A simple and easy-to-read tactical flashlight guide, with all the information you need in order to pick the best tactical flashlight that wont let you down.
In my years of hunting and on various hiking and camping trips, I have used many different tactical flashlights for a variety of purposes and know that having a sufficient flashlight can save the day when you’re out in the elements.
Looking for a tactical flashlight, or any flashlight, can be a challenge. You can read hundreds of different flashlight reviews, all telling you what flashlight you should buy, but they often fail to provide the knowledge needed to help you find the ideal tactical flashlight that suits your needs.
Luckily, you have come to the right place. This guide will tell you all you need to know so you can make the right choice and find the perfect tactical flashlight.
In need of a tactical flashlight for self-defense or EDC applications? Then you might need to consider the following specs:
If you are looking for a tactical flashlight to use on your next hiking, camping, or backpacking trip, you might need to consider the following specs:
Suppose you plan to use the tactical flashlight for more general applications, like reading a book at night or other indoor uses, where a tactical flashlight may be too bright to be used, and you might be better off with a general-purpose flashlight instead or a tactical flashlight with lower lumens light settings.
Tactical flashlights are primarily used for two types of applications: tactical and for general outdoor uses.
Tactical flashlights were originally invented and are still used by police and military to identify targets in dark areas. They are designed to be very bright and durable, and as their name suggests, are ideal for tactical purposes such as hunting, self-defense, and everyday carry (EDC) by police and military personnel.
Tactical flashlights are often mounted on guns to allow police and military to locate targets in dark rooms while still being able to use a two-handed firearm for self-defense.
In addition to their tactical use, tactical flashlights can also serve as a first line of defense against potential attackers. They can be used to temporarily blind attackers, allowing you to escape safely and make everyday tasks like taking out the trash at night or walking to your car alone in a dark parking lot a bit safer and more enjoyable.
In addition to their tactical uses, tactical flashlights are also ideal for general outdoor activities such as hunting, hiking, camping, and backpacking due to their bright, lightweight, and durable design.
I personally enjoy using tactical flashlights for lightweight hiking or backpacking because of their small size, brightness, and lightweight design. Tactical flashlights are often waterproof and have high impact resistance, making them able to withstand accidental drops, even in water or on rocks.
While tactical flashlights can also be used for indoor tasks like power outages or other emergencies, they may be too bright for activities like reading a book at night or lighting up a tent. In these cases, you might consider looking for a tactical flashlight with lower output modes (e.g., 30-100 lumens maximum) or a general applications flashlight.
Therefore, to pick the best tactical light, you must, Identify your specific needs first.
Eventhough tactical flashlights are versatile and as mentioned before can be used for different applications, you should consider the following specs:
A tactical flashlight should have a brightness of 500 – 1000+ lumens(1) and be capable of illuminating your souroundings probably.
But dont get fooled by the number of lumens the flashlights has, the flashlights candela and lux rating are just as important, when comparing the outputs of differrent flashlights: read more on candela and lux ratings here.
You should also consider the flashlights beam distance, “Beam distance is defined as the distance from the flashlight where illuminance is equivalent to a full moon on a clear night“(2) or more simply put: how far the flashlight is able to iluminate before it deminishes which is measured in meters.
Remember: Brighter isent always better, it depends on the planned application.
To get the most value for money you should look for a tactical flashlight with more than one light setting which makes it useful for more versatile applications, like reading a book in the dark or lighting up the inside of a tent.
Tactical flashlights also tend to have a longer run time on the less brighter modes which means you can use them for longer periodes of time before you need to recharge or replace the batteries.
On the other hand a tactical flashlight with too many modes can be a bit confusing to use, especially if it dosent have programmed shortcuts to enable you to quickly switch to the brightest mode, strobe or sos feature.
You should look for a tactical flashlight with a strobe and SOS mode, especially if you plan to use it for self defense, EDC or hiking trips, where you might end in a situation where you need to signal others or protect yourself.
I wont tell you how many modes a tactical flashlight should have, its truly about personal preference, where i prefer tactical flashlights with 3-5 modes including a strobe and SOS, some swear to the flashlights with only one mode.
Red light: Ideal for preserving night vision without hurting your eyes, perfect for tactical uses.
Green light: Dosent scare wildlife and isent visible from the side, which makes it Ideal for hunting
yellow light : Primarly used for signaling in emergencies, and are often in emergency kids.
Theese are the most commonly used colours but other popular choices are blue or UV light, which is usefull for investigating crime scenes and locating blood.
So, to ensure your tactical flashlight can withstand, accidental drops when hiking or in self defense situations, you should look for a tactical flashlight with atleast 2-3 meters of impact resistance rating.
The flashlight must function after the test and 30 min after the test, in order to pass.
The most common IP ratings explained:
IP4 : The flashlight can withstand water splashes from any direction
IP7: 30 minutes of 1 meters submersion in water.
IP8: submersion of more than 1 meter specified by the manufactorer. (3)
When hiking our backpacking you face the elements alot and sometimes accidentally drop your flashlight in water.
You should therefore look for a flashlight with atleast an IP4 rating, which makes it suitable for withstanding the elements when hiking, hunting or camping.
However, depending on the planned application of the flashlight, you migh need a higher IP rating.
Tactical flashlight are specially designed for heavy duty tasks, and should therefore be made out of the toughest materials avaible like titanium or aluminum, in order to withstand to be used to break trough glass or as a weapon during self defense and even accidental drops.
Therefore, its vital that the materials the flashlight is made of is of highquality, this wil help prolonge the lights overall lifetime, and how reliable it will be in the long term.
Most modern tactical flashlights are made from either aluminum, titanium, plastic or polymer, which have different pros and cons listed down below.
In conclusion, eventhough plastic and polymer are inexpensive materials payin a little extra for a titanium or aluminum flashlight, is well worth it in the long run and will safe you from the frustation of being stuck on a hill side with a malfunctioned flashlight.
Tactical flashlights come in a variety of different sizes and shapes ranging from 2″ EDC pocket-sized lights to 7″ + full size tactical flashlights where you might need a strap to carry it probably.
Choosing the right sized flashlight, truly comes down to the planned application, as they are all ideal for different uses like EDC, hiking or lawenforcement applications.
on the other hand, If you are looking for a tactical flashlight for self defense or lawenforcement uses, you might be better of with a bigger sized flashlight(3″ -4″), and with a striking bezel for breaking glass and self defense.
But in the end the size and shape is a preferecial decision, I personally like smaller 2″ – 4″ lightweight flashlights, due to their qbillity to fit easy in my pocket and my hands dosent tire out quickly when using them over longer periods of time.
One of the most important specs besides brightness and materials, is the tactical flashlights battery, the battery will determine the overall run time and effeciency of your light. There are two types of battery used in tactical flashlights: Alkaline And Litium.
So, are you better of with a rechargeable or disposable batteries? in truth your better of with a flashlight that functions on both powersources.
A tactical flashlight with rechargeable Li-ion batteries will safe you money in the long run, and helps reduce the waste of batteries which is better for the enviroment. However, if you are out camping or hiking in off the grid areas, recharging the batteries can become quite difficult.
Therefore, you should avoid flashlights with an integrated rechargeable battery and instead look for flashlights which allows you to change the battery either with a disposable or another rechargeable battery. This will prolong the overall lifetime of the flashlight, and will make sure you always have power on your flashlight when you need it.
The tactical flashlights controls and userfriendlyness, can determine your overall hapyness of the light. If the flashlight is difficult to use, you will get frustated faster.
There are three different types of flashlight controls : Push button, Switch or a Rotating bezel.
Its difficult to say what type of controls you should choose, as it truly deppends on your personal preference and planed application of the flashlight.
I personally prefer rotating bezel or push button flashlights, as they are easier to operate while wearing gloves or with cold fingers.
Most tactical flashlights include different types of accesories like: Holsters, tactical rings and pocketclips, where other accesories like remote pressure switches can be bought seperately. But, what are the main uses of theese accessories, and what should you must consider before you buy.
Following theese seven steps will lead you to choosing the perfect tactical flashlight, that will suit your specific needs.
(1) Thesoldiersproject: link: https://www.thesoldiersproject.org/how-many-lumens-for-tactical-flashlight/
(2) the fl1 standard led-ressource.com: link: https://www.led-resource.com/ansi-fl1-standard/
(3) nitecorestore blog: link: https://blog.nitecorestore.com/what-flashlight-ip-waterproof-ratings-mean.html
Are you tired of sifting through countless flashlight reviews only to be left in the dark about which one to choose? Don’t let the search for the perfect tactical flashlight leave you in a bind – consider the intended use, size and weight, and brightness and beam distance before making a decision. Whether you need a flashlight for tactical purposes or general outdoor use, these key factors will help you find the one that best suits your needs and shines bright in any situation.