Best Pistol Light – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2018
A pistol light is an accessory not so famous for many people but is well-known to owners of pistols and handguns. Also known as pistol flashlight or the tactical flashlight, ideally the best pistol light is mounted or connected to the handgun through rail systems, ranging from the Weaver rail to the Picatinny rail. In this article, we review some of the best pistol lights available in 2018. Many newer handguns are sold with the rails already in place to mount a light or laser device. They are easy to mount and make shooting at night result in a much more successful outcome.
One of the most important accessories you can buy for a handgun is a tactical pistol light. We went through dozens of mounted lights and picked only the best pistol lights for you. You can use them for perimeter checks of an objective. You definitely need one in your house defense pack. Picking out a mounted light requires knowing what your particular needs are. Do you use it for fun at the range? Do you want to use the gun for home defense? Herein we have mentioned all the possibilities in below best pistol light reviews for you.
Best Pistol Light Reviews 2018
#1. Streamlight TLR-1 High Lumen Rail-Mounted Light
The Streamlight TLR-1 tactical flashlight is a rail mounted flashlight that produces 630 lumens through its C4 LED light. The flashlight is made from 6000 series machined aircraft aluminum with an anodized finish and comes with a high-temperature shock mounted glass lens. This light comes with a strobe function.
The TLR-1 HL provides a 630-lumen blast of light for maximum illumination while clearing a room or searching an alley. Its wide beam pattern lights up large areas so you can identify who or what is nearby. C4 LED delivers 12,000-candela peak beam intensity; 630 lumens. TIR optic produces a concentrated beam with optimum peripheral illumination. Runs 1.25-Hours. Solid-state current regulation for consistent illumination level. It has an ambidextrous momentary/steady On-Off switch. A momentary or steady on/off switch is ambidextrous, allowing all users to properly activate the light without repositioning. The body of this light is made out of anodized aluminum and is IPX-7 waterproof rating, making outdoor expeditions worry free.
What Do We Like About It:
- C4 LED delivers 12,000-candela peak beam intensity; 630 lumens
- Securely fits a broad range of weapons
- One handed snap-on and tighten interface keeps hands away from muzzle when attaching/detaching
- 6000 series machined aircraft aluminum with anodized finish with high temperature, shock-mounted glass lens
- TIR optic produces a concentrated beam with an optimum peripheral illumination
- This particular flashlight is made from 6000 series machined aircraft aluminum, which gives it the solid feel and it makes it tough enough to withstand some harsh conditions
- This is a tactical flashlight that is specifically designed to be mounted on weapons.
#2. Streamlight TLR-2 High Lumen Rail-mounted Laser Light Combo
The perfect flashlight and green laser combo, the Streamlight TLR-2 HL G Rail Mounted Flashlight w/ Green Laser 69265 is a great way to be sure you have a top of the line light on your weapon. Made using a 6000 series aircraft grade aluminum material that has a black anodized finish, the Streamlight TLR-2 HL G Green Laser Flashlight Combo will provide you with years of rugged and reliable service. The ultimate in target engagement enhancement, this rugged high lumen lithium battery powered weapon light with integrated green laser fits most handguns and long guns. This light/laser combo features a fast and tool-less rail clamp for rock-solid repeatability on a wide variety of weapons. Its’ best in class lumen output delivers an overpowering beam with extensive range, wide peripheral coverage, and selectable strobe mode. The daylight visible green targeting laser uses the latest direct drive diode that burns brightly in extreme temperatures. Runs for 1.5 hours continuously with both light and laser in operation.
What Do We Like About It:
- 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.
- Windage and Elevation adjustment screws mounted in brass bushings for long life and dependable zero retention.
- Engineered optic produces a concentrated beam with optimum peripheral illumination.
#3. Surefire X300 Ultra Series LED Weaponlights With TIR Lens
The powerful and versatile X300 Ultra LED 600 Lumen Weapon Light features a high-performance LED that generates 600 lumens of stunning white light focused by a Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens to produce a tight beam with extended reach and significant surround light for peripheral vision. The virtually indestructible and highly efficient LED on these Gun Mounted Flashlights from SureFire generates 1.5 hours of tactical-level light per set of batteries that’s more than enough to overwhelm an aggressor’s dark-adapted vision. The high-strength aerospace aluminum body on the SureFire 600 Lumens X300 Ultra Weapon Light is Mil-Spec hard anodized for superior toughness and is O-ring and gasket sealed to make it weatherproof. The Surefire X300 Ultra LED 600L Weapon Light is also versatile and can be attached to a pistol or a long gun since its Rail-Lock system permits rapid attachment to and removal from either Universal or Picatinny rails. Its integral ambidextrous push/toggle switch provides one-finger operation for either momentary or constant-on operation, ensuring that you have versatility in your hands with the SureFire X300 Ultra Gun Light.
What Do We Like About It: Best Features
- Cam-slotted bezel and rear locking lugs on battery housing interface with MASTERFIRE holster for secure weapon retention
- Serves as the interface for the MASTERFIRE holster system for almost any pistol with a tactical rail
- Special high-performance LED produces 600 lumen
- Custom TIR lens creates smooth, far-reaching beam with a larger center spot beam
- Integral ambidextrous momentary- and constant-on switching
- Attaches securely to both Universal and Picatinny accessory rails
- Weatherproof O-ring and gasket sealing
- High-strength aerospace aluminum body, Mil-Spec hard anodized for extreme durability
- Accepts optional pressure-activated DG switches for precision control without altering grip on a weapon
- High-performance LED is regulated to maximize tactical-level output and runtime per set of batteries
- TIR lens creates focused high-intensity beam for close- to longer-range applications
- Integral aluminum T-slot mounting system offers rock-solid attachment to railed handguns and long guns equipped with MIL-STD 1913 rails.
#4. Streamlight TLR-4 TAC Compact Green Laser Light Combo
The Streamlight TLR-3 is the most diminutive of the Streamlight Tactical Gun Mount series of weapon-mounted lights. Streamlight has made a serious name for itself in the illumination market, perhaps even coming close to dominating the weapon light market. Their product offerings for weapon-mounted lights range from the TLR-1 HL with a turn-bread-into-toast-at-25-paces 630-lumen output all the way down to the tiny TLR-3 and TLR-4. However, despite its small stature, it produces a very impressive 125 lumens of white light from its C4 LED and does so with a 1 ½ hour runtime, where light intensity then drops to the 10% output level.
The light also boasts a waterproof rating of 30 minutes at 1-meter depth, and a 160-degree operating range, from 40 degrees F below zero to 120 degrees above. The casing is a tough Glock-like polymer, unlike other Streamlight models which are anodized aluminum with an aluminum bezel that houses the lens. The paddle switch that actuates the light is ambidextrous, and can be accessed from either side; it has momentary and steady on settings (no strobe.)
What Do We Like About It:
- The TLR-4G comes with six plastic mounting adaptors called “rail keys.” These adapters allow you to get a custom fit to adjust to various guns.
- The TLR-4G features a small metal toggle switch that allows the operator to select between laser-only operation, light-only operation, and light-and-laser operation.
- There is also a larger 3-position paddle that allows the operator to select constant-on, momentary-on, and off.
- Textured parabolic reflector produces a concentrated beam with optimum peripheral illumination; optimized electronics provide regulated intensity.
- Rail clamp designed to rapidly attach/detach from side of the weapon. One handed snap-on and tighten interface keeps hands away from muzzle when attaching/detaching.
- It utilizes a C4 LED high powered light to allow for superior quality and enhanced range of sight.
- 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.
#5. Streamlight TLR-6 Tactical Light With Red Laser
The ultra-compact TLR-6 weapon light with C4 LED and integrated red aiming laser features tool-less battery replacement without removal from the weapon or the need to re-sight the laser. The light provides 1 hour of regulated runtime when in dual light/laser mode. It has been designed to securely attach to the trigger guard of the M & P Shield subcompact pistols. A parabolic reflector creates a balance of beam and peripheral brilliance, while enhanced electronics regulate the intensity and the red laser enables long-distance targeting. Each mode of operation automatically shuts down after 10 minutes to extend the lifespan of your batteries — which can actually be changed while the light is still mounted on your gun. Plus, there is no need to resight the laser after battery replacement.
What Do We Like About It:
- Parabolic reflector produces a balance of beam and peripheral illumination
- Ambidextrous switch to access three modes
- Batteries can be replaced with the light mounted on the gun
- Windage and elevation adjustment screws mounted in brass bushing for dependable zero retention of laser
- Durable impact resistant polymer construction IPX4 water resistant
- 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.
- The TLR-6 is another high quality rail-mounted tactical flashlight that is suitable for a wide range of different pistols and handguns.
#6. Aimkon 400 Lumen Budget Pistol LED Strobe Flashlight
The Aimkon HiLight P10S Pistol Flashlight is made out of lightweight aluminum that is capable of both steady and strobe lighting at 400 lumens. At that level of brightness, any intruder will certainly be blinded, especially at close range. It is a no-nonsense pistol light that is worth its price. For gun aficionados who want added visibility at night as well as for those who would like to scare off intruders, then the Aimkon HiLight P10S is definitely an item to try. Although developed for compact pistols, it can comfortably grip other types of weapons such as handguns as well.
The Aimkon HiLight P10S has two modes, mainly steady and strobe, the latter of which is activated once the light is switched on and off from the steady mode. The switch itself is found on the side of the unit, which is easily accessible by the user’s support hand. The light operates at 400 lumens and battery life is a little under one hour. It provides a clean light due to its anti-scratch lens as well as avoidance of gun smoke as it protrudes from the gun just enough to prevent this occurrence. Batteries required for this unit are CR123 batteries.
The Aimkon HiLight P10S can easily be attached and detached from most guns with a rail. These include several types of handguns as well as shotguns like the Mossberg 500. Its firm grip allows for little to no wiggle even when discharging the weapon, and its light weight makes it feel as if the gadget is not even there.
What Do We Like About It:
- The Aimkon 400 is another high-quality option that is one of the more affordable of the options we have reviewed in this guide.
- This pistol light uses Cree XM-L2 LED technology with a brightness output of 400 lumens and a runtime of 45 minutes. The smooth reflector provides a wide beam that can reach several meters away.
- The main feature of HiLight P5S is its quick attaching and detaching system.
- The lens is shock-resistant and not prone to scratching, giving you a clear and obstructed light beam.
- It is bound to fit most sub-compact handguns with a rail. It comes with a quick detachable weaver mount.
- 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.
Why Should You Own a Pistol Light?
Whether you are in law enforcement or you have handguns for personal protection, a pistol light is a necessity to get the full use out of your weapon. It is not a replacement for a tactical flashlight! That is a serious safety issue, so you do need both. A pistol light will help you to keep your target in sight in the dark. It can also work as a deterrent. If a target sees it and that they are in your line of sight it may be enough to stop them in their tracks.
1. Want It For Home Defense: If you want a tactical light for home defense you should pick a light that is capable of delivering a medium number of lumens. You don’t need to overdo it. If the situation arises, and you need to use the light in the full darkness, you want the light to help you see, not to blind you. The candela peak beam should also be medium. You don’t need a large area of illumination, but you need a clear, visible center.
2. Want It For The Range: If you only intend to use the light only at the range or at target practice, you can get a cheaper version with a few lumens but with high candela peak beam. You don’t need the peripheral light so much, but you need a bright spot to take aim properly. This is also the recommendation for the airsoft enthusiasts out there.
3. Want It To Protect A Property: If it’s a large property, you definitely need a mounted light capable of delivering a large number of lumens and a high candela peak beam. You need to be able to see distant targets and the brighter the light, the better. The peripheral spill is also very important when you have a large area to cover. Lights that have a wide distribution are the ones you should be looking for.
4. Want It For A Task Force: In this case, bigger is better. You never know the situation you might find yourself into and having a bright light might be exactly the thing you need. You should look for a combination of a very high level of lumens and a high candela peak beam. Impact and water resistant models should give you an advantage. Some models even have a strobe mode which might help.
4 Things To Consider Before Buying A Pistol Light
If you are looking for buying a handgun light, but you don’t have time to browse through all handgun lights out there, here’s what you should keep in mind when searching. Remember, you need to find the best pistol light for you:
1. Amount Of Brightness
Having the highest number of lumens does not always mean it will be the brightest. The reason is that the human eye can only perceive the brightness for every 200 lumens. You have to be careful not to be duped into buying an expensive model only to find that it is not bright enough. Research more to see how much brightness you will get with the model before you can buy.
The reflector can play a role in just how the beam is concentrated. This also calls for considering the illumination area. You need to make sure that the illuminated area works for you in terms of visibility of the surrounding area.
2. Size And Weight
As for the size, you will find more people preferring a model that is not longer than the barrel. Having the right size is always crucial to the performance of the pistol. If the model is too long, once you fire the pistol, the residue of the ammo will settle on the light making it less effective. The weight is important to make sure that the weapon does not feel too heavy. You can always go for the smaller lights that will be lightweight and great for your pistol.
The type of material used for constructing the light is always going to affect its durability. Just like a concealed carry revolver, you want your light to be durable. If a model is made of strong material, then you can be sure it will perform great over the years without a problem. Sometimes you might have to pay more for a highly durable model, but it is always great to do so. It is better to spend more once and end up with a top quality product.
4. Mounting Type
There are two types of rail systems that most handguns have. Most guns of today have specially designed rails found at the bottom of the barrel for attachment of accessories like pistol lights, lasers, and even bayonets.
1. Picatinny Rail
This rail system is also called tactical rail and can only mean that it’s used on many handguns. The bracket has a standard mounting interface that has rails and multiple transverse slots. Its difference from the Weaver rail is based on the low wide dovetail, as the Picatinny rail has more pronounced angular section. Picatinny rail is designed to mount heavier accessories with no problems.
2. Weaver Rail
The difference it has over the Picatinny rail are the rounder slots. While you can mount the pistol light on a Picatinny rail that is designed originally for the Weaver rail, the opposite can’t be possible. This is because the Picatinny rail has rectangular slots.
Some weapon lights of today can cater both Picatinny rails and Weaver rails. We call them universal rails.
How To Mount A Pistol Light?
There are several different ways to mount the light on your pistol, depending on the model and producer. No matter what the assembling system is, from models that need screws and screwdrivers to models that can be mounted only using your fingers or a coin, you should always keep in mind 2 simple rules that apply to them all:
1. Don’t Overdo It:
When you tighten a light too much, you might damage it. Aluminum and even the more durable polymers might bend under the pressure. You might end up upsetting the frame harmonics and damage your gun. Some guns had issues functioning properly from over tightened weapon lights, so if you have the possibility to choose the mounting system, always go for the ones you can mount and tighten using only your hands. Some models come with a clip on the opposite side of the built-in screw. Always make sure you put the clip on before using the gun, as it gives extra protection against slipping because of the recoil.
2. Find The Right Key:
Most models can be mounted on a Glock straight after you take them out of the box. For other gun models, however, you need to find the right key in order to mount it. The manual might help, but as the number of guns models is already high and getting higher, you might be unable to see your model listed. Don’t hurry. Have patience and find the right key. Once you find it, mounting will prove to be easy and secure.
How To Install A Pistol Light?
Installing a pistol light will be different, depending on the model you choose, but we will explain the main mounting systems.
1. The Slide System
This is the easiest mounting system on the market. You need a gun with a Picatinny or Weaver rail and the light. The mounting light might have lateral buttons you have to press while you slide it in place, or it may have a clasp that stops the light’s advance on the rail. Either way, you will finish the mounting process in no time.
2. The Key System
These mounting systems rely on different keys you can attach to the light in order to make it compatible with a certain type of handgun. The keys are usually numbered or labeled alphabetically from “A” to “E”. Each key matches the rail of multiple gun models. You have to figure out which key is a good fit for your gun. The manual might help, as it usually specifies which key goes with what model, but sometimes some models are missing. Don’t worry. As long as you have a rail, chances are you’re going to find a right key for your gun.
After you find the right key and mount the light you have to tighten the built-in screw. They can usually be tightened with your fingers or with a coin, but be careful not to tighten it too much. You might break the light or damage your weapon.
3. The Screw System
This is one of the first systems used for mounting weapon lights and some producers still use it. When you receive your light, open the box and check the screw type. You need to look at the head, to see if you need a cross or a straight screwdriver. After you identify the right screwdriver, unscrew the mounting system, mount the light on your weapon and tighten the screw. Be very careful when you tighten it, so you don’t damage the light. These are the main mounting systems. If your light comes with another one, check the manual for instructions.
There you have it; a guide that will make choosing the right pistol light easier. All the best pistol light reviews above will give you the best performance that you have always wanted. Many people who own pistols today will want to have this accessory. They all know the importance of having better visibility before taking that crucial shot. To make the most out of your handgun and for safety, it’s the best pistol light you can find. It’s not only compact and lightweight, you don’t need to hold one flashlight on one hand and the gun on the other when you can combine both of them into one.
Who makes the best pistol light? The market is dominated by SureFire and Streamlight but a few small producers are making some space for themselves in the industry. Here we only included lights that are dedicated weapon lights. There is a whole other segment of handheld lights that can be connected by 3rd party or manufacturer adapters.