Tactical flashlights are expensive because they generate an impressive amount of light in a small package. Most of these flashlights come with circuitry to control output and maintain constant output. Additionally, tactical flashlights have the 30% premium added to anything with the term “tactical” used for description. Some features and characteristics are specific to tactical flashlights and explain the high price. Details come below.
- The main reasons why tactical flashlights are expensive
- Are expensive flashlights worth it?
- Consistent performance
- High-quality materials
- Advanced machining
- Excellent anodizing
- Ease of use
- High-quality LEDs
- Efficient low-mode
- High-quality threading
- Thick aluminum MCPCBs
- Thick electrical wires
- Available spare parts
- Excellent packaging and accessories
- Special edition/collectors value
- Great customer service
- Why are Surefire flashlights so expensive?
- Why are gun flashlights so expensive?
- What aspects should you consider when looking for a tactical flashlight?
The main reasons why tactical flashlights are expensive
Not all flashlights are tactical, and when you check out the market, the first thing you notice is the price tag. This can be higher than with regular models. Here’s why:
Weather-resistant and long-lasting
Tactical flashlights are made to take a beating and to withstand the elements. Inexpensive aluminum, cheap plastic, and low-grade steel are commonly used for regular flashlights. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you if these flashlights don’t last you for years.
On the other hand, the tactical models are longer lasting as they’re made with high-grade aluminum and armor-coated. Even though they’re more robust and more durable than their regular counterparts, tactical flashlights are lighter than the latter. They have resistance against weather, shocks, and corrosion.
Bright and versatile
Most reliable flashlights produce around 10 ft of brightness, which is 100 lumens. If you only need to check out where water is leaking under the sink in the bathroom, you won’t need more than 100 lumens. However, if you try to catch an intruder, you will need a flashlight that reaches farther than 10 ft. Tactical flashlights can give brightness up to about 50ft and visibility up to 100 yards. Some of these flashlights have various light settings, with strobe and SOS light crucial for signaling in emergencies.
If you’re in the military, law enforcement, first responder, or outdoor enthusiast, you try to use multi-purpose tools and not single-purpose kind. A tool that is reliable in many types of situations is ideal for tactical use. It’s the same with tactical flashlights that are made to be multi-purpose. Some of these models come with a seat belt cutter and a glass-breaking hammer. You can also find flashlights with magnets and compass and models that charge with power from the sun, along with the electric power source.
Even if a tactical flashlight is lighter than a standard flashlight, it can still work as a dependable self-defense weapon. Since a tactical flashlight can be very bright, it can blind a person for a few seconds, allowing you to escape. If you cannot avoid the threat, you can still use the tactical flashlight to defend yourself by jamming into the attacker or swinging it forcefully.
Some may think that a bulky regular flashlight can also work as a defense tool, but that’s not the case. Even if you can land a blow with a normal torch, the risk of damaging the frame and lose the batteries is high.
Are expensive flashlights worth it?
Expensive flashlights are worth the extra buck for a very long list of reasons. These models come with superior circuitry to control the power output and use every drop of energy from the power source. Many affordable torches can give impressive light, but they will run out of power in a much shorter time than expensive models. Additionally, pricey models are a lot safer than cheap models. Even if not all expensive flashlights are impressive and reliable, most of them are worth the high dollar price tag. When you buy yourself a costly flashlight, you should expect many benefits. Details come right down below.
Unlike cheap models, expensive tactical flashlights are the same no matter which year they have been made. Even if the model is upgraded with a newer LED or newer Driver board, the performance remains reliable.
When you use an expensive tactical flashlight, the chances for the switch to break is minimal. High-end models are made with high-quality materials, from the lens to every part of the flashlight. They don’t come with a plastic lens, but glass lenses with coating. The lens is always ultra-clear or coated.
The reflector is another element that makes the difference. Its quality is essential for the distance the light travels, and pricy models have special reflectors, which explains the wide range of the light beam.
Unlike cheap models, the expensive flashlights are machined to perfection. Nothing rattles, everything is tightly fit, and the manufacturing is impeccable.
Most flashlights are made of aluminum, and models made of copper, brass, and titanium are also available. For better looks, manufacturers will anodize the bare aluminum. Cheap brands will have cheap anodizing. With an expensive flashlight, the coating will never look cheap nor fall anytime soon.
Ease of use
The driver is the piece of hardware inside the flashlight that adjusts the functions and brightness. Many low-quality flashlights have lousy user interfaces, and the outputs are almost never easy to set. The user interface consists of various types of illumination, with low medium and high output as the most common settings. Most cheap models lack the mode-memory or come with challenging next-mode memory. The expensive models, though, come with modes that are efficiently grouped and have a user-friendly interface. Sometimes, you will be able to adjust the methods with a programmable driver.
A premium flashlight will allow you to select the LED color or tint—something you cannot do with a cheap model with the purple or blue beam.
A reliable tactical flashlight comes with proper Low-mode, aka moon mode. The lowest methods start at 10-20 lumens, which might be too bright for some people.
Expensive flashlights come with wide threads, whereas cheap models have thin threadings. Even if it may not seem important, the thin threadings can cause cross-threading as the threads get stuck.
Thick aluminum MCPCBs
The LED board is also referred to as MCPCB—is the board to which the LED is attached. The board has to transfer the heat from the LED very quickly. They were made with aluminum for years, and only recently, they have started to be made with copper MCPCBs. Since pricey models come with thick boards, the risk of overheating and breaking the LED is minimal.
Moreover, expensive flashlights have thermal paste underneath the LED board to reduce the transfer of heat.
Thick electrical wires
If you buy a powerful flashlight, the batteries should have enough power for the LED, and the wires connecting the LED to the driver board should be thick. Expensive flashlights with incredible power come with wires between AWG 16 to 18, which are strong enough for the 2000-3000 lumens lights.
Available spare parts
Typically, when a cheap flashlight breaks, you throw it away. On the off chance some parts of an expensive model break, you will buy the spare parts.
Excellent packaging and accessories
High-dollar flashlights come in nice boxes and have a manual for users. Also, they may come with spare parts such as spare o-rings, rubber boots, and neckstrap.
Special edition/collectors value
It’s not that you might want to collect flashlights, but a good flashlight should keep its value in time and even increase it. An expensive flashlight is impressive today as it was a decade ago.
A pricey flashlight comes with a warranty even if the risk of failure is minimal. The warranty is proof of the manufacturer’s trust in its product.
Great customer service
A genuine brand has a website, post address, brand name, e-mail address. Should you ever have any issues with your high-dollar flashlight, get in touch with the staff at customer service. It’s one of the reasons you pay the extra buck.
Why are Surefire flashlights so expensive?
Surefire flashlights are expensive due to some aspects of the build, making them more capable of withstanding abuse. R&D testing, the manufacturing in the US, and the reputation of the brand explain the high prices.
The specs and customer service are also reasons behind the high price of Surefire flashlights. Surefire has many government and military contracts, and the manufacturer has to keep parts available even after discontinuing a model. People have always stayed with Surefire flashlights because they’re dependable and consistent within their performance. Surefire flashlights come with a genuine lifetime warranty and fantastic performance for years of intense use.
Even if some professionals believe that the UDR Dominator could use improvement, many military, law enforcement, and first responders turn to Surefire when needing an illumination device onto a rifle, shotgun, handgun, etc. Some people use Surefire their whole lives and trust them completely.
Why are gun flashlights so expensive?
Gun flashlights have to be rugged, so tough and expensive materials need to be used. The recoil of most handguns is quite strong. Even if the shooter is used to recoil, the unexpected force and acceleration of the gun are essential. When the gun flashlight is of poor quality and cheap, the zero points will drift with every shot.
Another explanation for the higher price tag is supply and demand. With professionals in the military, law enforcement, and first responders asking for gun flashlights, it makes sense why manufacturers stick to a high price for the flashlights. Even if a competitor may design something similar, the users will notice the difference and performance and not shift away from the expensive model. People using gun flashlights cannot afford to buy and use cheap tools—their lives could be at stake because of it!
What aspects should you consider when looking for a tactical flashlight?
The more information you collect about the tactical flashlights, the easier it will be to find the model that suits your needs and budget the most. Our basic information will come in handy when faced with myriads of options.
The light output/lumen
The lumen refers to the amount of light that the flashlight generates. Many people confuse lumen with wattage, which refers to the power the light uses.
Needless to say, the higher the lumen on the flashlight, the more overall light it will generate. Best tactical flashlights come with adjustable lumen output levels. You will be able to select the lumen output according to a specific scenario. Since these models tend to be extremely bright, they will drain the battery pretty quickly.
We cannot talk about lumen without mentioning three other factors:
It refers to how far the light travels before it starts to fade. The length and width of the light dispersal are also aspects you need to check out when selecting. Typically, flashlights with “flood” light will have a shorter beam distance but spread the lumens to a large area.
If you only plan to use the tactical flashlight for throwing the light (hiking, biking, camping, etc.) and not flooding, you need one that has a long beam distance.
Types of Beams
The lens around the bulb affects the dispersal of light.
- Flood beams
They’re great for spreading the available lumens throughout a wide area, but not a far distance. They’re great for indoor use, but also camping or walking.
- Spot beams
The beam travels a long distance, so such flashlights are great for targeting objects in the distance.
- Adjustable beams
You can adjust the beam and it makes the flashlight highly versatile.
- Dual beams
With such a flashlight, you can use the spot and flood beam at the same time. It’s great when you want to illuminate something in the distance and light the surrounding area too.
Look for a tactical flashlight with 300+ lumens for light output. Ideally, the tactical flashlight should come with adjustable brightness levels.
- 300-699 lumens- it’s where most tactical flashlights are
- 700+ lumens models for campers, trekkers, rescue parties, and military personnel use such models.
Most flashlights have two kinds of brightness adjusters:
- Set modes for brightness: basic models come with low, medium, and high brightness modes.
- Dimmable flashlights- pricier models come with many brightness levels with dials for the effortless continuous switch.
Types of bulbs
Most tactical flashlights have LED lights as they’re bright and long-lasting. Here’s why you should always get a tactical flashlight with LEDs:
- They’re energy-efficient
- They last for a long time
- They’re bright and intense
- They cover a generous color range
- They generate low radiated heat
- They give instant full illumination
The type of battery you will use for the flashlight gives the power source. Here are the most common models.
They’re the standard batteries (AAA, AA, C and D sizes) readily available. They have high energy density and are long-lasting.
Rechargeable li-io batteries
You will be able to charge the Li-Io batteries over and over again. These batteries have amazing power output and come in many sizes. You need a good quality charger to avoid damaging the batteries.
They are similar to alkaline batteries but have higher power output. They can last for ten years and come with a higher price tag.
Built-in rechargeable batteries
You can recharge the flashlight via a USB socket or mains. If you’re somewhere without a power socket, you won’t be able to charge the flashlight as the battery isn’t changeable.
You want your tactical flashlight to operate no matter the conditions. It would help if you never skipped this aspect when buying. Several elements make a tactical model durable or not:
Flashlights made of titanium, stainless steel, and anodized aluminum are the best tactical flashlights. When made of solid metals, you can use the flashlight as a weapon for self-defense purposes.
Check out the IPX of the flashlight because it says about the resistance of the flashlight to water exposure.
- IPX 4- the flashlight withstands splashes of water like when used in heavy rain.
- IPX7- you can submerge the flashlight in 3 ft of water for half an hour
- IPX8- you can submerge the flashlight at a deeper depth of water for several hours.
The purpose of using the tactical flashlight is crucial when deciding the size of your flashlight. If you plan to have a flashlight for minor emergencies, opt for a mini or micro flashlight.
A flashlight 4 inches long is considered to be a small flashlight. Therefore, it only needs a battery. Small flashlights are stronger than mini or micro models and come with several features as well.
These flashlights are a bit larger and are more potent than small models. They can give higher lumen output, the light travels further and the runtime is also superior to small models.
Any flashlight bigger than 6 inches is defined as a large model. Large flashlights remain compact and easy to carry around. They will present the most extended runtime, the highest lumen output, and numerous features. They’re typically big and strong so that you can use them as weapons.
Special light modes
The most expensive tactical flashlights will come with three particular light modes:
The strobe mode will disorient the person is aimed at and give you time to escape the threat.
If you want to signal for help, you can use the SOS mode in your tactical flashlight.
It’s similar to SOS, but you can use it for situations other than life-threatening scenarios. The light blinks at its full brightness every few seconds.
Light filters/color-changing LEDs
You put the filters over the lens to change the color of the LED bulbs. Modern flashlights come in variable colors. Hunters opt for green lights, so they don’t startle the animals.
You can attach the tactical ring to the flashlight so that it doesn’t roll away on smooth surfaces and improve the flashlight’s grip.
Remote pressure switch
You can screw the remote pressure switch onto the back of your flashlight and mount it right to the gun for proper and fast use of the flashlight.
Is it legal to use tactical flashlights even if you’re not military or police?
You don’t need to be in the military or police to own a tactical flashlight. Tactical flashlights are legal, and you can take one on an airplane, in an office, theater, and other places where guns are illegal.
Does everybody need a tactical flashlight?
If you use a handgun for personal defense purposes, you will need a flashlight for low-light shooting. A tactical flashlight can help you identify the target and help you see your gun sights in low light conditions. Get a tactical flashlight even if you don’t own a gun. You never know when you will need it.
People in the military have red flashlights. Why?
Military professionals work at night very often. Therefore, most members of the military use red flashlights and red headlamps. The red color is less harsh on their eyes and enhances night vision as well. Red light doesn’t cause blinding light spots, which can cause harmful time lags.
Is there a difference between a tactical flashlight and a regular one?
Regular flashlights are made from low-grade steel, cheap aluminum, or some plain plastic. It’s not the case with tactical flashlights, typically armor coated and made with aircraft-grade aluminum for utmost durability. Tactical flashlights are also resistant to shock, weather, and corrosion. Despite the durability and toughness, tactical models are lightweight.
Most tactical flashlights have sharp edges. Why is so?
Tactical flashlights feature sharp edges around the heads so that you can use them to break the glass. The focused pressure is so high that you can shatter even strong automobile glass.