While this review does sway from the ‘daily carry’ mentality, it doesn’t sway from the premise: We prepare using quality, reliable equipment to ensure that we meet what life brings us head on. That includes when the sun goes down, and darkness is upon us. Darkness is the perfect scenario for many who hunt, or prey, to take advantage of the absence of light. Unfortunately, this also includes thieves and those who could potentially do harm to others. While there are those who do not carry a firearm, those that do EDC their handgun typically keep it as a source for home defense, among other purposes. Luckily, as necessity is the mother of invention, the weaponlight was born.
Weapon lights present a variety of solutions to the issue that darkness provides. One of them is quite obvious – illuminating darkness helps you navigate your surroundings much easier. A weapon light allows your firearm to double as a tactical flashlight and free your secondary hand in order to reliably handle both the firearm and weaponlight with accuracy. Another is just as obvious – proper use of your weapon light allows you to separate friend from foe in the event they are in close proximity, minimizing the possibility of injury and/or death to the innocent. While an army of companies have released weapon lights, lasers, and combinations of both, 3 companies have been some of the most popular in this segment, and are touted by law enforcement as the most reliable: Streamlight, Surefire, and Inforce. Recently, a new company has stepped into the fray and has begun solidifying their role in the weaponlight shortlist. That company? Why, Olight of course!
Their initial offerings began with the PL1, PL1 (II), and PL2 weapon lights. While their quality control has been steadily improving, feedback from users expressed wanting a durable, more compact version, capable of being used on multiple models of firearms with a rail. After studying the competition, and putting their technology to work, Olight released the PL-MINI Valkyrie – a culmination of years of Olight in the LED industry to provide the brightest and most compact weapon flashlight to date. So what makes the PL-MINI so special?
A whole slew of things, actually. Olight was kind enough to ship me a PL-MINI for review, and wow, am I impressed!
What I Like About It: As it turns out, the PL-MINI can be mounted on the stock Glock rail or ANY Picatinny rail mount , whether on a pistol , rifle , or shotgun, using the adapter included in the package. Speaking of which, the package includes the PL-MINI itself , a magnetic charger, the adapter for the Picatinny rails (with Glock rail mount installed) and the T6/T8 socket head wrench tool for changing adapters. And the price? Try just under $80 – A true bargain for a compact, water and impact resistant light/charger set for your firearm. Don’t let Olight know, but this easily could have been marketed for well over $100 like comparable lights.
Keeping true to its’ name, the PL-MINI is quite small, measuring less than 2.5 inches in length and weighing just 2 ounces, which allows the shooter to easily integrate it into their shooting system without having to account for a drastic shift in weight while shooting. I tested the light on my Glock 17, and found there was more than enough relief for the light to be mounted on many other commonly used firearms, such as the Glock 19/23, H&K VP/P30 series, M&P Compact 2.0, Sig 220’s, and Springfield XDM/Mod 2 series pistols with Picatinny rails. Adding to its effectiveness, you can also mount it to standard sporting rifles and shotguns with a rail accessory. Mounting and releasing the PL-MINI is a snap, literally – using the quick release lever you can apply/remove the light and make short work of reapplying it to anything in your collection that it is compatible with. You simply pull outward on the lever to unlock the light , move it to the next weapon and then push the locking lever back down to lock it onto your weapon of choice. All this and I have yet to even talk about the output!
Keeping up with their line of flashlights, the PL MINI includes Olight’s signature magnetic charging system for the end user’s convenience. Simply connect the included MCC charging cable to any USB power source and the charger magnetically ‘snaps’ onto the bottom of the light, reflecting a charging (red) signal, and a fully charged (green) signal once complete. Once fully powered, you’ll find the UI was kept very simple, with a single mode for constant on, or a single “tactical” mode and the light becomes ambidextrous. The constant on is activated with a quick press of either of the switches that are located at the very rear of the light and are positioned for an easy touch when mounted on a pistol. To turn the light off from the constant on mode another quick press is all that is needed. The tactical ‘momentary on’ is done with a press and hold of either switch and goes off when released, no matter if only held for a couple of seconds or for a long period, as long as the switch is fully depressed and held, the light stays on and then goes off when the switch is released.
The PL-Mini uilizes the XP-L HI emitter and a fairly wide, defined hotspot, making the PL-Mini a more-than-viable candidate for indoor and tactical use with a 400 lumen output. Olight measures the output to reach up to 246 feet, or 75 meter in distance, so if you plan on using it for your home defense weapon, you will be sure to light up the room, no matter how large or small it may be. The lens itself is a smooth reflector, providing an exceptional beam profile. The light itself is powered by a propietary 960mAh lithium polymer batter that is sealed inside of the light itself, allowing you to run just over an hour of constant light without setting off the low power warning indicator, eventually turning the light off.
What I Don’t Like About It: While compact, it still does not provide a solution for lights with less than a 3.5″ barrel, like many current concealed carry offerings. Competitor offerings, while not as bright, allow the user to swap out batteries should the existing charge go bad. Having a proprietary internal power source, while functional by Olight standards, creates an issue once the battery malfunctions/goes bad. And then there is the fact that it is a newcomer to the market. Holster offerings have been difficult to produce as many of the lrge companies do not yet have molds available to include the PL MINI in their normal offerings. This keeps market share in favor of the more expensive, lesser performing lights and continues to keep Olight out of the spotlight. And while it really makes no difference in aesthetics, performance, and/or reliability, Olight manufactures their products in China. Ask most who carry a firearm in the US and they would prefer an American product several times over an imported product, even if it means paying more for an inferior alternative (Looking at you, Elzetta & Surefire).
Final Thoughts: Given enough time, I truly believe this light will outpace its competition if the company is willing to source holsters for firearms compatible with the PL Mini. I’ve discussed the product with some of my friends in the service and they agree that while there are other universally known and used offerings, the biggest issue lies in a lack of lumen output and a true lack of customer service and troubleshooting once their product malfunctions. I can tell you personally that any time I have contacted Olight by phone, I was answered by a person who was knowledgeable of their products and willing to help me find a solution to my issue. This is a step in the right direction, and mark my words, if Olight continues on this path, they will be a weaponlight segment leader in no time at all. I took a good look at the current competition, and the PL-MINI’s biggest competitors are the Surefire XC1-B (more expensive, 300 lumens max, issues securing to rail) and InForce APLC (MUCH more expensive, separate models for Glock/Non Glock firearms, 200 lumens, larger overall size) already find themselves in a difficult position to compete with Olight. I guess it will come down to a mixture of holster supply and user demand, and hope that it does, because this is a light worth staking your security (and that of your friends/loved ones) to take the advantage of darkness away from your opposition. Give it a try – you will not be disappointed. Olight offers the light directly via their eBay account, where you can Purchase the Olight PL-MINI HERE .
If you are more of a fan of Amazon Prime, you’re in luck: Feel free to Check It Out Here. I really appreciate the opportunity to review this product from Olight, and hope this is the start of a great relationship between them and Daily Carry Solutions!