Weapon Mounted Light Review: Nightstick 550 XL

In the world of weapon mounted lights, there tend to be a few major players and then the rest of the companies do their best to get a bigger bite of the pie. Nightstick is one of those companies vying for more of the pie, and I've got one of their lights in for review.

Let's take a quick look at the Nightstick 550 XL they sent out to me to test out.

As you might imagine, the 550 in the name of the light means it has a 550 lumen output which is a good output for a light like this. It feels like the quality of build is good and sturdy, and you will probably find the controls familiar if you've ever handled WMLs before from other companies.

The 550XL is machined from 6061 aluminum for strength, and has a polymer backing plate and controls.

Overall, I have to say that the Nightstick 550 XL does work well for what it is supposed to be, a WML. There are some restrictions here, however, that have to do with the pie I spoke about just a few short paragraphs ago.

The main problem is holster support, or lack thereof. So, if you're going to be buying one of these for your gun, you'll have a harder time finding a way to carry it. Granted, I'm sure there are some holster companies who offer support for the more popular guns like the Glocks, but for my pictured FN 509, I'm sure I'll have a harder time.

I urge you to check out their website for a list of holster manufacturers who support this light on different guns.

Having said all of that, using a pistol like my 509 with this light on it as a home defense gun is totally acceptable, and I can say with absolute certainty that this light is more than capable of lighting up a dark room with ease.

550 lumens is a good light output for a WML and this is overall a decent weapon mounted light. The light utilizes a CR123A for power, and offers a runtime of about 2.5 hours (per their website).

There are some aspects that could be improved upon.

The main part that can be improved upon, for me, is in the on/off switch.

There are rear-facing switches on each side for both left and right handed defenders. These switches control the function of the light either constant on or momentary on. The momentary on occurs when one of the switches is held down without release, and when it is released the light goes off.

The constant on is a fast tap of the switch, turning the light on until it is turned back off again.

Where I tend to not like these switches is their operation of the light itself.

There is actually a slight delay in light operation when compared to other lights. In other words, when you go to turn the light off it is not instantly off, which I feel it should be.

I tested this compared to a few other light brands by rapidly pushing the switch to see how bad it actually was, if it was even noticeable. When pushed rapidly, on and off multiple times, the light never goes out.

When I tried this with competitor lights at the same speed of button operation, and even faster, the competition's light still shut off and turned back on again as fast as I could push the switch.

That is a showing of instantaneous response for the light to go off on the competitor's light. Does it really make a difference?

I have no way to time how long the delay actually is, but it's long enough to note that if you needed to turn the light off quickly in a dark room to avoid your enemy knowing where you are, that your plans could be foiled.

When tenths of seconds count and you need to avoid detection, that could spell a problem.

Another part of the switch I'm not the biggest fan of, but could just be a training issue on my end, is that the they're very easy to engage. There is almost zero pressure required to engage the switch, which means you can accidentally turn it on or off.

Again, this could just be an issue with me, because I'm used to stiffer switches.

Overall, this is a decent weapon light. If you're in the market for a relatively inexpensive light for your home defense gun and are okay with less holster support, this might be a good option for you.

If you have any experience with this particular light let us know in the comments below.

Read this next:

Considerations for WML.

Top 5 WM Lights Compared.

Handheld vs WML.

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.

1 Comment

  1. David R on November 9, 2020 at 8:20 am

    17 listed holster companies listed on the Nightstick website for this model light alone seems like a pretty good list of holster options. I find the switches to be very responsive kind of like Goldilocks porridge, for me… it’s just right.

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