6+ Best Self Defense Tactical Flashlight Reviews & Buying Guide (2018)

A good tactical flashlight gives you everything you need to defend yourself and survive in an emergency situation. You can find models with special characteristics, such as the smallest size, the best waterproof rating, or the highest lumens, but what you really need is one that combines all of those features.

That’s why we like the Primitive Survivors XT808. It uses rechargeable or AAA disposable batteries, is waterproof, produces 800 Lumens up to 550 yards away, and can be used as a painful weapon in its own right. Read on to see our full review of it along with 6 other models worth checking out.

In a Rush! Here Is Our Top Choice
​Primitive Survivors XT808

Our Top Choices On The Market

Top 7 Models On The Market

1. Primitive Survivors XT808

The XT808 by Primitive Survivors is our favorite rechargeable model not only because it comes with the rechargeable battery and case, but because it also comes with an adapter to allow you use three AAA batteries instead of the rechargeable battery. When you’re out in the field or when the power goes out, you won’t always be able to charge the battery, so this convenient alternative power supply will let you continue using it indefinitely.

Besides the rechargeable battery and adapter, it’s also incredibly lightweight at only 3 ounces. Still, it’s made from the same aluminum alloy as airplanes, so it’s super strong. The beveled edge and textured grip make it suitable for use as an impromptu weapon.

You can also use the strobe setting to confuse attackers and the SOS setting to call for help. It’s waterproof and will give you 800 Lumens to see up to 550 yards away. It also has low light settings when you want to keep a low profile.

The XT808 is available for less than $45.

2. ShadowHawk X800 

The ShadowHawk X800 is the number one copied flashlight. It’s light but sturdy at 7.8 ounces. It uses AAA rechargeable batteries to produce 800 Lumens of light that can be seen up to 2 miles away. It also has a low light mode when you don’t want to give away your position.

You can also use the strobe setting to blind and disorient attackers and the beveled edge to subdue them. The textured grip and lanyard wrist strap ensure that it won’t fly out of your hand even if your hands get slick.

If you do happen to drop it, you won’t need to worry about it breaking as the aircraft-grade aluminum is highly impact-resistant. It can also survive taking a dip in the water with its 100% waterproof build.

If you do get into trouble, the SOS setting will alert others to your location and need for help. It also includes 5 focus settings (1x, 250, 500, 1000, and 2000) you can use to narrow or broaden the light beam.

One of the best features, however, is its price. At only $13, this one flashlight you can add to any arsenal without thinking twice. It even comes with a hardshell case and battery charger to keep everything protected and in one place.

3. StreamlightPro Tac HL-X 

The Streamlight Pro Tac HL-X is super bright and has the most important features of a tactical flashlight. At 1,000 Lumens, you’ll be in the range of daylight visibility. But when you don’t want it to be quite so bright, you can turn it to low to produce only 500 Lumens. It also has a strobe mode that you can use to blind and confuse someone.

As with the best tactical models, you can use rechargeable batteries or disposable batteries with this model. It takes one 18650 rechargeable battery or two CR123A batteries.

The strong aluminum alloy body and beveled edge on the head of it allow you to use it as a durable, damage-inducing weapon when necessary. It’s also convenient with its textured grip, belt clip, and included holster. It only weighs about 6 ounces, so you’ll hardly notice it in your pocket, on your belt, or clipped to your gear bag.

This 1000-Lumen model is available for less than $85.

4. Soonfire VS50

The Soonfire VS50 is waterproof up to 2 meters / 6 feet. You can swim with it for up to 5 hours long as you want as long you don’t take it below that threshold.

It also rivals our brightest model at an output of 1000 Lumens. When you don’t want it that bight, you can turn it all the way down to 8 Lumens to be super stealthy. On high power, it will help you see up to 280 yards in front of you.

It also has a strobe mode to disorient attackers and a beveled edge to subdue them when you don’t have any other means of self-defense. It features a textured grip, lanyard, belt clip, and Velcro strap, all so you don’t drop when you’re carrying it most conveniently for you. At about 6.5 inches long and weighing 6 ounces, you can even carry it in your front pocket.

If you get lost or need help in an emergency situation, you can turn it to SOS mode. It comes with a rechargeable 18650 battery, but you can also use two CR123A disposable batteries between charges.

You can buy the Soonfire VS50 for about $50.

5. Evolution Outdoors Military 

The Outdoors Evolution Military Tactical LED Flashlight is an underappreciated model that comes with everything you need to survive and defend yourself in almost any situation.

Here are the highlights.

  • 800 Lumens
  • High, medium, and low power
  • Strobe and SOS mode
  • check
    Water-resistant for use in heavy rain
  • check
    Uses two 18650 rechargeable batteries or one AAA

It also comes with all the charging adapters you’ll need and a carrying case to keep it all together. It has a lanyard, a belt clip, and a textured handle so you won’t drop it easily.

It also has a beveled edge that you can use as a weapon if you need to. It’s 7 inches long and weighs 6.5 ounces.

This Evolution Outdoors model is a great option for less than $20.

6. J5 V1 Pro 

The J5 V1 Pro, is one of the smallest models you’ll find. With a length of only 4 inches and a weight of less than 2.5 ounces, it fits comfortably in any pocket or bag. For quicker retrieval, it also features a clip for your belt, pocket, or gear strap.

It has a beveled edge on the head, a textured grip, and a strobe setting, all of which will help you disorient and fend off an attacker when needed.

The 300-Lumen brightness and piercing distance of 600 feetare adequate for most defense or survival situations when you’re on foot or not looking through a scope. You can also focus the beam of light up to 2000x for an ultra-narrow light source.

You can power the V1 Pro with a rechargeable battery or with one AA, both of which you’ll need to purchase separately.

This water-resistant J5 model costs less than $15 and makes an excellent backup to more powerful tactical flashlights.

7. Streamlight TLR-1 HL Weapon Mount 

The Streamlight TRL-1 HL Weapon Mount is an impressive companion to most AR-15,Glock, Picatinny, Smith,and Wesson, or Beretta models. Its 800 Lumens and wide beam will light up an area as much as a 60-watt bulb lights up your living room sans the diffuser. Once you find your target, you can use strobe mode to keep it blinded and confused while you take your shot.

The light is also easy to take on and off with one hand,and the placement keeps your hands away from the hot muzzle of your rifle. Made from an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, you don’t need to worry about treating this light gingerly. It’ll take some jarring, some impacts, and even submersion in water for up to half an hour.

It only weighs a little over 4 ounces, so it won’t weigh you down at all. It’ll run for 1.75 hours on two CR123A batteries. Two come with the light. Note that these batteries are not rechargeable.

You can add the Streamlight TRL-1 HL to your gear bag for a little over $100.

Final Verdict: Our Top Choice for Your Money

Primitive Survivors XT808


All of these have their strong points for specialized use. Our favorite overall is the Primitive Survivors XT808. It’s versatile with the ability to use the rechargeable battery or AAAs. Other models also allowed for alternative batteries, but they might be harder to find in an emergency situation.

Its 800-Lumen brightness and 550-yard throw distance are completely adequate for a tactical flashlight. And when it comes to defense and survival, it has the necessary strobe and SOS settings along with a beveled edge that will allow you to use the flashlight itself as a weapon. It’s even waterproof for use in the rain, snow, or the occasional dip in the lake. 

At only 3 ounces, you won’t notice it’s in your pack or pocket until you need it. Pick it up today and rest easy with the knowledge of money well-spent.