Darkness and safety. After a weapon, a powerful flashlight is often the most critical tool involved in staying safe and prepared for emergencies and self-defense. Whether you’re a police officer, security guard, military personnel, or someone looking to stay prepared, you’ll want to add a reliable tactical flashlight to your gear.
Where to buy tactical flashlights
If you’re looking for the best place online to buy tactical flashlights, you’ve come to the right spot. As experts in the LED lighting industry, Longhorn Tactical carries best-selling tactical flashlights from popular brands including NITECORE, Fenix, Olight and more.
What is a tactical flashlight?
Not sure what qualifies as a tactical flashlight? We understand! As this style of flashlight has grown in popularity, more and more flashlights are using the tactical label and be confusing. In general, a tactical flashlight is small enough to be carried in a pocket or bag, offers a bright, focused output, and can be used for self-defense and/or weapon mounting. Learn more about these features below:
Tail Cap Control
The final defining feature of a tactical flashlight is the tail cap switch. It just wouldn’t be a tactical flashlight without a rear switch on the tail of the light that controls On/Off operation. Why? When holding the light in an overhand grip or cigar grip, this button is easily accessible with your thumb and offers a very stable hold on the light. Tactical tail switches also frequently give the ability to half press the switch for a momentary burst of light that is turned off by releasing the button, or can be fully depressed and released for constant output.
Many tactical flashlights feature what is known as an aggressive or crenulated strike bezel. This denotes a tooth-like pattern around the outside of the flashlight and is helpful for self-defense as well as glass breaking.
When it comes to brightness, the brighter is better for tactical flashlights. These days a good tactical flashlight should have, at the least, a 1000 lumen mode although many of the latest models boast outputs in the 1600-2500 lumen range.
One thing that separates the best tactical flashlights from the rest is not just the max brightness, but also how easily it is to access it. Some models offer mode memorization as well as shortcuts to Turbo, while others like the NEW P12 from NITECORE can even be set to always default to Turbo when first turned on. Knowing that an instant burst is readily available at your fingertips can keep your mind at ease in even the most stressful situations.
Having the ability to disorient a would be attacker with Strobe has long been a staple feature of tactical flashlights. If this is something that’s important to you, look out for tactical flashlights offering a quick access button or shortcut for Strobe as well.
If you fall into the “never Strobe” camp, never fear! More and more tactical flashlights these days are offering customizable modes or make the Strobe feature less-likely to be accidentally activated so you can ignore it or avoid it easily.
What is a tactical flashlight used for?
Tactical flashlights are most commonly associated with law enforcement, military, and self-defense users, but the truth is the super bright outputs, user-friendly controls, and durability make tactical flashlights a popular choice for everyday carry, blue collar professionals, and emergency preppers alike.
What flashlights do police use?
For many years, Streamlight was the go-to flashlight manufacturer for law enforcement. As the LED industry has grown over the past decade, however, more and more reliable flashlight brands have entered the tactical flashlight market. For both primary carry and backup flashlights, police officers can be seen carrying flashlights from NITECORE, Fenix, and Olight more and more.
Why does the military use red flashlights?
Not often, but occasionally you will see a tactical flashlight offering a secondary red output. For military users this is an often requested option. There are two primary reasons why a red light is an important feature:
- Red light disrupts your night-adjusted vision much less than white lights
- Red light is less visible to others, allowing users to stay covert
How much does a tactical flashlight cost?
Tactical flashlights don’t have to break the bank… but it’s not a tool you want to pinch pennies on either! That said, most tactical flashlights from reputable manufacturers cost between $55 and $130. Investing in a quality tactical flashlight will give you the peace of mind that your flashlight can be relied on if an emergency strikes.
That said, avoiding premium features like built-in charging and multiple color outputs can help keep the cost down while still delivering a flashlight you can rely on.
What is the brightest tactical flashlight?
The brightest tactical flashlight in our store is the NITECORE TM03 at 2800 lumens on the brightest setting. Other runners up include:
What is the best tactical flashlight?
Oh boy … if we had a dollar for every time someone asked us this question. There’s so many really great tactical flashlights on the market it’s mostly a matter of preference than anything else. We can make a few suggestions based on our years of experience, however:
Best Tactical Flashlights for Everyday Carry
NITECORE NEW P12
Why we like it: There’s a lot to like about NITECORE’s redesign of the P12. Not only did the brightness get bumped up from 1000 lumens to 1200, but they also added support for 21700-size batteries and a new NTH10 tactical holster. But best of all? The NEW P12 offers two operating modes that change how the flashlight behaves. For everyday carry this means you can have the power of a tactical flashlight when you need it, and the functionality of an EDC flashlight for day in and day out.
Olight M2R Warrior
Why we like it: Olight clearly had everyday carry in mind when they designed the M2R Warrior. Not only is the slim, 1″ tube ideal for pocket carry, but built-in magnetic charging means you can easily recharge your flashlight after frequent use. And at 1500 lumens bright on Turbo, the M2R is one of the brightest tactical flashlights in our store.
Best Tactical Flashlights for Self-Defense
Why we like it: It’s called the Ultimate Edition for good reason! Fenix’s TK22UE combines the powerful output from the TK22 V2.0 and beefed up the head of the flashlight with an aggressive strike bezel with tungsten steel points for glass breaking. Mode memorization lets you put the 1600 lumen Turbo output at the press of a button or press and hold the side button for Strobe in an emergency.
Why we like it: If having the brightest output possible at the ready is your thing, the NITECORE TM03 delivers with an impressive 2800 lumen burst mode. What we really liked about the TM03 though is the dual-button tail cap that uses the main button to turn the light on and off and secondary paddle switch to adjust modes or directly access your choice of Turbo or Strobe. Add in the slightly larger, crenulated bezel and you’ve got a flashlight worthy of the Tiny Monster name.
Best Tactical Flashlight for Weapon-Mounting
Olight Warrior X
Why we like it: 2000 lumens and 612 yards of throw should get the attention of anyone looking for flashlight that can be mounted on a shotgun or rifle. Beyond the specifications, the Warrior X is one of our top picks for weapon mountable tactical flashlights because of the magnetic tailcap that’s compatible with the Olight XM07 pressure switch. No need to remove the tail cap, the magnetic connection makes installing the Warrior X on your weapon a breeze.
Why we like it: If the Warrior X’s aggressive bezel is a little too big for your set up, consider the NITECORE MH25GTS as a slimmer alternative. Compatible with NITECORE’S RSW2D pressure switch, the MH25GT’s 1800 lumen, 332 yard output is ideal for long range targets.
Best Tactical Flashlights with Red Light
Why we like it: The NITECORE P18 is probably the most unique tactical flashlight on this list with its compact, unibody design and powerful, 1800 lumen output. It’s also one of the tactical flashlights currently available with a secondary red output that can be independently controlled. If you need a red output for map reading, night vision or staying covert, the P18 has you covered.
Fenix TK25 Red
Why we like it: We’ll admit it. When it comes to secondary red outputs, most of what’s out there is a little underwhelming. That’s why we love the TK25 Red so much. Fenix combines a 1000 lumen white output with a 310 lumen red output for those serious about seeing red! (Don’t worry, if that’s too bright, the red can be adjusted to 100 and 10 lumen outputs as well.) For hunting and military operations, you won’t go wrong with this flashlight.