No matter if you’re looking for a tactical flashlight for your Every Day Carry, to put in your pocket, or for your Bug Out Bag, car or in your Disaster Preparedness Kit, Tactical Flashlights are some of the best you can buy due to their rugged, tough design. Tactical Flashlight Reviews help you find the perfect flashlight for every need by giving you an insight to the flashlight’s construction, brightness, how long it will provide usable light and what kind of batteries it takes.
Pricing varies widely with tactical flashlights, but you can expect to find a really good light for around $25-$75 that provides long light and powerful brightness that can really light up an area. Most lights these days use LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology, providing more light for less power. This gives you the substantially longer battery life than you’d see from an older conventional incandescent light.
Tactical Lights are popular because they generally are designed to withstand the elements, put up with abuse in critical situations, and most of all, provide reliable, a bright light just when you need it, every time you need it.
Tactical Flashlight Features
There are common features among many tactical flashlights. The big difference between good and bad lights is in the quality of construction. The better lights tend to have better machining on the threads to the battery cap, more efficient electronics, better switches and of course, more powerful, energy-efficient LEDs.
This usually is the housing that surrounds the light head. Better flashlights will allow you to unscrew the bezel so as to clean the clear lens and reflector. Also, the better flashlights will have waterproofing seals around the bezel screw threads and against the lens.
The clear glass or plastic at the end of the business end of the flashlight that light passes through. Some flashlights will use glass, but to cut costs, even some of the more well-known manufacturers are switching to plastic. The lens will either be flat or projector style where the lens is curved to focus the beam of light as it passes through.
The reflector is the shiny piece you can see through the lens, that surrounds the actual light. There are many variations of reflectors, but generally speaking, the better tactical light reflectors will reflect more light than cheaper ones.
The cylindrical part of the flashlight that the battery or batteries sit inside. Better tactical lights will use a thicker material for the body to protect from damage, and at both ends, the better lights will also have o-rings to protect against moisture.
#Tailcap or Endcap
On a Tactical light, you will often find the on/off switch located on the tail cap for easy thumb operation. The better tactical lights will waterproof the endcap with seals and o-rings.
LEDs as a Light Source
Currently, most tactical flashlights are using light emitting diodes (LEDs) as the light source. The LED technology allows manufacture very inexpensive, but an extremely powerful light that lasts as much as 100,000 hours before the LED burns out. That’s over 100 times longer than incandescent or xenon bulbs that have a filament inside.
Also, It’s worth noting that LEDs do not use filaments, and are solid, so if you drop a tactical light that uses an LED, you will have a much less chance of breaking the light.
Practical Uses for Tactical Flashlights
You don’t have to be in active military or SWAT in order to have and use tactical lights. In fact, they’re so popular that they’re the top sellers of all flashlights in 2017 and so far in 2018. It’s for good reason due to their reliability, durability and smaller form factor (compared to a six-cell Mag Light, for example).
Most people will just have one or two cheap flashlights in their house and car. Usually, they are dim incandescent “C” cell lights that give you at most, an 8 hour run time.
During Emergency and Disaster situations, you need a light that can balance powerful light when you need it with long-lasting light to get you through hours or even many nights of being without household light.
Remember the North East American blackout of 2003 that lasted from three to 10 days depending on where you lived? Even if you didn’t live through that like I did, you can imagine how important light is to even the most common things, and when there’s absolutely no light in the city, things are a lot darker than you might realize.
As such, I keep flashlights in the following places:
- On my person – I have an “AAA” mini light always in the 5th pocket in my jeans or on my belt.
- In my “Every Day Carry” bag that goes everywhere with me
- On every floor in our house, in a centrally located position
- In the garage on the workbench
- Two in the car
- Three in the “Bug Out” / Disaster Prepper bag
It may seem a little extreme, but I assure you, there’s nothing like having light when you need it, or at the very least, knowing that you’re never more than a few feet away if you need it. The worst is to find yourself in a position where you need light, but you have no idea where you put a flashlight, good batteries or even if you own one, so you’re fumbling around looking for something.
Why I Hate Using The iPhone Light
Many people use their phones as flashlights these days, and I have done so too, in a pinch, but the issue that I have with using phone lights is that those LEDs are only good for five feet of usable light around you. Those phone lights don’t have “throw”, and would be useless if you needed to get a bearing on your surroundings. I carry a small AAA light that’s only 3.5 inches and can throw light up to 25 feet. Its good in a pinch, and when I have needed to use it in emergencies, It lights the way while I go get a more powerful light to address the situation.
Beware of “Tactical STYLE” Flashlights
Because of their popularity, Tactical flashlights are being copied with cheaper materials, and can be found everywhere — I saw a bunch of them at a dollar store recently. NEVER buy cheap knockoffs! When you reach for your Tactical Flashlight, you need to know:
- That it’s GOING to work
- That it will stay lit for as long as you need it
- That it’s not going to break
Many of these cheap “tactical style” lights may look like the real thing, but usually are made of cheap plastic, thin battery contacts, and low brightness (lumens) LED lights. When you use one of these lights, you’ll find that they break quickly under normal use, eat battery power faster and generally don’t work when you actually need them.
Spend a little more on a good tactical light from a reputable manufacturer if for no other reason than for peace of mind in stressful situations.
What are Lumens and LUX?
One of the indicators on how much light a tactical light puts out is by its lumen or lux rating. How effectively light can pass through the optics of the flashlight is called “luminous flux” and is measured in Lumens. Many people mistake this rating as the sole indicator of how bright or how much intensity a flashlight has. In order to know how much luminous intensity (brightness) a flashlight has, you’ll need to know the “candela”.
Multi-Mode Tactical Lights
Many of the better tactical lights will have more than one light output options or modes. You will commonly see the following modes featured on good tactical lights:
- High Power – full power and brightness
- Medium – about half the power, increasing the runtime as much as 5 times
- Low – usually just a few lumens, but can give you runtimes as much as 500 continuous hours from just one battery
- Strobe or beacon – strobes are fast flashes of light to attract attention, while beacon will flash every couple of seconds to maintain a very long battery life to increase the likelihood of rescue in emergencies.
- SOS mode – patterns three short flashes, three long flashes, and three short flashes – morse code for SOS.
1. Fenix TK51 Tactical Flashlight
The Fenix TK51 is a flashlight you’d pull out when playtime is over. If the sh*t hits the fan (SHTF) and you need serious illumination, the Fenix TK51 is the tactical light you’d reach for. With a staggering 1800 lumen output, you are lighting up the neighborhood like it’s Christmas time!
TK51 Dual LED Lighting System
One unique feature is that the Fenix TK51 has two individually controlled XML2 LEDs giving you options for your lighting needs, The main LED is designed for spotlighting where you need a lot of light downrange (~45,200 candela), while the smaller secondary reflector LED is specialized for floodlighting your subject.
Primary Spot Lens
Double the throw of a Nitecore EA4, but about a third less than an EA8.
Secondary Flood Lens
This dual lighting system isn’t new, but the way the Fenix TK51 handles it is absolutely flawless. While the main spot lens throws the light downrange, this secondary XML2 LED is designed to flood the area around you (usable light up to 15 feet) so you can see what you need in a wider area. The splash area is definitely wider and a bit brighter than the Fenix PD-35, and the LED gives off a nice cool white light.
The anodized aircraft aluminum housing is probably one of the best of its class. When you unscrew the tail, you really don’t get any anodizing coming off, proving the durability of the light. Fenix is also just one of a few companies that actually take the time to lube up the threads for better operation and longevity.
The Fenix TK51, not surprisingly doesn’t feel cheap, has good weight and really feels solid in your hand as you’re using it. Remember those old 6x D-cell Maglights and how strong they felt? The TK51 has the same solid feel but at about half the weight.
Multiple Power Options
The Fenix TK51 was built to give you a few different power options for versatile use:
- 3x 18650 cells in a battery housing
- Will run on 2x or even 1x 18650s as well!
- 6x / 4x / 2x CR123 (RCR123)
When you need multiple light options, the Fenix TK51 is a serious contender. It’s a perfect tactical light for your car, boat, in the garage or house, and would be perfect for both survival, bug out and disaster bags, but would probably be a bit much for an EDC bag, even if it were a large tactical bag. The issue is that it’s big enough to be cumbersome to pull out quickly from a pack. Also, you need to have the foresight to purchase enough CR123’s (hopefully the rechargeable RCR123 type) or 18650 cells to get you through a potential survival situation.
In addition, you’ll want to have a few charging options, such as a crank, solar, car and wall charger. With all this forethought needed and extra equipment, I really would strongly recommend against using this as your general use EDC light or as any type of primary light source under normal conditions.
2. Manker U11 Neutral White
The Manker U11 is a single 18650 cell EDC flashlight with a manufacturer’s rating of 1050 lumens. Inside by side beam comparisons with the Nitecore P12, it seems that the U11 can’t be putting out more than 800 lumens in reality, but that’s still pretty good.
The Manker U11 is just a tad over 4 inches in length, making it a usable pocket flashlight, as well as perfect for a small EDC pouch or bag. It offers eight standard lighting options, most of which, you’ll probably never use. What is nice is that the Manker U11 can also run on two CR123 cells, making it a bit easier if you need to buy some batteries on the go.
Who Is This Flashlight For?
Obviously, the Manker U11 isn’t a flashlight that you’d want to have if you wanted simplicity. It has a lot of features, fully customizable programming capability and durability for any everyday carry. The U11 is an ideal flashlight for:
- People that like gadgets and to tinker with them
- Emergency and Survival situations where you have to switch between having bright light and long runtimes
- Also in situations where you need to get people’s attention by use of the strobe or beacon.
- Hobbyists that need a light when out in the field with RC Drones or other aircraft
- Police and First Responders of all types
The Manker U11 is definitely a very versatile flashlight, ready for everyday use, and rechargeable via USB port.
Two Run Modes – Reprogrammable Pro Mode
There is just a lot of this flashlight that’s not very well known. The circuitry was built to have two different profiles:
- Basic Mode – Your standard operational mode
- Pro Mode – Fully programmable mode offering fine-tuned adjustments to the lumen outputs for each of the seven modes
The way it works is that in Pro Mode, you can select one of three individual outputs for each mode. It’s pretty hard to explain by typing it out, but if you watch the video, you’ll get the idea.
To enter pro mode, you press and hold the power button for ten seconds. The light will come on steady, and then after the 10 seconds has elapsed, it will blink twice and turn off. The flashlight is now in Pro Mode.
At first, the pro mode won’t seem any different than the basic mode. The EDC flashlight will cycle through the same settings as above by default. As you cycle through the modes, you’ll find that there are more additional modes that aren’t on the list above:
- Beacon Mode – The EDC flashlight will blink once per second in a long-running 20-day beacon mode.
- Turbo Mode – Not sure why this is there twice
- Battery indicator – Flashes the light up to four times to indicate how much battery power is remaining (every blink equals 25% power).
- Set Low mode – The flashlight will cycle between three brightnesses for low mode. click the power button to select which setting you want to program for low mode.
- Set Medium Mode – Same as above
- Set High Mode – Same as above
- Set Turbo Mode – Same as above
NOTE: The custom modes that you set in the last three steps affect the basic mode profile. When you put the flashlight back into basic mode, your programmed brightness settings will apply.
Lumens To Runtime Estimates
- Moonlight – .75 lumen | 45 days
- Low Mode – 40 lumens | 41 hours
- Medium – 180 lumens for 8.2 hours
- High – 430 lumens for 3 hours
- Turbo – 1050 (more like 800) lumens for 1.5 hours
- Strobe – (double click power button when in use)
- Breathing/ pulse – one more click after strobe. pulses blue LED under power button so you don’t lose the flashlight – 60 days est. based on power consumption
- SOS mode – one more click after breathing mode.
NOTE: The 18650 Battery is NOT included. If you don’t have one, you can get one here, or use CR123 cells from the drug store (pricey way to go).
When the light is charging, the blue power button LED will pulse until the 18650 cell is fully recharged.
It does not seem that the flashlight has protection circuitry to protect the light if you accidentally try to recharge CR123 cells. They will get hot and possibly explode. DO NOT recharge any battery but a rechargeable 18650 cell.
3. Streamlight 88061 ProTac
The Streamlight 88032 PT1AA Protac Single AA /18650 Tactical Light is an ideal light for pocket carry, EDC, backpacks or anywhere else that you need a bright, compact light at your immediate disposal. It runs 70 lumens on an AA battery and roughly 150 lumens on a single 18650 battery for about 2 hours (max output)
Due to its small size, the Streamlight 88032 PT1AA Protac can be tucked away just about anywhere. It’s a good all purpose light but really works well for wrenching on the car at night, sifting through paperwork in a dark storage room and lighting up the hall on the way to the bathroom. Other uses include:
- Work Light
- Signal Light
- Trick or Treating Light
- First Response
- EDC/Bug Out Bag
- Camping/Hiking (weight: 2.3oz w/Li-ion battery)
The 88032 AA Tactical Light is a durable, long-lasting flashlight that as I said, is perfect for general use, but it’s perfect when you need to light up a workspace within 15-25 feet. The 70 lumen light (with AA Battery) will provide enough light to get the job done, and gives a substantial 2 hour run time.
The Streamlight 88032 Protac features a 6000 series machined aircraft aluminum housing with anodized finish. When you’re holding it, it feels solid and durable with good weight and balance in your hand. There’s plenty of texture so even in the dark, you instantly will know which end is the business end of the light so you don’t blind yourself turning it on.
Streamlight does a good job in the thread machining for the tail cap and bevel. They screw on smoothly and have water resistance to 1 meter for 30 minutes. Most of the time, you won’t be submerging the light, so you can be sure that it will still be watertight in the rain if you happen to need it.
The tactical tail cap switch feels solid when you depress the button. You’ll hear a solid click as the switch activates as confirmation that you have turned the light on or switched modes. The Streamlight PT1AA features three modes as well as three strobe modes.
- Full Power – 70 lumen on regular alkaline AA battery
- Variable intensity dimmer (low power I estimate about 20 hours runtime)
- Strobe modes – High-strobe-low, High Only, Low Only
- Dimensions / Weight
The flashlight is 4.16 inches long weighing 2.3-ounces with a battery.
Well, I would like to conclude by just saying Streamlight 88031 Protac tactical flashlight to be a satisfying product. Its good to invest in something just for you as I am sure you will definitely not go wrong. It’s for self-defense and also for personal use.
4, G700 LED Tactical Flashlight
The G700 Flashlight is a tactical flashlight which many people refer to it as the “toughest flashlight on the market”. So many will ask why it is referred as the toughest in the market. The answer is simple; G700 flashlight is made from aluminum the same material used to make aircraft. This makes it be ranked as the most durable and long-lasting military grade flashlight on the market today.
The technology utilized in the G700 was initially developed for the US Military and was purposely used to serve Marine Corps during combat. The flashlight is the perfect pick for both outdoor and home use.
How G700 Flashlight works
The G700 tactical flashlight uses the state of the art flashlight technology to power itself. This amazing flashlight has a lighting of 700 lumens. This is among the many useful features to look for when comparing flashlights. The name G700 was derived from the fact that the flashlight puts out 700 lumens of power.
One fantastic feature of this flashlight is the five pre-set models. These preset modes which include high, medium, low, SOS and strobe provide usage under different situations.
The flashlight is made of aircraft aluminum grade material which makes it virtually indestructible. This, in other words, translates that the flashlight can as well be used for self-defense purposes without incurring any damages.
One of the unique features of the G700 Flashlight is the battery capacity. You might be expecting that such a well-scripted flashlight is fitted with a massive battery power. The truth is that the flashlight uses only 2 AAA batteries. However due to the integration of power saving technology, the flashlight uses the surprisingly little amount of energy, so there is no need of continuously changing the battery. The flashlight has 1200 hours Lamp Life.
Battery charger and power options of the G700
The G700 uses two powering options: one is using the adapter that holds 31.5 volts AAA cells and the other option using a single 4 volts AAA battery.
Upon purchase, along with the charger comes a car adapter that will allow the user to charge the batteries whether at work or during trips. However there are other charging options for the G700 flashlight using USB, but this option is not usually included in the retail packaging.
Here are some of the reasons why you should carry the G700 Flashlight.
- Illuminate dark areas– this is helpful especially in preventing a hiding attacker from surprising you. If you are in a dark place where you cannot look and seek what is there- shine the flashlight on it. This is important as the light allows you to perceive threats and know whether you should go into some locations.
- For defense purposes– the G700 Flashlight is essential for self-defense. In the case of a confrontation by an attacker, a small high-intensity beam shown in the eyes of the attacker can temporarily blind the attacker. This, in other words, will give you the opportunity to escape the attacker.
- In places where weapons are not allowed, flashlights are welcome. Unlike other weapons used for self-defense, the G700 can be carried anywhere without any worries. For example, you can bring it on an airplane, and even in your purse.
Usage does not require any training but only requires the press of a button, and then you are ready to go.
The advantages of G700 Flashlight
- Durability. The aluminum material used to make the flashlight make it last longer and the possibilities of wearing out are minimal.
- Versatility. There are five modes which can be utilized in different situations.
- Perfectly fits in the user’s hand. The flashlight is compact and not bulky, unlike some other tactical military grade flashlights. This is because of its perfect length and the circumference. The depressing button is perfectly placed and therefore does not have problems when switching ON.
- Uses AAA battery. A lot of tactical flashlights use a CR123 battery. However, an advantage of the G700 Flashlight is that it uses batteries which are readily available in the retail stores and can be easily accessed when a replacement has to be done.
- Cheap. When compared to flashlights designed with similar technologies, the G700 flashlight is relatively inexpensive for the quality of the product.
- Designed using a new revolutionary LED technology– the G700 Flashlight utilizes all new technology. The technology has replaced the LED diodes with LED chips. This unique technology is only used in the modern world by the military and NASA for their operations.
In summary, the G700 Flashlight is extremely powerful and an essential tool for outdoor fun as well as indoor usage. A major unique advantage is that it is a multipurpose flashlight since can be used for various occasions/situations. The quality is also good generally when even compared to its pricing in the retail world. Even though the G700 Flashlight is available for home use, the users should, however, the user should be aware of the danger of blinding people with the flashlight and therefore should take full responsivity when using the flashlight for indoor purpose.