12 Best Tactical Flashlights of 2017
Those who’ve waited patiently for the flashlight to catch up with the times need wait no longer. The tactical flashlight is here to answer your emergency light source prayers. And we’re here to take a look at the 12 best that the market has to offer. So serve notice to that overweight club of a torch that’s taking up half your toolbox or making your everyday carry un-carryable, it’s time for a new generation of flashlights to take center stage.
Hall of Fame: Our Top 3 Picks for Best Tactical Flashlights
Without further ado let’s dive in and take a look at our 3 picks for the title of best tactical flashlight.
Outlite A100 High Powered Handheld Flashlight
- Powered by rechargeable lithium-ion battery (included) or 3 AAA batteries (not included).
- High, medium and low brightness modes, strobe and SOS modes.
- Fully adjustable focus from wide angle to long range.
- High-intensity spotlight effective to 600 feet.
- Made from aircraft-grade aluminum.
- Water and shock resistant.
- Compact design (5.4” x 1.6”) to fit comfortably in your pocket or handbag.
The Outlite A100 gets our vote as one as a top 3 tactical flashlight for a variety of reasons, starting with its compact design that makes it the perfect companion for navigating wooded hiking trails or darkened parking garages. It’s tough as nails, fashioned from scratch proof aircraft-grade aluminium and its black anodized finish stands up to scraping and scratching. It’s water-resistant so there’s no problem taking it with you on rainy days. Grip is excellent with the body slender enough to be grasped firmly by smaller hands and the diamond shaped profile around the head prevents the A100 from rolling off of tables and other flat surfaces.
The A100 features a Cree XM-L T6 LED bulb that produces a maximum of 900 lumens of clear intense light and has a life expectancy of 100,000 hours. With zoom capability it will illuminate the path 600 feet ahead or light up the entirety of your car in a darkened garage. The A100 features a single button which is extremely user friendly. Simply press the button lightly to cycle through the various modes.
The Outlite A100 flashlight is the ideal combination of convenience and power all wrapped up in a stylish, compact housing that’s resistant to everyday damage and won’t fail when the rain starts falling. With a bulb that will literally last a lifetime and projects 900 lumens hundreds of feet, the A100 is a top 3 choice for best tactical LED flashlight.
SOLARAY MINI-PRO 1 – Tactical LED Flashlight
- Used by the FBI, Homeland Security, US Military, fire and police departments and private security companies.
- Compact design features ultra-bright Cree LED bulb.
- Fully adjustable focus from wide angle close up to long distance spot.
- Body of rugged, aircraft-grade aluminum.
- Water resistant for those rainy days.
- Includes single Lithium-ion battery.
- High, and low intensity modes as well as strobe mode.
- Can alternately be powered by a single AA alkaline battery.
The Solaray Mini-Pro 1 tactical flashlight makes the perfect gift for the outdoorsman or woman or anyone who would appreciate having an intense, capable, dependable light source available whenever they might want it. It’s small enough at 3.6” to store in your pocket or purse or it can be easily clipped onto your belt or pocket.
The Mini-Pro 1 flashlight is water resistant for those rainy days in the duck blind or those snowy nights when you’re making your way to the car. The reliable tail switch makes for efficient operation and the 300 lumens it kicks out from its Cree XM-L LED bulb will fulfill the needs of campers, fishermen, boating enthusiasts, roadside assistance specialists and police and security personnel of all types. The Mini-Pro 1 is also beautifully balanced and light enough for anyone to use easily and effectively.
The Solaray Mini-Pro 1 flashlight is incredibly handy whether you’re pulling it from your purse or unclipping it from your belt or pocket. It’s designed to fit snugly into your hand whether that hand is large or small and it will project 300 lumens along the path in front of you, into the dark corner of the parking garage or into the face of an intruder. Durable, reliable, affordable and convenient the Mini-Pro 1 takes its rightful place in our Hall of Fame.
PeakPlus Super Bright LED Tactical Flashlight
- 5 light modes including high, medium and low as well as strobe and hazard.
- Heavy duty aircraft-grade aluminum housing for durability and long life.
- Single Lithium-ion battery included but can alternately be powered by 3 AAA alkaline batteries (not included).
- Full zoom function with wide angle for close in illumination and floodlight capabilities up to 600 feet.
- Super bright tactical LED bulb lasts tens of thousands of hours.
- 100% satisfaction money back guarantee.
Perhaps the brightest tactical flashlight PeakPlus makes, the Super Bright is an ergonomic joy to behold. Its clean, satisfying design is perfect for any user with its high functionality and intense light projection the perfect foil for darkened parking lots and camping trails. Never get caught scrambling for a light source again if you blow a tire or the light in your garage goes out.
With 5 modes you can bring as much or as little light to bear as you wish and you can sculpt that light into the width and depth that is most appropriate. If you find yourself stranded on the roadside employ the can’t-miss strobe or hazard modes and let the police or emergency services find you in a hurry. Should you find yourself in a situation where the L-ion battery has worn down simply pop in 3 AAA alkaline batteries (not included) and your high powered LED tactical flashlight is back in business.
The PeakPlus Super Bright is no ordinary tactical flashlight. It’s a top 3 best tactical LED flashlight that will allow you to scoff at the dark. Elegant yet imminently functional and durable to beat the band the PeakPlus is one tactical flashlight we’d love to have in our glove compartment, pocket or clipped to our belt in case of emergencies and it fully deserves its place in our Hall of Fame.
If you’re in the market for a tactical flashlight the following are all worthy of consideration. In many cases we simply didn’t have space to fit them in our exclusive top 3 Hall of Fame but their exclusion was more a case of “something had to give” rather than any shortcoming on their part.
SOLARAY PRO ZX-1 Tactical Series Professional Flashlight
- Cree super bright XML T6 LED bulb for maximum illumination.
- Widely used by law enforcement, armed forces and security personnel worldwide.
- Exclusive “Light Mode Memory Circuit”.
- Fashioned from durable aircraft-grade aluminum.
- Water resistant for rainy nights in the woods or on patrol.
- 2 rechargeable 18650 Lithium-ion batteries included.
- Provides an incredible 1200 lumens.
The Solaray Pro ZX-1 tactical flashlight kicks out 1200 lumens and projects it effectively hundreds of meters down the trail or roadway. Bring daytime-like illumination to bear on emergency car repairs or train your ZX-1 great distances down the highway to see what’s coming and going.
Fully water resistant construction makes it the ideal companion when you’re out on patrol in the Hindu Kush or helping evacuate victims during a hurricane. The L-ion battery can be recharged up to 500 times and is embedded with a protected circuit board for added security and safety. Adjust the light level to meet your particular need or switch to SOS mode to alert rescuers to your position. Should you find yourself under assault switch to strobe mode to disorient and blind your assailant.
The Solaray ZX-1 tactical flashlight can bring an amazing 1200 lumens to bear on your situation and is built to deliver in the most demanding environments. The perfect military flashlight and all the flashlight the average citizen will ever need to effect repairs on their car or provide that extra margin of safety in potentially risky situations.
MsForce Professional Water Resistant LED Tactical Flashlight
- High, medium and low intensity settings as well as SOS and strobe modes.
- Full zoom capabilities allow for wide angle or spotlight projection.
- Highly waterproof design means it won’t shrink from the most extreme challenge.
- Skid-proof with durable string wrist loops to prevent droppage.
- Lifetime money back satisfaction guarantee.
The MsForce Professional tactical flashlight is an enviable combination of incredibly bright and totally waterproof which makes it a standout performer for emergency services. Fire departments, police and roadside assistance specialists will appreciate both the power it brings to the task at hand as well as the fact that it won’t wilt under extreme weather conditions. The unbelievable 2000 lumens can be projected nearly half a kilometer while the high-capacity fully rechargeable Lithium-ion battery runs for up to 8 hours on a single charge.
If you’re stranded on the mountainside or on a darkened roadside with car trouble the strobe and SOS modes will quickly and effectively alert emergency services to your location even at great distances and both the blinding 2000 lumens and the long sure-grip neck of the flashlight will provide essential self-defense capabilities should you be facing a determined assailant.
The MsForce Professional tactical flashlight is one tough, durable and effective piece of survival kit. The only thing that prevented us from installing it in the Hall of Fame is the length, which can make it a bit cumbersome. Still, it’s a perfect accompaniment to your car’s emergency kit and should be essential equipment for police, fire departments, roadside assistant specialists and security services.
EcoGear FX Tactical Flashlight, TK120
- Includes 2 fully rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries and rapid battery charger.
- Fabricated using highly durable aircraft-grade aluminium.
- Cree T6 LED bulb produces a mind-blowing 1200 lumens.
- Highly water resistant, skid-proof and shock-proof.
- Zoom in or out as the situation requires.
- Unique reflector design enhances the flashlight’s ability to project light.
- Easy to use switch allows effortless switching between light modes.
- 3 intensity modes as well as SOS and strobe modes.
The TK120 has found its way into the kit of innumerable police, security and other public safety officials worldwide. Its ease of use and radical reflector design that allows for more effective projection of light make it an ideal military flashlight. But that’s not all. It’s also the ideal illumination source to take with you into the woods or up the mountainside. Suspend it above the campsite and enjoy daytime levels of light that make all your important tasks easy to perform.
The TK120 flashlight also features strobe mode which is particularly effective in summoning help and in warding off assailants by blinding and disorienting them. SOS mode will ensure the rescue team finds you quickly whether they’re on foot or in the helicopter. The TK120 features a trim profile of just 5.5” x 1.1” which means it will fit easily into the glove compartment or the pocket of your cargo pants or purse.
The TK120 is the tactical flashlight at its best. Compact, durable, attractive, easy to handle and bright as the sun. It’s the kind of gear you’ll want at hand whether you’re entering a smokey building, pursuing a dangerous offender down an alley or providing a sense of comfort and ease in a darkened parking garage.
NcStar Weaver Mount Tactical LED Flashlight
- Lightweight design to provide a tactical as well as practical advantage on rifles and air guns.
- Durable anodized aluminum construction.
- Single CR123A Lithium-ion battery included.
- Weaver-Picatinny rail type quick release mount.
- 120 lumens.
The NcStar Weaver Mount Tactical LED flashlight is a bit of an outlier on this list. Designed to be mounted to your airsoft rifle or pistol, it’s not something you’re going to carry in your pocket or purse on the street or in the backpack as you head up the mountain. Rather it’s a tactical flashlight with mount intended primarily for paintball and airsoft enthusiasts. Overall attachment and release are smooth and sure and the 120 lumens the NcStar cranks out are usually more than adequate for recreational purposes.
The NcStar features a right to left toggle switch, a welcome quick release lever and is water resistant to a point, though not as much so as other tactical lights. If you’re searching for the ideal flashlight to illuminate your paintball exploits the NcStar Weaver Mount tactical LED flashlight is a sound choice.
As long as you confine the unit to its intended purpose the NcStar tactical LED flashlight will live up to and in some cases even exceed expectations. Just don’t order it thinking it’s a standard, hand held torch.
Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL Weapon Mount Tactical Flashlight
- C4 LED bulb provides a robust 800 lumens at max setting.
- High grade aircraft aluminum used in fabrication ensures long term durability.
- 5 hours of effective use per charge.
- Secures quickly and snugly to a wide range of weapons.
- One hand snap-on/off interface provides flexibility in tight spots.
- Optimum peripheral illumination via TIR optic beam.
- Includes 2 Lithium-ion batteries.
- Waterproof to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.
The Streamlight TLR-1 HL rail-mounted tactical flashlight is another of our 12 best intended to enhance weaponry. In this case it’s not airsoft guns but an array of serious guns including, S&W, Beretta and various Glock-style weapons. Ideal if you anticipate you may find yourself, weapon drawn, pursuing a suspect or enemy combatant down a dark alley.
The TLR-1 LED torch light features solid-state current regulation, a double tap paddle that activates strobe mode, is shock resistant and sports an anodized aircraft-grade aluminum finish. The battery door is tethered to prevent loss and the unit has a practical operating temperature range of 160 degrees (-40 to +120). 800 lumens will pick out your suspect at 200 meters and should you stumble while in pursuit and land in water the unit can be submerged for up to 30 minutes before you need to be concerned.
The Streamlight TLR-1 flashlight is a serious military flashlight for serious individuals involved in serious work. At 12,000 candela peak beam intensity your opponent or target will find no cover. The C4 LED bulb is rated to 50,000 hours and the lithium-ion batteries to 10 years of storage life. Its no-nonsense snap on interface doesn’t leave you vulnerable while you struggle to set up a flashlight.
Supernova Guardian 1300XL Tactical Flashlight
- Highly effective self-defense features including stainless steel strike bezel and blinding strobe.
- 2 rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries with charger included.
- 5 operational modes include 3 intensity settings as well as SOS and strobe modes.
- Fully waterproofed casing for those times the weather doesn’t cooperate.
- Remote pressure switch and BrightStar memory tech built in.
- Super bright Cree XML U2 LED bulb.
The Supernova Guardian 1300XL tactical flashlight displays an array of useful capabilities while incorporating the latest in LED technology. You can expect unparalleled performance from the 1300XL and it won’t leave you wanting. The ultra-clear reflector allows for stunning levels of crystal clear illumination the competition can’t match. While the ridged stainless steel bezel provides an extra hand in the event of physical confrontation.
Clip the Guardian onto your belt or attach a wrist stay through the tail loop to ensure you’ll never be left scrambling around looking for your lost flashlight. The unit comes with a booster circuit that extends battery output and life expectancy while the sure grip handle allows you to keep hold of your flashlight in close quarters.
The Supernova Guardian 1300XL can be powered using the Lithium-ion batteries that come with it or via 3 AAA alkaline batteries. It also boasts a 5 year manufacturer warranty. You’ll find the Guardian 1300 XL to be everything you’re likely to need in a tactical flashlight, including an effective weapon for repelling would be assailants.
Best Bang for Your Buck
Now let’s take a look at what we believe constitutes the best tactical LED flashlight value for relatively short money.
MalloMe 5000 Tactical LED Flashlight
- High intensity Cree XML T6 LED bulb delivers 500 lumens.
- Adjustable zoom spreads the joy in close and reaches out to those objects hundreds of meters distant.
- Lightweight aircraft grade aluminum construction makes for quality that lasts.
- Water resistant for when the weather gets nasty.
- High, medium and low intensity settings plus disruptor strobe and SOS mode.
- Requires 1 Lithium-ion battery or 3 AAA alkaline batteries (neither included).
When it comes to value for your money few things in life will deliver like the MalloMe 5000 LED tactical flashlight. You get clean ultra-bright light you can project as much as 500 meters down the road or across the mountainside. If you find yourself lost in the woods the SOS mode will alert rescue teams to your position from miles away.
The MalloMe 5000 tactical flashlight should be mandatory kit for cyclers, spelunkers, mountaineers, first responders, Special Forces and anyone who cares about safety and security. The LED bulb is rated to an incredible 100,000 hours which means it’s likely you’ll never have to replace it. Ever. And should you find yourself in a tight spot with a dead L-ion battery, not to worry. Just pop in 3 AAA alkaline batteries and you’re back in business.
With looks to kill and functionality to beat the band, the MalloMe 5000 is an amazing piece of contemporary survival hardware and an impressive deal. Everything should be so useful, so well built and so affordable.
J5 Tactical V1-PRO 300 Lumen Ultra Bright Flashlight
- 3 illumination modes – high, low and strobe – for multiple tasks/conditions.
- Powered by a single rechargeable 14500 Lithium-ion battery or 1 AA battery (neither included).
- High intensity LED bulb projects 300 lumens 200 meters and more.
- Perfect for hunting, camping and in the glove compartment for emergencies.
- Removable clip for attaching to belt, pocket or backpack.
- 100% money back guarantee.
The V1-Pro flashlight is capable of running for hours on a single charge of its L-ion battery or off of a single AA battery. Its compact form makes it one of the easiest to conceal and easiest to tote around. The V1-Pro is also a joy to hold and, with its wrist band in place, impossible to lose. The high intensity LED bulb will project copious light down the road, around the campsite or in an assailant’s face, providing you time to effect an escape.
The J5 V1-Pro is ideal for first responders or roadside assistance pros. It’s also done the rounds in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and is answering the call for Special Ops in Syria as we write this. There are more powerful tactical flashlights out there and others that offer a greater number of operational modes but none that pack so much punch for so little green.
Value is an overused word today but is perfectly appropriate when it comes to describing the J5 tactical V1-Pro flashlight. The V1-Pro is the very definition of ‘bang for your buck’ and will serve you well in good weather and bad, on the highway or the mountainside for many years to come.
LuxPower Tactical V1000 LED Flashlight [2 PACK]
- Fully adjustable to zoom in at a wide angle or project great distances like a spotlight.
- Water resistant for use in rain or snow, waterproof for short duration submersion.
- Compact, comfortable to hold and easy to stow in purse or pocket.
- Uses a single rechargeable Lithium-ion battery or 3 AAA alkaline batteries (neither included).
- Fashioned out of aircraft grade impact resistant aluminium.
- Fully warranted for 1 year from day of purchase.
The V1000 is not simply a good tactical flashlight, it’s great looking, incredibly practical, durable and versatile as the day is long. And it comes in a handy 2 pack so you can have one in your ice-fishing hut and the Mrs can have one in the glove compartment of her SUV (or vise-versa).
The V1000 has 3 different intensity modes (high, medium and low) and two emergency modes (strobe and SOS). At maximum settings the V1000 is a powerful tactical flashlight that will project a high powered beam a hundred meters down the road or alert rescuers to your position from across the valley. Zoom in and you’ll get a wide angle beam that will illuminate your entire car and not just a portion of the door.
Fabricated from aircraft grade aluminum and both water and impact resistant everyone will want the V1000 flashlight for their search and rescue helicopter, rescue boat, car and mobile home. Or under the seat of their motorcycle, in their backpack when camping or in the drawer in the kitchen in case the lights go out. A genuine steal in the 2 pack.
What is a Tactical Flashlight?
The modern tactical flashlight is an offshoot of the standard flashlight. Responding to the needs the armed forces, police departments and security firms engineers applied advanced design and fabrication techniques to fashion a multipurpose unit that is tough, dependable and able to bring intense light to bear on targets near and far. Most tactical flashlights are either water-resistant or waterproof, made of aircraft grade aluminum and nearly all run on Lithium-ion batteries (with alkaline battery backup capability).
But a tactical flashlight is more than just a beacon in the dark, it’s also a self-defense item that’s capable of blinding would be assailants with high intensity strobes so you can escape and many can be used to physically subdue perps.
What are the Parts of a Tactical Flashlight?
From front to back a tactical flashlight consists of:
- A striking bezel which screws onto the front of the light and is used for self-defense.
- Next is the flashlight head which encloses the reflector.
- Moving on the battery tube is next. This will house the Lithium-ion battery and/or the alkaline substitutes.
- Inside the battery tube is the batter magazine which actually holds the batteries.
- Next is where the removable clip is usually attached.
- Last is the tailclip which often encloses the switch mechanism and also often contains a loop for attaching a wristband or other failsafe device.
Things to Consider When Buying a Tactical Flashlight
While most of today’s tactical flashlights will serve some useful purpose it pays to consider a few things before purchasing one, including:
- Your Budget – While there are some real steals available today in the tactical flashlight market (see above) you’ll still want to consider whether a $19 flashlight or a $99 tactical flashlight unit that’s loaded with options is right for you. Certainly if you just plan to keep it in the glove compartment you should consider one of our ‘best bang for the buck’ models.
- Your Needs – If you’re an avid duck hunter you might want a model that’s genuinely waterproof. If, however, you mostly use the tactical flashlight to carve out a safe passage through the parking lot a waterproof flashlight won’t be so important. Likewise if you’re about to ship out to Kandahar you might want something with all the bells and whistles.
- Lumens – A lumen is the measure of energy emitted by your tactical flashlight. Simply put the higher the lumens the more intense the light. However, the higher the lumens the higher the heat generated by the flashlight as well. So unless you think you’re going to need the brightest tactical flashlight on the market you might want a less powerful tactical flashlight.
- Size – This also speaks to need. If you plan on carrying the tactical light in your purse strictly for emergencies you’ll want something 5” long or less. A compact flashlight can also move easily from the purse to the pocket and then to the glove compartment or the fanny pack in the blink of an eye.
- Power Source – The typical tactical flashlight is powered, as we said previously, by Lithium-ion batteries. In case your L-ion battery is drained and you are not in a position to recharge it the average tactical flashlight will also allow for standard alkaline battery power. You’ll want to always have adequate alkaline backups on hand just in case.
- Zoom or Not – One of the most popular features of the tactical flashlight is the ability to zoom in and out with the beam becoming wide angle in close and more focused for distances. Not every LED torch light offers this feature though so if the ability to zoom in and out isn’t critical to your needs you might want to skip it.
- Battery Life – As mentioned, most tactical lights are powered by Lithium-ion batteries and use alkaline batteries as backups. That said energy consumption rates vary from flashlight to flashlight. The greater the lumens the greater the battery consumption while the more robust the battery, the longer it will last under any circumstance.
- Water-resistant vs Waterproof – Water resistance basically means that you can hold your flashlight in the rain for short periods of time and it shouldn’t be bothered. However, if you drop it in a puddle and it takes more than a few seconds to find it you could have problems. With a waterproof flashlight you can drop it in the puddle and go get lunch. It will still be there working when you get back. Which type you need will depend on your projected use.
Who Makes the Best Tactical Flashlight?
You’ll find as many answers to this question as you’ll find manufacturers and reviewers, but we’ll throw in our 2 cents anyway.
- Streamlight – For tactical lights geared toward weaponry Streamlight is a company we have a lot of respect for. They produce an array of fine products at reasonable prices that are as reliable as they are functional.
- Outlite – Outlite produces some of the best tactical lights on the market. They are considered leaders in the industry because of their dedication to outstanding design and build quality and their commitment to keeping things affordable.
- J5 – J5 is based in Utah, USA and has high profile affiliations with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. They make a wide variety of tactical flashlights in every imaginable finish and are widely distributed. Their commitment to innovation is a standout attribute.
A great tactical flashlight is the kind of must-have kit that practically anyone could use today. Housewives, campers, hunters, soldiers, first responders, mountain rescue teams and long distance sailors will all benefit from having a first-class tactical flashlight handy. Trying to determine the best tactical torch is not easy as there are so many on the market today but we feel you can’t lose with the 12 we’ve decided to highlight in this flashlight buying guide. We hope you enjoyed this tactical flashlight review and make sure you check back often for more valuable and informative product review guides.