Home - Volume 3 (2008) - Issue 4 (Fall '08) - Flash Light Review: Insight XTI Procyon Light

Insight XTI Procyon Tactical LED Light

Procyon, in astronomy, is the name of a star (actually, a pair of stars) in the constellation Canis Minor. From our perspective on planet Earth, it appears to be the eighth brightest star in the night sky. Considering how many millions of stars we see (and don’t see!) at night … that’s bright. Which no doubt explains why the folks at Insight Tech-Gear chose the name Procyon for their new tactical weapon light. The new light is bright, and they wanted the name to convey that suggestion.

Insight Tech-Gear, of course, is well-known as the manufacturer of the widely known M3 Tactical Illuminator. The M3 has been a staple of tactical operators for a number of years. Widely imitated, the M3 is a durable, popular, reliable and affordable tactical weapon light that helped introduce the entire concept of rail-mounted weapon lights to the law enforcement and military professions and to the public at large. Despite its iconic stature, however, the M3 was being outpaced by technology.

First came the M3X, which increased the illumination level from 90 peak lumens to 125 peak lumens but was otherwise very similar in both size and operation to the M3. Both use halogen bulbs. Now, Insight Tech-Gear has introduced an entirely new rail-mounted, tactical weapon light based on LED technology. Advantages to LEDs as compared to halogen lamps are both durability and longevity, as well as reduced power consumption.

The XTI Procyon on a Caspian Recon Rail 1911

The “XTI” in the new unit’s name stands for “Xtreme Tactical Illuminator.” What makes it “Xtreme”? Several key features:

What’s New?

First, it’s a slightly smaller and more efficient package than the M3. The M3 was 3.4” long, 1.6” wide, and 1.5” high, weighing in at 3.3 ounces with batteries. The new XTI Procyon measures 3.2” by 1.6” by 1.5” and weighs 4.0 ounces. The XTI produces 125+ peak lumens, and has a run time rated at 90 minutes compared to 60 minutes for the M3. The new LED lamp is highly shock resistant.

The XTI Procyon compared to an M3

Next, the mounting system incorporates an adjustable rail, to allow compensation for minor variations in rail width between different pistols. Sure, a Picatinny rail should always be the same width, but in real life it doesn’t always happen. I have seen instances of having to force a light onto a rail, and then nearly needing a mallet to get it off again. With the new, adjustable rail feature, that’s not a problem.

The XTI Procyon package includes an Allen wrench for adjusting the side rail. It also includes two latch bars. The bar that comes installed on the light is for use with MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rails. The second latch bar is thinner, for use with some proprietary commercial rail systems. Most weapon light rails are made to Picatinny specs, but it’s a thoughtful touch on the part of Insight Tech-Gear to provide a second latch bar for those who may need it.

The XTI Procyon is powered by two 3-volt #123 lithium batteries, which are included with the light. This is the same as the power source for the older M3 model.

The XTI Procyon is rated as waterproof. There’s a bit of confusion regarding exactly how waterproof it is, however. The Insight Tech-Gear web site says 15 feet / 5 meters. The specifications packaged with our sample light say 30 feet / 10 meters. Although the older M3 light is not waterproof, the M3X model is rated waterproof to a depth of 66 feet / 20 meters. Since most of us won’t be doing much in the way of frogman infiltrations with our tactical weapon lights, the discrepancy won’t be of much significance. If anyone reading this article is considering the XTI Procyon for genuine “tactical” use that might include underwater operations … by all means, contact Insight Tech-Gear and verify the specification.

The XTI Procyon In Action

The new XTI Procyon installed easily and smoothly on my Caspian Recon Rail 1911, with no need to make use of the adjustable rail feature. By contrast, an old M3 is a snug fit on the same pistol. The adjustable rail has some advantages.

In operation, the new XTI Procyon has a neat trick up its tactical sleeve … one that really sets it apart from the older M3 and M3X models. The M3 (and the M3X) has a single rotary switch on the back end, with ears that flank the trigger guard. Rotate the switch one way for momentary action, and rotate in the opposite direction for constant on.

The M3 switch

The XTI Procyon has a pair of switches mounted on the end cap of the unit. The first thing this does is make the mode of operation the same for both left-handed and right-handed operators: UP on either side is for constant on, and DOWN on either side is for momentary operation.

The XTI Procyon switches

But wait (as the carnival hucksters say), there’s more. In addition to standard constant and momentary operating modes, the XTI Procyon adds a momentary strobe mode that produces a rapidly flashing/pulsing light that is extremely disorienting to anyone looking at the “business end” of the light. The XTI puts out 125 lumens, which is already brighter than the output of the M3 model. However, by squinting and allowing the eyes to adjust, it is possible that a determined adversary could manage to regain enough vision to make out a target (you!) behind the light. With the light in strobe mode, there is quite simply no opportunity for the opponent’s eyes to adjust to the bright level of the light sufficiently to see beyond it. In addition, psychologically/physiologically, the rapid pulsing of the light causes equally rapid dilation and contraction of the pupils of the opponent’s eyes, which causes rapid eye fatigue … further debilitating his vision.

Operation of the strobe mode is extremely easy, if not completely intuitive. We stumbled onto it without reading the instruction manual, but for those manly-challenged types who insist on reading the book before jumping into a new toy, the instructions spell out how to use the strobe feature. Quite simply, for normal momentary operation, press down on the switch on either side of the trigger guard and hold it down as long as you want light. For strobe mode, just press down in a “double tap” motion – two presses within a half second. That activates the light in strobe mode, and it remains in strobe mode as long as you hold the switch down.

The light can also be locked on in strobe mode. Activate strobe mode as described above. While holding down the switch for strobe mode, push the switch on the opposite side UP, to the constant-on position, and the light will remain in strobe mode without having to hold the switch down. The off-side switch remains up. Flipping the off-side switch back to the center position cancels strobe mode and turns the light off.


The Insight Tech-Gear XTI Procyon is a worthy successor to the M3 Tactical Illuminator. With an extruded aluminum housing and waterproof construction, the XTI Procyon appears to be well-made and very durable. The light intensity has been greatly increased compared to the older M3 model, while at the same time increasing the battery life by 50 percent. That alone is impressive. With the addition of the new strobe operating mode, the XTI Procyon creates virtually a new definition of what a weapon-mounted tactical illuminator is or can be. The strobe mode might almost be thought of as a low-level “weapon” by itself, due to the disorientation caused by the rapid and bright strobe effect.

You may discuss about this product, ask questions or in general discuss about this review, in this thread in our Forums Site.


Weight (w/ batteries): 3.96 oz. (112.3 g)
Length: 3.2 in. (8.1 cm)
Width: 1.6 in. (4.1 cm)
Height: 1.5 in. (3.8 cm)
Light Source: High-output LED
Light Output: 125+ Lumens
Run time: 90 minutes
Waterproof: 30 ft (10m) [Note: Web site says 15 ft (5 m)]
MSRP: $169.99


Insight XTI Procyon Weapon Light:

Insight Tech-Gear
23 Industrial Drive
Londonderry, NH 03053

Toll Free: 877-744-4802
Fax: 603-668-1084

E-mail: sales@insighttechgear.com
Web Site: http://www.insightlights.com

Home - Volume 3 (2008) - Issue 4 (Fall '08) - Flash Light Review: Insight XTI Procyon Light