The verdict is in. You want a pistol light on your home defense or EDC handgun. After all, you can’t shoot without properly identifying and assessing your target first. Studies show most self-defense shootings happen under low-light conditions, and you want to be 100% certain you’re aiming at a threat before you pull the trigger.
Our best pistol light review and buying guide explains all the factors that go into this important buying decision and introduces you to some of the top options in the category. Stay tuned for our best pistol light review.
Best Value Pistol Light: OLIGHT Baldr Mini Review
The OLIGHT Baldr Mini is an affordable pistol light with an impressive collection of high-quality features. It represents a good balance of price and performance for new shooters looking for a solid, entry-level light.
The Baldr Mini is designed for use with compact frame pistols like the Glock 19, Glock 23, H&K USP compact, and other common EDC pistols.
You can easily activate the Baldr Mini with a quick flick of your trigger finger or support-hand thumb. To toggle the light on or off, give the ergonomically placed activation switch a short press.
Pressing and holding the switch will activate the momentary function and the unit will deactivate as soon as you let go.
However, operating the Baldr Mini with one hand requires you to take your finger off the trigger, so the momentary function is better suited to a two-handed grip.
Alternatively, you can toggle the light and quickly return to a firing position with a one-handed grip if needed. With a little practice, you can train yourself to activate the unit with your support hand when you draw, freeing up your trigger finger for quick engagement.
The Baldr Mini is also a very versatile light. Its quick-detach mount also fits on a Picatinny rail so you can mount it to a compatible long-gun platform too. It’s light-weight, packs a powerful 600-lumen flashlight, and a built-in green laser. It also fits on universal mounts and will mount to most modern, railed handguns.
One of the best things about the Baldr Mini is its built-in, rechargeable lithium-polymer battery. You can quickly recharge the light using an included magnetic charging cable that effortlessly connects to the bottom of the unit, allowing you to charge it without removing it from your pistol.
The battery is good for about 30 minutes of continual use of both the light and laser, and it lasts for up to 40 minutes with the laser off.
You don’t have to worry about purchasing oddly-sized pistol light batteries with the Baldr Mini’s convenient rechargeable battery setup. You’ll save money and get more out of your light with its simple and effective USB charger.
Some tactical shooters will tell you that lasers on pistols are a waste of time. However, they can be very reassuring for new shooters, especially in a high-adrenaline situation. We agree that a pistol light is the most important self-defense handgun accessory, but having a built-in laser doesn’t hurt.
You can operate the light without the laser if you choose, so it won’t get in the way if you don’t want it. However, this a high-quality light for the price, so it’s a good deal even if you don’t plan to use the laser.
If you also like to shoot with a laser, you will appreciate this feature. If not, it’s not hurting anything. The additional weight from the laser is insignificant, and you can deactivate it if you want to conserve battery.
All things considered, we think the addition of the laser aiming unit is a net plus.
- Built-in Laser
- Powerful 600 Lumen Light
- Includes a lightweight and versatile quick-detach mount
- Compatible with a wide variety of EDC pistols and long guns.
- Rechargeable, built-in lithium-polymer battery with handy magnetic charging cable
- Muti-functional with laser, light, and combo modes
- Affordably priced; great value
- Constant and momentary activation functions
- Ergonomic, ambidextrous activation without additional accessories
- Limited battery life of 30-40 minutes
- Some users complain about mounting issues
- Not compatible with a remote pressure switch
- No strobe feature
Best Home Defense Pistol Light: Streamlight TLR1-HL Review
Streamlight is a popular name in the tactical flashlight business. The company makes excellent mid-range lights and it’s developed a strong following over the years.
Streamlight’s TLR1-HL is one of the company’s most popular products because of its balance of rugged performance and affordable price. It features a powerful, 1000 lumens C4 LED that provides excellent illumination for lightning-fast target acquisition.
This particular model is one of Streamlight’s entry-level offerings so it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. However, it’s a high-performance, no-frills light at an excellent price.
It’s an extremely rugged unit that fits on a wide variety of pistols with included adapter plates for Picatinny rails and weaver mounts. The TLR1-HL runs off two included CR123A batteries that provide hours of steady performance.
It’s also waterproof in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
The TLR1-HL’s 1000 lumen light is extremely bright and makes an excellent home defense light. It can easily disrupt an intruder’s night sight so you can dominate a potential engagement more effectively. T
The built-in strobe function also allows you to confuse and disorient an aggressor, giving this Streamlight pistol light even more offensive utility.
Built-in, rechargeable batteries might be more convenient for light use and casual shooting, but the TLR1’s removable, CR123A batteries could be a more reliable alternative.
If your battery dies, you can always replace them with a new set without waiting around for the unit to charge. The Streamlight’s batteries also last longer than many rechargeable units, so it could be a better option for prolonged-use scenarios.
- Extremely Bright: 1,000 lumen; 15,000 candela power
- Waterproof, rugged, and reliable
- Easy-to-use, ambidextrous activation switch
- Remote switch compatible ( )
- Available in FDE ( )
- Includes 2x Removable CR123A batteries ( )
- Comes with rail adaptors to fit various railed pistols
- 1.75 Hour runtime
- User-programmable strobe feature
- Ambidextrous operation with constant and momentary functionality
- Not rechargeable
- No built-in laser
- Quick-detach mount not included
Best EDC Pistol Light: Surefire XC2 with Red Laser
SureFire is one of the most popular pistol lights among serious operators, and the brand enjoys sweeping endorsements from many of the top gun influencers on social media. Many military and police users also favor SureFire gear.
The XC2 is a compact handgun light with an optional built-in laser feature that’s designed specifically for EDC pistols.
With 300 lumens of blinding right ready at a flash, the XC2 can quickly blind and disorient an aggressor with tactical-grade illumination.
Sleek and Lightweight
The XC2 is SureFire’s smallest and lightest pistol light. It’s ideal for concealed carry and adds minimal weight to your handgun so it won’t upset your highly-tuned body mechanics. It has a sleek, low-profile design that ensures a smooth draw out of any compatible holster also makes it an ideal choice for various carrying positions.
Most self-defense encounters occur at ranges of less than 7 feet. At that range, you want a wide flashlight beam so you can illuminate the entire target at close range.
SureFire specifically designed the XC2 with everyday carry applications in mind. The Xc2’s multi-faceted reflector creates a broad 300-lumen MaxVision beam that’s ideal for close-range target acquisition and identification.
Rugged Visible Laser
The XC2’s 635nm red laser is highly visible for quick aiming in low-light environments. The low-frequency red light also allows you to aim your pistol effectively without compromising your night vision.
Best yet, the XC2’s rugged construction maintains your zero through thousands of rounds of ammunition and requires virtually no adjustments.
- Wide-beam light for tactical illumination at close ranges
- Improved, ambidextrous function
- Constant-and momentary activation
- Lightweight, small, and sleek
- 300 lumen light with powerful, 635nm red laser
- Rechargeable NiMH AAA battery (included)
- High-strength aluminum body with Mil-Spec finish
- Mounts security to most U-rail pistols
- SureFire quality
- Available with or without laser ()
- Some reviewers report receiving knock-off SureFire products on Amazon; only order from a reputable dealer
- Limited, 30-minute runtime
- Doesn’t include a charger for the included NiMH AAA battery
Best Pistol Light: Closing Thoughts
The best pistol light for you will depend on your needs and preferences. As is the case with most firearms accessories, the best choice varies depending on the mission. Think about what mission you’re trying to accomplish with your pistol, and then choose your light based on the task at hand.
Are you a professional carrying your pistol for work? Then, you want something reliable and rugged that will withstand the abuse of everyday carry. Is it a home defense pistol? Then you want a bright, debilitating light that will give you an edge on a nocturnal intruder.
These are just a few examples of common pistol applications, but you should think about your purchase in a similar manner. Determine your mission and then choose the gear that best suits it.
Remember, you can’t shoot what you can’t see. An effective pistol light is one of the most important pistol accessories, so don’t skimp on quality to save a few bucks. Ultimately, this item could make the difference between life or death.
That’s it for our best pistol light review. If you liked this review, you should also check out other 10HighTech tactical reviews like best tactical gloves for more top-rated products for 2A enthusiasts.