Rating The Best & Brightest Tactical Flashlights (Military Grade) in 2021

By Derrick Ferrell
Updated on
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The Rundown
  • Best Overall
    With 1000 lumens, wide beam, and weapon mount capabilities, this tactical flashlight hits all markers.
  • Runner-Up Best Overall
    Solid construction, self-defense features, and easy charging make this one of the best tactical flashlights available.
  • Best for Duty
    Thanks to its compact size, simple orientation, and dual power, this is one of the best tactical lights for any mission.
  • Best for Self-Defense
    Compared to other tactical flashlights, the Warrior X Pro has a larger size, more heft, and a bezel, making it ideal for self-defense.
  • Best Versatile
    A dual-output LED with maxvision beam flashlight for both EDC and personal protection.
  • Best EDC
    SOG delivers a line of tactical flashlights capable of shining a light on football fields or a book for nighttime reading.
  • Runner-Up Best EDC
    With its short length, lightness, and intense light, this flashlight is perfect for carrying on daily missions and activities.
  • Best Value for Price
    This torch has multiple high-quality features without a hefty price tag.
  • Best Budget
    A great tactical flashlight with a powerful light throw, and intelligent memory at an affordable price.

When you’re on the hunt for the best tactical flashlights, you’ll find an overwhelming number of items with an abundance of features. Just because products have the term “tactical” in their names or descriptions, it doesn’t mean they have the functionality of a military flashlight with superior capabilities, features, durability, and craftsmanship.

We’ve taken the time to test and review the best tactical flashlights on the market to date. And unlike the common lists you find on search, this will make your selection process more manageable and purchase the right flashlight to suit your personal, professional, and survival needs.

Best Overall
Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL 1000-Lumen Black
Streamlight TLR-1 HL
1000 lumens
283m beam distance
3.39 x 1.47 x 1.44 inches
4.2 ounces
Waterproof (IPX-7, 1 Meter for 30 Mins)
What we like
  • Powerful illumination
  • High-quality construction materials
  • Premium gun attachment
What we don’t like
  • Low continuous use battery life
  • Brightness may be too intense for indoor use

Features

When it comes to the best tactical flashlights, you want something compact, multi-purpose, and built to last. The Streamlight TLR-1 HL is at the top of the list.

This flashlight has a max output of around 20,000 candelas and about 1000 lumens to produce an intense illumination from the center of the beam into a broad spread reaching 245 meters.

It has an LED bulb capable of burning up to 50,000 hours, and includes two CR123A lithium batteries that can generate enough power to run the tactical flashlight for up to 1.5 hours of continuous runtime. The design allows it to shine at maximum output until the batteries die.

The Streamlight TLR-1 HL consists of aircraft-grade aluminum with an anodized coating to increase its resistance to rust, corrosion, and other damages. It’s also waterproof (IPX-7), meaning you can safely operate the flashlight in most weather conditions. The flashlight is also shockproof with a temperature-resistant lens for maximum durability.

Style and Convenience

The Streamlight TLR-1 HL tactical flashlight weighs 4.18 ounces and has a length of 3.26 inches, making its power all the more impressive relative to its size. Its lightness is beneficial for anyone who wants to attach this powerful light to a gun for better visibility while hunting prey. It easily mounts to Picatinny gun rails with a thumb screw and mounting clips for a secure hold.

The flashlight also comes with a strobe mode bright enough to disorient any would-be attacker.

Runner-Up Best Overall
OLIGHT Odin 2000 Lumens Picatinny Rail Mounted Tactical Flashlight Black
Olight Odin
2000 lumens
300m beam distance
5.37 x 1.14 x 1.05 inches
7.62 ounces
Waterproof (IPX-8)
What we like
  • Sturdy gun mount
  • Eight-hour runtime
  • Durable aluminum alloy
  • Dual power settings
What we don’t like
  • No strobe or SOS light modes

Features

Similar to the Streamlight TLR-1 HL tactical flashlight, the Olight Odin 2000 Lumens is another gun-mount flashlight with exceptional features. It fits Picatinny mounts for long barrel rifles, but it also includes a removable slide rail mount and pairs well with other mounts for handguns.

The Olight Odin receives its power from one rechargeable 5000mAh 21700 lithium battery. It’s robust enough to produce a max output of 2000 lumens to illuminate up to 300 meters through its PMMA optical lens for about eight hours. Whether you’re hunting or hiking, you can see a broad swath of terrain when using this high-quality tactical flashlight.

It consists of a high-grade aluminum body with a stainless steel bezel, which you can use as a striking tool to protect yourself against attackers and a glass breaking tool to enter or exit a locked car in an emergency.

Its tail cap switch is complete with a magnetic charging cable for a quick charge.

Style and Convenience

This tactical flashlight has an attractive anodized coating with a satin finish. It is completely smooth without any knurling, which could be problematic if it was for everyday carry instead of weapon use. It does have slight grooves in its body by the head and tail for minimal grip, if needed.

Though its max output is 2000 lumens, this level generates a considerable amount of heat, so it will automatically drop to 1000 lumens after two minutes of continuous use to protect its internal components from heat damage. You can manually select a minimal lumens output of 300 by lightly clicking on the flashlight’s switch; or press it deeply for intense illumination.

Best for Duty
Pelican 7600 Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight Black
Pelican 7600
944 lumens
225m beam distance
6.19 x 1.38 x 1.3 inches
6.91 ounces
Waterproof (IPX-8)
What we like
  • Excellent for active users
  • Non-slip texturing
  • High lumen output
  • Programmable tail switch for lighting modes
What we don’t like
  • Low battery life on high mode

Features

Anyone who is a member of law enforcement, the military, or a part of a survival reenactment scenario understands the importance of having a tool they can use for multiple purposes with ease in life-threatening situations. The Pelican 7600 is a torch that easily meets this standard. With a compact size of 6.19 inches in length and 1.3 inches in width, this tactical flashlight has thick ends and no-slip texturing on its body to make it easier to grip and orient without looking at it.

This light is also incredibly bright, with a 944 max lumen output of 12,693 candelas. The Pelican 7600 also features two additional output modes: medium at 479 lumens and low at 37 lumens. At its highest setting, the beam has a bright center path with ample spill-beam to shine a light on more areas and a textured reflector to prevent hard edges along the flood beam.

This LED flashlight is highly durable and water-resistant. Its non-slip body is ideal for holding while engaged in close-contact or foot pursuit.

Style and Convenience

The Pelican 7600 Tactical Flashlight has a sturdy aluminum body with an anodized coating to increase its durability, making it impervious to anything your next mission throws its way. Its included lithium-ion battery is fully rechargeable through a USB charging cable, meaning you won’t have to worry about needing another battery while you’re on the job. You can also program the flashlight by pressing its tail switch to produce your preferred lighting mode sequence.

Because this is a superior tactical flashlight for duty, its rechargeable lithium-ion battery generates a sufficient runtime of three hours and 15 minutes on high mode, four hours and 30 minutes on medium, and 29 hours on low. You can rest assured of having ample light to carry under cover of night. The flashlight also has a feature set that includes three LED colors to help users identify battery level and four lighting modes, including strobe.

Best for Self-Defense
OLIGHT Warrior X Pro 2100 Lumens Black
Olight Warrior X Pro
2100 lumens
500m beam distance
5.87 x 1.54 x 1.03 inches
8.43 ounces
Waterproof (IPX-8)
What we like
  • Incredible brightness
  • Durability
  • Superior protection tool
What we don’t like
  • Proprietary battery and charger

Features

If you’re looking for a highly durable tactical flashlight capable of providing bright light and personal protection, the Olight Warrior X Pro is the one for you. Though its construction material consists of aluminum, which is usually lightweight, this flashlight has a length of about 5.8 inches and weighs 8.42 ounces with the battery. It’s not exceptionally long, but is longer than most other tactical flashlights, and its head is considerably wide at 1.54 inches in diameter.

The size, weight, and construction of this tactical flashlight may not be ideal for EDC, but it is a useful self-defense tool for anyone on duty, hunting, or camping. Not only can you wield the flashlight as a small baton, but it also has a bezel for striking. It’s sturdy enough to pass a 3-meter drop test, and its IPX8-rated body makes it water-resistant so that you can use it in all weather conditions.

This Olight tactical flashlight only has two output modes, but its maximum output reaches 2100 lumens and distances of 500 meters. It uses a Cree XP LED bulb, a raised magnetic tail switch for a quick draw, and a 5000mAh 21700 lithium-ion battery with an eight-hour runtime.

Style and Convenience

The Olight Warrior X Pro is one of the few tactical flashlights that also features stylish designs and functionality. Its anodized aluminum body has an attractive sheen and is available in multiple colors, such as gunmetal gray and red.

Charging the flashlight is a breeze with its MCC3 USB charging cable. This cable charges lithium-ion batteries twice as fast, so you won’t be without light when you need it most.

Best Versatile
SureFire E2T-MV Tactician High-Output LED with Maxvision Black
SureFire E2T-MV Tactician
800 lumens
113m beam distance
5 x 1 x 1 inches
4 ounces
What we like
  • Solid construction
  • Paracord breakaway lanyard
  • Strong light output
  • Efficient everyday carry and protection tool
What we don’t like
  • No waterproof
  • Low battery life on high setting

Features

The SureFire E2T-MV Tactician is a solid all-around tactical flashlight. Its short length of 5 inches and weight of 3.5 ounces with batteries included makes it portable for everyday carry. You can secure it to your clothing with its stainless steel Melonite-coated pocket clip or store it in your purse, laptop bag, tactical backpack, or briefcase.

Don’t be fooled by its small size; the E2T-MV Tactician packs a hefty punch with a rugged aluminum frame and heavy-duty Mil-Spec anodized coating to make the flashlight resistant to abrasions and corrosion. It has a tail cap switch, and you can choose your light output by twisting the bezel on the head of the flashlight. Both the tail cap and body have textured grooves to provide increased grip, whether you use the tactical flashlight to aid in visibility or as a weapon against attackers.

The tactical light is one of the best on the market for its max output and versatility. It reaches up to 800 lumens on high, but you can rotate the bezel counterclockwise to switch the output to five lumens for moments when you need a utility beam for close work or want to conserve the battery.

Style and Convenience

If you prefer to carry this EDC tactical flashlight handsfree, you will find a stainless steel loop for a SureFire Z33 black paracord lanyard on its tail cap. The lanyard has two locks and a fastener that breaks away if the flashlight gets pulled on something so that you don’t get caught up on anything and hurt your neck.

Because the bezel twists to operate the light, the flashlight has a tactical push for momentary-on/constant-on settings on its tail cap and a twist lock-out mode to stop the flashlight from accidentally turning on while it’s in a bag or pocket. Once you rotate the tail cap, the light won’t come on until you switch it back.

The Tactician comes with two lithium non-rechargeable batteries with a runtime of one hour on high and 70 hours on the lowest setting. Other tactical flashlight reviews suggest that this model can’t use rechargeable batteries, but it can. You should, however, avoid low-quality batteries because they can reduce the performance of the flashlight.

Best EDC
SOG DE-06 Dark Energy 750A 687 Lumens
SOG Dark Energy DE-06
687 lumens
N/A beam distance
6 inches
4.8 ounces
Waterproof (IPX-7)
What we like
  • Durable body
  • Strong output
  • Multiple one-click lighting modes
What we don’t like
  • Low battery life on max output
  • Always turns on at highest light setting

Features

With its 6061 T6 aluminum casing and aggressively textured body, the SOG Dark Energy tactical flashlight will quickly become a favorite tool for everyday carry. It has a Class III anodized coating for maximum durability and resistance to daily wear and tear. It’s an IPX7 waterproof tool, making it an excellent choice for camping, hiking, emergencies, and EDC.

The SOG Dark Energy is one of the best flashlights on the market because it features a powerful Cree XP LED light that reaches up to 687 lumens. This pocket-sized tactical flashlight uses a rechargeable 18650 battery that can last up to 97 hours on its lowest setting or 98 minutes on its highest. Keep this flashlight charged and ready to go with its charging dock.

Style and Convenience

Gripping this flashlight is no problem, thanks to the aggressive checkered patterns and twisted grooves running up and down its body. No matter how you hold this LED light, it won’t slip from your hand.

The flashlight has one switch on its tail cap that controls all its functions, including five light modes: maximum output, 40% light, reading, strobe, and momentary on/off. By clicking the button a predetermined number of times, you can achieve whatever output you like, increasing the flashlight’s usefulness in everyday activities and emergencies.

Runner-Up Best EDC
Fenix PD36R 1600 Lumen with Fenix Battery and LumenTac Battery Organizer
Fenix PD36R
1600 lumens
282m beam distance
5.35 x 1.04 x 1 inches
3.04 ounces
Waterproof (IP68)
What we like
  • Suitable runtime for EDC
  • Good lighting output
  • Quality battery with USB-C charging
  • Pocket clip
  • Belt holster
What we don’t like
  • No shortcuts to the lowest setting
  • Can’t stand on its tail

Features

The Fenix PD36R meets all these qualifications of a small, lightweight, durable, and easy to use tactical flashlights for everyday carry. This flashlight is highly portable at only 5.47 inches in length and weighing 5.75 ounces with the battery. It comes with a two-way pocket clip, holster, and lanyard so that you can carry it anywhere, whether you attach it to your belt, MOLLE backpack, EDC bag, or pocket.

This tactical light has a Luminus SST40 LED bulb that produces a bright beam and can reach up to 1600 lumens with a light throw of about 309 yards. The lens glass is ultra-clear with an anti-reflective coating to improve user visibility.

The PD36R has an anodized aluminum frame that protects the flashlight against drops, hits, and scratches. It doesn’t have a tail cap, but it does come with a side switch to change modes and a forward switch for power. The design of the side switch enables users to operate the flashlight even while wearing gloves.

Style and Convenience

There is nothing discreet about this tactical flashlight. Though it is relatively small, its body has a shiny coating that some may find unattractive or cheap-looking despite the tool’s quality construction and usefulness.

This is one of the few tactical flashlights to include a turbo mode in its lighting features and a strobe mode with three additional light settings. By pressing the forward side switch, you can use this flashlight for Morse code to signal for help or communicate non-verbally.

Charging this tactical flashlight is simple. It uses a USB-C charging cable to power its rechargeable Fenix battery. The USB-C cable charges this flashlight twice as fast as a tactical flashlight with a standard USB charger, so you can expect to power your tool quickly and be on your way.

Best Value for Price
Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL 750 Lumen Black
Streamlight ProTac HL
750 lumens
270m beam distance
5.25 x 1.37 x 1.45 inches
5.6 ounces
Waterproof (IPX-7)
What we like
  • Low cost
  • High performance
  • Compact size
  • Exceptional durability
What we don’t like
  • Longer charge time
  • Produces heat
  • No rechargeable batteries

Features

With the Streamlight 88040, you can be sure of having a worthwhile tactical flashlight by your side. At 5.2 inches long, the length of the flashlight will fit comfortably in your hand, or you can secure it in your pocket or bag to use when entering parking garages or walking at night. It’s also an excellent addition to toolboxes for professionals who need a compact, lightweight tactical flashlight for electrical, construction, or plumbing projects.

Like many other tactical flashlights, the body of Streamlight 88040 consists of a durable anodized aluminum alloy, and it can stay submerged in water for up to thirty minutes without any issue.

It features a C4 LED bulb that produces a vibrant white light at about 600 lumens. This is one of the top-tier lights to have if you want a tactical flashlight bulb that won’t blow out quickly. It has a lifespan of about one hundred thousand hours of use.

Style and Convenience

The torch LED light comes with three modes: strobe, high, and low. You can program them in 10 different ways to switch your settings and produce the light beams you prefer most. Because the maximum output is so high, you can use the light as a personal defense tool by blinding attackers.

With this tactical flashlight’s small frame, it won’t slip from your fingers, even in wet conditions. It has a knurled body to keep your fingers in your desired position when you’re using the light.

The Streamlight 88040 tactical flashlight also has an anti-roll head. No matter how you set the flashlight down, it won’t roll away from you.

Best Budget
NITECORE P12 2015 Version 1000 Lumens
Nitecore P12 2015
1000 lumens
232m beam distance
5.47 x 1 x 1 inches
3.2 ounces
Waterproof (IPX-8)
What we like
  • Portable
  • Powerful beam
  • Affordable
What we don’t like
  • No protection against overheating

Features

The best tactical flashlight doesn’t have to be expensive to be worthwhile. The 2015 version of the Nitecore P12 offers users a substantial maximum output of 1000 lumens and a throw distance of roughly 232 meters. It’s Cree XM-L2 U2 LED bulb has a burning time of about 50,000 hours, meaning a bulb burnout will be the least of your worries.

Its lens glass has an anti-reflective technology to ensure the light emittance remains clear and bright at all times.

This affordable flashlight design is on par with some of the higher-end flashlights on the market. It consists of aircraft-grade aluminum and a military-grade anodized coating to increase its resistance to rust, corrosion, and scratching. You can expect longtime use with this tool, whether you intend to spend time in the wilderness, need ample light for work, or merely need it for emergencies.

Style and Convenience

With a length of 5.47 inches and weighing 3.1 ounces, this flashlight is highly portable. It has an attractive, glossy black finish and fine knurling for a non-slip grip.

This Nitecore torch has four brightness levels, including a turbo mode for maximum output, medium, low, and lowest. The P12 has an excellent memory, allowing it to turn on with the previous light setting without needing to click the side switch multiple times to achieve the desired brightness.

Final Verdict

No matter what your purposes are, there is a tactical light to fit your needs. The best tactical flashlights offer various styles, functions, features, and possibilities. These tools are excellent options for those who need lights for work, hunting, camping, fishing, personal protection, and missions.

We understand how frustrating researching products can be for people, especially those who have never purchased a tactical tool before. The reason for this review is to provide you with a comprehensive list of the best tactical lights on the market to reduce the need for stressful research. As marines ourselves, we are confident one of our selections will accommodate your needs.

The Ultimate Tactical Flashlight Buying Guide

EDC tactical flashlight putting around gear
Photo by Nor Gal

Emergencies don’t operate on a fixed schedule. They can occur at any time, so it’s best to prepare yourself for the unexpected. Though you may not consider a flashlight to be a necessary tool for everyday carry, a tactical flashlight is like a trusty sidekick for anyone who spends time outdoors, in law enforcement, working in dark environments, or in need of a discreet self-defense weapon.

If you need a flashlight to keep in your home if the lights go out, you can use a regular flashlight that offers minimal output and has no additional features. For a quality tactical flashlight, however, you’ll need to consider multiple factors to ensure you select the right one for your needs. Once you begin your search, you’ll see that there is a tactical flashlight for every purpose, budget, and personal preference, but not every model will suit your needs.

Before you can determine which tactical flashlights are right for you, here are some critical determining factors to consider.

Budget

Your budget plays a significant role in the type of flashlight that works well for you, but it’s not because the expensive models are always the best. You can find good tactical flashlights below $20.

It’s worth noting that cheaper flashlights don’t have a bright maximum output, superior water resistance, or top-quality construction materials. They are ideal for emergencies like electricity outages or for keeping inside a car if it breaks down at night.

Expect to pay upwards of $50 for a top-tier tactical flashlight because they have higher brightness settings, durable construction, and long-lasting battery life. These lights are the best options for anyone who expects to use the tool for self-protection, hunting, hiking, or camping.

Purpose

Don’t get a tactical flashlight for the mere sake of having one. Instead, ask yourself:

  • Do you spend a lot of time in the wilderness hiking, hunting, or camping?
  • Will you spend time at work in a dark environment?
  • Are you a member of law enforcement or the military?
  • Do you need an EDC tool for self-defense?


If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then a tactical flashlight is likely the right choice for you. These questions will also help you determine which type of tactical flashlight you need.

For instance, if you spend most of your time running survivalist scenarios, you’ll want an ultra-bright, water-resistant tool that operates in harsh weather conditions and has a rechargeable battery that won’t die out too quickly. Conversely, if you seek a tool for everyday carry that you don’t expect to use daily, you can opt for a model with fewer features and less water resistance.

Size

Tactical survival or self-protection tools are small and portable to make them suitable for EDC. The same rule applies to this variety of flashlights. Their small designs allow you to carry them anywhere you need to go, and some of them have a pocket clip to secure them to your pants, shirt pocket, or bag strap.

A small tactical flashlight measures 10-12 cm in length and has a single battery setup with tail switches. Medium ones fall between 12-16 cm and usually take two AAA or AA batteries to increase their power and light output. Anything above 16cm is in the large flashlight category and typically has more features and produces more energy and brightness than smaller models.

Lumens

Whenever you’re choosing a light bulb for your home, you probably pay attention to the wattage. In the case of a flashlight, you’ll want to consider the lumens or brightness of the bulb. The term refers to the measure of light visible to the human eye from a light source. The higher the lumens, the higher the output.

The consensus for a tactical flashlight is over 300 lumens. At this range, the flashlight will have either lithium or Li-ion batteries and LED bulbs capable of lighting up a spacious area with ease.

Below this lumens level, you can still light up a medium-sized back yard or a bedroom. The brightness may be sufficient to disorient someone if you shine the light in their eyes, but at 300 lumens or more, the effect is significantly higher.

Power Source

The more energy a flashlight produces, the higher its brightness and the longer its runtimes will be. Tactical flashlights are available with both rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries, including:

  • Disposable alkaline AAA or AA batteries
  • Integrated rechargeable battery packs
  • Rechargeable or disposable Li-ion batteries
  • Lithium batteries

The size of the batteries can affect the size of the flashlight and the power it generates.

Construction and Materials

Any useful tactical tool needs to have exceptional craftsmanship and consist of quality materials. If you intend to use the flashlight for EDC or emergencies, you won’t know what situations you’ll need it for, so it must be durable enough to stand up to various conditions. It should last for years as a self-protection tool and have some resistance to accidental hits, drops, and knocks.

Ideally, you should choose a flashlight with an aluminum body. This metal is naturally lightweight, durable, and rust-resistant. It can take a beating without sacrificing efficiency, and you can increase its durability with a hard-anodized finish to stave off corrosion and other damages.

Features

A tactical flashlight’s features will help it serve whatever purpose you intend for it. These can include anything from a battery level indicator, so you never have to worry about the light going dim, to a beveled edge to strike attackers in self-defense.

The light from the flashlight head can also have unique features, including a strobe mode function for nighttime activities or an SOS mode to signal Morse code during an emergency.