Guide To Choosing The Best Tactical Flashlight

One of the most important steps in self-defense and gun safety is knowing your target’s location and what is beyond and in front of it. Not practicing this vital step can result in severe injury or even the accidental death of an innocent person. However, it can be extremely difficult to practice this in a dark area. That is why tactical flashlights have become so popular with gun owners. They’re not only useful for illuminating the area that you’re trying to protect, but they can also be so bright that they can temporarily blind or stun the threat. If you want the best tactical flashlight for your gun, focus on these important aspects while shopping.

Selecting Type

There are typically two types of tactical flashlights available for nearly any gun. These types are hunting and military tactical flashlights. Their purposes are quite clear as the hunting flashlight is more for hunting while the military one is more for combat purposes, but you don’t have to focus on those specific aspects to make your choice. You should weigh the specific features of each flashlight instead.

Hunting

Tactical flashlights meant for hunting are very straightforward. They’re meant to illuminate large areas and possibly blind or stun certain prey for an easier shot. These flashlights don’t have any other real options besides a changing light color and brightness control, but they’re very useful for hunting purposes. If you’re looking for a simple tactical flashlight, a hunting flashlight would likely be better for you.

Military

Military tactical flashlights are quite different from hunting flashlights. For starters, they’re usually more durable and strong than hunting flashlights. This is because military tactical flashlights can also be used for other purposes such as breaking glass, and they need to stand up to stronger recoils and activity than your average hunting flashlight. Most tactical flashlights are built to be durable, but military flashlights tend to be even stronger and more durable than usual.

Military style tactical flashlights also offer other features such as a strobe option for confusing and blinding enemies and an SOS option for emergencies.

Material

The next aspect to focus on is the material. Many tactical flashlights are made of plastic. While this is okay, it’s not quite up to the quality of aluminum. Aluminum flashlights are light-weight, non-magnetic and more durable than plastic.

Anodizing

Aluminum is a good choice of material to make the best tactical flashlight, but it still has a flaw. While it is stronger than plastic, it’s still a soft metal. This makes it easily susceptible to nicks and scratches. To make the design even stronger and more resistant to damage, it’s a good idea choose a tactical flashlight that has an anodized exterior.

Anodizing is to process of dipping aluminum into an acid electrolyte and running electrical current through the acid. This creates an aluminum oxide coating on the metal, increasing its strength and durability.

Light Bulbs

The best light option for tactical flashlights are LED light bulbs. Traditional light bulbs create more heat than they do light, which causes them to eat up battery life very quickly. In addition, the bulbs are extremely fragile and they can easily break after being dropped even if it’s from a short height. LED bulbs are more energy efficient and durable than traditional bulbs. In addition, they’re also typically much brighter than traditional bulbs.

Power Source

You can get tactical flashlights that run either on regular batteries or rechargeable batteries. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages, and you should weigh them based on your preferences to ensure that you get the best tactical flashlight for your needs.

Disposable Batteries

Disposable batteries are the most common type of power source for tactical flashlights. They’re cheaper than rechargeable batteries, and they’re ready to use as soon as you open the package. However, batteries can die quickly. This is especially true if you get a tactical flashlight with inefficient light bulbs. Since they have a shorter life span and can’t be recharged, you’ll need to buy new batteries every time that they die.

Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable batteries are slightly more expensive, but they could be worth the extra money. Since they are rechargeable, their lifespan is much longer than that of disposable batteries. The one time cost can be a bigger benefit when weighed against the overall cost of disposable batteries being used in the life span of one rechargeable battery. However, they must be charged fully after purchase before use, and the frequent need for recharging may be an inconvenience.

Brightness

Brightness is an important factor to consider when purchasing any light, but it’s slightly more complex with a tactical flashlight. Do you want a light that will merely illuminate an area properly or do you want one that is made to blind the enemy?

Typically, the standard brightness level for regular illumination indoors is about 30 to 40 lumen. For outdoor purposes, you might want to increase that to around 100 lumen. In order to temporarily blind or disorient a threat, you will need a light with brightness at a minimum of 200 lumen with 600 to 700 lumen being a more effective attack.

Instant Activation

One of the most important aspects of a good tactical flashlight is the activation time. You don’t want to be fumbling with your flashlight trying to turn it on in an emergency situation. Turning on the flashlight should be instant and require a flick of a switch or a push of a button. If there seems to be any delay between initial activation and when the light actually activates or turning on the light seems uncomfortable or awkward, it’s best to pass on that particular model.

Weight

Weight is an issue with tactical flashlights since they can alter your shooting capabilities if they’re too heavy. It may seem insignificant when the light is in your hand, but it can affect your aim while trying to get a lock on your target. The light should fairly light without feeling flimsy. It should feel heavy enough to be sturdy but not heavy enough to require much force to pick it up.

Additional Features

In addition to the light, tactical flashlights can have several additional features that can improve your experience with the light. Some are merely nice additions, but others can prove vital in certain situations. In order to truly get the best tactical flashlight for your needs, it’s a good idea to consider some customization.

Brightness Adjustment

With some models, you don’t have to settle on a particular brightness level for your flashlight. You can buy a tactical flashlight that allows you to adjust the brightness to your liking. This is great for people who intend on using the flashlight both on their gun and as a regular flashlight. In addition, it’s a great feature for people who don’t want to waste battery life on extremely bright lights.

Waterproof

Waterproof tactical flashlights are great for hunters, hikers and anyone else who loves the outdoors, but waterproofing is also beneficial to everyone else. While you may not spend your time walking around the woods or trudging through water or mud, accidents still happen and you never know when water damage might hit your tactical flashlight.

Holster

While most good tactical flashlights can easily be carried around in your pocket, it can be more convenient to have a holster for it on your belt for quicker access. This is especially beneficial to have in self-defense situations as having a holster by your side can shave off off valuable seconds in your reaction and preparation time.

Laser

A laser setting is beneficial to get a better aim on your target while trying to shoot, and it makes it so your tactical flashlight has a purpose even in illuminated conditions. The laser can also be useful as a signal in emergency situations.

Remote Pressure Switch

Even the best tactical flashlight can be frustrating to have if the only activation switch is on the light itself. That is why it is beneficial to have a remote pressure switch for your tactical flashlight. You can easily turn your light on and off with a switch that is located back towards the butt of the gun instead of the barrel. Instead of dangerously flipping your gun upward to turn the light on, you can merely turn the light on and off at your will. This is especially beneficial in emergency situations or in hunting situations where you don’t want to spook your prey.

Color Adjustment

Common in both hunting and military tactical flashlights, color adjustment is a feature that allows you to change the color of the light from white or yellow to red, blue or green. This feature is sometimes used to dim the light when a brightness feature is not available, but it’s also commonly used to work in conjunction with night vision. Color adjustment is usually only available with LED lights.

Conclusion

While there are many ways to customize a tactical flashlight, what is really the best tactical flashlight for your needs really depends on your preferences and how you intend on using it. After you ensure that you have the best of the main aspects such as light bulbs and material, it’s up to you to decide what the best features are best for your purposes.

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