The Best: AR15 Mounted Flashlight
What are the best tactical flashlights for an AR15?
Battery Junction's Guide To Buying the Right Light for your Rifle
The term tactical flashlight gets thrown around a lot, and it can refer to a seemingly wide range of devices. The fact is the needs of tactical users vary when it comes to flashlights. Some need a primary light for flooding a big open room with tons of light while others need a dependable and compact secondary option. Still others find themselves with more specific needs like ultra-low modes, red or UV lighting, or as we'll discuss here, the ability to mount the light on a weapon.
When it comes to handguns, weapon lights are limited to their size and shape, and often the best options are purpose-built devices like the Surefire X300 or Streamlight TLR-4. With rifles and shotguns your options are more varied, and fully-functioning hand-held flashlights become ideal weapon-mounted choices with the addition of a rail mount and pressure switch. We've put together a guide to what we believe makes the best weapon mounted light and compiled a list of our favorite lights for an AR or tactical shotgun set-up to help you decide the best device for your rig.
What to Look For:
Obviously the light you choose will need a weapon mount and remote switch accessory to even be considered here. No need to mess with duct tape and rubber bands anymore. Beyond that, your light should include a few more features to make it a truly capable weapon mount.
Dual contact springs:The most important feature of any piece of tactical gear is reliability. When it comes to flashlights, dual contact springs ensure the level of consistent performance you need when it's all on the line. A light that applies pressure at both ends of the battery terminals will maintain its power supply even through the rough action of recoil, making this an essential feature for weapon mounted lights.
Tough Materials:This should be a given but as with most gear, lower cost competitors often try to cut corners where they can. For our money, nothing beats an anodized aluminum light. Military spec anodizing protects from scratches and dings while lightweight aluminum can withstand the hits that are inevitable with serious tactical use. The lights we've included in our list also feature stainless steel components for added protection of vital mechanisms.
High Outputs:It's easy to get caught up in the output wars. An extra 50 lumens here or there is nice but it won't make or break a light's overall tactical value. You should, however look for a light with around 500 lumens or more. As LED technology continues to improve, this won't be a tough benchmark to find. We've made sure all of our lights provide enough illumination for lighting up large spaces as well as blinding assailants.
Top 5 Recommendations:
We've placed the M20 at the top of our list of tactical lights for years now and as Olight continues to release new versions as well as new accessories, its features expand. On top of including all the features we listed above, this light is comfortable to use in hand, making it a truly versatile piece of gear. As for its mounting capabilities, Olight offers a wide range of accessories including a vertical mount as well as an offset rail mount , a pressure switch , red , green , and blue filters , and a white diffuser .
The newest version of the M20 includes square threads at the tail cap for a more secure fit. This is an upgrade for performance, but unfortunately makes the newest model incompatible with Olight's 3-Key pressure switch - a unique switch that allows mode selections through the remote rig. In time, Olight will likely come out with a similar accessory for its newer M series lights, which all feature the square threading. For now the standard on/off remote switch is available for the newest version and BatteryJunction.com still has a number of previous generation M20's and 3-Key pressure switches in stock.
|Output||550 lumens||110 lumens||10 lumens||1x 18650||Dual Switch|
|Runtime||1.3 hours||5 hours||85 hours||2x CR123A||Optional Pressure Switch|
SUMWAYMAN has been a leading name in Every Day Carry lights for years, and their newest tactical lights utilize the incredible construction techniques and technologies that have made them such a trusted brand. The T20CS is the brightest light on our list at 658 lumens.
The T20CS's AP01 remote switch stands apart from the pack in that it includes the rear switch as well as a port for the remote, meaning you can pull the light off its mount and use it as a hand-held device without having to replace the tailcap. SUNWAYMAN doesn't have a rail mount just for this light but its 1 inch diameter body can fit a number of weapon mounts. Its short body can make it difficult to fit onto some of the mounts for other lights on the list. We found the Olight offset mount was the best option for the T20CS.
|Output||658 lumens||476 lumens||18 lumens||1x 18650||Tail Switch|
|Runtime||1 hours||2.5 hours||82 hours||2x CR123A||Optional Pressure Switch|
The XT11 is another mountable light that scores high marks as a hand-held option. The rail mount is constructed from durable aluminum and its compatible pressure switch allows constant and momentary activation and has a separate button for an ultra-low stand-by mode should you need to conserve batteries or minimize visibility. Klarus also makes a full line of filters including red , blue , and green attachments as well as a white diffuser . All this makes for an extremely well-rounded device.
|Output||820 lumens||160 lumens||11 lumens||1x 18650||Dual Switch|
|Runtime||3 hours||10 hours||73 hours||2x CR123A||Optional Pressure Switch|
Surefire's stellar reputation is built on its line of lights for tactical users including military personnel and law enforcement. The M300B is an incredible purpose-made weapon light. The pressure switch and rail mount are included with the light and its design was built around the weapon-mount option, which makes for ideal form and fit. Its output is substantially less than that of the previous contenders, but its more compact size and single battery configuration are appealing in their own right.
|Output||200 lumens||-||-||1x CR123A||Tail Switch|
|Runtime||1.3 hours||-||-||2x CR123A||Included Pressure Switch|
The TK22 offers an incredible build quality and all of the tactical features that qualify it for a top-tier weapon light. Its interface features a side switch in conjunction with the tail switch for a different in-hand feel compared to the M20 and XT11. BatteryJunction.com supplies the TK22 with a free 12 pack of Titanium Innovations CR123A batteries, while Fenix offers a rail mount and pressure switch as well as Red , Blue , and Green filters for a variety of applications.
|Output||650 lumens||250 lumens||7 lumens||1x 18650||Dual Switch|
|Runtime||1.5 hours||4.5 hours||168 hours||2x CR123A||Optional Pressure Switch|