A tactical flashlight is just a flashlight that has been designed for tactical (i.e. police or military) use. Many tactical flashlights are designed to be mounted to a weapon for a low-light shooting. They are generally little than traditional lights, emits much more light, and are made of weapon-grade aluminum for highest durability. While tactical flashlights are made primarily for police or military units, as we will see below, they are also an everyday and personal defense tool for the average person.

What makes a tactical flashlight?

Tactical flashlights are designed to be used in a range of bad conditions and environments. With heavy duty construction, they are built to work when you need them. So what are the features that set them apart from your average torch? The most general components are the following:

Brightness/High lumen output

A lumen is the measure of the amount of visible light emitted and the way to point out the brightness of an LED. The more lumens, the farther the light will move as well. High lumen flashlights generate a brighter light, wider beam of light of five-hundred lumens or more. While not all conditions call for such a bright light, there are instances where such brightness is warranted such as in rescue or search conditions as well as identifying potential risks.

Durable construction

If a tactical torch cannot hold up in a range of hard conditions, then it is worthless. Tactical lights need to be made of powerful materials to endure occasional drops and bad situations. Tactical flashlights are constructed with aero grade aluminum alloy with an army grade hard-anodized finish for highest durability.

Simple one-touch interface

Tactical torches are designed for one-handed operation. Tactical lights generally have a side switch as well as tail-cap switch. The tail-cap switch permits the users to grip the light in an ice pick type grip and to immediately and simply operate the switch with the thumb. Additionally, some lights also have tailcap clicky switch for momentary activation.

Special/multiple light modes

Tactical torches are generally used in conditions where many brightness levels will be required. The extremely bright light you need in one condition may be wary too bright for another. Different high modes provide you the capability to adjust the conditions as required.

Additionally, some tactical lights have unique modes as well. Beacon and SOS modes are for emergency or survival type conditions while strobe is used to disorient a perpetrator in self-defense condition.

Water/impact resistant

Tactical lights need to be capable to withstand a range of conditions including exposure to water and occasional drops. Impact resistance is the top level in meters the torch can be dropped onto concrete and still operate. Tactical torch have an impact resistance of 1m or higher. Open-air use means exposure to the elements. Water resistance is based on an IPX rating. IPX4 rating means the light is resistant while IPX8 and IPX7 mean the light is waterproof and can be submerged in water and still run.

Specific applications for tactical flashlights

What are some specific applications for tactical torches? Really, they can be deployed in any scenario where you need best illumination, a little extra durability or brightness.

Self defense

It is general to deploy a tactical torch in self-defense scenarios. It can be used to blind a target as a technique of non-lethal force and to illuminate a target for firearms if weapon-mount lights are not accessible options. Some tactical torches are designed to be weapons should the condition call for force, through many agencies.


All of the aforementioned specs make tactical torches amazingly versatile pieces of gear for a big range of industrial and recreational applications – camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, rescue and search, and simple day-to-day life. Their amazingly durable construction and long-lasting batteries make them perfect for survival scenarios as well, such as sailing trips or overnight backpacking where resources are limited.

How to pick the right tactical flashlight

Here are some of the things to keep in mind before buying tactical flashlight:

Power source and bulb types for tactical flashlights

Most tactical torches come with LED bulbs. LEDs are quite powerful efficient, which means you will change batteries less frequently as you would with a standard-bulb torch. if you find anything other than an LED bulb, take a hard pass. They burn out quite immediately in comparison, and when that happens, most people just opt to change the full torch – but a best tactical torch is not cheap.

Illumination and lumens

Lumens are a measurement of the amount of light emits from a source. The higher lumen output your tactical torch has, the brighter it will be and the more battery power it will use. The top tactical torch have lumen output settings you can pick, and some even contain a strobe spec that generates ultra-bright to confuse or deter attackers, as well as make a stop-motion effect you can use to buy time in an emergency.

When you are scoping out torches by lumens and how they will light up whatever you are looking at, here is what you need to consider:

  • The torch beam distance
  • Whether the torch has more than one mode
  • How long the torch will run on its highest setting

Tactical considerations

Other vital tactical considerations when you are searching for the best flashlight include:

Finish: Black finish is more tactical for nighttime works, but others can serve you just as well.

Weight: The lighter, the better. One of the best tactical flashlights are accessible is the response CRI.

Lens material: Plastics lenses are lighter and more versatile, but ensure you go for those that are scratch-resistant.

Weather resistance: Find a torch that saves itself from rain and inclement weather.

Every torch has its own advantages and disadvantages, but when you are looking for a tactical torch that will carry you through the worst-case scenario, your key concerns 

Every flashlight has its own pros and cons, but when you're looking for a tactical light that'll carry you through the worst-case scenarios, your main concerns should be light output, power source and weight – you can't gowrong when you nail that trifecta.