If you’re looking for a high-quality weapon flashlight you’ve come to the right place. Depending on the type of firearm you own and the situations that you plan on using your firearm for will dictate which type of light you need.
Do you own a pistol or a hunting rifle? Is your firearm for defense purposes or are you a hunter? Is the weapon going to spend any time in the field?
These are all imperative questions which we will look at in order to help you select the best firearm mounted the flashlight
Best Weapon Light Reviews
|Surefire X300 Ultra High Ouput LED Weaponlight||Picatinny||$$$|
|Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL High Lumen||Picatinny||$$|
|UTAC High Output Tactical Compact Pistol LED Flashlight||Picatinny||$|
|Nebo 5569 ProTec Elite HP190||Picatinny||$|
|DSF Series LED WeaponLight w/ 7 ¾” Forend Tube||Benelli M1/M2 Winchester 1200/1300/Super||$$$|
Firearm Flashlight: Purposes
There is an old saying related to the use of firearms “always be sure of the target and what is behind the target”. This can be incredibly difficult in the dark if you can’t see your target you can’t be sure what that target is.
For weapons that serve to protect you and your family in case of an intruder or burglar having a light mounted to your pistol can be a lifesaver. Often houses are broken into or robbed during the middle of the night. If your rifle is equipped with a light you’re going to be able to identify your target to ensure it is indeed a robber and not your brother-in-law who decided to stop by and surprise you.
A firearm light with high lumens can also temporarily disorient the assailant allowing you time to identify them and potentially scare them off without having to fire shots. We must be careful though, if the light is extremely powerful (anything over 200 lumens) we risk temporarily blinding ourselves indoors.
If you live in a rural area with wildlife often times you’ll find some unwelcome guests on your property. No, I’m not talking about other human beings, I’m referring to raccoons, coyotes or other predators. Having a coon hunting light, or a kill light will allow you to ensure you’re shooting at the right target.
Often times, our dogs would end up fighting a coyote, the last thing I would want to do is accidentally shoot the dog as opposed to the coyote.
Most visitors on this website are civilians. However, one of the most common uses for white lights is for field work. Swat teams, military, the police all have circumstances that require flashlights. Having a light attached to their shotgun or rifle frees up a hand.
Weapon Light Reviews: Pistol Lights and Picatinny Rail Mounted Lights
The majority of best weapon lights are adjustable and can be mounted on a standard pistol such as a Glock. They also can be mounted to rifles with a standard Picatinny rail.
Surefire X300 Ultra High Output LED Weaponlight, Black
The Surefire X300 Ultra LED Weaponlight is one of the better lights on the market. This is certainly reflected in the price.You can mount the X300 to Universal Handgun Rails and Picatinny rails. I wouldn’t recommend picking up an X300 for indoor uses – the 500 lumens is pretty powerful. A light with 120-200 lumens is more reasonable for indoor use.
Standing on the other end of this light (prior to attaching it to a gun!) it was pretty apparent that if I were an assailant I’d be screwed. The target can’t see anything with it pointed at them.
One of my favorite things about the X300 is the on/off switch which is easy to flick with your dominant hand.
The details are what makes Surefire such a high-quality manufacturer, like a luxury car you expect everything will be well thought out. The X300 features an ambidextrous switch located at the back of the body. If you’re a lefty you’ll appreciate this, there are plenty of weapon lights which throw lefties the middle finger by placing it in an awkward location.
If you’re planning on using your weapon light outdoors, the more lumens the better. This unit comes equipped with 500 lumens which will light up a field. It’s also more than enough to disorient an intruder in the event of an intruder.
A lot of guys and gals have a major issue with the fact that Surefire X300 doesn’t have a strobe function. The logic goes like this “if I’m paying $200+ for a weapon light I want the strobe function”. Personally, I think the strobe is ridiculous. I’ve never seen or heard of it being used in a practical situation. In my opinion, just because other manufacturers offer a feature doesn’t mean the feature belongs.
Total runtime for the light is approximately an hour and a half.
- Durability and Construction:- As you would expect with a light designed for the field it’s incredibly rugged. Surefire won’t go so far to call it “indestructible” but it’s awfully close. The body is constructed out of aerospace grade aluminum and is sealed tight so it’s weatherproof.
- Rails and Mounting:- The X300 fits any pistol or rifle with a Picatinny. The quick release is pretty handy if you swap your weapon light between multiple guns or would prefer to not always have to pack your weapon light around. If you don’t have a Picatinny or universal rail you can likely still mount the light, you’ll just need to pick up a mount.
If you want a pressure activated switch to turn the light on and off, you’re in luck they also sell those. Again, they’re not particularly cheap but they are available for both handguns and rifles.
- Final word:- The most common complaint is the price (Hint: buy it from Amazon it’ll save you $100 on the product plus shipping is free). Usually, this is the only complaint, is it worth shelling out $200 instead of $110 for TLR-1? At the end of the day, they’re both very high-quality products and one is significantly cheaper.
Almost everyone I’ve talked to is extremely satisfied with the product. It’s rugged, every accessory you could want is available, the switch mechanism is solid, the beam is powerful and most importantly it looks damn sexy on a Glock or an AR.
Something that should be noted, unless you’ve owned a 500 lumen light before you’re probably underestimating how powerful the light is going to be. It quite literally can light up a field, which is terrific, after all, that’s why it’s on your weapon (and because it’s badass).
If you purchase it for a home defence light you’ll never need to replace it.
Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL High Lumen Rail-Mounted Tactical Light
Streamlight is the other top flight manufacturer of tactical weapon lights. This model is slightly cheaper than the X300.It comes equipped with 630 lumens, which is plenty for most purposes. The only drawback to the TLR-1 is the battery life, it only lasts for 1.25 hours which is about half of the X300.
It’s a snap to put on, as you can see in the picture cranking the knob will securely fasten it to any standard Picatinny or handgun rail.
If you require a strobe feature on your tactical fire arm light (not sure I’ve ever used that function) the Streamlight has the upper hand over the X300. Overall, this is a terrific light at an amazing price. it’s shouldn’t surprise you that people love Streamlights products.
Nebo 5569 ProTec Elite HP190 High-Powered Firearm Light
If you’re in the market for a relatively inexpensive ($30) firearm light for home protection I can’t recommend the Nebo 5569 ProTec Elite enough.
It’s not in the same class as the Surefire X300 or the Streamlight TLR-1; it feels and looks much cheaper but it works perfectly for indoor uses.It has 190 lumens which is still enough that you can disorient an intruder in the pitch black but not so much that you’ll temporarily blind yourself from the light reflecting off of walls.
I have one permanently attached to my Smith and Wesson which I keep in the event of a break in. I wouldn’t ever use this in the outdoors or a field situation, it’s simply not a robust enough light, but for indoor purposes, it works very well.
NEBO Protec Functionality
- Durability:- If you need a field light, you’re probably going to want something more robust than the 5569 ProTec. It’s a very reliable light, assuming it stays indoors. Unlike the Surefire X300, this light isn’t nearly indestructible. The front of the light is made out of plastic, which we all know can be delicate.
One common complaint is that this light doesn’t stay secure firing hundreds of rounds. As I mentioned earlier, if you want an intensive field light, you’d be wise to spend more then $40. As a bedside defensive weapon light, you won’t have a problem. I can’t reiterate enough, if you plan on firing dozens of rounds at the range this weapon light will likely fail on you.
- Lumens:- It also has less than half of the Lumens that the Streamlight or Surefire offer at 190 lumens. For a bedside firearm light, 190 lumens is still very powerful. You would likely disorient an intruder if you were to shine this directly into their eyes in the dark.
One upside to having fewer lumens is it usually results in a weapon light that lasts longer. The Nebo ProTec is advertised to last 3 hours versus the 1.5 that both the TLR-1 and the X300 advertise.
- On/Off Switch:- The one drawback to the NEBO 5569 is that the on/off switch isn’t located in the most convenient location. The on/off switch is located on the side and it’s too far forward (I’m 6’6″ with long fingers). Aside from being too far forward, if you’re a lefty, this is going to be pretty awkward.There is no pressure switch accessory, so that isn’t a possibility either.
There is a strobe function, you have to rapidly turn the light on and off to activate it. I don’t put too much stock into a strobe function, but some like the additional feature.
- Battery:- The ProTec Elite takes a CR123A battery. This obviously isn’t as convenient as a couple of AA batteries but you’re compensated for three hours of run time.
- Rails and Mounting:- One of the better features on the NEBO 5569 is the mounting system. It’s a tool-free system and to my surprise, it works quite well. It fit very snug on my Glock.
If you have a standard picatinny rail or universal rail you’ll be fine. They also provide this image which gives you the measurements.
If you have a specific weapon that you’re wondering about you can either measure up or do a quick google search.
- Final Word:- It’s hard to find a better firearm light for under $30. I would go as far to say, you won’t find a better weapon light for less than $30. It’s relatively durable, the mounting system is slick, the light is bright and it’s easy to operate.
UTAC 200 Lumen High Output Tactical Compact Pistol Light
The UTAC 200 Lumen Flashlight is a steal at $37 dollars. Similar to the NEBO I wouldn
‘t trust it in the outdoors but for an indoor light attached to a personal protection pistol or rifle it’s perfect.
The only complaint I have is the quick release mechanism isn’t great. I found it was a little too snug on a few of my firearms (Ruger 95) which it claims to fit.
Overall, it’s a well constructed light and it gives off more then enough light for indoor use. For outdoor use I would recommend a light with a lot more Lumens then 200.
Streamlight Tlr-3 Weapon Mounted Flashlight
It’s no secret that Streamlight is one of the preferred brands for tactical flashlights and weapon mounted lights here at TacXTactical. And for good reason, Streamlight makes high-quality products and their prices are very reasonable.
Functionality & Durability
The Streamlight TLR-3 is probably my favorite pistol light on the market. It fits almost any handgun with rails. It was specifically designed for compact and sub-compact pistols but will work on full-sized units as well.
As we’ve come to expect from Streamlight this unit is built from high-quality materials. The body itself is made out of an impact resistant polymer and anodized aluminum.
Although a number of law enforcement officers I’ve talked to still prefer a handheld torch unless of course, they require the use of two hands (say a dog handler), they all agree that the TLR series has made that decision much tougher.
One of the better features of the TLR is the ease in which it mounts to the rails of almost any pistol. The screw can be easily tightened with one hand. After several hours of use, it won’t back off like other products. This may not seem like a big deal, but when in the pressure-filled situations the simpler the better.
On/Off Switch:-The On/Off switch is pretty slick on the TLR-3. At the back of the light, there are two “paddles” which allow you to flick through the modes with either hand.
Rotating the paddle clockwise will produce a steady light. If you rotate it in the other direction it will be momentary on. Finally, if you double tap the paddle counterclockwise it will produce a strobe light.
Streamlight TLR-1, TLR-2, TLR-3 and TLR-4
The Streamlight TLR-2 & TLR-4 feature an integrated laser light. While the Streamlight TLR-3 and TLR-4 are the compact versions in the TLR series.
Streamlight TLR-1 Vs. TLR-3
The TLR-1 is almost twice the size of the TLR-3. It’s slightly wider and longer. It also features a 300 lumen light versus the TLR-3’s 120 lumens. Because of its length, it’s often more suitable for full-size pistols, while the TLR-3 is usually a better option for compact and subcompact pistols. Both of these weapon lights fit a wide variety of models of guns including rifles and shotguns. A quick google search usually will help you figure out if there is a key for the gun you’re looking to equip with a TLR weapon light.
Final Word:– Overall the Streamlight TLR series are beasts. I actually prefer the TLR-1 and TLR-2 over the compact series. I find the polymer isn’t quite as durable as the anodized aluminum. Although the TLR-1 requires 2 batteries, it does pump out 300 lumens of light which are considerably brighter than the TLR-3.
That said, for compact pistols , t’s a terrific light that can withstand a long period of abuse.
Streamlight TLR-4 Tactical Light w/ Laser
Streamlight is one of the better brands building tactical lights on the market. The TLR-4 compact LED light with a laser is no exception to the rule. Instead of sacrificing quality, they increased the price for the laser. A good move in my opinion – other light manufacturers on the market will slap a laser on their product and keep the price the same by reducing the overall quality of the rest of the light – I’m looking at you UTG.
Truthfully, most of us don’t have a huge need for a laser on the end of our light. But then again, most of us don’t need spotlights on the top of our trucks either and we know a lot of us are guilty of that.
It comes down to looking like a badass, and if you’re in the market for a high-quality weapon light AND you want to look badass the TLR-4 delivers. And of course, if you’re actually a serviceman or lady this light is rugged as hell and will put a nice dot on your target.
- Durability:- Streamlight manufacturers all of their lights out of high-grade aircraft aluminum and a rugged polymer. It’s impact resistance and weather resistance; perfect for field or outdoor use. The only knock is the laser adjustment set screw is prone to stripping. If you do purchase one don’t hastily try to adjust the laser, take your time and ensure you’re getting a proper fit before cranking on it!
- Lumens:- This is the only major fault I can find with the TLR-4. Odds are if you’re using a laser mounted light you’re in the field. 110 Lumens is quite bright but not nearly as bright as some of the other options on the market such as the TLR-1 or the X300.The long-range targeting of the laser doesn’t do anybody any good if they can’t see that long range target.
- On/Off Switch & Battery:- With certain manufacturers you expect the on/off switch to be ambidextrous and readily available. Having used gun lights with brutal placement I know how important this becomes when they’re in stupid locations.
The on/off switch is a standard rocker, with the settings slightly below that. Position one gives you access to the red dot laser, the second position is the light and the laser and the final position is just the light.Overall very well designed. The runtime of this unit is an hour and a half with the light and the laser. It’s 11 hours with just the laser.
- Rails and Mounting a TLR-4:- One of my favorite Streamlight features is their mounting system. Like all other weapon lights, it fits a standard picatinny rail. However, unlike other firearm lights, the custom compact mounting system will fit a wide range of weapons. Generally speaking, if it has a rail, this product will fit.
- Final Word:- Overall, I would rate this product very highly. As I mentioned above, I wish they put some more pop into the light, 110 lumens isn’t enough light for a product with a red light. The set screw can be a little bit fussy and if you’re not careful you could strip it, which is a total pain in the ass.The mount is terrific and the product is really well manufactured. Light enough that it doesn’t impact your aim, but sturdy enough it won’t go after firing a few rounds.
Insight M3 Tactical Weapon Light Review
If you’re looking for a flashy weapon light with all of the bells and whistles, this product isn’t for you. Instead, check out the TLR-4 Tactical Weapon Light. There isn’t much flare to insights products in general, however, the M3 really was designed to serve one purpose: to light up a room. The M3 doesn’t have a strobe light or a laser. It’s simple, rugged, and practical.
Insight M3: Functionality
- Durability:- The M3 is incredibly durable. Insight clearly focused on building a solid light as opposed to adding additional features to wow their customers. It’s not going to break on you and the light isn’t going to go after firing several hundred.For how little the light weighs it is extremely rugged. At the end of the day, what you really want in a light is something that won’t affect your accuracy (doesn’t weigh a lot) and it works when you need it to. It is a tool, and often the simpler the tool the better it performs, the M3 is no exception.
- Lumens:- The only drawback to this light is the lack of lumens. It’s bright enough to clear a room in the dark but you’re not going to illuminate a whole lot outside. It doesn’t need to be a spotlight, but having more than 90 lumens would be a nice feature. If you’re going to primarily need the light for indoor uses it’s a great buy.It also has a run time of approximately 60 minutes which is a little on the short side. The light bulb on the cheaper model is a Xexon light bulb as opposed to a LED. The upgrade will cost you an additional $30.
- On/Off Switch:- It shouldn’t be any surprise that the on/off switch is solid. Often times it can almost seem like only a moment of thought went into placing the switch.The insight has two features – constant on or momentary on. As I discussed above, there isn’t a strobe option, something most of us don’t really need. If you’re looking for a light in the same price range with a. It’s a little bit more expensive but it does feature a strobe and it also is a lot brighter.The on/off switch is placed in a location that makes it accessible for righties and lefties something I think all manufacturers should consider.
- Rails and Mounting:- This light fits perfectly on my Glock, it feels like it was made for it. It will also fit standard rails on either a shotgun or an AR. Overall, this is one of the better lights I’ve put on a weapon. It’s easy to mount and it feels extremely sturdy once it’s latched on.
- Final Word:- The only reason I have a difficult time recommending this light is that I find the Streamlight TLR-1 to be a superior light at a similar price. The M3 is rugged, it has a solid mount, the on/off switch is well designed and it’s light. The only thing that is missing is the lumens.For an additional $10 you upgrade to a Streamlight which offers 300 lumens, enough for outdoor use. On the flip side if you’re only planning on using your weapon for home protection the NEBO is a much cheaper solid choice. It should be noted, the Insight M3 is a field ready firearm light, the NEBO isn’t.
The Best Shotgun Light: Review
Generally speaking, shotguns are going to require a specialty light designed to fit a Mossberg Shotgun. Personally, I love the look of a light mounted on a shotgun. A number of lights such as the Streamlight TLR-1 can be equipped with adapters to mount them on a Mossberg.
LED WeaponLight for Shotguns w/ 7 ¾” Forend Tube
For close range, the Surefire LED Weaponlight does the trick. It has 200 Lumens which is perfect for indoor use. I highly doubt you’ll be blasting gophers in your field with a shotgun, but if that’s what you plan on doing you might want to consider the SureFire DSF or using an adapter kit and equipping it with a TLR-1.
The only drawback is you need to be fairly familiar with your shotgun – assembly isn’t as easy as some of the other weapon lights. If all else fails, youtube it.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of cheap options for mounting a light to a shotgun without a little bit of creativity and know how. If you’re looking to go that route, check out this thread on M4Carbine – there are some suggestions on how to go about doing that.
The Best Rifle Lights Review
Nothing looks more badass than a rifle light attached to a foregrip. For most of us, a basic UTAC 200 Lumen light will be more than sufficient for our purposes; home protection.
We both know, the reason a lot of us slap on a SureFire X300 onto our rifles isn’t that you need to be able to see a half mile in the pitch black, it’s because it looks fucking awesome.
UTG Combat Operation Quick Detach Aluminum Grip Light
I have a UTG Vertical Grip attached to my AR. I’ve had it for over two years and couldn’t be happier. Overall, it’s
a little heavy, but it really is well built. As I mentioned above, I don’t particularly have a need for a flashlight on my AR but it looks bad ass.
If unlike me, you actually have a need for the light, it is fairly bright at 150 Lumens.
What to Look For In a Weapon Light Overview
- Type of Weapon:- Obviously, the most important thing you need to think about when you’re considering buying a light for your firearm is what type of weapon are you going to mount it to? Most of the time it’s going to be a rifle or a handgun. Assuming you’re dealing with standard rails you should be fine, however, it’s always best to double check.
- Lumens:- The next important question you need to figure out is what circumstances do you intend to use your weapon light for.If it’s for indoor purposes you can get away with 100-200 lumens, if you’re planning on using it outdoors you’ll probably need more lumens then that. If you’re planning on fire hundreds of rounds with that light on you’re going to want something more robust like Streamlight TLR-1.
- Budget:- How much can you afford to spend is obviously an incredibly important factor. You can easily spend $300 on high-end weapon lights, some gun enthusiasts don’t mind shelling out this kind of money. Others just want a reliable light that they know will work if they ever need to protect their family. You can purchase quality indoor lights for under $50, that will serve you well in a crisis.
- Weight and Functionality:- In most scenarios, the weight isn’t going to be a major factor when you’re looking to purchase a weapon light. That said, I have friends who really don’t like my UTG Vertical Grip because it’s “too heavy”.
You do need to consider the functionality quite a bit. For example, many of the weapon flashlights don’t have a strobe function. Personally, that’s a non-issue but I know some folks get upset when they’ve shelled out $120 and it doesn’t have a basic strobe.
Also, consider where the on/off switch is located and how accessible it is. You’d be surprised how many models make it so that lefties can’t access the switch easily. Obviously, that’s problematic if you’re left handed – if you want to fumble around you could’ve bought a tactical flashlight instead.