TACTICAL FLASHLIGHTS FOR PISTOLS AND HANDGUNS

Glock with tactical flashlight

A pistol or handgun light is a mounted tactical flashlight that can be fitted to your gun. Tactical flashlights, unlike forever flashlight 3 models, are very useful for precision shooting in the dark, enabling the shooter to get a clear vision on their target. For this reason, they are one of the most popular accessories. But with many tactical flashlights for pistols and handguns on the market, you'll need to read up on the uses and benefits of each before you buy. Here's a short guide to help you.

Tactical flashlights for handguns

A handgun is the broad description for types of short-barreled guns that can be fired with one hand. It is used for sports, law enforcement and self-defense among other things and many US citizens own one. Handguns can be broken down into sub-types, with pistols and revolvers the two most common types. Tactical flashlights are available for all main modern handgun models.

Tactical flashlights for pistols

There are a number of different types of pistol, including the single shot, semi-automatic and machine pistols. Most types of modern pistol nowadays can be fitted with a tactical flashlight, including those for the following manufacturers:

Heckler & Koch Ruger Smith & Wesson Walther

What to look for in a tactical flashlight for a pistol or handgun

There are a few key factors that you should consider when looking for a tactical flashlight for your handgun. We've listed a few in rough order of importance, although this will obviously vary slightly depending on your individual requirements and preferences:

Brightness - to start off with, you'll need to get a tactical flashlight that produces the right amount of brightness. The brightness of a flashlight is measured in lumens, but you should also check the candela output too. Many tactical flashlights for handguns and pistols are fitted with LED lights with a high lumen capacity. Although it's important to have adequate light to give you a clear and precise shot as well as something that can startle your target (a flashlight with a high lumen output can temporarily blind an attacker), something that is too bright can affect your own vision and cause unsteadiness. For general home defense, 200-400 lumens should be sufficient, with up to 800 lumens recommended for outdoor use.

Durability - tactical flashlights for weapons need to be made of tough stuff to be able to endure the recoil of shots being fired - something a forever flashlight 3 does not experience. A durable and reliable flashlight will be made out of good quality material (steel, aluminium, durable plastic) and should last for over 2000 rounds. Obviously there is some level of trade-off with price, with longer-lasting models costing more.

Size and weight - both of these factors need to be considered. You'll need a flashlight that is shorter than the barrel of your handgun so as not to affect performance. You also won't want something that is too heavy, so it's worth checking you're comfortable with everything before buying.

Additional features - some of the more advanced models come with extra features e.g. laser-light combo, pressure switch or quick release facility.

Price - weapon flashlight prices vary greatly compared to forever 3 flashlights, so work out what your requirements are and what your budget is. Don't rush out and buy the cheapest model but, equally, don't spend hundreds of dollars on something if your needs are quite basic.

Best tactical flashlights for pistols and handguns

Streamlight TLR1 HL

Streamlight TLR1 HL

Streamlight are one of the most reliable manufacturers of tactical flashlights on the market and they have a whole series of high-performing TLR models. The TLR model is the favorite of many, with the HL version producing up to 800 lumens and fitted with a TIR lens for added focus. An all-round good performer, compact, light, easily detachable and highly durable. The TLR1 is made from machined aircraft aluminium and can withstand extreme weather conditions. It will fit any handgun with Glock-style or Picatinny rails. Cost - around $170.

SureFire X300 Ultra

SureFire X300 Ultra

Another big name brand associated with quality products, SureFire have a number of weapon flashlights on the market and the X300 Ultra is considered the best handgun flashlight available by many. It is used by many law enforcement and military units and, although quite costly, has all the features and qualities you could need. Like the Streamlight TLR, it's light, durable and can is compatible with all rails. It's slightly lengthier than some models but this doesn't affect performance. Made from aerospace-grade aluminium, weatherproof and with an ambidextrous switch, the X300 Ultra emits up to 600 lumens and has a TIR lens to improve focus. Cost - around $300.

Inforce APL

Inforce APL

It's difficult to find a brand that can challenge the dominance of the big two names - Streamlight and SureFire - but Inforce have managed it with the APL. It holds its own in terms of flexibility and functionality and its glass reinforced nylon body gives it great durability. It's lighter than most models too, weighing just less than 2oz (half that of the TLR1 and X300). Can produce up to 200 lumens. Cost - around $115.

Affordable flashlights for pistols and handguns

Aimkon Hilight P5S

Aimkon Hilight P5S

One of the best budget models if you want something basic that's not going to break the bank. The P5S is another lightweight model (around 2oz) that has good compatibility and is easy to use, offering 400 lumens and a strobe option. Cost - around $30.

Olight PL-1 Valkyrie

Olight PL-1 Valkyrie

Better known for their quality hand-held flashlights, Olight have branched out into weapon light territory and this is their first offering. It's been getting good reviews so far, with users praising its ease of use, brightness, size and affordability. It's a 400-lumen flashlight that has an ambidextrous switch and can be used on Picatinny rails. Cost - around $60.

Ade Advanced Optics Pistol Flashlight

Ade Advanced Optics Pistol Flashlight

Another good option if you're looking for a simple model under $50. This 200-lumen flashlight is made from aluminium and fits all pistols as well as shotguns or rifles with a Weaver or Picatinny rail. Cost - around $25.

Tactical flashlight mounts for pistols and handguns

Flashlights for pistol and handgun use can be hand-held or weapon-mounted. This article has focused on rail-mounted flashlights, which have a number of key benefits. They allow single-handed control, are easy to turn on and the light is already focused on the target. With some of the cheaper flashlight models, you may need to buy a mount to attach the light to your handgun. These can vary in price from around $20 to over $100. If you need to purchase a tactical flashlight mount for your pistol or handgun, contact your flashlight manufacturer.


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