Clear vision is essential in any survival situation, since it allows you to observe, orient, decide, and then act on what's around you. In the dark of night or a pitch-black room, it can be difficult to accomplish any of those tasks reliably, so illumination is key.

However, there's one particular time when visibility is almost guaranteed to make the difference between life and death: self-defense with a firearm. If you can't see your attacker clearly, you may hesitate to fire or miss your target completely; and with devastating consequences. Worse, misidentification of an innocent as a threat may lead to a different set of devastating consequences.

Therefore, we expanded our HighLights guide for this important theme, selecting 10 pistol flashlights to test and review. These lights offer diverse sizes, features, controls, and prices, so you should be able to find one that fits your specific needs. For evaluation purposes, we selected lights that fit the most popular pistol on the market, the Glock 19. If you own or carry a different gun, that's not a problem — many of these weapon-mounted lights (WMLs) are universal-fit, and the remaining few offer similar variants that fit other guns. Keep in mind, holster selection can be limited for light-bearing pistols, but it's a secondary concern for bedside guns.

Most importantly, each of these lights can help you identify a threat in the shadows and decide if you need to pull the trigger. No other type of flashlight carries such a heavy burden.

Pistol-Mounted Lights

  • Aimkon HiLight P10S

    Make & Model - Aimkon HiLight P10S
    Claimed Max Brightness - 300 lumens as shown (500 for newer models)
    Claimed Max Runtime - 55 minutes
    Overall Length - 3 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 2.8 ounces
    Battery - 1x CR123 (included)
    Controls - Push-through forefinger switch alternates between two modes
    Output Modes - Constant-on, strobe
    Construction / Mounting - Aluminum, quick-detach lever
    MSRP - $38 as shown; $55 for new 500-lumen version
    URL - http://www.aimkon.com

    A budget light with basic features. It mounts easily via a quick-detach lever, snapping into place on the pistol's rail.

  • BLACKHAWK! Night-Ops XIPHOS NTX

    Make & Model - BLACKHAWK! Night-Ops XIPHOS NTX
    Claimed Max Brightness - 180 lumens
    Claimed Max Runtime - 2 hours
    Overall Length - 3.1 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 2.5 ounces
    Battery - 1x CR123 (included)
    Controls - Ambidextrous forefinger switch with multi-tap mode selection (left-handed model available)
    Output Modes - Constant-on, momentary, strobe
    Construction / Mounting - Carbon-fiber polymer, quick-detach adjustable Cam-Clamp
    MSRP - $204
    URL - http://www.blackhawk.com

    The light seen here is a second-generation design, featuring a revised battery cap and improved switch design compared to earlier models.

  • Crimson Trace LTG-736 Lightguard for Glock

    Make & Model - Crimson Trace LTG-736 Lightguard for Glock
    Claimed Max Brightness - 100 lumens
    Claimed Max Runtime - 2 hours
    Overall Length - 4.5 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 1.5 ounces
    Battery - 1x CR2 (included)
    Controls - Master on-off lockout switch, finger groove pressure pad
    Output Modes - Momentary-on only
    Construction / Mounting - Polymer, two hex screws
    MSRP - $179
    URL - http://www.crimsontrace.com

    This contoured light is designed specifically for full-size and compact Glock models, but variants are available for the 1911, Springfield Armory XD, and Smith & Wesson M&P.

  • Inforce Glock APL

    Make & Model - Inforce Glock APL
    Claimed Max Brightness - 200 lumens
    Claimed Max Runtime - 1.5 hours
    Overall Length - 3 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 2.8 ounces
    Battery - 1x CR123 (included)
    Controls - Ambidextrous paddle switches
    Output Modes - Constant-on, momentary-on
    Construction / Mounting - Polymer, flathead screw
    MSRP - $175
    URL - http://www.inforce-mil.com

    If you're not looking for tons of bells and whistles and want a straightforward, easy-to-operate pistol light, the InForce APL might be just what you're looking for.

  • Safariland Rapid Light System (RLS)

    Make & Model - Safariland Rapid Light System (RLS)
    Claimed Max Brightness - 190 Lumens
    Claimed Max Runtime - 2 hours
    Overall Length - 4.6 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 5.3 ounces
    Battery - 3x AAA (included)
    Controls - Tail cap switch
    Output Modes - Constant-on, momentary-on
    Construction / Mounting: Aluminum flashlight, polymer mount, locking swing arm (also includes quick-detach duty belt mount)
    MSRP - $118
    URL - http://www.safariland.com

    The Safariland RLS offers a unique configuration and manual of arms compared to traditional pistol lights.

  • Streamlight TLR-1 HL

    Make & Model - Streamlight TLR-1 HL
    Claimed Max Brightness - 800 Lumens
    Claimed Max Runtime - 1.75 hours
    Overall Length - 3.4 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 4.2 ounces
    Battery - 2x CR123 (included)
    Controls - Ambidextrous forefinger switch
    Output Modes - Constant-on, momentary-on, strobe (can be disabled)
    Construction / Mounting - Aluminum, flathead/thumb screw clamp
    MSRP - $243 (see notes)
    URL - http://www.streamlight.com

    The well-known Streamlight TLR-1 is one of the most popular pistol flashlights on the market, and the HL model kicks it up a notch.

  • SureFire XC1

    Make & Model - SureFire XC1
    Claimed Max Brightness - 200 lumens
    Claimed Max Runtime - 1.5 hours
    Overall Length - 2.4 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 1.6 ounces
    Battery - 1x AAA (included)
    Controls - Ambidextrous momentary-on switches, push-through constant-on switch
    Output Modes - Constant-on, momentary-on
    Construction / Mounting - Aluminum, flathead screw
    MSRP - $300
    URL - http://www.surefire.com

    Despite being the smallest light we tested, the SureFire XC1 manages to produce 200 lumens with an even beam pattern and no hotspot in the center.

  • TruGlo Tru-Point Red Laser/Light Combo

    Make & Model - TruGlo Tru-Point Red Laser/Light Combo
    Claimed Max Brightness - 200 lumens
    Claimed Max Runtime - Unlisted
    Overall Length - 4 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 5.6 ounces
    Battery - 2x CR123 (included)
    Controls - Forefinger switch (interchangeable LH or RH) or remote pressure switch, 3-position mode toggle switch
    Output Modes - Momentary-on or constant-on; light, laser, or light/laser
    Construction / Mounting - Aluminum, quick-detach lever with flathead screw adjustment
    MSRP - $121
    URL - http://www.truglo.com

    Extending nearly 1.5 inches past the muzzle and tipping the scales at over 1/3 pound, the TruGlo Tru-Point is the largest light we evaluated.

  • UTG ELP123R-A Tactical Pistol Flashlight

    Make & Model - UTG ELP123R-A Tactical Pistol Flashlight
    Claimed Max Brightness - 400 lumens
    Claimed Max Runtime - 1 hour
    Overall Length - 3.1 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 3.5 ounces
    Battery - 1x CR2 (included)
    Controls - Ambidextrous forefinger switch
    Output Modes - Momentary-on, constant-on
    Construction / Mounting - Aluminum, flathead/thumb screw clamp
    MSRP - $53
    URL - http://www.leapers.com

    Priced at just north of $50, this UTG pistol light serves as an affordable option.

  • Viridian X5L Gen 2 Tactical Light with Green Laser

    Make & Model - Viridian X5L Gen 2 Tactical Light with Green Laser
    Claimed Max Brightness - 224 lumens
    Claimed Max Runtime - 1 hour with laser and light, unlisted for light only
    Overall Length - 2.8 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 3.3 ounces
    Battery - 1x CR123 (included)
    Controls - Ambidextrous forefinger buttons
    Output Modes - Constant-on or momentary-on activation with five modes. Light, laser, light with laser, strobe light with constant-on laser, pulsing laser, constant-on light with pulsing laser
    Construction / Mounting - Aluminum and Zytel polymer, flathead/thumb screw
    MSRP - $409
    URL - http://www.viridiangreenlaser.com

    Let's get this out of the way first — this light/laser combination costs more than $400.


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