The Daniel Defense MK18 is the go-to tactical CQB rifle for military, range use & home defense.
In this guide, we gonna check out the best weapon light for MK18. Whether you have a pistol or SBR, adding a light adds tremendous tactical capabilities in low light environments.
There are tons of products out there, and sometimes its overwhelming to make a decision, and most of the time people just end up buying what looks good instead…
Surefire Scout M300C is the most commonly used compact size weapon light for a 10.3″ Short Barrel AR.
There is NEWER stuff out there like the MODLITE and Olight Odin that output way more lumens and candela, which will put a smile on your face.
Let’s take a look
Best Compact Weapon Lights Reviews For MK18
Cloud Defensive OWL – Best Overall
The Cloud Defensive OWL (1250 lumens) is the strongest and most reliable light even more than the Surefire Scout. For anyone shooting in the dark past 150 yards to 300 yards, this is THE flashlight to get for the MK18.
The OWL has the most balanced features that other weapon lights don’t have:
• A wide flood spill for indoor peripheral illumination
• 30-50K candela that can reach up to 250 yards clearly in the dark (2X more than anything else on the market today)
Check comparison chart on Cloud Defensive website here
Personally, I would pick the Cloud Defensive OWL. It’s the best balance between indoor and long-distance illumination for any rifle platforms & it’s virtually indestructible.
The features we like the most about the OWL is its incredible candela ratings & reversible ergonomics. The OWL has 50K candela, which is 2X more than any competitors out there.
High candela 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.
This solves that problem where you barely see the target silhouette in the dark.
Click here to Learn What Is Candela
For anyone running IR & laser devices, Cloud Defensive will release some new products. So stay tuned.
Oh by the way, this thing is literally indestructible… Just watch!
Need an bad ass optic for the MK18?
Check out here: Best MK18 Combat Optics
Olight Odin – Highest Lumen & Candela
Why the Odin is currently beating Surefire Scout– The new Olight Odin has the highest lumen output among its competitors (2000 lumens and 22500 candela) using its rechargeable 21700 battery.
It’s built like a tank just like their Warrior Pro X and M2R warrior. Even though Olight it a Chinese made product, but its quality, cost and performance way exceed Surefire.
No matter how much we support American made products, Surefire really got to step up their game in 2020 instead of just winning with its brand name by charging $280 – $480 for a light.
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.
What’s cool about the Odin is that it ships with a pressure switch that has rubbery picatinny rail attachment, and the magnetic connector is lockable this time. Once it’s snapped into place, it stays on solid.
For the price, the Olight Odin is absolutely a beast product to buy unless you just want the Surefire logo on your MK18 setup. Other than that you won’t go wrong with the Odin!
Surefire M600 Scout DF – 2nd Best
The Surefire Scout dual fuel is Surefire’s adaptation to the new lumen output technology that leverages the 3.6V 18650 battery (rechargeable/1.5 hrs)
The light can produce up to 1500 lumens using the 18650 battery, and it can also use 2 CR123A for 1200 lumens.
As lumen intensity increases over the years, 18650 battery is here to support that output that CR123A no longer support.
The Surefire M600 DF is a full size weapon light that many people trust on the MK18 as well as other platforms. Not only it puts out blinding white light lumens, but its versatile TIR beam maximizes peripheral illumination & target at longer range (150 yards)
As always…the Surefire is made of MilSpec hard anodized aerospace aluminum, fully waterproof & virtually indestructible.
The light is the same as the original Surefire M600 Scout, same Z68 tail cap switch, and you can plugin a remote pressure switch.
Surefire Scout Add-On Upgrade
For anyone that wants more candela for longer distance reach, please check out Modlite’s OKW and PLH for the M600 Scout.
|SureFire M600DF Scout 1500 Lumen Tactical Weaponlight with Micro USB Rechargeable 18650 Battery, 4...||Check Latest Price|
Surefire X300U – Great For CQB
It’s good for MK18 only for CQB applications, when extended distance is involved, we highly recommend getting a light with MORE throw.
When you pair this with a short barrel DD MK18 or a pistol, you have the option to plug in an Surefire exclusive remote pressure switch for basic operations.
The X300U produces up to 1000 blinding lumens with a hot center beam & flood spill that are very effective for room clearing and positively identify threats in the dark.
The X300 comes in two different versions, one with Rail-Lock & one with T Slot thumb screw.
From personal experience, the T Slot thumb screw with picatinny rail is the best because it doesnt wear out the mount when compared to the Rail-Lock system.
The overall performance of the light is as good as a Surefire Mini Scout, and it lasts about 40 mins longer with 2 CR123A vs just 1.
Highly recommended for people who use their X300 on their handguns and rifles interchangeably, for mostly indoor CQB distances illumination.
|XH35 Weaponlight with MasterFire RDH Interface & MaxVision, 1000 Lumens, Anodized Body||Check Latest Price|
The Inforce WMLx Gen 2 is one of our favorites low cost weapon light for the MK18 for its unique ergonomics, performance & weight savings.
The shooter can naturally place their thumb over the pressure switch at an angle while maintain proper handguard grip.
It’s great for home defense & CQB low light training without spending big money. The WML Series light offers three operating modes:
• Constant on/off
The WMLx Gen 2 model can produce up to 800 lumens of vibrant concentrated white LED high-intensity beam fills your field of view for close to mid-range target identification.
For outdoor illumination, the light is not made to be a intense thrower for engaging targets in the dark past 80 yards.
In fact, when you shining 800 lumens on a target standing at 150 yards lmis barely noticeable with hard to see outline, cant see the details at all until you get close.
For long distance illumination, you want to get something with at least 30k to 60k candela. Unfortunately there is no official factory candela rating for the Inforce WMLx listed.
This light is for anyone who wants an durable, ergonomic & lightweight indoor illumination capability on their MK18 without dropping more than $200 + additional accessories.
|INFORCE WMLx 800 Lumens Gen 2 White Light Black Body WX-05-1 Weapon Mounted Light||Check Latest Price|
Best MK18 CQB Light Setup That Makes Sense To Civilians
Do You Need Dual Light Setup – Mostly NO!
If you understand what the MK18 is designed to do, you know its mostly for CQB, weight & space savings.
Does that mean you should just put whatever you want it as if it’s a full length rifle?
Maybe…or Maybe not! All depends on how much money you’re willing to spend & how many opportunities you get to shoot in super tactical night vision environments.
For civilian use, there is really no need to have 2 lights.
It would be better to setup 1 light & 1 laser device instead.
Please check out our visible/IR laser buyers’ guide here on our site.
How Does Spec Ops Setup Their MK18 Weapon Lights
Everyone’s setup is different, and you don’t need to copy what the military do. It’s your rifle & you get to do whatever you want to it.
But you can learn a lot from the military operators…
The setup for the MK18 varies a lot for military applications. As the mission profile changes, the setup changes.
Just for weight savings & time of the day alone… operators change out parts to optimize for the mission.
Here we have some reference pictures for you to check out.
Since we don’t have expert combat knowledge on this topic, please check out Garand Thumb’s MK18 CQBR setup video. He is someone who had real life Spec Ops experience & we trust what he says.
Laser & Light Setup Requires Remote Pressure Switch
The most popular light setup for the MK18 you can find on the internet are pretty much the combination among:
- Surefire Scout
- L3 ATPIAL C
- Steiner DBAL
- BE Meyer MAWL
- Other weird looking accessories
It’s definitely a rifle that has a strong root in the night vision community. So when you setup the MK18 with a visible white light/Laser + IR, you want to operate them using one consolidated control panel (Remote Pressure Switch)
If this is what you want to experiment with, we recommend the TNVC TAPS pressure switch, as you can program it to activate 2 lights at the same time, or you can program it to activate each light separately.
Want to learn more please check out: Best Remote Pressure Switches