Review: Sig Sauer STL-300J STOPLITE Tactical Light

Sig Sauer STOPLITE

Sig Sauer STOPLITE Tactical Light (STL-300J)

I picked up a Sig Sauer STL-300J STOPLITE tactical light this week to mount onto my Sig Sauer 556 SWAT. Here’s my review of this accessory.

The retail price on this piece (which you’ll pay if you purchase it direct from Sig Sauer) is $215. The street price, however, is around $188 – which is the price that appears on the Nelson Tactical website. But when you add the item to your shopping cart, the price drops down to $169.99. That’s the best deal I could find for a brand new unit (which is even cheaper than some used ones on eBay).

The STOPLITE arrived quickly and well-packaged from Nelson. The box included the tactical light, a remote momentary on/off pressure switch, a Velcro accessory pouch (which is actually just some webbing with a belt loop), four CR123 lithium batteries (which provide 8 hours of continuous operation), and an instruction booklet. The batteries mount inside the grip, and it took less than a minute for me to unpack the box, install the batteries, and mount the light on my 556. Mounting was aided by a quick release bar on the left side of the unit. Just press and hold, move the STOPLITE into place, release the bar, and tighten two locking screws.

Stoplite Mounted on 556 SWAT

Sig Sauer STOPLITE mounted on my Sig Sauer 556 SWAT

Holding the Sig Sauer STOPLITE in the firing position, the grip felt comfortable and sturdy, so even if you run out of batteries, it should serve as a decent foregrip for any weapon with Picatinny rails. The STOPLITE has a total of 5 buttons: a red one on the left side to turn the laser aiming module on and off, a black one on the right side to turn the light on and off, two smaller buttons (green and black) on the right side to select “steady” or “strobe” mode, and a large green thumb button on the rear of the unit for momentary operation. As a right-handed shooter, I found it very easy to hit both the laser button and the momentary button, but because I couldn’t see the buttons on the right side of the light with the rifle in firing position, those buttons were a bit trickier to find. However, they were all technically reachable with the side of my thumb while still holding the grip, so  I’m sure that with a little more practice I’ll be able to easily manipulate all the buttons without having to visually verify my thumb position.

Hit the ON button on the Sig Sauer STOPLITE, and the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s buh-RIGHT. Like seriously bright. As in Aziz, LIGHT bright. Sig Sauer’s marketing blurb claims “approximately 700 lumens,” and while I’m not really sure if it’s that bright, there’s no doubt that it’s far brighter than any of the other tactical lights in my arsenal. Peering down the business end (turned off, natch), light output appears to be generated by four high-powered SMD mini LEDs, which is then amplified by a long reflective cone to the front lens. Trust me – I don’t recommend looking at the light while it’s turned on. I’m still seeing dots on my computer screen as I type this…

If you’re looking to stun a home invader in the middle of the night, the strobe mode is going to be your best choice. Even in daylight, everyone I pointed it at scrunched up their face and looked away. But at night? In the dark? With dilated pupils? This baby will undoubtedly buy you a few precious seconds of shock and awe against a threat – without the need to squeeze off even a single round. Or take it to a rave and freak out your friends. Either way, the effect is impactful.

The laser pointer is, well, it’s a laser pointer. It has the requisite adjustment screws, but because the grip (and therefore the laser lens) is mounted below and to the side of the barrel, the laser becomes less accurate for far targets if you’ve adjusted it for near, and vice versa. For me, the laser module is more of a “hey, that’s kinda cool” feature, but made no real impact on my decision to buy this piece. It’s the “burning white light that causes migraines in seconds” light output that is the primary reason anyone should choose the STOPLITE. I did read another review that claimed you couldn’t run the laser and the spotlight at the same time, but that’s incorrect. Both worked simultaneously just fine for me. However, one operating detail I didn’t like was the fact that I couldn’t choose the spotlight operating mode (on/strobe) until after the light was turned on. I would have liked to be able to press the strobe button and have the strobe mode start immediately, or at the very least press the strobe button and then press the power button to have the spotlight fire up in strobe mode. Instead, you have to turn the spotlight on, then switch to strobe mode after that.

Another nice touch on the Sig Sauer STOPLITE is the inclusion of two digital accessory ports/power receptacles. Compatible electronics can be plugged in here and powered by the same lithium batteries, if you’re so inclined.

I did, however, notice some differences between the unit pictured both on the box and in the instruction booklet (dated 02/09) and the actual unit that was inside the box. The pictured version only had one locking screw, while my unit had two. The laser button was on the right side in the pictured version, but it was on the left on my unit. My unit had two digital accessory ports, while the pictured unit only had one. And finally, my unit had the model number (STL-300J) embossed on the right side between the two locking screws, while the pictured unit didn’t. With a little more research, I discovered an updated instruction booklet on the Sig Sauer website (dated 09/09) showing my version of the STOPLITE. Interestingly, the “official” photo from the Sig Sauer website (which also appears at the top of this review) is the same as the photo in the older instruction manual – and different than the newer (?) unit that I received. I don’t know when or why those changes were made, but what I do know, however, is that the Sig Sauer STOPLITE isn’t actually manufactured by Sig Sauer! It’s made by iTAC Defense, who also markets this unit as the iTAC-TDL1 with an MSRP of $229.95. The only difference I could find between the units is the LARGE white logo on the iTAC (which, like Shawn Bradley, is a tad too large and too white) and the Sig Sauer unit comes with a limited lifetime warranty. iTAC is based in North Hampton, New Hampshire, and over the past few years has built a solid reputation as a manufacturer of quality tactical accessories for military, law enforcement, and serious shooters. So to get the skinny, I picked up the phone and talked to Ken @ iTAC Defense.

iTAC-TDL1 Tactical Light

iTAC Defense manufactures the STOPLITE for Sig Sauer as a rebranded iTAC-TDL1

Ken confirmed that iTAC does indeed manufacture the STOPLITE for Sig Sauer as a re-branded iTAC-TDL1, and that they assemble them right here in the USA (after checking out iTAC’s website, I recognized a few other accessories that I’d seen with Sig Sauer branding). Ken informed me that most of the the injection polymer material for the unit is made in Israel, while other components are sourced from “various places…” which I interpreted as most likely meaning the LED electronics are from China. Of course, there are many Chinese-made items that I’d want to avoid, but LEDs aren’t among them. Practically every LED on the planet is made in China, and Chinese LED technology is top-notch. Ken also addressed the product photo variation, explaining that iTAC had made a few product revisions to the unit since it first launched, and that Sig Sauer simply didn’t want to scrap all their pre-existing marketing collateral. After describing to him the unit that I had, he confirmed that I had the latest version. Finally, I asked Ken for some more details about the powered accessory ports on the STOPLITE/iTAC-TDL1. He explained that the intent was to be able to power such additional devices as night-vision optics, or even a cell phone for making an emergency call, but that as of yet, there aren’t any currently available accessories that take advantage of these ports. Let’s hope that iTAC is working on some in their design department, because weight reduction through shared use of a single set of batteries is a great idea.

Overall, I dig the STOPLITE/iTAC-TDL1. Mounting is quick and easy, the grip is comfortable, the unit is well built, it’s a great value for the price, and the light is blindingly bright. It’s a well-designed accessory that does exactly what it should, and does it well.

Specifications:

  • Interface: M1913 and compatible
  • Retention type: Quick release mode/fixed mount mode
  • Dimensions: 6”H x 4.3”L x 2.5”W
  • Weight empty: 11.2 oz
  • Weight w/batteries: 13.5 oz
  • Light type: Hi Output LED
  • Power: 700 Lumens peak
  • Light switching: Steady on/off; momentary on/off
  • Light modes: Constant; Strobe
  • Strobe frequency: 18-20 cycles per second
  • Visible Laser: Hi Visibility (635nm), Class IIIa, Red
  • Laser switching: Independent on/off
  • Laser modes: Stand-alone; with white light (constant & strobe)
  • Battery: (4) CR123 Lithium batteries
  • Power management: Digital integrated circuit
  • Run time: 8 hours peak (continuous operation)

Additional info and links:

Leave a Reply

  1. Hi Steve,
    I’m new at tactical equipment.
    What is the two units mounted on top of your rifle.
    One looks like some sort of red dot unit and the other ?????
    Ron

  2. Great review! Thank you! If you want to go directly to strobe, you have to use the presure switch, I don’t know if it’s included. From everything I’ve read, the function will stay in the mode you last used until you change it. Of course, I could be completely wrong as I don’t have mine just yet. I’ll be putting it on a Sig M400. I can’t wait.

  3. UPDATE! I got my stoplite today. I don’t know if it’s newer, or older. I have only one port for the included pressure switch. The one I have uses 4 AA batteries, much cheaper then CR123′s. It does go straight to the last mode used with or without the pressure switch. Overall, I’m very satisfied.

    • I just received the same one as Russell. I’m trying to figure out if it’s a really old or really new model. Everything I’ve read indicates that the 4AA battery powered lights are in the 300 lumen range, not the 700 lumen range. Aside from purposely blinding myself with the light, not sure if it’s possible to tell the difference between 300 and 700. Russell, does your battery cover have markings inside (look like presumably black Sharpie marker) indicating “+” and “-” locations? I’m thinking maybe I got a used one being sold as new??? I got mine on a gun auction website and those are always risky… I like the light but am disappointed that it takes AA vs. the CR123 batteries.

      • Hi John,
        No, I don’t have any Sharpie marks on mine. The “+ and -” are stamped into the metal part where the springs come out. It looks like new, but who knows? I’m not finding any info on “New vs. Old” but, like I said I’m happy with the AA batteries, they’re cheaper, easier to find and add very little weight compared to the CR123 batteries to an already kind of heavy Sig M400. The light is plenty bright, 300 lumens, 700 lumens, what ever it has, I can’t look at
        it.

  4. I know this thread is a couple of months old but I thought I’d give my 2 cents… I don’t know if the old one actually puts out 700 lumens or not. It could be that the LED’s just have a 700 lumens rating. The LED’s in the new version have a 700 lumens rating but it only puts out 300-350 lumens due to the voltage. The LED’s in the newer version are made in the USA whereas the older LED’s were made in Japan. I have the latest version that has 2 screws that hold it to the rail, uses 4 AA’s and the laser switch is located on the back of the laser. The parts that clamp on the rail are plastic. I’m not sure, but it looks like (from photos) the old version may have aluminum parts because the clamping mechanism seems to be much thinner on the old version and they have only one screw. Since I’ve never seen an older version in person, I don’t know which one I would pick. There’s also more than two versions out there.

    Anyway, I’m happy with the one I have. It’s rock solid and very bright. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a grip with a light.

    I was seriously considering the Crimson Trace MVF-515 but I just could not justify the price difference and the fact that the MVF-515 is wider and neither the light nor the laser are under in-line with the barrel.

  5. I just received my STL-300J as well from Nelson Tactical (The AA version). A couple of things I did not see mentioned here. 1) The accessory power ports are gone(at least I cannot find them, and they are not mentioned in the manual either), I cannot find any on this model, and the remote pressure switch port is relocated to where they used to be. Not a big deal, didn’t have anything to plug into them anyway. 2) There is a “velcro accessory pouch” included, and I have absolutely no idea what “accessory” this is for, anyone else? It is not mentioned anywhere in the instructions other than the contents page. I assumed it was to carry the STL-300 on your belt when detached from the weapon, but I couldn’t figure out a way to securely hold the STL-300J in the pouch, only way I could figure was with the handle in the pouch, strap around the bottom, and the main assembly sticking out of the top, but it was not secure at all. There is a cut out on the strap that is about the same size as the laser assembly, but it is backwards, if the cutout was on the other side and the strap was a bit longer it would perhaps be perfect to hold the light assembly in the case with the handle would stick out backwards, and be very secure, but it wasn’t designed this way so obviously that will not work. What is this thing for, anyone know?

  6. One other thing I forgot to mention, the Sig version is now different from the iTAC-TDL1 in that the Sig takes 4 lithium AA batteries and boasts 700 lumen, while the iTAC-TDL1 takes 2 lithium AAs and claims 350 lumen. I don’t have any way to measure lumen output, but I agree with Steve, whatever the real output is, “As in “Aziz, LIGHT“ bright” sums it up, I am still seeing spots myself as I type this :).

      • Ironic isn’t it? This accessory is supposed to blind your adversery, and being in my cave of a basement with no windows and low lighting, I am sure my pupils were dialated, so I can first had say it will work for its purpose. I am not sure why I tested it given you had already done so and it was clear without looking directly into it that it woud do its job, but I was tempted to do it anyway :). I certainly don’t taze or pepper spray myself to see if the products I have do what they claim (although while in the military I was tear gassed and can certainly say that stuff works!!), and I certainly wouldn’t shoot myself to check the effectiveness of the rounds I choose for SD (I rely on the ballistics jelly / phone book tests for that), so I have no idea why I volutarily blinded myself :).

  7. Almost all of the info on all of the websites is outdated; even the PDF owner’s manuals. I called iTAC and they said the iTAC and Sig models are identical except for the name branding. I got mine from here: http://www.hkparts.net/shop/pc/Tactical-Defense-Light-and-Vertical-Grip-ITAC-5p2512.htm. They were the only ones, at the time, that guaranteed they had the latest version and their images of the product are correct. Mine takes 4 AA’s. The person from iTAC said the lights put out 300-350 lumens. It’s plenty bright enough and the lower lumens dramatically increased the life span of the batteries. I don’t know how the light is supposed to go in the case. I never took the case out of the box because my light will stay on the gun.

    I just sighted the laser in, yesterday, at 50 yards. It’s pretty neat! I can put all shots in a 1.5” group even though the dot is pretty big (aprox. 2”wide x 4 ” high) at that distance. I’m really happy with my purchase but I think I’m going to call them to see how large the dot should be at that distance and why it’s oblong instead of round. How large is your dot at that distance?

    • Yep, those pics are exactly what I got as well, thanks for the link. I just got mine, and don’t have a straight line distance in my house anywhere near 50 yards, and probably won’t be out the the range for at least another week or two (whenever Bar-Sto send my .40 P226ST and .40 P229 Equinox slides back with my 9MM conversion barrels fitted appropriately :/). I got all of my weapons within the last few weeks (great tax return, also got P220ST, Mossy 590 Special Purpose, etc.), and have yet to fire ANY of them, so am pretty antsy. My 556 is the 1st Gen ER model (later serial with US made BCG and gas cylinder assembly, not the Swiss ones :(), and I purchased them all used so have been spending the last few weeks getting accessories and getting them all cleaned up and/or refurbed by Sig (Sig customer service and custom shop is EXCELLENT BTW). My 556 has the old crap sites so I will be ordering the diopter / hooded front site from Sig tomorrow, and once that is in and mounted and I get my slides and barrels back from Bar-Sto, I plan on an all day range session to sight in all of my weapons (lasers, sights, etc.). Once I get back I will let you know my experience with the laser to see if it matches yours. I wouldn’t expect much for a laser in this price range along with the nice light and handle though… your experience is actually much better than I expected. I have an assortment of lasers from Lasermax, Crimson Trace, Viridian, etc., and while the prices vary dramatically, so does the performance in line with the prices. For example, you can get a cheap holosight for $75-$200 which will work, but typically the reticle is blurry, odly shaped (vs. perfectly round), etc. Or you can get an EOTech, where the reticle(s) are razer sharp and the parallax free feature actually works, but those will cost you a minimum of $500 new. Same with EOTech optics to mate with the holosight like the 3X that Steve has performs VERY well but they aren’t cheap… you get what you pay for.

      • Yea, I know you get what you pay for. I bought the iTAC just for the light. Since this is the first laser sight I’ve owned, I didn’t know what to expect as far as dot size at different yardage. Your right about the EOTechs. I’ve got the EOTech EXPS2-0 on the same gun and I love it. I never imagined how much of an improvement it would be over iron sights. Worth every penny and I highly recommend it.

        • If it makes you feel better, even my $300 Viridian green laser isn’t much good past 75 yds, and the diameter of the spot is probably about 1/2″ or more, but I don’t care because it is a pistol laser and I don’t see myself using it for anywhere close to 75 yard shots in comp or SD. I don’t think lasers are meant for long distance (past 40-50 yds, ideal at <25 yds) anyway, especially for rifles, although I haven't looked for long range lasers either. IMO optics are better for much more than 40 yards(while still being excellent for closer of course), like your lovely EOTech, I am assuming you agree since you ponied up for one. So the performance you are reporting is actually excellent considering the price paid for this piece of equipment. I paid ~$100 for each of my Lasermax LMS-MICRO lasers for a couple of my pistols that perform just about as well… maybe, haven't tried them past 40yd, and at that range they weren't great. Hell, I paid almost the same price of this grip for a Fenix (the TK41) tac light that is also rated at 700 lumen, although that one is probably closer to its rated output, but still. All in all based on what you have reported on the performance of the laser, this is one heck of a deal, I think in this case we got much more than what we paid for :).

          BTW, while I have used EOTech's and loved them, I do not yet own one for my 556. Given I only paid $850 for my 556 ER used (with probably 300 rds through it and in fine condition), the EOTech combo I want will cost a bit more than the rifle itself (EOTech holo with flip to the side 3X magnifier, or even cooler 3X-9X magnifier if they make one :)), hopefully I can configure to cowitness with the Sig diopter/hooded sight combo too. As it is I have almost spent $800 in accessories for it: this grip, 3 Magpul PMag 30RD clips, 10 40 rd "mil spec" steel mags (purely for storage if the SHTF or for plinking where I don't want to deal with reloading at the range, they were only $9 each so wny not :)), Swiss 551 pin to replace the PITA front double screw takedown pin, the nicer Sig sights, bipod, hinge to make my stock foldable, sling, a couple of different cases, and on and on. When buying one of these things stock, it is just the beginning I guess, where in my case the rifle will have cost me alot less than everything I put on it :).

  8. FYI, if you are new to the AR platform (whether traditional, 556, etc.), put some more time into reading, research, etc. and figuring out what your end goal rifle will be, which will be based on why you purchased it (competition, sporting, zombie invasion preparedness, whatever), vs. just starting to buy gadgets (like I did). In the case of this particular accessory, now that I have taken it to the range a few times and thought about where I wanted it to end up, while really cool, this item for me is now useless :(. This is because for my use (comp), I need a tripod, and I also need to be able to hold in a standing position for long periods of time so need to be comfortable. So, I got a Grip Pod (awesome) so that I would have a bipod when needed, and it stores in the vertible grip when not so I don’t lose verticle grip. Then I installed Magpul angeld grip behind that for better weapon mounting and control, along with better comfort for long periods of shooting (also AWESOME). Finally, I got the diopter/hooded sight set for swiss competition, and a red dot that co witnesses when I am not competing (Swiss only allows iron sights). Finally, I got an EOTech 552 Milspec Holo for combat type comp. Basically, I have no room on the bottom rail for this neat thing because of the Grip Pod and Magpul Angled Foregrip, I have no need for the later given either the iron sights for Swiss, or the red dot and EOTech for combat sim. For the tac light, found better options that are more flexible, where I can use a picatinny torch mount on a side rail with a quick release, and reuse one of my much better torches that I would be carrying anyway (any one of a number from my torch collection from very small 50 lumen to the biggest that would make sense, my Fenix TK41, where I have an 85W HID flashlight (not spotlight) form factor, that is around 8000 lumens, but that is a bit big, and I think weighs at least half of what my 556 does :). Finally, relocating the optics and light(s) to the side/top rails allows me to mount a bayonet without interfering with the throw patterns/visibility.

    I am not saying that this isn’t a great accessory, because it certainly is, just saying to make sure you have your end goal in mind before you start buying accessories, or you may end up extra $ on stuff that you cannot use. It is super easy to do this when you get a new rifle (especially AR15 type platform, there are SO MANY options :)), just takes a bit of discipline before hitting that “submit order” button ;).

  9. Just fired up my STL-300J. The ‘reflection’ off the carpeted floor was enough to convince me never to look directly into the lens while it’s on.

    I want to know if you’ve had any issue removing the terminal plug for the pressure switch. Mine snapped in fine and is solid and works well but I can’t get it out. I don’t want to take the needle nose pliers to it yet. Attempts so far have started peeling back the rubber sheath on the plug. I’d appreciate your input if you have any tips or have had the same problem disconnecting it.

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  11. Anyone know the length of the mounting surface? Trying to figure out how much rail length I would need if I got this.