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.
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.
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.
- 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:
- Sig Sauer Product Page
- Sig Sauer Instruction Booklet (Sep 2009)
- iTac Product Page
- iTAC Sell Sheet
- iTAC Owner’s Manual