6 Best Small Tactical Flashlights of 2021

Last update: 2021-10-18

Once you’ve landed in this post, we know that all you want isn’t just a well-rounded flashlight. You want more! If you’re trying to find the best small tactical flashlights but just not sure how to go about it, why not trust the experts? Below are 6 the finest options out there to try right now:

Here are the best small tactical flashlights (Oct 2021 Update):

  • Best Overall: SureFire G2X
  • The Longest Range: Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight
  • Most Versatile: Streamlight Protac HL5-X
  • Best Penlight: 5.11 EDC 53380
  • Most Powerful: Fenix PD36R
  • Longest Lifespan: Fenix PD35 TAC
Top 6 Best Small Tactical Flashlights
Best Overall
SureFire G2X
    Read Our Review
    The Longest Range
    Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight
      Read Our Review
      Most Versatile
      Streamlight Protac HL5-X
        Read Our Review
        Best Penlight
        5.11 EDC 53380
          Read Our Review
          Most Powerful
          Fenix PD36R
            Read Our Review
            Longest Lifespan
            Fenix PD35 TAC
              Read Our Review

              Best Overall: SureFire G2X

              SureFire G2X
              SureFire G2X
              Pros
              • Lightweight, small yet mighty and waterproof – can resist impacts very well
              • Easy to use and simple construction
              • Don’t give odd-pattern light at low mode
              • Batteries are USA-made to ensure the quality
              Cons
              • If you use CR123s batteries, they’re quickly drained out

              One of the smallest tactical flashlights with maximum runtime, the G2X has all unique features that Surefire is known for: durability, optimal beam, easy to use, and versatility.

              It is a small, yet mighty flashlight crafted from anodized aluminum bezel with tough nitrolon body to hold up well daily abuse and impacts. The best thing is it delivers a very smooth beam even in the lowest mode – something that just the higher-end models can do.

              You’ve also got two Surefire lithium batteries provided by the manufacturer. While others are usually made in China or imported, these are USA-made with a guarantee of a 10-year shelf life.

              Very impressive!

              SureFire G2X Specifications

              Dimension

              5.2 x 1.2 x 1.2 inches

              Weight

              4 ounces

              Light source type

              LED

              Luminous flux

              High: 600L

              Low: 15L

              Beam distance

              High: 600 feet

              Low: 15 feet

              Running time

              3 hours

              Highlight features

              Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize light output and runtime

              Two output levels

              Precision micro-textured reflector creates a smooth

              Optimized beam

              Highlighting the great balance of performance, quality, and compactness, the G2X excellently wins our Best-Overall Choice Award.

              The Longest Range: Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight

              Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight
              Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight
              Pros
              • Give 6 hours of runtime at high mode before out of juice
              • Can illuminate over 1200 feet for enhanced visibility
              • 5 adaptable settings therein lie the SOS and Strobe for emergency and signaling usage
              Cons
              • No zoom capacity
              • A bit struggling to charge it

              When you’re away from home, like embarking on camping, night fishing, or hiking trip, a tactical flashlight with a longer runtime is beneficial.

              Given the latest energy-efficiency technology to last up to 6 hours, the Anker is an unbeatable candidate in our test group.

              Aside from the longest range, this flashlight also has a reliable build: can work 1 meter underwater for 30 minutes (IP67-rated) in addition to the endurance of rough handling.

              Moreover, this unit features up to 3 muscular LED lights that can illuminate over 1200 feet while giving 5 switchable settings therein lies the SOS and Strobe mode for signaling and emergency cases.

              Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight Specifications

              Dimension

              7.1 x 2.4 x 2.4 inches

              Weight

              1.05 pounds

              Light source type

              LED

              Luminous flux

              1300L

              Beam distance

              1200 ft.

              Running time

              6 hours

              Highlight features

              1300 lumens light output

              Reach over 1200 ft.

              Long-lasting

              Tough & reliable

              Smart design

              If runtime and brightness are your two biggest concerns, this Anker with emphasis on 6-hour range and 1300L luminous flux might be what you’re after.

              Most Versatile: Streamlight Protac HL5-X

              Streamlight Protac HL5-X
              Streamlight Protac HL5-X
              Pros
              • Give two power source options to flexibly use in different situations
              • Can avoid rolling away when it’s placed in flat surfaces
              • Give ultra-grippy and thermal-insulated hand-feel
              Cons
              • Pricey

              While giving multiple programs like any versatile tactical flashlights, the HL5-X makes itself distinctive thanks to the Multi-Fuel innovation.

              This feature allows the product to work on either CR123A lithium batteries when you’re away from home or Streamlight’s 18650 USB battery for money saving and environment protecting. In short, it serves your highest convenience.

              When durability and endurance are also parts of the performance, this unit won’t let you down through its long-life C4 LED, anodized aluminum construction, and a waterproof gasket-sealed glass lens with anti-reflective coating.

              So whether it’s rainforest humid, scorching hot, or freezing cold, just be sure that you can depend your life on this beast.

              Streamlight Protac HL5-X Specifications

              Dimension

              9.53” Length; 1.24” Barrel Diameter; 2.35” Head Diameter; 2.29” Tri-Lobe Diameter.

              Weight

              ProTac HL 5-X USB: 1-Pound 3.4-Ounce (550 grams)

              Light source type

              C4 LED

              Luminous flux

              250L - 3500L

              Beam distance

              120 meters – 452 meters

              Running time

              1.25 hours – 10.5 hours

              Highlight features

              Choice of three operating modes: 1) high/strobe/low 2) high only 3) low/medium/high, IPX7;

              Waterproof TO1 mount for 30 minutes;

              1 impact resistance tested

              Constructed smartly to meet all kinds of versatility, the Streamlight HL5-X is sure to meet anyone’s lighting needs no matter what.

              Best Penlight: 5.11 EDC 53380

              5.11 EDC 53380
              5.11 EDC 53380
              Pros
              • Give superior brightness and runtime than other penlights at the same price point
              • Include batteries in the package that you can use it right out of the box
              • User-friendly design: Extra grip and easy-access power button switch
              • Extra durable: pass 2-meter drop test and splash resistance
              Cons
              • Can’t adjust the beam width
              • A bit thicker than other penlights

              This 5.11 penlight beats off other competitors with far brighter output performance (107L to shine over 26 meters) at the same or even longer runtime.

              We appreciate its power button switch location that is designed to be within your reach. In emergency cases, you can easily turn it on by one hand.

              The penlight also impressed us for its surpassed durability: 5 minutes of splash resistance and 2-meter drop-tested survival.

              Furthermore, the additional clip is a smart feature for extra grip.

              5.11 EDC 53380 Specifications

              Dimension

              Length: 5.00in | Diameter: .66in

              Weight

              2.14oz

              Light source type

              Cree XP-G3 LED

              Luminous flux

              107 Lumens

              Beam distance

              26 meters

              Running time

              4 hours 20 minutes

              Highlight features

              107 Lumens of visible light up to 26 meters

              Improved anodized grip for handling with improved pocket clip retention, small & versatile.

              Patiently waiting for the best penlight for the price? The 5.11 Style 53380 will make you wait no more.

              Most Powerful: Fenix PD36R

              Fenix PD36R
              Fenix PD36R
              Pros
              • Balance perfectly between the best powerful flashlight and the longest runtime range
              • Take 2x shorter amount of charge time
              Cons
              • Quite expensive

              Brighter flashlights are normally known for their faster energy eat-up, resulting in shorter runtime but maybe somebody forgot to tell the PD36R.

              While giving 1600L of brightness output, it can run like a workhorse in 115 hours - twice as powerful as the common ones. The 5000mAh high-capacity battery is key for that and there’s more.

              It’s compatible with a specifically-designed USB cable that each charge time now just needs a 2x shorter amount of time than the standard micro USBs.

              Some other add-on features are the two-way body clip and the dual switch design for extra convenience.

              Fenix PD36R Specifications

              Dimension

              L-5.35" x W-1.04" x H-1"

              Weight

              3oz

              Light source type

              Luminus SST-40 LED

              Luminous flux

              1600L

              Beam distance

              309 yards

              Running time

              115 hours

              Highlight features

              Over 115 hours of runtime

              Easy to use

              Designed for everyday carry

              Designed with ultra-powerful performance in mind, the Fenix PD36R is best for whichever tasks at hand.

              Longest Lifespan: Fenix PD35 TAC

              Fenix PD35 TAC
              Fenix PD35 TAC
              Pros
              • The LED lights last for 50k hours - 251% higher performance than the XP-G2 LED -> a good choice for long-term usage
              • Two running modes, each of which features multiple light settings to afford in everything situations
              • Anti-roll, waterproof, slip-resistant, anti-reflective, and anti-abrasive to work better and last longer
              Cons
              • The setting buttons are quite flush with the rest of the barrel -> a bit struggling to use under stress or in the dark

              This Fenix tactical flashlight is another good performer to try.

              But in this case, the biggest selling point lies in its Cree XP-L (V5) LED, which boosts up to 251% higher performance than the XP-G2 LED and delivers 1000L of brightness.

              Versatility is also the PD35 TAC’s forte as it offers two running modes: the Tactical Mode and the Outdoor Mode. Both come in multiple light settings and easy-access switch button so that you can use it in different cases.

              Keep ease in mind that the flashlight is rather durable.

              Aside from the durable aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, it’s also coated with premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish with seamlessly sealed design. Plus, it’s anti-roll and slip-resistant pretty well.

              Fenix PD35 TAC Specifications

              Dimension

              5.4 in. x 1.0 in. x 3.1 oz.

              Weight

              7.2 ounces

              Light source type

              LED

              Luminous flux

              1000L

              Beam distance

              656 feet.

              Running time

              Tactical Mode: 1 hr., 10 min. - 29 hr., 15 min.

              Outdoor Mode: 1 hr., 10 min. - 140 hr.

              Highlight features

              1000 Lumen max utilizing Cree XP-L (V5) LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours

              137 mm (5.4 in.) Length x 25.4mm (1.0 in.) Diameter ·89-gram weight (3.1 oz.) excluding battery

              Featuring longer lifespan batteries than most (up to 50,000 hours), the Fenix PD35 TAC is great for value.

              How To Choose The Best Small Tactical Flashlights?

              Lumen

              • This is the measuring unit of the luminous flux of a lightbulb or LED light.
              • The higher the lumen, the brighter the light. But notice that not all tactical situations will call for the brightest ones because the brighter, the more heat emitted, which might damage its batteries. In the worst case, shortening the flashlight’s lifespan and you waste the money.
              • The number of lumens of a flashlight is decided by your purpose of use on it, mostly within 120 – 2000 lumens but in some exceptional cases, like fishing or before-bed reading, the range of 15L to 45L is just right.

              Versatility

              • When we say “versatility”, it means for all aspects – from operating methods, power sources, and lighting modes.
              • A tactical flashlight that delivers more features will be more adaptable to a wide range of situations encountered in the field. So if you have no idea which purposes to use it for, just go for the most versatile.
              • It’s apparently not an optimal choice though because a “universal” tactical flashlight won’t be good at any specific category. They’re just a so-so performer! That’s why we still advise you to find out what you want in it.

              Power Source

              • The world of tactical flashlights is vast, which mostly depends on their power source. Here are 4 common types of power sources you might find on the market:

              Strengths

              Weaknesses

              Lifespan

              Rechargeable Batteries

              Give the freedom of recharging to regain the power

              The most expensive in price

              6 years

              Li-Ion batteries

              Give more power and last longer than the alkaline batteries

              Lightweight

              Can work on extreme temperatures

              Costlier than alkaline batteries

              10 years

              Alkaline batteries

              The easiest to find

              The cheapest in price and most various in sizes

              Provide low power and shorter runtime

              2 years

              CR123A batteries

              Give brighter performance – double the alkaline batteries

              Last longer

              Not easy to find in local grocery stores

              4 – 7 years

              Which Brands Make The Best Small Tactical Flashlights?

              SureFire

              • SureFire is a big and reliable brand as it’s been into this industry since 1969 and its founder - Dr. John Matthews – is an engineer with a Ph.D. from Cal Tech. So their products are assured in quality and practicality.

              Anker

              • Anker is one of the key brands that lead the well-known Anker Innovations. With a professional in the manufacturing processes, technology applications, and customer services, this is considered one of the global leaders in this industry.

              Streamlight

              • Streamlight was founded in 1973 as a company specialized in lighting tool manufacturing and distribution. It is a dream brand that collects customers’ feedback as well as real-world experience to create its products. Hence, they are always praised for their high practicality.

              5.11 Tactical

              • The brand is one of the most famous and trustworthy companies in the US for tactical gears. It even has created a decades-long relationship with the FBI – a mighty proof that shows how quality and safety of their products.

              Fenix

              • Fenix is a China-based company specialized in unique lighting products. They gain trust and love from worldwide customers through their applications of only advanced illumination technologies as well as the restricted testing to ensure exceeding baseline ANSI standards.

              FAQs

              How many lumens is a good tactical flashlight?

              It should be at least 120 lumens to meet your basic lighting needs as well as for self-defense.

              Are 1000 lumens good for a flashlight?

              1000-lumen flashlights are normally a powerful lighting tool that’s good for daily use. They are bright enough to allow you to see objects in distance – usually within 600 to 1000 feet.

              How bright are 1000 lumens?

              1 lumen = 1 birthday candle (in terms of brightness at 1 foot of distance). So a 1000-lumen flashlight can give a beam distance of 656 feet.

              While the standard 60W light gives around 800L of light, the 1000L will be a lot brighter.

              How many lumens do I need for daylight?

              For a standard darkroom, a 1000L to 1200L light is enough for daylight but if it’s a bigger space, like conference rooms or classrooms, it should be up to 2500L to be bright enough.

              Conclusion

              That’s all for this article. We hope this excellent guide has helped you find out the best small tactical flashlights on the market. Thanks for reading!

              Bryan Listor
              Bryan Listor

              Related Articles