Tactical flashlights (also called Police Flashlights) are known for rugged durability and very bright lights. They are generally handheld but there are also weapon-mounted versions. Their reliability, use for self-defense, overall utility, and brightness make them the go-to choice for practically every flashlight user.
Weapon mounted tactical flashlights help in environments with low light. They help police officers or soldiers aim and illuminate the target at the same time. Tactical lights also provide a method of self-defense (non-lethal force). Their bright light is especially useful to temporarily blind or disorient attackers
Reliability: Construction material, power switch design, battery life, and type of bulb make these very reliable units. I’ve had a Smith and Wesson tactical flashlight for about 5 years and it still operates flawlessly. Most flashlights are made from aluminum, a cheap grade of steel, or plastic. These aren’t rugged units. Tactical flashlights are made with very nice “aircraft-grade” aluminum. They’re also designed to keep operating on severe weather, can take a drop without breaking (shock resistant), and resist corroding. They are hefty units, but also lightweight enough to ensure ease of use.
What about self-defense? One of the nice things about tactical flashlights is they can be used as a protective device – self defense. Many models have a jagged edge that is no threat when used as a flashlight, but can tear at attackers when used defensively.
Lumens: When purchasing, you want to consider the brightest tactical flashlight possible to match your budget and what you’re using it for. How many lumens (a measure of brightness) should you look for? I scoured a number of articles on the subject and the results range from 80 to 500 lumens and up. One article says 120 lumens minimum. Given that most tactical flashlight manufacturers take advantage of modern technology, it’s easy to find them with at least 200 lumens and up. However, a good summary statement comes from Ed Santos via an article in policemag.com: “It’s not as simple as saying everyone should have a flashlight that has at least 200 lumens, or everyone should have a flashlight that has at least 100… You need to have a flashlight that is appropriate to the skill sets and tactics that you know how to use.”
Versatility in Design: Another consideration is size. You could look for the brightest small flashlight available. Also, versatility and multi-use are handy to have in a tactical flashlight. Two interesting flashlights in this category are listed below. Take a look:
Ready? Here is a good cross-section of very popular tactical flashlights that you can research and purchase directly from these links on Amazon.
(Disclosure: this page contains affiliate links, which means if you buy from those links there is no extra cost to you, but I do get a small commission) As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
By the way, this is my first tactical flashlight, a Smith and Wesson. Still on sale on Amazon, and I’d highly recommend it!