three times on gravel to check it’s overall build quality and durability. We are happy to report that the APL has survived all of our tests without any issues other than cosmetic. Long story short, it’s an awesome light that I would have no issue taking into battle or using for home / self-defense.
The APL’s side lever for locking and unlocking the light to the firearm is pure genius and is probably its best feature. I carry a GLOCK 19 every day. Sometimes with a light, but most of the time without just to limit on bulk. The beauty of the APL is it can be added and removed in seconds. I can carry my 19 all day and when I get home I can throw the APL on it for nightstand duty. Then when I wake up in the morning and head out, I can very quickly remove the light.
I can’t tell you how much I love the easy-on/easy-off feature and how it has changed my carry habits. I used to carry my 19 and have a GLOCK 17 with a Viridian C5L laser/light combo on nightstand duty. Viridian’s C5L is a great light (although not nearly as rugged as the APL) that is super compact and is programmable so you can configure both the light and the laser to your needs. It does however need to be screwed on to the gun (this is also true of the Streamlight TLR-1) which makes it a 5 min process to take it on and off. So since it’s such a pain to take on and off, it doesn’t really work for with my routine on a carry pistol. Upon getting the APL, My 17 has been relegated to nightstand duty at the bug out location allowing us to have a pistol there full time.
The APL has toggle switches on each side that that are large and very easy to actuate when your trigger finger is fully extended (much easier than Viridian’s rubber button). I appreciate the size of the toggle, in a stressful situation you are not going to want to try to find a small actuator switch. The toggles have two modes; first, a fast click and the light will stay on till the toggle is pressed in again turning the light off, and second, if you hold down the toggle for more than a second the light is in momentary mode. The APL stays in this mode till the toggle is released. This mode is a great option if you are just trying to quickly visually identify an object but not give away your location by walking around with the light on.
Battery life on the APL as stated by INFORCE is 1.5 hours. In our testing we got that time if not better. The APL uses one standard CR123A battery which is removable by unscrewing the front light housing. Again the easy-on/easy-off feature of the APL comes into play here as you don’t need to muzzle yourself to swap out the battery; just take the light off, do the swap and throw the APL back on.
In all our battery tests we used Surefire Lithium batteries. INFORCE ships the APL with Panasonic Lithium batteries (which were hard for us to find although may offer better times). Our times (hour: minutes):
Test 1 – 1:42
Test 2 – 1:28
Test 3 – 1:39
Test 4 – 1:37
Test 5 – 1:41
For an average of 1.37 per one CR123A battery.
The light throw of the APL is impressive. It has no issue lighting up a room or as you can see from the picture below lighting up a driveway. That driveway is about 90 yards long and I would not have an issue clearly identifying an object at least ¾ of the way if not all the way down the driveway. Sorry for the rough pic, it was not that easy to get the camera to be able to catch too much light.
The APL on our GLOCK 19 gets fairly filthy shooting cheap practice ammo just because of the way the barrel and light line up. One of the gunsmiths at our local gun shop suggested toothpaste to clean the light. We laughed, but one day after a lot of elbow grease trying to get the carbon off the glass we swallowed our pride and tried it out. I have to say it is one of the best tricks I have seen in a long time. Clean the pistol light as usual (we use M-Pro 7) and then place a little toothpaste on a Q-tip and clean the glass in a circular motion. Within a couple of seconds the light will look brand new. Rinse off any residual toothpaste and you are good to go. Incredible trick for any weapons light.
In our view, the APL is an awesome light. The price, quick detach feature along with its great battery life for one battery, plus its overall ruggedness make it a great option for a pistol mounted light. At around $120 it’s a steal with all the durability and features of the SureFire without the elevated price. The new SureFire Ultra is also running at 500 lumens with two batteries. I can see an application where you may want the extra power but set your alarm for 3am, grab your pistol and run that light around your house for a bit. I think 200 lumens can be too bright at times, let alone 500.
After four months of testing we can say that this light is rock solid and can’t recommend it enough. As one of our reviewers put it: “This thing is awesome! Attaches in 1 second, perfect fit with std rail clamp, easy on / off lever, & brighter than all get out”
From all our testing the INFORCE APL absolutely did live up to INFORCE’s WML and that is one hell of a complement.
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