The Top Ten Tactical Flashlights To Brighten Up Your Night

Advantages of a Tactical Flashlight 

Flashlights add the necessary tactical advantage of being able to see potential threats. This means that they are a necessary part of any Every Day Carry setup. In an EDC format, flashlights come in two major varieties: hand held lights and weapon mounted lights.

Since handheld lights serve a wider function and can be used in conjunction with a weapon we will focus on them.


Flashlight Facts

Flashlights have a number of factors that determine which tasks they are suited to. These factors are light output (measured generally in lumens), battery type, and battery life.

As a standard, 500 lumens and above will be considered the ideal options. Below 500 lumens will be considered viable, but mostly as administration lights where there is no need to see beyond ten feet in a low stress environment. However most flashlights listed here have maximum outputs of at least 500 lumens.

Surefire brand flashlights are the most common on this list because Surefire offers some of the best flashlights on the market in regards to durability and performance. However, they are not always the most cost efficient options. Inforce and Streamlight flashlights are good options at a lower price point but are not necessarily as durable as Surefire flashlights.

We will assume that the purpose for these lights is to see potential threats. This does not include general light task like reading paper work, seeing locks in the dark, or creating ambient light for your work environment.


Our Top Tactical Flashlights

The following list is ordered in the best option and then lumen output, from greatest to least on their highest setting.


Surefire Fury Intellibeam

Product

SureFire Fury Intellibeam 1500 Lumen Tactical Flashlight...

Top Overall Pick

  • DUAL FUEL - This versatile pocket-sized searchlight can be...
  • HIGH LUMENS - The Fury Intellibeam has a light output of 15-1500...
  • INTELLIBEAM TECHNOLOGY - Automatically and seamlessly adjusts...
  • LONG RUNTIME & DURABLE - Its runtime is up to 40 hours long. The...
  • PRECISION REFLECTOR - Produces smooth beam with a plenty of reach...

Our rating

Details

  • DUAL FUEL - This versatile pocket-sized searchlight can be...
  • HIGH LUMENS - The Fury Intellibeam has a light output of 15-1500...
  • INTELLIBEAM TECHNOLOGY - Automatically and seamlessly adjusts...
  • LONG RUNTIME & DURABLE - Its runtime is up to 40 hours long. The...
  • PRECISION REFLECTOR - Produces smooth beam with a plenty of reach...

This flashlight can sense the light conditions you’re in and adjust its output to match what is considered the optimum choice. You can override this function in order to get a consistent output of about 1500 lumens when using a 18650 lithium-ion battery or 1100 with two 123A lithium batteries. A rechargeable 18650 lithium battery is included with the Surefire Intellibeam bundle on Amazon. If you don’t want the flashlight adjusting itself to the environment a simple double click of the tailcap (off then on again) will override the Intellibeam function. Easily within the $200 range, this flashlight offers durability, high lumen output, and other features like a momentary-on tail cap. It can run up to 40 hours on high using the 18650 rechargeable lithium battery. Of course higher settings will drain the battery faster for other flashlights. The rechargeable lithium battery is a plus if you don’t want to purchase CR123As regularly, although you should keep some on hand to fill in while the main cell is charging. Additionally you could acquire another rechargeable battery and rotate them regularly to ensure the best performance.


Surefire EDCL2-T

Product

SureFire Fury Intellibeam 1500 Lumen Tactical Flashlight...

Top Pick

  • DUAL FUEL - This versatile pocket-sized searchlight can be...
  • HIGH LUMENS - The Fury Intellibeam has a light output of 15-1500...
  • INTELLIBEAM TECHNOLOGY - Automatically and seamlessly adjusts...
  • LONG RUNTIME & DURABLE - Its runtime is up to 40 hours long. The...
  • PRECISION REFLECTOR - Produces smooth beam with a plenty of reach...

Our rating

Details

  • DUAL FUEL - This versatile pocket-sized searchlight can be...
  • HIGH LUMENS - The Fury Intellibeam has a light output of 15-1500...
  • INTELLIBEAM TECHNOLOGY - Automatically and seamlessly adjusts...
  • LONG RUNTIME & DURABLE - Its runtime is up to 40 hours long. The...
  • PRECISION REFLECTOR - Produces smooth beam with a plenty of reach...

 An upgraded version of Surefire’s EB2 Backup, the EDCL2-T has a maximum output of 1,200 lumens. This flashlight is powered by two CR123A lithium batteries. It does not come with a rechargeable battery like the Intellibeam. There are rechargeable CR123A alternatives but this option doesn’t include them. The controls are simple. A full press will activate the high output while a soft press with activate the low power 5 lumen output. Twisting the tail cap will activate the constant-on option. The EDCL-2 features a two-way pocket clip. This allows for the flashlight to be carried with the bezel either being up or down according to the user’s preference. While not as expensive as the Intellibeam, the EDCL-2 will still be over $140 new.


Surefire Fury Single Output

Product

SureFire Fury Handheld Dual Fuel Tactical Single-Output LED...

Top Pick

  • Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize light...
  • Single high output level of 1,500 lumens on one 18650 lithium-ion...
  • Dual fuel light powered by either two 123A lithium batteries or a...
  • Press tailcap slightly for momentary-on, or fully press or click...
  • Includes 2 extra Surefire CR123A batteries and Lightjunction...

Our rating

Details

  • Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize light...
  • Single high output level of 1,500 lumens on one 18650 lithium-ion...
  • Dual fuel light powered by either two 123A lithium batteries or a...
  • Press tailcap slightly for momentary-on, or fully press or click...
  • Includes 2 extra Surefire CR123A batteries and Lightjunction...

Almost identical to its Intellibeam sibling, the Fury Single Output features the dual fuel battery option and 1,500 lumen light. However it does not have the light sensing technology or multi-function tailcap. The tailcap only activates the highest setting (1,200 lumens with the  SF123A batteries and 1,500 with a SF18650A rechargeable battery). Some might prefer the more simplified controls while others might want the Intellibeam’s additional functions. The lower number of functions will only  moderately lower the price, still placing it closer to a $200 price-tag than some would prefer.


Streamlight 85400 Scorpion

Product

Streamlight 85400 Scorpion High Lumen Tactical Handheld...

Top Pick

  • Machined anodized aluminum covered by an enhanced rubber-armored...
  • Multi-function, push-button tactical tailswitch. TEN-TAP...
  • High for a high lumen, far-reaching beam: 725 lumens; 18,500...
  • Low provides a less intense beam and extended run time: 35...
  • IPX7; waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes; 1 meter impact...

Our rating

Details

  • Machined anodized aluminum covered by an enhanced rubber-armored...
  • Multi-function, push-button tactical tailswitch. TEN-TAP...
  • High for a high lumen, far-reaching beam: 725 lumens; 18,500...
  • Low provides a less intense beam and extended run time: 35...
  • IPX7; waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes; 1 meter impact...

Streamlight brand flashlights offer a more pocket friendly option for those who want a bright flashlight. The Scorpion offers a 725 or 600 lumen output depending on the batteries and a low setting of 35 lumens. It comes with three  operating modes high, low, and strobe. It can be programed to be either high only, low to high, or high to strobe to low (which is the factory default). Powered by two CR123A lithium batteries, the Scorpion is water proof for 30 minutes in one meter of water and can resist a fall from one meter. Its estimated run times are 1.25 hours on high and 18 hours on low. With a price point under $100, the Streamlight Scorpion is a viable option, if not as durable as Surefire flashlights.


Surefire P1R Peacekeeper

Product

SureFire P1R Peacekeeper, Single-Output Rechargeable LED...

Top Pick

  • Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize light...
  • Single high output level of 600 lumens for maximum light. Coated,...
  • Tactical tailcap switch - press for momentary-on, twist for...
  • Reflector shapes far-reaching beam with intense center and...
  • Includes energy-dense 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable battery, AC...

Our rating

Details

  • Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize light...
  • Single high output level of 600 lumens for maximum light. Coated,...
  • Tactical tailcap switch - press for momentary-on, twist for...
  • Reflector shapes far-reaching beam with intense center and...
  • Includes energy-dense 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable battery, AC...

 The P1R Peacekeeper is a lower output Surefire flashlight. With a maximum output of 600 lumens, it doesn’t have the reach of the Fury flashlight. However it does come with a  rechargable battery, with wall and car chargers. It has a momentary-on and constant-on settings (just twist the tailcap). It comes in two varieties, dual output and single output, which gives the options of a high/low out put or only a high output. While it does save on batteries, its initial cost puts it beyond the price of the Intellibeam without the benefits. It would be better used as a backup light in a fixed location rather than a carry light.


Inforce TFX-06-1

Product

Inforce TFx Handheld Flashlight 700 Lumen White LED Light...

Top Pick

  • 700 (high) / 60 (low) Lumen white LED output
  • Brilliant focused hotspot & tailored peripheral beam
  • Compact, water-resistant, impact-resistant reinforced polymer...
  • Heat-dissipating vents for improved LED thermal management
  • Textured rubber tail cap button controls Constant, Momentary &...

Our rating

Details

  • 700 (high) / 60 (low) Lumen white LED output
  • Brilliant focused hotspot & tailored peripheral beam
  • Compact, water-resistant, impact-resistant reinforced polymer...
  • Heat-dissipating vents for improved LED thermal management
  • Textured rubber tail cap button controls Constant, Momentary &...

 Inforce is another cost effective option if you can’t afford a Surefire or need a spare light. The TFX-06-1 has a 700 and 60 lumen output, plus a strobe feature. This tactical flashlight also has heat vents to manage the LED thermal output. It runs for 2 hours on high and 12 hours and low using two CR123A lithium batteries. It is water proof to 66 feet and features a reinforced polymer body, compared to aluminum like the other flashlights on this list. This makes it rather light at 3.75 ounces. At roughly half the out put of the Intellibeam, it is a good option especially at roughly half the price of the Intellibeam.


Streamlight 88062 Pro-Tac 2L-X

Product

Streamlight 88062 ProTac 2L-X 500 lm Professional Tactical...

Top Pick

  • 500 lumen edc tactical flashlight
  • Multi Battery Versatility, 2 x CR123A or 1 x Streamlight...
  • Aluminum housing with type II military Spec
  • Light, extremely durable & abrasion resistant
  • Includes 2 CR123A Batteries, Rechargeable Battery Kit not...

Our rating

Details

  • 500 lumen edc tactical flashlight
  • Multi Battery Versatility, 2 x CR123A or 1 x Streamlight...
  • Aluminum housing with type II military Spec
  • Light, extremely durable & abrasion resistant
  • Includes 2 CR123A Batteries, Rechargeable Battery Kit not...

The Prot-Tac 2L-X is a lower output lithium powered flashlight. It can use Streamlight’s rechargeable 18650 USB Battery. This allows for the cost effectiveness of a rechargeable battery but without the high price of something like a Surefire. This light only puts out 500 lumens but it will run for 3.25 hours with the rechargeable USB battery and 2.75 hours with CR123As. The low cost and relatively long battery life make this an excellent choice if you want to spend less than $80 on a flashlight.


Surefire Backup Series with TIR Lens

Product

SureFire EB2C-A-BK 500 Lumens Backup Series LED Flashlight...

Top Pick

  • LED emitter with TIR lens produces tight, far-reaching beam with...
  • Two output levels - 500 lumens on high for maximum light, and 5...
  • Click-type - press or click for high, return to off, and press or...
  • Two-way clip permits light to be carried bezel up or down
  • High-strength aerospace aluminum body, Mil-Spec hard-anodized for...

Our rating

Details

  • LED emitter with TIR lens produces tight, far-reaching beam with...
  • Two output levels - 500 lumens on high for maximum light, and 5...
  • Click-type - press or click for high, return to off, and press or...
  • Two-way clip permits light to be carried bezel up or down
  • High-strength aerospace aluminum body, Mil-Spec hard-anodized for...

The Surefire Backup series is a compact tactical flashlight more designed for administration or, as the name implies, a backup to your main light. It comes in two varieties a 200 lumen version and a 500 lumen version. The flashlight features a low setting of 5 lumens and an easy click command to swap between high and then the low setting. The TIR lens tightens the beam’s focused spot while allowing for a decent spill rate. The clip allows for two kinds of carry with the bezel up or down. Cheaper than the Intellibeam, the Backup series is still rather expensive, over twice the price the price of the Pro-Tac.


Surefire P2X Fury

Product

SureFire P2X Fury Tactical Single-Output LED Flashlight with...

Top Pick

  • Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize light...
  • Single high output level of 600 lumens for maximum light
  • Tactical tailcap click switch - partially press for momentary-on;...
  • Precision micro-textured reflector creates smooth, optimized beam
  • High-strength aerospace aluminum body, Mil-Spec hard-anodized for...

Our rating

Details

  • Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize light...
  • Single high output level of 600 lumens for maximum light
  • Tactical tailcap click switch - partially press for momentary-on;...
  • Precision micro-textured reflector creates smooth, optimized beam
  • High-strength aerospace aluminum body, Mil-Spec hard-anodized for...

 The P2X Fury is a lower output than the other Surefire products in this list. Its single output is still 600 lumens, with some models featuring Intellibeam technology. However it doesn’t come with a pocket clip. This means it will be loose in the pocket, and some might find this uncomfortable. The P2X is a simplistic and durable flashlight. It is roughly half the price of 1500 lumen Fury which makes it more desirable to those who are more budget conscious.


Surefire G2X With Lumen Upgrade

Product

SureFire G2X LE, LED Flashlight with high output leading...

Top Pick

  • Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize light...
  • Two output levels - high of 600 lumens for maximum light, and low...
  • Dual-output tailcap switch meets needs of LE - press for...
  • Precision micro-textured reflector creates smooth, optimized beam
  • Tough Nitrolon body, anodized aluminum bezel

Our rating

Details

  • Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize light...
  • Two output levels - high of 600 lumens for maximum light, and low...
  • Dual-output tailcap switch meets needs of LE - press for...
  • Precision micro-textured reflector creates smooth, optimized beam
  • Tough Nitrolon body, anodized aluminum bezel

One of Surefire’s older models upgraded for a higher lumen output, the G2X is one of their non-aluminum bodied tactical flashlights. Capable of the common 600 lumen high mode and 15 lumen low mode, it features momentary-on, constant-on with one click, and low settings from the tailcap. Some older models are still at only a 400 lumen maximum output. While the push to upgrade has been made there are still un-upgrade models floating around on the market. There are three variants, Pro, Tactical, and Law Enforcement. The Law Enforcement version is supposed to be more durable and each model varies a little with the price. Although the price is mostly under $100 and around the same price point as Streamlight’s flashlights.


My Top Picks

Obviously the best options from this list are the Fury Intellibeam and Single-Output models. They have the most lumen output, available battery options, and the standard set of controls. They are very durable like most of Surefire’s products and will withstand hard use in the field. The high light output makes it ideal for low-light and no-light scenarios, whether peering into dark corners or overcoming back-lighting in certain scenarios. This helps with positive identification of potential threats, both human and animal.

The other options on this list are all viable for the most part. The possibility of getting an un-updated G2X makes it a less desirable option as a main carry light. The Streamlights and Inforce lights are good backups or options that can be kept onsite without risking a large financial loss of a few hundred dollars like with the Surefire Fury models.


Considerations 

While a number of these have high and low settings to conserve battery life, some end-users may not find this appealing. The possibility of accidentally turning on the wrong setting (like the strobe function) when you really need to see something makes single-output lights more preferable. If you do want to have those capabilities they are available on the market. However you should evaluate your needs before making a purchase.

If you want something that will give superior visibility the more pricey Surefires are going to be the primary option, especially when paired with a significantly cheaper administration light. But if you don’t have that large a budget something like Streamlight will fill the role until you can save up for a more expensive option or be your main carry tactical flashlight until newer options become available.

If you’re more concerned about not spending money on batteries most of these have recharging options for their batteries. The Peacekeeper is the only one on this list that mentions it comes with an AC power and vehicle recharging cables. Keep in mind that the dual fuel options allow for you to keep some batteries on hand should you forget to charge one or more of your rechargeable batteries.

If you do not go the rechargeable root, make sure to swap out the batteries regularly for the best performance. The Surefire lights will generally dim themselves automatically to warn of a low battery, but it’s best to not leave things to chance. The option to keep a few batteries on hand helps with long term planning items like Bug-out-bags, car kits, and “Get-home-bags”.


Parting Shots

When we exclude cost as a factor, output and battery life are our main concerns. The Fury Intellibeam and Single-Output shine through with an amazing 40 hour battery life on high. The other flashlights on this list have to lower their output to even begin to contend with the battery life that the Fury models have.

If cost is a factor, the Inforce TFX-06-1 has the most respectable low setting of 60 lumens. This is not as great as the high settings of any of these flashlights but it is definitely better than the 15 to 5 lumen outputs that are the low setting for most of the lights on this list. Not enough to see a lot of detail but enough to continue working small tasks.

Hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of some of the better options available to you for tactical flashlights on Amazon.

By

Chris Frenchak has over 20 years of firearms experience between sporting and responsible concealed carry applications. Chris is a member of multiple pro-second amendment organizations including USCCA, NRA, and just as importantly, his local range. Chris is continuing a legacy of support for our rights by working with his family to increase firearms education and awareness as the lead editor of GunBacker.

The Daily Ammo

The latest firearms reviews, gear reviews and safe shooting tips for responsible gun owners.

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