A handgun light is a specific design of tactical flashlights that is mountable to a Handgun or even a Long Gun, providing a hands-free light on a firearm.
The best of the handgun lights are manufactured by the likes of Surefire and Streamlight, with most tactical flashlight brands opting to focus on more performance based handheld lights. Handgun tactical flashlights do not require excessive Lumens at their disposal and are a more specialized flashlight. Battery life is certainly something important to consider, but if it’s too bright, it can be detrimental to certain situations.
Manufacturers tend to focus on the size of the handgun light and its simplicity and durability rather than pure power. Being compact is key to being able to be fitted with a handgun, while weight is also to be considered otherwise a gun can become top heavy and ability to shoot accurately becomes difficult.
Like many tactical flashlights, it depends on your intended use as to what is the best handgun light for your needs, but we have a compiled a list of the top five lights available on the market in no particular order.
Comparison chart of the five top handgun lights
Streamlight’s seriously durable handgun light TLR-1 is powered by 2 * 3-volt CR123 lithium batteries, enabling the C4 LED to produce an impressive 300 lumens of visible light for such a compact flashlight with a run time of approximately 2.5 hours.
The TLR-1 is a black hard anodized aluminium construction with an IPX7 rating, meaning it is waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes. It has a rail grip clamp system to allow the handgun light to securely attach and detach quickly and safely with no tools and without putting your hands in front of the muzzle.
It mounts directly to handguns with Glock-style rails and all MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny) rails, as it includes keys for Glock-style, Picatinny, Beretta 90two, S&W 99 and S&W TSW. It also has highly accurate sight repeatability when remounting the flashlight, and is equipped with an ambidextrous momentary/steady on/off switch.
Streamlight have also produced the TLR-1s which features a strobe feature, or the TLR-1 HL which is an even higher 630-lumen model.
The C4 LED delivers 125 lumens for approximately 1.5 hours and is constructed with a impact-resistant polymer case to be lightweight ( 2.32 ounces) without sacrificing durability.
The TLR-3 comes with a key kit included for mounting to a variety of weapons, while the rail clamp can rapidly attach/detach from the handgun. One handed snap-on and tighten interface keeps hands away from muzzle when attaching/detaching.
Like the TLR-1, the handgun light features an ambidextrous momentary/steady On-Off switch and requires just a single 3V CR2 lithium battery (included).
Surefire x300 Ultra
The X300 Ultra weapon light is suitable for mounting on both a Handgun and a Long Gun, producing a whopping 500 lumens for 1.5 hours per set of batteries.
The handgun light features one finger control ambidextrous momentary switch and flips up or down for constant-on activation. Made with a hard anodized aluminium casing, the X300 Ultra LED handgun light is both durable and weatherproof.
The X300 Ultra can be attached to a Universal or Picatinny rail with the rapid speed with its Surefire Rail-Lock system.
Insight M6 LED
Insight’s powerful weapon mountable M6 LED can produce up to 125 Lumens for approximately 2 hours. While not as a well known a manufacturer as the likes of Surefire and Streamlight, Insight Technologies know they stuff when it comes to tactical equipment and have a tidy, well-respected range of weapon lights.
The M6 handgun light features a patented Slide-Lock interface, making it easy to mount and dismount to the firearm rail. The M6 also features a Class III red visible laser, making it the ideal handgun companion to improve your accuracy.
Insight also has a Xenon bulb version of the M6 that produces 90+ lumen and still has an integrated laser, or else they have the more basic M3 which comes without the laser.
Glock Tactical Light (GTL) 10
Well known firearms manufacturer Glock have their own in-house range of tactical flashlights that are compact, lightweight but provide enough punch for any situation. The GTL 10 is the standard and is a handy number ready for action with your Glock firearm.
The heavy-duty polymer case holds a Xenon bulb capable of producing 60 lumens with a range of up to 100 meters, making the GTL 10 a serious competitor with the established flashlight brands Surefire and Streamlight.
The handgun light has an ergonomically-placed “Soft Switch” enabling the 3.2 oz light to be activated quietly and quickly and is waterproof up to one meter.
There is also a GTL handgun light with a laser (GTL21), and one with a laser and dimmer (GTL22).
Choosing the best of the above 5 tactical handgun lights is down to the specific use. Someone after a light to equip their gun at home for personal safety at night may be tempted by the GTL 10 due to its price and compact nature, while it produces a lower amount of Lumens than the other which could be more suited to certain situations. However, the more serious user may look to buy the TLR-1 due to its high amount of Lumens it produces and the more heavy duty anodized aluminium construction, compared to the polymer TLR-3. And if it’s pure Lumens you after, then Surefire is not to be sniffed at. The X300 can produce 500 Lumens. What a beast.
That said, the best bang for your buck appears to be the reliable Streamlight TLR-3 due to its decent amount of Lumens (125 for 1.25 hours), it’s compact and is very lightweight.
All of the above entries also have laser versions too should you require one. See the descriptions above for links to these models.