Episode 5: What is the best tactical flashlight?


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In this episode of Flashlights and Stuff I talk about the type of blog post I hate the most. It’s the “Best Tactical Flashlight” post. Reading them is a waste of time. And I’ll reveal what the best tactical flashlight is. So… let’s get started… in 3,2,1.

First, I want to be completely transparent. I’ve had tactical flashlight blogs. My first blog was pretty successful. I made my money from Amazon affiliate links. In fact, before Google penalized my blog (along with thousands of others) for “thin content” I was making as much as $700 a week in affiliate sales. I had the requisite “Best tactical flashlight post” just like dozens of other blogs. I was sort of pissed when Google did this because my reviews were about flashlights I actually owned and all of the photos were ones I took myself. Regardless, my blog was toast at least from a monetary perspective.

So that was about 5 years ago and life goes on. Here’s the deal. If it can make money on the internet it will rear it’s ugly head again. So the “Best Flashlight blog post” is all over the place and 90% of them suck. And here’s why you should ignore them.

The person who wrote the blog post doesn’t even own the flashlight. How do I know? Because they use stock pictures from the manufacturers website. Or the one that totally pisses me off (because it’s happened to me) they’ve stolen a great flashlight photo from another persons Flickr feed or site.

The flashlight’s description is basically a re-write of canned manufacturer marketing crap. No description of the flashlight’s UI, build quality, etc.

Another red flag (at least to me) is the lack of beam shots. When I typically take pictures of a flashlight I include some beam shots as well. I mean the whole point of buying a flashlight is to illuminate something.

So before I talk about what the best tactical flashlight is, just know most of these best tactical flashlight blog posts are just a regurgitation of content you can get by going straight to the manufacturers website. If you are going to “buy” a flashlight from a link to Amazon or some other vendor via a blog post ONLY do it if the person owns the actual flashlight. Google needs to scrub this crap, but based on what I’m seeing it appears their AI is too stupid… so the good flashlight blogs are lost in the midst of the get rich quick passive income hustlers that create blogs about stuff they know absolutely nothing about.

So now… back to the question at hand… revealing the best tactical flashlight. The best tactical flashlight is the one you have with you. That’s it. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter what brand it is, how many lumens it pumps out, or how many features it has. It just needs to work and be dependable. You can have the most expensive, newest, or brightest flashlight on the market, but if it’s not with you it just doesn’t matter.

I personally believe you need to consider multiple flashlights for your given situation. For example a small everyday carry flashlight like the Fenix E18R or the Thrunite T1 are really great to have with you at any time. My point is this… they are so small and easy to carry you should just automatically put in in your pocket any time you go out.

You can check out the Fenix E18R at FENIXLIGHTING.com and the Thrunite T1 at THRUNITE.com. And of course, listen to my podcast episodes where I review both.

Sometime you need more light than you can get from a super small EDC light. But, you still want to be able to slip it into your pocket. That’s where the mid-size tactical flashlight comes into play. These are typically 1000 to 2000 lumens lights. Fenix, Nitecore, Klarus, Olight, and others all make lights in this category.

Typically, these flashlights have easy to understand user interfaces, additional lighting modes (like SOS) and many come with dual tactical tail switches and crenelated strike bezels. So the flashlight actually has some non-lethal self defense capabilities. There are a ton of excellent choices in the mid-size tactical flashlight category to choose from.

If you don’t have a mid-size tactical flashlight I want to highly recommend the Nitecore P12 GT or P12GTS. I think the P12GT is an excellent flashlight, an extremely bright flashlight due to the LED it uses and the one I suggest to folks looking for an economical flashlight in this category.

You can go to nitecorestore.com to see the P12GT and P12 GTS.

Another flashlight I really like in this category is the Klarus XT11GT. It has 2000 lumens of output and is incredibly bright. It has a ton of throw so the beam pattern is highly centered. In other words if you need a flashlight that can definitely illuminate things from a long distance away I’d suggest the Klarus XT11GT. A big plus is a dual tactical tail switch which makes it easy to access the strobe capability with a single touch plus it has a nicely pronounced crenelated strike bezel. Couple those self defense features with the incredibly bright, narrow beam pattern and you have a great non-lethal self defense tool.

The XT11GT is a bit bigger than the Nitecore P12GT, but it can still fit in the front pocket of a pair of jeans.

You can go FLASHLIGHTZDOTCOM , that’s FLASHLIGHTZ with a Z at the end not an S to see the XT11GT.

The last category of flashlight is a full-sized tactical flashlight. I define full size as any tactical flashlight too large to comfortably fit in the from pocket of a pair of jeans. It means you’ll need to carry it in a holster on a belt or clipped to a tactical vest or clipped to a pack.

If I was going to get a tactical flashlight in this category I’d definitely consider Olight’s latest version of their Warrior model tactical light. I have a friend who has an earlier version of the flashlight and uses it all of the time. He says it’s worked without a single hiccup. Olight’s latest version offers 2250 lumens of output and a range of 600 meters.

Check out OLIGHTWORLD.com to see the Flight Warrior X Pro.

I’ll reiterate… the best tactical flashlight is the one you’ll be sure to carry with you. Hopefully, this overview of tactical flashlight types will make it easier for you decide what type of flashlight you need. Next week, I’ll be talking about flashlight user interfaces, side switches, tail switches, and dual tail switches and how to determine which is best for you.

Lastly, I know the world feels pretty crazy right now. So hang in there, stay healthy and let’s remember to be kind to each other. I hope this podcast has been a few minutes of distraction during this crisis.

Visit the website: flashlightsandstuff.com

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