At this point in human development, if someone is juggling a five “D” cell Maglite while trying to identify a target or shoot in low light, it is because they are in an historical re-enactment group or simply haven’t been paying attention.
One of the latest offerings to market in pistol lights is a joint venture between Blade-Tech and Smith & Wesson—the Micro 90 Compact Pistol Light. The Micro 90 was purpose-built to fit on the ultra-popular compact versions of the M&P, XD, and other pistols. The 90 bespeaks lumens, literally outshining most of the previous generation of full-size duty lights and most current competitive lights meant for the compact pistols’ rails.
The light has several features that piqued my interest. The first is the clever mounting system, where a UniBAR is slid through a corresponding slot to provide the correct amount of tension and fit to any standard pistol rail, with no tools required. Another is the system weight, listed at 1.6 ounces but consistently reading 1.4 on my postage scale. This is light enough to be completely unnoticeable out front or in the holster.
The CR2 battery is rated to two hours of runtime and is able to be swapped with the light attached to the pistol. Since the light is powered by a single battery, the unit is able to cut width down to just 1.1 inches, which is helpful in a light aimed at the concealment market.
The Micro 90 is equipped with momentary pressure pads that nest just forward and to either side of the trigger guard. There is a rocker switch at the six o’clock position with a tab that can be rocked port or starboard to activate constant on.
I found that it was very simple to incorporate swiping the rocker with my support-side index finger as the pistol was pressed out. Those with long fingers will probably be able to reach the rocker in a single-hand scenario, but most will have to “wipe” the bottom of the light across something to get constant light. This is easily accomplished, something that is not the case with the standard rockers found on most duty lights.
The light quality was excellent, with a nice wide spill that covered corner to corner in a standard interior room. I have no way of measuring lumens, but the claim of 90 “measured” seemed accurate, since it appeared significantly brighter than several 60 lumen lights on hand. Moving outdoors, target identification was clear out to 35 yards—outside of the effective range of most shooters with compact pistols in low light.
In shooting with an M&P9c, the Micro 90 was perfectly coaxial with the sights, allowing maximum benefit of the light beam. The momentary pads are easily found and activated, yet seem protected from accidental activation. My fingers are on the long side and had trouble maintaining contact with the pads for more than single shots, the pad ledge jabbing the tip of my thumb. For my hand size, it was easier to simply switch the rocker on and off to allow a more comfortable firing grip and recoil control.
The light allowed the compact pistol to be shot well out to the limits of the 25-yard indoor range I was testing in. In fact, it was faster and more accurate than with my full size M&P when shot in conjunction with a separate light.
Whenever a new light enters the market, buyers will wonder if they will be able to find a holster for it. Aside from true custom holster work, this is often a valid concern. The Micro 90 ships with a coupon good for a 10% discount toward Blade-Tech holsters and accessories— part of the strategic partnership between Smith & Wesson and Blade-Tech.
Blade-Tech has numerous catalog offerings meant for the Micro 90, to achieve the purpose of a concealable weapon/light system. I evaluated a belt holster with a paddle attachment. One unique feature of the combo is that, due to the thinness of the Micro, the holster fit the pistol well with the light on or detached. This is generally not the case with larger lights, which often require dedicated holsters for both modes. The overall holstered system was trim and concealed easily.
There have been discussions lately about the viability of inside-the-waistband (IWB) carry of light-mounted pistols. The Micro 90 looks like the ticket for those wanting to go that route, and holsters are certainly available for that. In fact, this light would be ideal for IWB application even on mid- or full-size pistols, so that the user does not have to contend with the additional weight, thickness, and length of a duty light.
Every serious pistol should have a light. The Micro 90 makes that a realistic possibility in terms of price, size/ weight, and holster availability.