The Best AR-15 Flashlight in 2021

Today I’m going to show you the best AR-15 flashlight on the market today.

In fact:

I’ve hand-tested over 10 flashlights alone for this review.

The best part?

I’ve sorted them by use. So whether you’re on a budget or looking for the most premium flashlight, you’ll find it here.

Best AR-15 FlashlightsCategoryPrice
Streamlight TLR-1Best Overall$130
Inforce WML Gen 2Most Lightweight$100
Streamlight 88059 ProTacBest for Budget$100
Streamlight TLR-2Laser Combo$310

Let’s get started!

How to Choose an AR-15 Flashlight

AR-15s are highly-customizable rifles. From slings and high-powered sights to silencers that help protect your ears from the loud “BANG,” the possibilities are endless!

One of the most useful upgrades you can make to your AR-15 is the addition of a flashlight.

AR-15 Flashlight

Whether you use your rifle for home defense, hunting, or tactical purposes, a flashlight can take your weapon to the next level.

But, what specifically should you look for in an AR-15 flashlight?

Keep reading to find out!


Features to Look for in an AR-15 Flashlight

While the specific features you should look for in a flashlight depend heavily on what purpose you use your rifle for, there are a few must-have features appropriate for all AR-15 users. Whether you’re:

  • Hunting
  • Using your rifle for home or self-defense
  • Or using it for tactical purposes

Here are some of the best features to look for in an AR-15 flashlight!


A Lightweight, Compact Design

No one wants a cumbersome, heavy flashlight weighing their rifle down or impeding the use of it.

When choosing an appropriate light, try to find one that’s relatively lightweight and compact, but still provides the necessary durability.

With some high-quality, compact AR-15 flashlights weighing as little as 3 oz, there’s no need to go for anything that’ll add over a pound to your rifle’s weight, or block your ability to add more optics!

AR-15 Flashlight

Easy to Use

The right flashlight will have a simple, easy to use design.

AR-15s are serious guns built for serious purposes. The last thing you want is to be held back by a complicated flashlight design, fumbling around in the dark searching for the on/off switch!

Choose a light with controls that are easy to find and in your reach, even in complete darkness.

You may also want to look for one with ambidextrous controls, so you never have to adjust your grip to turn the light on or off or adjust your settings.


Easy to Install and Remove

When you’re working with a high-powered gun like an AR-15, you want to make sure you choose a flashlight that’s easy to mount and remove as necessary.

Ideally, you’ll want to find a light with a clamp-on installation and removal system.

You don’t want to have to fuss with any tools or screws that’ll slow you down, so you might want to avoid lights with these kinds of mounting systems.


Durability and Strength

Durability is probably one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a flashlight for your AR-15.

You want to be sure the light you purchase is made with strong, weather-resistant materials to ensure a long working life.

One of the best materials is aluminum.

It’s strong, durable, and usually water and corrosion-proof!

On the downside, aluminum and other metals can add a good bit of weight to your light.

If you’d like something a little lighter, try a light made of polymer.

While it’s not as strong or durable as metal, it’s still a rugged option that can often be found in a weather-proof construction.


Good Battery Life

A good battery life is a very important part of choosing the right light, especially for those who use their AR-15 rifles for hunting!

As a rule of thumb, try to find a light with at least one hour of continuous battery. Tactical flashlights will often have the longest battery life!

You might also want to consider options with a rechargeable battery over disposable batteries. This is especially true for hunters, as you might be out for a long time and don’t want to have to carry extra batteries around!


Adequate Brightness

When choosing the appropriate brightness level for your flashlight, you’ll need to consider the main purpose you’ll be using it for.

For hunting, you’ll want a brighter light.

When you’re hunting at night in the woods, you’ll more than likely be in pitch black conditions.

A light with at least 500 lumens can help you easily identify and immobilize your target, and improve your accuracy and control!

For home or self-defense purposes, however, a light with fewer lumens may be better. You don’t want to accidentally blind yourself in the commotion, giving the intruder the upper hand!


Versatility

If you use your AR-15 for multiple purposes, choosing a versatile light is crucial.

A light with an adjustable beam and brightness is perfect for all kinds of conditions and situations.

You can shine a concentrated, bright beam to blind your target or attacker, or cast a wide, dimmer beam to scan a larger area.

You might also want to look for an AR-15 flashlight that features ambidextrous controls, especially if you’re left-handed!

This makes it easy to operate your light quickly without adjusting your grip whatsoever.


How to Mount a Flashlight on an AR-15

There are a couple of different ways to mount a light on your AR-15.

Most AR-15’s include a Picatinny-style top rail.

AR-15 Flashlight

You’ll need to use tools to mount some kinds of lights, while others may just feature a clamp-style mounting system.

The best mounting system depends on your personal preference, but I’m partial to clamp-style systems because they’re easy to install and remove, no tools necessary!


Best Mounting Positions

Mounting your flashlight at the right angle is crucial for the easiest operation and getting the best light with minimal shadow.

Ideally, you should mount your light as close to the front and top side of the rail as possible.

However, you’ll also need to take into account the lengths of both the barrel and the rail.

If you have a long rail and barrel, you should be able to mount your light easily without casting any shadows.

However, if you have a relatively short rail length compared to your barrel length, this might not be possible.

Still, try to mount it as close to the 12 o’clock position as you can.

Side mounting will cause shadows on the opposite side, which can impede your field of view.

Most people have other optics installed on their AR-15s, which makes it even harder to mount a flashlight directly at the 12 o’clock position.

Try to get it as close as possible (at 11 o’clock or 1 o’clock) so you can still operate the light with either hand.


Rifle Light Tips

The right rifle light will make target acquisition a breeze.

You’ll be able to see through pitch-black conditions, improve your accuracy, or blind your attacker in home or self-defense situations!

If you’re looking for a hunting light, you might want to get one with both infrared and green color options.

This way, you’ll be able to light up an area without your target ever knowing you’re there!

On the other hand, a light with adjustable brightness and a concentrated beam can really help you out in home defense situations.

The light will blind your attacker, giving you the upper hand and allowing you to easily diffuse the situation.

It also might be beneficial to consider a light with different light settings, like strobe and momentary.

Strobe lights are good for stunning your target, and a momentary lights-on setting can help you look quickly without revealing your location.

The best flashlight depends heavily on personal preference and your main AR-15 uses. Be sure to shop around, and don’t just go with the first light you find!


The 4 Best AR-15 Flashlight

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best AR-15 flashlights:

  1. Streamlight TLR-1: Best Overall AR-15 Light
  2. Inforce WML Gen 2: Most Lightweight
  3. Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2: Best Budget Flashlight for AR-15
  4. Streamlight TLR-2: Best AR-15 Flashlight Laser Combo

1. Streamlight TLR-1: Best Overall AR-15 Light

Streamlight’s TLR-1 flashlight is the best overall light for your AR-15.

If you need a durable, bright light that’s compact enough to fit in your hunting daypack or in a bag with your bowfishing gear, you need the TLR-1.

Streamlight TLR-1 box

The TLR-1 is primarily designed for handgun use, so how does it hold up with an AR-15?

Let’s find out!


Build

The TLR-1 is made of 6000 series machined, aircraft-grade aluminum and comes with an anodized finish.

The high-temperature, shock-mounted BOROFLOAT glass lens is scratch-resistant, shock and recoil-proof, and waterproof up to 30 minutes at 1 meter deep.

Streamlight TLR-1

These features, along with the gasket-sealed lens, make the TLR-1 essentially unbreakable.

It’s very durable, operable in temperatures between -40 and 120 degrees F, and holds up well over time, even with continuous heavy use.


Light

You can choose between the standard TLR-1, with 300 lumens of light, and the TLR-1 HL (high lumen), which features 800 lumens of light.

Streamlight TLR-1 night light

Both options provide excellent light, but the standard option offers a 2.5 hour battery life while the high lumen model offers a 1.5 hour battery life.

The C4 LED light has a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours, and unlike cheaper lights, will remain at maximum brightness the whole time.

Streamlight TLR-1 light

The tar optic produces a bright, focused beam, but also creates a wide peripheral beam that allows you to see everything around you.

Streamlight TLR-1 light

You’ll have no issues seeing as far as you need to, whether you’re in your home or out in the woods.


Use

This light runs on two lithium batteries, which are included in the box.

Streamlight TLR-1

The battery compartment features a tethered door and latch for easy access and to keep the batteries securely locked in place during use.

It offers a decent battery life, but you might need to carry extras if you’re planning on being out hunting all night.

The on/off switch is easy to use.

Streamlight TLR-1

However, since the controls are optimized for handguns, you may need to reach a little bit to press it on an AR-15.

Streamlight TLR-1

You can choose between momentary, constant, or strobe light.

To activate the strobe light, all you need to do is bump the momentary paddle twice in rapid succession. This can be very useful in situations where you need to signal your location or disorient your target!


Mounting

While the TLR-1 was designed primarily for handgun use, it’s mountable and fits securely on a wide range of weapons, including the AR-15.

Streamlight TLR-1

It’s designed with a rail clamp mounting system that allows you to attach and detach it from the side of your firearm within seconds and without using any tools.

Streamlight TLR-1

For best results, try mounting the light at the 3, 6, or 9 o’clock positions. This way, you won’t have any of the shadows that often come with top-mounting.


Size

The TLR-1 is just 3.4” long and 1.5” wide, and weighs a mere 4.2 oz.

Streamlight TLR-1

These measurements make this light an excellent option for anyone who wants a sturdy, durable light that won’t add any bulk to your rifle.

Streamlight TLR-1

It provides a surprising amount of light in a very small package.


Price

The Streamlight TLR-1 will run you around $130 online. This includes the light, two lithium batteries, and rail locating keys.

Streamlight TLR-1

Streamlight also offers a limited lifetime warranty on this light, giving you peace of mind that your purchase is protected if anything goes wrong.


Is the Streamlight TLR-1 Worth it?

The Streamlight TLR-1 offers you an excellent AR flashlight and mount combo.

Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL 1000-Lumen Tactical Weapon Mount Light With Rail Locating Keys & Lithium Batteries, Black – Box Packaged
  • C4 LED delivers 20,000 candela peak beam intensity; 1000 Lumens
  • Securely fits a broad range of weapons
  • Ambidextrous momentary/steady on off switch

It’s very high-quality, easy to use, and won’t add much weight to your rifle.

Streamlight TLR-1

If you need an excellent tactical flashlight for your AR-15, you won’t be disappointed with the TLR-1.

Streamlight TLR-1

2. Inforce WML Gen 2: Most Lightweight

The Inforce WML Gen 2 is the most lightweight AR-15 flashlight you’ll find.

A good pair of hunting boots, plenty of ammo, and the right flashlight are crucial parts of nighttime hunting.

But, not everyone has the money to drop on a premium flashlight!

Inforce WML Gen 2

The WML comes at an affordable price, offers plenty of light, and won’t add any bulk to your rifle.

Can it hold up to more expensive flashlights?

Let’s find out!


Build

The WML is made with an impact-resistant, glass-reinforced, polymer construction. It’s also water-resistant in depths up to 66 feet.

Inforce WML Gen 2

The heat of the light can cause the polymer body to get hot pretty quickly, so Inforce included heat-dissipating vents to combat this.

It runs on a single lithium battery, and has an average battery life of about 1.5 hours. This is great for shorter hunting trips, but you’ll have to bring a couple of extras if you’ll be out for an extended period of time.

Inforce WML Gen 2

Overall, the WML Gen 2 is very well-made and seems sturdy. All the controls are where you’d expect them to be, and I expect it to hold up well over time.


Mounting

You don’t need any tools to mount the WML on your rifle – it features an integrated clamp that works with standard Picatinny 1913 rails.

Inforce WML Gen 2

The clamp features a captive locking bolt that prevents any accidental release.

To open the clamp, all you have to do is turn the thumb wheel to loosen it, and then tighten it to lock it back in place.

This makes it very easy to install and remove, and it sits flush on the rail to maintain a low profile, even at the 12 o’clock position.


Light

The WML has an LED output of 400 lumens.

Even though this is a relatively low amount of light, it still throws a very intense, focused beam.

It’s surprisingly bright and allows for very easy target identification at medium-range distances, even in the darkest conditions!


Use

The controls on this light are very handy and easy to use.

Inforce WML Gen 2

The non-slip, ribbed texture and natural placement of the switch on the tail cap allow you to quickly turn the light on or off without even looking.

There are two different ways to lock the light to prevent any accidental activation:

To lock it for a short period, there’s a manual bar that swings over the switch and blocks it from being pressed.

If you need to lock it for a long-term period, you can simply unscrew the head one turn.

When it comes to turning on the light, you can choose between momentary, constant, and strobe light.

Inforce WML Gen 2

To use the momentary setting, hold the on button down for at least half a second, and let go when you want to turn it off.

To use the strobe light, press the button twice in rapid succession.

And to use the standard constant setting, just quickly press the button once. This will keep the light on until you hit the switch again.

If you want to disable the strobe light option altogether, you can do so by turning the head to the lock position then turning it back into place while holding the on switch.

There’s also an infrared option, which can be activated with the throw lever on the side.

However, you can’t use the strobe option in IR.

When you need to replace the battery, you can do so by simply removing the light’s head to access the battery compartment, just like with your average flashlight!


Size

The second generation WML is compact and streamlined, meaning the bulk of its weight is close to the center for optimal distribution.

Inforce WML Gen 2

It’s 4.2” long overall and has a 1.05” bezel diameter.

At just 3.2 oz, it’s very lightweight and won’t add any bulk to your rifle, thanks to the lighter polymer body.


Price

With prices ranging online between $95-$130, the WML is very affordable.

You won’t find a more durable, lightweight rifle light for a better price!


Is the Inforce WML Gen 2 Worth it?

The Inforce WML Gen 2 is a well-designed flashlight for the AR-15.

Sale
Inforce WML 400 Lumens Gen 2 White Light Black Body W-05-1
  • 400 lumens of white light with a 1.5 hour run time
  • Light weight durable polymer weighing only 3.22 ounces with battery
  • Easy-to-use operating modes: constant, momentary, and strobe

It’s great for entry level hunters just starting out with nighttime hunting, and I would recommend it to seasoned nighttime drone hunters, as well.


3. Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2: Best Budget Flashlight for AR-15

The Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount 2 is the best AR-15 flashlight that won’t break the bank.

Scopes are very popular on AR-15s, and lights are a must-have.

If you need something affordable, lightweight, and durable, you need the ProTac 2.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

Can it hold up to higher-priced flashlights?

Let’s find out!


Build

The ProTac Rail Mount 2 is made of machined aircraft aluminum with an anodized finish.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

It’s fire-tested and IPX7 waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes with the standard button switch, and IPX4 water-resistant with the remote pressure switch.

The impact-resistant BOROFLOAT glass lens is o-ring sealed, shock-mounted, and operable in temperatures from -40 degrees F all the way up to 120 degrees F.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

The LED technology makes the light extremely sturdy, and offers a working lifetime of up to 50,000 hours.


Mounting

This light is designed with a rail clamp that allows you to quickly and securely attach it directly to a MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

It features a one-handed, snap-on design that lets you attach it while keeping your hands away from the muzzle. All you have to do is slot it down, twist it on tightly, and you’re ready to go!

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

While it’s optimized for 1913 Picatinny rails, the ProTac 2 will securely fit a wide range of rifles and shotguns, including the Ruger 10/22.

If the clamp design isn’t for you, there’s also a wide range of aftermarket mounting options available.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

Light

The ProTac 2 utilizes powerful C4 LED technology to offer a maximum 625 lumen output.

One cool thing about this light is that it’s Ten-Tap Programmable, meaning you can use it on high, high/low, or high/strobe operating modes.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

High mode runs at the maximum 625 lumens, and gives you a beam distance of 297 meters. This is great for hunting and other situations where you need to be able to see a good distance in front of you.

Low mode, on the other hand, outputs just 60 lumens and lets you see an 89 meter beam distance. If you’re using your ProTac 2 indoors or for training purposes, or if you need the light to last up to 50 hours, this is the mode to use.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

There’s also an option for a strobe light, which is useful for signaling your location or disorienting your target.

If you don’t want to use the strobe option, however, it can be disabled.

This light gives you a bright, concentrated beam with great peripheral lighting, and the solid-state current regulation ensures consistent illumination.

It provides a tight center beam for optimal long-range shooting and a broad, even outer beam that allows for simple and positive target identification.

The pure white light allows you to easily see at least 100 feet in front of you at all times and ensures you hit your target consistently.


Use

With the ProTac 2, you have the option to use either the remote switch or push-button tail switch. Both offer you the choice of momentary or constant “on” operation.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

You can tell the difference between the two “on” options easily, as the constant switch is raised slightly above the momentary switch and has a guard around it.

I’d recommend using the tail switch.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

I’ve personally never tried the pressure switch, as I’ve heard many other users complain about its reliability.

Although the tail cap switch isn’t as easy to operate ambidextrously, it seems to be much more consistent.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

The ProTac 2 runs on two (included) 3-volt lithium batteries. To change the batteries, you just remove the tail cap and slide them in!

I’ve used this light on multiple rifles, and it’s performed well on each. It’s a user-friendly, reliable piece of equipment.


Size

At just 5 oz with the batteries installed and 5” long, the ProTac 2 is a lightweight, compact option that won’t add a lot of weight to your firearm.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

It’s also very low-profile, as it’s only 1.2” wide and 1.5” tall. It barely sticks out from the top and sides of your rifle, so you won’t have any issues storing a firearm with this light attached in a narrow gun safe.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

Price

You can find the ProTac 2 online for around $100.

This price includes the light, two 3-volt batteries, both the remote pressure and tail switches, remote switch retaining clips, double-sided tape to mount the remote pressure switch, and zip ties for alternative mounting options.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

It also includes Streamlight’s limited lifetime warranty.

For a durable, bright, lightweight rifle light that’s guaranteed by a reputable company like Streamlight, this is an excellent price.


Is the ProTac Rail Mount 2 Worth it?

The ProTac Rail Mount 2 is a high-quality, compact, bright AR-15 light.

Streamlight 88059 Pro Tac Rail Mount 2 625 Lumen Professional Tactical Flashlight with High/Low/Strobe w/2x CR123A Batteries - 625 Lumens, Black
  • Machine aircraft aluminum with anodized finish
  • High: 260 Lumens & runs 3 hours; Low: 13 Lumens and runs 50 hours; Strobe runs 6 hours
  • Uses two 3V CR123A lithium batteries; Included

It gives you all the light and every feature you need, and it’s very user-friendly and easy to mount.

Streamlight 88059 ProTac Rail Mount 2

If you’re looking for the best AR-15 weapon light, you can’t go wrong with the ProTac 2.


4. Streamlight TLR-2: Best AR-15 Flashlight Laser Combo

With years of experience in night shooting, there is no doubt in my mind that Streamlight makes the best gun lights.

I also know that when it comes to a gun light, there are a million choices and just as many opinions.

So today I’m going to look at the Streamlight TLR-2, to see if it can hold up to the rumor that it is the best laser and flashlight combo for AR-15.

Hit the lights. It’s time to get shooting.


Performance

From the first flip of the switch, it was clear to see that the TLR-2 is one powerful gun light.

Streamlight TLR-2

By clear, I mean blinding. I hit that switch while still inside and wound up darn near blinded for a bit.

At least I was smart enough to not look directly at the integrated laser light. White and green laser settings gave me some nice options in that department.

A direct drive, class 3R, green laser, with an overall wide operating temperature range (40 deg. – +120 deg), was easy to operate and makes target acquisition almost unfair.

The fully ambidextrous On/Off strobe to steady switch is also easy to use to impede the visibility of the target. With my eyesight just coming back to normal by the time I hit that strobe, I could relate to the difficulty my target would face.

There are three mode selections are available with this light. Laser only, LED illumination only, or simultaneous use of both.

I’m a big fan of all or nothing, and glad to enjoy the 1.5 hours run time per full charge when the light and laser are used simultaneously.

Allegedly there is a 17-hour run-time when only the laser is used, but I’ve yet to be able to resist lighting up my targets like high noon.


Visibility

C4 LED technology packs an incredible punch with its brilliant light.

Streamlight TLR-2

The built-in reflector amplifies the light beam to produce an intense and clear beam to give me excellent visibility in extreme dark.

A fantastic beam distance of 283 meters comes to play in the best way when on the course at night.

Almost three football fields of bright light.

Not only is it a perfect accessory for my Bushmaster XM15, but this long-range performer can also keep up with many of my other target rifles.


Length and Weight

Size definitely matters with accessories for my AR-15, and the TLR-2 is a great size.

Weighing only 4.8 ounces with batteries, the entire footprint for the TLR-2 is only 6.25 x 4 x 2.63 inches.

A good size, this light is not the smallest or the largest option from Streamlight. It’s very much in the Goldilocks zone.

Smaller lights tend to be harder to operate with gloves on and not as durable. Larger lights get unwieldy and snag on pretty much anything you can think of. Trees, coats, straps, other guns…

You need a gun light that is powerful and properly sized. The TLR-2 fits the bill nicely.


Reliability

The Streamlight TLR-2 is a very tough gun light.

Streamlight TLR-2

With the ability to stand up to quite a shock, the LED illumination beats any fragile halogen bulb.

Another check in the reliable box is the addition of an impact-resistant Boro Float glass lens.

No trouble with jiggles or wiggles at the range. Mounted on my rifle, the TLR-2 hangs in without fail for range days long and short.

Batteries included, Streamlight touts this light will survive for an impressive 50,000 hour lifetime.

I use this light around the house just as much as I do with it at the range, and it gets dropped or knocked off of the table every so often. Even though my heart drops each time, this little light takes the hits like a champ.


Compatibility

Perfect for my AR-15, the TLR-2 comes with keys compatible with my Picatinny rails as well as others.

Streamlight has included rail locating keys for my Mil-Spec Picatinny, Glock (universal) rails, and S&W 99/TSW for short “non-standard” rails.

Streamlight TLR-2

There is also a key included for the Berretta 90two. However, the spec sheet advises that the M-Lights will fall off under recoil with the 90two. A puzzling inclusion, but not being a Berretta guy, that doesn’t have any effect on my use.

The compatibility list makes up for Berretta’s shortcomings with an extensive amount of options that are well suited to a very wide range of firearms.

There’s even plenty of compatible options for pellet hunters. Streamlight has made sure that shooters of all levels can work with quality accessories.


Price

Retailing around $340, the TLR-2 is a high priced light with high quality to match.

Made from anodized aluminum, Streamlight has produced a light that looks as good as it feels.

Complete with extras, such as windage and elevation adjustments mounted within brass bushings, the TLR-2 brings a lot to the table.

If you are looking at lower lumen lights, made of plastic, produced by a brand no one at the range has ever heard of…buyer beware. You get what you pay for.

I’m happy to buck up for quality and Streamlight is bringing it!


My Verdict

The Streamlight TLR-2 is a perfect AR-15 flashlight laser combo.

Sale
Streamlight 69265 TLR-2 1000 High Lumens G Rail Mounted Flashlight with Green Laser, Black
  • C4 LED technology, impervious to shock with a 50,000 hour lifetime; 510 530nm direct drive green laser with wide operating temperature range
  • Streamlight TLR 2 HLG Tac light with laser black finish, includes rail locating keys for Glock style 1913 Picatinny S&W
  • White and green laser settings. TLR 2 HL G runs 1.5 hours (Laser/LED simultaneously). 17 hours (Laser only). Operating temperature: 40°F to +120°F

High-quality, tough as nails, with that unbelievable bright light that keeps on shining.

The TLR-2 is a fantastic accessory for my rifle. I haven’t regretted a penny, and I doubt you will either.


Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best AR-15 flashlight guide.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which flashlight will you pick for your AR-15?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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