Since I was already in an LED mood after upgrading my Maglites, I decided I’d punch up the performance of my M3 Tactical Illuminator with an LED upgrade of its own.
The ubiquitous M3 Tactical Illuminator, a favorite among law enforcement and military personnel, is a rail-mounted weapon light produced by Insight Technology, a subsidiary of the well-known L-3 Communications EOTech, who are famous for their top-level military combat holographic optics (one of which is mounted on my Sig Sauer 556 SWAT). I bought my M3 tac light when I bought my very first Glock 17 as a home-defense pistol. Back then, the M3 shipped with a Xenon bulb — which provided decent light output with an acceptable power drain on the lithium batteries. Time and technology march on, however, and LED now technology reigns supreme in the tactical lighting market.
The MSRP on a brand new M3 LED weapon light is still around $200, but the only difference between one of those and one of the Xenon versions is the LED “guts” and an upgraded reflector bezel — both of which are sold as an upgrade kit by Insight for an MSRP of $64.99 (and a street price of around $52 through Amazon). Here’s what you get in the kit:
And here’s EOTech’s official marketing blurb:
The EOTech M3/M6 LED Bezel Kit greatly improves the already powerful illumination afforded by the M3 or M6 tactical flashlight. Designed specifically for the EOTech M3 Tactical Illuminator and its M6 cousin, this EOTech flashlight accessory makes for a brighter, longer lasting attachment to your favorite weapon. Pumping out 125 lumens of bright white light for up to 120 minutes, the EOTech M3/M6 Flashlight Upgrade Kit augments the M3 and M6′s already impressive capabilities by 35 lumens and nearly doubles their run time, making for a cost effective flashlight accessory that can make all the difference in a truly dark tactical situation. Choose between the black finish (GLL-750-A1) or the tan finish (GLL-750-A2) to further customize this EOTech product. Increase the power and lifespan of your tactical flashlight with the EOTech LED Upgrade for M3/M6.
The LED upgrade components arrived in a small blister pack, but thankfully it was the kind that doesn’t require a knife or scissors to open. A single foam insert held both pieces in place and the easy-to-read instructions were mostly helpful in warning me that the LED assembly needed to be inserted with the RAIL marking on the upper side (toward the rail, natch).
The upgrade was quick and easy, and while I kept the packaging so I could store the removed bulb and bezel, it’s doubtful I’ll ever want or need them again. The LED light output is significantly brighter (90 lumens for the Xenon vs. 125 lumens for the LED) and whiter, and the battery life is now doubled to 2 hours. But beyond all that, there’s zero difference… which is a good thing since I’m already comfortable with the controls of this light.
Bottom line: Rather than ditch your trusty M3 or M6 tactical light in favor of a newer Streamlight or some other LED tactical light, spend the 50-ish bucks on a quick upgrade to make your old favorite tac light your new favorite tac light.
I welcome your comments and feedback below.