Everything about tactical flashlights narrows down to their performance, period! People who use tactical flashlights, whether for hunting, camping or self-defense, depend on them for their lives. With this, you need to know that you can count on your flashlight.
Good news! We’ve done all the dirty work for you, figuratively. We went out of our way to test and review hundreds of tactical flashlights and narrowed the list to the final five. These are the top five best tactical flashlights in the current market.
What to Consider when Buying a Tactical Flashlight
Before going down to our top products, we will first look at some of the features to consider when making your tactical flashlight purchase. A lot of features make tactical flashlights stand out; they are sturdy to withstand hard impacts, are made compact to fit inside your pocket and are waterproof for compatibility with any weather condition. Here are some of the features to look out for!
Several features enhance the performance of a flashlight. They include the beam distance, ruggedness, run time and lumens.
The dictionary defines lumen as a unit of flux that equals the light emitted during a unit angle by one candle intensity. Using lay man’s language, this is the amount of light that the tactical flashlight emits. Normal consumer flashlights produce 100 lumens while tactical flashlights operate on up to 1,000 lumens- telling you how bright tactical flashlights are.
Higher lumens in flashlights come with two advantages. First, if you’re looking for a suspect or when hunting, it is difficult for your prey to hide. Secondly, illuminating the suspect with high lumens normally blinds them, leaving them in a state of confusion, and providing you with ample time to move in. Flashlights come with dual settings for regulating the amount of light they produce.
People use tactical in not-so-conducive environments, especially the military-grade tactical flashlights. You will hit them against hard objects, drop them or even step on them accidentally. They still need to operate amidst such harsh conditions. Today’s flashlights are smaller and lighter yet tougher and more durable thanks to the composite materials used in their construction. Standard measures such as ANSI FL1 ensure tactical flashlights meet the required ruggedness standards.
The beam distance is how far a flashlight can project its light at a given intensity. Whereas some people would love a longer beam light (throw), others prefer a wider beam light (flood). The two types depend on the type of LED and reflector used.
The basic tactical flashlight should have a beam distance of roughly 200 yards.
The run time of a flashlight, in other words, is its battery lifespan. Tactical flashlights must have a longer run time, especially for an army tactical flashlight. Some flashlights have charging capabilities, and you can switch between battery and electricity.
On Weapon vs Off Weapon
When it comes to this category, we have two types of tactical flashlights; those that are mountable on weapons and the vice versa. Which option should you settle for? Well, both options have their benefits. Flashlights that are mountable in weapons, for example, require less manipulation as they are on standby when you draw your weapon.
All you need to do is flip its switch, and you’re good to go- although this habit requires practice to master it. Such kinds of flashlights are essential when the other hand is occupied by moving objects or opening a door. They are also important when you are ready to shoot.
Separate torchlights have their advantages too. For instance, you can comfortably use your flashlight without the need to point a weapon at someone, which might create a dangerous environment or become a liability to you. Separate torch lights are also safe in environments with kids. A downside with this flashlight is that you will become ‘blind’ in the dark in case you drop it.
To balance both advantages and shortcomings of the two types, many officers carry both torches and additional spare light. The bottom line is, whichever option you decide to go for, you need adequate training.
You should differentiate waterproof from water resistance in the context of tactical flashlights. Waterproof is the measure of the flashlight’s resistance to water impact upon submerging it in water. Water resistance, on the other hand, means that the flashlight will survive a couple of splashes on it but not fully submerging it in water.
Different IPX levels are used to measure the duration a flashlight can survive under water. The ratings are between IPX-0 to IPX-8, with 0 being the least and 8 the highest. Anything of IPX-4 and below means that the flashlight is water resistant and will only survive a mere water balloon fight. Immersing it into a pool of water such as a river will totally damage it.
A good standard tactical flashlight should come with the IPX-8. What this means is that the flashlight can survive for up to 4 hours when 1 meter under water.
Additional Special Needs
There are three basic light modes that a decent flashlight needs to have. They are as discussed:
A strobe is a super bright and fast blinking light in changing patterns. Its purpose is normally to disorient and confuse people or your hunt. Lighting the strobe at a person or animal will blind them for a few seconds. Police officers and hunters will consider it a necessity.
SOS is the acronym for save our ship. It comes into play during emergency purposes. It is useful when you’re stuck at sea, or any other survival situation that you can’t get yourself out of and you require help. The light is normally a beacon for help.
A beacon is a flashlight’s version of a lighthouse. It normally blinks at its full brightness after alternating few seconds. Just like SOS, it is for emergency purpose- to help people see and find you. Its purpose for blinking is to conserve energy for as long as possible but still make you recognizable.
Top 5 Best Tactical Flashlight Reviews and Recommendations
OLIGHT Warrior X Pro- Best Overall Product
Talk of a full-package tactical torchlight and the Olight Warrior X Pro comes to mind. The product that leads our review comes with impeccable and outstanding features worth appreciating. The torchlight is an upgrade of its preceding version, Olight Warrior X, with changes made for better performance- pretty much like the iPhone X and the iPhone X Pro.
Olight Warrior X Pro promises better performance than its predecessor. To ensure this is the case, this flashlight offers eight hours of runtime non-stop, a 50% stronger impact resistance as compared to the Warrior X, more aggressive knurling, stronger magnetic tail switch not to forget its 2250 lumens.
The manufacturers incorporated high performing 21,700 lithium batteries to the torchlight. What this means is that this tactical torchlight can produce 2,250 lumens for 600 meters enabling you to see even through harsh conditions- a feature that makes it the best tactical flashlight for ar15. Moreover, it delivers 100% quicker charging rate than the Warrior X.
All these features have no impact on the product’s aggressive and sturdy appearance. Whether you are on duty, professional hunting or search and rescue operation, no better choice will beat the Olight Warrior X Pro. Its performance is unbeatable while the build is indestructible.
- Great performance
- Fast charging rate
- Powerful batteries
- Short battery life
Next on our list is a name that many people are familiar with- Fenix. Fenix are pioneers in making tactical torchlights with over a decade of experience. Their goal is to always provide their customers with the best value products without compromising on the quality and price. That is what they showcased with their product- Fenix FX-PD35TAC Flashlight.
Let not the pocket size of this tactical flashlight fool you about its performance. What this product brings to the table is CREE LEDs for impressive brightness and long service, a durable aluminum finish, lightweight of mere 3.1 Oz, waterproof property and finally an intelligent memory circuit that enters the last used output mode automatically. It is the best tactical flashlight for the money.
The intelligent memory circuits of this flashlights assist in its ease of use- no rocket science knowledge is required. The flashlight also comes with six output modes of up to 1,000 lumens. Its powerful and bright lighting makes it suitable for professional use, security and law enforcement as well as outdoor use.
- A sturdy design to withstand hard impacts
- Compact size
- Bright lighting
- Good value for your money
- Has control settings problems
- Finding the power selector in the dark is difficult
PowerTac M5 Tactical Flashlight
The name of this tactical torchlight should raise an eyebrow of how powerful it can get. Coming with 1300 lumens and a powerful CREE LED, this torchlight is extremely bright for daily use and outdoor activities- making it the best military flashlight. To stand above its competitors and bring something new to the market, the torch incorporates USB cables for charging. You can now charge your torch without having to remove its batteries.
Well, that’s only the tip of the iceberg with the PowerTac Flashlight. It comes with numerous light modes- six different settings to be specific: turbo, firefly, high visibility strobe, energy-saving low-beam, balanced medium-beam and finally high-beam. Each mode has different brightness for different uses. Also, it is lightweight and compact, comfortably fitting in your pocket and serving suitably for situations such as hunting, climbing, cycling, tactical self-defense, camping and other outdoor activities.
There is a lifetime warranty on this flashlight as proof of how durable and sturdy it is. The manufacturers offer a lifetime maintenance warranty and product replacement in case of any defaults. If this doesn’t convince you to purchase this tactical torchlight, then we don’t know what will!
- Lifetime warranty
- Lightweight and compact
- Rechargeable battery
- Loses power quickly
Streamlight Weapon Mount Tactical Flashlight
When people say there is light at the end of the tunnel, they surely meant light from the Streamlight Weapon Mount Tactical Flashlight.It is the most top rated tactical flashlight currently. If you are looking for a product that you can trust to work better, last longer and shine better, then your search has come to an end. Streamlight are pioneers of the game, and they know their way around making tactical torchlights.
The Streamlight Weapon Tactical Flashlight isn’t your everyday tactical flashlight. Its design enables it to fit in weapons and guns such as the Pistol 9mm- Its measurements include a length of 3.39 inches, a width of 1.47 inches and a height of 1.44 inches. Also, the torchlight comes with 800 lumens and can run for 1 hour 45 minutes non-stop.
People who used this torchlight claimed that it blinded them for about five seconds. With this, the product stays true to its promise of delivering high performance and shining brighter!
- Mountable on guns
- Very bright
- Compact design
- Errors in shipment
NITECORE Quick Charge Rechargeable LED Flashlight
Last but not least, on our review is the Nitecore LED Flashlight. For industrial, tactical, safety and patrol uses, you are safer with this flashlight in hand. For starters, this flashlight offers 9500-lumen beam which can project up to 295 yards away. Secondly, it comes with built-in high capacity 5000mAh batteries. Replacing batteries is a thing of the past with this torch. Moreover, it has a quick charging time of three hours.
Nitecore understands the importance of designing tactical torchlights compactly, and that is why this product comes under five inches in length. Also, it is lightweight thanks to the stainless steel incorporated in its manufacture. It includes a metal clip and holster making it easy to attach it your pants and maneuver with it. The product is arguably the best tactical flashlight for shotgun.
We also love this torchlight because it is easy to operate. It comes with four brightness modes which you need to double-tap to operate. Lastly, upon purchasing this torchlight, you are also awarded a USB charging cable, lanyard, LunmenTac QC adapter, and a holster.
- Easy to operate
- Lightweight and compact
- Rechargeable battery
- Short battery life
Tactical flashlights are way different from the ones you grew up knowing, or the ones sitting in your living room’s drawer. They are brighter thanks to the advance LED tech they come with, and instead of using rubber or hardened plastic for their construction, they incorporate aerospace grade aluminum. It makes them lighter and durable.
Tactical flashlights play crucial roles in hunting, camping, military, law and enforcement among other outdoor activities. Your day couldn’t be any brighter!