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Element (ACM) Haley Strategic Thorntail Adaptive Light Mount Replica Review

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Hey all!


Welcome to my review of the Element Thorntail Light Mount :D


I bought this at ACMGear and I’ve been looking out for this mount ever since I saw Element releasing the promo pics (along with the Dropwing) here on Arnies’s News Sub-Forum. This light mount cost me HKD 62.


The real steel light mount was designed by Travis Haley to be more ergonomic for those who run their rifles using the thumb break position….actually, why don’t you just watch this video of Travis introducing his mounts; it’s the easiest way of understanding the design concept of the Thorntail :P He talks about the Dropwing as well, so if you’re interested then watch the whole video from the beginning.


*sorry guys, I wanted to embed the video but I dunno how to >__>*


Now, Element has a replica of the Dropwing as well, but I decided to go with the Thorntail because of the way Element’s Surefire replica lights are designed. Basically, for real Surefire products, you can use the button switch for momentary on by half pressing the button before it ‘clicks’ into place (from the off position). However, with the Element Surefire replicas, there is no momentary on. There is however, momentary off when the light is already on constant on and you half press the button you’ll turn the light off. With this in mind, the button switch is essentially useless for me given that it does not function the way the real Surefire does…momentary off is useless for me.


Hence, for the replica lights I like to run a tape switch. I can afford losing the ability to have constant light on because of the way I will use the light. I don’t play night games but the light is useful for me in CQB games where I can effectively ‘suppress’ an entire corner of opfor with the brightness of the light on my rifle. I’ve done this many times before in CQB games and for the guys I play with at least, seem to make the use of the light very effective for reducing the hit probability from my opfor or even completely removing their will to shoot me once I’ve identified them at certain choke-points.


Given that I probably won’t encounter a situation in CQB where I will need to run the light constant on; the tape switch suffices for the way I run my gun. These decisions lead me to choose the Thorntail over the Dropwing because of the way I see how lights are mounted on the rifle via Haley Strategic’s product photos. In my opinion, the Dropwing is more suited for those who run the button switch, whereas with the Thorntail it seems that it can be mounted farther forward and therefore (I think it’s more of a psychological thing actually) gives me more space to mount a tape switch.


Anyway, back to the replica :D Here is what you get when you receive the package:





It comes with an allen wrench that fits the screws that lock the light onto the mount, the screws for mounting the light and the Thorntail itself. Now, the real steel one allows placement of locking rings for people who want to run your normal handheld lights like the E2D Defender, and while the package does not come with the rings the Thorntail mount itself have threads where you can mount those rings, assuming you have the real steel ring mounts and assuming the threads fit the screws. I’m not sure whether Element will introduce those ring mounts in the future but there’s a possibility.




Update: After I finished writing this review, I saw that WGC stocks the Element light mount rings for both 0.83” and 1” (search “Element Mount” on WGC and the first two results are the rings). For those who want to run your handhelds on your weapon with either the Thorntail or Dropwing you now have the option to do so! (Element also cloned two more Impact Weapons Component lights that are great for mounting on the Magpul MOE handguards and the stock M4/M16 handguards)


Now, there’s not really much to say about the functionality of the mount itself given that it’s just two piece of metal held together by two screws, but I believe the mount is machine from a bar stock and not cast given that there are some cut marks on the end of the Thorntail along with the locking piece:




The mount is anodized so its aluminium made, and it has no trades on the mount itself; though if you really want it, given that the real steel mount trades are laser etched to the mount, I suppose you can always get the same dragonfly design and get the trades done for cheap.


The mount can also be switch to the other side as the locking piece can lock on both sides of the mount since there are threads on both sides:




This was unexpected to me given that I’ve only seen the production pics and the Youtube videos and I never knew that the mount piece itself is symmetrical (actually, I just rewatched the vid above and Travis clearly says it’s symmetrical…d’oh!).


Since this is an Element product, it should fit the Element Surefire replicas, and it does :D Here’s two pics of the mount itself with a MiniScoutlight that I borrowed:





The light fits perfectly on the mount…really it’s such a simplistic mount there’s nothing more I can say other than it works just like the real one!


Oh, here’s something that I should note. If you take out the locking mount screws to separate both pieces that make up the mount, it’s a real hassle to get the screws back into the threaded holes in the mount because of the angle the holes are in. The best way to fit the screws back in is to pinch both pieces of the mount together the way it’s designed to mount on a RIS and then screw in one of the screws slightly first and making sure it’s in the hole and cannot move laterally before screwing in the second screw:




All in all, the quality of the mount, both the finishing and the machining is great and for airsoft purposes I’m sure it’ll hold up to abuse (unless you’re dropping the guns one floor high, weaponlight down first I don’t see how the mount will break if everything’s screwed on tightly). I really don’t know what else to say about this, but if the real steel mount gives you the ergonomics that you want or need for your gun (like my AEG, which is an original M4 RIS with the short KAC rail) and you cannot afford the real thing, the Element replica is sure to satisfy your requirements!


Lastly, I should note that with the mount on the 12 o'clock rail on my M4 with the KAC rail, the mount puts the light at a 45 degree angle as close to the front sight post as possible, meaning that there's virtually no gap between the light mount and the FSP. This means that, even though the Scoutlight's already pretty light itself, the balance of the rifle is even better with the Thorntail as the weight of the weaponlight is moved closer to the centre-line (where the bore is) of the rifle. This means that the effect of the weight in tilting the rifle is drastically reduced and as such I believe the MIL620 Offset Mount (which Element have not cloned yet) that allows heavier weaponlights like the M951 and M961 to be mounted, with the same design aspect as the Thorntail will allow much better weight distribution laterally compared to mounting the heavy weaponlights on the 3 or 9 o'clock rails of any rifle. I personally believe that Element may, in the future, bring out a clone of the MIL620 Offset Mount given that they already make the M961, etc. and the only piece that requires a redesign (and not by much either) is the weaponlight mount piece itself, the RIS mount piece is the same as the Thorntail one. Since it's machined rather than cast, it should also mean only a different CAD file for the light mount piece is needed, as no molds are required for any of the IWC mounts that Element have clone from what I can tell.


If anyone has any questions about this mount, please feel free to ask :P Otherwise, here’s some obligatory gun porn! :D








Edited by intinerious
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  • 2 months later...

Yeah the finish is kinda glossy, but like you said, for the price (and those that can't get them overseas....those mounts are ITAR right? IBMedic told me what items would be classified as ITAR before as he's crazy and he actually read through the whole ITAR thing, but I don't rem meber any more) it can't be beat.....until I saw these :P







They have trades and look similar to the Element ones. They have the M620 mount that Element doesn't make. I dunno if they're better as they're new and I haven't been back to kwong wah street to look at them but it's just a mount with allen screws to lock them down, there's not much to get wrong there :P Those mounts have the Haley Strategic trades too, so there's another option for those looking for the Adaptive mounts :P

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