View Full Version : Tactical Flashlights

July 19, 2011, 10:57 AM
Hello Everyone:

I've just begun to look into buying one, but have no first-hand knowledge of what to look for or where to buy.

What's the deal with the batteries? Some use regular and others have special (rechargeable?) batteries?

Want something relatively small with good brightness, and willing to spend up to $100.00.

Any feedback/suggestions would be appreciated.

Best Regards,


July 19, 2011, 04:01 PM
I have a couple of Surefire lights. My E2E I believe I spent about $100.00 for it. Surefire is pricey but they are rugged and dependable. If I had it to do again, I believe I would get one with the strobe.

July 19, 2011, 04:51 PM
Thanks Dennis. Nice pic!

Anyone use the Fenix brand?

They have several well under $100 with strobe also.


July 20, 2011, 01:43 AM
There are a few good sources for "white lights" or tactical flashlights.
Most tactics or defense instructors suggest at least 65 luminems(check spelling). Li powered battery designs or lights that offer strobe features are good too. A rear push button or duel control function is ideal. Newer models with CREE or LED systems are popular with many armed professionals & private citizens.
Sportsmans Guide had a great rechargeable white light with 240 lum & a strobe. It was around $40.00 and came with a kit. The product sold out but they may offer a new version soon around the same retail price.
Other popular models include Surefire, Streamlight, Blackhawk, 5.11, Maglight, Inox. For prices, features & sales see; www.Galls.com www.Natchezss.com www.Policehq.com www.qmuniforms.com www.uscav.com www.blackhawk.com .
You should find a good white light in your budget or with the features you require.


Bill DeShivs
July 20, 2011, 02:06 AM
Check my web site.

July 20, 2011, 05:29 AM
Im a proud American, but when it comes to tactical lights I say buy CHINESE! JetBeam, Fenix, WolfEyes, iTP, Olight, etc etc. They all put Surefire, Blackhawk, Streamlight etc to shame udder shame. A lot of guys on here only know tactical lights because of the Surefire cases at their local gun store, and so thats all they buy... But there are TONS of better lights for the same price or often cheaper.

Tell me what you are looking for and I can make some suggestions. My edc light is a JetBeam Jet-1Pro V3. Its fairly small and bright, also very customizable. Lumen output is 70-75 lumens on 1 Alkaline AA, 145 lumens on 1 Lithium AA, and 240 lumens´╗┐ on 1 rechargable 14500.

Im also NWdude83 on www.candlepowerforums.com

July 20, 2011, 06:12 AM

July 20, 2011, 06:29 AM
Check out Coast before you go blowing hundreds of dollars on those tacticool companies products. Not sayin their bad but some seemed way over priced. I use a Coast LED lenser daily on my job and it works great. I have beat the hell out of this light and it keeps on working. I've had it for about three years now i think and gets used frequently. Has aluminum body ,o-rings,uses standard AAA batteries and has a adjustable focus lens which is very important when buying a LED light. Retails for about $40.00 about 115 lumens and they have much brighter lights if you want to spend a little more. I liked mine so much i bought three of them.

Double Naught Spy
July 20, 2011, 06:30 AM
If you are dying for a CR123 battery light, I have found this to nearly match my P6 Surefires and it runs on just one and costs $14.


This is my current favorite pocket carry. Runs on 1 AA or one rechargeable 14500 battery. On the 14500, I carry it over my Surefire. $13.

I also gave the latter has Xmas gifts last year which were a big hit. They are good lights.

July 20, 2011, 08:37 AM
I believe a local vehicle part store used to sell the flashlights dns just mentioned...alot of people had them around here ( I never seen any mounted onto rifles ) but in car doors and such...I think they stopped though..idk why

Onward Allusion
July 20, 2011, 03:34 PM
Tactical Flashlights

Lots of brands out there. If it is for SD/HD, stay with brands like Streamlight & Surefire.

I can tell you first hand that the cheaper ones may be as bright but their quality is not on par with the good ones. I've had many cheaper lights fail on me after one drop or in the case of weapon mounted lights, after a few trips to the range.

My nightstand gun has a TLR-2.

July 20, 2011, 03:46 PM
Maybe try on of these, they are 200 lumen LEDs from Surefire. They make a great beam that is bright enough to clearly see things out past 70yards with ease. Just make sure you do not look at the business end at night or you will be seeing spots for a hour.:D

http://www.surefire.com/6PX-A-BK I paid about $100 on amazon.

July 20, 2011, 03:56 PM
Tactical Flashlights? The only tactical flashlight I ever owned was a military crookneck light (http://www.uscav.com/productinfo.aspx?productID=7545&TabID=548) that had three filters in the base cap. I put the red filter in and threw the others away. It was perfect for hanging from my MOLLE gear when I was reading a map. That was back in the day when I was a warrior. Times change.

Nowadays I use an LED light (http://www.academy.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10151_10051_27105_-1?Ntt=flashlight&Ntk=All) that's made by Maglight. It's short, heavy, uses two D cells and gives excellent service. I've got several of these things because they're so inexpensive and virtually indestructible. I carry one in my cruiser and one in my pickup and one stays on my workbench. It's heavy enough that it can also double as a bludgeon.

July 20, 2011, 04:06 PM
I like my 4-Sevens Preon 2.

July 20, 2011, 05:18 PM
After dumping tons of money over the years on Surefires and Streamlights, I found these at Shining Beam from recommendations on a couple of boards.


For $20 you really cant beat them. They are a bright white LED thats 2-3 times brighter than my Streamlight Stingers. They easily throw a beam 75-100 yards. Ive gone through two now in the past three or four years, but they hold up well to a pretty good amount of abuse. Things on my person dont have an easy life, and these have held up better than a lot of other things. No better or worse than my Surefires or Streamlights either.

I carry one in my pocket everyday, and use it pretty much every day as well.

I also recently picked up one of these from them.....


Its a bit more money wise, but the light it puts out is just WOW! They claim an 850 lumens rating (the first one above is ''only" 235). The only thing I dont like about it is the three way "switch" for three different brightness levels. Its really not bad, compared to some, but I really prefer a "fixed" power so I know its the same every time I hit the biutton.

July 20, 2011, 07:44 PM
Thanks for the info AK! I've always loved my surefires, but not for the hefty price tag

July 20, 2011, 08:18 PM
i use my G2X Pro for work. its small enough you can use it effectively with a handgun, its got two settings, it uses a small diode with two settings. The dim setting is great for checking ids but the 2nd setting is great for looking in tinted car windows and lights up dark rooms, as well as has an awesome range. Granted its expensive but well worth the buy.

Occam's Razor
July 20, 2011, 08:41 PM
Streamlight PT2L - $45 online. Just do google. 2 cr123's but has a low beam function as well to save on battery life. Very small with a high end output of 180 lumens. I own a couple.

July 20, 2011, 09:56 PM
Check out the good, old Coleman Lantern products at Walmart. 140 lumens for $27.00. I bought a Surefire G2 just to compare, and their light output was identical. I will admit that Surefire has the best end-cap switch, though. Every other flashlight I've tried has the button slightly recessed, it can be hard to get to with your thumb.

July 20, 2011, 11:23 PM
About 2 years ago in early 2009, I was working on a security post with a US Navy veteran who was showing me his new, super-cool LED flashlight.
The cheap knock off that he paid "only" $20.00 for broke and wouldn't turn on.
The security guard wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer but the incident drove an important point home; "you get what you pay for"! :)
Quality brands or products are worth the $. If you want gear or tools that can protect you or save your bacon someday, buy decent kit.

July 21, 2011, 03:54 AM
"you get what you pay for"
I agree for the most part, but with the results Ive been having with the "$20" Romisens, I have to wonder if I wasnt getting raped pricewise by Surefire and Streamlight for all those years. Same of better performance for a lot less money.

So far, Im not replacing the Romisens any faster than I did the others, and I usually get at least two or three to one when I buy them.

Double Naught Spy
July 21, 2011, 07:04 AM
"you get what you pay for"

I too agree, for the most part. Then again, there are some things people are just apt to pay too much for because of a name. I went through several Surefire and Streamlight xenon bulbs in fairly quick order early on before the change LEDs. At a replacement cost of $25 a piece, I did not think I was getting what I was paying for. I even managed to melt a Streamlight lens that wasn't supposed to melt after I ran my light too long.

If you bought a brand new high end Cadillac in the 1970s, you still got junk.

Equating all less expesnive products with each other as if cost was a company isn't exactly.

Surefires have problems as well...

Google is your friend. This is just a small sampling of the number of folks with Surefire problems. Surefire makes a good product, no doubt, but just because it is expensive doesn't mean you won't have problems with it.

Gun Casket
July 21, 2011, 05:38 PM
I'm from Gun Casket (www.GunCasket.com) and we were at a gun show in Las Vegas a few weeks ago working next to booth called "Sight For Sore Eyes Tactical". Their light/laser combo's were some of the best I've seen. You can see their lights at www.SFSEtactical.com. They had units that you could recharge, pressure switches for the lights, strobes and all sorts of cool stuff.

My guys and I spent some time at their booth and the quailty looked great. I plan to get a laser/light/rail combo for my Saiga 12 from these guys.

Prices seemed reasonable and I know they sold quite a few to a police department down there.

Hope this helps!

July 21, 2011, 08:28 PM
The only Chinese lights that are iffy quality are some of the cheaper ones usually found on DealExtreme. Let me put it this way, there are Germans (who are known for love of all things quality) who do mostly Chinese flashlight reviews on YouTube...
There are some newer brands like Sunwayman, LuminTop, Klarus etc that Im not too familiar with, but they seem to have nice lights.

Surefire = name brand but lower output, shorter run times, and costs more. Streamlight and Blackhawk lights are so unimpressive IMO, that Im suprised they are still in business.

July 22, 2011, 09:23 PM
Originally posted by Occam's Razor
Streamlight PT2L - $45 online. Just do google. 2 cr123's but has a low beam function as well to save on battery life. Very small with a high end output of 180 lumens. I own a couple.

I agree, I have the same light and I like it very much.

July 23, 2011, 07:41 PM
Thanks for all the input guys.

I wanted the light for nightstand & glovebox use.

Choosing a light is 2X more complicated than choosing an HD pistol!


Kevin Rohrer
July 23, 2011, 09:53 PM
Any LED flashlight that uses AA batteries.

I carry a Streamlight PT2AA, which may be longer than you want (6"), but my requirements are probably different from yours. It is very bright (brighter than my full-size, incandescent Streamlight) and the batteries last a long time.

LEDs are a welcome advancement in flashlight technology. :)

July 24, 2011, 11:42 AM
Another way to look at it: How about asking for what gun to buy on a flashlight forum? :p

Seriously though, check out Candlepowerforums. It's generally a good group of folks, and well-moderated for content (I'm a Mod there, so I should know, LOL)

July 28, 2011, 10:48 AM
I've got the new Elzetta with strobe and it's great. If you haven't checked out Elzetta yet, may be worth your time. You can configure them however you want (different bezels - standard or strike) and different tailcaps depending on your use and your preference. I love mine...and made in USA!!

July 28, 2011, 12:21 PM
+1 for candlepowerforums. I wanted to check out the same type of thing and they have great reviews of a million flashlights, not to mention more technical information that you can shake a stick at.

I ended up buying a fenix Pd20 R2 for about $55. 190 lumens. It can light up my back fence (70 yards away) at night about the same as my dewalt flood light connected to the huge 18v battery. Very happy, great quality.

July 28, 2011, 07:13 PM
When I was on the Police Dept most officers carried streamlights a lot still do all over the country. I have a Streamlight Ultrastinger in my Car and a Stinger DS Led in my headboard and a SL-20x on my wife's side of the bed.



July 30, 2011, 03:32 PM
Watch out for protected CR123 lithium cells. They are great for shelve life and high current delivery, but most of the cells are protected. That means they have a built in circuit that shuts the battery down when it goes below a certain voltage setting. This is done to prevent high current that could cause a fire. The problem is that the shut-off occurs without warning. So if you are using them in a tactical situation you could loose light without warning.

Alkaline and ni-mh rechargeable don't have this issue. They just get dim and that's your warning they are getting low.

July 30, 2011, 04:37 PM
I have a couple of Surefires and several Fenix's. Surefire for weapons and the Fenix's go in vehicles, lay around the house, etc.

July 30, 2011, 06:32 PM
Yes, I also have Surefire. They are great lights, but the protected cells is an issue. I have had my Surefire go from on to dead in a second due to the cells cutting off. I now try to get lights powered by AAA thru D size.

Now I admit if you always make sure to keep new fresh CR123's then you won't have an issue, but I am cheap and try to get the most out of my 123 cells.

July 30, 2011, 07:55 PM
I have a handful of Fenix and 4Sevens lights.
Can't go wrong with either one, and they have a lot to chose from, depending on what features (size, output, modes, user interface) you are looking for.
You can get an awesome light for under $100.
For the uses you mentioned, I would make sure to get something that has a wide range of output levels. Also, you don't need crazy lumens, even for "tactical" uses (I hate that word). 300 lumens is SUPER bright, and a little overkill indoors.
Here's what I carry in my pocket:
I think something like that would make you more than happy, as well as make you buy more flashlights (you'll find other "niches" that need to be filled - although this is a superb all-purpose light).

July 30, 2011, 09:02 PM
General comment about run times.

I have tested run times on most of my lights. I am a flashlight geek so I have quite a few. Some are $200 plus down to some low cost Costco lights.

I find a good rule of thumb is to take about 70% the advertised run times and that's about what you will really get. Still not a bad number for most modern LED's.

BTW, I find some of the low cost lights have as good run times as the expensive lights. Of course now days most all are using some type of Cree LED.

July 31, 2011, 12:28 PM
I bought a mag lite 150 (i think ) it is led cost $30. throws more lite then my surefire and uses 3AAA s. It has a hi and low setting and a strobe. its rugged. Just my 2cents worth.

July 31, 2011, 02:45 PM
Now there are two many good lights out there to name. When LED's first became bright enough to be useful there were only expensive lights using them, usually with CR123 batteries. Now you can buy low cost lights all over that have at least 150 lumen's and run on AAA or AA batteries. And they are mostly with good regulated run times.

You can go to Sears, Target, Cosco and similar stores and buy lights that would have cost you $150 plus just a few years ago for low cost, or order off the net.

PS, incandescent flashlights are dead. For anything up to 700 lumens LED's are the way to go, for more lumens then HID's are the way to go.

August 1, 2011, 08:45 PM
I'm surprised that no one really commented on features that you might want ... or if they did, I missed it in my scan.

Anyway, for a SD/HD light, my calculus is VERY different than for pretty much any other use. First off, I always look for a light that I can pulse on ... as in, carry off through the house or yard and with a semi-depression of the switch get a momentary pulse of light. Unfortunately, most of the lights mentioned in this thread click on and pulse off ... I don't understand why they would be designed that way, but it must be simpler (cheaper!) electronics that way. The second thing I look for is single mode ... at least from the switch. If you pulse off most multi-mode lights, they wake up in the next mode, so if you bump your tailcap you can go from a max light that you want to a strobe :eek: So ... for my SD/HD lights, the SOS and strobe functions are negatives, not features. I have a couple of great Fenix EDC lights and I'm thrilled with them ... but after trying many of the lights mentioned in this thread, my current SD/HD light is a SureFire 6P with a ~200 lumen drop-in single mode P60 LED module that I probably picked up at DealExtreme. The SureFire switch just seems much more reliable (than the imports) to me and I think that the prices on the 6P lights are falling due to the impending extinction of incandescent bulbs, so this combo is quality without breaking the bank.


August 19, 2011, 07:59 AM
If you want a tough bright light you can't do better than a Surefire 6P with Malkoff P61 drop in. They do have complete lights for sale now and I'm sure the quality is first rate I just don't have any experience with them. Some of the made in China lights will give actual OTF lumens but with most of them you are lucky to get half the output they claim. :confused: