Best Tactical Flashlight

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It can be difficult to find the best tactical flashlight. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.

But don’t worry! This guide has everything you need to know about choosing the best tactical flashlight. From beam width and range to quality of light, we’ll help you make the perfect choice for your needs.

This guide covers all the important factors to consider when choosing a tactical flashlight. We’ve also included our top picks for the best tactical flashlights!

Best Tactical Flashlights

Based on my testing of each light, here are the best tactical flashlights for all budgets.

Cloud Defensive Chicro

cloud chicro

For the size of the Cloud Defensive Chicro light it’s very impressive in terms of output and performance. This has become my EDC flashlight and one that I have found I can’t leave the house without.

It’s small but mighty in terms of overall output. It’s sold as an admin light but I find it helpful in multiple situations.

Cloud Defensive Chicro Output on High

My only complaint with this light is the high/low setting is not done how I would prefer. Once you activate the high setting you have to cycle through the low setting to get back to high.

For example, if you turn the flashlight on high and then turn the light off the next time you turn it on, it will be on the low “admin” light setting. I wish there was a double tap feature for the low and a constant for the high output setting.

Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA

streamlight protac 1l

The Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA is one of my favorite small tactical flashlights.

I recently used the ProTac in a low-light training class for mostly admin purposes, such as finding mags and looking around. It proved to be a fantastic light that didn’t add a ton of weight to my kit and was a great substitute for not weapon mounted light use.

It is lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry around. Plus, it is affordable and takes both AA and CR123 batteries, which makes it great for a bug-out bag. It also boasts an impressive run time of up to 750 continuous hours.

It has three modes, high, strobe, and low, with adjustable brightness levels, and is easily operated with the single tail cap switch.

Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA on High Output

Overall, I’m a big fan of the ProTac because if it’s output and size.

streamlight protac 1l 1aa inline

Streamlight ProTac

Run Time: 750 Hours

Fenix PD32

fenix pd32

The flashlight is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and has a Type III hard-anodized finish, making it extremely durable and reliable.

Most importantly, the Fenix PD35 Tac is incredibly bright, with a maximum output of 1,000 lumens. This ensures that you’ll have enough light to see clearly no matter what environment you’re in.

Fenix PD32 Tactical Flashlight Output on High

It also features a variety of different brightness settings and a strobe mode. The flashlight is compatible with several energy sources, including an 18650 lithium-ion battery or two 3V CR123A rechargeable batteries.

This allows you to choose the energy source that works best for you.

Overall, the Fenix PD35 Tac flashlight is an incredibly reliable and powerful option for anyone looking for a tactical flashlight.

Its durable design, bright light output, and versatile features make it one of the best tactical flashlights overall.

Streamlight Polytac

streamlight polytac

What I like about the Streamlight Polytac is two fold: durability and price.

The light’s polymer construction feels very rugged, and it’s only $45. The output is fantastic, clocking in at 600 lumens with a great throw.

Streamlight Polytac Output on High

The only con I can find with the light is it’s a bit bulky compared to some other options but if sick and bulk aren’t a concern this thing is high on my list.

Anker Bolder LC90

anker bolder lc90

The Anker Bolder LC90 flashlight is an extremely highly rated tactical flashlight and it’s easy to see why.

It has an impressive maximum output of 900 lumens, making it one of the brightest flashlights in its price range.

It also has five different brightness settings that can be adjusted to fit any situation, from low-light to high-brightness settings. The flashlight is rechargeable and has a decent runtime of up to 6 hours on its highest setting.

The flashlight is also waterproof and impact-resistant, making it perfect for outdoor use.

In addition, it comes with a handy holster and a convenient keychain attachment, making it easy to carry around with you.

PowerTac M5 GEN2

powertac m5 g2

The PowerTac M5 GEN2 is a pocket-friendly, bright tactical flashlight that weighs only 65g without the battery.

It is equipped with 1300 lumens, a USB magnetic cable for charging, six modes of operation, a water-resistant body up to two meters, and aircraft-grade aluminum alloy.

It offers great value as a tactical flashlight for a range of activities and purposes, giving users an advantage with its blinding brightness.

XURLEQ XD50S

xurleq

XURLEQ has two adjustable focus modes, a powerful 10,000-lumen light beam, a long LED lifespan of 100,000 hours, and is waterproof.

Its small size makes it easy to store, while its brightness makes it ideal for illuminating the ground at night. It also has a great price point, with a $29.99.

With all these features, XURLEQ will be a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable and powerful tactical flashlight.

OLIGHT Warrior 3S

olight warrior 3s

The OLIGHT Warrior 3S is a great tactical flashlight because it has several features that make it an ideal choice.

First, it has an impressive max output of 2,300 lumens, making it very bright and able to reach a beam distance of up to 1,900 feet.

Second, the tactical flashlight is powered by a 21700 lithium battery, which provides up to 8 hours of continuous light.

Third, it has an aggressive strike plate and knurled precision-machined aluminum body, as well as an optional magnetic remote switch for mounting the light on a firearm.

Fourth, it has a vibrating function to indicate battery life and a tactical grip ring to help prevent it from slipping out of your hands in a hurry.

All these features combined make the OLIGHT Warrior 3S a great tactical flashlight that can help you prepare for any unexpected situation.

Streamlight STINGER 2020

Streamlight Stinger 2020

The Streamlight Stinger 2020 is the perfect tactical flashlight, thanks to its incredible power of 2000 lumens, shockproof aluminum alloy body, ergonomic design for comfort and perfect grip, and intuitive controls that make it easy to use.

Its advanced C4 LED optic technology provides a concentrated 234m beam of light, allowing you to illuminate dark areas easily, and its USB rechargeable SL-B26 lithium-ion battery ensures it can last up to 1.75 hours.

The Streamlight Stinger 2020 is water resistant with an IPX7 rating and is live-fire tested for impact resistance.

It is lightweight at just 12.3 oz and the tethered battery door and latch mechanism keep your hands away from the muzzle of your weapon.

This is greaet for EDC Rating and has excellent reviews, the Streamlight Stinger 2020 is an ideal choice for those who need intense illumination and the best in tactical functional design.

Fenix TK16 V2.0

fenix tk16 v2

The Fenix TK16 V2.0 is an excellent tactical flashlight due to its exceptional performance.

The flashlight is IP68 rated, meaning it is waterproof and dustproof and can withstand extreme temperatures.

A high-capacity 5000mAH 21700 battery powers it and can produce 3100 lumens of light, making it perfect for throwing its light over 415 yards.

Additionally, its tactical tail switch allows for momentary-on and constant-on, and the strike bezel at the front helps with defensive application.

The flashlight is USB rechargeable, making it easy to charge. The Fenix TK16 V2.0 is perfect for a reliable and powerful tactical flashlight.

Nitecore MT10A

Nitecore MT10C Flashlight

The Nitecore MT10A is an excellent and compact tactical flashlight designed for EDC use.

This tiny flashlight features a bright 920-lumen output and a red firefly light. It can be powered by both IMR 14500 and AA batteries.

It is easy to use and carry, making it ideal for travel, tactical, and administrative tasks.

The light has several modes, including turbo, high, medium, low, and red, allowing it to adapt to any situation or environment.

The light also includes a semi-focused beam, perfect for searching and general lighting.

Additionally, the light has a built-in heat protection system that automatically lowers output after 3 minutes to ensure user safety.

The all-aluminum construction makes this flashlight feel bomb-proof in the hand. I also like the two buttons that control the light intensity and modes.

It’s far more user-friendly and intuitive than other flashlights on the market. The fact that the tail cap is not the only control makes this light extremely easy to use. It also comes with a clip and a tassle option.

All of these features make the Nitecore MT10A a great tactical flashlight.

Streamlight Wedge

Streamlight Wedge Flashlight

The Streamlight Wedge TLR-1 has a solid machined aluminum sealed body and a black anodized finish for maximum durability. It has a shock-mounted Boro Float glass lens for optimal protection against impact.

The size and shape drew me to this light, as the lumen output is okay, but the battery life is impressive.

I like the feel of the wedge in my hand, but the on/off switch takes some getting used to. The high output is only momentary, as the low setting is constant on.

Advanced C4 LED optic technology allows the 1000-lumen bulb to last for 50,000 hours and project an extremely bright, concentrated 234m beam of light to illuminate a dark alleyway or woodland area.

It has an ambidextrous momentary/steady on/off switch that allows for one-handed operation, and the tethered battery door and latch mechanism stop the door from falling off.

Lastly, the flashlight is also backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

What are the benefits of using a tactical flashlight?

Here are some benefits and considerations to consider when purchasing your EDC Flashlight.

Increase Visibility and Illumination

Using a flashlight can increase visibility and illumination in various ways.

Its powerful LED bulbs are designed to provide bright, reliable lighting that can light up a stairwell, temporarily impair an assailant’s vision, or be used to hunt wild game in the woods.

The different lighting modes—high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS—allow you to adjust the beam to focus the light into a narrow beam or expand it to a wide beam, and the zoom-in and out mode will give you the best coverage.

Useful in Emergency Situations

A flashlight can be extremely useful in emergencies. It is a multipurpose, power-packed lighting tool that can provide bright illumination in combat, emergency, or survival scenarios.

It can also be used as a striking tool and can temporarily blind an assailant. A flashlight can help you find your things in the dark and can even communicate with rescue teams in an emergency, as some models come with dedicated SOS and Beacon flashing modes.

Furthermore, some flashlights come with a strobe mode which can be used to disorient an attacker and put them in a state of shock, allowing you to get out of harm’s way.

Easy to Carry and Use

The ease of carrying and using a flashlight makes it a great choice for those who are looking for a reliable, powerful and versatile light source.

With the right model, you can find features such as adjustable focus, clip for hands-free usage, rechargeable batteries, and multiple settings that make them user-friendly and efficient, as well as robust and heavy-duty builds that make them durable and able to withstand harsh conditions.

Many flashlights, including ones we have tested, are designed to be compact and lightweight. They fit nicely in a hand or a pocket clip, making them easy to carry and use when needed.

Different Types of Flashlights for Different Uses

There are three main types of flashlights: handheld, headlamps, and weapon lights.

Handheld flashlights are the most commonly used type of flashlight. They are small, lightweight, and usually feature a single light output setting. These are perfect for everyday tasks such as walking the dog, working on the car, or even home defense.

Headlamps have a strap or band that allows them to be worn on the head, leaving you hands-free for other activities.

They typically feature adjustable brightness settings and have a wide beam for maximum visibility. These are great for off-road camping, wilderness trekking, or nighttime hikes.

Weapon lights are designed to be mounted on a pistol or long gun and normally feature multiple lighting modes. Most AR-15 rifles are equipped with some type of flashlight, and some of the best AR-15 flashlights mount directly to the gun’s rail.

Can be Used for Self-defense Purposes

Yes, a flashlight can be used for self-defense purposes.

It can be used as a striking tool with its crenulated bezels that are shaped to break windows or faces easily, and it can be used to blind an assailant temporarily.

Increase Safety when Walking or Cycling at Night

A flashlight can help increase safety when walking or cycling at night by providing a bright, wide-area beam of light to help illuminate potential risks.

The high lumen output can disorient attackers and cause pain, while the striking tool and bezel can be used as a defensive tool if necessary.

Carrying a tactical flashlight and scanning your surroundings can help protect you, your loved ones, and your possessions.

What should you consider when buying a handheld flashlight?

Quality of light

When shopping for a flashlight, it is important to consider the quality of light it produces.

Tactical flashlights are designed to be incredibly bright and give off an intense light to illuminate targets near and far.

The light is usually produced by a high-powered LED bulb, ranging from 300 to 1200 lumens, with an advanced lens design such as a C4 LED or a Cree bulb with a super-smart microchip.

This ensures a crystal clear illumination and superior visibility. Additionally, some models may have various lighting mode settings, such as a single-output beam, adjustable zoom lens, emergency strobe, SOS, or beacon lighting. By considering the quality of light a tactical flashlight will provide, you can ensure you have the best flashlight for your needs.

Power output

Power output is one of the most important factors when buying a tactical flashlight.

It refers to the amount of light emitted by the flashlight, measured in lumens.

A higher lumen output means the flashlight will be brighter and have a longer range. This is essential for tactical flashlights, which are used in various situations, from self-defense to outdoor activities.

The high output provides a longer reach, which is useful for identifying potential threats and illuminating a larger area.

Remember that a higher lumen output leads to a shorter runtime because it drains the battery quickly.

Modes of operation

Tactical flashlights are designed with multiple modes of operation to help meet any situation.

These modes range from low-output Moonlight modes for longer runtimes to high-output brightest levels ideal for self-defense.

Strobe mode is also a common setting for tactical flashlights, allowing for momentary disorienting bursts of light.

Tactical flashlights also have features like forward-throw switches, knurling, easy-to-activate switches, and strike bezels in addition to lighting modes.

These features provide convenience and ease of use when operating the flashlight.

Finally, flashlights also offer additional accessories and features. These can range from pocket clips to attach the flashlight to clothing to lanyards to attach it to a backpack or belt and mounts to attach it to a weapon.

In summary, the main modes of operation for flashlights are high output brightness, low output Moonlight, strobe mode, and additional features for convenience and ease of use.

Size and weight

Size and weight are key considerations when buying a flashlight.

Compact and pocket flashlights are the most popular because they are light enough to carry with you every day and small enough to fit in your pocket or even on a keychain.

The ideal length of a mini tactical flashlight should be between 2 and 6 inches and the ideal diameter should be between 0.50 to 1 inch. A good weight for a tactical flashlight should be between 1 and 4 ounces.

Finding the right balance between a short length and a small body diameter and performance is important.

For example, the Olite S1 is incredibly small, with a length of 2.4 inches but has a diameter of 0.83 inches. The Streamlight Stylus Pro is a bit longer with a length of 5.3 inches but has a tiny diameter of 0.60 inches.

Compared to regular-sized tactical lights, greater emphasis is placed on weight, size, durability/reliability, and usability – rather than power and features.

A full-sized tactical flashlight may be too heavy to carry around and unsuitable for your situation.

Consider your particular needs and carefully decide which size and weight are best for you.

Beam Pattern

A beam pattern is how a flashlight or other device creates and disperses light.

It is an important consideration when purchasing a tactical flashlight because it affects how far the beam of light can reach, how wide the beam is and the area it covers and the intensity of the light.

In tactical situations, it is essential to have a powerful beam that reaches far enough to illuminate a wide area.

The wider the beam, the more visible the surroundings will be, and the farther the beam reaches, the more likely a person is to spot a potential threat before it becomes a problem.

A beam pattern that is too narrow will not provide adequate coverage and can leave areas dark and vulnerable.

A flashlight with a focused beam pattern is ideal for tactical purposes because it can reach a greater distance and provide a more intense light output.

Switches and Controls

Tactical flashlights are designed with special switches and controls to give users the optimal illumination during a potentially dangerous situation.

The main switch is usually a tail-activated switch that lets the user quickly turn on the flashlight. This switch is easy to access and use, allowing for a speedy response.

Many flashlights also feature additional controls, such as multiple lighting modes, a forward-throw switch for momentary-on activation, and a strobe mode.

These different modes allow the user to adjust the light to the situation, providing the optimal light for whatever task.

The knurling on tactical lights is also built to provide a secure grip during use, reducing the likelihood of accidental drops.

Finally, flashlights are often made of aircraft-grade aluminum and water-resistant or waterproof materials, making them durable enough for any situation.

Battery Type

When buying a flashlight, two popular battery types are traditional AA or AAA batteries and USB rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

Traditional batteries are a more familiar replacement option and provide a more dependable beam strength over time, while rechargeable batteries are generally easier to maintain and allow flashlights to be smaller and more compact.

Selectable modes are great if battery life is important, but checking the battery specifications is wise.

Both rechargeable and disposable batteries can be accommodated, giving you the best of both worlds.

Battery Life

The battery life of a flashlight depends on the type of batteries used. Normal alkaline batteries can last up to one hour at full power.

Disposable or rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can last from 2-6 hours on a medium setting.

For the highest performance and reliability, look for flashlights with superior Lithium-ion batteries designed for maximum performance and long run times.

Body design

When evaluating the body design of a tactical flashlight, there are several factors to consider.

The most important factor is the material used to construct the body – tough and almost indestructible aircraft or military-grade aluminum alloy with a black anodized finish or an extra-strong Nitrolon polymer body.

Aluminum alloy provides excellent impact and abrasion-resistance, with shockproof and skid-proof qualities, while Nitrolon polymer is lightweight and provides a good grip.

Water resistance is also important, with IPX4, IPX5, IPX7, or IPX8 ratings recommended.

LED Light Technology

LED technology has revolutionized the lighting industry with its energy efficiency, long-lasting durability, and bright, focused beam.

LED lights consume 70-80% less energy than traditional bulbs and can run for up to 10,000 hours.

Tactical flashlights require a bright beam to be effective in low-light settings, and LEDs deliver the intensity and focused beam needed in tactical situations.

Furthermore, LED lights are much tougher and more resistant to impact and abrasion than traditional bulbs, making them better for rugged outdoor activities.

With their superior performance, LEDs are the ideal choice when selecting a tactical flashlight.

Accessory Options

Accessory options for tactical flashlights include rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, aircraft-grade aluminum bodies for durability, waterproof and water-resistant designs for protection, multiple lighting modes, and tactical tail switches for easy on and off access.

Additionally, a range of flashlight accessories, such as holsters and lanyards, are available to help you get the most out of your tactical flashlight.

Weatherproofing

Weatherproofing is an essential feature when buying a tactical flashlight because it offers reliable protection from the elements.

Having a flashlight that is rated IPX4, IPX5, IPX7, or IPX8 ensures that it will withstand the rigors of any weather.

This is especially important for those in the military, law enforcement, and security personnel as they often face extreme conditions.

These flashlights are designed to be taken into wet and dusty environments, so having a waterproof and dustproof flashlight is key to ensuring it will work reliably in any situation.

By investing in a flashlight with a good weatherproofing rating you can be sure that it will not be damaged by rain, snow, or dust, and that it will be able to take a beating and keep on shining.

Cost and Availability

Are you looking for the best tactical flashlight to add to your toolbox and don’t know where to start?

The cost and availability of tactical flashlights vary depending on the features and specifications you need. You can find basic models for as little as $20 for a pair, but you can expect to pay upwards of $100 for more advanced models.

For instance, the GearLight S1000 is the most highly rated flashlight on Amazon and only costs under $20, while the DanForce G1 rechargeable LED flashlight is a bit more expensive at $100, but comes with a variety of features including a compass and power pack.

Regardless of the price, the best tactical flashlights share common features like robust construction, good grip, and multiple settings.

So, when shopping for the perfect flashlight, compare the prices and available features for the one that best suits your needs.

Warranty

Most flashlights typically come with a manufacturer’s warranty that protects against defects or malfunctions.

Generally, these warranties last for a period of one to five years. This warranty ensures that the flashlight will work as expected and helps protect the user from any manufacturing issues that could lead to a malfunction or failure of the device.

In addition, the warranty may cover any repairs that may be necessary due to accidental damage or normal wear and tear.

Focusability

This feature allows one to adjust the flashlight’s beam to a smaller, more concentrated area, which increases the distance and intensity of the light.

This is especially helpful in self-defense situations, as it can blind a potential assailant temporarily.

Focusability also allows the user to adjust the beam to better suit the situation at hand.

For instance, a wide beam can be used to light up a larger area, while a more concentrated beam can be used to identify a target at a greater distance better.

Therefore, when selecting a tactical flashlight, it’s important to consider the focusability of the flashlight to ensure it meets your needs.

Ergonomics

The first is size and weight. Tactical flashlights should be light enough not to weigh you down yet durable enough to withstand everyday use.

They should also fit comfortably in your hand, with an ergonomic design for easy gripping.

Finally, tactical flashlights should be designed with use in mind. So switches, tail caps, and battery compartments should be well designed.

Activating the flashlight while holding the light in one hand should be smooth and easy.

The tail switch is important when using a flashlight. This switch allows the user to turn the light on and off quickly.

Changing the battery of your flashlight should be easy and fast. The battery compartment should be sealed for durability reasons.

Light Distribution

One of the most important factors is brightness, as this determines how far a light can reach and the beam’s intensity. The shape of the beam and its ability to focus light on a specific target are also important, as is the color temperature of the light.

The beam pattern, throw angle, and tail switch are all important features when considering the usability of a tactical flashlight.

Regarding brightness, tactical flashlights usually have a higher output than regular EDC flashlights, with some flashlights having as much as 1000 lumens.

This higher output offers greater visibility and distance for the user. The beam pattern is also important, as some flashlights have a floodlight pattern that offers a wider beam and more area coverage, while others have a spot mode that focuses light on a specific target.

The throw angle is also important, as this controls how far downrange the light can go and how wide the beam can be.

Best Tactical Flashlights Conclusion

So there you have it, our complete guide to the best tactical flashlights.

We’ve covered everything from beam width and range to quality of light and even thrown in some tips on weatherproofing.

So now all that’s left for you to do is choose the perfect flashlight for your needs. If you are looking for a weapon mounted light be sure to read our article on AR-15 mounted flashlights or pistol flashlights.

Michael Savage
Michael Savage

Michael is the President of Lynx Defense and an avid gun owner and outdoors man. He's passionate about helping find the best bang for your buck and helping others learn about firearms and the industry as a whole.

Articles: 266

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