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

Length, weight, brightness, distance, settings, water-resistance, power supply, and defense. These are some of the most important features you look for in a tactical flashlight.

But with so many copycats out there trying to sell their version of the best small model, it can be difficult deciding which one to buy. That’s why we’re continuing our reviews. Here, you’ll find recommendations for the features that matter most.

Our top pick for small category is the Nitecore EC23. It shines out with 1800 Lumens, has a max distance of 278 yards, and an IPX8 waterproof rating. Keep reading for more details on this and six more of the top small units you can buy.

In a Rush! Here Is Our Top Choice
​Nitecore EC23

Our Top Choices On The Market

Top 7 Models On The Market

1. Nitecore EC23

The EC23 provides 1800 Lumens on its highest setting. You can dial it down from there to shine between 980 Lumens and 1 Lumen. It also features strobe, SOS, and beacon settings.

The beacon setting is a unique feature of this small model. Whereas the SOS setting signals a specific message, the beacon setting emits longer bursts of light.

It comes with a rechargeable 18650 battery that will run between 330 hours and 30 minutes depending on the brightness setting you use. The max throw is an impressive 278 yards at 1800 Lumens.

This unit also features an IPX8 waterproof rating, meaning you can submerge it in 6 feet of water for as long as you want without risk of damage.

It weighs less than 3 ounces and measures a little over 5 inches. It comes with a lanyard and carrying case for right around $55.

2. Soonfire VS50 

The VS50 has an IPX8 waterproof rating that guarantees its performance in 6 feet of water for up to 5 hours. It also shines up to 1000 Lumens for a distance of 280 yards. On the lowest setting, it only produces 8 Lumens.

The strobe mode and shaped edge will help you flee from or overcome an attacker while the lanyard, Velcro holster, and belt clip keep it securely in your hand or on your pants.

It’s a little larger than some of the others compact model we’re featuring here at 6.5 inches long and 6 ounces, but that only adds to your ability to swing it when necessary. The SOS setting is helpful when you need to call for backup or alert others to your location.

You can use the 18650 rechargeable battery that comes with it or insert two CR123A batteries as needed.

The Soonfire VS50 is available for about $50.

3. Primitive Survivors XT808

The XT808 comes with a rechargeable battery and wall charger. It also has an adapter that will allow you to use disposable AAA batteries until you can charge the other.

The ability to use disposable batteries is especially useful when all the power goes out or when you’re going to be away from a power source for an extended period.

At only 3 ounces light, this small model has everything you need in a tactical unit: an 800-Lumen output, a throw distance of 550 yards, strobe and SOS modes, adjustable beam focus, and a beveled edge. The distance is impressive in itself.

The bulb itself is another high point of the TX808. No matter which setting you use, it’s guaranteed to last for 100,000 hours’ worth of use.

It’s also waterproof for use in the rain and comes with a protective carrying case. You get all that for less than $45.

4. Fenix PD35 V2.0 

The PD35 2.0 by EdisonBright is bright indeed. On high power, it will shine 1000 Lumens up to 820 feet in front of you. You can also drop it down from 350-3 Lumens, depending on your need.

Besides the brightness settings, it also features a strobe mode.

This model gets bonus points because you can use either one 18650 rechargeable battery or two disposable CR123A batteries, and they last fairly long. Even on high power, they’ll give you almost three hours of run time. When you turn it on, an indicator will show you how much charge you have remaining.

This small model weighs about 3 ounces and is approximately 5 inches long. It comes with a lanyard and carrying case.

This is a highly durable unit that can weather heavy rainfall or even a dunk in the odd puddle or two. You can pick it up for about $70.

5. J5 V1 Pro 

The J5 V1 Pro has some additional features that many of the others on our list don’t. First, it has a pull-out focus you can use to narrow or broaden your beam of light based on your needs. A narrower beam makes you less visible in the dark while a wider beam helps you to see more around you.

It has a beveled edge on the front so that you can use it as a weapon if you don’t have anything else nearby.

It features a strobe setting and can use one AA battery as an alternative to a rechargeable battery. It only weighs 2.29 ounces and measures 4 inches long.

The downsides are that it only produces 300 Lumens, only has two power settings, has a throw distance of only 600 feet, and is weather-resistant but not submersible.

We recommend it as a every-day-carry (EDC) backup that you can add to your gear for about $15.

6. Atomic Bear 

This compact model has some impressive features for a low price. It’s one of the only small units on our list to feature an adjustable focus. It’s also incredibly small at only 3.5 inches long, making it the perfect size for your pocket.

It also has a clip to make sure it doesn’t sink too deep into your pocket. You can also use it to clip to your carrying bag or gun holster.

It’s water-resistant and has a beveled edge for defense. It also features a strobe mode as well as high and low power. At high power, it can shine up to 100 yards. It will also last up to 25 hours shining 400 Lumens.

The Atomic Bear can use one AA disposable or rechargeable battery. Perhaps the best part about it, though, is that it costs less than $10. It’s not the brightest model you’ll find, but it does the trick for lighting up your path.

7. StreamlightProTac 1L 

The StreamlightProTac 1L uses one AA battery or one CR123A batteryto produce 350 Lumens of light. It can run off that one battery at that brightness for 1.5 hours. It also has a low and medium setting for longer runtimes.

On high power, it can light up your field of vision to a distance of 525 feet. It also has a strobe mode and a beveled edge for defense.

The bulb will last 50,000 hours, and the entire unit can withstand submersion up to 3 feet for half an hour with an IPX7 waterproof rating.

If you’re comparing it to others on the list, you’ll see that it’s not the brightest, doesn’t throw light the furthest, and doesn’t have the best waterproof rating. Still, it’s a solid choice from a reputable brand.

The ProTac 1L measures 4.25 inches and weighs 2.5 ounces. Besides black, it also comes in blue and pink. It’s yours for less than $40.

Final Verdict: Our Top Choice for Your Money

Nitecore EC23


The Nitecore EC23 has most everything we like to see.

  • 1800 Lumens
  • 278-yard distance
  • Variable power settings
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    Strobe, SOS, Beacon modes
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    IPX8 waterproof rating
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    Rechargeable battery
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    3 ounces

We’d like to see it with a beveled edge, the ability to use different battery types, and a shorter length than 5 inches, but overall, it’s a solid buy for around $55. If you want a super bright unit that combines some of the most impressive features, buy it TODAY.