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Best Pistol Lights In 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide

Attaching a light to your gun? You would not think that to be a controversial subject, but it is. Some say that guns may be used to illuminate an area in situations where a gun should not be pointed. Others point out how difficult it is to find a suitable holster for a light-fitted gun.

There are drawbacks that we all recognize. However, despite this, most of us will follow common sense and fit our weapons with lights.

Best Pistol Light Reviews

Whether it’s hunting deer, shooting targets, or saving your own life, we’re here to discuss what’s available. So, let’s take a look at our Best Pistol Light Reviews to see some of the choices for the best light for your pistol…

Top 7 Best Pistol Light Reviews


1 Streamlight TLR-1 Weapon Mount Tactical Flashlight Light – 300 Lumens, Black

One of the most recognizable brands in the gun flashlight business is Streamlight. They can seem expensive, but there is a reason. You are enhancing one of the most important pieces of equipment you own. This is not a time to scrimp on dollars and cents.

This is also not the most expensive accessory you will buy, but in the right circumstances could be the most useful.

What are we looking for?

Your average flashlight does not have this durability and will not be as bright. A good weapon light will not only illuminate the immediate area, but it can literally blind your adversary. Therefore this comes highly recommended as one of the best pistol lights around.

Being so bright, this is a particularly good light for fighting and defense.

How bright is bright?

We measure brightness in candelas and lumens. The candelas are measurements of the light source’s power, and lumens register the strength of direction. The TLR-1 generates 12,000 candelas at 300 lumens. Bright enough for any handgun.

A parabolic reflector provides a brilliant center and a generous area of illumination around it. And the two CR123A lithium batteries will run the light for up to two and a half hours. The light remains bright and will not dim with a low battery.

Easy to mount…

The TLR-1 mounts to Picatinny rails and ships with keys to fit other guns. And it is waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, and the lens is also temperature and impact resistant.

Specifications

  • Candelas: 12,000
  • Lumens: 300
  • Length: 3.26”
  • Battery: Two CR123A lithium
  • Run Time: 2.5 hrs
  • LED: To 50,000 hrs
  • Weight: 4.18 ounces
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
  • Rails: Picatinny
Streamlight TLR-1 Weapon Mount Tactical Flashlight Light
Our rating:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Pros

  • Can blind an attacker.
  • Broad area illumination.
  • Long LED lifespan.
  • Very lightweight.
  • Ambidextrous switching.
  • Momentary and Constant Modes.
  • Light retains full brightness on low battery.

Cons

  • Fairly short battery life
  • For use with a handgun. Needs slight modification for use with a rifle.

2 Streamlight TLR-2 HL 1000-Lumen LED Rail Mounted – Best Premium Pistol Light

Next, in our Best Pistol Light Reviews, we have a model that is around double the price of the Streamlight TLR-1. However, as we know, there’s always a reason for this, and you do usually get more bang for your buck.

If you want more bang, or in this case, “light,” then that’s exactly what you get and a bit more. This is another in the best pistol light series, and you can pop it on a more powerful long-distance weapon.

How is this different?

This small unit generates a fantastic quantity of focused light. Not just in the central beam, but in the spread area around the beam and over about 250 yards. It is a very tiny bit heavier than the TLR-1 and a fraction longer. But not so much that you would notice.

The HL, denomination for High Lumen, generates 1,000 lumens. However, so much more light, with the same batteries, drains the batteries that much faster. One hour less than the TLR 1, but like the TLR-1, it does not fade as the batteries drain.

Laser accuracy…

The red dot laser is very effective. It can be seen in broad daylight up to about 15 yards. There is also a green laser model if you prefer — the TLR-2 HL-G. The laser is toggled for intermittent and ambidextrous. This unit again fits Picatinny rails and has keys for Glocks.

Remember the rules?

“Know your target and what’s behind it” requires much more attention when the sun goes down. A powerful light like this just decreases the risks.

Specifications

  • Lumens: 1,000
  • Run Time: 1.5 hours
  • Beam Distance: 283 meters
  • Battery: Two CR123A Lithium
  • Length: 3.39” – 8.61 cm
  • Weight: 4.88 oz (138.35 grams)
  • Colors: Black
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
Streamlight TLR-2 HL 1000-Lumen LED Rail Mounted
Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Brilliant light penetration.
  • Broad illumination sweep.
  • Varying modes.
  • Fits many weapons.
  • Robust light build.
  • Water, damp, and dustproof.
  • Recoil and bump resistant.
  • Full strength light on low battery.

Cons

  • Relatively short battery life
  • Hot to touch after 5-10 mins use.

3 Streamlight Tlr-7 Rail Mounted Tactical Light, Black – Best Affordable Pistol Light

Third, in our review, is this Tlr-7. Priced lower for those with lesser needs but a very effective light nonetheless. Perfect for a handgun or personal self-defense in the home. This model is also impervious to dust and moisture, and it has the same durability as its more expensive brothers, which certainly qualifies it as one of the best lights on offer.

Where does it shine?

We guess mostly in the dark, but jokes aside, it is easy to operate, lightweight, and inexpensively maintained. While it does not have laser sights, its intensity and range is totally adequate for any target in its beam range.

Take control…

The low profile is accompanied by side controls and expressly designed to prevent snagging. Battery life is saved with a “safe off” mechanism and stops accidental activation. Ambidextrous controls are provided for easy operation and allow “Momentary Operation.”

High quality in every way…

Don’t be fooled by the Streamlight’ light’ price. It is still manufactured from the best materials and to the highest industry standards. It still contains borofloat high-temperature glass, which will last a lifetime. This is a really great medium to low price light that is easily fitted to almost any gun.

Specifications

  • Lumens: 500
  • Run Time: 1.5 hours
  • Beam Distance: 131 meters
  • IPX7 waterproof: 1m for 30 minutes
  • LED Life: 50,000 hrs
  • Battery: One CR123A Lithium
  • Length: 2.15” – 5.46 cm
  • Weight: 2.4 oz (68 grams)
  • Operating temp: 40°F to +120°F
  • Colors: Black
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
Streamlight Tlr-7 Rail Mounted Tactical Light
Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Only needs one battery (included).
  • Fits many full-sized and compact guns.
  • Durable, anodized machined aluminum construction.
  • User enabled strobe function.
  • Ambidextrous operation.
  • Safe off feature.

Cons

  • None to speak of.

4 Streamlight 69410 TLR-8 Tactical Flashlight, Black – Best Value Pistol Light

Streamlight have a reputation for making high-quality lights at the right price, and the TLR-8 500 is no exception. This model sports nearly all of Streamlight’s modifications and superlative materials used in construction. The heatproof glass, the parabolic lens, the high lumens, and the unquestionable reliability.

The TLR-7 and TLR-8 are specifically designed to add to the already great functions. They are the most compact of Streamlight’s models and suitable for compact handguns. They fit snugly on the rails of most popular handguns, Picatinny rails, and rate highly as some of the best pistol lights currently available. For example, on a Glock 19, it fits snugly under the barrel.

Intense lighting…

As the name denotes, this is a 500 lumen light capable of throwing a bright beam out to 143 yards. Custom optics produce an intense inner core of light, with well balanced peripheral illumination.

This model also sports a 640-660nm, red laser. Another nearly identical but slightly more expensive model, the Streamlight TLR-8, provides the green laser. The package includes the light, rail locating keys, and lithium battery.

What else is there?

This model also comes with a low-profile ambidextrous on/off switch, an easy to use real clamp system and a safe off feature that prevents accidental activation, saving expensive battery hours. This is an all-rounder and provides the right intensity, durability, and price.

Specifications

  • Lumens: 500
  • Run Time: 1.5 hours
  • Laser Only: 15 hours
  • Beam Distance: 131 meters
  • Laser: Red
  • LED Life: 50,000 hrs
  • Battery: One CR123A Lithium
  • Length: 2.15” – 5.46 cm
  • Weight: 2.72 oz (77 grams)
  • Operating temp: 40°F to +120°F
  • Colors: Black
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
Streamlight 69410 TLR-8 500 Lumen Weapon Mounted Tactical Flashlight
Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Good fit for compact guns.
  • Quality materials.
  • Excellent value for money.
  • Limited lifetime guarantee.

Cons

  • Switch not as convenient for longer guns.

5 SureFire X300 Ultra LED Handgun

Next up in our Best Pistol Light reviews, Surefire have produced something a little longer than the previous models we’ve reviewed. For a mid-priced light, you get manufacturing quality and incredible durability.

One of the advantages of the light being longer is that on a handgun, you will be cleaning the carbon deposits less. This is a great choice when looking for a versatile light, easily fitted, and with massive illumination power. And it is one of the most versatile pistol lights you can get.

Versatility

The X-300 also makes a good ultra-bright handheld torch. Some shooters keep this light in their pocket and clip it on their gun when needed. Keep in mind the shelf life of your battery is ten years, but the run time is only 1.25 hrs.

However, a safety off mechanism will prevent you from draining the life of your battery accidentally.

High power…

The LED produces 1,000 lumens with an off-white bias. This appears in a yellowish-green spectrum, and optimal for human vision. The light has a smooth tight beam and provides a nice balance with peripheral illumination.

The ambidextrous and a push/toggle switching lets you choose between a momentary and constant-on function with ease.

Fits like a glove…

A t-slot mounting system provides a very solid and simple attachment to railed handguns. Long guns fitted with MIL-STD 1913 rails will also accept this clip on. If you have a polymer-framed handgun, SureFire has an adapted model – the X300U-A.

However, you need to beware of the knock offs. This popular light has been copied a lot. If not buying new or from a reputable dealer, it is easy to buy a fake.

Specifications

  • Lumens: 1,000
  • Run Time: 1.25 hours
  • LED Life: 50,000 hrs
  • Battery: One CR123A Lithium
  • Length: 3.6” – 9 cm
  • Weight: 4 oz (113 g)
  • Colors: Black
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum.
  • Attachment: Picatinny
SureFire X300 Ultra LED Handgun
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Additional model for polymer guns.
  • Quality materials.
  • Good value for the money.
  • Easy clip on.

Cons

  • Battery life is short.
  • Beware of knock offs, fakes are common.

6 Olight PL-Pro Valkyrie Magnetic Rechargeable Weaponlight – Best High Power Pistol Light

Olight says that their PL-PRO Valkyrie 1,500 is the world’s most powerful weapon light. If this doesn’t dazzle you, nothing will (see warning). This is just one of the many reasons it gets a place in our list as one of the most powerful pistol lights you can buy.

The battery is fully rechargeable and takes about 90 minutes. It charges directly by connecting the light with the magnetic USB cable.

Choice of modes…

There are three output modes, which are strobe, constant “on” and “momentary on.” The rail adaptor for the Glock and 1913 are included in the package. The PL-PRO has a lockout mode and magnetic port compatible with the MCC charging cable. This, with the remote pressure switch, makes it suitable for use on rifles.

The manual quick attach and release mounting system are very simple to operate. Plus, there is an On/Off switch for self-defense, which is ambidextrous. Just tap on the side or push forward on the switch to activate.

A word of warning

In the interests of safety, never point this light into anyone’s eyes, unless they’re an intruder. The power can actually blind them. If left on in a confined space, it can also get so hot that it can damage itself or nearby materials.

Specifications

  • Lumens: 1,500
  • Run Time: 1.5 hours
  • Beam throw: 280 m/300 yds
  • Battery: 900mAh 3.6V rechargeable polymer battery
  • Length: 3.27” – 8.3 cm
  • Water resistance: IPX6: High-pressure, heavy sprays of water
  • Weight: 3.25 oz (92 g)
  • Colors: Black
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
  • Attachment: Picatinny
Olight PL-Pro Valkyrie Magnetic Rechargeable Weaponlight
Our rating:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Pros

  • Rechargeable Battery.
  • Quality materials.
  • Good value for top lumens.
  • Quick-release mounting.
  • Ambidextrous ON/OFF switch for self-defense.
  • Block and 1913 rail adaptors included.
  • Good for rifles.

Cons

  • Battery is non-replaceable.
  • Very hot light, if left on, can damage itself.
  • Charger NOT compatible with PL-MINI and PL-MINI 2.

7 Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie 600 Lumens Modular Weaponlight – Best Budget Pistol Light

With the success of the original PL-Mini, Olight listened to feedback to re-define it with the PL-Mini2. Now, the bulky detach lever has gone, while the new attachment and compact design makes it compatible with many more pistols. Expensive batteries are also a thing of the past. This model is definitely one of the best value for the money pistol lights we’ve reviewed

The magnetic charging base is easily snapped on and pulled off quickly. And the activation buttons are a convenient push down. The rail placement options are first class and enable this small light to fit nearly any gun.

Superb illumination for the price point…

The 600 Lumen light throws out a more intense beam than a lot of lights, double the price. It’s highly suitable for domestic and security use. There is a clearly visible low energy battery warning, indicating the need to charge. If you carry a lot, just recharge the unit a couple of times a month.

All in all, the PL-Mini2 is the perfect light for a compact gun. The rail versatility, safety features, and rechargeable battery, make the PL-Mini2 one of the best compact pistol lights on the market.

What’s in the box…

Along with the Olight PL-MINI 2 VALKYRIE, you’ll get a T6/T8 socket head wrench, a Picatinny (Mil-std-1913) rail mount, a magnetic charging cable, and the user manual.

Specifications

  • Lumens: 600
  • Run Time: 1.5 hours
  • Beam throw: 100 m/300 yds
  • LED: Cree XP-L HD CW
  • Charge: Magnetic USB
  • Battery: Rechargeable polymer battery
  • Length: 2.07” – 52.5 mm
  • Height: 1.28” – 32.55 mm
  • Water resistance: IPX6: High-pressure, heavy sprays of water
  • Weight: 3.25 oz (92 g)
  • Colors: Black, Tan & Grey
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
  • Attachment: Picatinny
  • Warranty: Two years
Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie 600 Lumens Modular Weaponlight
Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros

  • Rechargeable Battery with low charge indicator.
  • All quality materials.
  • Unbeatable value per lumen.
  • Quick-release mounting and excellent rail compatibility.
  • Ambidextrous ON/OFF switch for self-defense.
  • Glock and 1913 rail adaptors included.
  • Can also be used for rifles.

Cons

  • None to speak of.

Best Pistol Light Reviews Buying Guide

Best Pistol Light Reviews Guide

You wouldn’t think that as small an item as a weapon light could cause such controversy. Before we even get to buying the equipment, shooters are arguing over its necessity. For those of us that already know what we are looking for, this seems absurd. And many of the conversations include debates regarding whether or not a weapon light is better than a handheld flashlight.

So, What’s the Point?

The point is that most, but not all, shooters think nothing of possessing both a weapon light and a handheld flashlight. It’s not necessarily a case of, get a weapon light, and you don’t need a flashlight. While discussions roll on inexorably in cyberspace, there is a simple solution for those wanting to travel light, in weight and bulk, that is.

A Simple Answer

A number of shooters we know, make use of the easy clip on and off features of most weapon lights. Shooters detach their weapon light and use it as a flashlight. The sense in this derives from the fact that pound for pound of bulk and weight, weapon lights make excellent flashlights.

Size Matters

Best Pistol Light Reviews Size

Using a pistol light as a flashlight. Keep your small but powerful weapon light in your pocket, when you don’t need your gun. When you do, clip the weapon light on, and you have one less object to store and carry around. As in the case of the last light in our review, which is only 2” long and just over an inch thick. For such a powerful light, it makes sense to some, to keep it on you.

How About Safety?

This is an important question. The development of weapon lights and the increasingly regular use of them is seriously impacted by gun safety rules. It is easy to acquire a gun without coming across any form of training in how to use them safely.

Some of us have had those unfortunate experiences, where a small amount of care would have saved a life. Even helped prevent a serious injury. That could involve a friend, relative, or someone else’s friend or relative. That event could leave a life long scar.

Women Take Note

There are hundreds of accidental shooting deaths per year and tens of thousands of non-fatal injuries. Gun sales in the U.S. are now spearheaded by women between 30 and their mid-seventies. Most of these women will have personal safety and self-defense on their minds. An unnecessary accident could not only kill you or somebody else, but change your whole life.

For more information, please check out our comprehensive review of the Best Handguns for Women.

The Role of Weapon Lights

A lot of the recent development in weapon lights has been in response to the growth in personal self-defense weapons. Handguns, compacts, and subcompacts. As you have already seen, the attachable lights can be so small that they fit easily to the smallest of weapons. This makes the weapon more versatile, particularly at night and particularly in self-defense situations.

A good proportion of those reading this will, in fact, be women. Let’s have a quick look at some well-known gun rules for those of us that haven’t seen them before. Weapon lights naturally widen the occasions where you can use your pistol. This expands the dangers and the necessary safety requirements.

Gun Rules

Best Pistol Light Reviews Rule

1. Treat every gun as if it is always loaded.

2. Never aim a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.

3. Keep your trigger finger off until your sights are on the target.

4. Make sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Briefly: Rule 1

Treat every gun as if it is loaded, until you know it’s not. Safety check every gun and check the chamber. If the gun is out of sight for any length of time, check it again.

Rule 2

Never aim a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy. That way, nothing but the object of your intent will die or be injured. Bullets can carry through all sorts of seemingly solid materials: floors, walls, and great distances. In self-defense situations, you may not have time to consider this, but at all other times, keep this as law.

Rule 3

Keep your trigger finger off until your sights are on the target. Guns do not just go off. Even when they are dropped. Modern guns have too many safeties for that. Practice holding your unloaded gun, as if it is loaded.

Point the gun and say to yourself out loud what it is aimed at, and what’s behind what it’s aimed at. This will create good habits. Develop two habits in picking up a gun — one where you do not touch the trigger and another where you do.

Note: This is why some people prefer heavier trigger pulls as it reduces the likelihood of accidental discharge. Practicing turning your light on and off frequently will also reduce accidental discharge. This is a common cause of it.

Rule 4

Be sure of your target and beyond it. In the case of using weapon lights, this rule has even more meaning. It is harder to know what is beyond your target in the dark. Weapon lights can increase that danger. This is quite a big subject, and all the above rules are vital to your safety and that of anyone near you.

Let’s add one more…

Never drink and shoot. Obviously, in self-defense, you may never know the demand or the need.

Quality Note:

All the lights reviewed here have high manufacturing standards behind them. You will not need more in the way of durability or excellence in materials.

Categories to Consider in Your Choice

Best Pistol Light Reviews Choice

  • The size of the weapon you have.
  • The distance from your target you will be.
  • Whether you will be using it on more than one gun, or in one situation.
  • The inclusion of a red or green laser sight.
  • The price.

While we are generally talking about handguns, some of us will put the light to use on a handgun and a rifle. Some of our choices are lights that have systems for a rifle as part of their package. That is clearly discussed in each review. Examples include the Streamlight TLR-1 and the Olight models – the Olight PL-PRO Valkyrie 1500 and the Olight PL Mini 2.

On the range or out hunting at night, we could be looking for maximum lumens. While the Olighit Pro Valkyrie would be one to consider, a lot of us would never need that power. Therefore, mid-range lumen strength would be a better choice.

For most of us looking for a weapon light, we are obviously looking at pistols and more than likely compacts and smaller. In this case, we can go by the old axiom “Small is Beautiful.” Which leads us nicely to our favorite…

Lighten Up Your Day

Looking for more lighting options, no problem, simply check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Green Lights for Hog Hunting, the Best Coon Hunting Lights, and the Best Predator Hunting Lights currently available.

Best Pistol Light Reviews Conclusion

And our favorite is the…

Olight PL-MINI 2 Valkyrie

All the boxes are ticked in this upgrade from the Olight PL-MINI. Its specifications make it the most powerful ultra-compact rechargeable light you’ll find. With 600 lumens available lighting a beam out to 109 yards. It is IPX6 weather and impact resistant. And it makes a great light for self-defense, military, and law enforcement.

Quick Release Mount and Ambidextrous Switches…

It takes about a second to snap it on to work with Smith and Wesson, Glock, Springfield, and any Picatinny rails. Plus, the ambidextrous switches on either side of the unit are good for right or left-handed shooters.

Quick, convenient recharging…

The light is easily recharged without removing it, and a glowing indicator makes the charge status easy to monitor. Price is not a guide with this light, and it is the best value for the money, that you’ll find anywhere.

Happy and safe shooting.

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