8 Best Tactical Flashlights of 2023

As heavy-duty and multi-purpose tools, tactical flashlights offer easy operation and lighting modes, ideal for self-defense and outdoor adventures. As the outdoor writer and consultant Cliff Jacobson goes, the handheld tactical flashlight can do “Everything from searching for a lost item under furniture, to blinding an unwelcome intruder, to scaring a persistent varmint or a problematic raccoon or bear”. Indeed, the brightest tactical flashlight enables you to identify threat, temporarily blind the aggressor’s eyes, and win extra time to take proper actions. But there are so many tactical flashlight for self defense on the market bewildering, it’s hard to decide which tactical flashlight is the best.

Don’t panic! Here is the complete tactical flashlight reviews of 8 best rechargeable tactical flashlights of 2023. You will make a decision after browsing the article.

What Is a Tactical Flashlight?

Tactical flashlights is a tactical equipment used with a firearm to aid target identification in low-light environment, allowing shooters, soldiers, and law enforcement officers to illuminate the target and aim a weapon at the same time.

As shown above, military tactical flashlights used alongside a firearm are professionally designed for law enforcement, military services, and self defense, and sometimes attached to a weapon with a sighting laser. However, the handheld tactical flashlights don’t have to be used with a weapon. And that’s what we are focusing on in this post.

What makes a flashlight tactical?

  • Powerful brightness to disrupt the opponent’s vision.
  • User-friendly operation and lightweight design.
  • Versatile brightness settings: Low, medium, and high modes.
  • Tactical tail cap to switch on and off.
  • Durable, waterproof, and shockproof to use in harsh conditions.
  • Long run-time and rechargeable battery for tactical flashlight.

What Is a Lumen?

Lumen measures the amount of light output by a light source over a given area and time. One lumen is equal to the amount of light received in an area of one square foot away from the candlelight. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light.

For instances, a 100w incandescent light bulb produces approximately 1,600 lumens. Whereas a car headlamp outputs around 700 to 1,200 lumens.

Important Features to Consider for the Best Tactical Flashlights

Beam and Brightness

Brightness quality, lighting modes, beam distance, and output are essential for top rated tactical flashlights like Streamlight Stinger, Fenix PD36R PRO, etc. And the brightness is measured by lumens. Some handheld tactical flashlights use LED module to achieve the optimal brightness, while others shape the beam with reflectors for maximum performance in the thrown distance and covered area.

Modes of Operation

Top tactical flashlights come with multiple modes of operation ranging from low-output Moonlight for longer runtime, strobe mode for momentary disorienting bursts of light, to high-output modes ideal for self-defense.

Battery Type

Traditional alkaline batteries and even lithium cells have been obsolete in the EDC tactical flashlights today, such as AA batteries, AAA batteries, D cells, and CR123, etc. Instead, they are replaced by lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in a cradle like the 21700 and 18650, allowing for optimal outputs and Turbo modes on some tactical flashlights.

Most tactical flashlights are compatible with USB-C cables and charges, and some even work with magnetic charging,. Whereas others still use micro USB charging on the slower side of the USB rechargeable tactical flashlights.


The best military tactical flashlights should also be durable, waterproof, and impact resistant. You should examine the IP waterproofing and durability spces on the package to ensure the usage and the level of protection. Generally, tactical flashlights models with IPX8 can be submerged in water over 1 meter deep, while some with IP68 protect the tactical flashlights from exposure to sand, dust, water, and extreme temperatures.

Also pay attention to materials and drop rating test results. Many tactical flashlights utilize aluminum and stainless steel over charging ports to protect the rechargeable battery ports.

Size and Weight

Side and weight are another consideration if you want to buy tactical flashlights.

Pocket and compact tactical flashlights are the most popular types because they are light enough to carry and small enough to fit in your pocket or a keychain. Generally, the ideal length for small tactical flashlights should be 2 to 6 inches, and the ideal diameter should be 0.50 to 1 inch. While the weight of tactical flashlights should weigh between 1 and 4 ounces.

Switches and Controls

Switches and controls are specially designed for tactical flashlights. Tactical flashlights adopt tail-activated switch for an easy and quick turn-on and -off of the flashlight when needed and some also have additional controls of the tactical flashlights in specific task environments, like multiple lighting modes, a strobe mode, and a forward-throw switch for momentary-on activation.

Cost and Availability

Cost and availability of tactical flashlights vary with the specifications and features you need. The basic models cost as little as $20 per pair and the advanced models over $100. For example, the top rated tactical flashlight on Amazon, say GearLight S1000, cost under $20, while DanForce G1 rechargeable LED tactical flashlight charges $100 for rich functions like compass and power pack.


When selecting the brightest tactical flashlights, focusability is another important thing worth your consideration. Focusability allows you to adjust the beam of the tactical flashlight to a smaller and more concentrated area so as to increase the intensity of the light, helpful to temporarily blind a potential attacker and better identify a target at a greater distance.


Weatherproofing is an important feature when it comes to military grade tactical flashlights since it provide reliable protection for military, law enforcement, and security personnel in extreme environments. Thus, selecting a tactical flashlight rated IPX4, IPX5, IPX7, or IPX8 will surely resist whatever rigorous conditions like rain, snow, or dust.

Lockout Mode

Lockout mode saves the battery and prevent yourself from accidentally burning your leg with the high-output flashlight especially when you put it in your pocket or leave a light for kids.


Generally, the warranties of tactical flashlights last for a period of one to five years, which ensures the flashlights work as expected from any malfunctions or defects. Also, warranties cover any repairs due to accidental damage or normal wear and tear.

8 Best Tactical Flashlights

Below are the 8 top tactical flashlights of 2023.

LITE Defender T1 Flashlight

One of the best tactical flashlights on our top list is Cytac LITE Defender T1 Flashlight (Item No.: CY-PF002). Made of hardcoat anodizing type III material, LITE Defender T1 Flashlight provides white and blue light and four modes – high, strobe, low, and blue for crime investigation, patrolling, searching, law enforcement, and rescue missions. The blue light mode makes blood and body fluids visible, which is universally adopted by policemen, crime scene investigators, pilots, and other personnel who need to read maps at night or in fogs. Besides, it takes CR123A or 18650 rechargeable batteries, providing the maximum brightness of 1,000 lumens that run 66 minutes at high mode and the beam distance of 210 meters.

Like other military grade tactical flashlights, it has IPX8 waterproof rating for use in heavy rain or other extreme condition and scratch-proof grip. And the tactical tail switch makes it easy to find in darkness with or without gloves.

The LITE Defender T1 Flashlight can be carried with Cytac Universal Flashlight Holder (Item No.: CY-CN-FH). This universal holster is able to adjust tension with your bare hand to hold Dia 20 – 28 mm flashlight barrel and the maximum Dia 1.4” flashlight head, making it suitable for most types of Olight, Fenix, and Surefire tactical flashlights. Then, 10 carrying platforms are available to carry the holster with or without the belt system, including paddle, belt loop, belt clip, drop leg platform, shoulder harness, MOLLE, low ride belt loop, etc.

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Fenix PD35

Have a crush on Fenix tactical flashlights? Fenix PD35 Tac tactical flashlight is made of aircraft-grade aluminum and features durable and reliable Type III hard-anodized finish. Known as the brightest tactical flashlights, it offers the maximum output of 1,000 lumens, different brightness settings, and a strobe mode, making it brilliant to see in low-light environment. Besides, Fenix PD35 supports various energy sources, like a single 18650 lithium-ion battery or two 3V CR123A rechargeable batteries.

If you are looking for a reliable, powerful, versatile, and durable rechargeable tactical flashlights, Fenix PD35 Tac works best for you.

Nitecore MT10A

Nitecore MT10A ranks the top on the list of compact tactical flashlights for EDC use. Designed with a thoughtfully palm-sized red light, it is extremely easy to carry in the pocket and ideal for travel and tactical purposes.

The advertised 920 lumens rated are actually powered by IMR 14500 battery, which is the same size of AA battery but offers much higher voltage than the traditional AA battery. That also indicates that AA batteries which only push out 170 lumens are supported.

The tactical flashlight with IMR 14500 batteries offer several modes to suit any environment:

  • Turbo 920 lumens
  • High 500 lumens
  • Medium 180 lumens
  • Low 70 lumens
  • Lower 1 lumens
  • Red light around 0.5 lumens

Also, other features are also user-friendly. The semi-focused beam works well for searching and general lighting and the built-in heat protection system automatically lowers its output after using the Turbo mode for 3 minutes.

Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA

Streamlight tactical flashlights must have their names when we rank the top-rated tactical flashlights. Steamlight ProTac 1L-1AA is the first recommended Streamlight product in the top tactical flashlights reviews. It is a small tactical flashlight with a compact and lightweight size, making it fit nicely in your pocket. On top of that, it is affordable to own and takes both AA and CR123 batteries. Moreover, other amazing features also make it reliable and easy to use: up to 750 hours runtime, three adjustable brightness modes (high, strobe, and low), and single tail cap switch.

Streamlight Wedge

Another Streamlight tactical flashlight recommended on our list is Steamlight Wedge. It is a rechargeable and compact EDC tactical flashlight made of rugged anodized aluminum that weighs in at 3.30 ounces and measures 5046 inches long. It features a rotating thumb switch and Streamlight typical THRO modes – Temporarily Heightened Regulated Output. Under THRO mode, the flashlight outputs 1,000 lumens in 35 seconds. If you are searching for quality tactical flashlights under $100, it is a decent option.

Olight Warrior X Pro

Olight Warrior X Pro is an impressive military grade tactical flashlights that features a maximum brightness of 2,100 lumens and a beam distance of up to 1,640 feet, which equals to four and a half football fields. Its high mode runs about two hours in total and low mode runs up to eight hours.

Another highlight lies in its sturdy construction, 3-meter drop test, and an IPX8 waterproof rating. Rather than using replaceable batteries, it adopts rechargeable battery and upgraded magnetic charging cable, which charges much faster than the Olight Warrior X model. When the battery power drops to 30% or lower, the built-in low-battery indicator vibrates once every five minutes. If the battery power depletes more, it vibrates much frequently to notify you to replenish the battery.

Olight Warrior 3S

What makes an ideal tactical flashlight? Look at Olight Warrior 3S. It has an even higher output of 2,300 lumens, making it extreme brilliant and reachable to a beam distance of up to 1,900 feet. Then, it is powered by a 21700 lithium battery, providing up to 8 continuous hours of light, and has an optional magnetic remote switch to mount itself on a firearm. Last but not least, its vibration function indicates you the battery life and the tactical grip ring prevents it from slipping out of your hands in a hurry.

Acebeam – EC35 Gen II

Wonder which the best pocket tactical flashlight is? Acebeam – EC35 Gen II is an even more compact tactical flashlight for EDC use than what we introduce above. In terms of output, it has an average output of modern compact flashlights at 1,100 lumens, but it gives you more instant access to the max and min bright by long pressing the tail switch and the mode switch on side. Another advantage is that the built-in USB charger also charges your phone.

If you prefer a small tactical flashlight, Acebeam is worth your consideration.


Hopefully, this guide will help you decide which tactical flashlight to choose. We explore the material, brightness, output, and everything that makes them perfect. We also recommend you try the flashlight holder for a convenient EDC carry.

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