The Ultimate Guide to the Surefire M951 Weaponlight: Part I

Part I of V: Introduction to the M951 Weaponlight


Welcome to my attempt at a comprehensive overview of the Surefire M951 Weaponlight! I have become a Surefire M951 autist over the past couple of years and I figured that someone should consolidate all the information from the four corners of the internet regarding this cool little light. The information and pictures for this series have been compiled from numerous forum posts, eBay auctions, product info from official and retail sources such as Surefire and OpticsPlanet, and my own experience with purchasing and examining a handful of M951s. I hope that this can be a valuable Surefire M951 resource for the everyday gun and gear enthusiast and /k/ommando alike!


In the firearms world, Surefire is THE meme light manufacturer. There are other brand lights that weigh less, or put out more lumens/candela, or use a better beam pattern, but Surefire lights have been consistent contenders due to their good overall light performance and their excellent durability. If you’ve ever fiddled with one of their handheld lights or weapon mounted lights, they definitely look and feel like tanks.

Enter the Surefire Millennium Weaponlight series, and the old flagship Surefire M951.

M951XM07 stock image, in all its fat-bodied glory.

Although the M951 is a ubiquitous weaponlight, there isn’t much specific information out there about it in one concentrated place. You can find technical specifications on a dozen different forums and even Surefire’s website through a cursory Google search, but that doesn’t really tell the whole story. Thus, I have decided to concentrate all the information that I have found about the M951 through Google binges, forum browsing, and my own collecting ventures, in this series of articles. Suffice it to say, there have been a lot of production changes made over the lifespan of the light, some minor, some major.

These two M951s represent the bulk of the M951’s lifespan. They also make me REE. You will come to understand both of these statements if you read the entire series.

This article, and the ones to follow, won’t be hyper-technical with lots of measurements or dates, as that information is not readily available from my research. Instead, this series will serve as a detailed overview on the M951 and its evolution. I will cover the build qualities, design changes, merits, flaws, and what I see as the continued relevance of the M951 today. Some of the information may not be entirely accurate, and I am completely open to correcting details as new verifiable info comes forward, but this is my sincere attempt to put forth the most and the best information regarding the Surefire M951 that I can.

What’s the Deal with the M951?

A US Army 12th Cavalry Soldier patrolling Sadr City, Iraq in 2004 with an M951 variant on his M4 Carbine.

To be frank, the stock Surefire M951 is dated. As of the creation of this series, the M951 is not the most lightweight or trim light (around 10 chunky ounces with batteries), not the brightest light (65 little lumens), not the most battery efficient light (1 short hour on 2 CR123s), nor the longest living light (goldfish like bulb lifespan of 50 hours on average). It is completely eclipsed by the current generation of Surefire Scout Lights, and their competitors, without a doubt. Despite these last gen shortcomings, though, the M951 persists. For one, the M951 is perhaps the most venerable and proven weaponlight in the history of purpose built weaponlights. It has seen extensive use on M16 Rifles and M4 Carbines from the early days in Afghanistan to the early days in Iraq, up until present day, in at least one form or another.

A US Army 10th Mountain Soldier in Afghanistan, 2009, engages insurgents with his M4 Carbine equipped with an M951 variant.

Kommando Blog author OPFOR was actually issued a variant of the M951 by the U.S. Army, and still has it as this article is written.

OPFOR’s Surefire light. The Snekskin rattlecan finish is a nice touch, but definitely not a stock option.

This is what the M951 has going for it. It is a meme light. They are everywhere. They are all completely parts interchangeable. There is an extensive aftermarket for them. You can get them for anywhere from 50 to 100 dollars on eBay depending upon condition and accessories, a far cry from Surefire’s new offerings and pricing, and a lot of their worthwhile competitors.

Surefire’s new flagship weaponlight, the M312C Scout. MSRP: $476, or “a lot”.

Moreover, with a few modestly priced upgrades, you can take a bone stock M951 and turn it into a bright white tank light that will serve for decades to come. It will not break, and if it does, there will be a plethora of replacement parts on the market for the foreseeable future. If you’re not ready to spend 3-4-500 on a Surefire Scout series light, or cheap out on a light that probably won’t withstand a drop or the recoil impulse of your gun, the M951 is one of the best choices for a budget friendly forever weaponlight, hands down.

I will go into more detail regarding upgrades that can be made to bring the M951 into competition with contemporary lights in a future article. Next up, I will cover the M951 technical specifications, individual parts and kit designations of the M951, and the production “generations” of the M951 in Part II.


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