For the longest time, we had a few flashlights around the house, stuffed into a drawer, under the sink, or in the garage. We had different kinds of flashlights, one rechargeable, several dollar store type for the kids, a Maglight with D cells, and a flashlight with a big square battery under the kitchen sink. I have always loved flashlights since I was a kid, and I was fed up with having no light when needed. The kids were playing with them, leave them on and they were dead, the one under the sink was corroded and did not work, and the rechargeable was never plugged in because the wife did not like it plugged in while we were not home. I have since started collecting my own flashlights, most of which are tactical lights, and when the lights go out, everyone runs to my bag or to our gear to get the good lights, because theirs still never work. I am going to go over and show you a few lights that I endorse, and some of the things I look for in a good tactical or regular flashlight.
The factors to consider when buying a flashlight in my opinion are:
- What is the light source? These days it is hard to find a light that is not LED, and that is what I prefer. The LED based lights are more reliable, and more durable than bulb based lamps.
- I look at the power source to see what batteries it takes, and if it is rechargeable or not.
- Size …. Size does not always matter, at least in a flashlight. Consider what you are buying the light for, and when you will use it. You may consider a larger light for the house, and a smaller one for the car.
- On/Off switching. Some flashlights have excellent switches, and some have less than adequate switches. I actually bought a light one time that had a switch that you could push to light, or twist to stay on. The push button was faulty and would work when it wanted to. I sent it back and actually got a new one, and it did the same thing. The switching should be easy, and something you can do under duress, or in darkness.
- Characteristics. I love the lights that have the strike bezel on the front. The strike bezel has a few advantages such as breaking glass on a car window, or striking to the face or forehead to defend yourself. The striking of these lights with the bezel to the face are significant enough to disorient your attacker. Another I look for is the strobe. The strobe usually has a mode for slow strobe, which is used for signalling, and then the faster strobe which is what I like. The fast strobe is used to disorient, an attacker. Imagine fighting someone, or attacking someone in a nightclub with a strobe. Things appear in slow motion and your depth perception is off.
One other reason I love a good tactical flashlight is because you can virtually take it anywhere with you, and with the strike bezel, it can be an extremely effective weapon if needed.
There are many different companies that make good lights, and we will highlight a few of my favorites. Many of these companies make not only tactical handheld lights, but also lights for weapons systems as well. This list is not in any specific order, and I know many people have their own favorite, so if you have any feedback, please make a comment below.