Being able to see while using your pistol is critical to ensure you can identify your target and potentially de-escalate situations easily.
Lights are critical for everyone to see in low light and nighttime scenarios. We have compiled a list for you to consider the best handgun light for your application.
Best Pistol Lights of 2023
Surefire X300 Ultra
The Surefire X300 Ultra is a powerful weapon light introduced to the consumer market in August 2018.
It is the successor to the popular Surefire X300 and is compatible with a wide range of firearms.
The X300 Ultra emits a yellowish-green spectrum of light that is easier on the eyes, and it has a maximum output of 1000 lumens and 11,300 candela. It is controlled by ambidextrous push-in paddles that can be programmed for momentary or constant-on function.
It has a runtime of 1.25 hours on two 123A lithium batteries and is water-resistant enough to survive 30 minutes underwater at a meter depth.
The Surefire X300 Ultra is a powerful and versatile weapon light ideal for armed professionals needing a reliable and durable firearm.
While it may be relatively expensive and not ideal for concealed carry, its compatibility with a wide range of holsters and firearms, powerful output, and water-resistant design make it a solid choice for those needing a dependable weapon light.
The Surefire X300 Ultra solves the problem of insufficient lighting for firearms by providing a powerful and reliable source of light that can illuminate even the darkest of environments.
The Streamlight TLR-1 pistol light is a highly recommended accessory for gun owners who prioritize accuracy, visibility, and ease of use. It is a full-size pistol light designed for full-sized handguns, with the option of being mounted to rifles with the rifle kit.
The TLR-1 comes in 300-lumen and 800-lumen models for home defense or duty use, and the TLR-1 HL packs a powerful 1000-lumen output.
The TLR-1 is built with durable aluminum construction and is shock and dustproof. It is also IPX7 rated, which is the rating for submerging in water.
The intuitive ambidextrous switch is easy to operate, even for first-time pistol light users, and the TLR-1 features up to three main modes, permanently on, momentary on, and strobe.
The TLR-1’s beam is wider, filling your vision at shorter ranges and giving you excellent situational vision, making searching and detecting threats easier and more rapid.
It attaches and detaches quickly without tools and is relatively simple to use. The TLR-1 also comes with several different rail keys, giving you options for every oddball rail system that manufacturers use.
The benefits of the Streamlight TLR-1 are clear. Its powerful output and wide beam pattern provide increased visibility and accuracy in low-light situations, making it an ideal accessory for home defense or duty use.
The TLR-1’s compatibility with a wide range of pistols and its easy installation process make it an accessible option for gun owners looking to improve their shooting experience.
The Streamlight TLR-2 is a popular pistol light and laser combo that offers a range of features to suit various needs.
Its compact size of 3.9 inches makes it a great fit for full-sized and many compact pistols, including the Glock 19 and Glock 17.
The TLR-2 comes in several models, including the basic 300-lumen light with a red laser, an 800-lumen high-lumens model with a strobe feature, and a green laser model.
The TLR-2 HL is a favorite for its brightness and ability to temporarily blind attackers. The light is also waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes and has a limited lifetime warranty.
The Streamlight TLR-2 is a great option for those seeking a high-quality pistol light and laser combo.
Its brightness, durability, and ease of use make it a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor use.
While it may be more expensive than some other options, it is still more affordable than comparable Surefire models with lasers.
Additionally, its ability to attach to a long gun with a picatinny key adds versatility to its use.
The Streamlight TLR-2 is recommended for anyone looking for a reliable, versatile pistol light and laser combo.
Surefire X400 Ultra
The Surefire X400 is a rugged and reliable weapon light that is highly regarded in the industry.
It features a 1,000-lumen LED output with a runtime of 1.25 hours on two 123A batteries.
The light comes with a red or green laser and a focused 1.125-inch or wider 1.25-inch diameter bezel.
The controls are ambidextrous push toggles with momentary or constant on function, and the light fits standard rails and includes adapters for proprietary rail systems.
Although it is more suited for use on duty handguns, the X400 can also be used on long guns with a remote switch system.
While the MSRP is $599, the X400 is a worthy investment for those looking for a bulletproof light that works on multiple platforms.
The Streamlight TLR-7 is a compact pistol light designed for use with compact and sub-compact frame handguns. It features a lightweight construction and is available in the TLR-8 model, which includes a laser.
The TLR-7 has a brightness of 500 lumens and runs on one CR123A battery, with a battery life of 1.5 hours.
It weighs 2.4 oz and has a length of 2.58 in. The TLR-7 is made of durable, anodized machined aluminum and has an IPX7 waterproof rating.
The design and build quality of the Streamlight TLR-7 are impressive. Its slim and compact design makes it an excellent choice for concealed carry, and the rail grip clamp system securely attaches/detaches quickly and safely without tools.
The TLR-7’s custom optic produces a concentrated beam with optimum peripheral illumination, making it ideal for nighttime operations.
The ambidextrous on/off switch and user-enabled strobe function add to its versatility.
The advantages of the Streamlight TLR-7 include its lightweight design, an optional model with a laser, and customizable activation levers.
The TLR-7 also has a durable construction and a secure attachment system that fits a broad range of full-sized and compact guns.
However, its odd battery size may be a disadvantage for some users, and it is not well-suited for full-size model handguns.
Additionally, its brightness of 500 lumens may be lower than other modern pistol flashlights.
Overall, the Streamlight TLR-7 is an effective and reliable compact pistol light that is perfect for use with compact and sub-compact frame handguns.
Its slim and compact design, durable construction, and customizable activation levers make it an excellent choice for concealed carry and nighttime operations.
The Streamlight TLR-8 pistol light is a powerful and versatile addition to any handgun that sets it apart from other similar products in the market.
This compact pistol light features a bright LED light that provides excellent visibility in low-light conditions, making it easy to confidently aim your handgun at targets.
Additionally, the TLR-8 is easy to install and enhances accuracy in low-light shooting situations due to its easy-to-use controls.
Here are some key features of the Streamlight TLR-8 pistol light:
- Compact design
- Bright LED light
- Easy-to-use controls
- Laser option available
- Durable construction
The Streamlight TLR-8 pistol light is an affordable option that offers a long battery life, making it a reliable choice for any shooter.
Its durable construction ensures that it can withstand drops and other impacts without losing functionality, making it a great investment for anyone who wants a dependable pistol light.
Despite its many benefits, the Streamlight TLR-8 pistol light has some drawbacks. Its battery options are limited, which may be an issue for some shooters.
It may not fit all pistol models, so it’s essential to check compatibility before purchasing.
Overall, the Streamlight TLR-8 pistol light is an excellent choice for anyone looking to upgrade their existing pistol or buy a new one.
Its compact design, bright LED light, and easy-to-use controls make it a top contender for the best pistol light of 2023.
If you want to experience the benefits of the Streamlight TLR-8 pistol light for yourself, I urge you to try it out and see how it enhances your shooting experience.
Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie
The Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie pistol light is a popular and affordable alternative to the Streamlight TLR-7.
It boasts a bright light at a lower price point and features a nice heft and build quality, with a quick detach option that avoids the need for a flathead.
The activation buttons are easy to use, and the rail placement can be adjusted to fit virtually any handgun.
The 600-lumen light has a bluer spectrum and a wide-angle throw, and the internal USB-charged battery is unique but may be a blessing or a curse depending on usage.
Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie is a great value for those looking for an affordable and functional pistol light, but those planning low-light courses may want to reconsider due to the battery limitations.
Olight PL-PRO Valkyrie
The Olight PL-PRO Valkyrie is a high-lumen pistol light that can also be used on long guns. It offers 1,500 lumens of brightness and has a solid 1.5-hour runtime.
If depleted fully, the light has an internal, USB-charged battery that takes roughly 90 minutes to charge.
The PL-PRO Valkyrie is compatible with both GL rail adapter and 1913 rail adapter and comes with a magnetic remote pressure switch that can be connected to the magnetic charging port.
It has a manual quick attach and release mounting system allows easy installation and removal within half a second.
The light has a strobe function and its beam has a very focused center with a decent amount of spread to see peripheral targets.
The Olight PL-PRO Valkyrie is a reliable and affordable option for those needing a high-output pistol light.
Surefire X300T-A Turbo
The Surefire X300T-A Turbo pistol light is a top choice for military and police units due to its high lumens and candela, providing great visibility for long distances and excellent spill on the edges.
This pistol light uses the same housing as the previous X300 models, making it compatible with legacy X300 holsters.
The X300T-A Turbo generates a tightly focused 66,000-candela beam pattern out to 100 yards, illuminating targets with spill to help maintain situational awareness outside the hot spot.
The ambidextrous push/toggle switches allow instant activation without altering your shooting grip and attach to Picatinny and universal rails.
The rugged hard anodized body with an IPX7 waterproof rating ensures durability, and the product comes with a 1.5-hour runtime and two CR123A batteries.
The tightly focused beam provides less spill to peripheral areas, but the product solves the problem of drastically increasing weapon-mounted lights’ candela rating.
Choosing a Pistol Light
Now it’s time to cover some of the most important aspects of picking our pistol flashlight.
Outputs and Lumens
Outputs and lumens are one of the most popular ways to gauge a flashlight’s “power”.
Two terms are important to know and understand before purchasing your pistol flashlight: “candela” and “lumen.” Many people often use the terms interchangeably, but that is incorrect.
Lumen is used to quantify the overall brightness of a light source and is helpful when comparing different light bulbs, lamps, or light fixtures for general illumination purposes.
Candela is employed when evaluating the brightness of a light source in a particular direction, which is crucial in applications where focused or directional lighting is needed.
The easy way to understand the difference is to think of lumen as “total output” and candela as “output in a specific direction.
Light Beam Pattern
The beam pattern refers to how the light is projected and can significantly impact the effectiveness of the light in different situations.
Three main types of beam patterns are available for pistol lights: flood, spot, and combination beams.
Flood beams provide a wide illumination field and are ideal for close-range situations where a broad area needs to be illuminated.
This beam pattern is great for indoor use or situations where you need to identify potential threats in your surroundings quickly.
However, flood beams may not be as effective at longer distances and can potentially wash out the hotspot of the beam.
On the other hand, spot beams provide a concentrated beam of light that can reach longer distances. This beam pattern is great for outdoor use or for identifying targets at a distance.
However, spot beams may not be as effective in close-range situations or when you need to illuminate a larger area.
Combination beams offer the best of both worlds by providing both flood and spot capabilities.
This beam pattern is ideal for those who need a versatile light that can be effective in a variety of situations.
However, combination beams may be more expensive and may not perform as well as specialized beams in specific situations.
In summary, when choosing a pistol light, it is essential to consider the light beam pattern that will best suit your needs.
Flood beams are great for close-range situations, spot beams are ideal for long-range use, and combination beams offer versatility.
By understanding each beam pattern’s characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages, you can make an informed decision and choose the right pistol light for your specific needs.
Weight and Size
When considering the weight and size of a pistol light, there are several factors to keep in mind.
First, it’s important to consider the primary use of the gun and whether the added weight and bulk of a larger light will affect its performance.
Second, the size of the light should match the size of the handgun.
Full-size lights are best suited for full-sized guns, while compact and subcompact lights are designed to fit smaller handguns.
Third, it’s essential to consider personal comfort and preference, as some people may not notice the added weight of a light, while others may find it cumbersome.
Ultimately, the weight and size of a pistol light can affect the handling and performance of the gun, so it’s crucial to choose a light that matches the specific needs and preferences of the user.
Runtime and Battery Life
When choosing a pistol light, there are several factors to consider in terms of runtime and battery life.
A pistol light with a longer battery life rating is much more practical than one with a shorter battery life rating.
This is because it ensures you can use your pistol light for multiple hours within a single night without needing to charge or replace the batteries.
The runtime of a pistol light is also an important factor to consider.
This refers to how long the pistol light will stay on before it needs to be recharged or have its batteries replaced.
The longer the runtime, the better, as it allows you to use your pistol light for extended periods without interruption.
If your pistol light is rechargeable, it is important to consider the charging time.
The shorter the charging time, the better, as it allows you to quickly recharge your pistol light and be ready to use it again.
The type of battery used in your pistol light can also affect its runtime and battery life. Lithium-ion batteries are popular as they offer longer runtimes and a longer lifespan than other battery types.
The power output of a pistol light determines its brightness levels.
A higher power output usually means a brighter light, but it can also drain the battery faster. Finding a balance between the power output and battery life is important.
When choosing a pistol light, it is important to consider the factors of battery life rating, runtime, charging time, battery type, and power output.
These factors can greatly affect the performance of the pistol light and how long it can be used for.
By carefully considering these factors, you can find a pistol light that meets your needs and provides reliable performance when you need it most.
Comfort and Ergonomics
Comfort and ergonomics are crucial factors to consider.
A poorly designed or uncomfortable pistol light can hinder your ability to use it effectively and can be dangerous in a high-stress situation.
Here are some key factors to keep in mind when considering the comfort and ergonomics of a pistol light:
- Reachability: One of the most important aspects of a pistol light’s ergonomics is how easily you can reach and activate the on/off switch. Make sure the switch is located in a spot that is easy to access and operate, even if you are using your non-dominant hand. You don’t want to have to fumble around to turn on your light in a high-pressure situation.
- Grip: The grip of your pistol light should be comfortable and secure. It should be easy to hold onto, even if your hands are sweaty or wet. Look for a pistol light with a grip texture that feels good in your hand and won’t slip.
- Size and weight: A pistol light that is too heavy or bulky can throw off the balance of your handgun and make it harder to aim accurately. On the other hand, a light that is too small may not be comfortable to hold or may not provide enough illumination. Make sure to choose a pistol light that is appropriately sized for your handgun and fits comfortably in your hand.
- Modes: Some pistol lights have different modes, such as strobe or low-light settings. Please ensure you are comfortable switching between these modes and that they are easy to access when needed.
- Compatibility with holsters: If you plan on using a holster with your pistol light, ensure the light is compatible with your holster. Some pistol lights are designed to fit specific holsters, so check before making a purchase.
Considering these factors, you can ensure that you have a pistol light that will be effective and comfortable to use in any situation.
The attachment option determines how securely the light will be mounted to your pistol, how easy it is to install, and how versatile it is in compatibility with different firearms.
Rail mounts – The most common attachment option for pistol lights is a rail mount.
This involves attaching the light to the rail system on the bottom of the pistol. Rail mounts are easy to install and provide a secure attachment.
They are also versatile since most modern pistols come with a rail system.
Popular pistol lights that use rail mounts include the Streamlight TLR-1 HL and the Surefire X300 Ultra.
Trigger guard mounts – Trigger guard mounts are a good option for pistols without a rail system.
These mounts attach to the trigger guard of the pistol and provide a secure attachment for the light.
However, they can be less stable than rail mounts and limit the types of pistols the light can use.
An example of a popular pistol light that uses a trigger guard mount is the Streamlight TLR-6.
Choosing the right attachment option for your pistol light is important based on your specific needs.
A rail mount is likely the best option if your pistol has a rail system.
If your pistol doesn’t have a rail system, a trigger guard mount or barrel mount may be necessary.
Consider the pros and cons of each attachment option before making a final decision.
Light Settings and Controls
When selecting the appropriate light settings and controls for a pistol light, there are several key factors to consider.
Brightness of the light, should be measured in candela rather than lumens for optimal intensity.
Considering the quality and balance of the hotspot and spill in the beam is important.
Next, the controls of the light should be easily activated but offer some resistance to prevent accidental activation.
Choosing a light that the trigger finger can activate is also recommended.
Lastly, the strobe function and ease of use should be considered.
Selecting the right light settings and controls for a pistol light can enhance your shooting experience by providing effective target identification and situational awareness in low light conditions.
It’s important to find a holster that can accommodate both your gun and your light to ensure a secure and safe fit.
Here are some factors to consider when evaluating holster compatibility:
- Type of holster: When looking for a holster, it’s important to consider the type of holster you prefer. Many options are available, such as outside the waistband (OWB), inside the waistband (IWB), ankle, shoulder, and pocket holsters. Make sure the holster you choose is designed to fit your specific light and gun combination.
- Position of the light on the pistol: The position of the light on the pistol can affect holster compatibility. Some lights sit flush with the barrel, while others may protrude from the side or bottom of the gun. It’s important to choose a holster that can accommodate the specific position of your light.
- Size and shape of the light: The size and shape of your pistol light can also impact holster compatibility. Some lights are larger or bulkier than others, which may require a specific holster design. Additionally, lights with unique shapes may not fit into certain holsters.
When evaluating holster compatibility, it’s essential to consider all of these factors to ensure a proper fit.
Choosing a holster that is specifically designed for your pistol light will not only ensure a secure fit but also protect the trigger and light activation switch.
This is especially important for those who carry their pistol concealed, as a properly fitting holster will minimize the overall profile of the firearm.
In conclusion, when choosing a pistol light, it’s important to consider holster compatibility.
Factors such as the type of holster, position of the light on the pistol, and size and shape of the light should all be considered. Doing so can ensure a secure and safe fit for your pistol light and firearm combination.
Price and Budget
When it comes to choosing a pistol light, price and budget considerations are important factors to keep in mind.
While it’s tempting to go for the cheapest option available, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for.
A high-quality pistol light will generally cost more, but it is worth the investment for its reliability and performance.
Here are some factors to consider when determining your budget for a pistol light:
- Intended Use: The first factor to consider is how you plan to use the pistol light. If it is for personal defense or duty purposes, investing in a high-quality light that is bright, reliable, and durable is essential. On the other hand, if it is for casual use or target shooting, a more affordable option may suffice.
- Quality: The quality of the light is another important factor to consider. A high-quality light will be made with durable materials and have a longer lifespan, while a cheaper light may break easily or malfunction.
- Additional Features or Accessories: Many pistol lights have additional features or accessories, such as strobe functions, laser sights, and rechargeable batteries. While these features can be useful, they also add to the cost of the light. Consider which features are necessary for your intended use and budget accordingly.
Ultimately, it’s important to find a balance between cost and quality when choosing a pistol light.
Remember, a pistol light is an investment in your safety and the safety of those around you, so it’s worth taking the time to choose the right one.
A good warranty can provide you with peace of mind and protect your investment in case of any defects or malfunctions.
In assessing the warranty, there are several factors you should consider. Firstly, the length of the warranty is crucial. While most pistol lights come with a 1-year warranty, it is advisable to look for longer warranty periods such as 5 years or even a lifetime warranty.
Secondly, you should check the coverage of the warranty. Some warranties may only cover defects in materials and workmanship, while others may cover damage caused by normal use.
Pistol lights are a crucial accessory for gun owners, as they provide an illuminated view of the target in low-light conditions, which enhances accuracy and safety.
In this FAQ section, we will answer some common questions about the best pistol lights of 2023.
What makes a pistol light good?
A good pistol light should have the following features:
- Brightness: The light should be bright enough to illuminate the target without causing any glare or reflection.
- Durability: The light should be rugged and durable, able to withstand recoil and other harsh conditions.
- Size: The light should be compact and lightweight, so it doesn’t add much weight or bulk to the firearm.
- Battery life: The light should have a long or rechargeable battery.
- Easy to operate: The light should be easy to turn on and off, with simple controls that don’t require much dexterity.
What are the top brands to consider?
There are several top brands to consider when choosing a pistol light, including:
- Sig Sauer
- Crimson Trace
What are the differences between a weapon light and a handheld flashlight?
A weapon light is specifically designed to be mounted onto a firearm, while a handheld flashlight is not.
A weapon light is more compact and streamlined, with a more focused beam of light that is aligned with the bore of the firearm.
This allows for more accurate targeting and less chance of blinding the user or bystanders.
A handheld flashlight, on the other hand, is more versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes, but may not be as effective in a self-defense situation.
How do I choose the right pistol light for my firearm?
Choosing the right pistol light depends on several factors, including the intended use, the type of firearm, and personal preferences. Here are some things to consider:
- Intended use: Will you be using the light for self-defense, hunting, or target shooting? This will determine the brightness and other features you need.
- Type of firearm: Not all pistol lights are compatible with all firearms, so make sure to choose a light that is designed for your specific model.
- Personal preferences: Do you prefer a rechargeable battery or replaceable batteries? Do you want a light with a laser sight or without? These are all personal preferences that can influence your decision.
By considering the features of a good pistol light, considering top brands, understanding the differences between weapon lights and handheld flashlights, and evaluating personal preferences, you can make an informed decision.
However, it’s essential to do your own research and read reviews before purchasing to ensure that you are getting the best pistol light for your needs.
How do pistol lights compare to laser sights?
Pistol lights and laser sights are two popular firearm accessories that can improve shooting accuracy and visibility in low-light situations.
Pistol lights are mounted on the rail of the pistol and provide a bright light source to identify targets and offer two-handed shooting.
On the other hand, laser sights project a laser beam onto the target to improve accuracy. When comparing the two, there are several differences to consider. Pistol lights are generally more functional and versatile than laser sights, as they can also be used as a regular flashlight.
However, laser sights offer greater accuracy and can be especially useful for quick target acquisition.
Cost is also a factor, with pistol lights generally being more affordable than laser sights.
The choice between a pistol light and a laser sight depends on the shooter’s needs and preferences, as both options have advantages and drawbacks.
Are pistol lights suitable for use with all handguns?
Pistol lights are a valuable addition to firearms, especially for use in low-light situations.
However, not all handguns are compatible with all pistol lights.
Several factors determine whether a pistol light is suitable for use with a particular handgun, including the size and weight of the handgun, the type of rail on the handgun, and the mounting options available for the pistol light.
Handguns with Picatinny rails or accessory rails are more likely to be compatible with a wider range of pistol lights.
Some subcompact pistols may not have enough rail space to accommodate a standard light and may require a smaller light that clamps to the trigger guard. I
While pistol lights are a valuable addition to firearms, their compatibility with handguns depends on several factors that should be considered before purchasing a pistol light.
What is the warranty on the best pistol lights in 2023?
When considering the best pistol lights of 2023, it is important to check the included warranty to ensure durability and long-term usage. Most pistol lights come with a 1-year long warranty, but some offer longer warranty periods such as 5 years or even lifetime warranty options. Additionally, it is recommended to look for durability ratings like IPX5 or IPX6 water resistance ratings as a higher rating offers better protection against water damage. Overall, checking the warranty and durability ratings can help ensure that you choose a pistol light that will last and perform well over time.
What is the best pistol light for self-defense?
When choosing the best pistol light for self-defense, several factors must be considered.
First and foremost, the light should be reliable and durable.
Next, it should provide enough lumens to illuminate your target and provide proper identification.
A rail clamp system is important for easy attachment to your firearm.
A compact size is ideal for concealed carry but still needs to provide enough visible light to be helpful. A strobe feature is a personal preference, and the brightest light might not always be the best.
Finally, consider your personal needs and preferences when choosing a pistol light.
Are pistol lights waterproof?
A waterproof pistol light is crucial as it ensures that the light remains functional even in wet conditions.
Pistol lights should be at least splash-proof and preferably submergible to resist water damage.
The key features to look for in a waterproof pistol light are durability ratings like IPX5 or IPX6 water resistance ratings.
Higher ratings offer better protection against water damage.
Investing in a waterproof pistol light is important to avoid any regrets when the light fails to work in wet conditions.
In summary, pistol lights can be waterproof, and checking for durability ratings and warranties when purchasing one is important.
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