Traditionally, tactical flashlights were designed for use by the police or military service. Many of them are designed to be used alongside firearms because their powerful lights let you find your mark even in poor light conditions.
Not only are they brighter than ordinary flashlights, but the beams themselves can travel impressive distances. They’re also super durable and won’t let you down. It’s therefore not surprising that tactical flashlights are becoming increasingly popular among civilians.
Tactical flashlights can be very effective when used in self-defense, as their bright lights can dazzle attackers while you make a speedy getaway. Plus, if the attacker gets hold of them, they won’t cause any long-term damage, as often happens with knives and guns.
Tactical flashlights can also help you avoid being attacked in the first place, as you can fully check out a dark area before you enter it. On top of that, tactical flashlights are great for hunting, camping, mountaineering, and many other outdoor activities, thanks to their durable, and usually waterproof, construction.
So, if you’re tired of buying cheapo flashlights that pack in on you after a few uses, why not take the plunge and invest in a tactical flashlight that serves multiple purposes and will most likely last you a lifetime? And to help you decide which one to go for, here’s our top selection of tactical flashlights currently on the market and a few things to keep your eye on when you’re shopping around.
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The first item on our list of the best flashlights around is the Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC.
This durable flashlight has 1000 lumens of power behind it and can project its beam up to 200m. But don’t worry, we know that brightest isn’t always best, and that’s why we love that this flashlight has five settings of various brightness, plus a strobe for emergencies.
It’s hard to believe you can get much choice from a flashlight that can fit in your pocket! The small size and lightweight make this a great companion both for everyday use, like walking home in the dark, and for backpacking trips when you want to shed as much weight as possible.
And don’t worry if you get caught in a downpour – this flashlight can be submerged in a meter of water for half an hour without suffering.
Some minor drawbacks with his flashlight are that it doesn’t come with batteries included and it doesn’t tail stand either. It also lacks a focused long throw beam, so at longer distances, you get more of a floodlight effect.
However, this flashlight comes with some great features and, at this price, we think it’s an absolute steal!
The SureFire P2X Fury is an incredibly durable flashlight with a body constructed from high-strength aircraft grade aluminum that has been hard-anodized to boot.
Plus, the grip is so good you’ll have no trouble using this flashlight with gloves on, making it an excellent choice for mountaineering trips.
We love the simplicity of the tail switch – partially press the button for a moment of light or hold it down for continuous light. With no other modes, you won’t spend any time fumbling around trying to find the main beam. The micro-textured reflector makes sure your beam will be nice and smooth too.
Oh, and we love the tail-cap switch lockout that means your flashlight won’t turn itself on in transit, saving your precious battery life.
The battery life itself could be a little longer, and this isn’t the cheapest tactical flashlight around, but if you’re after a reliable, simple, powerful light, then this could be the one for you. And because of its strength, you can always use it for self-defense!
One of the best things about the Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 is its compatibility with a range of weapons, such as handguns and long guns, making it a great choice for tactical purposes.
It’s also super durable and won’t let you down even in harsh weather, thanks to its operating temperature of -40°F to +120°F. And don’t worry if you’re out in the elements and drop this flashlight in water because it can handle half an hour at 1 meter – more than enough time for you to pick it up again.
The beam has a maximum output of 800 lumens behind it and can stretch as far as 245m. The beams themselves come from a shock-mounted glass lens, which means that you simultaneously get a focused beam and great peripheral light.
This makes it great for spotting targets as well as observing large areas at once, and there’s a strobe function too for dazzling or for attracting attention in emergencies.
Unfortunately, the strobe can be a little tricky to operate, so we recommend spending some time at home to get used to it before you encounter any emergencies where you need to turn it on quickly.
Having just one light mode keeps things nice and simple, but there’s no option for anything less than 800 lumens, which is pretty bright, so bear that in mind.
Overall, this has to be one of the best tactical flashlights out there for use alongside firearms and in harsh environments.
Streamlight is renowned for producing high-quality tactical flashlights, and it’s therefore not surprising that we couldn’t help but add another one of their products to our list.
The Streamlight 88052 ProTac is a more affordable option than the 69260 TLR-1 but, the thing we like the most about it is the fact you can charge it via USB, making it a great flashlight for everyday use (not to mention a more eco-friendly option).
Don’t worry if you forget to power it up though, it also runs off disposable batteries to ensure that you’re never left in the dark.
Although available with a range of outputs, we think the 800 lumens model offers the best value for money. It comes with a USB cord, a removable pocket clip, and a nylon holster, although the clip can be a little fiddly to use.
Unfortunately, this tactical flashlight is water-resistant rather than fully waterproof, so it might not be the best for mountaineering trips. However, if you’re after something for everyday use, what better than an affordable, rechargeable light with a couple of modes to play with?
Don’t be fooled by the super sleek design of the Pelican 7600 – it may be slim but it’s super durable and has tonnes of extra features hidden away inside.
The anodized aircraft grade aluminum body will withstand most bumps and scrapes but, in case that wasn’t enough, this flashlight also comes with a lifetime guarantee, making it well worth the investment. Oh, and it’s waterproof too, so no worries on that front.
Not only does the light come with three output modes, plus a strobe setting, it also has three color settings (red, white, and green), making it a very versatile flashlight. At 944 lumens on its highest setting, and casting a beam up to 225 meters, this is one powerful light, although sadly there’s no way to focus the beam.
We also love that you can use both rechargeable and disposable batteries with this one, so you’ll never end up without juice. Another handy feature is the battery level indicator, so you’ll know when you need to power up, which might be necessary as the battery tends to run out a bit quicker than it says – although this is still a lot longer than many other options.
Despite the powerful illumination and all the quirky perks, this tactical flashlight is still reasonably priced. If you want something affordable, versatile, and sleek, then we can’t think of anything better.
If you’re after something incredibly bright but without a hefty price tag, then we’d certainly recommend the Anker Bolder LC130.
With 1300 lumens of power behind it and a beam that stretches up to 250m, there’s not much this flashlight won’t shed a light on. Plus, the tail stand is nice and sturdy, so you can easily light up a whole room or tent when you need to.
If you’re looking to save juice, however, why not opt for the medium or low settings. This light also has an SOS mode and even a morse code mode for serious emergencies, making this a great option for outdoor adventurers, although it is a little on the heavy side.
We also like that this tactical flashlight can be sourced from both rechargeable and disposable batteries, although unfortunately reaching the charging port involves some unscrewing and is a little fiddly.
However, at least this means no water will get inside, and the flashlight overall can handle being submerged in a meter of water for up to half an hour.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to focus the beam, but with this much light behind it, you might not need to anyway. If you’re after an ultra-bright light with some nice extra touches at an affordable price, this is the way to go.
The Smith & Wesson MP12 is another great mountable option, and it comes with a pocket clip, holster, and lanyard, so you’ll always have it with you when you need it.
It’s compatible with most weapons but, apologies to all you pistol lovers – you’ll have to find something else as it’s not recommended to be used with them.
With 875 lumens of power behind it, this is one powerful light, but we were pleasantly surprised to see that it can run on high for 1hr 45mins – longer than most lights this powerful in this price range.
But in case you do find yourself running low on juice, you can always switch to the low power mode. And there’s a strobe mode too for emergency situations. Although we like that the switch to move between modes is silent, we don’t like how fiddly it is.
We also like that this tactical flashlight is lighter than lots of other options out there, so you can pop it in your bag and hardly know it’s there. It’s still nice and sturdy though, thanks to the anodized aluminum body and shatterproof lens, plus it’s waterproof and impact resistant to 1 meter.
On the whole, this is a fantastic mountable option that’s great for everyday use as well as outdoor adventures.
The SureFire Dominator is by no means the cheapest tactical flashlight out there but in some cases, like this, you really do get what you pay for.
This military-grade tactical flashlight emits an incredible maximum output of 2400 lumens on its highest setting, which is more than enough for almost every purpose we can think of. And not only that, but the beam stretches for an impressive 900m so you’ll always know what’s coming your way.
Despite this dazzling illumination, the run time on its highest mode is still over 2 hrs, which is far longer than that of many weaker lights on the market.
It’s incredibly versatile too, with the lowest of its nine-light modes emitting just 14 lumens. Changing between modes is super easy as well, thanks to the user-friendly rotating ring switch, making this a great light for real-life emergencies.
This powerful light can be powered via a rechargeable lithium-ion battery but, in case you run out of juice, why not take some spare disposables out with you too as it can be powered by these too.
It even comes with a wall charger and car charger included, plus there’s a battery level indicator, so there really is no excuse to get left in the dark.
The main drawback of this tactical flashlight, aside from its hefty price tag, is its weight – you’ll certainly know you’ve got this light with you. However, the added weight is an inevitable part of having a light this well made and powerful.
Overall, with this flashlight, you’ll be able to blind any attacker and light up any area, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t last you the rest of your life.
What you want in a flashlight will mainly depend on how you’ll be using it. For instance, you probably wouldn’t use the same flashlight for a dark walk home at night as you would for a night shift on border patrol.
But what makes a tactical flashlight fit for purpose? Here are a few factors for you to consider when you’re trying to decide which tactical flashlight is right for you.
First and foremost – how much light will you actually need? A maximum output of 800 lumens is generally more than enough for most non-commercial uses, and some people actually find this can be too bright for some purposes.
For instance, if you’ll be using your flashlight around the house during blackouts, then 500 lumens is probably fine. Alternatively, if you work in the police force, it might be a case of the brighter the better.
Having a flashlight with different light modes means you can use it for various purposes. For instance, you can use the low settings around the house during blackouts, but you can use the high settings when you’re off on mountaineering trips.
Although this flexibility appeals to some people, others prefer to have fewer light settings so that they can quickly find the mode they’re after in emergencies. Similarly, some people find strobes irritating.
However, people who will take their flashlight up mountainsides and out to sea in rough weather often see this as an essential feature of a flashlight, and they might even look out for lights with Morse code modes.
Ultimately, how many light modes you want will be down to your own personal preferences. Just remember that there are so many options out there that there’s no need to settle for a flashlight with less/more modes than you want.
Weight and portability are very important factors, as they can make the difference between you having your flashlight there when you need it versus it being left at home.
There are some high-end flashlights out there with sleek designs that don’t weigh too much but, generally, as the light becomes more powerful, the weight and bulk tend to increase (as does the price!).
If you want something for everyday use in the city, then you’re probably better off with a slim, lightweight flashlight as you’ll be more likely to carry it around with you.
However, if you’ll be using your flashlight at work or while you’re out hunting, you probably won’t care about the weight and would rather have a more powerful light.
Either way, make sure you keep your eye on the weight so you don’t get a surprise when you open your package and feel how heavy your newly purchased flashlight is.
In case you’re still struggling to make up your mind, we’ve narrowed down our list of the best tactical flashlight to our top three favorites to help you decide.
If you’re looking for brightness on a budget, then the Anker Bolder LC130 is definitely the way to go. With a whopping 13000 lumens of brightness, we just couldn’t believe this light didn’t come with a heftier price tag.
And it’s not only bright, but it’s got one of the best tail stands we’ve seen, can be powered by rechargeable batteries to save you some extra pennies, and comes with an 18-month warranty too – what more could you ask for at this price?
The Pelican 7600 is our top all-round performer, and it’s easy to see why. With three light outputs modes, a strobe setting, and a choice of three light colors, this is one versatile flashlight.
Powered by rechargeable and disposable batteries, and with aa battery level indicator, this light will never leave you in the dark. Plus it’s reasonably priced, has a sleek design, and comes with a lifetime warranty… go on, we know you want to.
But what’s our absolute favorite tactical flashlight? It just has to be the SureFire Dominator. With its amazing brightness and a vast range of settings, there’s nothing this tactical flashlight can’t do.
Need to blind an attacker? Searching for your mark from 900m away? Or maybe you just want a dim light to help you find your way to the fuse box? This light has got you covered.
Sure, it is a little pricey, but you won’t have to buy another flashlight for the rest of your life, and we definitely think it’s worth the investment.