Best Handgun Weapon Lights - Ultimate Buyers' Guide 2021

Here is a quick list for the best pistol weapon lights currently available on the market to buy.

To save you time:

"You need to have the ability to shoot those guns at night with limited and low light" - Larry Vicker (Former US Army 1st SFOD Solider)

They're critical accessories for serious gun guys and home defenders to positively identify targets in low light conditions, and can also be used as non-lethal weapons.

Let's check it out...


Our Top Light Picks For Handguns

Disclosure: All products have affiliate links for earning commission to support the website when you purchase

xh30 on glock 17

The Surefire XH30 has a similar body profile as the X300, but the unique features of the XH30 that the X300 doesn’t have is the disorienting strobe mode & toggle between 300 lumens and 1000 lumens.

Widest Flood Beam - Never miss a thing in the dark with Surefire's new TIR beam that spills far and wide to cover anything in the dark from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock.

Slide Always In Battery - Light bezel length sticks out to prevent the slide from getting out of battery 

Disorient Threats - Use strobe to blind close up threats with intense flash and disorientation.

surefire xh30 strobe model drone shot

NOTE: If you already have a holster for the X300, the XH30 will not fit due to the difference on the front lens.

Compare with the XH35, the XH30 is way better with higher candela rating.

Check out XH35 VS X300 Review

Features:

  • 1000 Lumens
  • 11300 Candela
  • TIR Lens - Super Wide
  • 2 CR123A Batteries
  • 4.8 oz
  • 3.7 in
  • IPX7

CZ 75 with streamlight tlr 2 hl g

TLR2 G rail-mounted flashlight comes with a (<5mW Class 3R) integrated Green laser that provides long-range targeting, especially in low light conditions. Also, it comes with a programmable strobe for deterring threats with an intense non-lethal light beam.

This 800-lumen white LED light is extremely popular for handguns; now you can mount it directly on any MIL-STD-1913 rails. It is built with aerospace-grade aluminum weighing only 4.58 oz (2 CR123A lithium batteries).

Easy Toggle Switch - By far the most user-friendly control switch for two-hand or one-hand operation without the need to hard press the switch to activate the light

Replaceable Lens Bezel - Swap the bezel post damage and you're done! No light replacement required

The user has the option to purchase a remote switch to go with the device for easier light activation.

If saving money while going after something like the Surefire X400 is what you have been looking for, then the Streamlight TLR 2 HL G is the product you don’t want to miss.

Features:

  • 1000 Lumens
  • 15000 Candela
  • 2 CR123A Batteries
  • 4.18 oz
  • 3.39 in
  • IPX7

olight pl pro on kimber 1911 rail

The Olight PL Pro is a hot selling X300U alike pistol weapon light that can also be used on long guns. What sets it apart from other pistol light is the USB rechargeable that can save the user tons of money buying CR123A batteries, and the insane lumen and candela output.

This light is the only light on the market today that can project up to 1500 lumens and 19600 candela so far besides Modlite PL 350

See side by side comparison - Olight PL Pro VS Streamlight TLR 1 HL

On top of that, this light is very affordable for under $120, and you can get a better deal on Olight USA when you use the 10% OFF code: BADASSOPTIC10

Features:

  • 1325 Lumens
  • 16900 Candela
  • TIR Lens
  • 2 CR123A Batteries
  • 4.55 oz
  • 3.3 in
  • IPX4

Streamlight TLR7 A - Best Compact Light

streamlight tlr 7a on glock 19 pistol

The TLR 7A is the best compact light for the money from Streamlight.

This thing flush fit perfectly on the compact size pistols. It’s super light and compact, which takes only 1 CR123A battery (50,000 hours) that can produce up to 500 lumens with its C4 LED technology.

Streamlight’s TIR Optic produces a concentrated beam with optimum peripheral illumination; optimized electronics provide regulated intensity.

streamlight tlr 7a beam pattern drone shot

Activation switches are ambidextrous from both sides; the user can activate the light simply by pushing the button. In our honest opinion, the new Streamlight TLR 7 A is a better option for its new extended switches.

Streamlight TLR 7 Sub Best For Sub Compact

glock 43x with streamlight tlr 7 sub

The TLR 7 Sub  is just like the TLR 7A but much smaller for sub compact handguns like Glock 43, P365, M&P Subcompact, Springfield XDs...etc

Check out side by side comparison - TLR 7A VS TLR 7 Sub


What To Look For

Lumen & Candela Intensity

Pistol weapon lights over 150 lumens are generally considered combat effective. But not always.

A 800 or even 1000 lumens may sound great, but if they don't have enough candela to throw the light further down range to positively ID targets in the dark, then it's useless

For a pistol light, anything around 11000+ candela is a good spec.

Battery Type

Most weapon lights are powered by 1 or 2 CR123A batteries. Some use CR2 or AAA mini battery for compact weapon lights.

Recent new products such as the Surefire XR2 and Olight PL have a built-in rechargeable battery, which allows the user to charge them through a micro USB cord.

Across the board, weapon lights powered by these batteries last up to 60 to 90 mins on average when left on before the battery completely drains out.

Beam Types

xh30 beam pattern

For longer ranges, you want a more focused hot spot to control threats from safe distances and spill for shorter ranges to light up most things in front of you.

Traditional light has a wide beam angle made for general, multi-purpose use. They don't project concentrated light spot far enough for any long-range illumination.

streamlight tlr 7a in low light warehouse

Tight hot spot lights are great for:

  • Clearing a dark area or searching an alley
  • Lighting an outdoors campsite
  • Vehicle stops or searches 

Activation Switches

streamlight tlr 1 hl vs surefire x300u rear switches

The ergonomics of the light activation switches are extremely important for recoil control and tactical reasons.

The user has to be able to reach the light switches to operate the light effortlessly while maintaining proper pistol grip and fundamentals of shooting, which is why a weapon-mounted light is much better than the handheld light method.

Most like on the market today offers:

  • Constant On
  • Momentary
  • Strobe

Wait... there is more...

streamlight tlr 1 hl on walther pdp pistol

If your finger or thumb is short and you cannot reach these buttons easily, then please considered buying a light with a large switch so the user can easily reach without breaking the grip.

In addition, it helps with activation during freezing weather condition where hands and fingers are cold and stiff!

You can also purchase weapon light accessories such as the Surefire DG switches & PLHSTER paddle adapter to make the controls better.

Mount Types

The mount has to hold the light unit in place during a course of firing without falling off.

Most lights locks on the rail rock solid without any issue. For a laser sight it's important that the light stays tight to retain zero.

For pistols without rail slot, there are lights that can mount around the trigger guard like the Streamlight TLR 6, Check out the TLR 6 Review Here

Light Configuration

olight baldr pro r car illumination

White light only weapon lights are the most popular and most practical for most users.

Laser and light combo are the second most popular for versatility. You can carry it for concealed carry, and also use the laser to teach new shooters on how to be accurate with steady slow aim & trigger squeeze.

IR light is geared towards people who have night vision goggles. In other words, IR flashlight is basically white light that can ONLY be seen under night vision goggles or camera.

Products with all cool stuff are gonna cost more. So depending on what you need the light for, those white light only products are a great starting point.

Laser Sight

baldr pro laser

Laser sight helps with faster target acquisition and accuracy in improvised shooting positions where the shooter can't get a proper sight picture alignment.

For point and shoot type of point-blank shooting, having a laser helps a lot with speed aiming, and it adds a bit more fear for personal defense.

If using a laser and light combo, be sure to pick a light that doesn't have a too strong hot spot that can obscure the laser pointer.

Holster Light Fit

Most holster manufacturers make light bearing holsters for the gun of your choice.

Simply go to their websites and custom order your holster.


Top Handguns With Weapon Lights

Check out tactical weapon lights uniquely paired to these world-class handguns.

They work well & also look good

GLOCK 19

HK VP9

M9A3


Smith Wesson M&P

Sig Sauer P365


Handgun Weapon Light FAQ

How Not To Blind Myself With Weapon Light?


tlr6 lumen intensity

It's unnecessary to point the hot beam at every thing you want to identify in the dark. Because when the user does that they are also pointing the muzzle in that direction.

The best way to illuminate a close up area for target identification is to leverage the light spill flood, and another way is to point the light at the ceiling to bounce the light back down to illuminate the whole area.

When these helpful tactics are applied, you not only improved your weapon light skills, but you also learned to be safe with a firearm without pointing the muzzle all over the place in the dark.

Does A Weapon Mounted Light Help Reduce Recoil?

streamlight tlr 1 hl on fn 509 ls edge

A quality pistol weapon light generally weighs about 3-4 oz, when you mount it in front frame of the handgun, it does slightly add a bit more weight to counter the recoil.

Based on personal perceived recoil experience, it only helped slightly, and other times it felt no different.

Does The Hot Beam Wash Out Red Dot Reticle?

If using a red dot on the pistol. The hot light beam can wash out the red dot reticle when pointing at a surface too close (Usually 4 - 7 yards).

It's important to readjust the red dot reticle brightness to compensate for it.

How To Clean Residue Off The Lens

Whether if you use a light that sticks out past the muzzle or it sits flush. You have to clean the lens before the residue fogs up the lens, which dilutes the lumen intensity.

The best method is to soak a piece of cleaning cloth in rubbing alcohol and just scrape the residue off the lens surface.

It is quite easy!

What Does Strobe Light Do In Defensive Situation?

viridian c5l strobe mode and green laser

A high-intensity strobe light flashes rapidly as a nonlethal way to impair invader's vision during self-defense situations.

Long-period exposure can result in permanent vision damage.

If you want a separate handheld light to go along with your weapon mounted light be sure to check out on our site: Best EDC tactical flashlights with Strobe Function

Can Weapon Light Lens Survive Airsoft BBs & Simunition?

Most tactical weapon light lens can survive repeated recoil, shock, and drop.

But direct head-on BB impacts could crack the lens during force on force exercise.

Reputable light manufacturers like Surefire and Streamlight will replace the light at no cost to you.