Tactical flashlights have so many purposes; from identifying targets, lighting up a room, blinding an opponent, to even being used as a defensive attacking tool. I’ve been carrying a flashlight with me everywhere for as long as I can remember.
As a kid, I would make shadow puppets with my little plastic flashlight that had a little screw-in bulb, to today, where it not only provides me light when I need it the most but an SOS call and even a strobe, should I ever get in a tight spot.
It certainly gives me peace of mind when the kids are out driving around, and I’ve made sure they are well equipped to use the flashlight to its best abilities, should they ever need to.
You may be looking for a day-to-day flashlight or even one to mount to your riflescope, it’s an essential piece of kit that the whole family should own.
No matter what, we thoroughly reviewed 2023’s best tactical flashlights and added a buyer’s guide so you can easily find the right match for you. See which one suits you best.
Top 5 Best Tactical Flashlight Reviews
1 GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 – 2 pack (Editor’s Choice)
Weighing in at just over 5 oz and made of Military Grade Aluminum, this flashlight is super accessible, lightweight, and virtually indestructible. Perfect for everyday use, this compact flashlight is small enough to carry in your pocket or backpack for easy storage, and with an adjustable focus and 5 modes, you won’t want to be without it.
What I’ve found when using the GearLight S1000 is just how easy it is to use. The five settings – high, medium, low, strobe, SOS – are easy to set with tactical tail switch and when I set it down, the anti-roll design does exactly what it’s meant to do.
The holster is good quality, with a Velcro fastening, and the flashlight fits snug in the case whichever way to choose to put it in. It has a strong belt loop on the back and I’ve used a couple of cable ties to attach it to my backpack, as I find it’s easier to access it. Also, being water-resistant, I don’t have to worry about it getting wet.
As any human does, I tend to drop things from time to time and this flashlight, unfortunately, has been no exception. But the strength and durability of the casing means it hasn’t suffered any damage at all. Even when I was fixing a leak and dropped it into a bucket of rainwater, it was submerged and survived with no issues at all.
In comparison to other shortlisted choices, this not only comes in a two-pack but has the 5 vital modes that are the most used in tactical flashlights. The SOS mode gives great peace of mind, and the simple yet well thought out design is our preference for everyday needs.
- Super Bright
- Five modes
- Impact resistant
- Tactical power switch
- 10+ hours use
- Strong and Durable
- Easy to use
- 2 pack
- Great price point
- Batteries not included
Overall, I think this GearLight product is the best value tactical flashlight. They do exactly what it says on the tin and even exceeded my expectations when it came to durability.
Easy to use and multi-functional, it’s my go-to piece of equipment for every situation. With its pleasant design and neat square zoom, it’s an all-round winner for inexpensive flashlights and that’s why it’s been given the number one spot of our best tactical flashlights over 1000 lumens.
2 J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight (Runner up)
This pen-style flashlight is ultra-bright and long-lasting given its 300 lumens and with only a single battery operation, this flashlight will focus on objects 600 feet away with an adjustable focus.
Its compact design is handy and it’s a very lightweight piece, at under 3 ounces. It has 3 modes, high, low, and strobe, and like the GearLight, it’s virtually indestructible with its aircraft aluminum body while being water-resistant as well.
This flashlight is a good quality piece and feels pretty sturdy, given it’s such a light piece of equipment. It has a good grip and a strong belt clip that’s screwed in, so it’s not going anywhere.
We really like the camo colors, it makes it a little more interesting than a plain black flashlight. But if you prefer black, that’s also available.
Taking a look inside, there are two O rings; one protecting the battery cavity and the other behind the lens for water resistance. But this isn’t a sealed flashlight so I would avoid submerging it in water, but it will be fine for wet and snowy days.
Testing it out in the dark, the high beam gives a bright light, and it zooms and focuses in well, and sharpens into a square LED. The low mode still covers a good beam distance, and the strobe mode will most certainly catch a person offguard who may be coming towards you.
- 3 modes
- 1 AA battery needed
- Compact design
- Adjustable focus range
- Great power for only 1 AA battery
- Strong belt clip
- Compact design
- Great for attaching to your rifle
- Almost feels too light
The J5 is simply the best tactical flashlight for you if you’re looking for an extremely lightweight piece that won’t take lots of batteries to keep it going. It’s strong, the anti-roll casing is ergonomic with a great grip, and its tough design certainly makes you look the part.
If you want a lightweight and inexpensive flashlight to use on a rifle, this may be the one for you. It’s easy to fix on with a universal attachment, and you will hardly notice the difference in weight.
3 Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL 750 Lumen Professional
This blazingly bright flashlight has certainly brightened up our paths, whether we’ve been out walking the dog, or hiking in the Grand Canyon, yes, we’ve done it, and yes it will light up the rock walls and you will be seen for up to 270 meters. Even on the low setting, the output is 35 lumens, and you’ll still see up to 60 meters.
This flashlight has 10 programmable settings, including high, low, strobe, and SOS, and is super easy to set up, with simple double tap and triple tap settings to switch between the programmed modes. It has a wide circular beam, and you can just apply light pressure without having to press the switch in fully.
The removable pocket clip is handy, so if you choose not to use it, it won’t hinder your grip, and it comes with a good quality case that has an adjustable belt loop which can also be used to attach to a backpack too.
This powerful tool comes with a handy ‘Hot’ indicator on the side, and you’ll find that the longer you use it in high power mode, it will get warm, so be sure to pay close attention to the location of the heat indicator.
What’s more, this tactical flashlight comes with batteries and they do pack some power. Holding their intensity right up until the end, there’s no annoying slow fade. However, it does mean that when the batteries die it’s a blackout, so purchase some spare.
Lastly, this tactical flashlight has a reflective interior and a light tactical bezel on the front and back.
- 10 programmable modes
- 750 lumens
- IPX7; waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes
- Includes nylon holster
- 2 x CR123 Batteries included
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- No battery fade
- Too big to fit in your pocket
This high-powered beast of a tactical flashlight is an all-round win when it comes to power and a definite game-changer for those long hikes. The bright beam and focus are undoubtedly the strongest on our list. With its military precision and a strobe strong enough to stifle the deadliest of predators, you are sure to be at the top of your game with this piece of tactical equipment.
Overall, a sturdy flashlight with excellent features this piece is of great value compared with others of this spec.
4 Amuoc LED Tactical Flashlight S1000
This tactical flashlight boasts an impressive 1000 lumens and for a flashlight that’s under $10, this has to be included in our top 5 as the best affordable tactical flashlight on the market today. With 5 modes, high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS, this is a handy flashlight to have in every bag and compartment around your home and car.
I found the focus zoom came in handy, especially during the evening dog walks and it was so simple to adjust, simply by pulling the top away from the base. This super lightweight piece weighs under 2 ounces, has a sleek design, and comes with a handy strap.
It is also very similar to some of the others on our list, with its water resistance, and lightweight specification but the main feature of this flashlight has got to be the price. With value for money in mind, the performance is good, and it’s certainly bright, but it’s probably one of the least tactical looking flashlights I’ve seen.
It has some grip points around the base of the flashlight, and a slight tactical bezel, but perhaps not the sturdiest. It does however have an anti-roll around the top half of the flashlight, which is a key feature of tactical flashlights.
What I do like about this flashlight though is the ability to switch out the 3 AAA batteries for an 8650 battery if you prefer, and it comes with the white tube that is needed to use this battery type. Just simply insert the battery into the tube and slide it into place.
- Focus zoom
- Military-grade aluminum
- IPX6 Waterproof rated
- 5 modes
- Withstands temperatures of 14°F
- Super lightweight
- Small and compact
- Cycle through each mode to switch off
Overall, this tactical flashlight is certainly a bargain, and one to add to our list simply for the number of features you get for the price you pay. Is it as sturdy as some of the others? Maybe not. But unlike hunting flashlights or headlamps, it is made out of military-grade aluminum and is still a great flashlight for everyday use.
It’s so light and compact, it can fit into the smallest of compartments, purses, and tactical sling bags, so there’s no excuse not to carry it.
5 Peak Plus Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight LFX1000
First impressions for this tactical flashlight, are pretty good. It comes in a camo green ‘First Aid Style’ box, with a cushioned interior, which is a definite plus for me, as I know I’ll never struggle to find it and it’ll be tucked up and safe away from the elements.
There are five modes, high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS, and is the first on our list to come with an 18650 rechargeable battery and charger. You can use the charger plugging directly into any two-pronged outlet and when the battery is charging, you can use the flashlight with 2 regular AA batteries too.
It has a push/pull zoom function, with the narrow beam zooming in at 2000 times more than the large beam. The grip isn’t bad, with a slight tactical bezel and it comes with a strap too.
- 1000 lumen
- Dual power source
- 2000 x Zoom
- Rechargeable battery included
- Protective case
- Strong body
- Zoom is a little clunky
This Peak Plus flashlight is very similar to some of the other flashlights we’ve featured on this list, however, what’s unique about this piece of tactical equipment is the protective case, and the rechargeable battery and charger that’s included in the price. It gives you peace of mind knowing it’s protected and easy to find in emergencies.
The charger is a great bonus and the ability to switch between the energy sources is a huge plus. Overall, a great flashlight with those little added extras for great measure.
Best Tactical Rechargeable Flashlights [Buying Guide]
Finding the right flashlight is not as simple as picking up anything that will light up the room. You need to consider the situations that you will be using it in, and what kind of lifestyle you lead to determine these factors.
Here are a few things to consider when looking for a top rated tactical flashlight.
It might be an obvious factor, but with a wide range of lumen outputs available, consider the area which you want to light up. Most tactical lights come with several different options of brightness so you don’t have to use up that battery life on full lumen burst or turbo mode for every situation.
But you’ll want to ensure your path is well lit in the broadest of areas and so you may want to be looking at flashlights that give you 300+ lumens
If you want a flashlight that can be used in more tactical situations, consider the modes available. Strobe and SOS modes are going to be an asset should you need to disorientate and temporarily blind any oncoming assailants.
Size and ergonomics
Pocket-sized and lightweight or sturdy and substantial? What might be perfect for some may be cumbersome for others. Finding the balance and the fit for you is essential, and if you’re able to, try out a few to find what works for you.
Whether you like a plain black or a camo finish, there are options to choose from, and depending on your situation you might want to carefully consider them. It might be fun to carry a bright orange flashlight, but is it practical?
Also consider the grip, the zoom function, and overall, how it works for you.
Is it easy to carry?
Most tactical flashlights come with either a belt clip, a pouch, or a hand strap, consider which is right for you. A belt clip might be essential for some and the easiest way to get to the flashlight when it’s needed the most, but for others, it could interfere with their grip.
The flashlights that we’ve featured in our list today are all made of hardy materials and are constructed to ensure they’re water-resistant. Make sure you get a hardy piece made of durable materials. Plastic won’t cut it in the tactical flashlight world.
The type of batteries the flashlight uses could determine the output quality, so choose quality lithium ion batteries to get the most out of your top rated tactical flashlight. Poor quality batteries could limit the brightness of your flashlight and certainly won’t last as long.
Most are water-resistant, but if you’re outside in wet conditions, you may want to consider a flashlight with a higher IP rating to ensure that, if the flashlight is submerged, it survives without any issues.
Make sure your tactical flashlight is useful enough for your needs, and if you don’t need all the bells and whistles, don’t get them. It’ll only take up more battery power and your time when you need it the most if you’re only looking for a few key features.
Decide how much you’re willing to spend on your tactical flashlight. If you’re on a budget, there are plenty out there to suit your needs. But if you want a much higher specification there are plenty out there offering more.
You can find a tactical flashlight for anywhere between an extra $10 right up to $1200 if that’s what you’re looking for.
What Makes a Tactical Flashlight “Tactical?”
A flashlight should be on everyone’s Everyday Carry (EDC) list, but should you go for a regular flashlight or a tactical one? And what’s the difference? While a standard flashlight will light up whatever it is that you’re pointing at, you may not realize that you can get so much more from your flashlight for not much more in price.
Think of a regular flashlight like the good old Nokia 1011. It makes a call when you need it to, you can play snake when you’re bored, but that’s pretty much it. Much like the smartphones of the flashlight world, tactical flashlights give a wide range of extras, and when you can pick up a tactical flashlight for a few bucks more, why wouldn’t you?
Tactical designed flashlights can be critical if you should ever need to defend yourself, with most having a strike bezel on one or both ends. The strike bezel can also be used to break glass, which is a good tool should you ever need it and with high outputs, different modes of brightness, strobe and SOS signaling, tactical flashlights are a must-have item for everyone in your family.
Cleaning & Maintenance Tips
- Using your flashlight regularly will mean that you need to keep it clean and well maintained.
- A dirty lens can be cleaned up with a pencil eraser, especially on tough dirt, such as carbon,
- If you’re using your light on an AR15.
- A product such as Frog Lube Extreme will help clean up your lens too, and it will also create a barrier so it will prevent any dirt and carbon from building up on the lens again.
- Also, check for signs of corrosion inside the light, this doesn’t usually occur with non-alkaline batteries, but it’s good to check the inside regularly anyway.
- Check there is no debris on the circuit board inside and ensure your threads are smooth.
- If you start to feel the threads grinding, clean them with a damp cloth, and work any debris out.
- O rings can get dry, cracked, and can split. If the O ring is broken, put a new one on to ensure the water resistance, and you can lightly grease your O ring with some lube, but very lightly to help the O ring from drying out, but not enough to get your flashlight too greasy as this will attract the dirt.
A Word from RangerExpert
I hope this guide has given you a detailed and analytical view of some of the best tactical flashlights for the money. We aim to help you to choose the right tactical flashlight for your needs and provide you with a comprehensive list of the requirements and features of tactical flashlights.
Whether you decide to go for the rechargeable Peak Plus, the bargain Amuoc, or our overall number one, the GearLight, we’re sure you can find the perfect flashlight for your needs.
1. What’s the best tactical flashlight for an AR15?
Ans. There is a huge range of flashlights on the market that will suit your AR15 but can set you back as much as $1000. However, from our list, the best flashlight to attach to your AR15 would be the J5 Tactical V1-PRO, as it’s extremely lightweight and won’t affect the performance of your rifle.
2. How many lumens should I look for in a tactical flashlight?
Ans. For a tactical flashlight, you want to be looking for brightness that goes up to at least 300 lumens. 1000 lumens on a high beam would be preferable since this brightness would be optimal for an emergency.
3. How many lumens do you need to blind an attacker?
Ans. 300 lumens would make an attacker very uncomfortable, but still be able to see outlines. If you want to temporarily blind an attacker, anything above 300 lumens would be sufficient.
4. Are tactical flashlights legal all over the US?
Ans. Yes, tactical flashlights are legal in all 50 states in the US but some states and local jurisdictions may have specific regulations regarding the use of certain types of flashlights. For example, some states may have restrictions on the brightness of a flashlight while others may prohibit you from attaching flashlight to a weapon. But you can carry them anywhere you want, including airlines and other such high security premises.
5. What flashlights do United States Navy SEALs use?
Ans. Navy SEALs have access to a variety of different models depending on their specific mission and equipment requirements. Some popular models that have been used by Navy SEALs include the SureFire G2X Tactical, SureFire Fury Tactical, Streamlight TLR-1 HL, and Pelican 7060 LED.
6. EDC flashlight vs tactical flashlight – how do they differ?
Ans. EDC (Everyday Carry) flashlights are designed for daily use e.g. navigating in low-light situations, finding lost items, or reading in dimly lit environments. On the other hand, tactical flashlights suit more extreme situations such as law enforcement, military operations, or self-defense. These flashlights are usually smaller but more rugged than EDC flashlights with features like high-powered LED bulbs, strobe or SOS modes, weapon mounting options, and durable construction to withstand harsh environments.