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Anybody who works in law enforcement or security would tell you how important having a flashlight is on the job. You want to be vigilant and alert, and the dark is your enemy. Here we go briefly over some of the best tactical flashlights that you can use in your line of work.
Here are the Best Tactical Flashlights for review:
- 5.11 Tactical Unisex S+R A6 Flashlight
- Klarus XT1A Handheld Flashlight
- Nitecore P36 Tactical Flashlight
- Fenix PD36R Tactical Flashlight
- ACEBEAM L30 Gen II Tactical Flashlight
- Maglite Mag-Tac LED 2-Cell Flashlight
- EdisonBright Olight M2R Tactical Flashlight
- SureFire Everyday Carry LED Flashlight
- Streamlight 69261 TLR-2 Rail Mounted Tactical Light
- Pelican 7600 Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight
- Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC Flashlight
- Nitecore P18 Compact Flashlight
- ThruNite Archer 2A V3 LED Flashlight
- Olight Warrior X Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight
How to Find the Best Tactical Flashlight
What makes tactical flashlights stand out from others are usually a few things, ranging from extreme brightness and strobe capabilities to easy control and durability. Some of them are mountable on weapons; others are not. Let’s go over some of the features you should be on the lookout for when buying your new sidekick.
The total amount of light that’s emitted by your flashlight is called the output, commonly measured in units called lumens. Brighter and more luminous flashlights measure as having more lumens. Having a very bright light gives you a tactical advantage when coming face to face with an adversary, allowing you to temporarily disorient the attacker.
Our Lumens, Lux, and Candela article is a great resource to learn more about Lumens and light output
Strobe and SOS
Flashlights with this function are capable of working as strobe lights. The regular flashing of extremely bright light is a fantastic self-defense tactic, as they’re effective at disorienting, and give you time to do what needs to be done: fight or flight.
In addition to that, having a separate output mode that serves as SOS can be extremely useful in emergency situations where you’re stuck on your own — God forbid — and need the help of others.
This is a measure of how far your light beam travels before its intensity starts to diminish. It’s only natural that flashlights with higher beam distances are by default more preferable than the others.
Moreover, a more nuanced thing to consider is whether the flashlight emits a focused or a wide beam, the latter being usually more convenient when it comes to searching or shedding light on open spaces.
The power source which your future flashlight uses is not something you should miss. Not all flashlights work with all types of batteries. Some flashlights come with their own customizable batteries. There are those that also use rechargeable batteries as opposed to disposable ones.
How long the battery lasts is equally important as well. You want batteries that are capable of providing enough juice to satisfy your vocational needs as well as your personal ones.
Learn everything you need to know about Batteries with our Ultimate Guide to Batteries!
Ease of Use and Transport
For flashlights, having them switch on and change modes easily, as well as being able to move around with them and handle them without difficulty, are things to keep an eye on. However, when it comes to size and weight, the smaller, lighter flashlights usually don’t have the same power or necessarily the same amount of features compared to the larger, heavier ones.
In the end, it comes down to your own preferences to have what works best not just generally, but also for you.
A crucial feature of many tactical flashlights, the best for the job would have to be sturdy and constructed to withstand impact and water as well as heavy-duty use and exposure to the elements.
How durable is it? What does IPX6 mean? Read our Ultimate Guide to the ANSI/PLATO FL1 Standard symbols!
On top of everything mentioned before, how much a flashlight is worth is also significant. The idea is not to just aim for what’s cheaper, nor is it to be wasteful of money. It comes down to how much this flashlight would be valuable and practically used by you to find the best option that’s affordable and worth its price.
Now that we have come to address some of the aspects one should pay attention to before setting out to get a tactical flashlight, let us review the best tactical flashlights that exist out there in the market.
Check out our article on What Makes a Flashlight ‘Tactical’
Best ‘AA’ Tactical Flashlight
Developed by 5.11, the S+R A6 flashlight is designed with input from professionals who work in search and rescue to provide exceptional illumination as well as durability.
Measuring at 10.3 inches in length, it emits 602 lumens of light for up to 7.5 hours. This is very helpful in search and rescue operations, especially since it runs on six regular AA batteries, which are commonly sold almost everywhere.
The flashlight is constructed from aerospace-grade aluminum, which is enforced further by the robust steel bezel as well as thermoplastic rubber overmold. As such, it’s resilient against force from impact as well as exposure to water and can provide a reliable grip through all kinds of weather.
A rotary tailcap works as the on switch, easily setting between momentary and steady options. No accidental switch-ons will happen with this type of design. Additionally, it features reflective inserts on the handle that makes it easy to find if there isn’t a lot of light.
- Provides great luminosity for a long time.
- Cannot be accidentally turned on.
- Constructed for high durability and reliable grip.
- Easy to find in low light conditions.
- No strobe or SOS modes.
Best 14500 Rechargeable Flashlight
A product by Klarus, the XT1A flashlight will serve you well for both tactical as well as outdoor purposes.
With a length of 4.24 inches and weighing 2.17 ounces, the flashlight can cast a maximum output of 1000 lumens that’s able to light up a distance as far as 590 feet for 1 hour. There are also two lower brightness settings, the lowest of which can keep running for 37 hours.
In addition, the flashlight also boasts both strobe and SOS lighting modes, great for any emergencies one might encounter on the job or out in nature. The design includes a unique tailcap with a dual-switch and a lock-out system, allowing for quick and easy use as well as preventing accidental ons.
While the flashlight is compatible with AA batteries, it works best with 14500 batteries. It comes with one 14500 battery, which can be recharged via a built-in USB port. A reverse polarity protection system prevents any damage from erroneous battery placement.
With a 3-foot impact resistance and a 6-foot water resistance, you’ll find that this product can handle itself well against accidents and heavy-duty use. This won’t happen if you make use of its pocket clip while moving around, though.
- Compatible with AA batteries.
- Has strobe and SOS modes.
- Provides great brightness over a good distance.
- Comes with a rechargeable battery.
- Flashlight has been noted to flicker on high brightness modes.
Best 2000 Lumen Tactical Flashlight
Designed by Nitecore, the P36 is a great choice for tactical use as well as hunting and search and rescue.
At 6.8 inches long and weighing 8.9 ounces, this flashlight shoots out as much as 2000 lumens of light that can illuminate a distance of as far as 984 feet. In addition to having modes of lower brightness, it also has several flashing modes along with strobe as well as a location beacon and SOS, which all shine at max intensity.
It comes with a flat body design, which provides for an easy and secure grip and is capable of withstanding both impact and water. It houses two 18650 rechargeable batteries, but it can also use four CR123 batteries, which can provide a run time of as long as 325 hours.
The tail cap comes with a U-shaped design that both prevents accidental ons and also makes tail standing the flashlight easy. Two switches, including a rotary one, provide direct access to the most important lighting modes.
Moreover, power indicators built within the flashlight allow you to stay on top of your battery’s life and be ready to have spares or your recharger ready when you start running low.
- Has better tail-standing capabilities.
- Provides intense lighting for a long distance.
- Allows you to monitor the battery’s life.
- Location beacon makes it very easy to let others know where you are.
- Doesn’t run for a long time on max light output.
Best 21700 Tactical Flashlight
Coming to you from Fenix is the PD36R tactical flashlight, which is also very useful for all kinds of outdoor scenarios.
The flashlight is 5.35 inches long, weighs 3 ounces, and can provide a bright 1600 lumens of light which can cover a maximum distance of 928 feet. Additionally, there are four other modes of lower output as well as a strobe mode. The light output is digitally regulated and thus makes for a smooth, constant light beam.
At the max output, it can last for nearly 3 hours due to its high-capacity 21700 battery. The battery is rechargeable via the flashlight’s built-in USB C charging port and comes with the product. It doesn’t take a long time to refuel either, which can be as brief as 10 minutes and a max of 4 hours. The device features an indicator, which can provide both a low-battery warning as well as a boot-up battery notification.
The construction of the flashlight gives it good resistance against impact from all sides as well as protection from water damage. It’s also designed to prevent rolling as well as slipping. Wrongly inserting the batteries won’t cause any harm either due to built-in protection from reverse polarity.
The product features a tactical switch for quick access and use, as well as a side switch for easy switching between different lighting modes. It also has a pocket clip, which you can use from either side to attach it to your belt or vest.
- Provides max brightness for a long time.
- Battery is easily and quickly recharged.
- Does not flicker.
- Notifies you when the battery is low and when it’s ready to boot.
- It can become hot too quickly.
Best 4000 Lumen Tactical Flashlight
The L30 Gen II tactical flashlight is more than sufficient if you’re looking for a flashlight that’s extremely bright.
It can be powered up by a 21700 battery, which is included with the product, as well as 18650 and CR123 batteries. Additionally, there is a power indicator that warns you of low voltage and when the battery is fully recharged. The built-in charging port works with a micro USB cable and makes recharging convenient.
Measuring 6.4 inches long and 5.9 ounces in weight, this ACEBEAM flashlight can light up a far stretch 1223 feet long at an astounding 4000 lumens of brightness. Four other modes of lower brightness expand your options and provide a longer runtime of as many as 65 whole days, and a strobe mode adds to self-defense.
The body is designed to be quite tough, with high impact resistance of over 3 feet and water resistance of up to 6 feet, with a tactical ring that makes it mountable on weapons. Two switches provide easy access to max brightness output as well as easy switching between other modes, including strobe, with an additional lock/unlock function.
- Can be mounted on weapons.
- Extremely high light output and beam distance.
- Compatible with several battery types.
- Lock function to prevent accidental ons.
- No SOS mode.
Best Compact Tactical Flashlight
From Maglite comes the Mag-Tac tactical flashlight, which was designed using input from law enforcement as well as military personnel, making it a common choice for those who work tactically.
The flashlight measures 5.2 inches and weighs 4.8 ounces. It’s able to shine at a single brightness of 320 lumens for as long as 4 hours, lighting up a distance maxing at 633 feet. It also comes with a powerful 12-hertz strobe mode that can disorient any attacker.
The Mag-Tac is powered up by high-performance CR123 batteries, which come with the product but are not rechargeable, so spares will be needed with frequent use. The body is made with a sturdy design that provides a secure grip as well as protection from the weather and impact, which is testified to by the National Tactical Officers Association.
The flashlight also features a tail switch that provides direct and quick access to all of its functions. A detachable pocket clip enables a convenient and easy carry when you’re done using it.
- Has a very long run time.
- The pocket clip is detachable.
- Strobe mode is potent.
- One switch accesses all functions.
- No SOS mode.
Best Compact Tactical Flashlight
The M2R Warrior by Olight is another fantastic option for a compact tactical flashlight and also one that’s quite versatile.
Being 5.12 inches long and 5.26 ounces heavy, it can throw out a maximum light output of 1500 lumens as far as 682 feet, although that only lasts for a few minutes to prevent overheating. Five other lower brightness modes are available, the lowest of which can keep providing light for 25 days, as well as a strobe mode.
It works with a 18650 rechargeable battery or two CR123 batteries. The recharging happens magnetically through the tail cap by attaching it to the base. Two switches provide versatile use and a lock-out function, where the side switch also acts as a power indicator and has braille marking so it can be found without looking.
The construction is durable, with great impact resistance of up to nearly 5 feet and water resistance of up to 6 feet. It also provides a secure grip with its knurled design. Lanyard holes and two-sided pocket clips offer various carrying options.
- On/off options exist on both switches.
- High brightness and long beam distance.
- Lanyard holes provide an extra method of carrying.
- Works with more than one battery type.
- Max output lasts briefly to prevent overheating.
Best CR123 Tactical Flashlight
A great option if you’re looking for an everyday flashlight, SureFire’s EDCL-2 T is what you should aim for.
It is powered up by specially designed CR123 batteries, which have built-in protection against heat as well as from short circuits. The body is designed to provide extreme durability with a two-directional pocket clip for convenient carrying.
At 5.84 inches long and weighing 4.1 ounces, it emits 1200 lumens of bright light on its high setting and 5 lumens on its low setting, with run times of 1 hour and 60 hours, respectively. However, it does not have a strobe mode.
One switch is all that’s needed with this flashlight, where it can be rotated to provide constant light or pressed for temporary light.
- Provides high-intensity light for a good period of time.
- Batteries are tolerant against heat and fault.
- Very durable.
- Uses one multi-function switch.
- Does not have a strobe mode.
Best Rail Mount Tactical Flashlight
If a rail mount flashlight is what you’re searching for, look no further than Streamlight’s 69261 TLR-2 tactical light, which comes with everything you need for such specialized use.
Capable of shining at 800 lumens for more than 984 feet and for 1.75 hours, you’ll find both great and sustained illumination. It also shoots a wide beam that gives you situational awareness. Additionally, it comes with either a red or green laser, which helps with long-range aiming.
The product is powered up by two CR123 batteries that can be easily replaced through the battery door and its latch mechanism. The door is also tethered to prevent loss during replacement.
An easy-to-use rail clamp that involves quickly snapping it on your weapon and then tightening it will only require one hand that will not come anywhere near the muzzle. Moreover, there’s a strobe mode that can be activated while the flashlight is on.
The flashlight is also designed to withstand shock and both extremely high and low temperatures. It’s also resilient against damage from water.
- Can handle extreme cold and heat.
- Has a very long runtime.
- Wide beam provides a tactical advantage.
- Has laser-assisted aiming.
- Problems have been noted with the battery door’s durability.
Best Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight
A product with a unique array of features, the Pelican 7600 flashlight is another terrific choice for a tactical flashlight.
You get the option of more than one color of light with this product. In addition to white, you also have green and red, which can be useful in situations where you don’t want to ruin your night vision. They can also be used for traffic control by attaching slip-on wands.
At 6.19 inches in length and 6.9 ounces in weight, the flashlight projects a fantastic 944 lumens of light at its brightest, which can last for more than 3 hours. Two other modes of lower brightness provide longer runtimes of up to 29 hours, and it has a strobe mode.
It runs on a 18650 battery that can be recharged via a built-in USB port. It is also compatible with CR123 batteries, albeit only the disposable ones. The battery level indicator always keeps you informed of its status.
A tail switch along with a rotatable head allows you to easily switch between different lighting modes, and a removable pocket clip makes it easy to carry.
- Can emit light in three different colors.
- Provides high brightness and beam distance for a long time.
- Compatible with more than one battery type.
- Doesn’t work with rechargeable CR123 batteries.
Best Tactical Flashlight
An optimal choice for a tactical flashlight, Fenix’s FX-PD35TAC is designed to be pocket friendly yet with the tactical use in mind.
Capable of emitting 1000 lumens of light at a distance of 656 feet, the product is 5.4 inches long and 3.1 ounces heavy. It comes with four different modes of lower brightness and a strobe mode.
An integrated memory always remembers your last used output mode, to save you playing with the settings each time. A two-switch system allows for both tactical and outdoor use. Plus, an indicator gives you a reminder when the battery is running low.
The body is constructed to provide resistance against water and impact as well as provide anti-roll and anti-slip capabilities. Improper battery replacement is deterred by a reverse polarity protection system.
It’s powered by a 18650 rechargeable battery but can also work with two CR123 batteries.
- Memory remembers the last output mode used.
- Provides great light output and good beam distance.
- Compatible with more than one battery type.
- Doesn’t have SOS function.
Best Tactical Flashlight Under $100
Since budget is also important when it comes to getting a flashlight, the Nitecore P18 will be best suited to that standard.
It has a maximum light output of up to 1800 lumens, which lights a distance of nearly 600 feet, and seven other modes, including strobe, SOS, and a location beacon. It also comes with an auxiliary red light that’s useful to preserve night vision.
Measuring 4.5 inches long and weighing 3.65 ounces, the flashlight features a unique body shape that allows for a comfortable grip as well as a pocket clip to easily carry it. Two switches allow for control of both lights separately.
Using a 18650 rechargeable battery, it can provide up to 220 hours of runtime.
- Auxiliary red light allows night vision.
- Has SOS, strobe, and beacon modes.
- Compact in size.
- Comes at a good price.
- Works with one battery type.
Best Tactical Penlight
When it comes to the best penlights for tactical purposes, ThruNite’s Archer 2A V3 is more than up for the job.
Measuring 6.1 inches long and weighing 1.7 ounces, it shoots out up to 500 lumens of light, with three other modes of lower brightness. A strobe mode is also included with it. It’s powered up by two AA batteries and can have a runtime of as long as 28 days.
It is also durable and easy to hold and carry, with its water and impact resistance capabilities, as well as featuring a non-slip design and a pocket clip. A dual-switch system allows for versatile and easy use while preventing accidental switch-ons.
- Can run on AA batteries.
- Provides good brightness.
- No SOS mode.
Best Weapon Mount Tactical Flashlight
Another amazing choice for tactical flashlights, the Olight Warrior X comes with all the necessary features.
Able to shine 2000 lumens of light that light up to a whopping 1837 feet of distance for over an hour, it provides vision in all circumstances. It also comes with another mode of lower brightness, as well as a strobe mode.
This flashlight is sturdy, with water resistance and the capability to handle drops from 6.5 feet. It comes with a tail switch resistant to wear, and this is also where it’s recharged directly via a USB cable. A magnetic remote pressure switch allows you to easily attach and detach it from your weapon.
It also alerts you when your battery is low by vibrating, which is pretty unique.
- Warns of low voltage by vibration.
- Very high light output and beam distance.
- Magnetically attaches to the weapon.
- Very durable.
- Using different lighting modes is tricky.
Undoubtedly we’ve gone through quite a list of flashlights, but even more certainly, we have explored all the different options for the best of them for tactical use.
By now, you should have an idea about what kind of tactical flashlight you want to buy. So do not hesitate to choose what suits you best, and hopefully, it will be of benefit to you in the future.