Different situations call for different gear. And different gear can mean all the difference between survival and not survival. A tactical flashlight is so much more than something you use to see into the engine bay of a broken down truck, or use while bandaging that leaky sink. It’s a tool built from top to bottom to not only help you see in the dark, but also see your way out of danger. Or, occasionally, poke, stun, blind, and swing your way out. Yup, a good tactical flashlight is also built for self-defense. We’ve previously told you about some of our all-around favorites, but this time, let’s focus on flashlights that can get you out of a tough situation.
The Streamlight 88040 ProTac isn’t necessarily a good everyday carry selection, because it’s a tad on the bigger side, but it is an excellent classic tactical flashlight. If you’re looking for a compact flashlight that’ll pack into just about any rucksack, overnight bag, or tool chest you can think of, and also be used to cause its fair share of damage when things get more than dicey, the 88040 ProTac HL3 is exactly what you’re looking for. And it shines at an intensity of 1,100 lumens, which gives this relatively small dog one hell of a big bite.$73
This option is pretty self-explanatory. Massive, heavy, durable, and ready for anything, the Trademark Stalwart is a 17-inch, high-quality tactical LED light that also doubles as, well, an aluminum bat. The LED light shines bright (no specifics on lumens), and only takes 3 AAA batteries to power! Its 17-inch length is certainly cumbersome for EDC, but it’s an ideal weapon if your goal is to get the reach on a relentless attacker. Remember, the power comes from the back foot and we’re not swinging for the fences here. We just want to get on base.$25
If you’re looking for value, this kit from SOLARAY is absolutely killer. Not only is it less expensive than most of the other setups on this list, and not only does it emit 1,200 lumens in the process, but it also includes a SOLARAY Mini Pro-1, which is ideal for EDC and emits 300 lumens. The PRO ZX-2 is great for general use (like camping, hiking, and survival) and also features aircraft-grade aluminum construction and an adjustable zoom, and also takes common 18650 rechargeable lithium ion batteries.$65
A bit subtler than the Trademark Stalwart, this 260-lumen tactical defense flashlight burns bright and features five modes (high, medium, low, strobe, and emergency strobe), but also features a Type III aluminum alloy body and a three-prong stainless steel bezel specifically designed for “taking care of business.” Whether you need to break glass to escape a submerged automobile, or to fend off an attacker, this is a hell of a light in a manageable and discrete size. And it comes with its own rechargeable battery.$39
At just 10 lumens, we’d be lying if we said this tiny penlight from S&W (yes, that S&W) was going to help you find your way out of a dark cave or momentarily blind an attacker. However, it’s simple, compact, and will burn for 30 continuous hours on just two AAA batteries—not bad. But where the S&W Self Defense Tactical Penlight really shines is its extremely compact body made out of aircraft-grade aluminum, its slip-resistant diamond-knurled handle, and its sharply pointed end that can be used both as a glass breaker and a weapon in an all-or-nothing situation.$17
This is about as tactical as it gets. The Katana High Voltage Concealed Stun Gun/Flashlight by Guard Dog features a super bright 400-lumen bulb, an all-aluminum heavy-duty body, a rechargeable battery (charger included), and even a butt-end emergency striker/glass breaker. But, if there’s one thing we’ve learned about hand-to-hand combat, it’s that desperate times demand desperate deeds. That’s why the Katana also features a high voltage stun gun that uses the flashlight’s curved bezel as stun prongs. It’s easy to use, comes with a convenient EDC carry holster, and can make all the difference if you’re forced to square off with an attacker—especially an unfairly large one.$65
The FlashTorch is a 200-dollar flashlight. There. Now that we got that out of the way, The FlashTorch, from Wicked Lasers, is by far the most bad-ass flashlight on this list (and probably in the goddamn world). Made from military-grade anodized aluminum, the FlashTorch is 11.5 inches long, has a 2.5-inch wide barrel, and burns at a red-hot 4,100 lumens. No, really, it’s not just bright, it’s hot—hot enough to fry an egg and ignite tinder for a campfire. If you’re looking for the no-bullshit king of kings in the tactical flashlight world, look no further, bud, because you’ve found it.$199