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Flashlights are among the most useful inventions ever conceived by man. Multiple times a week, if not every day, we find ourselves in situations where having one is immensely useful. That’s why every person should carry it on them at all times for convenience.
If you agree that carrying one on your person every day is something you need to do, then you should be extremely selective about the specific tool that you choose. A low-quality flashlight won’t serve you well and is simply a waste of money, but a high-quality option will last you many years and in rough conditions.
If you are on the market for a high quality and long lasting product, then you should direct yourself towards finding what is called a ‘tactical flashlight.’
What does that mean?
We’ll answer that question very soon, and we’ll also talk about the uses for one, the qualities to look for in one, and the top makes and models of products currently available on the marketplace.
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Top Tactical Flashlight Choices Today
Top 7 BEST Tactical Flashlights By Purpose
Now that we have covered the primary qualities and features to look for in a best tactical flashlight, we will go over the top makes and models that have each of those qualities, divided by the primary purpose behind their creation:
1. Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL 750 Lumen Professional - Best Overall
The Streamlight 88040 Pro-TAC HL is a compact and lightweight LED tactical flashlight that is perfect for EDC use.
Built out of a high-grade durable aluminum, it comes in three different modes (high, low light, and strobe), as well as a strike bezel that enables this light to be used defensively if need be.
It also has a total battery run time of eighteen hours, and it ships with a holster that will allow you to pack it on your belt to free up your pockets if you so desire.
All in all, this is a very high-quality product that meets most of the qualities listed out above.
While there’s nothing fully unique about it so to say, it gets the job done.
2. Streamlight 74614 Strion DS HL 12V DC Flash Light 700 Lumens - Best Rechargeable
If you’re looking for an option with a wide beam light to provide you with the most illumination possible, then you should definitely give the Streamlight Strion DS HL tactical flashlight a good look.
With a total output of 700 lumens capable of shining light out to over seven hundred feet, it can also boast of a total lifetime of 50,000 hours, which is extremely impressive even for the high-end options.
It has three separate brightness levels: low, medium, and high, in addition to a strobe mode that can be used to either disorient an attacker or to signal for help.
The strobe mode has a total run time of two and a half hours. Finally, the tail switch button on the rear of it allows it to be easily used one-handed or with gloves.
3. SureFire G2X Series LED Flashlights with Tough Nitrolon Body - Best Small & Compact
One of the most popular EDC products of all time is the Surefire G2X tactical flashlight. In fact, the G2X was made specifically by Surefire for the purposes of everyday carry.
This option certainly has some of the features that an ideal product should have: a strike bezel, 320-lumen power, a tail cap switch, and two separate brightness levels. But something that really sets it apart from many of its competitors is the fact that it does not have an aluminum body.
Instead, it’s built out of a durable Nitrolon polymer, which is quite tough in its own right and furthermore is much lighter as well as easier to hold onto when it’s wet outside.
Overall, it's a very practical, simple to use, and a lightweight tactical flashlight that is excellent for EDC use in your pockets. Just because it doesn’t have the aluminum body like many others if its peers doesn’t mean that it’s any lower in quality, because as noted above Nitrolon polymer is already a very durable substance.
4. OLIGHT Rechargeable Bundle M1X Striker 1000 Lumens LED Flashlight - Best For Self-Defense
It’s only natural that Olight would earn a spot on this list because over the years they have developed a reputation for making some of the most durable tactical flashlights on the market.
The M1X Striker tactical flashlight is no exception.
First and foremost, it comes in a hard anodized aluminum case that is impact resistant up to 1.5 meters and IPX8 water resistant.
It also has a total lumen output of 1,000 lumens with a toothed bezel around the lens for self-defense.
The total runtime of the MX1 is 360 hours and is powered by either two CR123A batteries or one 18650 battery.
5. Orion H40-W 500 Lumen LED with Pressure Switch and Rifle Mount - Best AR15 Accessory
The AR-15 is the most popular centerfire rifle sold in America today, and it’s an excellent option for home defense thanks to its ergonomics, low recoil, and caliber.
And any weapon for home defense would be greatly enhanced with a mounted light that would give you a huge advantage over a burglar or home intruder.
One of the top AR-15 accessories on the market is the Orion H40-W.
This is one of the brightest tactical flashlights that can be mounted on an AR-15, and furthermore, it can be installed directly on an AR-15 right out of the box because of it ships with both a Weaver and a Picatinny rail mount.
The Orion H40-W is recoil proof, water resistant, and ships with a one year warranty from the manufacturer that promises a free replacement on any broken or defective components.
6. Maglite Mag-Tac LED 2-Cell CR123 Flashlight Crowned-Bezel, Matte Black - Best Military Option
Maglite is a company that makes some of the most durable made and toughest products in the entire world.
These are the options made specifically for military, law enforcement, and emergency responders.
Armed with weather resistant seals and an anodized outside and inside that makes it completely weather resistant, the Maglite Mag Tac is fully dropped resistant and is further installed with a 12 Hz strobe that can disorient literally an attacker.
As an added bonus, it is certified by the National Tactical Officers Association (NTAO), which confirms its suitability for extreme outdoor use.
7. Streamlight 69250 TLR-2 G Rail-Mounted Tactical Light - Best Shotgun Accessory
One of the better products to mount onto a shotgun is the Streamlight 69250 TLR-2 G Tactical Flashlight.
It is an excellent investment thanks to its C4 LED light that delivers a 12,000-candela peak beam.
It’s also very easy to attach and detach from your shotgun, and the aircraft grade aluminum guarantees its durability.
One of the downsides is its relatively low run time of just under two hours, but on the plus side, the peripheral lighting feature ensures that your surroundings on all sides are well lit.
The 6925 TLR-2 G also ships with a lifetime warranty from Streamlight.
Best Tactical Flashlight Models By Brand
For our last segment of this article, we will cover the top products by brand:
1. 1TAC TC800
Despite coming in a very compact size of just under four inches, the 1Tac TC800 flashlight is quite powerful for its size, projecting a lumen output of 320 lumens through a Cree XPE LED. The body is fully waterproof and comes with a steel pocket clip, in contrast to the weaker pocket clip that exists on many flashlights these days.
The tail switch on the rear of the light allows you to switch between three separate brightness levels, with a zoom capability out to three hundred meters. Additional features that the TC800 comes with that makes it worth your while to look at include an ultra clear and anti-reflective glass lens, a slip resistant body design, and an anodized aircraft grade aluminum body.
All in all, the 1Tac TC800 isn’t just a great tactical flashlight for the money. It’s a great flashlight period.
2. FENIX PD35
The PD35 is not just one of the most popular options from Fenix. It’s one of the most popular products on the market.
Fenix is one of the biggest names when it comes to tactical flashlights, and many believe the PD35 represents the pinnacle of their achievement when it comes to EDC products.
The PD35 is made specifically for everyday carry and to withstand excessive wear and tear that would normally mean the end of other options.
It has a total length of five and a half inches long, which is short enough to carry around in your pocket but still long enough to get a secure grip over.
One of the coolest features is that it comes with five different lighting modes, with the brightest lighting mode having an output of over 1,000 lumens.
3. SUREFIRE DEFENDER SERIES
While Fenix may be a big name in this world, an even bigger name is Surefire.
The Surefire Defender series tactical flashlight has two brightness levels: low with just five lumens, and high with three hundred lumens and peripheral vision capabilities (meaning it fills all sides of your surroundings with light).
The strike bezel on the front of the body makes it a suitable non-lethal self-defense weapon, and the aerospace aluminum body is further hard anodized to make it corrosion resistant to moisture and humidity on the outside.
4. J5 TACTICAL V1-PRO
The J5 Tactical V1-Pro Tactical Flashlight is one of the top products available for those of you on a budget.
Routinely available for less than $20, the V1-PRO nonetheless delivers performance that mirrors a higher priced option.
Powered with either a 14500 rechargeable batteries or a single AA battery (which is highly convenient), the V1-Pro has three separate modes (high, low light, and strobe), with the high option capable of projecting light out to over six hundred feet.
The V1-Pro is also designed to survive a 1.5-meter drop over hard cement and being temporarily completely submerged under water.
For these reasons, it is suitable for being used at home or in the outdoors in rainy and snowy conditions alike.
For Your Money
So with all this said, what is the best tactical flashlight for the money?
While any one of the numerous products we have gone over is excellent, probably the most practical and perfect all-around would be the Fenix PD-35.
With a price point of around $70, the PD35 delivers on everything it should be expected to, and the fact that it has five different lighting modes with 1,000 lumens as the highest level is very impressive.
But of course, don’t feel like the PD-35 is the only option out there that you should consider.
What’s more important is that you keep the qualities to look for in mind that we discussed earlier, and if you can find a flashlight that has each of those qualities, you’ll be good to go.