What Is a Tactical Flashlight & Why YOU Should Have One

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While most people think of a flashlight as something that they keep tucked away in a drawer or closet until they lose power at home, there’s one kind of flashlight that you need to keep with you when you venture out of your home and that’s a tactical flashlight. I get asked a lot “what is a tactical flashlight” by people who know that I never leave home without mine. My flashlight, the J5 Tactical, goes everywhere with me and I believe that it helps to keep me a lot safer. To help answer the questions about what makes my flashlight special and why I carry it all the time, I put together this article to help you better understand.

Tactical Flashlight – What is it?

Personal Tactical Flashlight

Flashlights You Probably Already Have

The thing that sets tactical flashlights apart from regular flashlights is the word “tactical”. If you haven’t ever heard this term before, then you are likely to be a little confused as many people do not really understand what makes a flashlight tactical or regular. That’s okay as long as you take the time to understand the difference and see what really sets these flashlights apart from the one that your kids use when hiding in their fort.

Unless your flashlight is clearly labeled as a tactical flashlight, then chances are very good that it will not offer you all of the benefits that a tactical flashlight will. While you can certainly use this flashlight around the home, you will want to update to a tactical flashlight in the future.

I have found that one reason why some people balk at buying tactical flashlights to replace their old flashlights is due to the cost but they do not have to break the bank. While it’s easy to buy expensive tactical flashlights that come with a lot of features, offer lighting control, and are made of special materials, you can just as easily find a more affordable option that offers all of the benefits of a tactical flashlight without the high price tag.

Flashlight Differences

Anything that is “tactical” is going to have been designed for use by police or military. This means that while they are going to operate in the same way as a regular flashlight, they are going to be much sturdier and have other benefits as well. One of the main differences is that many tactical flashlights are going to be made so that they can be easily mounted to a weapon to aid in shooting in low-light conditions.

Even if you do not need to mount your flashlight to a weapon for protection, you will enjoy some of the other ways that these flashlights differ from regular flashlights. They are generally much smaller than traditional flashlights but are more powerful, which means that they are able to emit a significantly stronger beam of light when they are in use, according to Art of Manliness. Additionally, due to the high quality of materials that are used in making tactical flashlights, they are not likely to break or become damaged when you use them no matter how rough you are on them.

There are a few ways that you can easily tell if you have a regular or a tactical flashlight and knowing the differences makes it very easy to go shopping and buy a new tactical flashlight that will meet your needs. The size and design, power and utility, and other solutions that these flashlights offer will make it clear why they are an improved design.

Tactical Flashlight Size and Design

Tactical Flashlight vs. regular flashlight

Very often, tactical flashlights are going to be a lot smaller and more compact than traditional flashlights are. This means that not only are they easier for you to hold completely in your hand but they will, even at first glance, look very different than the typical flashlights that you have in your home. While regular flashlights are often brightly colored or decorated and may be made out of flimsy plastic casing, tactical flashlights are not generally designed for appearance but rather for utility.

This is generally a great way to easily tell if you are holding a typical or a tactical flashlight. Normal flashlights that you buy for use around the home are often bulky, brightly colored, and made from lower-quality materials. They are prone to breaking if you drop them by accident and generally are very inexpensive to buy, which means that they don’t last very long.

On the other hand, tactical flashlights are designed for rough use and are made from materials that can withstand being dropped, hit, left out in the rain, or shocked. Your tactical flashlight is very unlikely to scratch, shatter, or break, thanks to the special coating on the body of the flashlight. Because these flashlights are built to last, they are likely to be around for a very long time without showing signs of wear or tear or being negatively affected by the external damage.

Tactical = Brighter Light

There are few things more frustrating than trying to use a flashlight and not being able to see anything because the beam of light is so weak or is constantly dying. I know that I have spent more than my fair share of time hitting the side of my flashlight to try to get it to work again and that doing so is not only frustrating but can leave you open to problems if you are not able to see what is going on in front of you in the dark.

No matter if you are exploring a strange noise outside, walking to your car after a late night at the office, or simply navigating your home after losing power, you will want to rely on the strong, powerful beam of light that your tactical flashlight can provide you. Not only is this light significantly brighter than regular flashlights due to the LED bulbs and the way that the flashlight is constructed but it is not going to fail you the way that regular flashlights tend to.

The stronger light source that you enjoy when you buy a tactical flashlight is something that clearly sets these flashlights apart from others available on the market and one of the main reasons why more and more people are buying them. While you may buy a new flashlight because it will make it easier for you to see, there are a few other differences that tactical flashlights offer that you are sure to love as well.

Regular flashlights generally only offer 100 lumens of light, which may be enough to see in the dark but not enough to fully illuminate an area around you when you are looking for an intruder. Compare that to the minimum of 200 lumens provided by a tactical flashlight, as discussed on Orion Tactical Gear, and you can easily see what sets them apart and why they are so handy. Not only will the brighter light make seeing around your home easier but, in an emergency, it provides you with the light you need to see if you are searching for a lost child. I have found that my tactical flashlight is so much brighter that I have gotten rid of my regular flashlights as they simply can’t compare.

They Offer Tactical Solutions

Tactical Flashlight Protection

Regular flashlights are good for making light and, depending on their size, can be used to hit someone if you find that self-protection becomes necessary. However, those are the only real benefits that you will enjoy when you opt for this type of flashlight. One thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that tactical flashlights are designed to do much more than simply provide you with the light that you need to see when it has gotten dark out.

Tactical flashlights are designed to be more than a single-use tool and, because of that, offer the owner a lot of benefits. I know that I have used the serrated edge on my tactical flashlight to help dig through hard dirt in a pinch while still relying on the light to allow me to see exactly what I was doing. Additionally, because they are so incredibly strong and indestructible, you can use the flashlight to break glass in an emergency without worrying about breaking the flashlight itself.

They’re Able to Withstand a Lot of Damage

It is their indestructibility and durability that allows these flashlights to take so much damage without breaking and makes them such a valuable tool to have in your home, your car, and your pocket. I have heard of people in car accidents being able to break the glass in their windows by using their tactical flashlights, which allowed them to escape the wreckage of their cars. They are also ideal if you are in an emergency situation or find yourself locked out of your house and need to break a window but are worried about cutting yourself.

Because they are often made using aircraft-grade aluminum and usually are coated with special coatings to increase their durability, it’s easy to use these flashlights as tools and weapons without worrying about damaging them or getting hurt yourself.

Why Should You Have One?

You Can See More Easily

As mentioned, tactical flashlights are significantly brighter than regular flashlights, which allows you to see much more easily in the dark. It is very common for people to think that they won’t ever need to see very large areas in the dark but it’s amazing how often this can come in handy. I recommend keeping these flashlights not only at home but also in the car as there are many times that I have needed to have plenty of light to see what I was doing and relied on my tactical flashlight to provide it for me.

Whether your dog has escaped out of the back fence in the middle of the night and you need to go find it, you are stopping on the side of the road to help a stranded motorist and can’t see what you are doing, or simply because your kids want to explore the backyard after dusk, when you use a tactical flashlight, you will be able to see more easily. Things will be brighter, you can see a farther distance, and more will be illuminated. It’s that simple and that’s one of the main reasons why I love my tactical flashlights so much.

You’ll Be Safer in the Dark

Technically, the dark isn’t any more dangerous than the light is but it can really feel that way when you can’t see what’s around you or are worried that you are being watched or followed. When you have to be outside in the dark and you want to make sure that you can easily see your surroundings so that you will be as safe as possible, then you need to have a high-quality flashlight that has been built to last and will give you peace of mind. I believe that everyone, both men and women, needs to carry a flashlight in the dark.

Tactical flashlights will allow you to see where you are going when you are walking to your car at night and they also make it possible for you to light up a very large area with a single beam, which is the best way to deter criminals from coming around. No matter if you have heard a strange noise or need to get to your car, being able to light up a large area with a single flashlight will help to keep people from approaching you and give you the confidence that you need when you are alone in the dark. Shining a bright light in the eyes of potential attackers is a great way to stun them and give you enough time to defend yourself.

They’re Indestructible

One major problem that I have with regular flashlights is how easily they can break. I have gone through many flashlights in the past because I dropped them, stepped on them, or accidentally hit them against a wall or a tree when I was carrying them. Those days are gone now, thanks to my durable tactical flashlight and the fact that it’s almost indestructible.

No matter if you have children who can’t stop playing rough with your flashlight or you know that you are likely to drop it when checking the perimeter of your home or climbing up in a tree to hunt, you are sure to love how tough these flashlights are. This, in addition to the brighter light that they produce, is the main reason why so many people I know love their tactical flashlights and take them with them everywhere. While you want to be careful to not lose your tactical flashlight when you are out and about, you don’t have to worry about accidentally damaging it.

Everyday Carry (EDC) Flashlights

Unlike regular flashlights, which can be bulky, heavy, or just shaped in a strange way, tactical flashlights are incredibly compact and made so that they are very easy for you to carry with you. They are the perfect size for slipping into your pocket, adding to a purse, or carrying in the palm of your hand without anyone else knowing that you have the flashlight; however, their smaller size doesn’t just mean that they will fit into small areas with problems. It also means that you can easily hold onto them.

There are a few times when I have had to move very quickly and still hold on to my flashlight and I know that if I had been carrying a regular flashlight, I would have dropped it. Regular flashlights are just so bulky that they are difficult to hold without fearing that you are going to drop them. Tactical flashlights, on the other hand, in addition to being much more compact and easier to grip, are often textured.

This texture on the outside of the flashlight will allow you a lot of control when you are holding or using your flashlight. It ensures that no matter how cold or wet your hands are, you should be able to hold onto your flashlight without accidentally dropping it. The textured surface won’t hurt you when you are gripping it but will give you the increased sense of security that you need so you don’t have to focus all of your attention to hanging on to your flashlight.

Enjoy Improved Reliability

There are few things more frustrating than your flashlight burning out or not working when you need it to. While you could waste precious time running back into the house and rummaging through drawers for new batteries or a new bulb, when you choose to buy a tactical flashlight, you will enjoy improved reliability from the start. Your flashlight will turn on when you need it to, is easy to control, and can easily be turned off once you are done using it.

I have never worried about whether or not my tactical flashlight would turn on when I needed it to and that’s because they are just so reliable. You’re sure to love the peace of mind that comes with owning a flashlight that will always work when you need it to.

They Can Be Weapons

Tactical Flashlight for Self Defense

Besides being used to shine a bright light in the eyes of a potential assailant, you can also use your tactical flashlight to defend yourself if you are ever attacked, according to the experts at The Tactical Guru. There are few things scarier than having someone close to you who is trying to hurt you and feeling as though you can’t protect yourself. Unless you have training in self-protection, chances are very good that you won’t know what to do in this situation.

While it is true that you could technically use any kind of flashlight to defend yourself, including a regular flashlight, these plastic flashlights aren’t going to do much damage to your attackers and may leave you open to more attacks from them. The best way to defend yourself is to have a tactical flashlight that you can use.

Not only are tactical flashlights made to be durable and strong, which means that they can be used as striking weapons, but they also often have a serrated edge that is designed for digging or for breaking glass. You can rely on this serrated edge when you need protection from an assailant; when used correctly, this is a great way to defend yourself from the attack quickly and easily.

Make Sure That You Can Use Your Flashlight in All Weather

Not only are tactical flashlights built to last even in extreme conditions and to help you protect yourself and stay safe in the dark but they can also be waterproof. Because you want to make sure that your flashlight will work in all conditions and situations, looking for a tactical flashlight that is waterproof is a good idea. I know from experience how easy it is to accidentally drop your flashlight in a body of water or in a puddle and how quickly your light can be extinguished when you do so.

Tactical Flashlight in Icy Snow

When you choose a waterproof flashlight, you won’t just benefit from being able to keep using it even if it falls in water but you can also use it in the rain. There’s nothing worse than trying to find your way in the dark rain, looking for an animal during a thunderstorm or trying to find your way through the mist only to have your flashlight stop working because it has gotten wet.

Tactical Final Thoughts


All in all, tactical flashlights are the clear choice if you want to have a flashlight in your home, car, or purse for safety. These flashlights are incredibly strong and reliable and you don’t ever need to worry about your tactical flashlight failing you when you are in an emergency. Some of the best tactical flashlights that I have found include this one and this one, both of which are designed to last for a long time and offer you the light and protection that you need. Obviously, though, I’m a huge fan of the T5 Tactical since I’ve owned it for 2 years now. Comment below if you have any questions about these flashlights as I’m happy to help you choose the right tactical flashlight for your needs.

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