8 Best Pistol Lights

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There are a ton of pistol lights out there, both good and bad, so how do you know which ones might be worth the money? They usually aren’t incredibly expensive, but money is money, and nobody who has worked for it wants to waste it. Choosing one might seem daunting and some shooters may not even be convinced they need one.

We’re going to take a look at the top 8 best pistol lights. We’ll tell you what makes each one great, and how it can benefit your shooting. We’ve done the legwork to give you the specs and the numbers so you know exactly how each one stacks up to the others. Let’s dive into the best pistol lights.

Best Pistol Lights

Streamlight TLR-1

streamlight tlr-1

The perfect pistol light for both full-size and compact pistols. Ambidextrous controls for both on and momentary-on are easy to reach and intuitive. The cool white light is enough without being too much. The focus is set, but it’s a good blend of coverage and intensity. It also includes inserts for different rail styles.

Key Features:

  •  300 Lumen
  •  4 Ounces
  •  2.5 Hour runtime

Streamlight TLR-6

streamlight tlr-6

The TLR-6 is a Streamlight superstar that is designed specifically for smaller pistols that lack Picatinny rails. It comes in variants that are both light-only, as well as light-laser combo models. The push-button activation provides a solid feel, and the modest 100 lumens are able to light up nearby surroundings easily.

Key Features:

  •  100 Lumen
  •  1.27 Ounces
  •  1 Hour runtime

SureFire X300 Ultra

surefire x300 ultra

One of the best lights available, bar none, but you will pay for it. While the X300 is far longer than other lights, this gets it out of the way of much of the gas expansion that happens just outside the barrel. Super bright and focused beam leaves you wanting for nothing when in use.

Key Features:

  •  600-1000 Lumens depending on the variant
  •  4 Ounces
  •  1.75 Hour runtime

Streamlight TLR-8

streamlight tlr-8

The Streamlight TLR-8 is a similar package to the 7, with the addition of a built-in laser sight that operates in tandem with the light. It only uses a single button battery, so it saves even more on weight. Incredible lighting potential and it includes a lockout to prevent accidental activation.

Key Features:

  •  500 Lumen
  •  2.6 Ounces
  •  1.5 Hour runtime for light & laser combo

Inforce WILD1

inforce wild1

This futuristic-looking pistol light is on the cutting edge of weapon illumination. It features an activation system carried over from the APLc and is super-easy to reach. One-touch on, as well as a momentary option. Mounts in seconds with the adaptive mounting system.

Key Features:

  •  500 Lumen
  •  MIL-SPEC hardened finish
  •  1.5 Hour runtime

Inforce WILD2

inforce wild2

For a super-bright 1k lumen beast, the ultra-durable WILD2 is hard to beat. It has ambidextrous activation paddles and a range of more than 300m. This does come at a price, however, as this light is nearly 5oz. In addition to momentary and stay-on modes, the WILD2 also has a strobe option.

Key Features:

  •  1000 Lumen
  •  4.7 Ounces
  •  1.5 Hour runtime

Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie

olight pl-mini 2 valkyrie

Brighter than many other models at a lower price, the PL-Mini 2 is a relatively basic light that has a solid construction. The quick detach is handy so you don’t need to mess with a screwdriver. The finish isn’t the greatest but is sufficient to protect it. Highly adjustable, so it fits many different pistols.

Key Features:

  •  600 Lumen
  •  2.6 Ounces
  •  1 Hour runtime

Olight PL-PRO Valkyrie 1500

olight pl-pro valkyrie 1500

The papa to the Mini, the PRO will nearly signal the ISS for you with its almost-too-much 1500 lumen beam. This is a great light and a great value for the power. The only downside is the disconnect lever really doesn’t feel as sturdy as it should.

Key Features:

  •  1500 Lumen
  •  3.25 Ounces
  •  1.5 Hour runtime

Why Use A Pistol Light?

If you own a pistol, particularly for personal or home defense, you may not always have the privilege of shooting during daylight hours. If you shoot competitively or are considering it, there are specific night shooting competitions that can give you a wider variety of events to participate in and hopefully, win.

If you are holding a gun and may potentially fire it, you always need to be sure of your target as well as what is behind it. If you are shooting at night, you will generally have two options, either hold a flashlight or tactical light in your off-hand or use a pistol light.

While some might not see a big problem with holding the light manually, don’t forget that operating a pistol isn’t always a one-handed job. Even if you are ready to defend yourself with a pistol in one hand and tac light in the other, what happens if you need your off-hand? You need to take your light off the target, which can be deadly.

With a pistol light, it is already attached to the pistol and ready to be activated at a moment’s notice and a fingertip touch. It is mounted directly to the rail, and will always point where you are aiming, no matter what your other hand is doing. You will always be able to effectively illuminate anything you may be firing at, as well as the immediate surroundings, so you can also be sure of where your shots will end up.

Is A Pistol Light Better Than A Laser?

Well, in a low light situation, you may be surprised to know that a light will beat a laser in several ways. While lasers are cheaper and are helpful for new shooters placed in stressful scenarios, they also slow the shooter’s learning curve and hamper the ability to use iron sights effectively.

When you are bringing your gun to bear in the dark at a potential intruder, it is again important to know your target and what is behind it, as well as be ready to destroy that target. The problem comes when you put the laser on the target, and it’s a potentially friendly target. The flashlight will allow you to see them clearly, allowing you to act accordingly.

Tactically, a laser in a low light situation is nearly as bad as a light, if you aren’t prepared to be seen. Both are highly visible in a low light situation if they are pointing in your direction, giving away the position of the shooter almost immediately. The benefit to a pistol light, however, is once you activate it, you take advantage of the loss of the target’s ability to see you while your portable sun is in their eyes.

Benefits Of A Pistol Light

When the right pistol light is equipped, you will be able to see at a greater range and with increased clarity. This will extend your line of sight in low-light situations, giving you a greater ability to acquire and subsequently identify potential targets.

A pistol light can also be used as a weapon itself since it can cripple the target’s night vision, and prevent them from seeing you clearly. The downside is that even though it won’t be pointing at you, it will also take its toll on your night vision, though not as severely.

Using A Pistol Light

Pistol lights are simple to use, but they should not be treated as a normal flashlight since wherever your light is pointing, your barrel is pointing. It should only be used to verify potential threats and surroundings before making a decision to fire. Each model may be slightly different, but most will be able to be activated with a fingertip, while in a firing grip.

What To Look For In A Pistol Light

Brightness

Lots of shooters think the more lumens, the better. This may be true some of the time, but in most situations, you will want to find a compromise between brightness and practical functionality. If the light has adjustable focus, you can get away with even fewer lumens. More lumens will often mean a physically larger light, as well.

Reliability

Like just about everything else in life, you will more or less get what you pay for with lights. However, even though you shouldn’t shop bargain-basement lights, you still can get an amazing light for about $200 or less. Anything with a two-digit price should be looked at skeptically.

Size & Weight

You will want the light to have a tiny bit of overlap over or under the barrel, but make sure it doesn’t stick out too far, or you’ll see some serious build-up on the lens. The weight is also a factor, but not as much since most are only a couple of ounces. Remember that more weight on the front of your gun will change the balance and recoil.

Choosing The Right Pistol Light For Your Setup

Most pistol lights are going to function best when mounted under the barrel in front of the trigger guard. This means you will need to size it appropriately. Too short, and you will get a top shadow, too long and you’ll have to be careful of the hot, corrosive gases that are prevalent at the end of the barrel.

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