From going camping to working around the house, a tactical flashlight can be incredibly useful. Initially developed for ‘tactical’ purposes (police, military), these flashlights have now found a much wider audience. This comes as no surprise though. Who doesn’t like to have a powerful light source that fits into their pocket?

As you’ll have the chance to see, the best tactical flashlights have plenty of features in common. They are made from tough materials (usually aluminum) so they can withstand all the hits, drops, and bumps. Most of them use LEDs with incredible brightness and range, and have strobe light mode and bezel head for self-defense.

We know that searching for a reliable flashlight can be overwhelming because of all the technical info. To make your job a bit easier, we’ll take a look at the best tactical flashlights on the market and explain everything you need to know when choosing.

How To Choose The Best Tactical Flashlight – Buying Guide

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Distance (Range)

Every flashlight has a maximum distance that the light beam can hit when adjusted to spot mode. When considering this, a good rule of thumb is to take the longest probable distance you will need and double the number. All of the best tactical flashlights on our list have a range of at least 500 feet, which will be more than enough for night hiking or navigating at night.

Lumens

Lumens are a measurement of the total light energy output of a flashlight. In other words, a high lumen output makes the light more intense. While a high number of lumens doesn’t always correlate with flashlight brightness, it is a good indicator of what you can expect.

Candela

Candela is the measurement of brightness, and your choice depends on where you plan to use the flashlight. It’s important that you choose a flashlight appropriate for your environment. You want the beam to cover the distance you need, but not create overexposure. It’s a huge plus if the flashlight allows you to adjust the beam and brightness.

Durability

Tactical flashlights need to be very durable because they’re going to see a lot of use and abuse. The best tactical flashlights are made of reinforced aluminum that can handle the challenges of outdoor use. Since durability is their main focus, many of the top-rated models come with generous warranty periods as proof of quality.

Batteries and Runtime

Batteries are the power source for your flashlight, which is why they are very important. Going from one model to the next, you’ll come across several different battery types. The total runtime you’re going to get depends on the battery type as well as the mode you’re using. Here’s a glance at the most common types:

Alkaline: These disposable batteries come in a variety of sizes (from AA to D) and are the least expensive type. Unfortunately, they aren’t the most durable, so it’s best to carry an extra set with you.

Lithium: They tend to last longer than alkalines and work in lower temperatures. Due to their recent popularity, lithium batteries are more widely available but are also more expensive.

CR123A: A single CR123A cell can deliver up to 3 volts, which is double the power of an alkaline battery. They are often found in bright and high-performing flashlights.

Rechargeable: The most convenient option from the cost standpoint, as you can charge them at home. Their downside is that they can’t be replaced on the go (unlike disposable batteries).

Related Review: Rechargeable Flashlights

On/Off Functionality

While tuning the light on and off might vary from one model to the other, most flashlights have a push button on the cap. It’s always a bonus if the button allows you to easily switch between the modes. Furthermore, it can be very useful if the light briefly turns on without a full click, as this allows you to send emergency signals.

Weight

For many users, the weight of their tactical flashlight is important. Normally, the more powerful a tactical flashlight is, the heavier it will be. You should select a model that you feel comfortable holding and using. A tactical flashlight should always be easy to handle and fit your hand well.

Waterproof Design

The best tactical flashlight will be waterproof or at least water-resistant. A water-resistant tactical flashlight can be held in the rain for short periods, while a waterproof model can survive falling in water. The level of water resistance is presented using the IPX rating system, where a higher number indicates better water protection.

FAQs

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Q: How Bright Should A Tactical Flashlight Be?

A: 

If you’re using a tactical flashlight for self-defense, it should have an output of at least 300 lumens. This will temporarily blind your attacker and give you a chance to fight back or escape. In pitch-black surroundings, even a tactical flashlight with 120 lumens will get the job done.

Q: What Is The Best Tactical Flashlight For Self Defense?

A: 

The best tactical flashlight for self-defense is bright enough to blind the attacker. As previously discussed, this is anything over 300 lumens. Additionally, it’s a huge advantage if the model you’re getting has a strobe mode because it helps with disorienting the attacker.

Q: What Is A Tactical Flashlight?

A: 

Tactical flashlights are an all-around type of flashlight that can be used for strategic advantages in potentially dangerous situations. The best tactical flashlights can quickly illuminate a target, give you means of self-defense, or help you escape in emergencies.

Q: What Is The Difference Between A Regular And Tactical Flashlight?

A: 

Tactical flashlights are more durable, have more features, and come with a stronger body that can be used for personal safety in emergency situations. When talking about operation though, there aren’t any differences separating the two.

Q: What Are The Benefits Of Using A Tactical Flashlight?

A: 

Tactical flashlights tend to be brighter than regular flashlights and use a more heavy-duty design. Due to this, they can be used for self-defense, sending emergency signals, and lighting up wide areas.

Globo Surf Overview

When it comes to choosing the best tactical flashlight, you have plenty of options. However, the light you choose needs to handle your adventures, whether you use it a couple of times a year or every day. We hope that our guide helped you figure out what you need, so you can have a reliable companion everywhere you go.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!