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Tactical flashlights are often used in serious situations. Unlike what some people might think, the term “tactical flashlight” isn’t exclusive to flashlights that are mounted on weapons. Nowadays, the term “tactical flashlight” refers to higher grade flashlights that you can rely on to properly illuminate your surroundings when you need it most. You might also be interested in our articles about the best hunting boots and the best tactical backpack.
Asides from mounting them on weapons, tactical flashlights can be used in protecting your home, when you go camping or even as a more capable backup light. In addition to having a much more reliable build quality, tactical flashlights tend to have a much higher illuminating power that can turn night into day with the press of a button.
The question isn’t in the value or importance of a good tactical flashlight, it is how to know if a specific tactical flashlight is right for you.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, as it really depends on many things. As you’ll often rely on your tactical flashlight to have your back in some critical situations, you definitely don’t want to get the wrong one. Below, you’ll find the most important things that you should know before buying your tactical flashlight in order to get one that works best for you.
1. What will you use your tactical flashlight for?
Tactical flashlights are generally flexible. However, knowing what you intend to use your tactical flashlight for before you actually buy one can help you get one that will perform best in the role that you intend to use it for.
Do you intend to mount your tactical flashlight on a hunting weapon? Do you plan on using it when you go camping where it will be exposed to the elements? Will it be more convenient if you got a tactical flashlight that you can clip onto your clothes or hat?
Having some of the probable use scenarios in mind will heavily influence your choice. Some flashlights might be too heavy for the intended use or inconvenient to carry around or simply lacking in terms of durability.
Writing down your uses and expectations for your new flashlight will help you narrow down the choices and get one that’ll actually work for your specific needs.
2. How much light do you need?
Tactical flashlights don’t just “produce light”. Just like the sound intensity is measured in decibels, lumens are used for measuring light intensity. With different lumen outputs available for different flashlights, knowing how much light exactly you need is always a good idea. To determine the number of lumens that you need, you need to have a clear idea of your intended range of use.
To make the whole lumen thing simple to imagine in a real-life situation, 30-50 lumens are enough to illuminate your immediate surroundings. If you plan to use your tactical flashlight for something that requires a sort of long-distance lighting, 200-300 lumens are usually more than enough. Some tactical flashlights provide much more lumen than that but this is way more than what the average user will ever need.
You should keep in mind that most flashlights come with low, medium and high settings, which means that if your tactical flashlight is too powerful for a specific situation, you can use a lower light mode. However, if the situation is the other way around, as in you need more light than what your flashlight can produce, there is nothing that you can do. Always keep that in mind when you’re evaluating the lumen output of your tactical flashlight.
Now that you have the essential knowledge for buying a tactical flashlight that works best for your needs, it’s time to have a look at some of the best available options on the market.
Best Tactical Flashlight For The Money
If you’re looking for a weapon-mounted tactical light, the Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 is one of the best available options on the market. There are plenty of things that make this tactical light such a great choice.
First of all, this tactical flashlight is compatible with a wide array of weapons. If you’re a person who owns multiple guns, this can provide you with exceptional value for money. Instead of buying a separate tactical flashlight for each of your guns, you can use this one flashlight with whichever gun that you’re using. On top of being flexible, this flashlight is also very easy to attach/detach from a firearm and snaps on in a rather secure way.
Having an 800 lumen light intensity means that this tactical flashlight is capable of clearly illuminating relatively large distances. With around 3 times more light intensity than the average tactical flashlight, this is one aspect in which this product is definitely excelling. Having 3 different lighting modes for different distances and situations gives this tactical flashlight an edge when it comes to flexibility.
When it comes to build quality, this thing is rock solid. Everything from the aircraft-grade aluminum that is used for creating the body to the durable shock-mounted glass lens is made for maximum endurance. As aluminum combines durability with lightness, this tactical flashlight is really light when compared to many other similar models.
As this tactical flashlight uses LED light, the provided CR123 lithium batteries are able to power the light for 1.75 hours of continuous use, which is more than enough for most typical use situations.
If you’re looking for a weapon-mounted tactical flashlight that is lightweight, durable and provides exceptional performance, the Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 won’t leave you disappointed.
- 800 lumen light intensity
- Fits different weapon style
- Excellent build quality
- Highly durable
Best Small Tactical Flashlight
The J5 Hyper V is what we consider a great value for money. When you pay so much for an item and it turns out to be of high quality, you aren’t that impressed because that’s what it’s supposed to be. However, when you pay so little and get such a good performance, you ought to be impressed.
This is exactly what this tactical flashlight offer. Yes, 400 lumens might not be the most intense light that’s available however, it’s really great considering the price. The great lighting features don’t stop at the decent number of lumens though. To make using this tactical flashlight more convenient, it has 3 different modes of operation: low, high and strobe. To switch between those modes, all you have to do is half-press the red button that’s smartly located at the back of the flashlight.
Thanks to the compact aluminum material that is used for this tactical flashlight, it is durable enough to take out on a hunting trip or when going camping. The lightness of the aluminum combined with the small size of this tactical flashlight makes it slip easily into most pockets.
The J5 Hyper V uses three AAA batteries which can make the flashlight run for a relatively long time. It is worth mentioning though that this tactical flashlight doesn’t come with included batteries, which would have been annoying if it wasn’t for the awesome price.
An overall solid choice with a great value for money and as the manufacturer offers a money back guarantee, getting this tactical flashlight is never a tough decision.
- Great value for money
- 400 lumen light intensity
- Well-placed modes button
- Money back guarantee
- Compact size
If you’re willing to shell out some cash for a super-powerful tactical flashlight, the Fenix FX-PD35TAC is an option that is definitely worth checking out. When we say “powerful”, we really mean it. This small tactical flashlight packs a punch with its massive 1000 lumen light intensity.
Asides from the massive light intensity, this tactical flashlight has some really impressive design features. The first thing that’ll feel when you hold the Fenix FX-PD35TAC in your hand is how comfortable it is to hold. In addition to comfortable form, this flashlight is made from aircraft-grade aluminum that is shock and abrasion resistant. Thanks to its highly-durable aluminum material and toughened lens glass, this tactical flashlight are capable of withstanding almost anything that you might throw at it.
Another feature that makes this tactical flashlight truly standout is the fact that it has two switch button, one on the back and another one on the side. Functions are distributed between the buttons in order to make using the different modes as intuitive as possible. Having a variety of different modes also makes this tactical flashlight useful in different situations. With such a high illuminating power and different modes to make use of that power, this tactical flashlight is reliable in almost any situation imaginable.
As it weighs a mere 83 grams without the batteries and has a relatively slim design, this tactical flashlight is also highly portable, which makes it one of the best available top-tier choices on the market.
- Two switch buttons
- 10000 lumen light intensity
- Slim design
- Extremely durable
Best Tactical Flashlight For Self Defense
This is hands down one of the best available budget tactical flashlights on the market right now. This small tactical flashlight produces a whopping 1200 lumen, which makes it one of the most powerful options for tactical flashlights of that size.
In fact, the 1200 lumen light is so powerful that is should never be pointed directly at a person’s face, unless in the case of self-defense. This is another function that is possible with similarly powerful tactical flashlights. Pointing this at a person who is attacking you is capable of temporarily blinding them, giving you time to react.
In addition to having such a powerful light intensity, this tactical flashlight has 5 different modes: bright light, medium light, low light, strobe, and SOS. The combination of powerful light and different modes make this tactical flashlight suitable for many activities. Whether you’re going for a night ride or your ride or heading out for a camping trip, this tactical flashlight can definitely handle it.
Perhaps the one thing that’s not that great about this tactical flashlight is the overall build quality, which doesn’t feel as premium as some of the more expensive models. However, considering the price, there is nothing much to complain about.
To make the whole thing even more tempting, this flashlight comes with a carrying case, a car charger and a USB charger, which makes this one of the best value for money offers on the market.
- 1200 lumen
- Great value for money
- 5 different modes
- Carrying case included
- Comes with a USB and car chargers
The InForce APLc is an excellent Glock-compatible tactical flashlight. If you’re looking for a weapon-mounted tactical flashlight for your Glock firearm, this is one of the best options that are available on the market. This easy-to-install light produces 200 lumens of white light and has lots of features that make it a top-tier choice.
Once you hold this tactical flashlight in your hand, the first thing you’ll notice is how light it is. Weighing less than 2 ounces gives this particular tactical flashlight a huge advantage when compared to other similar models. The reason is quite simple, this is a weapon-mounted tactical flashlight that is designed specifically to be mounted on Glocks. A heavy flashlight that is mounted on your weapon and messing up your aim is definitely the last thing you need.
Thanks to the super-lightweight of this thing, you’ll barely notice it’s there. As the battery lasts for 1.5 hours of continuous illumination, it is more than capable of keeping up. To make using this tactical flashlight even more convenient, it has an easy-to-reach lockout system that is designed specifically to ensure that you don’t accidentally turn on the tactical flashlight too early.
It is also worth mentioning that this model is water-resistant and has a reinforced polymer body, which makes it extra durable and capable of withstanding harsh treatment. If you’re looking for a Glock-compatible tactical flashlight, this is one of the best options that are currently available on the market.
- Super lightweight
- Designed specifically for Glocks
- 200-lumen light intensity
- 1.5-hour battery life
This tactical light is designed for the more “practical” people. If you’ve ever felt that a powerful light that snaps to your hat can make your life much easier in many situations, you’re not alone. Having a clip that is designed specifically to make this tactical flashlight easily attachable to your hat is what makes it really stand out from the crowd.
If you’re a person who loves to go fishing, camping or simply love to have both of your hands empty while being actually able to see what you’re doing, you’ll find this feature to be such a lifesaver. Since this flashlight is attached to your hat, the 350-lumen illumination intensity is just right. You don’t want a 1200 lumen lamp clipped an inch from your eyes, you can have our word for it! As this tactical flashlight weighs 2.5 ounces, it is light enough to clip to any of your hats without causing any discomfort.
Aside from the hat clipping feature, this tactical flashlight is impact-resistant (up to 2 meters) and is IPX7 waterproof, which means it can be submerged in water up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes.
If you’re looking for a tactical flashlight to take on your next fishing trip, you won’t find better than this one.
- Can be attached to hats
- 350 lumen light intensity
- IPX7 waterproof
- Impact resistant
- Weighs only 2.5 ounces
Best Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight
This is by far the most feature-packed tactical light that is available on our list. In fact, this thing has so many features that reading the instructions manual is kind of obligatory. Let’s start by highlighting the light intensity of that tactical flashlight: 2000 lumens! To help you imagine how powerful of a light that is, we’ll just say that the beam can reach distances that exceed 316 meters, which is a HUGE range.
In addition to the impressive light intensity, this tactical flashlight also has a back and a side switch, which makes it easy-to-use in different situations. The fact that those switches have a large contact area makes pressing them really easy even when wearing gloves. To make this tactical flashlight even more adaptable to different situations, it has three setting modes (tactical setting, advanced tactical setting, and outdoor setting), which are completely programmable for maximum customization.
The design and build quality of this flashlight is also very impressive as it feels really comfortable in hand and is IPX8 waterproof, which is among the highest you’ll ever find on any other tactical flashlight on the market.
One thing that you should know about this flashlight is the fact that it comes with so many accessories. Everything from the holster to the car charger is included in this package. As this model comes with a 3100 mAh rechargeable battery, buying batteries for this tactical flashlight isn’t something that you’ll need to worry about. You probably won’t have to worry about carrying spare batteries either, as this flashlight can run for a whopping 3.5 hours at the 400-lumen intensity or for 50 minutes at the 2000 lumen intensity, which is pretty decent by all standards.
If you’re looking for a professional-grade tactical flashlight and don’t mind paying some extra money to get it, this bundle is definitely worth every penny.
- 2000 lumen light intensity
- Wide variety of settings
- Comes with lots of accessories
- Comfortable to use
The last tactical flashlight that earned a place on our list is the OnyxLED OxyWild, which simply gets the job done. If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable tactical flashlight, you’ll love what this one has to offer.
Being 5.31 inches long and weighing 6.63oz means that this tactical flashlight isn’t exactly one of the lightest models available. However, the durable abrasive-resistant resistant aluminum material makes up for the weight issue. The lens is made of toughened glass so the overall durability level of this tactical flashlight is pretty decent.
No tactical flashlight is truly ready for heavy-duty unless it’s water-resistant. Being IPX6-certified means that this model can properly function in harsh conditions like heavy rain, making it a much more reliable choice than non-waterproof models.
As for the modes, you get the 5 models that you expect to find on any decent tactical flashlight, which is low, medium, high, SOS and strobe mode. For typical use, this pretty much everything that you’ll ever need.
The rechargeable Li-ion battery that is included with this tactical flashlight has a built-in circuit that is designed for protecting the battery from the effects of overcharging, which makes it safer to the users.
The sheer simplicity and reliability are what truly makes this model shine. If you’re looking for a simple tactical flashlight that gets straight to the point, this model is guaranteed to give you exactly what you’re looking for.
- Rechargeable Li-ion battery included