By Trampas Swanson

It’s no secret, bad things happen at night. Even in the brightness of day, anyone can suddenly find themselves in a very dark environment. A stairwell with blown lights, a power failure in a windowless office building or even a poorly lit subway station can all be encountered regularly. Those who intend to harm others often seek out and use the shadows and low light to get the advantage on their prey. Time is always on the side of the unseen attackers, as they remain hidden, waiting for their opportunity to strike. Since action is always faster than reaction, the intended victim already starts at the disadvantage.

For people who choose to legally carry a firearm for protection daily, threat recognition and collateral risk assessment are key factors in surviving a self-defense situation. The two best tools the concealed carrier can have at their disposal are keen situational awareness skills and a reliable flashlight. Used in conjunction with one another, the well-trained armed citizen can even the odds in order to overcome the threat by possible nonlethal or sometimes lethal means. This week’s article looks at one tool that may help a specific niche of gun owners with their daily carry needs. The SIG SAUER Foxtrot 365, a new weapon mounted light option for concealed weapon advocates like me who choose to carry the SIG Sauer model P365 9mm pistol.

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For those of you who missed my full review of the SIG Sauer P365, I urge you to go back through after reading this. If you follow the firearm industry, you’ll know this pistol has been topping SIG’s sales charts since its release. Over the past year, this pocket-sized pistol with its 10 round capacity has been one of the most innovative guns I have ever carried. Due to the gun’s diminutive size, I was a bit perplexed when I first received the gun as to why it would have an accessory rail. At the time, I did not see any accessories on the market small enough to fit this pistol. Approximately a month after I received the P365 for review, SIG released two different modules to fit the pistol’s rails, the Lima consisting of a laser / light combo and the Foxtrot light-only model, the latter of which I immediately requested for testing.

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First Look – SIG Foxtrot 365 Light

The reason I chose a light-only option was because of its sleeker design. I prefer clean lines, regardless if it’s firearms, holsters and other gear. This typically looks more professional and often offers a better function. With both the Lima and the Foxtrot operating Cree XP-GE LED bulbs powered by a pair of CR-1/3 batteries, I figured by not having to pull double duty powering a laser and a light, the Foxtrot may last a bit longer running as well.


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Approximately a week after SIG confirmed shipping, the Foxtrot unit was at my office ready to be unboxed. Although I knew it had to be small to find on the P365, I was still a bit amused by just how tiny the unit was in person. Shipped along with the light were a user’s manual, two CR 1/3 batteries, two Q tips for cleaning the lens and a small Allen wrench. Despite being a rail mounted light, the Foxtrot still mounted very similar to trigger guard mounted lights. Two separate halves clamshell around the gun’s dust cover and rails rather than the trigger guard and secure together via two very small Allen screws.

Branching off the small box style light unit was a pressure activated switch that ran under the trigger guard and almost seamlessly mated to the front strap of the grip. The light activates upon a firm grip of the pistol via a small rubber pressure button located under the middle finger of the shooting hand. I found this to be a smart design feature for two reasons. First, in the event of a real attack, studies have shown a shooter will grip the gun tight enough to activate the light. Secondly, few people will have the time nor the dexterity to activate a manual switch during immediate reaction to a threat.

 

Before testing, I needed a new concealed carry holster. With the light attached, my regular holster would not fit the gun. I decided to reach out to my good friend, John Phillips at Survival Creek Tactical for a new rig. John was already familiar with both the pistol / light combo. What I received was validation as to just why John is known as the “King of Kydex.” The low sweat band was rounded and wide to prevent engaging the trigger accidently upon holstering. The edges of the Kydex were burnished smooth and round to prevent digging into my side when wearing. Best of all, the top lip of the holster was slightly flared to be more forgiving if the pistol wasn’t holstered at the precise angle. With the use of the UltiClip mount, I could securely carry the holster even without a belt in any pants or shorts I wished to wear for the day. When gun products are built by real experienced gun guys, it shows! I was now ready to hit the range and see how the Foxtrot light would hold up under fire.

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SPECS

  • Lumens: 100
  • Attachment Point: Rail Mount
  • Battery: Two CR-1/3N
  • Height: 1.9”
  • Overall Length: 3.8”
  • Overall Width: 1”
  • Weight: 1.3 oz w/batteries
  • Approximate Run Time: 30 minutes

Field Testing

Before I started carrying the SIG Sauer P365 Pistol / Foxtrot combo daily, I wanted to make sure the light’s added weight wouldn’t affect the reliable cycling and overall function of my pistol. I headed to Yulee, FL to an indoor range my wife and I regularly teach at in order to get some trigger time. Due to poor lighting on the range, everyday shooting there is a test of low light skills, so the Foxtrot light would be thoroughly tested there. Upon my arrival, I was not disappointed, although it was 75 degrees and sunny outside, the range was dimly lit with dark corner booths on lanes 1 and 6.

Eager to get started, I hung up my human silhouette target and ran it out seven yards into the darkness. As I drew the SIG P365, the light came on and there was the target clearly identifiable and center of the Foxtrot’s flood pattern. According to SIG, the Foxtrot emits 100 lumens of light for approximately 30 minutes of continuous run time. This isn’t bad considering most armed encounters last about 30 seconds.

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As I engaged the target, I noticed my master grip on the pistol did not drastically change with the Foxtrot. If anything, the light seemed to give my support hand a bit more to grip the gun. I was able to pinch the light between my thumb and the knuckle of my index finger. This offered a very stable platform to take precise head shots at 21 feet. For such a small package, this combo was really starting to impress.

100 Lumen Output

Working from both the draw and low ready, I shot through a series of targets at 3, 7 and 10 yards. While 100 lumens of emitted light may not sound like a lot compared to military spec weapon lights that put out 10 times that amount, I found the Foxtrot performed well at close range. While I may not blind a possible threat, I could easily identify my target and what lies beyond it to make the decision to engage or not. Knowing how to use a light correctly far exceeds the power rating of how many lumens it puts out.

A key aspect I discovered from my former career as a SWAT operator was making sure not let the light kill your natural night vision capabilities. By this I mean, if you turn the light off, are you still able to see in low light? Using an overpowering light will often contract the pupils of your eyes so tightly that once you turn off the device, you are momentarily blind or seeing black spots in your vision. Is blinding your opponent worth damaging your own vision? This was thankfully not an issue at all with the Foxtrot.

CR 1/3 Battery Life

Over the two-hour range session, the light began to dim considerably. Two factors may have played into that issue. First, with the light being at the end of the muzzle, gun powder and carbon debris started to build up over the lens. Secondly, the battery was close to reaching its maximum continuous run time over the course of shooting. Once I returned home from the range, I replaced the batteries and wiped the lens clean using alcohol and Q tips. Fortunately the CR 1/3 battery is available in most local stores, so there is no worry of not finding a quick replacement.

Daily Carry With 365 Foxtrot

After my initial range time, I was confident in the pistol’s reliability with the light and began to incorporate the P365 back into my rotation of daily concealed carry guns. The complete package carried comfortably in both the appendix and behind the hip positions while being very accessible on the draw. I could not tell a difference in carrying the gun with the Foxtrot light attached from the year of carrying it without the light. The slim lines of the light added no added bulk to the holster nor did the 1.3 oz weight affect how it rode inside my waistband.

Throughout a 500 round count from regular range trips with the P365, I have not seen any change in the light’s performance other than needing to clean the lens regularly to allow for the maximum light emit through. During one range session in which I had to photograph the pistol being shot without the light attached for a separate project, the pistol seemed naked. I noticed my groupings appeared to open by almost a full inch at 7 yards. This may illustrate the extra weight and grip surface of the Foxtrot actually improved my accuracy and precision with the SIG P365!

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Final Thoughts

Overall, I really liked the Foxtrot 365 and what it did to enhance an already good carry gun into a great carry package. If I had to pick a downside to the Foxtrot, there would be two main things. First, since there is no “on/off” switch, the light will activate any time you establish a firm master grip on the pistol. If you were going to take a class in which you shoot a lot during the day, you would quickly kill the batteries. Secondly, as I previously mentioned, if you already own a SIG P365 and have a carry holster for it, you will need to buy a new one. As with any gun, when you add most lights available on the market, it will not longer fit into its original holster.

With that taken into account, I highly recommend the Foxtrot 365 light for daily carry. Over the past few months, it has performed well at common concealed carry distances and proven to be quite robust in design and construction. Combined with a 5 year warranty from SIG, I have no worries the light will be well taken care of by their impressive customer service. The Foxtrot 365 light has well earned a place in my daily carry from now own.

When things go bump in the night, be sure you can see them and cleanly engage if needed. For more about the Foxtrot 365 and other SIG SAUER products, visit www.1800GunsAndAmmo.com to find the one that best fits your needs. Until next week, Train Hard and Continue the Fight!