Which Tactical Light Should You Buy?

Light up the night with the right flashlight for your shooting needs.

Which Tactical Light Should You Buy?

Tactical lights not only provide more light in low-light situations — supplementing a firearm or simply lighting up an area — but can also serve as a means for disorienting or striking an opponent. Long a piece of standard gear for police and military personnel, tactical lights are now also fully in the domain of self-defense-minded civilians. No matter what your needs, we have seen significant innovation in tactical lights since the days of the ubiquitous C- and D-cell MagLites. As a result, you have more choices than ever.


1: Learn about lights and consider your primary use

Tactical lights come in all shapes and sizes, with few or many functions, and varying degrees of durability. The price points range from relatively inexpensive to very expensive. And they may be powered by normal batteries or lithium-ion batteries, or they might be rechargeable. The lights produced by tactical lights may be steady, strobe, fixed, or adjustable, and the light beam itself can come in colors other than white. Some may offer a lanyard or crenelated bezel or a knurled grip, or all that and more. This can be overwhelming. What do you actually need? Consider the following.

Durability: Will the tactical light see mostly urban use? Rural? Wilderness? Water? Will it be needed to provide short bursts of light or long durations of light, or both? Will the light potentially be used near a firearm or other high-shock environments?

Brightness: Do you need to light up a small area with a soft light or turn a dark alley to daylight? Do you need the light to help you see or help you be seen? Does the light beam intensity need to be adjustable?

Weight: Will you be carrying the light in a pocket, purse or bag? On a duty belt? Mounted to a vehicle? In a toolbox?

Functionality: Do you need to operate the light with a weak hand and be able to operate it with the press of a single button? Do you want to be able to program the light so it goes through a predetermined series of functions with each progressive push of a button?

Price: If one light can handle all of your needs, would it just be helpful to have two — one primary and one backup? Or one for inside a home and one for inside a vehicle?


2: Remember the usefulness of a good tactical light.

If you carry a concealed handgun, it’s important to identify your target by lighting it up. In addition, the power of a bright light shined directly into someone’s eyes can serve as a possible deterrent. A tactical light can also be used to strike a target, signal for help, light up an escape route, or help you find other needed tools when it’s too dark to see well.

In many cases, tactical lights need to be easily carried on person or even attached to a person. Keep in mind that that portability or compactness does not necessarily mean reduced functionality.



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