Flashlights are much more useful than many of us think. If you own a tactical flashlight, they become even more useful and multi-purpose. The best tactical flashlight offers you multiple benefits as a perfect self-defense tool, more powerful brightness, and its ability to work along with a firearm.
To put it in simple words, tactical flashlights are one-step ahead of traditional flashlights and add more functionality to this amazing tool. They are a smarter and advanced version of general-purpose flashlights.
- 1 What is a Tactical Flashlight?
- 2 What is the Difference Between a Tactical Flashlight and Traditional Flashlight?
- 3 Best Tactical Flashlight: Our Top Picks
- 3.1 Best Multi-Purpose General Use Flashlight: Fenix PD35 Tac Tactical Edition Flashlight
- 3.2 Best For Self-Defense – Olight M1X Striker Tactical Flashlight
- 3.3 Best to Cover More Area – Nitecore P12GT
- 3.4 For Maximum Light – Anker Ultra-Bright LC130
- 3.5 Best for One Time Investment – Pelican 7600 Tactical Flashlight
- 4 Final Words
What is a Tactical Flashlight?
Tactical flashlights come in many different shapes and features, depending on the intended use. For example, if you are a hunter, you may prefer a different tactical flashlight (like more compact, portable) compared to a firefighter or a policeman, who need something powerful to help them in searches and to counter a threat.
They are also used as a non-lethal force as their high intensity light can disorient or blind the threat. Some flashlights can even be used as billy clubs. Here are the primary features of most commonly available tactical flashlights.
- Shock resistance
- Powerful but lightweight construction
- High-light intensity
- Long-lasting batteries
In simple words, they are a brighter, reliable, sturdier, and more multi-purpose version of our everyday flashlights.
What is the Difference Between a Tactical Flashlight and Traditional Flashlight?
Here are three key differences between the two:
- More Reliable
Tactical flashlights are designed to assist you in challenging situations. If they are not reliable, they can’t be called tactical flashlights, period.
This is why tactical flashlights are made of sturdy material like high-grade (mostly aircraft grade) aluminum. On the other hand, most commonly available flashlights are made of mostly plain plastic or low-grade steel or aluminum.
Tactical flashlights are also armor coated that adds to their longevity. They are also shock-resistant, weather-resistant, and corrosion-resistant. In most cases, you can run your car over the best tactical flashlight without causing any damage to it.
A traditional flashlight is just a flashlight, that helps you light things up in the dark. A tactical flashlight is much more than that. However, the basic function is the same here as well, that is, to light, but much brighter than ordinary flashlights.
Most general purpose flashlights come with 100 lumens and work up to ten feet of distance. Tactical flashlights, on the other hand, comes with at least 200 lumens and go up to thousands of lumens. Some powerful tactical lights can even lighten up an entire football field.
As they are made of high-grade aluminum, you can also use them to break a window or a door lock in case of emergency.
The primary purpose of tactical flashlights is to help you with self-defense. These tactical lights with high-intensity brightness can blind the attacker, especially with the strobe function that can disorient anyone in the dark.
In addition, most tactical flashlights also have strike bezel which is a metal rim that sits on the head of the flashlight. These crown like strike bezel can seriously injure your attacker if you hit them with the flashlight.
For the above benefits, the price is also higher compared to common flashlights. However, tactical flashlights are often one-time investment due to their sturdy and durable built. This means, when you may have to buy traditional cheap flashlights after every year or two, this expensive versions will remain with you for a long time.
Best Tactical Flashlight: Our Top Picks
Now that you know what flashlight is, and what makes them better than our commonly used flashlights, here are is the quick list of best tactical flashlights out there.
First one on our list is from Fenix, an award-winning China-based brand that is known for their high-quality flashlights, headlamps, and camping lanterns. The PD35 is a compact tactical flashlight, and one of the most useful among Fenix PD series that uses advanced Cree XP-L (V5) LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours.
The lightweight, compact design, and six different light outputs including strobe with a maximum of 1000 lumens make it a multi-purpose flashlight. It is also made of sturdy military-grade aluminum along with hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish. The side switch, on the other hand, is made of high-quality stainless steel.
The glass also comes with anti-reflective coating, while the overall body comes in slip-resistant and anti-roll design. It also comes with IPX-8 standard rating. You can easily cover an area of 656 feet with this compact flashlight which is surprising.
Almost 5.4 inches long, this one is a compact pocket-friendly flashlight but powerful for its size. In addition, it is also submersible to at most 6.5 feet.
- A compact and lightweight option that weighs only 3.1 ounces.
- Comes with a low-voltage reminder that allows you to change batteries in time.
- Rugged design to use in challenging situations
- Easy to handle and use with simple side switches, low battery indicator, and reverse polarity protection.
- Only needs one 18650 battery.
- Doesn’t have a strike bezel
Among the best options for self-defense, this one comes with a toothed bezel that can seriously injure the attacker. Made by Olight, another China-based manufacturer with ANSI/NEMA FL1-2009 standards tested flashlights, this one is among the most popular options of Olight brand.
It features six lighting mods, including moonlight, turbo, and strobe options. The light output range is from 0.5 lumens to 1,000 lumens that makes it a powerful flashlight. You can easily throw light up to the distance of 632 feet.
The waterproof design also allows you to use it underwater up to two meters. With a fully-charged battery, it can run for 360 hours. Made of type-III hard anodized aircraft grade aluminum, you can even use to smash locks and windows when needed.
- Multiple brightness levels
- Comes with a LumenTac Recharger and pouch
- Extremely lightweight as it weighs only 2.8 ounces
- Pocket-friendly size with a length of 5.35 inches
- You can use it with one 18650 battery as well
- Strike bezel makes it dangerous for kids
Nitecore is another well-known global brand based in China that is well-recognized for their high-end flashlights. The Nitecore P12GT is one of their most popular options that offer you boosted area coverage.
This one uses Cree XP-L LED that offers 200% more intensity than other commonly used LED in flashlights. It comes with four brightness options from 1 lumen up to 1000 lumens, as well as three special modes that include strobe, beacon, and SOS. It can throw the light of the distance of 320 meters.
Easy to use flashlight also come with a tactical tail cap to switch between different light modes. The package also includes all accessories you may want with a tactical flashlight like a rechargeable battery, holster clip, Lumentac single channel charger, switch cover, o-ring, tactical ting, and lanyard.
With a five-year warranty from the manufacturer, this one makes for a safe investment.
- Offers 520 hours of maximum runtime in one charge
- It comes with IPX 8 waterproof rating that allows you to use it underwater up to 2 meter
- Compact size with 5.5 inches size that makes it portable
- Multi-purpose use from hunting to rescue missions
- Weighs only 3.2 ounces that makes it one of the lightest 1,000 lumens flashlight in the market
- You can’t charge it with USB
For those who want to turn the night into the day using a flashlight, the Anker LC130 is the best tactical flashlight out there. With a maximum brightness of 1,300 lumens and use of Cree-band LED lights, this one can light an entire football field. You can throw light at the distance of 850 feet that also offers you an extended reach than most other options.
You can also choose from the five different brightness settings, along with SOS and strobe functions. As it offers bright light, the maximum runtime is little low which is around six hours. You also need powerful batteries like 5000 mAh that may make it little heavy.
It also comes with IP67 water resistant rating that allows you to use it in the rain. The shock-resistant aluminum body is sturdy that allows it to use as a rod to hit an attacker if under threat.
The package includes a flashlight, micro USB cable, rechargeable battery, wrist strap, and a detailed guide. It also comes with one and a half year of warranty.
- It comes with a lifespan of 50,000 hours.
- You can charge it with a USB cable.
- Comes with rechargeable battery
- Works best for camping and rescue
- Anti-slip design allows you to keep a strong grip in all weather conditions
- Little heavy and large that makes it not as much portable as other options
- You also need to charge it for at least eight hours.
For those who want to buy the US-made flashlight, the Pelican 7600 tactical flashlight makes the best option. With its lifetime warranty and super sturdy built, it also makes for one-time investment but for a slightly higher price.
The six-inch-long compact design allows you to carry on your belt with ease or even put it in your pocket. It is designed to be used in touch condition with IPX8 rating for underwater use. The aluminum built and hard anodized finish provides a strong grip and durable design.
You can also switch between four lighting modes that also include strobe function, while the high light offers you 944 lumens. The light can even reach up to a distance of 225 meters.
- You can recharge with a USB
- Comes with battery indicator
- Features 3 LED color lights for traffic control
- Easy to use and carry
- Expensive than other options
So which one is the best tactical flashlight out of the 5 options? To be honest, all are the best options. You can buy anyone that meets your needs. For example, if you are looking for the maximum light and extended reach, Anker LC130 is the best. If you want the most durable option and can spend more, Pelican 7600 makes a good option. However, for the best value for money, compact design, and multi-purpose use, we recommend Fenix PD35.