In our article How to Choose a Tactical Flashlight, we describe the factors you need to consider when looking for the best tactical flashlight to fit your needs. Here, we will do a tactical flashlight review of the top rated tactical flashlights based on average user rating.
The 5 Top Rated Tactical Flashlights
What is the best tactical flashlight? To answer that question, we look at the five top rated tactical flashlights as they appear on Amazon.
Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL High Lumen Rail-Mounted Tactical Light
The first tactical flashlight review is of the famous Streamlight TLR-1. The Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL Rail-Mounted Tactical Light is a compact and lightweight flashlight that fits easily on many different firearms, but it may be the best tactical flashlight choice for those with handguns due to its small size and weight. This particular light is made of anodized aircraft aluminum, which allows it to be both light-weight and very durable.
This tactical flashlight is praised for its extremely high brightness, allowing it to easily cut through even the harshest of darkness in emergency situations. This brightness is achieved through the use of numerous powerful LED lights that deliver 630 lumens of light, which is more than bright enough to blind or stun enemies if needed.
Traditional batteries are the power source of choice for the Streamlight 69260, and the average battery life is about an hour and 15 minutes of continuous use.
While there are many benefits to this light, we still need to keep the negatives in mind when doing a tactical flashlight review. The most common complaint is that, despite the fact that LED lights run cooler than incandescent bulbs, the light gets incredibly hot when active for more than a few minutes. The heat is also not contained to the glass or front of the light. The entire unit heats up extremely quickly. This may not seem like a major problem since the light is not meant to be hand-held, but users could end up burning their hands while operating the light, and it could possibly melt certain items if the light is too close.
The light also has no brightness setting to save on battery life or to allow the light to run at a cooler temperature. However, it does have an additional strobe light setting for tactical purposes.
Streamlight 88040 ProTAC HL High Lumen Professional Tactical Light
For a hand-held option, the Streamlight 88040 ProTAC High Lumen Professional Tactical Light may be the best tactical flashlight for you. This tactical flashlight is at a perfect size to fit comfortably in most hand sizes and to carry around with no bulk or weight issue. The flashlight also comes with a holster and a belt clip if you’d like a more convenient method of carrying it around.
This light is made from the same aircraft grade anodized aluminum as the 6000 series flashlights with an additional waterproof coating to protect it even further. The waterproofing also makes it a good choice when searching for the best tactical flashlight for outdoor or hunting purposes.
The controls are located at the base of the light, allowing for easy and quick activation and brightness selection. The light has two brightness settings, high and low, with an additional strobe light option. On the highest setting, the batteries last for about an hour and 15 minutes with a lumen output of 600. On the lowest setting, the battery life extends to around 18 hours with a lumen output of 33.
The two main issues that users have noticed with this light are the battery life and the construction. This might not be the best tactical flashlight choice for people on a tight budget. The batteries needed for this particular model are CR123A lithium batteries, which currently cost around $14 to $19 dollars per package. With a battery life of slightly over an hour on high and many users stating that it doesn’t hold its brightness for nearly that long, this presents a pricey problem for many users. Some users claim to use rechargeable batteries to save money, but Streamlight warns against the usage of rechargeable batteries with this light for fire hazard purposes.
Several people have also noted various problems with the operation with issues ranging from broken switches, bad wiring and corrosion right out of the package.
Surefire P2X Fury Dual Output LED
If you’re looking for a more compact tactical flashlight that can fit in your pocket comfortably, the Surefire P2X Fury might be the choice for you. This light is made from anodized aluminum that has been crafted to military standards to better protect against damage.
The use of LED lights along with a micro-textured reflector creates a very focused and bright beam of light that maxes out at 500 lumens. On a low setting, the light produces 15 lumens. While slightly less powerful than the previously mentioned lights, this allows the light to have a slightly longer battery life with an hour and a half of battery life on high and a 46 hour battery life on low. The light also uses disposable 123A lithium batteries as a power source.
The activation switch and brightness settings are conveniently located at the base, and all of the controls center on the main power button.
When considering the cons while looking for the best tactical flashlight, the most common issues to note were awkward usage and heat issues. In order to switch between brightness settings, you need to press the power switch twice. That type of functionality is slightly awkward and time-consuming in tense situations to several users. While being pocket sized is nice, it would also be preferable to have a pocket or belt clip for easier access in emergencies.
In terms of heat issues, this may be manageable with a rail-mounted light, but it can be very irritating or even dangerous while using a hand-held light.
Coast HP7 High Performance Focusing 251 Lumen LED Flashlight
Another compact and hand-held model that may be the best tactical flashlight for those wishing to save on battery life is the Coast HP7 251 Lumen LED Flashlight. Using AAA batteries as a power source, this light has an average battery life of five hours and 45 minutes on high with a ten hour battery life on low. This tactical flashlight may sound weak when compared to other lights, but it still packs quite a punch and is more than enough to temporarily blind attackers.
The LED light can switch quickly and easily between a high setting of 251 lumens and a low setting of 58 lumens. In addition, it has a flood beam setting and a spotlight setting for even more control over the light’s power and range. At the maximum settings, the light can reach a range of 196 meters. These controls are also noted as being very responsive and easy to use.
The light is made of aircraft grade aluminum, but it doesn’t seem to be anodized for additional protection from damage.
This may sound like one of the best tactical flashlight choices for battery life and saving money, but the one major complaint many users had was in the poor construction. Many users noted the switch as being too sensitive to pressure and as being fragile. The light also doesn’t seem to stand up to even slight damage very well, and may dim in cold weather or get irreversibly damaged by light amounts of moisture.
Streamlight 69215 TLR-1s High Powered STD Rail-Mounted Strobing Tactical Light
The Streamlight 69215 Rail-Mounted Tactical Flashlight appears to be a favorite among people who are looking for the best tactical flashlight for their firearms. This flashlight is made from aircraft grade aluminum with a durable and appealing black anodized coating. In addition, the lens has also been specially crafted with incredibly durable polycarbonate with an additional scratch-resistant coating.
The LED bulbs produce a modest 200 lumen beam of light, but the beam extends more than 400 meters and is still just enough to blind an attacker if necessary.
The Streamlight 69215 also easily attaches and detaches for quick and easy switching between guns, and it is compact and light enough to fit various types of firearms.
Despite the fairly low lumen level, this light may not the best tactical flashlight choice for anyone looking to save on battery life. Even with an output of 200 lumens, the battery life has an average span of two and a half hours with a continuous running life of an hour and 45 minutes. The light also does not have any other brightness setting besides the default setting.
The light does include a strobe option, but some users have stated that it’s overly complicated to turn the strobe on, which could hinder any user greatly in an emergency situation. In addition, the switch to turn on the strobe and the regular light has been noted as being very sensitive and may trigger when lightly bumped.
Tactical Flashlight Review – Conclusion
The best tactical flashlight will depend on your needs. Should it be rail mounted, be waterproof or have an extra bright beam.
What do you think of the tactical flashlight reviews we have provided above? Are there better tactical flashlights than the flashlights listed above, or do you agree that they are the best tactical flashlights available? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.