Pistol Light Buyer’s Guide [2021]

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If you’re in a hurry and just want to know what the best pistol light is, then I’d recommend the Streamlight TLR 8 as the best one. 

Accessorizing your pistol is becoming easier and easier. In fact, many manufacturers are opting to design their pistols with rails on them for this specific purpose. From sight to lights, you can make your pistol more efficient in no time.

In this roundup, we will be looking at some of the best pistol lights available on the market today –

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Best Pistol Lights

Now that we have covered some of the most important considerations and understand what to look for in pistol lights, we can dive into our choices for the best pistol light available.

Streamlight TLR 8

Streamlight is a name that is synonymous with great quality pistol lights. Among these is the TLR 8, which is a well built and durable option that has optimized performance features. 

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It is crafted in airplane-grade aluminum and finished with an anodized finish. It can withstand both the shock from the recoil of the gun and an external force.

The brightness of the light may be what got it on this list, though. It doesn’t have the most lumens of our choices, but the intensity is nice, and the addition of a red laser for sighting improves the functionality a hundredfold.

This is a great compact weapon light option and works well on almost any model of pistol since it has smaller lights. The controls are a little tricky to toggle, but once you get the hang of it, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Features and Specs

  • Weight – 2.64 oz.
  • Dimensions – 2.15” x 1.13” x 1.5”
  • Output – 500 lumens
  • Built-in shock absorption system
  • 3 modes of lighting (laser only, LED only, or a combo)
  • Uses CR123A lithium battery
  • 640 – 660nm red laser
  • Built-in energy-saving safe off feature

Pros

  • Dual Light and laser combo
  • Compatible with any hand
  • Performance
  • Easy to mount
  • Battery life

Cons 

  • Hard to find vertical adjustment
  • The switch is difficult to toggle

SureFire X400

The pistol light market is saturated with great models from both Streamlight and Surefire. Both companies bring a level of performance and craftsmanship that elevate their reputation even further. One of the best offerings I have found from Surefire is the X400 series. 

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The X400 series comes in two different variations, one with a red laser and one with green. I personally like the green laser as it gives a good contrast in low lights situations. But this is not all that the light has to offer.

It is easy to mount and can be used for long periods of time thanks to the battery life. I feel, though, that there are a few attributes that could be improved. The durability of the piece is not on par with many of the other selections, and it is not waterproof. 

All in all, if you are looking for a bright, lightweight, easy-to-mount pistol light, this is definitely a better option.

Features and Specs

  • Weight – 4.9 oz.
  • Dimension – 3.6” x 1.13”
  • Output – 600 lumens
  • TIR lens
  • 5mW laser sight (green)
  • T-slot mounting system
  • High-grade anodized aluminum

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Beam intensity
  • Versatility
  • Easy to adjust

Cons 

  • Not waterproof
  • Durability

Olight PL-MINI 2 Valkyrie

If you’re working on a tight budget, then the Olight PL-MINI 2 Valkyrie is a great option. I love the improvements from the previous model that the company has included in this new build.

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The brightness is a little more powerful as you now have access to 450 lumens. That, coupled with an anti-reflective lens coating, gives the user an almost crystal clear clarity. 

This will increase the effectiveness of this low-level lumen metric. The Valkyrie also has a strobe feature that can be used to elevate the functionality of the light itself. 

It is compact and designed using durable materials that improve the model’s impact resistance. There isn’t much about this pistol light. The only thing I would say is if you are looking to add a light to a concealed carry firearm, this is not the right one for you.

Features and Specs

  • Weight 2.07 oz.
  • Dimensions – 2.1” x 1.26” x 1.28”
  • Output – 450 lumens
  • Crafted in aluminum alloy
  • USB charging capability
  • Multiple colors available
  • Waterproof
  • Impact absorption system

Pros

  • Durability
  • Usability
  • Wide beam
  • Easy to mount
  • Simple to adjust
  • One of the best budget pistol lights

Cons 

  • Not able to be used with holster

Streamlight TLR-1

This pistol light from Streamlight may be less technical than others, but it is one of the originals. It is crafted to be a durable option.

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The pistol comes with a decent brightness that, in my opinion, would be perfect for a home defense pistol. The light also has a built-in strobe effect, which can be used to disorientate any home invader and give you time to assess the situation.

The light comes with multiple mounting options, and each is easy and quick to set up. Plus, it is waterproof. Even with all that, there are still a few things that could take away from the overall quality of the piece.

This pistol light is not a great choice for someone looking for a lightweight option. It is bulky and adds over 4 oz. to the weight of your gun. It is also expensive, which could deter some from opting for this as their go-to pistol light.

Features and Specs

  • Weight – 4.2 oz.
  • Dimensions – 3.4” x 1.5” x 1.4”
  • Output – 300 Lumen
  • Ambidextrous
  • Crafted with machined aluminum and anodized
  • Waterproof

Pros

  • Brightness
  • Momentary on a strobe effect
  • Easy to mount and remove
  • Multiple rail systems
  • Durability
  • Battery life

Cons 

  • Bulky
  • Price

Streamlight TLR-2 HL

Streamlight seems to keep upping their game when it comes to technology, and this pistol light is proof. Fitted with the c4 LES tech, the brightness of this light is almost blinding. This beam will cut through even pitch dark to ensure you can identify the target and see its surroundings.

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With up to 800 lumens, I was concerned with how long the battery would last. After all, who wants to have to change the battery continually? Not me, that’s for sure! With the way the system is designed, I found that it is not even a concern as this pistol light has excellent battery life.

Other than the brightness quotient, the pistol is built to last. It is crafted with machined aluminum and sealed with an anodized finish. That means you can toss it around and drop it, and it will be able to take it. The model is a little expensive, but you get what you pay for.

Features and Specs

  • Weight – 4.78 oz.
  • Dimensions – 3.39” x 1.5” 
  • Output – 800 lumens
  • One-handed attachment system
  • Crafted with premium aluminum and anodized finish
  • Shock-mounted lens
  • Built-in TIR optic
  • Water resistant

Pros

  • Built-in ambidextrous switch
  • Red laser light
  • Quality of functionality
  • Ease of use

Cons 

  • Issues holding zero
  • Expensive

How to Choose a Pistol Light

As I sat down to browse some options out there, I made a list of features that would combine together to help me make the selections easier. Here are the factors that I used to choose the high-performance pistol lights below.

Brightness

When I first started looking for a pistol flashlight, I thought that having more lumens meant that the light was a better choice. It took me time, but I finally realized this is not the case at all. So, when looking at the brightness, you must understand where you are using this tool.

You should also look into the reflector as it is the piece of the accessory that focuses that beam. In the end, you need to find the model that offers you the best lumen and focus for the area you intend on using your piece.

Intent

Understanding what you plan to use your pistol and its light for, will help you narrow down the options. For instance, mine was for home defense, and so I looked for an option with a middle ground when it comes to strength (or lumens). 

However, if you are purchasing yours to put on your security weapon, then you may want a brighter, more extended range option.

Size and Weight

Most gun owners like to choose a pistol light that is just a little longer than the pistol itself. But be careful not to go too long, or you’ll find the residue blowback from firing the pistol will stick to the light and decrease its effectiveness.

Weight is also a key factor to look at as you don’t want to add too much to the gun itself. The best option to ensure your pistol keeps its accuracy is to use the most lightweight option you can find.

Durability

You don’t want to end up dumping a bunch of your hard-earned money into replacement after replacement. That means that durability should definitely be considered when choosing the right model. 

You want to look for an option that is both lightweight and durable. There are many models designed in premium grade aluminum, and this is a great choice. If you can find one that is fitted with a shock absorption system, that would be even better.

How to Use a Pistol Light

This is a tactical tool that should be used with care. Not only will you be pointing a light into the darkness, but that light is attached to a weapon, so care and training are essential. The light should only be used to identify potential threats. 

Like with any case, the use of the light and the gun should only be considered when ready to defend yourself and others from danger.

Benefits of Using a Pistol Light

If you are anything like me, then it is not always clear why I should spend my hard-earned money on extra accessories. But when it comes to home defense or personal protection, there are a few important reasons you should look into adding a pistol light to your firearm. 

Here are some of the benefits you can take advantage of when doing so:

Range and Clarity

When you choose the right light for your gun, you will be extending your line of sight in low light situations. This will help improve your acquisition of the target and be able to identify it clearly. 

Visibility

Adding a pistol light helps your targeting and identification skill when using your firearm. However, it is also handy when not engaging your gun as it helps improve your visibility. 

In certain situations, this can be a lifesaver. You can monitor the ground you are walking on, so you don’t trip and hurt yourself. It can also be helpful when an emergency arises, and you need to help someone.

Weapon

The gun isn’t the only weapon. Most pistol lights give a pretty wide and bright light beam that, when flashed in someone’s face, can be disorienting. This could give those valuable few seconds you need to be able to handle the situation without using lethal means.

Improved Capabilities

Some of the pistol lights come with other features and attributes that can elevate your proficiency even more. Things like lightweight build, longer-lasting batteries, and some also come with a laser dot to help with accuracy. 

Technology is improving daily, and the more tech you have, the clearer and more precise your pistol use will be.

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, the answer to which is the best pistol light for you really relies on a few things … budget, intent, and pistol type. In my mind, the best pistol light for the money is the Streamlight TLR 8

It offers plenty of brightness. It may not be perfect for outdoor use, but if you are looking for range or even home defense, then the pistol light is ideal.

It is compact, which means it fits on darn near any pistol. I use it personally for my Glock 19. Unlike many of its competitors, the TLR 8 isn’t bulky nor expensive. Its only flaw is a little difficulty in adjustments, but that doesn’t detract from its performance. 

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Author

Brady

Hi there, I'm Brady and I'm the owner of GunMade.com. I have been an avid gun enthusiast and hunter since I moved to the Midwest over 15 years ago. It's my passion to share my knowledge and expertise to help you find the best guns in your price range.

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