Here are the 6 best AR 15 flashlight options with the highest candela performance.  These are must accessories for serious users for home defense, full time professional use and other training applications.

The most important specs to have on a light is a balanced beam pattern to help identify targets far away in low light and see the surroundings

Let's take a look what's on this list.

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Best AR 15 Flashlight

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Surefire M600DF Scout - Best Overall

surefire m600DF mk18 with aimpoint micro

The Surefire M600DF is one of the best AR 15 flashlights for home defense rifles and real world use.

The Surefire brand weapon mounted light light features tons of tail switch and tail cap accessories to mount different remote switch modules, to truly configure the light the way you want. 

Tons Mounting System Options - Select from different light mounts like M1913 Picatinny rails, M LOk mounts and KeyMod

Precision TIR Lens - Balanced beam distance and flood white light for tactical shooters in most CQB and mid range environment

Surefire M600DF beam top down

Positive Target ID - Greater lumen and candela performance upgrade from the original model

Dual Lumen Intensity - 1500 lumens white light using the rechargeable 18650 battery or 1200 lumens with 2 CR123A batteries (18650 is the future to support higher lumen output)

Upgradable Light Head - Use aftermarket light head such as MODLITE PLHv2 or Z Bolt Blazer LEP head for even more lumen intensity & candela 

Read Detailed SureFire M600DF Review

Cloud Defensive REIN - Best Candela Output

ar15 mk18 light cloud defensive rein

The Cloud Defensive REIN line is the next gen modular weapon mounted lights. It comes with a ton of improvements over the OWL (Optimized Weapon Light) to configure the light the way you want. However, REIN doesn't work with any Surefire tail cap accessories

Long Beam Distance For Target ID - This is a much brighter light output to see as far as 180 yards with that insane 60K candela throw. Target ID is so much easier than the Surefire M600DF in various low light environments

cloud defensive rein on mk18 indoor

Same Scout Lights Mounting System - Use Any scout light mounting accessories from Surefire, Arisaka, IWC...etc on AR15 handguards (MLOK, Keymod & M1913)

Wide Flood & Tight Focus Beam - Slightly warmer beam tint, but it gets the job done for close up and long distance illumination

Non-Snag Cable Wiring - The new tail cap remote switch design allows different cable orientation

  • No more force swing the cable around the remote switch to the other side
  • No more snag hazard & zero exposed cable
  • No more bending stiff pressure switch cable that could degrade voltage flow
  • No more excess cable sticking out
  • No more zip tie
  • Perfect for clean SBR handguard setups

Accepts Various 18650 Batteries - Long battery life with rechargeable 18650. Use various type of 18650 from unprotected cell to rechargeable. The built in battery jack makes perfect battery contact.

Remote Switch - True momentary and constant on feature

Serviceable Front Bezel Lens - If the lens break, all you have to do is to replace the lens by disassemble the bezel in less than a minute give or take.

The user never have to wait around or mess with any warranty paper work.

Made out of S7 tool steel & it's 3mm thick lens to significant beef up the durability of the light (3mm is thicker than anything else out there right now)

Detailed Cloud Defensive REIN Review

MODLITE PLHv2 - Best Surefire Alternative

modlite full size on mk18

This is the best Surefire flashlight alternative on the market!

MODLITE products focus on throw capability more than Surefire. These are great AR 15 flashlight options that shares the same mounting system as Surefire Scout tactical lights.

Users can purchase just the light head and use it on Arisaka or Surefire scout light bodies or buy the complete set.

Interchangeable Light Head - Swap among different Modlite light heads with different capabilities when needed. PLHv2 is the most popular, and there are two more head options.

mk18 with modlite okw head beam pattern
modlite okw vs plhv2 vs plh 5k head

• OKW 680 lumens (Far throw means long beam distance for a very concentrated beam, 69K candela up to 500 yards without dimming down)
PLHv2 1500 lumens (DF replacement head, 54K Candela)
IR 1200mW (Infrared for night vision setup)


Compare PLHv2 VS PLH 5K VS OKW

4X More Throw - ~400% more concentrated beam throw than a Surefire M600DF and about ~27% more than the Cloud Defensive OWL. It's perfect long distance PID and threat control.

Tons Of Accessories - Use the same Surefire tail switch or remote pressure switch accessories. If you have them already, then you're set! 

Long & Short Body Available - Use rechargeable lithium ion batteries for short barrel rifles and other compact AR15 setup. 

Read Detailed MODLITE Review

Modlite HOG WML - Highest Candela (2023)

modlite hog wml

Experience a remarkable 54% increase in candela output, now reaching an impressive 170,000 with the new Modlite OKW head for long range target identification in the dark, boasting 720 lumens. Notably, the constant on runtime has been extended to approximately 3 hours.

Moreover, the PLHv2 model offers a powerful illumination of 1350 lumens, delivering a candela output of 120,000. Expect a constant on runtime of around 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Both light models continue to utilize the reliable Modlite 21700 rechargeable battery, while their durable Surefire scout footprint bodies are constructed with 6061 aluminum and mil-spec hard anodizing. With the inclusion of an Ultra clear BOROFLOAT lens, enjoy exceptional light transmittance of 98-99%.

Streamlight ProTac HLX - Best For The Money

mk18 light streamlight protac hlx

The Streamlight ProTac HLX is the best budget top quality AR15 flashlight at a to start on. The package comes with the light and pressure switch pad that offers momentary on/off and constant on mode.

Long Battery Life - Use any 18650 rechargeable batteries!

Fast Strobe Light Activation - Double press to activate strobe light for tactical shooting, no other scout light on the market feature this function

Replaceable Front Lens - Replace the front lens as easy as the Cloud Defensive REIN without having to replace the entire light post field damage

Same Mounting Accessories As Surefire Scout - It comes with the Streamlight ProTac rail mount right out of the box, but it can also uses the same Surefire scout mounts.

Remote Switch Included - At no additional cost. Mount the pressure switch with the Cloud Defensive LCS module to hold it in place on the handguard rail

Side Tucking Cord - 360 degree freedom to rotate the orientation of the cable to prevent getting tangled on foreign objects

Read Detailed Streamlight HL X ProTac Review

Olight Javelot Tac - Best Battery Life

olight javelot tac on ar15

The new 2022 Javelot Tac weapon light has many improvements from the Odin series lights. 

Integrated Scout Mount - One piece body design increases light durability

Mid Range Capable - The throw performance is now at 80k - 90K candela for most mid to long range applications

Rechargeable Battery - Same USB rechargeable battery as other Olight products

Lockable Pressure Remote Switch - Magnetic remote switch can be easily mount or dismounted 

Read Detailed Olight Javelot Tac Review

Olight Odin GL Mini - Best Laser Combo

olight odin gl mini laser on ar15

The Odin GL Mini is designed for mid range application with a green laser built-in for fast aiming. This is one of the best AR 15 flashlights to get some training with.

Uses Surefire Scout Mount – Uses any Scout light mount available on the market (M1913 is the best for laser accuracy)

Minimal Laser Offset - The laser is inline with the beam to minimize laser offset

Very Decent Battery Life - Train as much as you like without having to buy new batteries to save money. 

Fast Aiming - Great training tool for close up aiming (Not for long range)

AR15 Lights FAQ

What Light Mounts To Get?

IWC scout mount

There are 3 types of light mounts to go with a rifle mounted light:

  • M1913
  • MLOK
  • KeyMod

Each one of these mounting system has different designs such as length, rail clamp, offset angle, quick detach, and integrated mount.

What Is The Best AR 15 Flashlight Pressure Switch To Get?

mk18 with tnvc taps switch

There are many different pressure switch pad to use on an AR15. The gear selection is relative to how much the user understands weapon light use philosophy.

Weapon lights are used to PID in dark areas, and in some cases, a light can blind threats up close. Light activation doesn't always need to be constant on.

In fact, momentary on/off pressure switch is the best for tactical usage, because the light turns off immediately when the user let go the pressure on the switch. This is extremely useful in stressful situations.

For a true momentary on switch, please check out the ModButton.

For a dual switch, please check out TNVC TAPS