A military tactical flashlight designed for police and self defense is a bit different than your typical tactical flashlight. When shopping for a regular tactical flashlight, people tend to go for highest lumen torches with the most features.
Because of the use-case scenarios of such military lights, some would put more emphasis on certain flashlight characteristics than others, such as: durability for heavy intense use, or button accessibility when used in conjunction with a weapon or firearm.
As mentioned, police or law enforcement officials may use a tactical light differently from a regular hobby-ist. The torch can either be mounted on the firearm (usually with a rifle) or held in the less dominant hand with a hand-gun. For this article we’re going to be focusing on standalone police lights rather than rail mounts.
Advantages of tactical lights with firearms
- Accessible illumination in the dark
- Signaling friendlies
- Used as a weapon itself (self-defense) to dis-orient enemies up close i.e. strobe or sudden illumination
- Additional weight, lowering speed and mobility
Tips for Military Tactical Flashlight Shopping
Durability and Mobility
You want to look for a military that’s durable, as you’re likely to drop your torch here and there during the heat of the moment. While durability is important, finding the right balance between durability and mobility will be key. Generally, more durable lights are going to have heavier material, but may slow you down in intense settings.
You want something that would fit your less dominant hand well, as you’ll be holding your firearm with your right-hand, and the torch with the left, for instance. If you already have a tactical light with a base momentary switch, see if you can switch the light on and off with your thumb without too much strain.
How one operates a tactical military flashlight factors into whether that torch should be used for police or military purposes. Because the individual will likely be in heat-of-the-moment style situations, the operation of the light should be quick and easy when caught in a tight spot.
I generally go for the simpler lights, with a one click on/off switch at the tail. If you’re able to plan for the situation, you can get a programmable flashlight. A “recent memory” function is also good to remember the last mode/option you were using.
Our Top 8 List of Military Tactical Police Flashlights
The PD35 is a great lighweight tactical light that works best for self defense. It has useful modes like turbo, for maximium brightness and strobe for disorienting your combantants. Functionally, it comes with two switches, one on the side and another on the bottom which allows for more momentary-style use i.e. signalling or manual strobe.
With waterproof and aluminum durability, as well as impressive throw, the Fenix PD35 is a great choice for military or police use.
- Max Output: 960 lumens
- Weight: 3 ounces /w batteries
- Modes: 5 modes + strobe
- Waterproof: IPX-8 up to 2 meters for 30 mins
- Function: side and bottom switches (momentary-on)
- Impact Resistance (IR): 1 meter
The SureFire G2X is a series of well-known lights, specifically the tactical and pro products. In addition to the typical momentary switch on the base, this police torch has a rotating tail-cap switch to turn on a constant beam.
It’s a simplier light that focuses on getting the job done with two output modes (Pro): low and high and one mode for the Tactical version. With its nitrolean body, it anecdotally has greater impact resistance and is immune to corrosion, unlike its aluminum or metal counter parts.
- Output: 320 lumens
- Weight: 4.4 ounces (batteries)
- Modes: High and low (Pro) and 1 mode (Tactical)
- Waterproof: O-ring and basket sealed but no reported IPX rating
- IR: N/A but supposedly strong with the nitrolean casing
- Function: momentary / click switch and turn-style constant beam, depending on Tactical vs. Pro versions.
The Klarus XT11GT is definitely the light for you if you’re a more function / output mode type of guy or gal. It has a super bright output of 2000 lumens.
It has a memory mode to remember your most recent setting and a temperature system to monitor your flashlights temperature to ensure you don’t damage the torch. Comes with both strobe and SOS modes.
- Maximum Lumens: 2000
- Weight: 4.58 ounces without batteries
- Modes: +12 modes (see more here)
- Waterproof: O-ring and basket sealed but no reported IPX rating
- IR: 1 m
- Function: dual button tail switch
The Nitecore P12 is a strong rival to Fenix’s PD35. As a torch, it offers the most “special” features including strobe, location beacon and SOS. In addition, it has 4 brightness levels with a maximum output of 1000 lumens. It operates flexibly with a tail switch for momentary illumination and a side-switch to toggle between the 4 brightness modes. It’s compact and strong with aluminum casing making the P12 a strong contender for a self-defense or military light.
- Output: 1000 lumens
- Weight: 3.10 ounce
- Modes: 4 brightness and 3 utility modes
- Waterproof: IPX8 and 2 meters submersible underwater
- Impact Resistance: 1.5 meters
- Function: side switch for brightness, tail switch for momentary
The LD09 by Fenix is a simpler and more affordable version of the PD35. It has a max output of 220 lumens and is super bright, especially in close quarters for its size. The Fenix LD09 lacks a side-switch but is fully functional with a tail switch. It operates using half clicks for switching between modes and a full click to engage it fully.
One advantage of this operation is that you can operate this torch to its full extent with one hand, and the other holding your firearm. The LD09 makes for a great no-frills self-defense light. It’s also super light and provides a strong balance of mobility and functionality.
- Max lumens: 220 lumens
- Weight: 1.2 ounce
- Modes: 3 brightness modes and SOS
- Waterproof: IPX8 2 meters submersible for 30 mins
- Impact Resistance: 1 meter
- Function: tail switch with half and full clicks
SureFire E2L Outdoorsman
As the name entails, the SureFire E2L was designed for the outdoors but it also makes for a great police tactical flashlight. It’s a simple light that has a 1-2 click operation. Click once for the low mode, and twice quickly for the high mode. The E2L is one of the more durable torches on this list.
Like the G2X, the SureFire E2L is American-made so you can rest assured of its build quality. The main thing I like about this light is the aggresive knurling that makes for a strong grip. Working with this light and a firearm you won’t find yourself accidentally dropping the E2L.
- Max output: 60 lumens
- Weight: 3.7 ounces
- Modes: 2 modes: high and low
- Waterproof: Unknown
- No IR values stated
- Function: 1 and 2 click tail button operation
Streamlight PolyTac 88850
This PolyTac light from Streamlight is a simple, bare-necessities military torch with a high, low and strobe mode. Like some of the other tactical lights listed here, this law enforcement light uses quick taps to change settings.
The polymer body compares well against the SureFire G2X when it comes to durability. Combined with a Picatinny Rail Mount or Elzetta’s Shotgun Mount, the Streamlight PolyTac becomes a strong add-on to a police enforcer’s arsenal.
If you’re looking for the best police tactical flashlight, I would go with the 88850 PolyTac or SureFire G2X. Polymer material works best in military-like situations
- Max output: 275 lumens
- Weight: 4.1 ounces
- Modes: strobe, high, low
- Waterproof: Values unavailable
- Unknown how resistant to impact
- Function: light taps to switch and click for sustained illumination
The Maglite ML300LX a solid choice for policing and as a tactical self defense flashlight. It’s American made and good for outdoor and other tactical use. Being on the larger side, it’s not a torch one would typically mount onto a fire arm, but perfect as a standalone or accompanying a handgun.
The light features 4 activity based modes that lets you switch via click switching. It excels at long run-times and great throw distances.
- Maximum Lumen Output: 275
- Weight: 26.4 ounces with batteries
- Modes: high, low, eco momentary and strobe
- Waterproof: N/A
- Impact Resistance: N/A
- Function: click switching