Handguns and Ammunition Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

3,441 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I'm trying to decide what model of pistol to buy and was wondering if those having accessory rails have any positive or negative traits you know of...
All my semi-autos are sans rails, but if there is an advantage to mounting a light on them or other accessory I'd like to know about it. Have always steered away from rails because they used to be hard to find holsters for and I never liked the idea of being behind a "target indicator" when in use. Have always used a separate light. In my case the Surefire 6P.
Twoguns, Jim H., and all may want to chime in here...


I think you've covered it.

The holster issue is the biggy, but the "railed" autos have been on the market for quite some time now.

Like you, my view is a light on a handgun is likely to become a "bullet magnet" in a clearing operation.

4,399 Posts
Hello Wes,

Well, +1 to nevadaalan's comments that more often than not, accessory rails have become the rage among handgun manufacturers.

When I bought my SIG P226R, I thought I might be getting an "older" model without the rail, but low and behold, it came with one.

Was I disappointed? No. I suspect there might come a day when I actually may decide to mount a light/laser on the rail. It really doesn't bother me one way or another because the SIGARMS just plain shoots too good and I can overlook it.

I looked at SIG's catalog and the majority of handguns now feature the rail. I would put size, capacity and ergonomics before making a choice based on a whether it has a rail or not.

My next will be a P229 DAK, which does not have the rail....yet!


2,064 Posts
Howdy Mr. Wes,

Well sir again I reckon it is much like choosing a vehicle - you buy the one that works best for you. I wll note that initially I was very much as you have described yourself. I opted not to buy pistols with the rail because of the holster issue. I also have several 6Ps and a Z model (bit more user friendly while shooting via speciific design - think you can buy parts and modify the P to the Z configuration if desired).

When I received my issued, no other option you will carry this Glock pistol, it did come with the rail. I debated seriously getting a tactial light as I now had a pistol with a rail. Before I did purchase a light, all of the folks in our local DEA office were issued tactical lights for their issued Glock pistols. I have always made it a policy to network with my own and other agency firearms instructors for the beneficial info out there.

I got a quick headsup from our local DEA instructor they were having a ton of malfunctions during quals, with the lights attached to simulate tactical situations. They had passed it along to their head firearms unit who said they would contact the Glock factory to discuss it. I was told he was not able to obtain specific information from his main unit, but he had been instructed to take possession of all lightfs for the Glocks and not to allow them to be used.

Since you are an instructor, I think you will understand what I mean. There are times when word comes down from on high to us in the field that tells us to do something, but does not explain the reasoning behind it. If I knew I would say, but there are times when I only possess certain details, so I can only share what I possess.

The only pistol I currently own with a rail is the steel framed P226R. When I began looking for various holsters for it, I discovered many of the brands I normally consider do offer a rail version routinely, and some are simply designed to fit both versions of the same pistol now. For example my Safariland 6004 drop leg unit fits either version of the 226, as does it equivalent OWB model whose number I forget now. The Don Hume OWB unit I now use with most carry pistol has a body shield and accepts rails also.

I asked my gun dealer/buddy for his thoughts on tactical lights, as I was debating trying them on both my 226 and several tactical CARs I owned. Gary stated he had played with all the brands and models he stocked, and felt the Streamlight TLR-1 (light only) and TLR-2 (light and laser) were his personal preferences now. These were the units he used on his personal weapons at home.

I ended up buying one of each model from him. I have not yet had the chance to use the TLR-2, but have shot the TLR-1 on both my 226R and a couple of my CARs. My testing of it has admittedly been limited to date, but I have experinced NO malfunctions of any type with the light mounted on my 226R.

I do agree that most choices we make in life are trade-offs. I have been able to learn to use 6Ps and my 6Z well. But given my medical issues I simply took a long look down the road and decided their were advantages for me of being able to use a two hand hold while firing by using a mounted tactical light. There are trade-offs, and I know you understand what I mean by that. You were asking about functioning information (not theory, which I am confident you already know anyway).

But I will note that the Stremlight units do give you the option of temp or continuous illumintion, much like the Sure-Fire lights do. Also I will not be removing my 6P/6Z units from my vest or gun belt. I simply have more options depending on a specific situation that way.

You know I have the 75B in 40, and I am in the process of acquiring an SP-01 from my gunsmith when he completes his magic on one he had in stock. The deal he offered me on the SP-01 was simply to good to pass on. I decided to get the SP-01 as it has the rail, and I will be able to swap frames, so I will have a 75B in 40 (and eventually 357 Sig) with a rail.

Another accessory I acquired, but again have not been able to test yet, is a CZ tactical block. It is designed to fit on rails, so it is sitting packaged until the SP-01 comes home with me. You use it for making quick compliance jabs to the forehead. It allegedly prevents your pistol from going out of battery during the technique.

My gunsmith who is a competitive shooter and has one, says it also functions like a compensator reducing muzzle climb. The block also sports rails to allow a light to be mounted if desired. Will it prove useful to me - not sure yet. But I got it as I felt it was worth checking out, especially if is was somewhat universal in fitting other platforms with rails. I thought our SRT team might be interested if it was. Still need to resolve that question too. But you asked about other accessories, and I know of this one.

It is like I noted with my first experience with my newly acquired chronograph. It reminded me of my first set of night sights - I wondered why I had waited so long to try them. For me, the same is true of pistols with rails and tacical lights. I was impressed enough with my 226R experience I purchased a couple of Bianchi light pouches to hold the Streamlights. I will rig one up to my tactical belt, and one to my tactical vest.

But again sir, as you noted it is much like vehicles - you test drive or ignore various models until you find the one you want to drive. I simply do not know if using a light mounted on a steel framed Sig 226 would compare equally to one mounted on an alloy 226. So I simply do not know what to say on reliability/functioning there.

Hopefully some of our members with tactial lights and Sigs or even other brands can share their first hand experience with you as well.

As I noted my first hand experience is a bit limited so far, but has been totally positive to this point. If I should find it changes at all, I will be sure to yell sir.

1 - 4 of 4 Posts