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Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Gunday Product Review: Glock Magazine Floorplate with Flashlight Holder

I own a Glock 26, and while its small size suit my small hands and make for easier concealed carry, it does have one rather significant drawback: it lacks a tactical rail to mount a flashlight.
I'm not certain why this is so. I've heard arguments that "It's a pistol designed to be small; why would you want a light on it that increases its length?" And to a certain extent that's true... but it's also true that some of us (me, for instance) own just the one carry pistol and might need to see what we're aiming at in a self-defense scenario.

There are various work-arounds, of course. One option -- I'm really not sure how popular it is -- involves clamping an aftermarket rail to the trigger guard. However, this rail extend far forward of the pistol and looks rather ungainly, and I honestly wonder if the recoil wouldn't knock it out of position.

The other option, and the one I'm reviewing today, is Glock's solution: a flashlight mount that attaches to the bottom of a standard magazine. This keeps the G26 the same length as standard (although it does add 1.5" to the pistol's height).
The Good
  • It works with any double-stack Glock magazine. 
  • The flashlight can easily be operated with the weak hand. 
  • It's made by the same company that makes the pistol and magazines, so there's an inherent assumption that it really ought to work well. 
  • It doesn't cost much, so if you try it and don't like it you aren't out much. 
  • When installed, your pistol looks a bit like Star-Lord's blaster

The Intermediate
  • Depending upon the length of the flashlight and the size of the operator's hand, some users may feel cramped. (My small hands find it quite comfortable; my strong-side pinkie finger can rest on the extension, and while my weak-side fingers need to fold a bit, it isn't awkward by any means.)
  • The flashlight it not held parallel to the barrel; it angles down approximately five degrees. While this is more than sufficient for illuminating what's in front of you, and does a good job of lighting the ground so you don't stumble and fall), it doesn't do a very good job of illuminating my sights. I was very grateful to have night sights on my pistol, as the combination of tritium dots and a flashlight proved quite effective. 

The Bad
  • Having a flashlight mounted to the butt of your sub-compact pistol makes it decidedly less compact. (See below for kludgy workaround.)
  • Not all flashlights will fit, even ones listed as being 1" diameter. I was able to fit my Cree Ultrafire into the holder with some effort (I removed the flashlight pocket clip, trimmed the outer edge of the holder with a knife to give the mouth a bit of a ramp, and then pounded the magazine over the light with a rubber mallet until it finally seated), but I'm pretty sure it's not coming out again without some serious work. 
  • Similarly, removing the baseplate requires a long tool to disengage it from the insert. I have a GTUL that I use for this, but it could also be done with a hex wrench of the proper length and diameter. Even so, it's not easy; the word "awkward" perfectly describes this process.
  • And then there's the elephant in the room: the light is attached to something which is designed to eject during a fight. Once the magazine is empty, your light goes away. This is a HUGE disadvantage in my eyes, and it caused me to discount this as an option more than once... however, I simply couldn't find any better way to mount a light to my G26. So yes, it's dumb, but I can't find a way that is less dumb, and at least this dumb way works. 

My Recommendation
This is the most negative positive review I've given. 

If you have a Glock 26 or 27 and need to mount a flashlight to it, this is the least dumb way to go in my opinion. It's not great, but it works. 

I would further recommend that you get a magazine carrier for your belt (this one is what I have). That way you can keep the flashlight in the holder during the daytime and have a +2 magazine inside your pistol. Also, if you end up using this at night and your magazine goes empty, you could theoretically place the empty mag in the holder so you don't completely lose all light. Of course, swapping magazines like this brings its own complications.

Rating: B
It works... it's just awkward. If you find a better solution, use it.

Obligatory FTC Disclaimer: I bought this with my own money. Go away. 

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