The Best Tactical Flashlight Buying Guide
A Tactical flashlight is much more different than an ordinary consumer flashlight that you can find at any departmental store. Tactical flashlights offer much more durability, a lot more features and also costs more. But is it worth the money? Do you actually need a tactical flashlight? This write up will cover all that is there about tactical flashlights, how you can find the best tactical flashlight and its use cases.
When do you need a tactical flashlight?
These tactical flashlights are actually expensive, their price goes up exponentially as you go for more powerful and more durable devices. Standard tactical flashlights are not meant for everyday use. They are either too large or heavy. There are Everyday Carry or EDC variants available, making these powerful flashlights more pocketable. These were mostly used by the police and military, but they are also being used by civilians a lot these days.
A lot of people work in dimly lit areas, like warehouses, docks, shipping yards, and so on. These places need a reliable, robust, portable and personal lighting solution. Also, carpenters, plumbers, exterminators, building contractors also need strong light sources for work. Therefore, the best tactical flashlight would make a good addition to their toolbox.
For home use, too, a lot of people use tactical flashlights since they can survive drops and splashes of water. However, not all tactical flashlights are created equal. To have the ‘tactical’ label, there are a few minimum requirements that such flashlights meet. For the best tactical flashlight, the buyer needs to think in terms of lumens, battery life and build quality.
Features of Tactical Flashlights
The first feature is the increased brightness. Whereas most flashlights offer a range of 8 to 22 lumens of brightness, tactical flashlights have their brightness starting from 90 lumens. The best tactical flashlights have more than 250 lumens of brightness, and it may also go up to 6000 or so. Most people do not need such high brightness. Also, the cost is really high.
These days, most tactical flashlights use LED as light source. LEDs, when in use, heats up. Especially with the high light output, the diodes heat up a lot that needs to be radiated from the flashlight body in order to extend the life of the diode. Therefore, the best tactical flashlights have metallic body and radiators around the light source that channels the heat away from the body. The body is generally made of very durable aircraft grade aluminum.
Batteries differ greatly from model to model. The best tactical flashlights allow multiple battery sizes via adapters. The best ones also come with rechargeable lithium ion batteries that last a very long time. These depend on the brand totally. Some of them also act as a power bank that can charge your other electronics, like phones.
Tactical flashlights also have different modes of operation. Besides brightness control and spread control, they can also provide strobe output and SOS output in Morse.
Next comes accessories. Tactical flashlights are often paired with weapon mounts and can be mounted under the barrel. The best tactical flashlights also come with a pressure switch that makes it easier to operate when mounted under the barrel of a rifle.