Streamlight TLR-7 versus Olight PL-Mini Valkyrie
The Compact Light Showdown
A LOT of people are looking for a comparison between the TLR-7 and the PL-Mini Valkyrie. These two competing lights don’t offer a whole lot that I’m super enthusiastic about which sucks. Right off the bat, this is like when you were forming teams for dodge-ball in elementary. You’re looking at the last two kids, one with extremely thick no-see-ums on, and the other being a tanker unit.
So, which of the two lights do I recommend you getting? Well… as much as I hate to say it, this decision comes down to “what works for you,” which is what I’ll be explaining.
Let There Be Light!
The TLR-7 is pushing a respectable 500 lumens, the PL-Mini Valkyrie is pushing an equally respectable 400 lumens (at least for the first minute of use). Between the two, I prefer the light the PL-Mini pushes out. The TLR-7 pushes out a yellow light which makes it appear dimmer despite it having the superior output (both lumen and candela wise).
The PL-Mini pushes out a true white light that makes identifying obstacles/people/animals easier when compared to the Streamlight TLR-7. Above you’ll see a comparison of the PL-Mini Valkyrie to the TLR-7 at a distance of about 10 feet. What you’re looking at is my shower curtain, with an FDE-ish AK-47 themed shemagh, and a white T-Shirt to use as a light color reference.
As you can kind of see, colors begin to meld with the TLR-7, whereas with the Olight PL-Mini, you can distinguish a lot more. From my experience before I moved, the Olight PL-Mini and Streamlight TLR-7 only have usable light out to about 50 feet with there being some ambient light. The PL-Mini’s light becomes less usable at a marginally shorter distance, but inside of that distance, the white light does make it easier to identify stuff.
I absolutely abhor the controls on the Streamlight TLR-7. They aren’t intuitive and they weren’t well thought out. The Olight PL-Mini Valkyrie’s controls are 10x easier to get the hang of and small handed people are going to have an easier time running them. If you’re needing a compact weapon light one handed control manipulations need to be tied for first place with quality. If you can’t reach the controls, sacrifice a little quality for controls you can reach.
Length of reach is going to be a combination of the gun’s size, rail placement on the gun, and your index finger’s length. Below you’ll see the PL-Mini and the TLR-7 on a Glock 19x. The length of reach and rail placement are going to be the same or similar to the: Glock 19, Glock 23, CZ P-01, CZ P-07, CZ 75 railed compact, and Beretta PX4 Compact.
The hand on top fits into Small to Medium sized gloves. The hand on the bottom fits into Large to Extra Large sized gloves. If you have small hands, the TLR-7 should be immediately pushed out of your list. As the person with the L-XL, the TLR-7’s controls are still a pain in the ass to hit on the 19x, but it’s do-able.
There is an obvious advantage to having a battery that you can replace as needed and a disadvantage to rechargeable lights. This gives the TLR-7 an edge in terms of quality. In my research I haven’t found any electronic issues being experienced with the PL-Mini and Streamlight did do a recall (?) pretty early on with the TLR-7’s emitter but it hasn’t had any issues since.
Whereas the PL-Mini’s controls are superior for use, they can get debris stuck in them which causes the light to seize up essentially; this is a none issue with the TLR-7. The PL-Mini’s rail clamps can also damage rails on guns that aren’t the Glock 19 while damaging itself. This isn’t an issue with the TLR-7 since it use’s an identical system to the TLR-1.
From other reviews and other individual accounts, there isn’t an extreme difference in quality separating these two lights. That said, in feel, the TLR-7 feels to be better constructed.
Which should I buy, TacCat?
If you can perform one handed manipulations with the controls on each…I can’t say it isn’t user preference. I prefer the light the Olight PL-Mini throws as well as the controls. The issues with the controls jamming from debris being reported, the run time on the maximum output, and the internal battery are all points of concern for me.
I hate the controls on the Streamlight TLR-7, but they’re sealed. I hate the color of the light the TLR-7 throws, but maximum output lasts longer. I absolutely love the fact that I can change the battery on the TLR-7. At this point, it comes down to “Which milk is less spoiled?”
To which I say, there isn’t a definite answer. If I can’t hit the controls reliably with the TLR-7, I’m rocking the PL-Mini. If I can hit the controls on the TLR-7 reliably? I would probably run with the TLR-7… why? If I turn the light on and it appears dim before going to the holster, I can change the battery immediately, and be on my merry way. If I do that same thing with the PL-Mini and it appears dim? The battery’s capacity is either shot, or I forgot to charge it; now it’s dead weight.
Below you’ll see my stand alone review for both of these lights, neither of which are overly impressive, and I’m waiting for the market to develop a better option. If you decided to go with either of these lights, be sure to let me know why, and which one!