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The HRT AWLS - At Home On a Combat Shotgun?
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The HRT AWLS - At Home On a Combat Shotgun?

So, let's talk about HRT AWLS, there's a few variants... 

The HRT AWLS 18350, 18650, and then lite versions of both of them. The differences are pretty self-explanatory, the 18350/18650 are the power sources they run off of, and then the lite versions are more cost effective versions that have some reduced output (because they switch the MK6 head for the MK3 head in the lite versions). For lite versions of both, you'll save about $100 or so, and get some reduced output (both candela and lumens). For those that don't think you'll need illumination out too far, the lite version may be perfectly acceptable for you. 

I picked mine up my personal one last week (an 18650 lite), and had it sitting in my gun room for a few days, just pondering what it would be best on. My initial thought was setting up one of my fighting carbines with a GWOT like setup, where the light is setup for left side activation from the foregrip hand, like you'd do with anything with a "clicky-cap". For those that are right-handed, that would be your left side thumb activating the light. For the wrong-handed, your right side thumb. After some thinking and messing around with a few guns, this actually ended up on my Benelli M4 (the king of combat shotguns). My mindset was simple, I'm not ever going to C-clamp my shotgun, my support hand is always sitting right there, and I don't need to switch my shotgun on for always on shooting, if it's setup to clear my house. 

So let's talk about why I came to this conclusion, and why I really think this setup shines best on a shotgun (though it really will work on any rifle, shotgun, or even PCC!). To understand this conclusion, we've gotta look at the light. Skeletonized/drawn image of an HRT AWLS 18650

If you notice the "tailcap", it's quite different from anything you've seen before. That's because it's actually an Omni-Directional-Activator, or what I have explained as a joystick. This ODA can be activated from the side, pushing it up/sideways/any which way like a joystick, and can also be pushed in. Personally, the way I use my support hand on my Benelli, this light is perfectly setup for a combat shotgun. Alternatively, any fighting carbine would be happy to have a light with this output, with the full-size 18650 boasting quite the numbers...

  • Output: 1700 Lumens
  • Peak beam intensity: 90,000 Candela
  • Runtime: 103 minutes
  • Automatic internal thermal management to prevent overheating

Comparatively, for other lights in its class...

The Cloud Defensive Rein 3.0 has...

  • Output: 1250 Lumens
  • Peak beam intensity: 100,000 Candela
  • Runtime: 65 minutes

The Surefire M600U has...

  • Output:1000 Lumens
  • Peak beam intensity: 11,300 Candela
  • Runtime: 75 Minutes

Very comparable statistics to the HRT light, both with much less runtime, but both retailing for $50-100 more than the HRT. You can't go wrong with any of the above, and it all depends on your application for the light - I run a Surefire M600 with KM2 head on my night gun, and a Cloud Rein on another. 

To conclude, I think the ODA system on this light is incredibly unique, but isn't for everyone. There's a spot in the gun community where I think this light shines, though that is just my perspective. Light ND's are probably more possible with this system, but to be fair, they are possible with every system. Something that may counter this hurdle is putting a light cap on your AWLS, giving you the ability to keep the light head covered and the ND "sealed", in-case you did.

To note: Once I have more time behind this light, I will add to this blog and give an updated synopsis. Thanks for reading this far! 

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