Recently in a low-light shooting exercise (and often in these exercises) students realize their choice of handheld light is inappropriate or ineffective.
Some have difficulty managing activation buttons or switches, some have too many options to cycle through, and some are not bright enough while some are (believe it or not) too bright.
Additionally, as we see in almost every class, those who choose a weapon-mounted light are not nearly as familiar with using it as they need to be.
Summary of The Best EDC Flashlights
|Streamlight MicroStream (AAA)||$17.91 @ Amazon|
|Streamlight Stylus Pro USB||$48.99 @ Amazon|
|Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA||$38.55 @ Amazon|
|Streamlight MacroStream USB||$53.28 @ Amazon|
Before we get into what EDC flashlight I use and recommend, we need to cover some tips on EDC flashlight selection.
EDC Flashlight Selection Tips
What is the purpose of the flashlight?
First and foremost, figure out what you will be using your handheld light for, considering your typical TTE – admin tasks and to nav/ID/engage in indoor spaces (for example). This is extremely important to specify as you will see below.
Select a light that fits your hand and pocket
you will likely need to do more with that hand than just operate your light, so something not too big, also so it is able to be carried in your pocket easily, perhaps without too much printing or working a hole in your pants. Too big is problematic, and too small is probably not bright enough.
Select a light that has a simple operation
If you grab your light and you are not 100% sure what mode it is in…get a different light, and keep that one in the truck for admin uses only. Students often grab their lights in class and we see a lot of fumbling through High/Low/Strobe options, for example…and this is unacceptable in these situations.
A good patrol light with a side button or switch is great, but in a tactical application, that becomes awkward. For most people, a tail cap button with a momentary press, and a deliberate press click to keep it on works best.
Select a light that has useful brightness
In my experience, 350-600 lumens is the sweet spot. Less than 350 is not quite bright enough and more than 600 is too bright and likely to cause too much effect on yourself. Now, this is for my use case as listed above.
If you are patrolling exterior spaces, that would change. I would say minimally 1000 lumens in those cases. In this case, I would recommend carrying two lights; one high-powered light and one for interior spaces. So again, TTE matters.
If you decide to use a weapon-mounted light you need to commit to it, both in carrying it regularly and training with it often. The overwhelming majority of users we see with WMLs are incapable of effectively using them due to the lack of the above.
Best EDC Flashlights From Personal Experience
Streamlight has some great options, and due to the fact I tend to misplace and lose such things often, I really appreciate their affordability.
Streamlight MicroStream Pocket Light
The Streamlight MicroStream is a fantastic option if you want a minuscule light that weighs about as much as a cigarette and is thin enough that you will forget it is even in your pocket. It is great for daily use, however, it is only 45 lumens open on a single AAA battery, which is likely not enough for most defensive purposes.
As light and small as it is, many even use it as a secondary light for common tasks and carry a much brighter main beam. There is also a USB charging variant that offers 250 lumens in high mode.