7 Best Pistol Light 2024 [Hands On Review] By:

0
8

Weapon mounted pistol lights are all the rage these days. Some reputable instructors are even going as far as calling a weapon light a necessity. There is good news and bad news about pistol lights. The good news is there are tons of them! The bad news is there are tons of them! You have options, lots of options. However, with lots of options comes a fair bit of confusion. To help you wade through this confusing mass of weapon lights, we are here to guide you along the way with our list of 7 best pistol light. Let’s dive in!

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to follow and signup for notifications!

Best Pistol Lights

Do you need a Weapons Mounted Light (WML)? It’s really up to you. But having one can be a game-changer in tight spots. Before pulling the trigger, you’ve got to know what you’re shooting at. A WML helps with that, especially in the chaos of a home intrusion.

It’s not just about blinding the bad guys for a moment, but also about making sure you’re not firing at shadows. Plus, being able to use it with one hand frees up your other hand for whatever else you might need to do – like holding onto your kid or keeping steady behind the wheel.

Sure, it doesn’t replace a handheld light, but it’s definitely a useful addition to your toolkit for navigating low-light scenarios.

Handgun lights come in three different sizes. They match the size of most handguns in many ways.

Full Size: Full-size lights offer strong power, combining lumens and candela for a long-reaching beam, perfect for larger firearms. Their longer build ensures they clear the barrel, avoiding shadows. But when fitted on compact handguns, they can make them feel heavier and bulkier.

Compact Weapon Lights: Compact weapon lights, tailored for popular models like the Glock 19, prioritize compatibility with shorter barrels. While they may not be as powerful or have as long a reach as full-size lights, they’re easier to conceal and more comfortable for everyday carry.

Subcompact Lights: Subcompact lights represent the latest tech in small, lightweight options. They’re even smaller and lighter, though they sacrifice some power. While there’s no set standard yet, they cater to the tiniest firearms with rails, carving out a new niche in weapon light options.

As a former Marine with decades of experience in shooting, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of a reliable pistol light. It’s a must-have for anyone serious about their shooting. With my knowledge and experience, I can confidently guide you to pick the best pistol light for any situation.

But I wanted this guide to be more than just my opinion. So, I reached out to my friends who are not just enthusiasts but professionals in the field of shooting. They have extensive knowledge when it comes to guns, and equipment. Their collective insights, combined with my expertise, helped me to put together this comprehensive list of the best pistol lights.

When compiling this list, I also considered key factors such as brightness, range, battery life, and value, all of which can greatly influence your shooting experience and performance.

Now, I understand that choosing a pistol light is personal and it depends on what you’re using it for. Keeping that in mind, I’ve made this list ranking the best pistol lights by category to help you find what works best for you. In addition to this list, I’ve also included a buyer’s guide so that you know what to look for when buying a pistol light.

Best Pistol Lights by Category

Surefire X300U
  • Bright and Powerful
  • Durable and Proven
  • Choice of Armed Professionals
Check Price
Streamlight TLR-1
  • Excellent mix of candela and lumens
  • Affordable but durable design
  • Constant, Momentary, and Strobe modes
Check Price
Streamlight TLR-7
  • Fits Flush with the barrel of Glock 19 sized firearms
  • Excellent size to power ratio
  • Affordable and well designed
Check Price
Surefire XSC
  • Constant 350 lumens
  • Small enough for Micro Compacts
  • Surefire quality and durability
Check Price
Inforce Wild 2
  • Class-leading 30K Candela
  • Durable aluminum design
  • Excellent price
Check Price
Best Combo

Streamlight TLR-8

Streamlight TLR-8
  • Easy to install
  • Amazing Brightness
  • Great Battery Life
Check Price
Thyrm And Surefire Fury
  • Perfect for non railed guns
  • Handheld light with a no-compromise firearm’s grip
  • Dual fuel battery design
Check Price

If you know what you’re looking for, feel free to use the links below to jump to any part of this article!

  1. Surefire X300U – Best Overall
  2. Streamlight TLR-1 – Best Budget
  3. Streamlight TLR-7 – Best Compact
  4. Surefire XSC – Best Subcompact
  5. Inforce Wild 2 – Best for the Money
  6. Streamlight TLR-8 – Best Laser/Light Combo
  7. Thyrm and Surefire Fury – The Wildcard Option
NameOutputCandelaRuntimeWeight
Surefire X300U1000 lumens11,3001.25 hours4 ounces
Streamlight TLR-11000 lumens12,0001.5 hours4.32 ounces
Streamlight TLR-7500 lumens50001.5 hours2.4 ounces
Surefire XSC350 lumens20000.5 hours1.12 ounces
Inforce Wild2 1000 lumens30,0001.5 hours4.7 ounces
Streamlight TLR-8500 lumens5,0001.5 hours2.64 ounces
Thyrm and Surefire Fury1500 lumens25,2001.5 hours6.5 ounces

There are a lot of pistol lights on the market these days. So, which one should you buy to add to your tactical gear? Below, we’ve put together a list of the six best pistol lights currently available. We’ll be taking a look at features, performance, and value to help you make the best decision for your needs.

So, let’s get started!

Surefire X300U

The Surefire X300U, or the U Boat, has been the industry standard among armed law enforcement agencies and armed professionals worldwide.

Check Latest Price

  • Brightness A+
  • Range A
  • Battery Life A
  • Value A

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 3 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Accessory? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has BeenAdded To Our Reader’s Score

Surefire X300U Specs

  • Output 1000 lumens
  • Candela 11,300 candela
  • Runtime 1.25 hours
  • Weight 4 ounces
  • Length 3.6’’

Surefire X300U Review

First up with our Best Overall, the good ole U Boat is a full-sized weapon light that packs a ton of power. The Surefire X300 packs 1,000 lumens and 11,300 candela to shine a way forward.

Surefire, as a company, has a reputation for making bombproof weapon lights which I love, and with that the X300U is no different. Outside of the light’s power, it provides armed professionals and concealed carriers with a no-fail weapon light.

I find the X300U really strong, durable, and shockproof to an insane degree. It’s also IPX7 waterproof which is great if the rain sets in.

I also liked the mounting system, which features the same housing as other models in the series. It is designed to quickly attach to universal and picatinny rails with a secure aluminum body.

The light is a cool white light that shines well beyond most people’s means to make an accurate handgun shot.

This is a great tactical flashlight addition to my kit and I love how the Surefire X300 beam cuts through the darkness, overrides photonic barriers, and even gives smoke and fog a run for its money.

We have a more in depth look at the Surefire X300U in our individual review article which can be found HERE!

  • Bright and powerful
  • Excellent range
  • Extremely durable
  • Ergonomic
  • Expensive
Check Amazon Price

Streamlight TLR-1 HL

If the Surefire X300U is a little too pricey for you, then the Streamlight TLR-1 might be the light for you.

Check Latest Price

  • Brightness A-
  • Range A
  • Battery Life A
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 5 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Accessory? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has BeenAdded To Our Reader’s Score

Streamlight TLR-1 HL Specs

  • Output 1,000 lumens
  • Candela 12,000 candela
  • Runtime 2.5 hours
  • Weight 4.18 ounces
  • Length 3.39’’

Streamlight TLR-1 HL Review

Next up is my Best Budget choice. The TLR-1 HL packs 1,000 lumen and a powerful 12,000 candela.

The Streamlight TLR 1 is equipped with a wider beam that fills your vision at shorter ranges and gives you excellent peripheral vision.

The Streamlight TLR 1 is IPX7 rated, so it can be submerged up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. The main body is made from aluminum and is shock and dustproof. The TLR-1 has a great reputation for durability but I haven’t tested it anywhere near as much as the X300U.

The bright beam really fills a room up with light and makes searching and detecting threats easier and more rapid. From concealed carry to home defense, the TLR-1 HL has your back and does so at about half the price of the X300U.

When I’m looking for a reliable option for a mounted flashlight on my pistol, this pistol light is a solid choice.

We also have an individual review on the TLR-1 which can be found HERE!

  • Excellent power
  • Wide beam
  • Affordable
  • Ergonomic
  • Bulky and Heavier than competitors.
Check Amazon Price

Streamlight TLR-7

It’s designed to fit flush with the frame of the pistols in the compact realm. The addition of almost no bulk keeps the gun concealable and easy to handle.

Check Latest Price

  • Brightness A-
  • Range A-
  • Battery Life A
  • Value A

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

B-

Based on 4 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Accessory? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has BeenAdded To Our Reader’s Score

Streamlight TLR-7 Specs

  • Output 500 lumens
  • Candela 5000 candela
  • Runtime 1.5 hours
  • Weight 2.4 ounces
  • Length 2.51’’

Streamlight TLR-7 Review

Next up is my Best Compact Pistol option. Do you carry a compact piece that needs a compact handgun light? Well, Streamlight has you covered with the TLR-7. The TLR-7 pistol light is my personal everyday carry (EDC) light on my CZ P-10C.

The Streamlight TLR 7 packs 500 lumen of warm light with the same widespread beam as the TLR-1. Albeit, it’s a bit less powerful. With 5,000 candela, you aren’t getting a searchlight from this weapon.

Within typical concealed carry and home defense range, the TLR-7 is powerful enough for a mounted flashlight.

The TLR-7 weighs only 2.4 ounces and is 2.15 inches long, making it insanely small and compact for the power it packs.

The TLR-7 is still IPX-7 rated to resist submersion for 1.5 hours at 1 meter. The TLR-7 is quite durable and is well suited for concealed carry. This compact pistol light packs a powerful punch and comes at an excellent price.

A Streamlight TLR-7 Review can be found here.

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Ergonomic
  • Excellent size to power ratio
  • Lowered lumens and candela is evident.
Check Amazon Price

Surefire XSC

Sub-compact lights are new to this world, but Surefire is trying very hard to be the king of these lights. So far, they are the undisputed champ.

Check Latest Price

  • Brightness B+
  • Range B
  • Battery Life B-
  • Value B

Our Grade

B

Reader’s Grade

C+

Based on 4 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Accessory? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has BeenAdded To Our Reader’s Score

Surefire XSC Specs

  • Output 350 lumens
  • Candela 2000 candela
  • Runtime 0.5 hours
  • Weight 1.12 ounces
  • Length 1.94’’

Surefire XSC Review

The XSC Micro Compact fits on guns as small as the Springfield Hellcat and provides a consistent 350 lumen.

Admittedly the 2,000 candela leaves you a little low on the range side, but it’s still the most consistently powerful light in the subcompact range.

Like any Surefire product, the XSC is made to last and will kick it day after day without issue making it a great choice for a mounted flashlight.

The XSC packs a rechargeable battery, which allows the size to stay small and the power to stay high.

Going with a disposable battery in this gun light would mean an increase in size or a loss in power. The Surefire XSC’s battery is removable, and replacement batteries are also available. This somewhat solves the issue of a dead battery when you still need light to rock and roll with.

For a further look at this light, read our Surefire XSC review.

  • Small and light
  • Replaceable rechargeable batteries
  • Consistent high power level
  • Short run time
  • Expensive
Check Amazon Price

Inforce Wild2

When we say best for the money, we are looking at both the cost of the light and its performance. The Inforce Wild 2 is powerful, well made, and priced to move.

Check Latest Price

  • Brightness A
  • Range A+
  • Battery Life A
  • Value A-

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 3 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Accessory? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has BeenAdded To Our Reader’s Score

Inforce Wild2 Specs

  • Output 1000 lumens
  • Candela 30,000 candela
  • Runtime 1.5 hours
  • Weight 4.7 ounces
  • Length 3.5’’

Inforce Wild2 Review

When you’re looking for the best value for money, look no further then the Inforce Wild 2 which blasts out 1,000 lumen of light backed by a potent 30,000 candela. That kind of performance is rare in the pistol light world.

The Wild 2 pistol flashlight is made from aluminum and designed to be durable. It’s dust and shockproof and waterproof up to 66 meters. The Wild 2 is powered with two CR123 batteries and will run for 1.5 hours.

The Inforce Wild 2 is still priced below, and I mean way below, the Surefire X300U. It’s not as cheap as the Streamlight but performs better. The Wild 2 is a full-sized weapon light that might be reasonably new to the market but seems to be making a big splash in the best pistol light space.

For the Inforce Wild2 individual review, you’ll find it HERE!

  • Powerful with a high candela
  • Ergonomic paddle design
  • Three functions
  • Hefty
  • Unproven by professional users
Check Latest Price

Streamlight TLR-8

This rugged lithium battery powered LED weapon light fits most hand guns and long guns.

Check Latest Price

  • Brightness A
  • Range B+
  • Battery Life A-
  • Value A-

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 5 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Accessory? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has BeenAdded To Our Reader’s Score

TLR-8 Specs

  • Output 500 lumens
  • Runtime 1.5 hrs, Laser only 18hrs
  • Weight 2.64 ounces
  • Length 2.15’’

Streamlight TLR-8 Review

Coming in as our light/laser combo, the Streamlight TLR-8 pistol light is a powerful and versatile addition to any handgun.

Featuring a bright, focused beam that provides excellent visibility in low-light conditions, this pistol light enables you to quickly and easily aim your handgun at targets with confidence.

Additionally, the pistol light is rugged and durable, with an impact-resistant construction that can withstand drops and other impacts without losing functionality.

Whether you’re looking for an upgrade to your existing pistol or are in the market for a new one, I would recommend looking at the Streamlight TLR 8 pistol light as it’s an excellent choice.

For a more in-depth review, be sure to check out the Streamlight TLR-8 Review here.

  • Easy to install
  • Extremely Bright
  • Great Battery Life
  • Pricey
Check Amazon

Thyrm and Surefire Fury

A combination light created by a handheld Surefire Fury light and a special Thyrm attachment.

Check Latest Price

  • Brightness A+
  • Range A+
  • Battery Life A
  • Value B

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

C+

Based on 4 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Accessory? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has BeenAdded To Our Reader’s Score

Thyrm and Surefire Fury Specs

  • Output 1500 lumens
  • Candela 25,200 candela
  • Runtime 1.5 hours
  • Weight 6.5 ounces
  • Length 5.6’’

Thyrm and Surefire Fury Review

I wanted to throw in a wildcard option in our pistol lights list. So, let’s say you have a Glock 43, a Walther PPS M2, a J frame revolver, or a pocket 380 ACP. Not a whole lotta room to add a pistol light there. So what is a concealed carrier to do? Well, a little company called Thyrm makes a device called the Switchback.

The Switchback is designed to attach to the Surefire Fury and add a ring to the light to allow for an easy grip on the light while gripping your handgun.

The Thyrm Switchback is a simple device that allows you to engage a handheld light without compromising the shooting grip on your gun.

The Surefire Fury is like any other Surefire light and is made to be durable and bright to add to your duty gear. It packs 1,500 lumen and can be powered by a rechargeable battery or two CR123A batteries.

The Fury, combined with the Switchback, gives you a potent and powerful option when you have a gun that’s not exactly compatible with traditional weapon lights.

For an individual review on this light, read about it some more HERE.

  • Perfect for non railed guns
  • No special holster needed
  • 1,500 Lumens!
  • One-handed use isn’t an option
Check Amazon Price

Before you dive into buying a light for your handgun, there are a few considerations you need to make. Choosing the right light should be done with an understanding of how it works. If you are just taking my suggestions, you may find yourself with a light that doesn’t suit your lifestyle or gun.

Here are some factors to consider before you buy a pistol light:

  • Weight and Length
  • Holster Compatability
  • Controls
  • Lumens and Candela
  • Durability Concerns
  • Other Factors

Factors To Consider When Buying a Pistol Light

Weight and Length: Adding a light to your gunmeans considering how it affects the weight and dimensions. While it might not bother a bigger person much, it can be a real annoyance for someone smaller. Take measurements and imagine how it’ll feel with your weapon, especially if it’s a compact pistol.

Holster Compatibility: Don’t forget about finding a holster that fits both your gun and light. Luckily, more companies are making holsters for light-bearing firearms, so you have options for different carry styles.

Gun holsters

Controls: Make sure the controls on your light are easy to reach and use comfortably. Look for switches that won’t let you down when you need them most. The lights listed in my selection are known to have great switches, and they don’t fail the user. The lights listed in my selection are known to have great switches, and they don’t fail the user. Lights like the Olight PL Pro have switches that can be disabled when something gets between the switch and the light’s body.

Lumens and Candela: Lumens and candela work together to create a bright and potent beam. While lumens measure light intensity and candela represent usable light, higher counts in both result in a brighter light with greater range. Smaller concealed carry lights typically prioritize high lumens and low candelas for close engagements. However, combinations of high lumens and candelas suit duty and full-size handguns for an extended range of bright light. Despite requiring a bigger and heavier light, there’s no downside to opting for higher counts.

Lumela and Candela explaination

Durability Concerns: Anything you carry for defensive use needs to be tough, well made, and dependable. Duty and concealed carry guns need to be reliable, as does anything else strapped to the gun. Without a proven background of law enforcement and military use, you should definitely pay closer attention to the pistol light’s IP rating.

An IP rating (IP ratings explained) is a score given to something that helps describe just how tough it really is. You’ll often find this score on various optics such as binos, spotting scopes, riflescopes, and weapon lights. 

Other Factors and Features

When looking for your pistol light, you’ll often run across other advertised features. While some of them are blatant gimmicks, others can be quite nice.

Is It Waterproof?

Your light should handle at least splashes and ideally be fully waterproof. You never know when you’ll get caught in the rain, and electronics don’t mix well with water. A reliable light won’t leave you stranded when you need it most.

Shockproof?

Life’s full of bumps and tumbles. Your light should be sturdy enough to handle accidental knocks and the jolts of firing your weapon with it attached. It’s all part of ensuring your gear can keep up with your lifestyle.

Aluminum or Polymer?

While polymer has its perks, like in handgun design, pay close attention to durability. Opt for lights with aluminum rail attachments to avoid potential issues. Reputation matters too, so look into the construction quality of each option.

Is a pistol light a necessary requirement for concealed carry? That’s a debatable topic. For home defense, a white light is a must-have. The good news is lights come in various sizes, price ranges, and configurations. You can find the right light for home defense, concealed carry, or whatever other goals you are trying to accomplish.

Cheat-Sheet

  • Lumen – A lumen is the intensity of your light
  • Candela – Candela is the usable light
  • IP Rating – IP (Ingress Protection) indicates how well the product will stop water or dust from entering.

Other Considerations

(ask yourself before buying)

  • Is it Waterproof?
  • Is it Shock Proof?
  • What is the Length?
  • What is the Weight?
  • Will the Controls suit your needs?

What are the different sizes of pistol lights available?

Pistol lights come in full size, compact, and subcompact variants to match different handgun sizes. Full-size lights offer the most power and range but add more weight and bulk. Compact and subcompact lights are smaller and lighter, making them suitable for concealed carry.

Can the light head affect the performance of a pistol light?

The design and quality of the light head significantly impact the performance of a pistol light. A well-designed light head can provide optimal brightness, beam intensity, and heat management, resulting in better visibility and durability.

What should I consider when choosing a pistol light for compact pistols?

When choosing a pistol light for compact pistols, prioritize factors such as compatibility with your handgun’s rail system, size and weight that won’t impede concealability, and sufficient brightness and beam intensity for effective illumination.

Are rail clamps adjustable on pistol lights?

Rail clamps on pistol lights may offer some adjustability to accommodate different rail widths or configurations on handguns. However, ensure that the rail clamp securely fits and locks onto your handgun’s rail for safe and reliable operation.