» » SureFire XC1 Handgun Light Review

SureFire XC1 Handgun Light Review

posted in: Featured, Firearms, Gear, Review, Shooting | 9

Back in January at SHOT Show 2015, I reported on the newly announced SureFire XC1 handgun / pistol light in my 2015 SHOT Show After Action Report. After 9 or so months, XC1 units are finally trickling out to retailers. Raven Concealment Systems (RCS) is one such manufacturer/retailer that received some of the units from the first run. RCS actually promoted a pre-order deal in August for a SureFire XC1 and a Raven Concealment Systems Phantom LC holster for Glock 19 + XC1.

I took advantage of the offer and put in a pre-order. Shortly thereafter, Haley Strategic Systems published a similar promotion combining the SureFire XC1 with an HSP / G-Code INCOG Shadow holster. I ended up placing an order for an INCOG Shadow, as well (without the light).

After a long wait, RCS shipped out the XC1 + Phantom LC holster and I received it on October 16.

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The first thing you’re going to notice is how compact and lightweight the XC1 is, especially if you already own a SureFire X300 or X300 Ultra.

The XC1 weighs in at 1.6 ounces including the AAA battery, while the X300 Ultra weighs 4.0 ounces including the two (2) 123A batteries.

The XC1 is 2.375 inches in length, while the X300 Ultra is 3.6 inches in length.

The XC1 is slimmer than the X300 / X300 Ultra because it doesn’t have the same battery compartment requirements and the light bezel is smaller (.375 inches vs 1.125 inches).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince the XC1 runs off of a single AAA battery, the compromise is made in terms of illumination output. The XC1 has a maximum output of 200 lumens, but with a tactical runtime of 1.5 hours, which is actually quite impressive from a single AAA battery. The X300 Ultra has a 500 lumen maximum output with a tactical runtime of 1.5 hours, and the original X300 (non-ultra) has a 170 lumen maximum output with a tactical runtime of 2.5 hours.

Note: SureFire recently updated the X300 Ultra to the X300 Ultra B. The Bravo model is now 600 lumens versus 500 lumens.

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The XC1 one has a manual on/off crossbar switch. It is very similar to a button safety you’ll find on the trigger guard of a Remington 870, but reversed. Press the button from the left side to turn the light on, and press the button from the right to turn the light off.

Ocab-20151016-194207-600There are two momentary actuation switches on the rear of the light, which hug the trigger guard. They function more like tilt switches than push buttons. Simply place pressure on the actuation switches so the switches/buttons go down (towards the ground). Pressing the switch from the very top or the bottom part of the switch from the rear will work fine.

Unlike the X300 units with the U/P latch which allow the light to be attached and detached by hand without tools, the XC1 will require the use of a flat blade screwdriver to attach/detach the XC1 from the pistol. Since I’m primarily a Glock pistol shooter, I am used to being able to quickly attach and detach the X300 / X300 Ultra lights from the pistol. You may find yourself in a situation where you need to use a flashlight only, and being able to remove the weapon light from the gun quickly to use as a handheld light is quite handy.

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A Glock 19 with the XC1 handle almost like a Glock 19 without any light attached to it. The XC1 is hardly noticeable, unlike with an X300 where you know there is some weight near the muzzle of the pistol.

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As far as the beam output of the XC1, it is not tightly focused like the X300 or X300 Ultra. But the beam gives a nice even illumination near the center with a gradual and consistent fall off of light from center.

The following sample photos were shot indoors at very close range of ~10 feet (from left to right: X300, XC1, X300 Ultra):

The following shots were shot outdoors at seven yards (from left to right: X300, XC1, X300 Ultra):

The camera was set to manual and locked in for the same aperture, shutter, and ISO for all three beam samples in order to keep them even. But I took liberties in adjusting temperature to get the beams looking like what I perceive them to be in real life, and I also bumped up the exposure slightly on the X300 sample photo to make it more reflective of real life.

Anyway, as you can see, the X300 and X300 Ultra have very tightly focused beams of light, but the X300 Ultra’s high lumen output gives the perception of more light falling away from center. The X300 is more pronounced in the tightly focused beam with a rapid fall off of light from center, due to the lower lumen output.

The farther distance helps show the distinct shape of light projected by the XC1 versus the X300 series.

But the XC1’s 200 lumens are shaped in a wider pattern that the X300 series giving a sizable cone of light on target.

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I mentioned at the beginning  that I pre-ordered the SureFire XC1 via a combo promotional with a Raven Concealment Systems Phantom LC (Light Compatible) holster. I have been using RCS Phantom LC holsters for the past few years now. These are excellent outside-the-waistband (OWB) holsters and I have already written a review of my first Phantom LC (for a Glock 17 with a SureFire X300).

The RCS Phantom LC for a G19+XC1 is smaller (shorter and thinner) than an RCS Phantom LC for a G19+X300U.

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RCS Phantom LC for G19+XC1 with Phantom LC for G19 + X300U behind.

This is due to the fact that there’s less of a light to mold around. Since the X300/X300U have large battery compartments that make the light body wider than the gun, the holster needs to accommodate this.

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XC1 in front of the X300 Ultra

But it is also interesting to note that I was able to insert a G19 into the Phantom LC for a G19+XC1 without the XC1 light attached and it securely retained in the holster. This is because the Phantom LC for a G19+XC1 actually retains at the trigger guard of the gun, whereas the Phantom LC for a G19+X300/X300U retains at the light itself (due to the fact that the body of the X300/X300U is wider than the pistol).

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I also acquired the Haley Strategic Partners INCOG Shadow for the G19+XC1 which is an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster. I actually already own the INCOG and INCOG Eclipse, but these are holsters that take pistols without attached lights.

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Haley Strategic Partners / G-Code INCOG Eclipse for a G26/G19.

Just a little background on the HSP/C-Gode INCOG since I don’t have a write-up on these holsters.

The INCOG series of holsters are a happy medium between some of the more traditional IWB holsters such as the Crossbreed which is a hybrid of Kydex and leather, using a larger leather backer inbetween the body and the gun, and the minimalist IWB holsters like the Raven Concealment Systems Vanguard which is a simple polymer enclosure for the trigger and a belt clip attached (and no holster material around the rest of the gun).

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Comp-Tac MTAC holster (top/left), Raven Concealment Systems Vanguard 2 (bottom/right).

The INCOG series of holsters are Kydex with a “Tactical Fuzz” outer coating (or a camouflage coating). From the Edge Works / G-Code FAQ:

Tactical Fuzz is a “suede like” synthetic outer laminate. This outer layer presents a softer surface that significantly reduces noise during movement, lowers the rigs reflective signature in the IR spectrum and blends with the surrounding environment. “Tactical Fuzz” has a near 0% water absorption rate and is permanently bonded to the holsters outer surface. Tactical Fuzz is an available upgrade on ALL G-Code holsters (except for the SOC Rig) and magazine carriers as well as select G-Code accessories.

I am actually a fan of the INCOG for IWB, particularly appendix carry. Appendix carry is becoming more accepted, although it still has a lot of detractors. I used to prefer IWB at the 4 o’clock or 5 o’clock position, but appendix carry (anywhere from 1 o’clock to 2 o’clock depending on attire) gives faster draw and it does make the operator more attentive of the gun being carried.

Appendix carry IWB can be tough. It’s definitely not for tucked in shirts unless you’re wearing outerwear (e.g. suit jacket, sweatshirt, etc). Even with an untucked t-shirt, printing could be a problem.

That being said, the INCOG Shadow I purchased came with the “mag caddy” installed.

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INCOG Shadow with Mag Caddy option

This allows the carry of one spare magazine along with the pistol. This seems handy, but it looks like a lot of bulk to try and carry IWB. But I can easily remove the mag caddy and run the INCOG Shadow without it. The Shadow is also a two clip design. The INCOG is also a two clip design, where as the INCOG Eclipse is a single clip design.

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HSP / G-Code INCOG Shadow XC1 (Full Guard) with Raven Concealment Systems Phantom LC behind it.

Not that you can covert a two-clip INCOG to a single clip using the Super MOJO clip sold by HSP/G-Code. Two clips will give more stability, but a single clip is easier to run on the belt, and in the case of smaller pistols like a Glock 26, a single clip is more than enough to hold the gun in a stable manner.

As far as the INCOG Shadow for the G19+XC1, it is a bit beefy with the mag caddy. This is going to be a YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) situation with regards to whether or not you can run the INCOG Shadow with mag caddy for a G19+XC1.

But the Raven Concealment Systems Phantom LC and the Haley Strategic Partners / G-Code INCOG Shadow are the very first holsters available for a Glock 19 and SureFire XC1, which is most likely going to be the most common pairing for the XC1. Which holster would I recommend? They are both solid holsters, but for different carry styles.

It all depends on how you want to carry and how you dress (jacket or no jacket, etc). OWB is going to be the most comfortable for everyone, hands down. But IWB with appendix carry is arguably one of the most expedient concealed carry methods available. Either way, you’re going to get a quality holster.

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Can I get a light?

Now as far as recommending the SureFire XC1, I give it a solid ‘yes’ for anyone how wants a smaller form factor light for their Glock 19 or other compact pistol with an accessory rail.

The 200 lumen power output is more than enough for a pistol platform and the use of a AAA battery means lower maintenance since it is not reliant on the more expensive 123A batteries.

The one negative aspect of the XC1 is the fact that you need a screw driver to install it on a Glock. I would have preferred a U/P latch on the XC1 for hand installation/removal. But I surmise SureFire wanted to keep this light more universal to all types of pistol attachment rails and having an interchangeable latch mechanism most likely would not have fit the small form factor of the XC1.

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Lastly, there is the price. The SureFire XC1 has an MSRP of $299, which is the same as the current MSRP of $299 for the SureFire X300 Ultra-B. $299 for 200 lumens in a small lightweight form factor light, or $299 for 600 lumens in a larger and heavier form factor.

The decision on which to get is up to the user and the intended application.

But it looks like SureFire has done it once again with the XC1 pistol light. Of course, if you want one right now (October 2015), they are still in short supply at retailers. Just stay on the look out and you should be able to score one in the next month or so.

9 Responses

  1. Smeeg
    |

    Can you fit a g19 in the incog/xc1 with the xc1 removed?

  2. ocabj
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    Good question. I just checked. Yes, the G19 without the XC1 attached will retain in the INCOG Shadow XC1.

  3. Chris
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    Great Review, Will that incog shadow holster work with a G19 that has an rmr on it?

  4. ocabj
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    I don’t have a G19 with an RMR cut, but I put my G17 with RMR cut to confirm that there’s no way it’ll fit with “full guard” configuration. Half guard is most likely going to be the same. No clearance for RMR. But definitely contact G-Code to be sure.

  5. Chris
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    Thanks for the quick reply…

  6. Jack
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    Thanks for the detailed write up. Can the incog with mojo be adjusted for cant? I prefer to carry iwb 4-5 o’clock with 15 degree cant. Is this possible with the incog and would the one clip be secure enough?

  7. ocabj
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    Yes, you can adjust the can with the MOJO / Super MOJO. There’s pics on the GCode page of the MOJOs and the threaded holes. I’m going to guess that amounts to about a 15-20 degree cant. I’m too lazy to dig up a protractor. I’ve carried the G26 in a INCOG Eclipse with no issue. I have not tried a G19, nor a G19+XC1 with the INCOG Eclipse (single clip).

  8. Shanely
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    I’ve heard some complaints about not being able to use the XC1 one handed because of the constant on/off switch location on the front left side of the light. Noticed any problems in this area?

  9. ocabj
    |

    Yes, technically it requires two handed grip to toggle the constant on and off.

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