Of all the firearm accessories that are used by law enforcement and military, the sight and the flashlight are the most oft-stated items of choice. Who wouldn’t want to make sure that their shot is accurate and that you can see the target you are shooting at before you pull the trigger. With this easy-to-follow guide of the pistol light reviews, you will be armed (pun intended) with the information you need to choose the flashlight that suits your particular weapon (See: Shotgun light top list here) and individual needs.
A pistol-mounted flashlight can make a huge difference in your ability to appropriately assess a target or potential threat. For law enforcement, military personnel, and individuals who do a lot of night shooting, the pistol light is a great way to illuminate the situation to accurately assess, while still being able to line up and take a good shot if necessary.
Pistol lights can actually end up serving a number of different purposes outside of just allowing for better identification of a target or potential threat. They can be used to illuminate an area and even, perhaps, to stun someone with temporary blindness to allow for escape or control of the situation.
Overview: Best Pistol Lights
|Streamlight TLR-1 High Lumen Rail-Mounted Light|
|Check on Amazon|
|Streamlight TLR-2 High Lumen Rail-Mounted Laser Light Combo||Check on Amazon|
|SureFire X300 Ultra Series LED WeaponLights with TIR Lens||Check on Amazon|
|Streamlight TLR-4 Tac Compact Green Laser Light Combo||Check on Amazon|
|Streamlight TLR-6 Tactical Pistol Light with Red Laser||Check on Amazon|
|Aimkon Budget Pistol LED Strobe Flashlight||Check on Amazon|
Best Pistol Lights (Updated List)
1. Streamlight TLR-1 High Lumen Rail-Mounted Light
This is one of the latest mounted flashlight options from one of the most trusted and reputable of all firearms accessories manufacturers. The flashlight boasts a stunning 800 lumens of clear, bright, light quality. It utilizes a CR123 lithium battery that boasts 10-years of battery storage life. It fits on a universal rail which makes it compatible with most pistol and handgun models. It is built from high-grade aluminum that is aircraft-quality. It is built to be durable and stand the test of time and the wear and tear it will have to endure. You can easily and safely detach the light without having to have your hands near the muzzle, making it a safe choice. This affordable mounted flashlight boasts a TIR optic that provides and an intensely concentrated beam of light while still maintaining good peripheral vision capabilities.
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2. Streamlight TLR-2 High Lumen Rail-Mounted Laser Light Combo
This is another great option from the trusted Streamlight brand of tactical weapons accessories. As with the other model we reviewed, it is made for use with a variety of different models of the firearm, utilizing the universal rail for installation. A more high-tech model than that previously described, the TLR-2 is a great value for the money. This is a durable and state-of-the-art tactical flashlight. It is built for easy attachment and removal of the flashlight for convenience. It boasts an 800 lumen LED light. This provides for powerful, long-range illumination in even the darkest conditions. It is made from aircraft quality machined steel and has an anodized finish for added durability. The TLR-2 also boasts the TIR optic that provides for an intense beam of powerful light while still allowing for sight in the periphery.
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3. SureFire X300 Ultra Series LED WeaponLights with TIR Lens
This mounted flashlight comes from the well know SureFire brand and is a bright, clear, and durable option for the money. Many people find peace of mind from choosing a time-honored brand like SureFire and this flashlight will not disappoint. It is a great value for the money, utilizing energy efficient LED lighting to help extend the battery life of the flashlight without sacrificing clarity or brightness. It boasts 500 lumens, but in a yellowish-green hue that is a spectrum most easily visible to human vision. The precision of the TIR lens allows for both concentrated, no spreading beams of intense light that still allow for adequate peripheral vision. It has an easy-to-use one-finger touch system that makes it easy to engage or disengage the flashlight. Like all the other options here, it is mounted on a universal rail which means no special additional parts are required for installation.
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4. Streamlight TLR-4 Tac Compact Green Laser Light Combo
Streamlight is well known for making some of the most cutting edges and well received mounted flashlights on the marketplace. They are an extremely good value for the money. Like the other TLR models, the TLR-4 is made from airplane-worthy machined aluminum and further treated to improve durability and length of life. This is a compact and lightweight model that will not bog you down with extra weight, yet still provides a high quality, clear, and ultra bright light when you need it. It can be attached or removed with one and boasts a one-touch on/off switch for easy use once on the weapon. It utilizes a C4 LED high powered light to allow for superior quality and enhanced range of sight. This model also boasts a Laser sight which can be used on its own or in combination with the LED light.
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5. Streamlight TLR-6 Tactical Light with Red Laser
When it comes to affordable and high-quality pistol-mounted flashlights, it is hard to beat Streamlight when it comes to the highest quality materials and different options for the money. The TLR-6 is another high quality rail-mounted tactical flashlight that is suitable for a wide range of different pistols and handguns, we can say it is one of the best lights for Glock. As with all Streamlight products, the TLR-6 is made from the highest quality machined aluminum that is designed to withstand a variety of condition as well as the test of time. This is a LED/red laser combo that offers three different modes of use: LED only, red laser only, or a combination of the two. This gives the flashlight enhanced functionality and utility. It is designed to be bright (though not the brightest of the TLR offerings) at 100 lumens, boasting a reach of about 90 meters. It is easy to install and remove, and also has a one-touch button for engaging the light with ease.
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6. Aimkon 400 Lumen Budget Pistol LED Strobe Flashlight
The Aimkon 400 is another high-quality option that is one of the more affordable of the options we have reviewed in this guide. It is a lightweight and mounts with a weaver mount. Powered by a CR123 battery, it boasts easy installation and uses coupled with a high quality and durable accessory. With the Aimkon, you get 400 lumens of clear, bright LED lighting. One of the things that sets this light apart is that it also has a built-in strobe feature which can be used to help locate you in the event of getting lost or otherwise in trouble. The strobe will run for about an hour on a battery charge. The on/off switch is an easy-to-use sliding switch that makes it simple and convenient to engage or disengage the light as necessary. This is a great feature for illumination on the go.
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Best Pistol Light Buying Guide
If you are not a part of the military or law enforcement, you might not see the varied benefits of the tactical flashlight to a shooter. For a variety of different reasons, a flashlight, whether mounted to the weapon itself or carried as an accessory, is a highly recommended tool for anyone’s self-defense arsenal. There is tons of optional gear for pistols and other firearms today and a good portion of them provide minimal utility and are not necessary. The flashlight, however, is an accessory that you can find varied uses for — even if you select a pistol-mounted model. Many pistol models already come prepared for the installation of an after-market flashlight and other accessories. Many handguns and pistols have a rail coming off the front of the gun. This is where tactical flashlights or other accessories can be front-mounted. The notion that you will use a flashlight as an attachment to the weapon is designed in the very build of most weapons. Check-list of must-haves:
- the light must be of high quality
- it needs to have both good visual spread and distance
- LED lights are highly recommended
- it should be simple to engage
Obviously, a flashlight is not suitable for all situations, but for illuminating dark places like a backyard or the woods, they work great. Used on surfaces that are shiny like tile or countertops are likely to cause glare which will do nothing to help your aim.
Hand-held versus Pistol-mounted
There are two main types of flashlights used with pistols: small, hand-held lights, or ones that are mounted directly to the weapon. In this guide, we are only going to review weapons-mounted options, as we feel that the benefits far out weight the benefits of a hand-held flashlight. First and foremost, a hand-held flashlight takes some practice and getting used to. If you find yourself in a high stress or tenuous situation, having something that requires grace and skill is not exactly ideal. For people who have a lot of practice, there can be a preference for a hand-held light as you have more flexibility in where you can aim it and still have your weapon pointed at a target.
First and foremost, a hand-held flashlight takes some practice and getting used to. If you find yourself in a high stress or tenuous situation, having something that requires grace and skill is not exactly ideal. For people who have a lot of practice, there can be a preference for a hand-held light as you have more flexibility in where you can aim it and still have your weapon pointed at a target.
As the name implies, pistol-mounted flashlights are tactical accessories that are attached to that ramp described above on the front of most modern handguns and pistols. A self-attached light is already ready to go and does not require you to have the coordination to engage. This could give you vital seconds in protecting your home or your family.
Most pistols mounted flashlights use one of two common types of batteries:
These are affordable and easy to find. It should be noted that the brighter the light — even the more energy efficient LED lights — the more “juice” it takes to power the light. It is highly recommended to keep a stash of spare batteries for easy access at all times to ensure that you always have this tool at the ready.
Benefits of Pistol-Mounted versus Hand-held:
- no two-handed coordination needed
- light already attached
- turn it on with one easy step
- mounted directly on the weapon
- tons of illuminating power
It is important to look for a durable model but also be aware that the flashlight can only hand the power of the recoil so many times before it will need to be re-tightened or even replaced. The more heavy duty the model, the heftier the price tag, but you if you do your research you are paying for quality that is designed to last. Most standard, decent quality mounted flashlights will last at least two thousand rounds. It should also be noted that there is a learning curve to using a pistol-mounted flashlight just as there is when using a hand-held flashlight with your pistol. This means you need to practice with your particular model to get a feel for how it changes the weight of the weapon and shot. You will need to get used to turning it on and using it as a means to help identify potential targets or threats.
A Note About Brightness
While it is important to have a bright, clear pistol-mounted flashlight, you do not want it to become a dangerous or counterproductive blinding beacon. There are lights that are unnecessarily bright which can lead to vision problems of accidental victims of direct lighting. It can also make it more difficult for the shooter to see their potential target as they can cause glare on a variety of different, smooth or shiny surfaces. While a super bright light can be used to stun or temporarily blind an intruder, it can also backfire and do this to you as well. Do not choose the brightest option on the market to protect a house that is painted white with a lot of light-colored enamel surfaces. This will actually make it more difficult to see, not easier.
How to Install Handgun Lights? (Five Simple Steps)
While it might seem complicated, installing a weapon-mounted flashlight is not rocket science. What follows will guide you on how to install most common types of the weapon-mounted flashlight to a basic pistol. If you select a specialty model or have an antique weapon, you might want to contact a gunsmith to ensure proper installation. An aside: some people choose to buy the actual mount and the flashlight that hooks into it separately. This may be that they have a brand preference, or that they found a better deal on the items separately. While this can be economical, you take the risk that the two parts are not going to be compatible with one another. When you buy the mount and the flashlight as a combo, you have the peace of mind that they will work together properly. Ultimately, though, the decision is yours.
1) Safety First: Before you begin doing any sort of cleaning, maintenance, upgrade, or repairs to your weapon, be sure that you remove any ammunition and only work on unloaded weapons. Many people will read this warning and roll their eyes, but there are too many preventable injuries and even fatalities that result from someone working on a loaded weapon. No matter how much experience you have with a firearm, double check every time to ensure that is unloaded before proceeding.
2) Clean the Rail: Before installing any accessory to a firearm, you want to ensure that you are working with a clean, debris-free surface. Using patches or even a light rag along with sterile alcohol, gently clean the rail mount and allow it to dry for a few minutes.
3) Install the Battery Into the Flashlight: Before you even mount the light, it is recommended that you install the battery. To do this, you need to twist the bulb assembly at the end of the flashlight. Once the top is removed, you will see the place where you place the AA or CR123 batteries. Remember to gently replace the bulb assembly and do not over-tighten or you may cause threading.
4) Preparing the Mounting: You will want to use an Allen wrench for this part of the installation process. Here, you will use the including mounting by placing it on the front rail of the weapon and wrenching it firmly into place. Again, it is important that you do not over tighten the mounting assembly.
5) Attaching the Flashlight: Again, you will use an Allen wrench for this final step in the installation process. You will need to loosen the mounting bolt on the recently attached mount. Then, position the flashlight onto the mount before tightening it into place. Once again, you want to take care, not to over tighten the flashlight assembly. It is simple and takes just a few minutes to properly install a weapon-mounted flashlight, but it should be noted that they do require some regular maintenance just as any other accessory.
To properly maintain your weapon-mounted flashlight, you will need:
- clean patches
- general, all-purpose gun cleaning solvent
- silicone-based grease for lubrication
After each use, use the patches and solvent to clean any dirt, grime, or debris that may have gathered on the weapon. Using a clean, dry patch, wipe away any residue or grime that may have been loosened by the solvent. Apply a small amount of grease to the mount for proper lubrication. It is also recommended that you go through this simple cleaning and lubrication process if you are bringing out a weapon that has been in storage for any length of time.
5 Big Advantages of Having the “Brightest” Pistol Light
1) Range and Clarity of Sight: With an extremely high quality and bright pistol light, you enhance the range of your sight line in dark situations. This is particularly true if you are using your weapon in a wooded area or one that is not subject to a lot of light pollution. Clear, high-quality light provides a more clear sight path with few fuzzy areas or areas of excessive shadow that can make it difficult to hone in on a target or potential threat. When you choose a light that is reputed for having a bright, long-range light, you ensure that you are paying for a high-quality accessory that will enhance your ability to identify targets and even just look around in dark environments. Weapons-mounted flashlights have more practical purposes as well.
2) Illumination When You Need it Most: One of the added benefits of having an ultra-bright weapon-mounted flashlight for your pistol or handgun really has little to do with any shooting or firing of weapons. If you find yourself in the dark for whatever reason, light can literally be life-saving. It can keep you from falling off cliffs, twisting your ankle in a hole in the ground, and even alert others to your presence. You can easily pull out your pistol, turn on the flashlight, and survey your surrounding environs. You can use the light as a way to light a safe, obstacle-free path and make sure you aren’t about to walk directly into anything dangerous. These lights can also make it easier to alert people to your whereabouts and to receive help. The brightest flashlights will emit the longest and strongest streams of light which will make it easier for rescue personnel or family members to ascertain your location.
3) An Ultra Bright Light Can Be A Weapon Unto Itself: One thing that many people note about weapons-mounted pistol lights is their ability to double as a stunning device or weapon in itself. There are some incredibly bright lights currently available on the marketplace. Most shooters know that non-lethal ways of stunning or running off a potential threat are far preferable to using deadly force. When you choose one of the brighter models of the flashlight, you can use this to stun or temporarily blind a potential intruder or danger. This can give you a few key seconds that will allow you to run to safety or to get a good shot lined up undisturbed.
4) State of the Art Technology for Enhanced Capabilities: There are some incredibly flashlights available on the marketplace. From laser-based models or those that utilize energy-efficient LEDs, firearms enthusiasts swear by making the leap to getting one of the more advanced and brighter models. The newest and brightest models have been employed and recommended by many law enforcement and military personnel, giving you the peace of mind that if they work to protect and aid these types of heroes, it can also be trusted to protect your family and your home. Technology is improving at such a fast rate and these accessories keep getting brighter, more efficient, lighter, thus enhancing their utility further.
5) Ability to Illuminate and Shoot with Ease: Current models of ultra bright weapon-mounted lights tend to be lightweight and operate with one simple touch. This means that your weapon is not going to be bogged down with an unwieldy accessory that dramatically increases the weight of the weapon. The flashlight is made to be operated with one-touch, allowing one to easily utilize this feature, even on the run or in stations of duress.
Best Pistol Light Comparison Chart
|PRODUCT||PRICE||COLOR||STYLE||MATERIAL||LUMENS||WEIGHT||DIMENSIONS||POWER SOURCE||AVARAGE BATTERY LIFE|
|Streamlight TLR-1 High Lumen Rail-Mounted Light||$$$||Black||HL Model (Max Brightness)||6000 series machined aircraft aluminum||800||4.2 ounces||3.4 x 3 x 3 inches||Battery-Powered||1.25 hours|
|Streamlight TLR-2 High Lumen Rail-Mounted Laser Light Combo||$$$$$||Black||HL Model (Max Brightness) w/Red Laser||6000 series machined aircraft aluminum||800||1 pounds||3.4 x 3 x 3 inches||Battery-Powered||1.25 hours|
|SureFire X300 Ultra Series LED WeaponLights with TIR Lens||$$$$||Black||Rail-Lock Mount||High-strength aerospace aluminum with Mil-Spec hard anodized||500||N / A||3.6 x 3 x 3 inches||Battery-Powered||1 hour|
|Streamlight TLR-4 Tac Compact Green Laser Light Combo||$$||Black||Light||Polymer||110 lumens measured system output||2.9 ounces||2.7 x 1.2 x 2 inches||Battery-Powered||1.5 hours|
|Streamlight TLR-6 Tactical Pistol Light with Red Laser||$$||Black||Tactical Pistol Light with Red Laser||Polymer||100||15.8 ounces||2.3 x 0.8 x 1.4 inches||Battery-Powered||1 hour|
|Aimkon Budget Pistol LED Strobe Flashlight||$||Black||Pistol LED Strobe Flashlight with Weaver Quick Release||Aluminium||400||0.3 ounces||3 x 1 x 1.5 inches||Battery-Powered||0.45 hours|
When it comes to firearms today, there are so many different accessories (often gimmicks) clogging up the marketplace (see our related articles M&P Shield Night Sights and Glock Sights articles). Amidst all the nonsense are a few high-quality accessories that every gun owner should have in their proverbial arsenal. This is an affordable accessory that can greatly enhance the range and utility of your firearm. Whether you choose a hand-held or weapon-mounted model, a pistol light will make it easier for you to assess a potential target or danger, even at great distances.
We recommend a weapon-mounted option for its simplicity and ease of use, but the decision is ultimately up to you. When you choose a weapon-mounted option, you only need to install it once and it does not require the same level of experience in coordination to properly wield. In this guide, we also have brief best pistol light reviews that will give you a good starting point from which to select the right flashlight for your weapon and individual needs. We describe the basic differences in options available on the marketplace. We wrap up the guide by providing simple instructions for the installation of the mounted light, as well as a rundown of some of the biggest benefits of choosing a clear, ultra-bright lighting option. Our team always never stop scouring the net searching for the best products for guns and shooting enthusiasts. All what you need is to visit Shooting & Safety in order to find loads of reviews accompanied with best products.