6 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 6 best AR15 flashlights based on lumen intensity, candela throw performance, control, available accessories, durability and value for money.

They are the top of the line products pros are using in the field.

So let's check them out.

Cloud Defensive REIN - Best Overall

Cloud Defensive REIN on SCAR17 KDG rail

Why Pick The REIN - The REIN is a thrower beast. Illuminating everything up to 150 yards is a piece of cake. It works just like other lights and it's by far the best.

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

Uses The Same Scout Light Mount - 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 - User can use a wide variety of 18650 batteries from unprotected cell to rechargeable. 

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

Why it's the best overall - In many ways the MODLITE system OKW head has the best throw and it can be used to replace the default Surefire M600DF head, and it can be used on 18650 and 18350 body.

4X more throw - The Modlite OKW 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,

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

Feels like a Surefire & It's better - The light assembles the feel of a Surefire Scout, and its powered by a 18650 battery (CR123A Not supported), and the user can swap out the head for:

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

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

While lumen output with this light is similar to the Surefire M600DF head, the throw is much better suited to a rifle mounted application at more than 3X the amount throw than the M600DF.

Cloud Defensive OWL - Best Control Ergonomics

cloud defensive owl
Img Referenced Cloud Defensive

Why we rank this as our #2 - For anyone shooting in the dark past 150 yards to 200 yards, this is by far the best thrower with good 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 - The unit feels like the BE Meyer MAWL. The control 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 Odin - Best Value


Why we love the Odin - The Odin is the best-dedicated 2000 lumens rifle Scout light that Olight has ever made to compete with the Surefire Scout.

For the price of 1 Surefire M600 Scout, you can buy two Olight Odin's if you have multiple rifle setup.

Use Any Surefire Scout Mount - The light comes with built-in Scout mounting points so you can use any existing Scout light mounts you have for KeyMod, Picatinny or MLOK.

If you don't have one you can shop here.

Check out more Olight Product here: Best Olight Product Guide

Biggest Pressure Switch Improvement - No more complaints about the old magnetic pressure switch cord snag on stuff and come off, the new design allows it to the user to snap the retainer in place and it stays on solid.

If you don't want to use the pressure switch you can take it off and activate the light using tail cap switch, the same type found on Warrior X Pro and M2R Warrior.

Adjustable Lumen Intensity - Another cool feature the Odin has its the ability to switch from 300 to 2000 lumens for adjusting to your lighting situations.

MSRP - 159

Best known price $143, Use 10% code BADASSOPTIC10

Surefire M600DF Scout - Brightest Flood 

benelli m4 with surefire m600 unity tactical hotbutton

Why we pick this - it's the most classic scout light that has been around for a long time, and we like it for its real life combat track record, and now it has been upgraded for more lumen intensity.

The Dual Fuel can punch out 1500 lumens white LED running on 18650 battery, and 1000 while running on 2X CR123A.

surefire m600df on scar 17s fde

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 Warrior Pro X - Best For The Money


Why it's so bad ass - Olight Warrior X Pro is a powerful outdoor utility light with a 96K candela rating, which is perfect for a long gun engaging targets past 500 - 600 yards.

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.

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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Buyer’s Guide FAQ

Why Does A Long Gun 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 strong throw 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


When Is Flood Beam More Important ?

inforce wmlx gen 2 on cz evo 3 pov

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

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

When Is Throw Performance More Important Over Flood?

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.

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 helps PID, please check out these scopes here.