The Junk Drawer Weapon Light
I’m terrible at selling. Not to say that I’m a bad salesman, but that I pretty much never sell anything. Color me lazy, but generally I just don’t like the hassle. Every once in a while some higher priced items get sold to fund something else, but the minor tidbits you accumulate along the way? Donated, gifted, or stored is the order or the day.
Over the years I’m accumulated a certain amount of betwixt gear. That is, items which can still be useful but have become outdated. And unless you’re a Buddhist Monk or a weirdo like Steve Jobs, if you’ve been shooting or training for while you’re likely in the same boat.
I’ve been using Surefire lights for almost half my life, and my junk drawer demonstrates this. I’ve run lights from the old not-so-bright (by today’s standards) incandescent Millennium series to the slightly brighter 6P’s and E2’s and G2’s, to M300’s and M600’s, and no doubt will run whatever comes next. Task lights have gotten smaller and brighter. Weapon lights got smaller and brighter then larger again. No matter how you cut it, I have a lot of little parts and pieces.
So what to do?
As a rule I run a light on everything, but as with all things in life there have to be priorities. Primary rifles get the best lights I can get my grubbies on. Same for the backups, and no doubt some beyond. But what about the rest? Let’s dig into the drawer and see what we come up with. This junk drawer build (or rather, assembly) is appropriately going on a rando rifle. I like to use this rifle in particular to test new parts. If I’m trying a new trigger or something else, it’s not likely to go to one of the primary rifles until proven. The rest is colored in with items not currently used on something else. Thus, it’s a mishmash already.
Let’s take a quick look at the assembly:
The body itself is from an old incandescent Surefire 6P. Traditionally these have a pushy/clicky tailcap, and while I ran WMLs like that for a long time (and still do with some weapons like AKs) I much prefer to run a SR0x pressure switch at 12 0’clock for ambidextrous use these days. You have
two three options to accomplish this. You can scour the internet for the old, long-discontinued Surefire UM00 tailcap which just accommodates the switch. You can cheaply nab an XM00 tailcap from a Millennium/M951/M952 which allows both a pressure switch and a push button. Or you can get airsoft bullshit from China from a place like eBay or Amazon that will shit out in a day. A hard No on that last one.
The XM00 tailcap has proven popular enough that Surefire now even makes a new version for the Scout series called the DS00 (check it out here if you’re interested). Yeah, it’s kinda big. Yeah, it has a bunch of schmaltz and dirt in it. Yeah, it absolutely still works.
I should note that the XM00, in addition to fitting 6P’s and the like, will also work on the Fury series of Surefire lights. That’s not my bag, but it might be yours. As you’ve already seen, the switch I’ve mounted in the UM00 is a standard Surefire SR-series switch. No substitutions on that one, though there are undoubtedly people who are larger fans of the inexpensive Surefire ST0x switches than me.
Of course since the 6P was designed as a handheld and not as a WML, you have to find a mount for it. Pictured is a very inexpensive (some may say cheap) KZ mount from Botach. It’s not refined, and with this model at least, the front sight has to come off to even take it on or off. On weapons where I require the mount itself to be very low, such as running on an AK with an Ultimak, they’ve proved to be decent options. But, there it is in the junk drawer… so obviously not decent enough to actually use on something at the moment.
The bulb itself proved to be the biggest issue. All of the old incan options are out; if they were bright enough, I could deal with the heat and the constant eating of batteries, but they aren’t. Since 6P’s will accept any P60 bulb assembly, you got options. I like Malkoff bulbs but with a light so large, I want higher output. I happened to have a Sportac Triple XP-G2 P60 head and went with that. They’re high output and are built around a large brass heat sink. Will it last as a WML? Well, that’s why it’s going on the frankentesting rifle, to find out. Of course, it also looks a bit unusual:
The triple LED configuration makes for a beam with a lot of flood but not necessarily a ton of throw. As a general rule, floods don’t penetrate but if you crank up the lumen level it can still cut through a whole lot of dark.
I added the Surefire kill cover because frankly I was surprised I still had a functional one. They aren’t bad products if you have a need for them, but I tend to lose pins and pop covers apart in doorways. Finish everything off with a ziptie and some LaRue index clips with the wire routing attachments.
And because I know someone will ask, that SR switch is secured at the base instead of the top like god and Surefire intended because the rail doesn’t accommodate it.
No, not the latest or greatest. But still a new, more useful life for some dogeared parts. Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s useless. Shit, I hope someone can say that about me when I’m as old as Hernandez.
Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!
Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.
About the Author: A combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Dave “Mad Duo Merrill” is a former urban warfare and foreign weapons instructor for Coalition fighting men. An occasional competitive shooter, he has a strange Kalashnikov fetish the rest of the minions try to ignore. Merrill, who has superb taste in hats, has been published in a number of places, the most awesome of which is, of course, here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He loves tacos, is kind of a dick and married way, way above his pay grade. You can contact him at Merrill(at)BreachBangClear.com and follow him on Instagram here (@dave_fm).