Military, law enforcement, and first responders will use nothing less than the best tactical flashlight available. A substandard light source can put lives at risk or compromise an operation, and that’s why you should always buy the best tool for the job. Unlike regular flashlights, tactical models are designed for use in serious situations, and if you plan on getting tangled up in a dangerous scenario, you’ll want one of these flashlights by your side.
Here’s a list of some of the best tactical flashlights on the market.
The Fenix PD35TAC is one of the best tactical flashlights on the market. It’s lightweight, compact, durable, and incredibly bright. It has top tier specs, but without the premium price tag.
The Fenix PD35 is constructed from tough and durable aerospace aluminum, combined with a Type III anti-abrasive, hard-anodized finish. It’s ideal for tactical situations and all outdoor pursuits. In fact, it’s ideal for marine environments, since it’s also IPX-8 rated. This means that it can endure being underwater to a depth of 6.5 meters, for up to 30 minutes.
In terms of capability, this Fenix flashlight has six selectable light output modes: Eco, Low, Mid, High, Turbo, and Strobe. The maximum output is an impressive 656 feet. This is thanks to the Cree XP-L (V5) LEDs, which have a service life of up 50,000 hours. The LEDs are protected by toughened, ultra-clear glass, equipped with an anti-reflective coating.
This compact flashlight is an excellent tool that will perform excellently in any situation, tactical or otherwise.
Max output: 1000 lumens
Weight: 3.1 oz
Battery: Rechargeable 18650 battery
Olight make great products. That’s a fact. The company offers a range of flashlight products that range from bicycle lamps and headlamps to firearm lighting and tactical lights. If we had to choose a favorite product, it would be the Olight Warrior X Pro. It’s a little more expensive than many other flashlights on the market, but it’s more than worth the added expense.
The Warrior X Pro features a strong, precision-machined, aluminum body with stainless steel accessories. It’s a tough unit, but what makes this flashlight better than others is the quality of the technology included. It uses impressive magnetic features, including a magnetic USB recharging port, and optional magnetic mounting. There’s also a vibrating battery-level warning system and a practical tactical grip ring.
It can produce up to 2250 lumens of light using a Cree XHP35 LED system, to a distance of up to 1900 feet. At the maximum output, the 5000mAh 21700 lithium battery can power continuous light for up to 8 hours. The battery is USB rechargeable too.
Each Olight Warrior X Pro ships with a magnetic charging cable, pocket clip, lanyard, holster, and a user manual.
Max output: 2250 lumens
Weight: 8.43 oz
Battery: Rechargeable 21700 lithium battery
On the opposite end of the budget spectrum, we have this example from Mikafen. This affordable flashlight is an excellent accessory with impressive lighting capabilities. While the brand might not be as well known as others on this list, we recommend that you take a chance on this little light, if it fits your desired purpose.
This super bright portable flashlight has a maximum output of 1200 lumens, and a beam distance of up to 656 feet! It has four user modes, including a strobe function, accessed by a button switch or momentary pressure switch.
The body is made from a machined aluminum alloy that can withstand impact and shock, with an IPX-7 waterproof rating. Inside, this flashlight boasts a rechargeable 2600mAh 18650 Li-ion battery that can be charged with a micro USB cable.
Some of the most exciting features of this affordable light are the mounting options. Each light ships with a standard rail mount that can attach to most Picatinny rails using a handy QD camlock. It can easily attach and detach in seconds!
Aside from the charging cable, rail mount, and battery, the Mikafen Tactical Flashlight also includes a sturdy pocket clip and a practical wrist strap too.
Max output: 1200 lumens
Weight: 4,87 oz
Battery: Rechargeable 18650 Li-ion
The Pelican 7600 is an affordable tactical flashlight with a wide range of interesting features. It has excellent illumination, a high lumen output, multi-colored LEDs, and a tough and durable body.
In terms of power output, the Pelican 7600 has selectable modes with an output of 944 lumens in high mode, and as few as 37 in low mode. The beam has a maximum distance of 837 feet. The different output modes greatly affect the performance of the Pelican’s lithium-ion battery. In high mode, the torch has a battery life of 3 hours and 15 minutes. If you use the lowest setting, that time drastically improves to an impressive 29 hours!
Aside from the selectable modes—which also includes a strobe setting—the Pelican includes 3 different LED colors for colored illumination: White, Red, and Green.
All of this technology is housed inside a tough aluminum body with a stylish anodized finish. The casing is shockproof and can withstand knocks and drops. It’s also IPX-8 rated too, which means it has a high level of waterproof ability.
One of the most impressive features of this torch isn’t the runtime or the beam distance, but the lifetime guarantee that Pelican provides. According to the company: “you break it, we replace it…forever!” Keep that in mind when you’re shopping around.
Max output: 944 lumens
Weight: 6.9 oz
Battery: USB rechargeable lithium ion battery
The ProTac HL USB from Streamlight is a great little flashlight. It’s quite expensive, but it’s very capable. Unfortunately, it has a couple of downsides, but in general, it’s a very nice tactical flashlight.
With a maximum output of 1000 lumens, a maximum beam distance of 719 feet, and battery life that lasts up to 23 hours in low mode, the Streamlight ProTac HL USB is a very capable flashlight. It features selectable user modes, a handy push-button tail switch, and practical USB charging.
The Streamlight ProTac HL USB is made from a tough and durable aircraft-grade aluminum, finished with a military-spec anodized coating. The LEDs are protected with a gasket-sealed glass lens. Unfortunately, it’s not massively waterproof, with only an IPX-4 rating. It’s still water-resistant, but you don’t want to go dropping this one overboard.
While the Streamlight ProTac HL USB ships with a rechargeable lithium ion battery, it can actually accommodate a range of different batteries, allowing for easy customization and versatility. It can be charged via the USB cable, or through an optional AC adapter.
Each Streamlight ProTac ships with a USB charging cable, a removable pocket clip, and a sturdy Nylon holster.
Max output: 1000 lumens
Weight: 7.2 oz
Battery: Rechargeable lithium ion battery
When it comes to tactical gear, SOG is a name that you can trust. The brand is arguably more famous for its knives than flashlights, but when SOG makes a product, you can guarantee that it’s going to be good. SOG’s Dark Energy range features a number of lights with different specs. We’ve chosen the range-topping DE-06 for this list. It offers excellent illumination capabilities, at a very affordable price point.
The DE-06 has a maximum output of 687 lumens, with five selectable modes (including strobe) accessed by a one-touch button. The light can be projected over a great distance thanks to the use of Cree LEDs.
SOG equips every DE-06 with a 18650 battery. On a low setting, this allows the flashlight to run continuously for over 4 days! The battery can be recharged via a dedicated charging dock, which is included with every purchase.
It’s a robust and durable item, made from a Class II anodized aluminum body that can resist hard knocks and more. In fact, it’s IPX-7 rated for water resistance, which makes it acceptable for use in wetter environments.
SOG also provides customers with a decent warranty, providing replacement and repairs for properly maintained SOG gear, for life!
Max output: 687 lumens
Weight: 6.6 oz
Battery: 18650 rechargeable battery
We’ve mentioned the Polysteel 600R in another article, and we’re including it again because it’s such a formidable flashlight. It’s tough, durable, bright, and reasonably priced. Plus, it comes from a reputable American manufacturer too.
Though it’s available in multiple sizes, the Polysteel’s 600R version is our favorite. Why? Because it’s the brightest. The maximum output of this handy torch is 530 lumens, which is plenty bright enough for most tasks. Plus, the beam has an impressive maximum distance of 685 feet.
The bright LED is secured in a casing made from stainless steel and poly-nylon material. It’s tough, rugged, and virtually indestructible. You can even submerge it in water if you want to, to a depth of 9.9 feet, because it’s IPX-8 rated.
The battery if a workhorse too. It can last for over two and a half hours with the light shining on full power. On low mode, the battery can keep the lamp illuminated for 29 hours! The best thing about this flashlight’s power system is the fact that it can also accommodate regular AA batteries—which is perfect if your battery dies and you can’t charge it. Just stick in a few disposables to keep things ticking over.
Here’s a pro tip: save some money by choosing this product in any color other than black! For some reason, the blacked-out model gets a premium price tag.
Max output: 530 lumens
Weight: 12 oz
Battery: USB-rechargeable lithium ion batteries
EAGTAC is another quality American brand worth of your attention. Based in Washington State, EAGTAC has been making high-quality LED flashlights for a decade. While they’ve got plenty of top quality products in their range, we recommend the G3V. It’s a powerful but compact tactical flashlight that has been designed with serious illumination in mind.
With a maximum output of 3200 lumens, the G3V is a powerful light. However, EAGTAC went the extra mile and gave the G3V a smooth aluminum reflector, boosting the light throw to an impressive 810 feet. It also has three selectable modes, accessed by a twisting head.
The body of this torch is made from anodized aluminum and features a hardened, water-white glass lens, and an anti-reflective coating. The result is a tough and sturdy piece of everyday carry that will serve you well in almost any environment.
EAGTAC’s G3V uses a built-in 21700 lithium ion battery. It’s a rechargeable unit that can be powered by any USB charger. In total, when the flashlight is on its lowest power mode and producing only 18 lumens, the battery can power light for over 200 hours.
Max output: 3200 lumens
Weight: 7 oz
Battery: USB-C rechargeable battery
A real tactical light has to be tough, durable, and ready for action at a moment’s notice. The Blackhawk Legacy X6-P is all of the above. In terms of brightness and overall output, this flashlight falls well behind the others on this list, but it offers up more than enough light to get you through a dangerous situation.
The maximum output rating is 65 lumens. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s plenty. Plus, if you have a quick read up on raw lumens and effective lumens, then you’ll see that some outputs can be misleading. Don’t be fooled by the small number, because this torch packs a punch. Even better, it has a pre-focused beam that eliminates shadows.
Made from aircraft aluminum and tough plastic polymer, the Legacy X6 can withstand shock and damage, with enough strength to easily protect the Xenon lamp assembly within. It’s also incredibly lightweight, making it a practical flashlight to keep on your person at all times.
The Blackhawk Legacy X6-P is also weapons mountable. Blackhawk manufactures a wide range of mounts and weapon tape, which will allow you to effectively mount this flashlight to almost any firearm. Not bad, considering the relatively low price tag.
Max output: 65 lumens
Weight: 4.8 oz
Battery: CR17345 lithium batteries
Klarus has been manufacturing high-quality flashlights since 2011. The brand’s products have been designed to meet the needs of military, law enforcement, and security operatives, and the XT11GT is no different: it’s a high-quality flashlight made to incredibly high-standards, at an affordable price point.
The flashlight is made from a tough aluminum body with a Type III hard-anodized finish. Inside, the XT11GT boasts a Cree CHP35 HD LED, capable of producing up to 2000 lumens across a distance of 1000 feet. It’s IPX-8 rated and can resist water, extreme weather, and hard impacts with ease.
Klarus has given this torch a number of selectable modes, with different output settings. These modes include Straight 2 Strobe, Instant Turbo, Instant Low-light, SOS mode, and more. Other clever features include an ITS temperature control system, a battery charge indicator, and an easy mode change function.
In terms of battery life, on the lowest setting, this torch will provide light for up to 170 hours. The battery can be recharged using the included USB cable. A pocket clip, lanyard, holster, o-ring, bandana, and user manual, are also included with every purchase.
Max output: 2000 lumens
Weight: 4.58 oz (without battery)
Battery: 3100mAh IMR 18650 battery
Buying The Best Tactical Flashlight: What You Need To Know
Flashlights aren’t complicated tools. However, finding the right one for your needs can be tricky, especially when you’re in the market for a tactical light, rather than a simple lamp to help you find the fuse box during a power outage. Different situations demand different tools, and finding a light that’s versatile enough to perform in extreme circumstances isn’t an easy task. Especially since there are so many products out there to choose from.
Here’s a quick overview of things to keep in mind when searching for your next tactical torch!
What Is A “Tactical” Flashlight?
“Tactical” is a word that’s overused these days. If there’s something for sale, you can almost guarantee that there will be a “tactical” version of it for sale somewhere! In this case, however, the term is used correctly. A tactical flashlight is a light-emitting device for critical situations. It does everything a regular flashlight can do, but with increased durability, more functions, and practical ergonomics.
It will be made of higher-grade materials, feature life-saving and survival features (such as a strobe or SOS mode), and be designed for use in combat, perhaps with weapons attachments, or added grip knurling.
Those are the major differences between a tactical and regular flashlight.
Important Features To Look Out For
Size and Weight
Given that tactical enterprises are in mind, a practical tactical flashlight will need to be small, compact, and weigh as little as possible. If you’re out in the wild, the added weight will slow you down. However, there is justification for a larger, heavier tool—that is, if you think you might need to use it as a blunt object in close-quarters combat and self defense. For most uses, smaller and lighter will be the way to go. Think it through before purchasing though—sometimes a bit of heft goes a long way.
This one should be a no-brainer, but there’s more to it than you’d think. Of course, LEDs are powerful, efficient, and incredibly hardwearing, but they’re not as bright as xenon bulbs. If you need serious brightness, then you may want to consider abandoning LEDs in favor of a xenon bulb. However, if you value efficiency, then LEDs are the obvious choice. And modern LEDs can be extremely bright too.
No matter what bulb choice you opt for, knowing how to measure the brightness of a light source is essential if you want to get the right flashlight for your needs. Brightness is often measured in lumens. Naturally, the higher the lumens, the brighter a lamp will be. Unfortunately, high output flashlights have a tendency to consume your battery life in very short time periods.
Anything between 500 and 1000 lumens is plenty bright enough: it will illuminate dark areas, dazzle potential attackers, and shouldn’t deplete a battery too quickly. While it’s a good figure to look for, different tasks will require different power outputs.
If you need a high brightness output but need to conserve your battery life, finding a model of flashlight with selectable output modes is essential. Lights with outputs in excess of 2000 lumens can deplete a battery in less than an hour. If you switch the output mode to something lower, but still bright enough, such as 100 lumens, then your battery can last multiple days.
Most modern flashlights have selectable power modes as standard. However, it’s worth looking out for ones with specific tactical modes, such as a strobe mode, an SOS function, and a strong turbo mode too. Ideally, look for a flashlight with easy-to-use switches that help you find the mode you want without any tedious button-pushing.
If battery life is important to you, selectable modes are great—but it’s wise to have a look at the battery specifications too. Most of the lights on this list are equipped with rechargeable lithium ion batteries. These batteries are great because they can hold a serious amount of power and can be recharged easily. However, this can be a disadvantage in a tactical environment.
Old-school, disposable AA batteries aren’t as effective as modern batteries, but they are easier to find. A flashlight that uses AA or AAA alkaline batteries might seem old-fashioned, but they can be advantageous if you need to swap and replace batteries in the field. Luckily, many modern flashlights have been designed to accommodate rechargeable and disposable batteries, giving you the best of both worlds.
Lastly, there’s the simple matter of the price. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. A cheaper flashlight will be made of cheaper materials and with less attention to details. That’s not to say that you can’t get away with using a cheaper model. You certainly can. However, in a “tactical” situation, you’ll want to be using tools that you can rely on. For this reason, we’d recommend flashlights that start from $50 if you’re looking for a reliable tool. In an ideal world, $100 should be the least that you’d spend.
But it does all depend on what you’re planning on doing. Spending $100+ on a flashlight for a serious outdoor adventure is more than justified. Spending that kind of money to poke around in the basement…not so much.