Discover The Best Tactical Flashlight: Flashlight Comparison Guide!

For those who like to rough it once in a while, you will know the valuable uses of a powerful flashlight (Nitecore TM15) compared to the regular ones.  Regular flashlights are made just for general use and are powerless compared to the higher grade lights.  Most people would be happy with just a general flashlight when you are in a situation when you need light, but since you are reading this, I can assume that you need a certain flashlight that can withstand a beating, and do its job successfully.  So whether you need your tact. flashlight as a light for a firearm or you need a stronger searchlight for hiking, you need the best tactical flashlight for your needs.

My chart of flashlights below and my personal opinion that follows will help you pick out what the best tactical flashlight is for you and your needs.

We all have a different opinion on what makes a suitable flashlight, and we all have different uses for them.  These flashlights are a compilation of some of my favorite flashlights and lights that I think will be must haves to those in need of them.  But always think of your needs to help you pick the best tactical flashlight for you.

Tactical FlashlightsLumensWeightLengthBulb TypeBattery Type
Streamlight 2L
2602.8 oz4.77 In.C4 LEDCR123A
Olight M20S
3207 oz9.1 In.CREE XM-L2CR123A / RCR123 /18650
Coast HP17Tac

61516 oz14.9 In.LEDD Batteries
S&W MP Tact.

30613.6 oz7 In.CREE LEDCR123
S&W Galaxy Elite

1504 oz6 In.CREE Q2 LEDAA
Cree X-Tact.
2357.2 oz7 In.XR-E Q4 CREE LEDCR123A
Streamlight HL
6407.2 oz5.2 In.C4 LEDNiMH battery
LED Lenser HP8407
1758 oz6.3 In.LEDAAA
Maglight S4D016
75*14.1 oz16.5 In.LEDD Batteries
Streamlight Stinger

90*13.6 oz10.9 In.Xenon Bi-Pin*
SureFire E2D

5003.7 oz5.4 In.LEDCR123
Fenix LD10
1201.9 oz**3.93 In.Cree XP-G LED (R5)AA
Streamlight Strion
2605.3 oz8.7 In.C4 LED*
FourSevens QP2A
2802.2 oz5.8 In.LEDAA
Nebo Redline Tact.

2206.85 oz4.5 In.LEDAAA

* Could Not Find The Exact Amount of Lumens For This Model.

Included in the chart are the following labels:

  • Title/Brand of Flashlight & A Picture
  • Lumens – The maximum amount of lumens the flashlight can produce at its highest setting
  • Weight – The weight of the light with batteries
  • Length – The length of the light in Inches
  • Bulb Type
  • Battery Type

Obviously these are just 15 out of thousands of tact. flashlights on the market place.  There are many variances of searchlights that can be used to suit different needs.  Along with that, there is a huge range of prices for these tools.  The price, uses, and other specifications of the lights should be used to determine which one is the best tactical flashlight for you.

What is a Tactical Flashlight?

A tactical flashlight is an essential piece of equipment for any outdoor enthusiast.  These aren’t just any regular flashlights, these are made specifically for outdoors use or for tactical lights made specifically for firearms.  Each flashlight is designed to produce a certain level or amount of which lumens.

Lumens are units that are used to measure how much total light is produced.  Obviously the higher the level of lumens, the brighter the light will be.  So for these flashlights a higher lumen level is great because the light is brighter and you will be able to see more.  So if you are in a remote or wooded area you would definitely want to note the lumen level.  Along with lumens, you want to note the flashlight’s beam distance.  Beam distance, as it sounds is the length of the beam of light from the flashlight.  So, be sure to take both of these into account before buying the best tactical flashlight for you.

Why Everyone Should Have a Tactical Flashlight

When it comes to self-defense, you may be surprised by how useful a flashlight can be. Tactical flashlights, in particular, can:

  • Distract attackers: Shining bright light in an attacker’s eyes will temporarily blind and disorient them. That gives you enough time to flee or attack.
  • Help you identify attackers: If you’re in a low-light environment, a tactical flashlight can help you identify and deter attackers. Let’s face it – attackers don’t want to be seen, so shining a bright light on them and blowing their cover may be enough to send them running the other way.

Finding the Best Tactical Flashlight for Your Needs

As I mentioned in the previous section, there are quite a few of things you should be aware of before buying a higher end flashlight.  Obviously the lumens and beam distance matter a ton, but what are some other factors?  Weight and length are big factors also.  Weight and length can be classified as mainly comfort factors but if you are in-need of a searchlight that can take a beating and can be used as a makeshift hammer than weight and length of the flashlight can play a huge role.  So really think about your needs for the flashlight, if your light is just going to be kept in your house in case of a power outage, than length and weight don’t matter as much as if you needed to keep it in your backpack.

What to Look for When Buying a Tactical Flashlight

Remember, tactical flashlights are very different from your ordinary household flashlight. When buying one, there are quite a few things you should be looking for.

  • Lumen output: To act as a self-defense tool or for police/military use, a tactical flashlight needs to emit more light. Look for flashlights with at least 120 lumens.
  • Small: Tactical flashlights should be small enough to fit in your pocket.
  • Durability: Look for flashlights built with rugged materials, like hard anodized aluminum, that can stand up to extreme use.
  • Bulb type: LED bulbs are ideal because they have a long lifespan, but incandescent flashlightsare less expensive.
  • Waterproof: Whether you’re using your flashlight for true tactical purposes or emergency situations, you need to make sure it will work in every situation. A waterproof flashlight will work in the rain and wet conditions.

When you’re backed into a corner, a tactical flashlight can act as a great self-defense tool, and its bright light makes it an excellent choice for military or police use. The next time you purchase a flashlight for your home, pick up a tactical flashlight too – you never know when you might need it.

Tactical flashlights are meant to be bright. After all, you need a bright flashlight when out in the field. There are a lot of elements that go into finding the brightest tactical flashlight from lumen to the difference between LED and incandescent.

Let’s take a look at all of these elements, so you can find the brightest flashlight around.

Understanding Lumens

understanding flashlight lumensA lumen is the actual measurement of visible light emitted by a source – your flashlight. The higher the lumen number, the higher the total amount of visible light will be. However, many manufacturers will state that their product is able to output 800 max lumen, but that is only at max power.

In most cases, these models can only achieve this number of lumens for a brief period of time and are instead modified to only produce 400 lumen, for example.

The higher the lumen count, the better, but always shop for a quality flashlight. Low quality flashlights will provide misleading lumen maximums that aren’t able to be achieved in the field.

LED vs Incandescent

Everywhere you look, you’ll see people saying that LED is better than incandescent, but is it true? Technically, no it’s not. The real benefit to LED bulbs in a flashlight is that they can last 100,000 hours in some cases. This means that you’ll never really have to worry about your flashlight’s lightbulb dying on you.

Incandescent bulbs do not last nearly as long.

But, there is something that incandescent bulbs do better: their beams have a longer distance and power.

It gets a lot more confusing than this. While stronger, the maximum power and distance of an incandescent flashlight is often impractical. Instead, most people will choose to go with the comparable LED models even if they are less powerful because they last a very long time.

The brightest tactical flashlight will have a high amount of lumens that can be sustained for a long period of time. You may even find certain models that contain varying power settings. This allows you to choose the highest number of lumens possible, or choose a lower lumen amount in return for an extended battery life.

If you want to know what the highest tier of flashlights consist of, most have lumens of 1000 – 2000. For most purposes, you’ll do fine with a lumen count as low as 600 up to 1200. The ultra-powerful models that contain 2000 lumen capability are often only meant for specific usages and aren’t meant for an all-around model due to their immense brightness levels.

At the beginning of this article you will see a list of 15 of my favorite flashlights of which I tried to spread out the uses of each torch to give everyone some good tips.  If you are serious in buying an advanced flashlight you should look at my chart above to get some ideas for lights!

Top 5 Tactical Flashlight Reviews

I like all of the flashlights in my chart, and I would suggest them to any of my friends, but some of them I like just a little bit more than the others.  Although I would love all of these and would definitely prefer them over any regular flashlight, but some of them are just extra special.  Below you will find my top 5 picks for the best tactical flashlight and a detailed review of each.  So lets jump into our my tact. flashlight reviews!

Streamlight HL Tactical Flashlight

Best tactical flashlight

The Streamlight HL Tact. Flashlight is one of those things that makes you question what you ever did without it. It is a pretty average sized, not too big that it’s annoying to carry, and not too small that you may misplace it.

with it being 7.2 ounces with batteries, and 5.2 inches in length. It is big enough that it will fit comfortably in your hand or bag, but it won’t weigh you down too much. This is a one of a kind light, it honestly can be used for any purpose. It can easily be programmable so when you need a little light to take your dog outside or find something you dropped you don’t have to fumble around with too many buttons.
The Streamlight HL Tactical Flashlight is non rechargeable and comes with 3 different power settings, high, low, and strobe. While on the high setting the HL can produce 600 lumens for an estimated 1.25 hours and on low it produces 33 lumens at an estimated 18 hours. This is probably one of the brightest tactical flashlights that I have ever used.

Streamlight has been around for over 40 years and is known for their excellent customer service and great range of products. I have used many of Streamlight’s products and I have never had a product that I wasn’t completely satisfied with.

SureFire E2D Tactical Flashlight

surefire e2d reviewAnother great option for those needing of a survival light for extreme outdoor activities is SureFire’s E2D Tactical Flashlight.  I will be the first to tell you that the sales price for this thing is on the higher end, but it is justifiable.  This flashlight is rather small with it being only 5.4 inches in length and 3.7 ounces.  So although it is a small light it still gets the job done.  This light has a maximum output of 120 lumens with a great beam distance.  This can be used for hiking or camping when you are in-need of a lighten up path or camp area.  This flashlight is also designed for self defense as shining this light in a muggers eyes has been proven to temporary blind a suspect.  It runs on CR123A batteries.

The biggest advantage this flashlight has is its durability.  It can take a beating, and this is why i say it would be great for someone who enjoys extreme outdoor activities.  I myself have dropped my E2D hundreds of times on concrete and on rocky trails and it still works perfectly!  I have heard of many of our own military forces buying these lights from their own pocket to use as a backup for their weapon mounted light because they know it will help them.

SureFire has been around for a fair amount of time, and they are some of the best.  They make products directed at both military/law enforcer and for extreme civilians alike.  Their business has been aimed at both great applicable products and durable products, which I feel they have accomplished.

LED Lenser HP8407

LED lenser hp8407 reviewAlthough this wasn’t a perfect 5/5 on my chart I do think this had to be included on my top favorite tactical lights.  This in my opinion is one of the best most memorable flashlights I have owned.  Specs wise this isn’t the greatest light, but still very good at 175 lumen on a max setting and a beam distance of 689 feet.  It is moderately sized at 8 ounces with batteries and 6.3 inches in length.  This flashlight runs on four AAA batteries which are included.

The reason I included this on my list and why I considered it one of my most memorable flashlights is really based around the price. This was my first tact. flashlight and it is a great beginner and expert light.  The battery life can be a little weak as it averages at about 3.5 hours and near full lumens.  If you are a beginner or just need a cheap all purpose light, I would suggest this one.  If you already own a higher end tact. flashlight I would suggest this as a cheap backup or you could keep it in your car.  Not the brightest tactical flashlight but it is very cheap so go pick it up!

LED Lenser is a tactical light company that was formed in 1993.  They now have hundreds of patents and are a great provider of LED flashlights.

FourSevens QP2A

FourSevens QP2A reviewI have been trying to spread out the uses of each flashlight in my top 5, and FourSevens QP2A flashlight brings come thing new to the table.  This flashlight is one of the smallest but still powerful lights that I have ever seen.  The weight of this light is only 2.2 ounces and it is only 5.8 inches long!  That weight is crazy!  But don’t worry, the weight doesn’t cause a sacrifice in specs.  This flashlight runs on two aa batteries.

This light has a maximum lumens output of 280, and a low of 0.3 in a special “Moonlight” setting.  The Foursevens QP2A  has 8 different special settings including an “SOS” medal, and “Beacon”.   This would be perfect for anyone that wants to keep their flashlight in a backpack or even in their pocket.  This flashlight is great for anyone that needs a powerful enough light without wanting to carry around something that is extremely bulking and heavy.

FourSeven is a relatively new lighting company, founded in 2008.  They are trying to rejuvenate the flashlight industry by creating new products that will revolutionize the industry.

Streamlight Stinger

Surefire stinger reviewFor my last of the five lights I have chosen the Streamlight stinger as one of the top five best tactical flashlights on the market.  The stinger is one of the bigger models that I have ever used before.  It is not for those who need a smaller ergonomic searchlight.  This monster weighs in at 13.6 ounces and is 10.9 inches in length.  This flashlight has a great maximum lumen output of 350.  This tool is great for law enforcement officers as it is very bright and it is also very durable in case it needs to be used to defend yourself.

Because this flashlight is rechargeable you don’t have to worry about finding double or triple A batteries.  I have gone five years with this bad boy without having to replace a battery, and it is still working great!

Time For You To Choose

I have listed my picks for the best tactical flashlights, and now it is your turn.  It’s up to you to pick out a flashlight that has the right lumen rate and beam distance for what you need, along with a reasonable price.  Be sure to check what type of batteries your new flashlight will run on as some batteries run on a few AAA batteries, others on a AA battery or two, and the higher end batteries on rechargeable batteries.  So I hope that you appreciate my tactical light reviews and I hope they might have helped at least a little bit.

New lights are being created all the time, so I will regularly be updating my chart and my top 5.  If you think I have missed an excellent one, then feel free to contact me!