TACTICAL FLASHLIGHTS FOR RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS

There are a vast range of weapon flashlights on the market, so choosing the most suitable one for your needs isn't easy. Whether your considerations are home defense or hunting, you'll need to do your research to find the best product based on a number of factors and not just large flashlights with a goal of lasting forever. We've put together a short guide to help you get started.

Tactical flashlights for shotguns

Widely used for sports and hunting as well as for military, law enforcement and self defense, shotguns are one of the most popular types of gun in the United States. Tactical flashlights are available for all main shotgun manufacturer models, including:

Benelli Beretta Remington Winchester

Tactical flashlights for AR 15 assault rifles and other makes

Similar to shotguns, rifles have longer barrels and are designed for precision shooting. They are commonly used in hunting, sports and military applications. Tactical flashlights are available for all rifle types and models, including:

What to look for in a tactical flashlight for a rifle or shotgun

There are several factors to consider when researching tactical flashlights for rifles and shotguns. Here are a few of the key ones:

  • Brightness - if you're using your shotgun or AR 15 rifles in low-light environments, you need a flashlight that will maximize your vision. A good measure of brightness is lumens, with a tactical flashlight that has around 400-500 lumens recommended for outdoor use.
  • Durability - flashlights for rifles and shotguns need to be tougher than large forever flashlights as they will have to withstand the recoil of shots being fired. They will also need to be waterproof and weatherproof as well as shockproof. Steel and aluminium models will be toughest.
  • Price - product costs vary depending on factors such as features offered, lumens, battery length and brand. Some tactical flashlights can costs hundreds of dollars but cheaper models are available if you want something simple. Work out what you want from your flashlight and what you are prepared to spend.
  • Functionality - accessibility of the on/off switch is important unless you want something that will be kept permanently switched on when in use. This can be an issue for left-handed rifle shooters as most switches are on the right.
  • Weight - this can be a limiting factor that can affect accuracy if you end up with something too big and bulky. There will be some trade-off with durability here. It's recommended to thoroughly check out reviews of a flashlight you are considering before buying to make sure you're comfortable with it. For indoor use, lighter models are more suitable.
  • Versatility - if using your flashlight for home defense, you might want something that offers multiple modes such as strobe mode which can momentarily blind and disorient targets.

Best tactical flashlights for rifles and shotguns

Streamlight 69260 TLR1 High Lumen Rail Mounted Flashlight

Streamlight 69260 TLR1 High Lumen Rail Mounted Flashlight

Streamlight are one of the most well-known names on the market, producing a number of popular flashlights. This is one of their premier models for shotguns and rifles. Key features include a shock-mounted glass lens with a range of 800ft and a TIR optic for extra focus, an ambidextrous switch for left-handed use, 800 lumen capacity and laser/strobe options. The 69260 is also made from aircraft-grade aluminium and is waterproof, so won't damage easily. Cost - around $120.

Orion H40 W500

Orion H40 W500

The go-to model if you're looking for something that is going to withstand intense impact. The Orion H40 is the most durable model you'll find - practically recoil proof and built to cope with extreme conditions, yet very light at only 3.5oz. Its LED light is 500 lumen capacity and it is compatible with most rifle and shotgun models. Although it's strong and reasonably priced, it is fairly basic in terms of functions and had a short battery life of around 75 minutes. Cost - around $60.

SureFire M series

SureFire M series

Laser weapon specialists SureFire were the first brand to sell weapon-mounted flashlights and are a top manufacturer of gun accessories. They have a range of reliable models in their M series, most of them producing between 200 and 600 lumens apart from the M600DF which has a max output of 1500 lumens. All models in the series have a TIR lens that produces a more focused beam, and they're made from aerospace-grade aluminium, making them durable yet light. Slightly more pricey, ranging from $300 to $600.

Affordable tactical flashlights for rifles and shotguns

If you're looking for a decent budget tactical flashlight, there are plenty of worthwhile models under $50. Here are some picks:

Windfire Tactical Cree XM-IT6

Windfire Tactical Cree XM-IT6

This is a notable budget model in terms of its lighting capacity for price paid, operating at a maximum of 1000 lumens and with a range of nearly 350ft. It's compatible with most models and uses a rechargeable battery, although you have to pay extra for the battery. A fairly basic but powerful model at a low price. Cost - around $25.

UTG 126 Defender

UTG 126 Defender

A hand-held tactical flashlight that comes with a ring-mount that enables it to fit onto Weaver and Picatinny rails. This is another quite basic model with lighting at 126 lumen (boosted by a reflector). A good model for home defense requirements, although not ideal for outdoor use. Cost - around $25.

Streamlight 88850

Streamlight 88850

One of the more affordable Streamlight models. This is another hand-held flashlight that can be turned into a rail-mounted gun light, but you need to buy the mount. Its LED light provides 275 lumens and it has 3 operating modes (high/low/strobe).

Tactical flashlight mounts for rifles and shotguns

With some tactical flashlights, especially some of the cheaper models, you may need to purchase a mount to fix the light in place on your weapon. Flashlight mounts for shotguns and rifles come in different styles and can vary in price from $20-25 to over $100. Some mounts are specific to flashlight brands (e.g. SureFire), some are made to fit different gun rail types (Weaver, Picatinny, etc.) and some are adaptable. If you need to purchase a tactical flashlight mount for your rifle or shotgun, it's advisable to contact your tactical flashlight manufacturer.

Popular flashlight mount manufacturers include:

  • Arisaka
  • Bravo
  • Brownells
  • Daniel Defense
  • Impact
  • Magpul
  • Viking
  • Wilson

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