The Best Tactical Flashlight of 2016: An Expert Buying Guide

Best Tactical Flashlight of 2016: Our Top 5 picks on ClosertoNature.com

Flashlights can come in a variety of different types. You’ll find flashlights that you would keep under your bathroom sink (like the ones I have), and you’ll find the best tactical flashlight that you would bring along camping, hunting or in survival situations.

What is the best flashlight? This is one question that I get asked a lot. I will be honest: I am very frugal. I always try to find the lowest price for everything – even flashlights – like most people do. But people use flashlights when they’re most vulnerable. Right? Those times when the power goes out and you’re scrambling to put ice on food so it doesn’t spoil, or clamoring around the house trying to find a candle.

And this is exactly what happened to me. My dollar store flashlight didn’t work when I needed it most. My frugalness got the best of me.

So, I chose to get the best tactical flashlight on the market. Then I got another, and another until I started to realize that the best model really depends on your needs. I really like the X800 tactical flashlight, but then I also like the g700 tactical flashlight – they both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Product Image:
 
Brand:
Shadowhawk X800
Type::
Tactical Flashlight
Lumen:
800
Lamp Hour:
100,000 hours
Price Rating:
No Ratings YetNo Ratings Yet
Total Rating:
No Ratings YetNo Ratings Yet
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Product Image:
 
Brand:
LumiTact G700
Type::
Tactical Flashlight
Lumen:
700
Lamp Hour:
100,000 hours
Price Rating:
No Ratings YetNo Ratings Yet
Total Rating:
4.5 Star Rating
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Product Image:
Brand:
Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL
Type::
Tactical Flashlight
Lumen:
600
Price Rating:
3.5 Star Rating
Total Rating:
3.5 Star Rating
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What is a Tactical Flashlight?

The best flashlight and the best tactical flashlight are two very different things. When you choose a tactical model, you’ll be getting one of the brightest flashlights on the market (probably the brightest).

If you’ve ever turned on a flashlight only to find that it simply isn’t producing enough light, you need a tactical model.

These models are meant for:

  • Rugged use, and use high-quality metals for durability.
  • Easy carrying, and they’re often smaller in size.
  • Immense light production.

You can think of these flashlights as being on steroids – they outperform even the best ordinary flashlight.

They’re not too expensive, and they will last for decades under normal use.

It’s an investment, and an investment that I highly recommend hunters, hikers and campers make.

Take the X800 for example, this flashlight features 800 lumens. If you were using a flashlight for reading, you would only need 20 lumens – 800 is exceptionally bright. Now, if you’re wondering what in the world lumens are, it is a measurement of brightness for a light, or a flashlight in this case. The more lumens offered, the brighter the overall light would be.

 

Benefits of the Best Tactical Flashlight

I’m going to be using the G700 led flashlight as an example. This flashlight (we review it later on if you want the full scoop) features 700 lumen. If you haven’t realized already, flashlight models will often include a number in them. The G700 features 700 lumen, while the X800 features 800 lumen. But, the Streamlight 88040 does not contain 88000 lumen (in case you were wondering).

Anyway, using the G700, I could use it for:

x800 flashlight survival

  • Survival: In survival situations, you can use these lights as an alert. The G700 offers strobe and SOS light modes that can alert someone of your presence if you’re lost. An adequate source of light will also allow you to find food, water and even blind dangerous animals that are coming your way.

g700 flashlight military self defense

  • Protection: Whether an animal or human is going to attack, 700 lumens will cause an immediate blinding where you have the option of running or hitting them with your flashlight. Featuring a beveled edge, you can jab the flashlight at an eye and cause serious damage as a result.

The best part is that these flashlights are very powerful, yet they’re small enough to fit in your pocket. If you’ve ever seen a police show, you’ve likely seen a tactical flashlight before. These professionals put their lives on the line every day, and only the best tactical flashlight will do. Small and compact, these flashlights can be deployed in seconds to blind an assailant and are often used when a gun is drawn for quick blinding and shooting as needed.

And they’re constructed with military grade materials to ensure they survive the must rugged survival moments.

 

How to Choose a Tactical Flashlight

The best tactical flashlight (the X800 in my opinion) requires you to know a little more about your desired flashlight. You’ll need to know a lot of information to make a good choice, and it’s not as simple as you would think.

I have tried over a dozen different models in the last few months. And I am always on the lookout for even more great flashlights that I can keep in my arsenal or share with my readers.

A few of the points that I personally use to choose the best tactical flashlight include:

  • Lumens: The amount of lumens is a metric to measure light output of a flashlight. This is the intensity or brightness of a light, and lumens can also lessen as a battery wears down and needs recharging.
  • Lamp Hours: Some models will mention lamp hours. Lamp hours are a way to determine how long the bulb will last. The longer, the better.
  • Modes: The best tactical flashlight for the money should come with modes. If you’re just planning on keeping your flashlight tucked away, modes might not matter, but if you get stuck on the highway, you’ll want a flashlight that has an SOS mode, so you can get the attention of other vehicles or help.
  • Beam Distance: Refers to how far the beam will go. This is important if you need to see far in the distance, or if you’re signaling for help. Some models use “zoom,” while others list a distance that the beam can travel.
  • Battery: The battery type is negligible as long as the light works, but I do recommend a model that can use rechargeable batteries to save on future costs.
  • Bulb: It is hard to find a model that doesn’t offer an LED bulb (they’re superior in virtually every way), but they do exist. Florescent and incandescent bulbs cannot reach the same brightness level as an LED light.

These are just a few of the criteria that I will be discussing in our tactical flashlight reviews. Now that you fully understand what you should be looking for in the best tactical flashlight, it’s time to see which models (I mentioned two already) are the best options for your money.

 

The Top 5 Tactical Flashlight Reviews

1.      Shadowhawk X800 Flashlight Review

The tactical x800 flashlight is the best model on our list. Period. You’ll find that this model is very affordable ($56), and even more affordable if you buy more than one. Made with military grade aluminum, the x800 LED flashlight can take a beating without failing.

Heavily tested and ready for military use, this flashlight features:

Specs and Features

  • Pure aluminum construction
  • 5 different modes
  • 800 lumens
  • Zoom features

What We Liked

You’ll want to keep this flashlight by your side at all times, tucked nicely next to your survival knife. This flashlight features 800 lumens produced through an LED bulb that will last 100,000 hours, and five focus beams to concentrate the light with the utmost precision.

There are also five preset light options: Low, medium, high, strobe and SOS. You’ll be able to turn this model on low when trying to find a friend, high when you need protection, and to SOS if you’re stuck in the wild – it saved me a few times along the way. This is the best tactical flashlight on the list.

Click here to purchase the Shadowhawk X800 flashlight.

 

2.      G700 Flashlight Review

The G700 military flashlight is virtually identical to my first pick, but it only produces 700 lumen. While this may seem bad initially, this actually allows the battery to last a little longer, which is a really nice bonus.

And the G700 can be seen on the belts of many police officers due to its lightweight and optimal durability.

Specs and Features

  • 5 light modes
  • 5 telescoping focus options (zoom)
  • 100,000-hour bulb lifespan
  • 700 lumens

What We Liked

The tactical g700 flashlight is another great flashlight that I highly recommend. You’ll have all of the same light modes as the X800, but the brightness level is toned down by 100 lumens. Is this a game changer? Yes and no. If you don’t mind the slightly lower number of lumens, you’ll benefit from saving on battery life, which is always beneficial.

Overall, this model is on par with the X800.

Click here to learn more about the G700 flashlight.

 

3.      Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL Review

The 88040 is a great flashlight that features a C4 LED bulb for intense brightness. This model is waterproof (I’m not sure whether the first two are), and it comes with 600 lumens of brightness. Slightly more expensive at $72.80, this flashlight is highly reviewed by others, and has an anti-roll face cap.

The battery life is also 1.5 hours.

Specs and Features

  • 600 lumen
  • Aircraft quality aluminum design
  • 5-hour battery life
  • 3 light modes

What We Liked

An amazing flashlight that may have landed higher on my list if it wasn’t for the lower lumens and the odd battery requirement. This model features 2 CR123A batteries. While the batteries are included, you won’t find them in most hardware stores.

You can switch this model to low where it will hold a charge for 18 hours, or strobe where it will hold a charge for 2.5 hours. Overall, this is a great flashlight that is powerful. It offers exceptional battery life and an anti-roll feature, so it won’t roll away if you put it down or drop it.

Click here to view the price of the ProTac HL on Amazon.

 

4.      SOLARAY PRO ZX-1XL Review

The PRO ZX-1XL is bright, and it offers a rechargeable battery with 5 different modes and a zoom lens. You’ll also be given a rapid battery charger and a small zoomable flashlight that is perfect for on-the-go uses.

Specs and Features

  • Rapid battery charging
  • 5 light modes
  • Water resistant
  • Zoom option
  • Up to 1600 lumens

What We Liked

This is an overall great buy, and the brightness is very intense. The modes include: low, medium, high, SOS and strobe. This model is water resistant, but I didn’t personally drop it in water to test it out. I can say it works just fine in intense rain.

The zoom is alright (not too impressive) and the lumens max out at 1600, but I would say they remain a steady 1200 when the battery is slightly depleted. In terms of lumens, this is the best tactical flashlight to choose, but it doesn’t meet the same standards as the first two picks on this list.

Click here to view the price of the PRO ZX-1XL on Amazon.

 

5.      Fenix PD35 TAC 1000 Lumen Review

This model may have been high on this best tactical flashlight list, but it’s price ($72.95) is a little on the high-end. Aside from this, the TAC 1000 is an exceptional model that is built to last. The light has a 50,000-hour lifespan, several output models, a tactical tail switch and two different battery types can be used (I recommend the Li-Ion for the best results).

Specs and Features

  • 1000 lumens maximum
  • 50,000-hour light lifespan
  • Tactical tail switch for quick on and off function
  • 140 – 1-hour lifespan depending on the mode
  • Tactical and outdoor modes

What We Liked

If you’re looking for modes, this is the best tactical flashlight to choose. There are two modes: tactical and outdoor. You’ll be able to choose between 1000, 500 200, 60 and 8 lumens to use this flashlight for everything from survival situations to reading. There is also a strobe function available for safety purposes.

Click here to view the price of the PD35 TAC 1000 on Amazon.

 

The Final Verdict

I’ve given you a lot to consider and think about. When I was out camping and my $5 flashlight didn’t work, it could have been a life-threatening situation if my camping buddy wasn’t an avid collector of tactical flashlights.

We were way out in the mountains, you know the places where black bears skitter away and grizzly bears see you as food.

Maybe I am impartial to the Shadowhawk X800 because of this night, but it is my absolute favorite tactical flashlight on the market today, with the G700 flashlight a very close second. These flashlights are the two that I would face the apocalypse with.

But I also keep the ProTac HL, PRO ZX-1XL and the PD35 TAC 1000 close by as all five flashlights have their place.

Again, you need to choose the best tactical flashlight for your needs, budget and usage requirements.

best flashlight