Best Tactical Flashlights of 2022 [Buying Guide] – Gear Hungry (2024)

Tactical Flashlight Buyers Guide & FAQ

Q: What Is A Tactical Flashlight?

A: The modern tactical flashlight is an offshoot of the standard flashlight. Responding to the needs the armed forces, police departments and security firmsengineersapplied advanced design and fabrication techniques to fashion a multipurpose unit that is tough, dependable and able to bring intense light to bear on targets near and far. These flashlights are either water-resistant or waterproof, made of aircraft grade aluminum and nearly all run on Lithium-ion batteries (with alkaline battery backup capability).

But a tactical flashlight is more than just a beacon in the dark, it’s also a self-defense item that’s capable of blinding would be assailants with high intensity strobes so you can escape and many can be used to physically subdue perps.

Q: What Are The Parts Of A Tactical Flashlight?

A: From front to back a tactical flashlight consists of:

  • A striking bezel which screws onto the front of the light and is used for self-defense.
  • Next is the flashlight head which encloses the reflector.
  • Moving on the battery tube is next. This will house the Lithium-ion battery and/or the alkaline substitutes.
  • Inside the battery tube is the battery magazine which actually holds the batteries.
  • Next is where the removable clip is usually attached.
  • Last is the tail clip which often encloses the switch mechanism and also often contains a loop for attaching a wristband or other failsafe device.

Best Tactical Flashlights of 2022 [Buying Guide] – Gear Hungry (1)

Things To Consider When Buying A Tactical Flashlight

While most of today’s lights will serve some useful purpose it pays to consider a few things before purchasing one, including:

Your Budget– While there are some real steals available today in the tactical flashlight market (see above) you’ll still want to consider whether a $19 flashlight or a $99 tactical flashlight unit that’s loaded with options is right for you.

Your Needs– If you’re an avidduck hunteryou might want a model that’s genuinely waterproof. If however, you mostly use the tactical flashlight to carve out a safe passage through the parking lot a waterproof flashlight won’t be so important. Likewise, if you’re about to ship out to Kandahar you might want something with all the bells and whistles.

Lumens– Alumenis the measure of energy emitted by your tactical flashlight. Simply put the higher the lumens the more intense the light. However the higher the lumens the higher the heat generated by the flashlight as well. So unless you think you’re going to need to need the brightest tactical flashlight on the market you might want a less powerful tactical flashlight.

Size– This also speaks to need. If you plan oncarrying the tactical lightin your purse strictly for emergencies you’ll want something 5” long or less. A compact flashlight can also move easily from the purse to the pocket and then to the glove compartment or the fanny pack in the blink of an eye.

Power Source– The typical tactical light is powered, as we said previously, by Lithium-ion batteries. In case your L-i battery is drained and you are not in a position to recharge it the average tactical flashlight will also allow for standard alkaline battery power. You’ll want to always have adequate alkaline backups on hand just in case.

Zoom or Not– One of the most popular features of the tactical flashlight is the ability to zoom in and out with the beam becoming wide angle in close and more focused for distances. Not every LED torch light offers this feature though so if the ability to zoom in and out isn’t critical to your needs you might want to skip it.

Battery Life– As mentioned most tactical lights are powered byLithium-ion batteriesand use alkaline batteries as backups. That said energy consumption rates vary from flashlight to flashlight. The greater the lumens the greater the battery consumption while the more robust the battery the longer it will last under any circ*mstances.

Water-resistant vs Waterproof– Water resistance basically means that you can hold your flashlight in the rain for short periods of time and it shouldn’t be bothered. However, if you drop it in a puddle and it takes more than a few seconds to find it you could have problems. With a waterproof flashlight, you can drop it in the puddle and go get lunch. It will still be there working when you get back. Which type you need will depend on your projected use.

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Water Resistance Explained

Explaining water resistance on any device gets a bit tricky. It seems like everything has its own way of measuring what is and what is not waterproof, and to what degree. The most common and useful system is the IPX rating. Let’s explain:

IPX4– you’ll be able to use this flashlight in a rainy environment. If it’s drizzling out or the rain is coming down hard, you’ll want to survey the area. The harsher the conditions, the more likely an assailant is lurking nearby. This is perfect for getting to the source of the potential problem without ruining your flashlight.

IPX7– If, for whatever reason, you find yourself three or four feet underwater, this rating ensures that you can use your flashlight for a straight half-hour without running into a problem. Depth and pressure play into this, but if you end up getting trapped in a car that’s accruing water, this is your ideal way to show rescuers where you are.

IPX8– You can use this underwater for up to four hours, which is immensely useful beyond the four-feet deep rule. While it’s not clear how deep you can go and how it affects the usable time, it is guaranteed to function for quite some time when fully submerged in adverse conditions.

Q: Who Makes The Best Tactical Flashlight?

A: You’ll find as many answers to this question as you’ll find manufacturers and reviewers, but we’ll throw in our 2 cents anyway.

Streamlight– For tactical lights geared toward weaponry Streamlight is a company we have a lot of respect for. They produce an array of fine products at reasonable prices that are as reliable as they are functional.

Outlite– Outlite produces some of the best lights on the market. They are considered leaders in the industry because of their dedication to outstanding design and build quality and their commitment to keeping things affordable.

J5– J5 is based in Utah USA and has high profile affiliations with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. They make a wide variety of tactical flashlights in every imaginable finish and are widely distributed. Their commitment to innovation is a standout attribute.

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SOS Mode

The most useful and distracting feature on your tactical flashlight is easily the SOS mode, yet many users aren’t utilizing this. Having a tactical flashlight is all about be prepared for whatever comes you way, whether it’s a blackout, being out of gas in a strange place, or whatever you can conjure up in your head. The other feeling that comes along with being prepared is being a bit worried, being in an environment and situation that isn’t exactly comforting. That’s when you need to have a tactical flashlight the most.

SOS mode is a strobe feature that renders your attacker useless. When you’re in the heat of a potential assailant attack, you’re not looking at a way to counter-assault them. You just want to be safe, and get out of harm’s way, especially if you have someone with you that you are responsible for. In this instance, you want to use SOS mode—this releases a strobe light that paralyzes your enemy. Now, paralysis is a wide and strong term. When you use a strobe light on someone, this is what happens:

Your brainwaves operate on certain hertz, or Hz. Brainwaves jump around between one and twenty Hz for various reasons, and strobe lights force those brainwaves to hit the highest Hz level possible without becoming lethal to the assailant. This can induce seizures, force the assailant to actually fall to their knees, and in most cases, put their hands over their ears as if a sound were pulsating in their eardrums. It sets off an array of problems, allowing you to get away quickly. In most cases, if someone is trying to sneak up on you and harm you or a loved one, they’ve looked at all the possible ways it can go wrong. A strobe light also tells them not to mess with you, because you bring EDC and come prepared.

Self Defense Measures With A Tactical Flashlight

We know that SOS mode can help you in a pinch. It can disorient attackers, make them confused, and bring them pain without you ever having to get close to them. The closer, the better for disorienting them, but you want the most lumens in your light output to ensure maximum distance, and maximum disorientation power.

These are some of the best ways to defend yourself using a tactical flashlight:

Striking Tool– Most tactical flashlights will come with a bezel that’s serrated or edges enough to cause some serious damage to an assailant. Ideally, you would use your flashlight to shine it in their eyes. Whether or not you’re using SOS mode, anything over 120 lumens is going to seriously mess with their vision, confuse and disorient them, and bring them a whole lot of migraine-like pain. However, this person could be after your possessions, your loved ones, or your life—you can never be too careful. Use that edged bezel and hit them in the face as hard as you possibly can while they are disoriented. This will send them to the ground, and deliver pain alongside mass confusion, allowing you and your loved ones enough time to escape and call the police.

Alert of Your Surrounding– Criminals often tend to strike on the unsuspecting. People who are listening to music on their own at night, and especially those returning to their car in a mostly-empty carport or carpark garage. It’s not just a movie cliché for nothing—people actually do this. It’s not a bad idea to enter the area with your flashlight already on, shining it around to look for potential assailants. Look as far as you’d like, or as far as your flashlight will allow, because you can never be too careful. This is going to tell the assailant that their chances have been slashed in half, because you’re ready for anything, and you’re not afraid to show it. You can avert anything from happening with a little proactivity.

Light ‘Em Up– In most situations, you will be with someone when you’re out-and-about. For those taking their wife/girlfriend out for the night, or the family to a show or a night of fun, you’re a huge risk factor. Why? Assailants know that you have something to lose, and they will use that as leverage in any confrontation. If it’s you and your girl, you should both have a tactical flashlight handy, and practice the precautions in step number two. Light up every possible area at once, rapidly moving between them. You’ll have a map of your surroundings in no time flat, and you’ll be safe enough to get into your car or continue on your path with no worries.

Conclusion

A great tactical flashlight is the kind of must-have kit that practically anyone could use today. Homeowners,campers, hunters, soldiers, first responders, mountain rescue teams and long distance sailors will all benefit from having a first-class tactical flashlight handy. Trying to determine the best tactical torch is not easy as there are so many on the market today but we feel you can’t lose with the 12 we’ve decided to highlight in this flashlight buying guide. We hope you enjoyed this tactical flashlight review and make sure you check back often for more valuable and informative product review guides.

Best Tactical Flashlights of 2022 [Buying Guide] – Gear Hungry (2024)
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