We were privy to a very interesting conversation the other day in an old tavern just south of Nashville, about the best shotgun lights.
Apparently, one of the two gentlemen engaged in the banter had a recent misadventure where he had accidentally put a bullet through a 120-year old heirloom Mantel clock, trying to fire at a burglar who’d broken into his Nashville home.
‘So much so for the famed Harries flashlight technique’, he scoffed!
You’d be aware that anything that’s remotely connected to firearms manages to quip our attention. And this was an argument as good as any that got us thinking about the importance of the best shotgun lights, which often don’t get their due.
In a self-defense scenario when visibility is limited (which is usually the case), these lights can prove to be lifesaving. You can have both your hands free to grip the shotgun and you get a crystal clear view at the burglar or intruder who may be threatening your family. Boom!
Not to mention that as this bloke just discovered, it can also save you from the embarrassment that comes from misfiring at objects (or people) that are priceless.
So, if you have been desisting buying a shotgun light so far, then this is as good as time as any to consider it. To make things easier for you, we have handpicked the best in the market right here.
#1 – Surefire X300U – Best Overall Pick
Ever since the SurefireXH35 set new benchmarks for wide-beam gun flashlights, there were rumors abuzz about a 1000-lumen model in the X300U lineup being in development.
Finally, Surefire released it a couple of years ago and just like most of its predecessors, it has fast gained a reputation for itself in the gun community.
While it is mainly used by professionals as a reliable, everyday carry, the extra brightness and the sheer build quality make this a Best home defense shotgun light. Be it weekend warriors, a collector or someone looking for an extra pair of eyes for self-defense, this one fits the bill perfectly.
The new X300U Surefire shotgun light is lightweight and built like a tank. The casing is Aerospace aluminum with a matte-black finish, staying true to its tactical origins. On the underside or upper-side depending on what firearm you use it with, it has the classic rail-lock system that attaches to both universal and Picatinny rails, greatly increasing the compatibility of the flashlight.
VIDEO: Will Petty and the 1,000 Lumen X300 Ultra
The fit is a snug one with absolutely no play or rattle even when you are running with your gun extended.
The IPX7 rating means that an accidental spill or two wont damage it.
It retains the Push-to-engage mechanism and has an ambidextrous design, which makes it effortless to operate.
The standout feature though, is the high-performance LED that produces a whopping 1000-lumens.
Club that with Surefire’s custom TIR lens and you’ve got a far-reaching, powerful beam of light that can even disorient an intruder.
The package comes with 12-extra batteries in addition to the two in the flashlight. With a runtime of 1.25 hours on a full charge, you get enough juice to last for days.
The only possible deterrent that someone could have is the price. But if you seek reliability and infallible quality, then price wouldn’t be a decider. Or would it?
· Lightweight, compact design
· Fits snugly on universal and Picatinny rails
· Aerospace aluminum casing in matte black
· Push-start operation
· 1000 lumens center beam
· Long life LED
· Custom TIR lens
· Comes with 12-batteries
#2 – Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL – Best shotgun light for the money
This Streamlight shotgun light has been around forever and is still one of the best selling weapon lights in the business. It’s not too expensive. And it has all the features that one looks for in a shotgun light for self-defense.
The TLR-1 HL is incredibly compact, making it possible to attach and detach it with one hand if need be, while keeping your hands away from the muzzle at all times.
Moreover, the design does not hamper movement even when you are running or trying to discriminate a target in a high-stress situation.
It comes with a bunch of keys that attach to Glock-style, Picatinny, Beretta 90two, S&W 99 and S&W TSW mounts, making it compatible with a whole range of firearms.
The casing is machined aircraft aluminum with a black-tactical finish while the glass lens is one of the best in the business. It is gasket-sealed, impervious to scratches and the accidental bump or two.
Perfect for all-weather applications too.
Under the hood, you have Streamlight’s reliable TIR optics that produce an 800-lumen beam of light that reaches 350 meters and provides optimum, peripheral illumination as well.
There are a bunch of different settings for operation. You can use the one-touch button for a constant beam, which runs for an impressive 1.75 hours, there’s a strobe light for signaling and you can also buy the Long gun kit which features a remote pressure switch and door switch.
· Reasonably priced (Subjective)
· Proven track record
· 800-Lumen light beam with 245-meter range
· 1.75 hour run time
· Machined aircraft aluminum casing
· Bunch of keys to attach to different firearms
· 1.75-hour runtime
· Push button operation as well as strobe
· Optional kit to turn it into a Shotgun flashlight with pressure switch
#3 – Feyachi WL15 – Best budget shotgun light
It features an extremely powerful LED that produces 1200 lumens in a wide-path beam that can illuminate your surroundings, as well as focus centrally on an intruder.
The casing is machined from aerospace aluminum in a tactical-friendly, anodized finish, and it is compact enough for both pistol use as well as for use with bigger firearms.
The quality of the optically coated tempered glass is second to none and it provides crystal clear vision, even in inclement weather conditions.
It is IP66 rated by the way, and comes with a dual O-ring and gasket seals, which ensure that it won’t die on you, come rain or snow.
Operation is effortless. The quick-release clamp and Snap-On design allows you to mount it easily one-handed on any firearm with a picatinny rail and a MIL Standard 1913 Rail. Also, it is one of the only best shotgun lights that we’ve seen that features two types of switches. There’s a remote switch for constant operation and a push-button tail switch for other types of operation.
It comes with 2×18650 rechargeable batteries which give it a whopping 180-minute runtime on a single charge.
We couldn’t be more impressed with the Feyachi WL15. True, it isn’t a big brand with a reputation to boast of. But if you are looking for a shotgun light for casual use, this will get the job done.
· Lightweight, compact form factor
· Aerospace aluminum with anodized finish
· Optically coated, tempered glass
· 1200 Lumen, extra bright LED
· Dual O-ring and gasket seals
· Snap-on design for mounting on Picatinny rails
· Two types of switches for different operation modes
· 3-hour run time
· 2 x rechargeable batteries
· Budget pricing
#4 – Streamlight 69265 TLR-2 – Best shotgun laser-light combo
While we are little old school and we firmly believe that the best shotgun lights work just as fine without laser beams, there are a lot of takers for the laser beam as they believe that it makes accurate hip shooting a possibility.
Anything that gives you an advantage in a dark, gun smoke filled room is a welcome addition. So here goes.
So, you’ve got incredible build quality with a machined aluminum, completely weather-sealed casing, easy ambidextrous operation and a powerful 800-lumen LED light that will track true with your aiming point.
It has a 15,000 candela peak beam intensity with a 245-meter range that’s perfect for a variety of tactical applications.
The C4 LEDs have a 50,000-hour lifespan on an average and are completely shock proof.
The TLR-2 weighs a very manageable 4.78 lbs. with the batteries and the laser attached to it. The added weight should help mitigate recoil to an extent, especially when you have your face pressed hard against the stock.
While the shotgun laser-light combo has a runtime of 1.5 hours, you can use it in the laser-only mode for 17-hours on a single charge.
Other than the constant operation, this best shotgun light also features a strobe light for distress signaling.
If you are looking for the Best shotgun laser-light combo, then you cannot go wrong with the Streamlight TLR-2.
· 800 Lumen LED light with 510 530nm direct drive green laser
· Easy one-touch operation
· Compact, easy to mount on Picatinny rails
· Weighs 4.78 lbs. with the batteries
· 245-meter range
· 1.5-hour runtime
· 17-hour runtime in laser only mode
· 15000 Candela peak beam
#5 – Orion H40-W–Best shotgun light for hunting (Varmint, Predators etc.)
Moreover, anything that is more than 100 lumens can temporarily freeze the varmint giving you a good opportunity at a clean shot.
Throw in a red-filter and you can even use this for hunting deer, provided that it’s legal in your state.
It is a very powerful shotgun light build from aerospace anodized, aluminum.
Comes with a Picatinny/Weaver single Rail mount that allows you to mount it to a variety of firearms. It weighs just 3.04 oz. without the CR123A batteries and it is light enough for an everyday carry.
The beam distance is an impressive 160 meters and it should more than suffice for close to mid-range hunting applications.
There are two operational modes, constant and strobe, which can be activated at the touch of a button or a pressure switch. The light has a runtime of 75-minutes.
The features might seem tepid as compared to some of the other best shotgun lights in this list. But at this price point and for the intended application, you’d be hard pressed to find a better pick.
· Aerospace aluminum, anodized finish
· Weatherproof glass
· Cree XM-L U2 LED with 600 lumen beam
· Easy mounting with Picatinny/Weaver single Rail mount
· Weighs just 3.04 oz. without the batteries
· 160-meter beam
· 75-minute runtime
· Perfect for varmint hunting around home
How to select the best shotgun lights
A quick search on Google will reveal that there are hundreds of shotgun lights vying for your attention. How then do you ensure that you have one that suits your intended application and doesn’t conk off after a few hours of use in unruly weather conditions?
Here are some of the variables that you must consider before you shop for one of these.
1. Compatibility: Is the flashlight compatible with your shotgun model? A decade or two ago, manufacturers would throw in proprietary mounting platforms which forced you into using their accessories. But that’s no longer the case. Most top shotgun lights come with rails that allow you to mount it on Picatinny or standard rails, which are compatible with tons of firearms. Many come with multiple keys that let you mount it on commonly used firearms. Having said that, you’d want to be doubly sure that the light is compatible with your firearm right out of the box, without the need for an adapter.
2. Build Quality: All of the shotgun lights in this list are made of aircraft grade aluminum and can take more than a bump or two in their stride. That’s not the case with cheaper models peddled on many online shopping portals though. Some of them have plastic casing or cheap steel casing which can bend or even break if you accidentally drop it. As a rule of thumb, if its anything lesser than aerospace aluminum, you’d best give it a miss.
3. Size and weight: As much as we’d want you to believe that attaching a shotgun light on the front doesn’t really affect your shooting, it does. So you’d want to pick one that’s lightweight, compact and does not limit your ability to attach other accessories on the rail. In a defensive, high-pressure situation, you want to move unhindered. Some shooters prefer the added weight as it helps to limit recoil, whereas others find it a hindrance. Pick one according to your preferences.
4. Brightness: The best shotgun lights are often advertised with the brightness as the main selling point and for good reason too. The difference between a 100 lumen light and a 500 lumen one is stark. The latter can give you a clear view even in pitch darkness for up to 200 meters. That can make the difference when you are trying to determine friend from foe in a smoke filled room. Thankfully, all the lights that we have listed are bright enough to disorient and temporarily blind both man and animal.
5. Ease of use: The last thing you need is a light that’s cumbersome to operate. Look for one-touch, push button operation, twist and clamp mounting for one-handed use and an ambidextrous design. A remote pressure switch is a desirable, but not a necessary feature. We have seen them fail on more occasions than one.
6. Operational modes: Most of the best shotgun lights feature multiple light modes. While this may not seem like a key factor initially, many of these modes do have their share of benefits. The low light mode for example, conserves battery when you are just looking for enough light to navigate through the room. The turbo or high mode will produce the strongest beam of light that the flashlight is capable of producing. It will be one centered beam that goes far. The strobe mode can be used for distress signaling. The constant mode can be very useful for hunting as well as for continual scanning.
That sums up our list of the best shotgun lights.
To give you a refresher, our #1 pick is the Surefire X300U. Irrespective of whether you are in law enforcement or just looking to protect your home from an intruder, it is tailor made for the job.
The Streamlight TLR-1 is not too far behind either. It is a terrific shotgun light for a variety of applications.
Last but not the least, varmint hunters will appreciate the pocket-friendly price and decent features offered by the Orion H40-W.
We hope that you are able to find one that fits your requirements in this list.