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AR-15s are one of the most customizable rifles out there. The cool things that you can get for them are almost endless. But as a result, to ensure you’re getting the highest quality products, there are many reviews to read.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the five best AR flashlights available and written reviews on each of them. After the reviews, there is a short buying guide to help you decide which light is best for your application.
|TLR-1 Rail-Mounted Tactical Flashlight||
|1L-1AA Ultra-Compact Flashlight||
|OWL LED Weaponlight||
|LoPro Mini Laser & Light Combo||
|LED Flashlight Foregrip||
|Weight:||18 ounces (oz)|
|Length:||75 inches (in)|
|Battery:||CR123 lithium battery X 2|
The TLR-1 tactical flashlight is the best overall AR flashlight due to its outstanding balance between affordability, quality, and including everything you need to mount it. The kit includes a 300-lumen flashlight with over 50,000 hours of bulb life. It also consists of mounts and adaptors to put the flashlight on almost any gun with rails.
Some standout features of this flashlight include machined aluminum construction for sealing out dirt and water, waterproof down to 1 meter, and a strobe function. This flashlight’s only downside is that it only mounts on a rail, and 300 lumens for brightness is definitely on the lower end for many gun lights.
|Length:||75 inches (in)|
|Battery:||lithium or alkaline|
If you’re looking for the best AR flashlight for the money but don’t want to sacrifice quality, Streamlight has an affordable option. The Streamlight ProTac 1L ultra-compact flashlight actually features slightly higher lumens at 350 compared to the top pick. That’s still not incredibly bright, but it does the job, and for it’s the size of this light, it packs a punch.
In addition, this one features many things that make the top pick great such as being waterproof, aircraft aluminum construction, and incredible impact resistance. However, a major pitfall is that this flashlight does not include mounting hardware. So, you’ll need some kind of rail mount or another adaptor to fit it on your AR-15.
Suppose your budget isn’t limited, and you want an incredible flashlight for your AR. In that case, this Weaponlight from Cloud Defensive is a superb option. It’s a bit heavier and bulkier than the first two options, but it’s a lot more durable. For example, this unit is waterproof down to 200 feet for 24 hours and is constructed from 6061-T6 aluminum. This is an option if you have Picatinny mounts on your gun.
Some of this unit’s standout features include a lumen rating of 1250, which lasts for 85–110 minutes on the integrated rechargeable battery. It also has an integrated mounting wrench for tool-free installation on your Picatinny rail. Maintenance is also easy; the light is easy to take off your gun, and the lens can be changed in minutes.
The only real downfall is the price of this light. It’s significantly higher than the other lights on this list. So, even on some modest budgets, this light may not provide the return for the amount you’re spending. Also, the integrated battery is a pain if it ever wears out.
|Type:||5 mW laser / LED|
Another compact option for rail-mounting on your AR-15 is this low-profile laser and light combo by Sightmark. This unit offers a decent five-milliwatt green laser and 300-lumen white light. Lumen count is definitely on the lower end, but this should still offer you around 600 yards of viewing at night.
The manufacturer has done a reasonable job of balancing quality with this light’s price. For example, you can mount it on Weaver or Picatinny rail mounts, and it is shock-resistant for taking some abuse. However, it only has an IPX-5 rating. This means it’s not submersible but water-resistant, so being out in the elements won’t be a problem.
|Type:||5 mW laser / LED|
Foregrips aren’t for everyone, but if that’s your flavor, this LED flashlight and laser combo foregrip from Hawke is a decent option. This combo features a decent LED rated for 150 meters and a five-milliwatt red laser to get the best of both worlds.
This foregrip is made for your AR-15 and mounts easily to Weaver rails, so you won’t have to modify anything to make it fit. While this flashlight combo is a reasonable price, you do lose some of the other perks that the other lights on the list include, like waterproof material and shock resistance. Overall, it’s a good buy—especially if you want a foregrip already. Then you’re not wasting rail space.
Now that we’ve had a look at five of the top AR flashlights for this year let’s take a look at what you want to consider when buying one.
There are several types of lights available to mount on guns. Many of them are variations of an LED. Before making a purchase, you must decide what your light needs are. This will be heavily determined by the primary application, like whether it’s for hunting or professional use.
On average, 300 to 500 lumens are adequate for many situations. But there will be times when a brighter light will be more useful. Another thing related to light choice is deciding whether you need (or want) a laser as well—there are many combination lights out there.
The design of the light is also a big factor. For example, one of the lights above was integrated into a foregrip, so that’s the only place it can go. Where others can mount on the sides or the top of your gun.
The other consideration with design is how lightweight or compact you need it to be. Is your gun already loaded up with attachments, and you’re trying to minimize any more weight gains? Or do you just want the biggest, brightest light out there?
One wouldn’t think that a gun-mounted flashlight could be complicated, but there are some pretty advanced capabilities out there. As far as strobe features, different brightnesses, etc. So, if you’d rather a simple on and off, pay attention to what things the light includes.
Also, button placement is important. Many flashlights aren’t designed for one particular gun. So, you’ll want to ensure that the power button is easy to access, or you might get frustrated.
It doesn’t matter what you’re looking at; not all products are made equal. If you’re never in any rough or rugged situation, you may be able to save a bit on lower-quality light. However, if you need a waterproof light or one that can take a beating, pay attention to whether the lights you’re looking at have what you need.
Most lights have replaceable batteries. But some take bigger or smaller batteries, contributing to how long you can expect the battery life to last. Again, this is totally up to your needs. If you’re spending a lot of time in the woods or away from home, it can be a pain to pack a bunch of extra batteries.
There are several ways you can mount a flashlight on your AR-15; let’s look at the most common ways.
On an AR-15, you can mount things almost anywhere, provided you have the correct amount of positions—under the barrel, on top, or either side. There really is no wrong or right way to mount a flashlight. The one thing to keep in mind is to keep the light behind the end of the barrel.
Picatinny is easily one of the most common mount types to find on an AR-15. However, M-LOK or Weaver are two other popular mounts. Many of these mounting systems make adapters for the others. For example, suppose your gun has a Picatinny rail. In that case, you can get an adapter that allows you to use M-LOK attachments on your existing rail system.
Overall, the TLR-1 rail-mounted light will give you the best bang for your buck regarding quality versus price. However, suppose you already have some mounting adapters. Then, you can save yourself a pretty penny by going with the 1L-1AA light, also from Streamlight.
We hope that these reviews and the buying guide have been helpful in your decision for the next mod on your AR-15.
Featured Image Credit: ivanmiladinovic, Shutterstock
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Shea Cummings is a passionate content writer who believes that the power of words is immeasurable. He leverages years of experience in various trades such as carpentry, photography, and electrical to bring his articles to life. His goal is to provide his readers with information that delights and informs. When he's not writing you can find him spending time in the outdoors or playing some Minecraft on the Xbox with his wife and two sons.
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