The best tactical flashlights come in handy for a variety of applications. In the past, tactical flashlights were used for tactical or emergencies, but they are now being adopted for other uses such as camping, mechanics, and hunting, just to mention a few.
You can never really predict when you will need a bit of extra light. And that is precisely why you need to always have your tactical flashlight with you, either in your car, pocket, purse, or even backpack.
In this article, we will review the highest quality tactical flashlights in 2022. Let’s get right into it!
What is a tactical flashlight, and who makes the best?
A tactical flashlight can be described as a flashlight that has been specially designed for tactical (police or military) uses. Most of these flashlights are designed to mount weapons to allow for low-light aiming and shooting. They are normally smaller in size than traditional flashlights, constructed using weapon-grade aluminum for utmost durability, and produce more light.
There are several tactical flashlight models available on the market today. Some models are, however, better than others. It’s all up to you to conduct your research before settling on one particular model. That said, certain reputable companies are known to manufacture some the high-end tactical flashlights. They include:
Tracing its beginnings back in 1969, SureFire is one of the top flashlight manufacturers. It is particularly specialized in producing mountable weapon lights and tactical flashlights, which are a favorite among many emergencies, military, and law enforcement workers. They’ve produced more than 100 flashlight models, and for various governmental agencies like the FBI, SureFire is the main supplier of their tactical flashlights.
This is a Canadian company specializing in producing high-performance light-emitting diode (LED) flashlights. They have more than 200 different flashlight models designed for military and police use. Their tactical flashlights are not only tough and hardy but also durable and highly efficient.
With more than 600 flashlight models available today, NiteCore is a force to reckon with. Their flashlights are well-designed with precision and user-friendliness in mind and get upgraded with the latest LED advances and other relevant technologies as soon as they emerge. This is what makes them stand out from their competitors.
Started back in 1973, Streamlight manufactures a wide variety of flashlights utilized by a rescue, law enforcement, and military experts. They currently have more than 900 flashlight models available worldwide and are famous for their exceptional customer service. Their warranties are also among the best.
Types of tactical flashlights
There are various kinds of tactical flashlights available on the market today. Each of them has unique features that make it distinct from the rest. Below are some types of flashlights that you are most likely to come across:
This type of flashlight is designed for use alone without guns, mainly for personal defense purposes. They are lightweight and small in size and can be easily carried around. They can, however, be used together with handguns to maximize accuracy in places with little lighting.
This type of tactical flashlight gets attached below the firearm. It properly lights the sight, thus making it easier for you to concentrate on your target.
4. LED or colored filters
This kind is perfect for night hunting. They preserve night vision in the perfect way. They do a good job of illuminating the maps throughout night hunts.
5. Laser sighting
As stated in the name, a laser is utilized (either green or red) to enhance the accuracy of the target. The laser beam maximizes the shooter’s or hunter’s precision. Therefore, they are mostly used where accuracy is the top priority.
These flashlights use light in conjunction with sound to enhance the overall shooting or hunting experience. They produce loud noises to get the attention of the attacker or predator. They are also commonly used as a warning to scare attackers of predators away.
Why do you need a tactical flashlight?
Below are a couple of reasons why you should carry around a tactical flashlight:
Some people might not know this, but tactical flashlights are effective self-defense tools. And how is so? Given that most tactical flashlights are incredibly bright, they can be used to blind an individual who is threatening to attack you.
This works especially well in dark surroundings as the eyes of the attacker will be tuned to low lighting. Blinding your attacker this way allows you to escape, which is normally the priority in most self-defense cases.
Thanks to their small and convenient sizes, you can easily carry around your tactical flashlight in your tactical backpack, handbag, or pocket. If you ever find yourself walking alone in a dark path or anywhere that feels unsafe, you can reach for your flashlight and light up your path.
This helps with your safety against any potential thieves or attackers but also helps to ensure that every step you take is well-lit (you’ll be able to see any holes or obstacles on your way).
Anytime there is a power outage, your torch is probably the first thing you’ll look for. But, unfortunately, it will possibly be hidden away somewhere under your kitchen sink or at the back of your cupboard.
4. To signal for help
In dire situations whereby you might be lost or face the need to signal other drivers passing by for assistance, we often signal for help either by sound (through yelling) or movement (through waving our hands in the air). However, a tactical flashlight is capable of replacing these functions when they are no longer useful in darkness. Therefore, you could use your flashlight to signal for help in such a case.
5. Utility tool
Among the design specifications of most tactical flashlights is to be durable and sturdy. Most current brands have tactical flashlight versions that are utilized in military and law enforcement industries.
A Maglite can, for instance, be used as a weapon thanks to its tough exterior and its long and thick handle. In addition, the notched edges that most duty-made flashlights feature can be utilized in breaking through a vehicle’s window, either when entering or exiting in a rush.
6. To start up a fire
This might come as a surprise to many, but flashlights can be used to start a fire. There are a couple of ways of doing this. The first method involves breaking the light bulb (not the inner filament).
Next, use some tinder at the top of the light surrounding the filament, then switch on the light. Another method involves utilizing the protective glass lens from the flashlight’s cap to magnify the sun’s light onto the tinder. Both of these methods are for survival purposes.
8 Important Factors To Consider When Buying A Tactical Flashlight
There are several factors that one has to take into consideration when purchasing a tactical flashlight. Below are some of them:
The amount of money you wish to spend will determine the types of flashlights at your disposal. There is something for every price range.
If you are a water enthusiast or enjoy fishing, you might want to go for a completely waterproof model. However, if you intend to use your flashlight to find your way through the parking lot or light up dark corners, a waterproof flashlight will not be necessary. Likewise, if you want to take out your yacht on a sail, then you’ll probably want something with sound.
This is simply a measure of light energy emitted from your flashlight. The higher the flashlight’s lumens, the more intense and brighter the light, and the more the heat emitted by the flashlight. Therefore, not unless you feel as though you are going to be needing the brightest light, you may want to go for something less powerful.
Waterproof versus water-resistant
These two terms are easily confused. Water-resistant means that the flashlight can be held in the rain for short without damage. However, when dropped in a pool of water, the damage might occur. On the other hand, a waterproof flashlight can be left in the puddle without any worries of damage.
Source of power
Lithium-ion batteries power most tactical flashlights. And if your lithium battery is drained and you aren’t able to recharge it, the typical flashlight will also operate on standard alkaline batteries. So it is advisable to have a couple of alkaline batteries for backup.
As stated earlier, most flashlights run on lithium-ion batteries and are also capable of functioning on alkaline batteries. Different flashlights, however, have different rates of energy consumption. The more the lumens (high-powered flashlights), the higher the energy consumption and the shorter the battery life. Also, the bigger the battery’s capacity, the longer its life under whichever circumstance.
If you intend to carry around your flashlight in your pocket, glove compartment, or purse, then you will want something relatively small, less than 5 inches long.
Zoom or no zoom
This is a very popular feature among most tactical flashlights. However, not all flashlights include this feature.
Furthermore, its lowest light setting can even be used to light up the darkest of surroundings. With numerous operation modes (high, medium, low, eco, SOS, and strobe) to pick from, accompanied by its great features, anyone can greatly benefit from this tactical light.
2. How many lumens for a tactical flashlight?
For a narrow direct beam, anything between 100 to 150 lumens is enough to cause temporary blindness when directly shone in one’s eyes (in the dark). In properly lit regions, that figure increases to 300 to 500 lumens. You will need about 1000 lumens to have the same effect in daylight.
This, however, changes for wider beams and for objects that are farther away. Therefore, a minimum of approximately 900 lumens is needed for such scenarios.
3. How bright should a tactical flashlight be?
For a tactical flashlight to be considered an effective tool for self-defense, it has to disorient attackers with its brightness. Any brightness that’s less than 120 lumens cannot get this done.
For tactical applications, too much brightness could turn out to be a bad thing because of a phenomenon known as backsplash; the light bounces off shiny and white objects disorienting the individual using the light.
4. Can you bring a flashlight on a plane?
You may not be aware of this, but you can bring regular flashlights that are 7 inches or less in carry-on luggage. Tactical lights might also get prohibited from entering the cabin, so it’s important to check before going through security!