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If you work in law enforcement, security, or find yourself leaving work late, the conventional flashlight just won’t cut it. Used to illuminate crosshairs, disorient attackers, and light your way through tunnels and dark environments, a tactical flashlight is built to be super bright, rugged, and versatile.
The outdoors hosts a long list of situations where you could use a tactical flashlight. Not in the peeing in a campsite kind of way, but striking an attacker’s face in self-defense. They can also light your path in bad weather, help you find a lost pet in thickets, or scare away animals.
Today’s list is all about the best tactical flashlights you can find on the market.
Our top recommendation is the ThruNite TN12 2016 XP-L EDC LED Flashlight. Advertised as an everyday carry item, this flashlight is not only robust, but it has a max light output of 1100 lumens.
If you are specifically looking for one that will work with a pistol, get your hands on the Streamlight 69260 TLR-HL Weapon Mount flashlight. This one outputs 800 lumens but is built like a tank to withstand the most extreme tactical situations.
It is compact, lightweight, and most of all, useful in critical situations. ThruNite TN12 is a flashlight designed with versatility in mind. Just about anyone can use it, but security and law enforcement will benefit from it the most.
This flashlight uses a Cree XP-L chip to deliver up to 1100 lumens in the high setting. Seeing that it is a Cree chip, its lumen rating is accurate, and so is the beam distance of up to 226 meters. It is ideal for search and rescue, firefighting, and other emergencies.
ThruNite TN12 runs on a rechargeable 18650 lithium-ion battery. The battery is not included, and ThruNite suggests getting the battery from them because it is protected from overcharging and overheating. The battery offers up to 500 more cycles than other rechargeables used in flashlights.
You have six modes where the highest one, which is the strobe mode, outputs 1100 lumens. In this mode, you get up to 3.8 hours of battery life. The Turbo mode also outputs 1100 lumens for 95 minutes. The firefly mode with the lowest output only provides 0.4 lumens but with the longest battery life of up to 74 days.
Other modes include high, low, and medium, with 2.5 to 8.7 days of runtime between them.
You can use this flashlight to read a map in the lowest firefly mode or repel would-be attackers with the strobe setting. That is the extent to which this flashlight goes to provide a wide variety of uses.
ThruNite TN12 offers one hand operation with a tail switch combined with the stainless-steel side switch. The side switch allows you to toggle between strobe and your last chosen mode in a matter of seconds. Just press and hold the side switch to get to the strobe mode or single press the side switch to the last mode you’d chosen before strobe.
We expect nothing but the best and ThruNite TN12 ticks that exact box. With an aircraft-grade aluminum housing, the flashlight can withstand impact. Not to mention that it has a tough glass lens combined with an anti-reflective coating. Mentioned features ensure that more light can pass through the lens instead of being reflected off the surface.
To make it even better, the flashlight will come with O-rings that give it an IPX8 waterproof rating. This means it can withstand submersion to a meter for 30 minutes.
You’ll have to be careful not to place this light on a sloped surface because it will roll off. We wish to see something like a rubber ring to prevent such an occurrence.
ThruNite TN12 is a flashlight that proves to be of great help to emergency and security services. With long battery life, a variety of modes, and rugged construction, it is as durable as much as it is useful.
Are you looking for a military flashlight? Then you will like working with the Streamlight 69260 tactical flashlight. It is designed to install directly under the barrel of your weapon letting you illuminate the area in front of you. You can also use it in many other tactical situations.
Streamlight 69260 can be installed on all handguns with a Glock-style rail or MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail. It has a rail grip clamp system which allows the flashlight to attach or detach fast and safely without using tools or putting your hand on the nozzle.
Its ambidextrous on/off switch showcases smooth operation as any security personnel can use it. Not to mention that it fits all existing light bearing holsters. Its flexible usage is unending as it also includes keys for Glock style, Picatinny, S&W 99, Berretta 90two, and S&W TSW.
Streamlight 69260 can output 800 lumens in the highest settings. It is engineered to produce a concentrated beam with a wide beam pattern, and an impressive beam distance of 245 meters. This flashlight uses a C4 LED and is powered by two 3V CR123 batteries. It gives you 1.75 hours of runtime at the highest setting.
The flashlight offers five lighting modes including the strobe mode ideal for temporarily blinding the enemy or scaring away animals. The strobe mode is also programmable and can be enabled or disabled according to how you want to operate the flashlight.
The batteries are included, and because they have a 10-year storage life, you can already guess how long the batteries will last.
Like ThruNite, Streamlight 69260 has also invested in an aircraft-grade aluminum housing. It is built to take on impact, water to a meter for 30 minutes, mud, and harsh handling in tough environments. Its anodized finish speaks of a model that is corrosion-resistant.
We also like that it can withstand extreme temperatures between -40 to 120F. It has also undergone live-fire testing. Its batteries won’t bust on you when facing off a fire-related incident.
There seems to be a bad batch with a poorly constructed battery cap. Some users have reported that the cap locking mechanism is not long-lasting. Fortunately, it’s a small number compared to those who have received the fully-functioning model. We hope to see Streamlight should check to provide consistent quality on their flashlights.
Not many people get to use a pistol flashlight that has a lifetime warranty. But Streamlight 69260 is keen to showcase its prowess in quality and safety when you need it most. This flashlight can undertake stressful situations easing up in the way you mount it and how far you can light up.
We understand that most tactical flashlights are aimed for, well, you guessed it, tactical situations. Heading out to a camping site without a reliable flashlight can turn into an unforgettable trip, but not in a good way. With a flashlight as bright and as reliable as the LUMINTOP Tool AA 2.0, you can rest assured you’ll be able to handle most incidences.
A Cree XPL-HD chip powers the LED chip on this model. It is of high quality and able to illuminate with a total 650 lumens on the turbo mode running on one 14500 battery. It has a deep set smooth reflector with a glow ring and an emitter. This means the light will not be shallow or super deep, making it ideal for camping, hunting, and indoor illumination.
Apart from the turbo mode, it also has the strobe, high, low, and medium modes, each outputting different lumens at varying running times.
For example, the low mode can give you up to 37 hours of battery life, which is impressive for such a small flashlight. Speaking of small, LUMINTOP Tool AA 2.0 is half the palm size at only 3.52 inches. It fits perfectly in your pockets, and it won’t feel awkward in your hand. It can even be powered using one AA battery.
LUMINTOP Tool AA 2.0 uses the base as the tail switch to turn it on and off. It has an intelligent user interface such that it will remember the last setting used when you turn it on. You will also find that the housing is of high-quality aircraft-grade aluminum, and the lens has an anti-reflective coating.
Other unique features include the high-quality aluminum reflector for heat dissipation. Anti-slip knurling is featured to prevent the flashlight from sliding down smooth surfaces. The torch has an impact rating of 1.5 meters and is waterproof to 1.9 meters. Submersion should not stop you from using this flashlight.
LUMINTOP Tool AA 2.0 has a fixed lens that doesn’t adjust between spot and flood modes. It’s not the kind you want if you are looking for such versatility.
LUMINTOP Tool AA 2.0 is a flashlight that can stand toe to toe against other outdoor models. Its spot beam is unique and useful in outdoor applications. It has valuable modes in a small size that can slip in your pocket. It is right at the center of portability.
The ThruNite T10 II isn’t priced low because it’s not functional, but because it does not come with the batteries. If you have a 750mAh 14500 lithium-ion battery lying around or a 2450mAh NiMH battery, you can start using this flashlight right away.
ThruNite T10 II can output 550 lumens on the 14500 lithium-ion battery or 160 lumens on the 2450mAh NiMH battery. It has a Cree XP-G2 LED that boasts a lifespan of 20 years. That is a long time because you only need to replace the battery after a couple of years, and you’ll be able to continue using this flashlight for a long time.
This flashlight has a magnetic tail cap to allow placing it on steel or iron surfaces. It produces a clean beam able to reach 68 meters. That’s why it’s a budget option since you won’t get much use for it in search and rescue or illuminating through thickets.
With a total of five lighting modes, the firefly has the longest runtime of 14 days while the strobe mode has 3.2 hours of runtime. On the high setting, this flashlight offers a little over two hours of runtime.
The side switch on the ThruNite T10 II provides the sole point of interaction with this flashlight. Pressing it will switch the light on or off. To cycle between the high and low modes, the light has to be on. On the other hand, the light has to be off to switch to the firefly mode. You can also switch to the high mode from any mode by double-clicking the side switch.
When you turn on the flashlight, it will use the last setting on medium and low modes, but not on high, firefly, or strobe modes. It’s not so useful because there are many times you won’t want to use the low or medium modes.
ThruNite T10 II has an aluminum housing with an IPX8 waterproof rating.
There are significant differences in lighting depending on the battery you pick. The mode spacing is poorer on lithium-ion than on NiMH battery. But, color rendering is not the best on the NiMH battery. You’ll have to balance the features to suit your needs.
ThruNite T10 II is suitable as an everyday carry for light outdoor situations. It is also ideal as a backup to a large light. It offers versatile battery uses and value for money in a slim flashlight.
Olight S1 Mini Baton is designed to offer extreme handling comfort. It is super small at only 2.1 inches long and is USB rechargeable. It is a great everyday carry item that is ideal for unpredictable situations during which a flashlight could come in handy.
This flashlight is available in two color temperatures. The HCRI 90 CRI cool white model and the regular 70CRI cool white model. The HCRI model is bright, but it does not have washed out colors. It can show natural colors better than the cool white. Both versions run on one RCR123 USB-rechargeable battery or one CR123 battery.
Our version is the regular cool white that can output 600 lumens in the turbo mode since HCR can output 450 lumens in the same mode. You’ll get one minute of lighting at 600 lumens and 55 minutes with 330 lumens. You can also choose to use the high setting with 330 lumens as it will deliver an hour of runtime.
There are six modes including the moonlight and strobe modes. It is such a versatile tool at a compact size.
Weighing in at only 1.5 ounces, it’s easy to dismiss the long-term use of this flashlight. But with an aircraft-grade aluminum body, it will shine in harsh outdoor conditions. It has an IPX8 waterproof rating, but it is not dive rated. However, it has a magnetic tail cap for hands-free use.
You’ll like that it includes lockout mode and a low battery indicator on the side switch. The side switch is also used to perform all the operations. Pressing it once will turn the Olight S1 Mini Baton on or off. A quick double press will turn on the turbo mode while a quick triple press will turn on the strobe mode. Pressing and holding the side switch changes the brightness setting.
The design of the clip is under fire mainly because it is easy to put pressure on it, resulting in it coming off. The clip also interferes with the tail cap.
If you are looking for an ultra-light and compact tactical flashlight, this is the ideal model for you. It combines a bright LED and high-quality construction to ensure that you get real value for your money. And if the cool white 70CRI does not do it for you, its HCR version is also a great pick.
Having a torch at hand during a home invasion can give you an advantage over the invader. The ThruNite TC12 V2 flashlight can shine a bright 1100-lumen light; enough to throw anyone off their game so that you can protect yourself.
Like all ThruNite flashlights, this one has a specific spot beam that is neither too deep or too shallow. It allows you to see further thanks to the 1100 lumen output. The top output setting is facilitated in the turbo and strobe modes which give you 2.2 hours and 3.6 hours respectively.
It also has four other modes like firefly that can offer up to 49 days of runtime. Since LEDs are not meant to be on the high setting for a long time, preserving the battery life in the firefly mode should be enough for use around the house.
ThruNite TC12 V2 has a beam distance of 248 meters. It is not only useful in the house but also in the dark outdoors during hunting and camping. You can also use it during an emergency.
We are impressed to report that this flashlight does not take an unexpected path when it comes to using it. You have the tail switch and the stainless-steel side switch to cycle through the different modes. The flashlight also benefits from ITC technology, which is crucial in protecting the interior components from overheating. The light automatically lowers the current if it reads an LED temperature higher than 79degrees Celcius.
Apart from its overheating protection, ThruNite TC12 V2 is impact-resistant to a meter. It is waterproof to 2 meters and comes in an aircraft-grade aluminum body.
An issue with this flashlight is that you have to turn it on to recharge it. And when it’s full, it does not switch the battery indicator from red to blue. You have to retest it a couple of hours later to see if it is fully recharged.
As a micro-USB rechargeable flashlight, ThruNite TC12 V2 goes above and beyond to offer premium features. It is not the most expensive light, but neither is it the cheapest, that’s why it is a quality product expected to provide practical use in and out of the home.
EdisonBright Fenix PD35 TAC is one of the best pocket-sized flashlights that can be used in tactical environments. It is a high-performance flashlight that can output 1000 lumens – a feat that most models its size can’t achieve.
With a max output of 1000 lumens, EdisonBright Fenix PD35 TAC can throw a beam 646ft or 200 meters. It is exceptional because it has two modes so you can toggle less in the tactical mode, and use it to your liking in the EDC mode. You get three modes for tactical use and six modes for EDC/outdoor use. It offers versatility since it can be used for security and law enforcement as well as for hobbies like hunting or mountaineering.
At the highest brightness, this flashlight can work for an hour when running on one 18650 battery or two CR12 batteries.
This flashlight also has strobe and eco modes. In eco, PD35 TAC can output 4 lumens and offer up to 140 hours of runtime.
The first feature on the exterior of this flashlight is a tactical tail switch and a stainless-steel switch. You will find it easy to change from mode to mode in the outdoor setting using the side switch. Again, it has a memory function that restores the last mode when you turn it on.
Looking at its durable properties, you’ll find that it has a type III aircraft-grade aluminum frame. It is only 5.5 inches long and weighs only 3 ounces, but it is waterproof up to two meters for 30 minutes. The flashlight is reverse-polarity protected, and it has an anti-slip design.
You cannot adjust the beam focus to light or narrow beam. You may also notice that it can heat up when recharging. You may want to keep checking when recharging it to prevent damage of interior components. Remember, this is not a common occurrence with EdisonBright Fenix PD35 TAC flashlights.
EdisonBright Fenix PD35 TAC is enhanced to be a tactical flashlight over its predecessor the PD35. It has a memory mode and six different outdoor modes, and a high waterproof rating. This model meets tough situations without being tricky to use.
EagleTac DX30LC2-SR is perhaps the most useful tactical flashlight as it includes a spot and flood beam. It is an exceptional pick for low light in the outdoors owing to its tiny body that can be used alongside a handgun or for security purposes.
With two beams, you get to choose between the spot beam with 1160-lumen output or the 500-lumen, slide out flood light. It has five brightness settings plus the strobe, beacon, and SOS modes. The SOS mode helps to send signals, but it also has the ability to deter attackers.
The Cree XP-L HI V3 chip produces a cool white LED that helps in most tactical situations. Its flood lumen uses a Cree XP-G2 S3 LED chip that indicates it is of superior quality. You get to work with a long-range beam of 288 meters. It is ideal as a search and rescue torch as well as a tracking tool in dark environments.
The versatile performance of this torch means you can use it with either a USB-rechargeable 18650 battery or two CR123 batteries. It is easy to switch out the battery, which then allows for a longer runtime in the field. The DX30LC2-SR can run for an hour and a half in the turbo mode, but over 200 hours in the very low mode.
This flashlight is easy to operate using the tail-cap button and side switch. The tail-cap button allows you to momentarily turn the torch on or off, but it also lets you switch to the MAX mode when you press and hold it. The side switch toggles between the other brightness levels while combining the tail cap button and the side switch turns on the LOW mode.
The DX30LC2-SR uses a water-white glass lens that’s hardened and treated with an anti-reflective coating. It comes in an aerospace, anodized aluminum frame, and light-textured, aluminum reflector that dissipates heat. It is a rugged torch that can be used for years.
The lowest mode is brighter than most people would prefer. This is because it does not preserve night vision. But luckily, it has a very low mode that can be used like a moonlight mode so you will not be temporarily blinded when walking in unfamiliar grounds.
You can’t go wrong with a model that is all about delivering quality and peace of mind. It has a long throw distance, a slide 500-lumen flood light, and a credible runtime to get the most out of the torch.
Streamlight 88066 Pro Tac is a high lumen flashlight meant to be installed on Picatinny rails. It has an integrated fixed mount, a remote pressure switch, and a tail switch that suits various uses.
This flashlight is ultra-bright thanks to its 1000-lumen output. With the help of C4 technology, this flashlight’s LED is impervious to shock and can last an incredible 50,000 hours. It has invested in a TIR optic which produces a concentrated beam that is optimized for peripheral illumination.
The flashlight offers a beam distance of 332 meters, which is pretty good for its lumen performance. What’s more, it can operate on different batteries including two CR123 batteries, which it comes with. You can also use one 18650 lithium-ion battery, but you will have to buy it separately.
On the plus side, Streamlight 88066 Pro Tac can run for 1.25 hours on the CR12 battery or 1.5 hours on a rechargeable battery. It can also run for an extended time of up to 23 hours on the low setting. That’s not all because you can use the strobe setting for up to 2.5 hours.
To mount this torch, you will use the fixed rail grabber. It has a thumbscrew that allows attachments without tools. Also, it ensures that you can do the mounting with one hand and without having your hand on the muzzle.
You can operate this torch one-handed since it includes a dual remote switch that has a latching button and a tail switch. The TEN-TAP programmable switch makes it easy to select from the three main modes. That is the high/strobe, high only, or low/high. Not to mention the remote pressure switch with momentary/constant on operation.
The quality of the zip tie system and Picatinny rail could be better. For the price, it should last a long time and withstand use in high-recoil rifles, but we don’t see the parts holding up in the long run.
Streamlight 88066 Pro Tac is dedicated to rifle use. With a permanent mount, it allows for fast, easy, and safe mounting for a variety of rifles. It is cheaper than Surefire while offering near-similar quality except it won’t do great in heavy-duty usage in the long run.
Streamlight 75458 Stinger DS LED is a high-end model that steps up its game with a wide beam and a premium construction quality.
This flashlight also takes advantage of C4 LED technology to produce a beam that is impact-resistant. The 3-Watt Luxeon LED boasts a lifespan of 50,000 hours. Its deep-dish parabolic reflector delivers a concentrated beam meant for optimum peripheral illumination.
Streamlight 75458 can output a total of 800 lumens and a beam distance of 310 meters on the highest setting. It can run for up to 1.5 hours on the high setting, giving you more than enough time to do whatever you need to do. On the low setting, it can run for 5 hours, which is pretty low. Considering it outputs 200 lumens on the low setting, it boasts improved usage since it can serve you longer.
This flashlight also has a strobe mode that can run for three hours. Its 3.6V NiMH battery offers a considerable lifetime since it can be recharged over 1000 times.
Streamlight 75458 offers dual-switch technology for its three lighting modes. It also has the tail cap switch to turn on the strobe mode. The strobe mode can also be turned on using the head-mounted switch. The body is of 6000 series machined aircraft-grade aluminum. It has an anti-roll rubber and a non-slip, rubberized comfort grip. It should come in handy during times when you can’t afford to cramp or lose your grip.
Finally, you will find the polycarbonate lens with anti-scratch coating remarkable since it will let through as much light as possible. The torch is O-ring sealed, and it includes a holster, color filters, safety wands, a ring holder, and a 5-unit bank charger.
Since this flashlight has a NiMH battery, it can take up to 16 hours to recharge with its standard charger. It’s such a long time unless you use a fast charger, which should reduce the recharge time to 4.5 hours or 3 hours using 12V DC input.
Streamlight 75458 Stinger is relatively compact. It is sturdy for its purpose and shows intensive tactical performance. It is a great product with excellent range to ensure you can depend on it in demanding situations.
Modern tactical flashlights are more than a simple tool that brightens up a dark path. It is also a self-defense tool that is capable of forcing an assailant to rethink his decision.
Since tactical flashlights have become extremely popular, and plenty of companies are in the game, the quality has deteriorated.
You need to learn a couple of things before you can make an educated purchase. We have decided to gather all of the useful information to save your time and teach you how to choose the best tactical flashlight for your needs.
Not all tactical flashlights are created equal. While there are plenty of models that will suit your needs, there are others that are a waste of money. You should familiarize yourself with the features that a tactical flashlight needs to have to be considered useful.
There are a couple more features that are useful, but not a must-have. Some tactical flashlights come with an ultraviolet light that can help you detect counterfeit money bills. Some have built-in radios, compasses, ultrasonic repellents, tactical laser pointers, and more.
Before you choose a tactical flashlight, you need to know more about the batteries inside of them. The way you want to use your flashlight will, most likely, dictate the type of batteries you will be using.
The higher the Lumens number, the higher the light power. But, with a greater light power comes greater requirement of battery power. Keep these things in mind when figuring out how many Lumens you want in your tactical flashlight.
Models with 150-300 Lumens are enough to light up a large room or a backyard. Those models can disorient someone, albeit not for long. Models with 300-700 Lumens are more than enough for an amateur. They can light up a large area, and cause great disorientation for a would-be assailant.
If you are into survival and/or bushcraft, then you could think about models that go over 700 Lumens. Search and rescue operatives carry tactical flashlights with over 700 Lumens, and that should tell you a lot about the light power. Those flashlights have no problem at illuminating large areas. If you are not a professional who requires great light power, then models with over 700 Lumens might be an overkill. On the other hand, if you don’t require a flashlight that can illuminate the entire neighborhood, then the models with 150-300 Lumens could be enough.
Water resistance ratings tell you how much water punishment a tactical flashlight can take. All of the flashlights are given one of the following three ratings.