7 Best AR15 Weapon Lights [Ultimate Buyer's Guide]

dd Mk18 weapon lights lineup

There are tons of tactical flashlights for modern rifles.

We have complied a list of 7 best AR 15 flashlights based on lumen intensity, candela throw performance, control, available accessories, battery life, durability and value for money.

So let's check them out.

Our Best AR Light Picks - Top 4

REIN

  • Powerful throw
  • Scout mounts
  • Improved cable management

Surefire M600DF

  • Very durable
  • Scout mounts
  • Aftermarket accessories
modlite layout

MODLITE PLHv2

  • Interchangeable heads
  • Scout mounts
  • Very modular

Streamlight Pro Tac HLX

  • Balanced flood and throw
  • Scout mounts
  • Affordable

Check out the rest below:

Cloud Defensive REIN - Best Overall

ar15 mk18 light cloud defensive rein

The Cloud Defensive REIN (V1 or V2) aluminum hard anodized weapon mounted lights can illuminate everything up to 150 yards easily to PID targets.

Insane Candela Rating (Throw) - Throw the light beam as far as 190 yards (60K cd) without dimming down to clearly PID targets.

Scout Mounting System - Use any scout light mounting accessories from Surefire, Arisaka, IWC...etc on REIN (Works for KeyMod, Picatinny & M-LOK)

Improved Color Rendition - Neutral white light beam tint gives the shooter accurate color rendition under low light.

Accepts Various 18650 Batteries - Users can use a wide variety of 18650 batteries from unprotected cell to rechargeable. Overall battery life is very good

Thick Bezel Lens - S7 tool steel bezel & uses serviceable 3mm thick lens (thicker than anything else out there right now) to significant beef up the durability of the light. 

Modlite OKW - Best Thrower Replacement Head


dd mk18 handguard with hotbutton setup

The MODLITE system is another one of the best AR 15 flashlight on the market next to Surefire Scout. MODLITE OKW has the best throw capability and it can be used to upgrade the factory Surefire M600 DF. It can be used on MODLITE 18650 and 18350 body.

4X more throw - The OKW weapon mounted light is about 400% more than a Surefire M600DF and about ~27% more than the Cloud Defensive OWL. It's perfect long distance PID and threat control

Long Battery Life - Use 18350 or 18650 USB rechargeable batteries

Check Out: Best Surefire Alternative Products

Even though the lumen is only 680, throw of this thing for a medium range rifle is outstanding in the dark than a 1000 lumens light with less candela.

OKW VS PLHv2 VS PLH5K comparison

Works Just like a Surefire - The light feels like a Surefire Scout tactical flashlight, and its powered by a 18650 battery (CR123A batteries Not supported), and the user can swap out the head for:

  • IR
  • PLHv2 head ( 1350 lumens / 54K candela)

If you're already a Surefire Scout DF rifle light owner, you can swap the SF M600DF head with Modlite to get the performance Surefire doesnt offer.

Cloud Defensive OWL - Best Control Ergonomics

cloud defensive owl
Img Referenced Cloud Defensive

For anyone shooting in the dark past 150 yards to 200 yards, this is by far the best AR 15 flashlights with MAWL like ergonomics

The Throw is amazing - The OWL (50K candela) has 2X more than its competitors, which allows the light beam to penetrate far into the distance up to 400 yards, while other lights have already dimmed down at about 200 yards.

Unique Control - This OWL weapon mounted light feels like the BE Meyer MAWL. The pressure switch can be orientated to work with lefty & righty shooters.

The only cons of this thing is its slightly larger size, which felt like something just sticks out the side of the rifle.

Oh by the way, this thing is literally indestructible… Just watch!

cloud defensive owl torture test
Referenced Real Dirty Reviews (Watch Here)

[NEW] Olight Javelot Tac - Best For The Money

olight javelot tac on ar15

The new 2022 Olight Javelot Tac rifle light is one of the best AR 15 flashlights at a great price point. This is a much more improved version of the Olight Odin series light with these following upgrades:

Remote Switch Improvement - The new magnetic tail switch can be locked to prevent disconnection

Integrated Scout Mount - One piece body design like the Surefire M600DF

Increased Throw - Now with up to 80k to 90K candela for long range PID

USB Rechargeable Battery - Train with the light as much as you want and just recharge it

Read in-depth review here

Use 10% code BADASSOPTIC10

Surefire M600DF Scout - Brightest Flood 

surefire m600DF mk18 with aimpoint micro

The Surefire M600 scout variant rifle light is among the best AR 15 flashlights that have been around for a long time, and it's mil spec quality makes it a great choice for durable and reliable use . The M600DF model has been upgraded for more lumen output right out of the box.

The Dual Fuel model can produce 1500 lumens white LED running on 18650 battery, and 1000 while running on 2X CR123A lithium batteries.

Accepts aftermarket parts - If you have read the Modlite recommendation above, the Surefire M600 Scout DF can accept different Modlite Scout light heads.

At anytime, you can decide to swap out the factory M600 Scout head with the aftermarket light head for increased performance. Highly recommended if you run into light performance limitations out in the field.

The 18650 full length scout light body is constructed with 6061 T6 aerospace aluminum, and under reasonable circumstances this light is virtually indestructible.

In addition, all Surefire lights accept pressure switch, which is essential for rifle operators.

Olight Odin Turbo - Long Range Target Identification

olight odin turbo lep light head

The new Olight Odin Turbo LEP light is the best long range target identification light. This light is affordable and it can lit up targets in pitch black environments up to 800 - 1000 meters.

The hot spot is very tight without any flood beam at all. All useable light beam goes forward like a laser light beam with up to 90000 candela output.

The Odin Turbo LEP isn't a CQB light at all since there isn't any flood beam at all, but for long range target ID, this is the light to get.

Olight Warrior Pro X - Best Multi Purpose

Warrior X Pro Black 1

Olight Warrior X Pro is one of the best AR15 flashlights that feature a 96K candela rating at a good price. It is perfect for a long gun engaging targets past 500 - 600 yards and handheld use.

Ridiculously high candela rating - Even more powerful than the Modlite OKW head. The throw performance is like a diffused laser that reaches very far.

Very versatile - Can be used as a powerful handheld light or on rifles.

Works With Pressure Switch - Connect Olight's magnetic tail cap to the light for use

User Friendly - Super easy to operate and it's one of the best handheld lights that can be used on a rifle or a shotgun.

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AR 15 Flashlight FAQ

Why Does AR 15 Flashlights Need More Throw (Candela)

More throw means the beam can lit up the environment further into the distance, to positively identify targets & control the threat at a safe fighting distance.

A stronger throw means the light beam can also punch through fog, ambient light or other light source, and the beam can clearly light up an area of interest for the shooter to see.

Check out the comparisons below:

Indoor Demo

Cloud Defensive REIN light pattern 18650

Cloud Defensive REIN, Tighter beam down range

Surefire M600DF light beam pattern

SF M600DF, Wider flood, but weaker hot spot as distance increases

Outdoor Demo - Pay attention to the details at ~ 150 yards

60,000K Candela

cloud defensive rein long range throw

CD REIN, lit up the scene and the berm behind  

10,000K Candela

Inforce wmlx gen 2 night hot spot

Inforce WMLx, Good up to ~350 ft, then fades off

27,600 Candela

streamlight protac hl x long range throw

Streamlight ProTac HLX, Begins to dim down

54,000K Candela

MODLITE PLHV2 light beam hot spot

MODLITE PLHv2, Similar to CD REIN

When Is Flood Beam More Important ?

MODLITE PLHv2

A strong flood beam pattern is important for close quarter applications to light up everything around the shooter's to maximize situational awareness. 

A balanced flood and throw light beam pattern is great for hunting, close range home defense and force on force training.

When Is Throw More Important Over Flood?

photonic barrier weak light

The throw performance becomes more important than flood If the identifying things far away past 700-100+ yards in low light. A focused throw beam helps to clearly see what's down range without missing any details.

photonic barrier strong light

A tight focused beam with tons of candela output can also help light up things through brushes and tree lines to see targets behind in the dark. A weaker throw light just can't.

A good throw light + a good rifle scope = Better target identification, please check out these scopes here.