The Best Pistol Light For Your Needs – We Look At 5 Great Pistol Lights

PISTOL LIGHT COMPARISON GUIDE

The table below compares 10 pistol light options according to rating and price. To see any of the flashlights below on Amazon.com, simply click on the flashlight’s image to take you to that flashlight’s product page.

FlashlightLumensDimensionsWeightRatingCost
1252.7 x 1.2 x 1.54.85 stars$$$$
1502.6 x 1.6 x 1.62.54 stars$$
5003.5 x 1.4 x 1.445 stars$$$$$
2003 x 1.22.835 stars$$$$
4003 x 1 x 1.54.85 stars$$$
1803 x 1.3 x 1.74.84 stars$
2005 x 3 x 34.24 stars$$$$
3003.1 x 1 x 13.354 stars$$
5003 x 1.52.45 stars$$$$
603 x 1.18 x 2.013.035 stars$$$$$

CHOOSING THE BEST PISTOL LIGHT

What is the best pistol light? Chances are that if you ever have to use your pistol, you will be in an environment with little to no light. To be able to use your not only effectively, but safely too, you are going to need a good flashlight.

To mount or not to mount

Before we dig into which flashlight is the best pistol light, we should talk about the pros and cons of a mounted flashlight. There seems to be a bit of a debate between some folks about whether it is better to hold the flashlight in your one hand and the pistol in your other, or to mount the flashlight to the pistol.

The folks who argue that you should not mount your flashlight, but rather hold it in your free hand, believe it is a much safer option. If you have a flashlight in your free hand, you can sweep an area with the light without having to actually point your weapon in that direction. With a mounted flashlight you will need to point a deadly weapon at whatever you want to shine a light on…and that is how unfortunate accidents can happen. Also a flashlight attached to your pistol will add weight to it, which could influence your accuracy when shooting. Tactically, a flashlight mounted to your gun also gives away your pistol’s positioning and aim. All a opponent has to do is aim for the  light and shoot.

The folks who argue that flashlights should be mounted, believe it is much more efficient in a tactical situation where speed could be the difference between life and death. With the flashlight mounted to your gun, you have one more hand to either defend yourself, hold your gun steady and to reload much quicker.

You can read more about shooting effectively in the dark here.

Can the light be too bright?

A lot of people will assume that the best pistol light should have the brightest light possible so that you can blind any possible attacker in a self-defence situation . A bright light definitely will blind a possible attacker…but it can also blind you. If you are in close quarters combat situation, chances are there will be many reflective surfaces (think mirrors, glass windows, etc) off which a bright light can reflect back into your own eyes. This means your flashlight then becomes a liability. Most of the best pistol light options allow you to adjust the brightness of the light though. A lower brightness setting also results in your battery power lasting longer.

You can determine a flashlight’s brightness by checking how many lumens it produces. In indoor close quarters combat situations you probably only need something that can produce ~40 lumens or so. For outdoor use something that can produce ~100 lumens would be good. You do get some super bright flashlights that can do hundreds of lumens…but for a self-defence purpose use in coordination with your pistol, that would be over-kill.

If you want to go a step further with the flashlight as a self-defence weapon, some of the best pistol light options also have a strobe function to help blind and disorientate a possible attacker.

5 Great Pistol Lights

Below we discuss 5 top pistol lights that you can consider if you are looking for a flashlight to mount to your pistol.

Streamlight 69220 TLR-3

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Streamlight is one of the better know brands when it comes to tactical flashlights and you cannot talk about the best pistol light options without talking about a Streamlight. They tend to also be a bit more expensive than some other options, but you do get a lot of flashlight for your money. The TLR3 from Streamlight is a lightweight and compact flashlight that measures in at 2.7 x 1.2 x 1.5 inches and weighs 4.8 ounces.

Materials

A key factor in the best pistol light is the quality of materials used in its construction. This flashlight is not just some cheap plastic flashlight. The case body is made from impact resistant nylon polymer, and the face cap is made from 6000 series machined aircraft aluminum with anodized finish. The lens is made from borofloat high temperature glass.

Light

As you would expect from one of the best pistol light options, it has an LED light. LED is better, especially for a tactical flashlight, as it does not break as easily as a incandescent bulb would when the flashlight might be dropped or receive a hard knock. The C4 LED of the TLR-3 has a 50,000 hour lifetime and produces 125 lumens of output.

Fit on the pistol

This is a rail-mounted flashlight which should fit most pistols, using a key kit that comes with the flashlight. It is not a very long flashlight, so it should not protrude to much past the muzzle (if at all).

It has a ambidextrous momentary/steady On-Off switch, so you can toggle the light on and off as needed.

Other things to note

It uses lithium batteries, so you can recharge the batteries rather than having to keep buying new ones. The batteries are listed to last approximately 1.5 hours (which seems to be the norm for mounted pistol lights). It is also waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes, with a IPX7 rating.

Differnt to the other lights on our list of the best pistol light options, this flashlight is serialized, so if you ever loose your flashlight or it gets stolen you can positively identify it again if it is found.

Some short comings

While this is a definite contender as one of the best pistol light options, it has some areas that are not perfect. It is made from plastics/polymers, which means if you twist the cap too much it can result in cross-thread due to the threads being plastic/polymer.

We also do not like that it does not have a strobe function. We would like a top tactical flashlight to have such a feature, but it is not such a huge factor. You also cannot adjust the focus/beam of the light, which makes it a bit less flexible in its use.

AIM Sports Tactical 150 Lumen LED Flashlight

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This little flashlight from AIM Sports is probably not the same quality as the Streamlight options, but it is a fraction of the price of the Streamlights! Similar to the Streamlight TLR-3, it is a small and compact flashlight that measures in at 2-5/8 x 1-5/8 x 1-5/8 inches and weighs 2.5 ounces.

Materials

Like most of the best pistol light options it is made from machined aircraft grade aluminum, so it should be reasonably durable during heavy use. There is not much information available on what kind of glass the lens is made from though, so do not expect high spec glass like you would maybe find on some of the other flashlights contending to be the best pistol light. The flashlight does come with different colored lenses though, namely yellow, red and blue.

Light

As you would expect, the flashlight uses LED for its light source and produces a bright 150 lumens. Disappointingly, this flashlight also does not allow you to adjust the beam.

Fit on the pistol

The flashlight is designed to allow for quick and easy mounting and detaching to the pistol using a weaver or picatinny rail. It is intended for compact pistols, such as the Beretta PX, Glock 19 or Sig P250.

It has a ambidextrous momentary/steady On-Off switch, so you can toggle the light on and off as needed.

Other things to note

The flashlight comes with CR2 lithium battery, however users were not very impressed with the batttery life. There is no indication from the manufacturer on how long you can expect the battery to last. We would expect the best pistol light to have a good and reliable battery life.

Some short comings

Similar to the Streamlight, it too does not have a strobe function. It is also not listed to be waterproof or have any type of IPX rating, so if you are likely to use your weapon in the rain or wet conditions…it might not work. Not good.

Overall there are a lot of positive feedback about this flashlight, but there have been some concerns raised about the construction qaulity and reliability of the flashlight. However, for the price you pay it has to be argued that you actually get a pretty good flashlight.

If you want a really affordable flashlight that will get the job done, this is possibly the best pistol light for your needs.

Surefire Ultra High Ouput LED Weaponlight

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What is a list of the best pistol options without a Surefire on it?! This flashight from Surefire is a serious flashlight with an equally serious price tag. At more than double the price of the Streamlight, this is a pretty expensive flashlight. The Surefire flashlights are designed and assembled in the USA. The Surefire measures in at 3.5 x 1.4 x 1.4 inches and weighs 4 ounces.

Materials

As you would expect from a flashlight at this price, it is made from only the best materials. Designed for tough conditions, it is made from high-strength aerospace aluminum body, which is Mil-Spec hard anodized. The lens is made from coated tempered glass.

surefire x300Light

Using LED, this is a really bright flashlight producing a whopping 500 lumens! The light produced is a 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.

Fit on the pistol

The Surefire Rail-Lock system is designed to allow this flashlight to be mounted to either univeral or picatinny rails easily and quickly. You can also purchase adapter mounts if you weapon does non-railed.

It has a ambidextrous momentary/steady On-Off switch, so you can toggle the light on and off as needed. You can press the switch on either side for momentary-on activation, flip up or down for constant-on activation. You can also buy a Surefire DG grip switch for pistols.

Other things to note

The flashlight comes with standard CR1123A batteries and are listed to have approximately 1.5 hours of tactical run time (before the light dips to 50 lumens). The flashlight is fitted with an O-ring and gasket sealed to make it weatherproof. However there is no IPX rating listed for this light. We would not necessarily expect the best pistol light to be fully water-proof, but do think it is important that you are able to use it in most conditions.

Some short comings

Besides the price, there generally is not much you can fault this light for in terms of quality and reliability. We would have liked to have a strobe function on it, but for use on a pistol that is not really necessary anyway. For indoor tactical situations it might be a bit too bright though with its powerful 500 lumen beam. However this light is specifically designed with the intention of blinding any would-be attacker.

InForce APL Pistol Mounted Light

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One of the sleekest looking options on our list of the best pistol light options is this flashlight from InForce. It is not a cheap flashlight, but is still almost half the price that the Surefire X300 is retailing for at the time of this article being written. It measures in with a length of 3 inches and a width of 1.2 inches and weighs 2.83 ounces. Similar to the Surefire, the InForce flashlights are designed and assembled in the USA.

Materials

Where most of the other flashlights on our list of the best pistol light options are made from machined aircraft grade aluminum, this flashlight is made from lightweight fiber composite construction. This construction is designed to handle heat and impact much better than an aluminum body would. The lens is made from high-impact glass.

Light

Not quite as bright as the Surefire, but it does produce a very bright 200 lumens using an LED bulb. It produces a white beam with a good profile. There is a hotspot at the center but it is not as defined as most and transitions smoothly to the bright spill beam. It really illuminates a large area.

Fit on the pistol

The InForce light has a universal mounting system that can accommodate out of spec rails. As expected, it is designed to be quick and easy to use. The lever system is smooth and it really seems to lock down tight to the rail. It is also great that it allows the light to be affixed to a firearm without having to slide the light on from the front. This keeps the user’s hand away from the muzzle.

Note that this flashlight is listed on the InForce website to not fit the the Beretta PX4 Strom or the H&K USP.

The flashlight has a bilateral paddle switch, which makes is suited for both left-handed use and right-handed use. It offers constant and momentary options. It is designed in such a fashion to make it really easy for you to just tap the switches to turn on the light. You can also deactivate the switches by twisting the face of the light a quarter turn.

Other things to note

It runs on CR123A batteries and is listed to last approximately 1.5 hours, which appears to be the standard run time for most of the lights on our list of the best pistol light options.

Some short comings

The paddle switch system is great, but it does also result in the flashlight being easily switched on inadvertently while being stored or carried. This of course can result in a dead battery just when you need your light! However, if you are mindful of how you carry and store the light, this should not be a big concern. Other than that, the only things we would have liked to see on this flashlight is for it to be weatherproof and maybe have a strobe function.

If you want a flashlight that is not the usual Surefire or Streamlight options, but still has the quality and reliability that you would expect from the best pistol light options, then this is a good choice to consider.

Aimkon HiLight P10S

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Aimkon is not as well known as Streamlight or Surefire and it shows in the price of this flashight. The Aimkon flashlight is not quite on the same level as the Streamlight and Surefire options, but you do get a lot of value for the money you pay (which is less than half of what you would pay for the Streamlight TRL-3) and is definitely one of the best pistol light options available. The flashlight measures in at 3 x 1 x 1.5 inches and is listed to weigh 4.8 ounces.

Materials

As with most of the flashlights on our list of the best pistol light options this flashlight is made from aluminum, and the lens is anti-shattering ultra clear lens with anti-scratching and anti-slip.

Light

We only have LED flashlights on our list of the best pistol light options, and this flashlight is no exception. It uses CREE XM-L2 LED to produce a bright 400 lumen output. 400 lumen is plenty bright…but maybe a bit too bright for indoor use.

Powered by a single CR123A battery, this flashlight does not last that long unfortunately. It is listed to only have a run-time of approximately 0.45 hours….that is about half of what the other options can do.

Fit on the pistol

It is designed to fit most handguns with easy snap on and off from rails using the Aimkon quick release system.

The on/off switch is a horizontal slide switch that allows for easy one finger push action. Unfortunately there does not seem to be any pressure switch options available for this flashlight. Although you probably cannot expect that for a flashlight at this price range.

Other things to note

It has a strobe function! To use the strobe function just switch the flashlight on and off to cycle through the function options. A strobe function is not super important on a pistol light, but it does add a nice extra dimension to the flashlight as a self-defence tool.

It is water and dust resistent with IP68 rating…but some users noted it is not quite water tight, so do not go dunking this flashlight in a bowl of water!

Some short comings

While this is one of the best pistol light options available, there are some areas for improvement. Feedback on this flashlight has been really postive, but there have been a few cases where users complained about the quality and reliability of this flashlight. Some users did note however that when they returned the flashlight, Aimkon contacted them directly and replaced their flashlights and gave them really good service.

We don’t like the fact that the battery life is not very good on this flashlight. With such a short battery life it is very likely that the battery will die on you just when you need it…and who wants to carry a bunch of spare batteries with them all the time?!

As with all the other flashlights on our list of the best pistol light options, there is no option to be able to adjust the beam of this flashlight. As this is a pretty bright light at 400 lumens, an option to adjust the beam would have been great.

Overall it is a good flashlight, especially taking into consideration what you pay for it. If you want an affordable little flashlight to mount on your gun, this is quite possibly the best pistol light for your needs.

Our Top Pistol Light Choice

Which flashlight would we part our hard earned cash with to buy? Let’s recap the options we discussed above.

The Streamlight TLR-3 is a light, compact and bright little flashlight that snaps on and off a pistol easily with not too much fuss. It has an ambidextrous on/off switch that makes flicking the light on or off very easy. It does not have some of the features you would expect from a high-end tactical flashlight though (such as a strobe function and adjustable beam).

The AIM Sports flashlight is small and compact with a nice bright beam. It is made from machined aircraft grade aluminum, but there are some concerns around quality and reliability. It does not have some of the features we would like in a top pistol light, but for the affordable price you pay it is a good little light.

The Surefire X300 is a wonderful but expensive flashlight. It is made from top quality materials, which shows in its reliability. As you would expect, it is designed to fit easily and quickly onto most weapons. It is a really bright light, producing a sharp 500 lumens beam. However that is probably a bit over-kill unless you plan to use this flashlight a lot in outdoor situations.

The InForce flashlight is a lightweight flashlight that has a handy paddle switch system. It is made from composite fibers instead of the usual aluminum like other tactical flashlights. With a beam of 200 lumens, it is bright but not too bright.

The Aimkon HiLight P10S is affordable with the qualities similar to the other flashlights we have on our list of the best pistol lights. It does have a strobe function, which none of the other flashlights on our list have though! It is one of the brighter options at 400 lumens, but does not offer the ability to adjust the beam. It also has a easy to mount system and a switch that allows for quick and easy use.

So, which flashlight do we think is the best pitol light?

All 5 flashlights on our list make a case for the best pistol light. If you have the money, know you will use the flashlight on a daily basis and need something that is reliable then we would go with the Surefire. However for us it is a bit just too expensive. If you do not have the money and want something that still gives you value, then the best choice is the Aimkon. However if you know lives might depend on this flashlight, we may be a bit hesitant to go with this flashlight.

If we had to give up our hard earned money for a solid and reliable flashlight, we would go with the Streamlight TRL-3. It is a flashlight that you know will get the job done and is bright enough without being too bright. It is not cheap, but not as expensive as the Surefire though.

What Do You Think – What Is The Best Pistol Light?

Do you have any thoughts on what the best pistol light is? We are sure there are many other flashlights that are strong contenders to be called the best pistol light. If you have some thoughts, we would love to hear them! Please share them in the comments section below.

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