The Best Weapon Lights: Pistol Lights, Shotgun Lights and Rifle Lights
If you're looking for a high quality weapon flashlight you've come to the right place. Depending on the type of fire arm you own and the situations that you plan on using your fire arm for will dictate which type of light you need.
Do you own a pistol or a hunting rifle? Is your fire arm for defence purposes or are you a hunter? Is the weapon going to spend anytime in the field?
These are all imperative questions which we will look at in order to help you select the best fire arm mounted flashlight
Firearm Light Reviews
Benelli M1/M2 Winchester 1200/1300/Super X Pump Defender; FNH P-12 Remington 870 Remington 870
Firearm Flashlight: Purposes
There is an old saying related to the use of fire arms "always be sure of the target and what is behind the target". This can be incredibly difficult in the dark, if you can't see your target you can't be sure what that target is.
For weapons that serve to protect you and your family in case of an intruder or burglar having a light mounted to your pistol can be a life saver. Often houses are broken into or robbed during the middle of the night. If your rifle is equipped with a light you're going to be able to identify your target to ensure it is indeed a robber and not your brother-in-law who decided to stop by and surprise you.
A fire arm light with high lumens can also temporarily disorient the assailant allowing you time to identify them and potentially scare them off without having to fire shots. We must be careful though, if the light is extremely powerful (anything over 200 lumens) we risk temporarily blinding ourselves indoors.
If you live in a rural area with wild life often times you'll find some unwelcome guests on your property. No, I'm not talking about other human beings, I'm referring to racoons, coyotes or other predators. Having a coon hunting light, or a kill light will allow you to ensure you're shooting at the right target.
Often times, our dogs would end up fighting a coyote, the last thing I would want to do is accidentally shoot the dog as opposed to the coyote.
Most visitors on this website are civilians. However, one of the most common uses for white lights are for field work. Swat teams, military, the police all have circumstances that require flashlights. Having a light attached to their shotgun or rifle frees up a hand.
The majority of weapon lights are adjustable and can be mounted on a standard pistol such as a glock. They also can be mounted to rifles with a standard Picatinny rail.
The Surefire X300 Ultra LED Weaponlight is one of the better lights on the market. This is certainly reflected in the price.
You can mount the X300 to Universal Handgun Rails and Picatinny rails. I wouldn't recommend picking up a X300 for indoor uses - the 500 lumens is pretty powerful. A light with 120-200 lumens is more reasonable for indoor use.
Standing on the other end of this light (prior to attaching it to a gun!) it was pretty apparent that if I were an assailant I'd be screwed. The target can't see anything with it pointed at them.
One of my favorite things about the X300 is the on/off switch which is easy to flick with your dominate hand.
Overall this weapon light comes highly recommended, receiving 4.8/5 stars from 150 reviewers.
Streamlight is the other top flight manufacturer of tactical weapon lights. This model is slightly cheaper than the X300.
It comes equipped with 630 lumens, which is plenty for most purposes. The only drawback to the TLR-1 is the battery life, it only lasts for 1.25 hours which is about half of the X300.
It's a snap to put on, as you can see in the picture cranking the knob will securely fasten it to any standard Picatinny or handgun rail.
If you require a strobe feature on your tactical fire arm light (not sure I've ever used that function) the streamlight has the upper hand over the X300. Overall, this is a terrific light at an amazing price. it's shouldn't surprise you that people love Streamlights products.
f you're in the market for a relatively inexpensive ($30) firearm light for home protection I can't recommend the Nebo 5569 ProTec Elite enough.
It's not in the same class as the Surefire X300 or the Streamlight TLR-1; it feels and looks much cheaper but it works perfect for indoor uses.
It has 190 lumens which is still enough that you can disorient an intruder in the pitch black but not so much that you'll temporarily blind yourself from the light reflecting off of walls.
I have one permanently attached to my Smith and Wesson which I keep in the event of a break in. I wouldn't ever use this in the outdoors or a field situation, it's simply not a robust enough light, but for indoor purposes it works very well.
UTAC 200 Lumen High Output Tactical Compact Pistol Quick Detach LED Flashlight For Glock 17 21 32 Taurus 24/7 Ruger SR9 P95
The UTAC 200 Lumen Flashlight is a steal at $37 dollars. Similar to the NEBO I wouldn't trust it in the outdoors but for an indoor light attached to a personal protection pistol or rifle it's perfect.
The only complaint I have is the the quick release mechanism isn't great. I found it was a little too snug on a few of my fire arms (Ruger 95) which it claims to fit.
Overall, it's a well constructed light and it gives off more then enough light for indoor use. For outdoor use I would recommend a light with a lot more Lumens then 200.
The Best Shotgun Light: Review
Generally speaking shotguns are going to require a speciality light designed to fit a Mossberg Shotgun. Personally, I love the look of a light mounted on a shotgun. A number of lights such as the Streamlight TLR-1 can be equipped with adapters to mount them on a mossberg.
For close range the Surefire LED Weaponlight does the trick. It has 200 Lumens which is perfect for indoor use. I highly doubt you'll be blasting gophers in your field with a shotgun, but if that's what you plan on doing you might want to consider the SureFire DSF or using an adapter kit and equipping it with a TLR-1.
The only drawback is you need to be fairly familiar with your shotgun - assembly isn't as easy as some of the other weapon lights. If all else fails, youtube it.
Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of cheap options for mounting a light to a shotgun without a little bit of creativity and know how. If you're looking to go that route, check out this thread on M4Carbine - there are some suggestions on how to go about doing that.
The Best Rifle Lights: Reviews
Nothing looks more badass then a rifle light attached to a foregrip. For most of us, a basic UTAC 200 Lumen light will be more then sufficient for our purposes; home protection.
We both know, the reason a lot of us slap on a SureFire X300 onto our rifles isn't because you need to be able to see a half mile in the pitch black, it's because it looks fucking awesome.
I have a UTG Vertical Grip attached to my AR. I've had it for over two years and couldn't be happier. Overall, it's a little heavy, but it really is well built. As I mentioned above, I don't particularly have a need for a flashlight on my AR but it looks badass.
If unlike me, you actually have a need for the light, it is fairly bright at 150 Lumens.
What to Look For In a Weapon Light Overview
1. Type of Weapon
Obviously the most important thing you need to think about when you're considering buying a light for your fire arm is what type of weapon are you going to mount it to? Most of the time it's going to be a rifle or a handgun. Assuming you're dealing with standard rails you should be fine, however it's always best to double check.
The next important question you need to figure out is what circumstances do you intend to use your weapon light for.
If it's for indoor purposes you can get away with 100-200 lumens, if you're planning on using it outdoors you'll probably need more lumens then that. If you're planning on fire hundreds of rounds with that light on you're going to want something more robust like Streamlight TLR-1.
How much can you afford to spend is obviously an incredibly important factor. You can easily spend $300 on high end weapon lights, some gun enthusiasts don't mind shelling out this kind of money. Others just want a reliable light that they know will work if they ever need to protect their family. You can purchase quality indoor lights for under $50, that will serve you well in a crisis.
4. Weight and Functionality
In most scenarios the weight isn't going to be a major factor when you're looking to purchase a weapon light. That said, I have friends who really don't like my UTG Vertical Grip because it's "too heavy".
You do need to consider the functionality quite a bit. For example, many of the weapon flashlights don't have a strobe function. Personally, that's a non-issue but I know some folks get upset when they've shelled out $120 and it doesn't have a basic strobe.
Also consider where the on/off switch is located and how accessible it is. You'd be surprised how many models make it so that lefties can't access the switch easily. Obviously that's problematic if you're left handed - if you want to fumble around you could've bought a tactical flashlight instead.