At a Glance: Best AR-15 Flashlights
Comparison of the Best AR-15 Flashlights
Our Top Pick
|Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL Weapon Mount Tactical||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|OLIGHT Baldr Pro 1350 Lumen Weapon Light||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Streamlight 69210 TLR-1S LED Rail Mounted WML||View Latest Price|
The Best AR-15 Flashlights to Mount on Your Rifle
If I could pick the ideal time to use my AR-15, it would be in the daytime, outside where there is plenty of light. Unfortunately, many people, including me, don’t usually get to pick the time that they’re using their AR-15. You could be a law enforcement official, in the military, or an average citizen just trying to protect your home. The point is, unless you’re hunting, the chances of you using your AR-15 in an ideal setting is slim. When you’re not in an ideal setting, having enough light to illuminate your target becomes an issue. This is especially true when using the gun indoors. If you’re a regular person, you may need to defend your house from an intruder (which rarely happens during daylight hours). Either way, you’re in a house and you’ll have the Best AR lights.
Do I even need to mention using the gun outside at night?
A weapon-mounted light (WML) is a mounted AR-15 Flashlight. For the purposes of this article, we may refer to the lights as flashlights, WMLs, or tactical flashlights. There are a ton of them on the market, all of them claiming to be “top of the line”. After extensive research on what’s offered, I came up with a list of sixteen of the best choices. This guide is the most comprehensive guide you’ll read on choosing the Best AR-15 Flashlights.
Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL Weapon Mount Tactical
First up on our list of best AR lights made by Streamlight, which consistently gets great reviews for its products. They are a trusted company that values customer satisfaction. In fact, their accessories are very popular among gun enthusiasts. This WML, which can be mounted on just about any rail, is no exception.
The TLR-1 HL is a powerful WML that builds from Streamlight’s basic TLR-1 model. The TLR-1 HL uses an optic on the front so you can use the same holster as the original TLR-1 model.
- Lumens: 1,000
- Beam Length: 283 meters
- Run Time: 1.5 hours
- Waterproof: IPX7
- Dimensions: 3.39″L x 1.47″W x 1.44″ H
- Weight: 4.3 oz (121.9 g)
- Rail: Pic, Glock, plus keys for various others
You can switch between a constant or strobe light. It uses a high-powered LED light that provides up to 1,000 lumens of brightness and a beam length of 283 meters. It also provides a wider than average peripheral beam and a much more intense core beam than the basic TLR-1 WML.
The WML is seemingly indestructible with the anodized machined aluminum construction. This offers strength and the best protection against corrosion. Anodized aluminum also allows it to function flawlessly in extreme temperatures as high as 176°F (80°C) and as low as -40°F (-40°C). Pair this with a high-water protection level (IPX7) and you have a WML that is practical in every weather situation.
Not only is the TLR-1 HL bright and durable, but it’s also very functional as well. The size, weight, controls, and other parts are all designed with convenience in mind. The WML only weighs a little over four ounces and its measures 3.39″L x 1.47″W x 1.44″ H. It’s a little small for a rifle handguard but can work great with a carbine or even a mid-length handguard. It can fit a pistol handguard just barely so I wouldn’t go any smaller.
Accessing the controls are a snap – it has an ambidextrous on/off switch. The double-tap switch can be tapped one way for momentary lighting and the other way for constant lighting. Streamlight also offers a dual-remote kit and a long-gun kit so you can have versatility. To keep everything going smoothly, the WML uses two CR123a batteries, one of the best batteries you can use for flashlights. In fact, the CR123a battery is Streamlight’s battery of choice.
Overall, the Streamlight TLR-1 is a solid WML for just about any situation. There really aren’t any negative points about this WML other than it being small. However, the size is not really a big deal (no pun intended), especially considering the high number of lumens.
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Has a lifetime warranty.
- Can survive being submerged in shallow water for a short amount of time.
- Comes in three color choices.
- It’s expensive.
OLIGHT Baldr Pro 1350 Lumen Weapon Light
The Olight Baldr Pro is a great, entry-level WML with a center-focused beam that provides high-quality performance. It has adjustable lumens – you can choose 300 lumens to extend the run time or 1,350 lumens when you need an ample amount of light. To make it even better, the WML uses a high performance neutral white LED AR lights which enhances the amount of color and detail of a subject that you can see in the dark.
- Lumens: 300 or 1,350
- Beam Length: 260 meters
- Run Time: 210 mins or 115 mins
- Waterproof: IPX4
- Dimensions: 3.3″L x 1.44″ W x 1.75″ H
- Weight: 4.6 oz (130.4 g)
- Rail: Pic, Glock, Beretta, and many more
The WML is constructed nicely with attention to details and impact resistance of up to one meter. It has a waterproof rating of IPX4 so you can safely use it in a downpour. I’ll admit – this isn’t the best level of impact resistance or the highest waterproof rating, but that’s also one reason that it’s considered entry level.
The weight, measurements, and controls are all very manageable. At only 4.5 ounces and 3.3 inches in length, it’s great for carbine handguards and mid-range handguards. Controlling the WML is easy – it offers an ambidextrous operation and you can easily switch between light only, light/laser, or laser only without losing your aim.
The WML runs from two CR123a batteries which are under a one-year warranty from the company (the flashlight itself is under a five-year warranty). The batteries are easily removed, and the WML has a quick mount/release system.
Overall, this isn’t the Best AR-15 Flashlights for specialized tactical military missions, but it’s more than enough for law enforcement, hunters, and more.
- Adjustable lumens output.
- Green laser easily seen day or night.
- Comes with a battery organizer.
- Comes with adapters for a lot of rail systems.
- Low water-resistance rating.
- 1,350 lumens only last about one minute, then it goes to 500 lumens.
Streamlight 69210 TLR-1S LED Rail Mounted WML
At first glance it may seem that the Streamlight 69210 TLR-1S is the same WML as the first TLR-1 we reviewed. It’s the same size, has the same footprint for a holster, and has the same outer construction, but it’s a more basic version of the TLR-1. The advantage of this is price – the TLR-1S costs about half of what the TLR-1 does. The good news is that it doesn’t sacrifice quality, it just has some different features.
- Lumens: 300
- Run Time: 2.5 hours
- Waterproof: IPX7
- Dimensions: 3.39″ L x 1.47″ W x 1.44″ H
- Weight: 4.2 oz (119.1 g)
- Rail: Pic, Glock, plus keys for various others
The light is one of the biggest differences. It’s a strobe-only light that has a brightness of 300 lumens and 2.5 hours of run time. That makes this a WML that’s more geared towards self-defense purposes as it will disorient whoever (or whatever) you point the light at. You also have the double-tap switch for momentary or constant lighting on this model as well.
As stated above, this WML has the same outer build as the TLR-1 HL. That means the same high-quality construction with 6,000-series anodized machined aluminum material as well as the same amazing limited lifetime warranty (not including batteries or bulbs). It has a waterproof rating of IPX7 and its impact resistant. It’s a tough WML.
Like all Streamlight’s WMLs, the TRL-1S is easy to use. It’s ambidextrous with an easy to use double tap switch on the battery cover. It can be quickly and easily mounted or detached to any rail with a spring-loaded thumbscrew. Even the battery cover is convenient – it is tethered to the flashlight so that you don’t lose it or the switch.
Overall, this is a great WML. It may be a bit limited due to its strobe-only function but if you’re using it for its intended purpose you won’t be disappointed by the results. It’s offered at an affordable price and with the ability to mount it to almost any rail system, it’s a deal that can’t be beat.
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Most affordable WML in the TRL-1 series.
- Most lightweight WML in the TRL-1 series.
- Strobe-only function.
- Only gets as bright as 300 lumens.
Crimson Trace CWL-202 Tactical Light
The Crimson Trace CWL-202 WML is a budget, entry-level that is great for hunting or for a light to keep on a pistol or rifle you keep near your bedside for emergencies. I’ll admit – it looks basic. It looks like an everyday flashlight and this is partly because Crimson designed it to be used as a handheld flashlight as well. This is one of the Best AR-15 Flashlights on a budget.
- Lumens: 900
- Run Time: 1 hr. 25 mins
- Waterproof: IPX7
- Dimensions: 5.3″ L
- Weight: 4.9 oz. (139 g)
- Rail: Pic, KeyMod, M-LOK
Looks can be deceiving. This WML boasts 900 lumens with a 1.5 hour run time. It comes with a High Output CreeTM XPL LED white light, one of Cree’s best-LED lights. The light has two operation modes: constant or momentary. There is no strobe function, but you can’t expect that at the budget price that the CWL-202 is offered at.
It’s impressive that the WML is made of anodized aluminum. This gives it a level of impact resistance up to one meter. This is an okay spec, but the typical user will hold it four to six feet from the ground so don’t drop it! Of course, if it’s mounted to your weapon it should be fine since people don’t typically drop their guns.
The WML can be activated with a tail cap switch or an included tape switch. One thing that I wasn’t impressed with was the tape switch. It’s great that it comes with one, but the tape switch is short. If you’re mounting this WML on a rifle handguard towards the front, the tape switch may not be as convenient as it should be. Besides this, the WML is easy and straightforward to operate.
There is a perk that makes up for the unimpressive tape switch. Crimson Trace offers free batteries for life! The WML uses two CR123 batteries. Of course, they don’t advertise this everywhere – if you aren’t a person that looks at the technical specs page you would never know this.
I am going to take a guess that this WML isn’t going to last a lifetime. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it – it’s still a great value. It just means that you can’t expect it to last as long as a Streamlight WML. The warranty is just for one-year, so this is not a WML that is suitable for heavy usage. However, if you’re going to use it occasionally or only for emergencies, it’s an excellent choice.
- Free batteries for life.
- Very affordable.
- Has tape switch included.
- Uses one of Cree’s best LED light.
- Can be used on KeyMod or M-LOK rails.
- Tape switch is short.
- Has a short warranty.
- It little on the heavy side.
Ade Advanced Optics PL200-A-1 Ultra Compact
When it comes to budget accessories, you learn not to expect high performance. You get what you pay for, right? However, the Ade Advanced Optics PL200-A-1 WML knocks this adage right out of the park. It’s one of the Best AR-15 Flashlights if you are on a budget. WMLs you can find on the market because it works well and it’s very durable for the price point that it’s offered at. In fact, it consistently gets high remarks from consumers.
- Lumens: 400
- Beam Length:
- Run Time: 1.5 hours
- Dimensions: 2.4″ L
- Weight: 2.72 oz. (77.1 g)
- Rails: Picatinny rail , Weaver
What you need to keep in mind is that this WML is not meant for special tactical use. It’s more of an entry-level WML or possibly a backup WML. It’s great for that person who “just wants some type of illumination” but nothing fancy.
The WML produces 400 lumens of light and the company is adamant on letting people know that they use a Cree white LED light. Cree is a good company that produces great bulbs. With that being said, their bulbs haven’t necessarily been found to out-perform competitors, so it’s just a name that they’re selling. However, I won’t take away from the quality. It’s as good as any other LED light you can get.
What impressed me was the fact that this inexpensive WML is still made of anodized machined aluminum. I would expect a budget product like this to be made of some type of hard plastic, but I appreciate the fact that Ade went the extra mile with the construction. However, the sacrifice comes in the waterproof rating – there isn’t one! As long as you keep the flashlight away from moisture, you’ll be fine.
The size of the PL200-A-1 allows it to be used with guns as small as a subcompact pistol. It’s only 2.4 inches long. This may look a little lacking on a rifle handguard, but it can work for a carbine handguard and would be great for a mid-length handguard. It’s also very lightweight compared to the rest of the WMLs on the list. It only weighs 2.72 ounces.
The WML is a very good quality, low-maintenance piece of equipment. It uses one CR2 battery. This battery type is most commonly used in digital cameras, so you can be confident that it’s strong enough to power a flashlight. It’s easy to use with one button for on and off. The button is in an awkward spot – on the bottom instead of the side, but that’s something that I can easily overlook for the value of the WML.
- Very affordable.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Uses a single CR2 battery.
- Made of anodized aluminum despite price.
- Low lumens.
- No waterproof rating.
- On/off button on the bottom.
Inforce White Gen 2 WML
The Inforce Gen 2 WML is a great, versatile choice that has a decent light despite it being only 400 lumens. You can choose between three light functions: constant, strobe, or momentary. It has a pretty intense core beam although the peripheral beam isn’t as strong as comparable WMLs.
- Lumens: 400
- Run Time: 1.5
- Waterproof: up to 66 feet
- Dimensions: 4.1″L × 2″ W × 2″ H
- Weight: 3.22 oz. (91.2 g)
- Rails: Picatinny rail
The construction of the WML could make you hesitate a little – it’s made of a hard PVC-like plastic. This isn’t the ideal material, but the WML is still highly durable and waterproof.
Inforce doesn’t list a specific waterproof rating, they do state that the WML is waterproof up to 66 feet. If you refer to the chart in the information section, you’ll see that this means that it should be rated no less than IPX8. In fact, it greatly exceeds IPX8.
One advantage of the WML being made of plastic is the weight – it weighs much less than other types of WMLs. In this case, plastic is your friend.
Another bit of hesitation pops up when it comes to ease of use (but not enough hesitation to be a deal breaker). Activating the WML is straight-forward. The activation switch is right on the top and can be controlled with your thumb, so you don’t have to lose your grip on the handguard. However, there are different “clicks” and turns for switching between and enabling or disabling certain light functions.
This can get confusing if you’re in a high-pressure situation.
Click the button once to turn the constant light on. Hold the button down for momentary light use. Click the button twice for the strobe function. This isn’t so bad but enabling and disabling the strobe function is where it gets complicated. It involves turning the front part of the flashlight then clicking. It’s not that it’s hard – turn and click – it’s just that it’s a lot of extra effort.
The good news is that chances are you won’t have to disable the strobe light unless you’re on a plane or a similar situation, so the complication doesn’t have to affect your decision very much. The WML uses a CR123a battery, which, like most WML, is included. Overall, this is a great WML. Don’t let the plastic bother you too much. Inforce offers a limited lifetime warranty on it.
- Comes in two colors.
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Also available with an additional infrared light.
- It’s a bit complicated to activate/deactivate the strobe mode.
- Made of plastic.
Cloud Defensive – Optimized Weapon Light (OWL)
The Cloud Defensive OWL is one of the most rugged WML I’ve seen on the market. The quality, durability, and functionality are all unmatched by any WML on the list. If you’re a professional – a law enforcement official, an agent, a member of the military, a defense contractor, or any other person that will be on tactical missions – this is a WML you can depend on.
- Lumens: 1,250
- Beam Length: 356.8 meters
- Run Time: 80- 110 mins
- Waterproof: IPX8
- Dimensions: 5.3″ L x 2.8″ W x 1.3″ H
- Weight 11 oz. (311.8 g)
- Batteries: 2 Lithium ion batteries included
For starters, the brightness on this WML is insane. It has 1,250 lumen and 50,000 candelas! It has a beam length of up to 356.8 meters! Simply put, you’re going to see everything with this WML. It doesn’t have a strobe function but even the momentary light is enough to disorient anyone.
When talking about durability, the OWL is king. It’s made from certified 6061-T6 type III anodized aluminum. This is the best aluminum you can get for a WML. It’s more than waterproof, easily exceeding the requirements of level IPX8. It’s also dustproof and shockproof to military standard ANSI/PLATO FL-1. To back all of this up, Cloud Defensive offers a lifetime limited warranty on the WML although I doubt you’ll ever need to use it.
Impressed yet? There is more!
The OWL is designed so that it is a side-mount accessory. Most WMLs claim to be ambidextrous to a certain extent. The OWL is not only ambidextrous, but it’s reversible. In other words, it’s truly ambidextrous. The front and rear caps are reversible, so simply switch them out and move the WML from one side of your handguard to the other. It’s a quick and easy switch that only takes a minute.
The one hiccup about the OWL, even though it has a very reasonable purpose, is the fact that this WML can only use the 18650 battery. These batteries aren’t common. You’ll likely have to order them unless you live near a specialty battery store. This isn’t really a bad thing unless you prefer easy access to batteries.
The reason for this battery choice is because they are powerful and you need powerful batteries for a powerful flashlight. The OWL comes with two different versions of the battery. The SAMSUNG 18650 30Q gives you the maximum output but has a little less run time. The SANYO 18650 GA extends the run time by reducing the output. Overall, the OWL is the Best AR-15 Flashlights.
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Submersible up to 200 feet for 24 hours.
- Exceeds military standards with flying colors.
- Has a tool built-in to the back cap for attaching/detaching the mount.
- 2 Lithium ion batteries included
- It’s heavy.
- Limited battery choice.
- Very expensive.
Surefire M600 Ultra Scout Light
The Surefire M600 Ultra Scout Light is a very popular choice among consumers which is why it made our list for the Best AR-15 Flashlights. It’s one of the most practical choices that you can get. It’s a high-quality, premium WML that isn’t full of innovative features, but it’s full of exactly what you need.
- Lumens: 1,000
- Run Time: 1.25 hours
- Dimensions: 5.5″ L x 1.1″ D
- Weight 4.8 oz. (136 g)
- Rails: Picatinny
The WML outputs 1,000 lumens which, as stated before, is more than enough for the average user. The WML uses a TIR lens shape that provides a high-intensity beam and an ample amount of peripheral light. The central beam is a warm light and is a little less defined than comparable models but it’s still bright and great for illuminating those corners that someone may be lurking in.
The WML is constructed of a superb quality, lightweight aerospace aluminum and has a military-grade anodized finish. It’s strong, durable, and resists corrosion like a champ. It’s not the most lightweight on the list, mainly because it’s the longest WML on the list, but this same weight and length make it great for rifle handguards. It mounts easily to a Picatinny rail using a thumbscrew clamp.
While Surefire doesn’t give a specific waterproof rating, I can tell you with complete confidence that this WML is waterproof. All the removable parts contain O-rings that prevent liquid from getting inside the light. You can use it in the rain, drop it in a puddle, or swim across a pond. Your WML will remain dry on the inside.
The Surefire M600U is one of the easiest WMLs to operate. It has a simple tail cap on/off switch. It can also be operated remotely with an included pressure-activated tape switch. The WML uses two CR123a batteries, so you’ll have no trouble replacing them.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Includes a tape switch.
- O-rings make it highly waterproof.
- Not many negatives other than price – it’s expensive but worth it.
What You Need to Know Before Buying The Best AR-15 Flashlights
Why you need the AR 15 Flashlight
Being able to see clearly is paramount to being able to operate a gun safely. Sure, you could use a handheld flashlight, but there are a few problems with this.
First, any handheld flashlight that’s worth using is going to be a bit heavy. I don’t mean heavy in the sense that your arms are going to get a workout. I’m referring to fatigue – you must hold this big, heavy flashlight perfectly still for an extended amount of time.
The fatigue of doing that could cause your hand to move or shake. This can lead to a loss in accuracy. That’s not what you want in this situation.
Another problem with handheld flashlights is split focus. It can be hard to keep the flashlight focused on your target while aiming and shooting. This can also reduce accuracy.
Using a WML will eliminate these problems. While you may not need to use the WML every time you use your AR15, it’s better to have it for the times you do need it. Using a WML in the dark can literally save lives.
Tips on How to Use an AR-15 Flashlight
It may sound silly when you consider how to use a flashlight properly. You turn it on and point it, right? Well, there is more to it than that. Safety is the number one reason that there is a “right” way to use a weapon-mounted light.
Tip #1 – Location, Location, Location
The on/off switch for WMLs can be placed in several spots on a weapon using a tape switch. Unless you’re highly trained (and most citizens are not), you’ll want to avoid having it right below the trigger. There have been plenty of incidents where the gun owner meant to activate the flashlight but accidentally pressed the gun’s trigger. This could happen to anyone, so save yourself some trouble and avoid this configuration.
Tip #2 – Aim Downward
When turning your WML on or off, you should aim downward slightly. This will allow you to safely turn it on. This is especially important if you ignored the first tip and got a WML with an on/off switch below the trigger. It’s better to accidentally shoot the floor than a person or pet that you didn’t mean to.
Tip #3 – Practice Makes Perfect
You should practice shooting with your WML. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s simple, even if you’re a skilled shooter. Adding a WML can change the situation and you don’t want to wait until you’re in a dangerous situation to have your first WML introduction.
Practicing will enhance your ability to perform tip #2 well. This way, you can figure out how to turn on your light without losing speed and accuracy as you point your weapon.
Mounting Systems for an AR15 Flashlights
A mounting system for an AR15 includes a rail system as well as mounts that fit into the rail system. These mounts are what will hold your flashlight. It’s important to understand the mounting system since it will dramatically affect your choice of WML.
The mounts are usually pretty straightforward. They can be made of either metal or polymer. Metal is a little more durable than polymer, but polymer is a little cheaper than metal. Besides personal preference on which mount you think is sexier for your AR-15, the main choice will be if the mount fits the rail system you’re using.
For AR-15s, there are four main rail systems you may need to consider. These are:
- Picatinny rail (Pic rail)
- Weaver rail
Picatinny & Weaver Rails
The Picatinny rail is one of the best AR-15 rails and the most popular rail system on the market. It was adopted as the rail system of choice by the U.S. military in February of 1995 and given a specific military designation – MIL-STD-1913. You may see them with this label in addition to being called a Picatinny rail.
Weaver rails are manufactured by Weaver Optics. Although this rail system is older than the Picatinny rail system, it’s still not as popular. Weaver rail systems are very similar to Picatinny rail systems.
The main difference is the slot width. Weaver rail slots are .180″ wide while Picatinny rail systems are .206″. The grooves are also different. Weaver rails may not have a consistent width for the grooves, but Pic rails do – they measure .394″.
These size configurations allow Picatinny rails to accommodate Weaver mounts, but Weaver rails can’t accommodate picatinny mounts.
KeyMod and M-LOK Rails
The KeyMod and the M-LOK rails can be looked at as the next generation in rail systems. They solve a common problem that is found with Picatinny rails – weight. Picatinny rails add unnecessary weight to the AR-15 which is contradictory to the lightweight quality of the rifle. The KeyMod and M-LOK rails are lightweight and, instead of being separate attachments, allow direct attachments of mounts to the handguard.
In fact, KeyMod and M-LOK rails are handguards. KeyMods use a system of keyholes that allow direct attachments of mounts while M-LOKs use rectangular slots. One unique point about KeyMods is that they allow for attachments of Picatinny rails. However, out of the two, M-LOKs have been found to be the better choice, according to tests done by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).
Despite the perks of the new generation of rail systems, the Picatinny rail continues to be extremely popular and the go-to choice of law enforcement, military, and gun enthusiasts. For this reason, in the list of the Best AR-15 Flashlights, I’ve included flashlights that mostly use Pic rails.
Things to Look for When Choosing the Best AR-15 Flashlights
Coming back to WMLs, you need to know what to look for when shopping for them. WMLs have quite a few features that directly impact their performance. Here are the ones you should consider the most.
The brightness of a WML will be measured in lumens. Naturally, the more lumens a flashlight has, the brighter it will be. I can tell you without hesitation that a flashlight with less than 160 lumens won’t be worth your time. In fact, for tactical purposes, you’ll probably want at least 500 lumens. Another number to consider when it comes to brightness is the length of the light beam. This is essentially how far ahead of you the WML will illuminate. This length will be measured in meters. You should aim for a minimum of 150 meters.
No one wants to invest money into something that will break in a week. Durability is important, especially because weapons-mounted lights aren’t cheap! These types of tactical flashlight are going to be much more durable than your average, run-of-the-mill flashlight no matter what brand you buy. However, some are better than others.
Material is one factor that plays a part in durability. Metal, usually an aluminum alloy, is always the better choice but they are also the heavier choice. Polymer (essentially a plastic) is a popular material that is less expensive than metal and lighter than metal. They last a long time – although not as long as metal – but you can still get your money’s worth out of them.
Make sure you pay attention to the waterproof rating of the WML. This is called the Ingress Protection rating. For WMLs, this will be indicated with the letters “IP” followed by two numbers. The first number indicates the level of protection from solids such as dirt or dust. For flashlights, this number may be missing or represented by an X.
The second number is the important number. It ranges from zero to eight. This number indicates the level of protection from liquids. The levels are listed below with what they’re protected from:
- 0 – no protection
- 1 – water droplets
- 2 – water droplets at a 15-degree angle
- 3 – water spray at a 60-degree angle
- 4 – water splashing at any angle
- 5 – water jets from any angle
- 6 – powerful water jets/heavy sea waves
- 7 – temporary submersion in water (30 mins @ 3 feet)
- 8 – permanent submersion in water (up to 13 feet)
As you can see, a truly waterproof WML will have eight for the second number.
The lighter, the better. You don’t want to add too much weight to your rifle because it can throw off your accuracy. Most WMLs will weight mere ounces. Stay away from WMLs that weigh more than one pound. This includes the weight of the batteries.
Some WMLs have only one way to turn them on/off while others can have multiple ways. The on/off button may be located on the WML. It could also come with a long-gun kit that essentially has a long controller that allows you to control the flashlight without having to stretch your arm all the way out to reach it.
You may also be able to switch up the light beam from constant to strobing.
Weapon-mounted lights use a variety of batteries. One of the most important considerations when it comes to batteries is to make sure it doesn’t use some weird battery type that’s hard to find. You should be able to replace your battery easily.
SF12-BB Batteries – High-performance batteries, optimized for high drain use in flashlights. We recommend SureFire SF12-BB Boxed Batteries. These batteries are top-rated and readily available on Amazon.
CR2 Batteries – Ideal for digital cameras, flashlights and night-vision goggles. The Enegitech CR2 3V Lithium Battery is my favorite and a popular choice on Amazon. These batteries lasts 3-5 times longer than the alkaline batteries with shelf life of 10 years.
Rechargeable Batteries – You could also consider getting a WML with rechargeable batteries, so you don’t have to constantly replace the batteries. 18650 Battery is a great Rechargeable Battery for LED Flashlights. It does not come with the charger, you will have to buy something like a Universal Battery Charger.
Ease of use
You want a WML that will aid you in hitting your target, not get in your way or distract you. WMLs that are easy to use will have smooth operating on/off buttons that are easy for you to activate with one finger. They should easily mount with no parts getting in the way. They should be lightweight and small, so they don’t take away from your accuracy or interfere with your line of sight.
Nothing lasts forever, but the Best AR-15 Flashlights will have some type of warranty to back you up. Aim for a warranty of at least one year. This is at minimum! Many tactical flashlights come with warranties of five years up to a lifetime. Keep in mind that the warranties are usually limited to manufacturer defects. Always read the warranty thoroughly.
Final Thoughts on the Best AR-15 Flashlights
The right WML for the right situation can be the difference between success or failure. In some of these situations, it could be the difference between life or death. While your situation may not call for the absolute Best AR-15 Flashlights, you can afford the best, why wouldn’t you?
Out of the eight Flashlights I’ve reviewed, I can say, without a doubt, that the Cloud Defensive LLC – Optimized Weapon Light (OWL) is the cream of the crop.
The best part is that the Cloud Defensive OWL was made to handle some tough situations. It’s made from certified 6061-T6 type III anodized aluminum and the waterproof rating is off the charts. Sure, the WML is pricey, but buy something good the first time around and you won’t have to buy it again. I’d recommend this WML to anyone – beginner, professional, enthusiast. You won’t be disappointed.