It would be nice if we could all afford Surefires. But sometimes you just want a good tactical flashlight that won’t wipe out your checking account. The good news is that there are plenty of good flashlights out there that will get the job done for a fraction of what a top-of-the-line light will cost.
Here are 6 lights that strike a good balance between performance and affordability.
NEBO REDLINE TACTICAL FLASHLIGHT STROBE S.O.S 220 LUMEN 5581
The Nebo Redline Tactical Flashlight attempts to bring tactical flashlight performance with a bargain basement price. Is it best tactical flashlight for the money? How well it accomplishes this feat depends on what you desire from a tactical flashlight.
The Redline comes with 3 levels of beam brightness 220 Lumens, 110 Lumens,and 22 Lumens. Clicking the rear button 4 times activates the the S.O.S flash sequence and clicking it 5 times activates the defensive strobe (both 220 lumens). It uses 3 AAA batteries.
The focus of the Nebo Redline’s beam is adjustable from a wide flood light to a tight spot light. This flashlight is small, bright, and its high grade aluminum construction is durable. It has the always desirable defense bezel. While most tactical flashlights’ tail switches protrude the Redline’s is indented, making it a little harder to switch on. Also there is no momentary on switch. This flashlight does have some weaknesses, but it shines bright and is cheap.
FENIX E21 FLASHLIGHT
The Fenix E21 Flashlight is an ideal portable flashlight. Its 2 mode LED lamp produces 54 or 170 lumens depending on your need. The E21 is waterproof up to 6 1/2 feet and with its recessed tail switch shows its self resourceful by standing upright.
The E21 is bright, durable, and features a momentary on switch. It features a CREE XP-E LED. It is not the most feature rich or aggressive looking tactical flashlight, though it would do just fine in a pinch. The E21 is powered by 2 AA batteries and come with a lanyard, two spare o-rings, and a spare rubber switch boot.
ULTRAFIRE WF502B CREE T6 XM-L 1000 LUMENS LED FLASHLIGHT
The UltraFire WF502B is insanely bright and insanely cheap. The LED lamp produces more of a flood light than a focused spot light. It is manufactured of anodized aluminum alloy and is water resistant. The WF502B does not offer momentary on, but does come with high, low, and strobe modes. The WF502B can be mounted on a tactical rail with a 1 inch ring mount and it comes with a belt clip.
Maybe the greatest weakness of this flashlight is that it requires a special 3.7 volt battery that your local hardware store probably doesn’t carry. The batteries can be obtained easy enough online and they are rechargeable, so Al Gore will be happy (if you care).
SMITH AND WESSON GALAXY ELITE 2 AA CREE TACTICAL FLASHLIGHT
The Galaxy Elite’s strong point is its simplicity. It comes with 2 AA batteries and two modes: bright and momentary bright. Its durable CREE Q2 LED shines forth with a solid 100 lumens. It is compact and continues to shine fully until the batteries are depleted. Users can expect a battery life of 2 hours. It has a tactical tail cap switch and comes with a pocket clip, lanyard, and holster.
This flashlight is not feature rich, but it is well-constructed and delivers what it promises, a reliable light that uses inexpensive AA batteries.
COAST HP17TAC HIGH PERFORMANCE FOCUSING 615 LUMEN LED FLASHLIGHT WITH TACTICAL STROBE
The Coast HP17TAC allows you to carry a 615 lumen beacon in your pocket. You can opt for a low output 64 lumen beam if your need is for simple navigation in the night and extended battery life.
The shaft is textured for improved grip and contains the comfortable rubberized quick-switch that easily cycles between the three output modes high, strobe, and low. A half-press gives you a momentary beam. The Pure Beam Focusing Optic System is tight and provides a clean cone of light at any point between flood light and spot light.
The HP17TAC is rock solid from its aluminum casting to its unbreakable LED.
STREAMLIGHT 69220 TLR-3 WEAPON MOUNTED TACTICAL LIGHT WITH RAIL LOCATING KEYS
The Streamlight 69220’s nylon polymer makes it an impact resistant featherweight among weapon mounted lights. The quality construction of the Streamlight 69220 is the definition of durability.
The face cap is manufactured of 6000 series machined aerospace grade aluminum with an anodized finish. Borofloat high tempered glass finishes off the lens. The LED has a 50,000 hour lifetime and it throws a 90 lumen beam that is concentrated and provides excellent peripheral illumination. Its design provides for quick attach/detach and its momentary/steady switch is ambidextrous. It fits almost any weapon with its provided key kit.