10 Best Tactical Flashlights in 2020

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10 Best Tactical Flashlights in 2020

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In your search for your next everyday carry flashlight, you’ve probably seen the word “tactical” used to describe certain flashlights on the market. But based on the results, it might not be immediately obvious what exactly makes a flashlight tactical, or why you might even want a good tactical flashlight in your own EDC. The best tactical flashlights do more than shine a light for you in the dark: they come with a feature set and construction that lets you get to your mission-critical work, especially when lives might be on the line. In this guide, we’ll explain the difference between general purpose EDC lights and tactical ones, and introduce you to some of the best tactical flashlights for EDC you can buy right now.

What makes a flashlight “tactical”?

True tactical flashlights are designed with critical situations and self-defense in mind. It’s more than just looks, or a badge carelessly put on every blacked-out flashlight with a strike bezel. Unlike regular EDC flashlights, which tend to sport lower output and Moonlight modes for longer runtimes, tactical flashlights usually feature high output brightness, a strobe mode, a forward-throw switch for momentary-on activation, aggressive knurling, and sometimes a strike bezel. There’s also a focus on simplicity in the interface, with lights in the class often featuring fewer modes and quick access to high outputs, sometimes with specialized, easy-to-activate switches.


The Best Tactical Flashlights


Olight Warrior X Pro

Olight Warrior X Pro Tactical Flashlight

Purchase
Key Features
IPX8 rating
MCC3 2A magnetic charging
Optional magnetic remote switch operation
Specifications
Max Output
2,250~300 lumens
Length
5.87"
Weight
8.43 oz
Reviews


Price
$$$
Olight is a company that’s well known in the community for shaking up the stagnant world of tactical flashlights by bringing innovative tech like high output and magnetic USB recharging into a package that’s sturdy and reliable enough for tactical use. Their Warrior X Pro is their flagship tactical light, upgraded from the robust original design. It features a massive magnetic tail cap USB-rechargeable 5000mAh 21700 lithium battery that powers its CREE XHP35 module to a max of 2,250 lumens. And it’ll throw that light out to 1,900 feet. Aside from the aggressive strike plate and the knurled precision-machined aluminium body, the Warrior X Pro features quality of life features like a vibrating function that indicates battery life, an optional magnetic remote switch for mounting this light on a firearm, and a tactical grip ring that helps prevent this light from falling out of your hands in the heat of the moment.
Nitecore i4000R

Nitecore i4000R Tactical Flashlight

Purchase
Key Features
IP68 rating
Turbo and Strobe quick access
USB-C rechargeable
Specifications
Max Output
4,400 lumens
Length
6.25"
Weight
4.76 oz
Reviews


Price
$$$
Nitecore has made a name for themselves in the EDC flashlight world by bringing intelligent tech into the fray, allowing their lights to come with a wide variety of useful modes and output levels. But for their tactical i400R flashlight, they’ve simplified operation of the light. Quick access to its Turbo output of 4,400 lumens and getting to the blinding Strobe mode is as easy as hitting a dedicated mode button that’s separated from the momentary-on tail switch at the rear. The i4000R’s impressive light output is due to its smart use of four CREE XP-L2 V6 LED modules in the head, each independently controlled for stable current and reliability. It’s powered by a 5,000mAh 21700 li-ion battery that’s USB-C rechargeable for your convenience. And with its 1-meter impact resistance, IP68 waterproofing, and reverse polarity protection, you can count on this light wherever duty takes you.
Fenix TK26R

Fenix TK26R Tactical Flashlight

Purchase
Key Features
Triple LED output
IP68 rating
USB-C rechargeable
Specifications
Max Output
1,500 lumens (w), 150 (g), 200 (r)
Length
5.91“
Weight
5.54 oz
Reviews


Price
$$$
Fenix is popular in the community for representing great value and a rich feature set for your money, and that value proposition applies just the same to their tactical line. Their TK26R includes not just a powerful 1,500 lumen white light out the front, but red and green modes that help with low-light night adaptation in tactical situations. It does this by having two different types of LED emitters: a powerful Luminus SST40 for white and two CREE XP-E2 emitters for red and green outputs at 150 and 200 lumens respectively. For convenience, its included 18650 battery is USB-C rechargeable, and it comes with a holster for ready access on your belt while you’re on duty.
Klarus 360X3

Klarus 360X3 Tactical Flashlight

Purchase
Key Features
"Switch Ring" tail activation
IPX8 rating
Micro-USB rechargeable
Specifications
Max Output
3,200 lumens
Length
6.02”
Weight
4.94 oz
Reviews


Price
$$
Klarus tactical lights tend to be favored by law enforcement agencies in Asia, and their mix of tough construction, powerful output, and useful features make them a solid choice for EDC. A unique tail "Switch Ring" you can activate from every orientation (hence the 360 in the name) operates one-touch modes for Turbo and Strobe on its tactical setting, while its side switch manages one-touch Low, lockout, and other special modes. The light itself features a CREE XHP70.2 LED that sports a Turbo max of 3,200 lumens, and its included 18650 battery is micro-USB rechargeable, with a full charge ready to go in four hours.
Streamlight 14975 Sidewinder Boot Light

Streamlight 14975 Sidewinder Boot Light Tactical Flashlight

Purchase
Key Features
Bombproof polymer and polycarbonate construction
IPX7 rating
Adjustable right-angle design
Specifications
Max Output
55 lumens
Length
4.29"
Weight
3.52 oz
Reviews
No reviews yet
Price
$
Streamlight is a well-known supplier for the US military and other law enforcement agencies throughout the country, and the world. Their Sidewinder Boot Light is a unique design that’s designed for hard use in training situations, but its super-tough construction can come in handy whenever you need a bombproof light that’ll just work regardless of the situation. Its rock-solid construction is due to its hardy IPX-7 waterproof rated polymer body and its unbreakable polycarbonate lens with a scratch resistant coating to maintain a clear light output even after hard use. Although its 55 lumen output is substantially lower than the other lights on this list, its runtime far outstrips them as well, as it’ll last for a full 8 hours on max and 90 hours when tuned down to low. It’s also powered by easy-to-find standard alkaline AA batteries, which makes this light good in an emergency or a bug out bag as well. For low light operation, you can slide the plastic red filter over the emitter and it won’t wreck your night adaptation during use.
Coast Polysteel 600R

Coast Polysteel 600R Tactical Flashlight

Purchase
Key Features
Crushproof, drop-proof design
IPX8 rating
Unique twist focus output
Specifications
Max Output
530 lumens
Length
7.8"
Weight
12 oz
Reviews


Price
$$
Coast Portland is an American manufacturer of quality tools and flashlights, and while their Polysteel 600R is not strictly a law enforcement or military duty light, you can pretty much drive a tank over it and it’ll still work. That’s because it enjoys a crushproof design that features a super-tough stainless steel core surrounded by a grip-textured poly-nylon exterior that makes for a super-durable device. It’s also ANSI standard verified for drop-proof operation up to 3 meters, and it’s IPX8 waterproof submersible down to 9.9 feet. With a max 530 lumen output out the front, it’s no slouch when it comes to brightness as well, and its twist pure-beam focusing technology lets you dial in the kind of light you need for the situation. It comes with USB-rechargeable lithium ion batteries, but you can also toss in 4 AA batteries in a pinch.
EAGTAC G3V

EAGTAC G3V Tactical Flashlight

Purchase
Key Features
Twist control for output
Neutral white LED
USB-C rechargeable
Specifications
Max Output
3,200 lumens
Length
6.4"
Weight
7 oz
Reviews
No reviews yet
Price
$$$
EAGTAC is based out of Washington State, and they’ve been making quality EDC LED flashlights for about a decade. Their updated G3V tactical flashlight builds upon their older G25C2, and it features a CREE XHP70.2 LED module that’ll put out an impressive 3,200 lumens on max out to about 810 feet in front of you in the dark. That’s due to its smooth aluminum reflector letting you get the most out of the power of that light to search for things (and more importantly threats) off in the distance. Unlike other lights that require you to trudge through multiple button presses to get to the output modes, you can switch between High, Medium, and Low brightness by twisting the head of the light. This leaves the tail switch operation an easy on/off affair, and it lets you dial in your preferred level of light before you even turn the light on. A half press on that rear tail switch gives momentary on and off, and double press gets you a blinding Strobe. When you’re done you can recharge the light easily with the same convenient USB-C charging accessories you use with your phone.
WOWTAC A7

WOWTAC A7 Tactical Flashlight

Purchase
Key Features
Compact size
Micro-USB rechargeable
IPX8 rating
Specifications
Max Output
1,047 lumens
Length
4.61“
Weight
3.7 oz
Reviews


Price
$
WOWTAC is a ThruNite-affiliated OEM manufacturer putting out compelling LED flashlights for everyday carry at affordable price points for the general public. Their A7 Tactical light gives you a 1,047 lumen output with a dual side and tail switch (for momentary on) design that remains pocketable at 4.61" long unlike some lights you can find in this category. Despite its manageable size, the throw on the light is impressive, letting you search at a distance of 880 feet in the dark. But you can dial things down with the side switch and use it more of an inspection light, or as a companion to a weapon in a self-defense situation. You’ll also appreciate the anti-skid design of the body, letting you set it down for a time without having to worry about it rolling away out of reach when you need it the most. The light is USB-rechargeable, and the side switch battery indicator changes color for quick at a glance inspection of the light’s remaining voltage.
Sofirn BLF SP36

Sofirn BLF SP36 Tactical Flashlight

Purchase
Key Features
Enthusiast-designed
Advanced Andúril UI
USB-C rechargeable
Specifications
Max Output
5,650 lumens
Length
4.93"
Weight
15.38 oz (with batteries)
Reviews


Price
$$
Sofirn is known by many in the community for putting out serious LED flashlights with monstrous levels of brightness in compact and affordable packages. And if your tactical situation requires the most light you can heft and still carry on you easily, check out their BLF SP36 light. It’s one of the brightest tactical flashlights with its powerful 5,650 maximum output out to 1,150 feet. That power is thanks to its use of four Samsung LH351D LED modules, and their unique properties also mean that this is a high 90 5000K balanced CRI light, so it won’t distort your perceived colors when you use it like a searchlight off in the distance. At about 1.97“ in diameter and 0.66 lbs, this is heavier than most tactical lights, but the sheer power it brings to the table should be considered if that’s what you’re looking for.
IMALENT DM21C

IMALENT DM21C Tactical Flashlight

Purchase
Key Features
Long throw
IPX8 rating
OLED display
Specifications
Max Output
2,000 lumens
Length
4.8"
Weight
2.65 oz
Reviews


Price
$
IMALENT's tactical DM21C flashlight is made to be a police flashlight, something light and small for use when you have to draw in the dark but still packing an impressive output for distance work. This duty flashlight can drive its single high-efficiency CREE XHP35 Hi LED up to a max of 2,000 lumens out to 1,200 feet. It has an adjustable focus so you can easily transition to and from distance and close up work, and you can switch between brightness modes and the stobe/SOS functions with its separated tail switch that allows for easy access to momentary on and off without having to shuffle between things you don’t need in an emergency situation.

What's your choice of tactical light and why? What features do you consider critical to a tactical light? Let's discuss in the comments below!

#tactical #imalent #sofirn #wowtac #eagtac #coast #streamlight #klarus #fenix #nitecore #olight #flashlights #buying-guides #best-tactical-flashlight #toptactical-flashlight see all



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Discussion (7 total)

Can we just stop calling shit "Tactical".
I've been trying to push "tacti-cool" as an alternative, but so far it doesn't seem to be picking up steam with anyone else.

That being said, it is just a sub-genre of gear. I don't dwell too much on the title. Personally, I judge every item by its worth, and not by its marketing. So I just ignore the term and make up my own mind. To each their own.
Yes. Always been that way with gear/clothes etc etc.. Always some new keywords to grab their target audience by the wallet ;)
"Tactical" lights tend to share several characteristics:
1) Mechanical tailswitch easily activated in the dark
2) Springs at front and rear to absorb shocks
3) Simple UI with one click on
4) Glass breaker bezel
5) IPX-8 submersible waterproofing

My personal favorite isn't tactical but the Wowtac A5 is a fine blend of practical.
Tactical is a marketing tool.
Olight. Or no light!
I was having a hard time finding a cheap, simple flashlight for a rifle's light mount. I didn't want to spend top dollar on one of the big name brand lights. I stumbled on a version of the Coast Polysteel at my local Walmart-- it was a cheaper version, but not sure what specific model. It seems to be doing well.