Tactical Flashlight vs. Everyday Flashlight: What’s the Real Difference?

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I’ll be honest… I’m a little nuts when it comes to home security. I have knives hidden around my house. A gun or three in various places. And about seven flashlights in different locations, all strategically placed of course. Of all the home security pieces we stash in our homes, flashlights are the items we use most (at least, I would hope so).

Whether the power goes out, we’re fixing the kitchen sink, or we just need to look through some deep, dark corner of the closet for the extra set of car keys—a flashlight is a staple for any house, defense-related or not.

I’ve always had everyday flashlights, and rest assured every single one of them needed to be replaced. They just aren’t very well built, but I knew that. I accepted it. Why I didn’t think to buy tactical flashlights until a couple of years ago, I can’t tell you. Especially when my family’s life could be on the line.

The first tactical flashlight I bought was for my duty belt as a military police officer. And I could tell the difference right away. The material, the feel and weight, the brightness, and of course the serrated cap for…well, all kinds of fun stuff. Here are a few reasons I won’t carry a regular flashlight anymore, and instead rely on a tactical flashlight when it comes to security and home defense.

tactical flashlight


Most everyday flashlights are made from cheap aluminum, low-grade steel, or just plain old plastic. It’s no wonder they fail and have to be replaced so often. Tactical flashlights are usually armor coated and made with aircraft grade aluminum for super durability. They are typically weather resistant, shock resistant, and corrosion resistant. And yet they’re lightweight. So in other words, these things aren’t going to need to be replaced every year…and they won’t break on you when it counts the most.


An everyday flashlight is…well, just a plain old flashlight. A tactical flashlight, on the other hand, is much more than just a light. But first, we should talk about the light. Most everyday flashlights peak around 100 lumens, which gives you maybe 10 feet of brightness. So, really, these lights are indeed for fixing the kitchen sink. A tactical light will offer a minimum of 200 lumens, which gives you visibility about the length of the football field and bright clarity of up to probably 50 feet. Do you want to protect yourself in an emergency? Make sure you can see…and see far!

Now, in addition to brightness, let’s consider that high-grade aluminum and serrated edge design.  This sort of architecture allows for a number of versatile uses. You could bust through a window to get into a car (or escape from one); you could use it as a digging tool to mash through a hard dirt surface; and of course, you could use it to strike an attacker, which leads the final category.


Even if you’re a trained firearms operator or weapons expert, I always recommend carrying non-lethal means as the first line of self-defense. But especially for those who do not regularly train with weapons, any reliable, effective tool used for non-lethal defense is the way to go. Tactical flashlights are built with self-defense in mind. The jagged edge is of course extremely useful to puncture the skin, rip or tear the skin, or even eye gouge. I know, this sounds brutal; but at the moment when your life depends on it, trust me—you want a strong, reliable piece of equipment you can use to stop an attack without having to kill. This is why tactical flashlights were made. As for everyday flashlights… Well, good luck hitting anything hard one time without the thing falling apart.

Tactical Flashlight Recommendations

Luminosity for brightness, materials for reliability, and design for defense are all considerations when choosing the right tactical flashlight. Taking all the features into consideration, here are a few products I’d recommend: 

Police Force Tactical L2 tactical flashlight

On duty, I personally carry the Police Force Tactical Stun Gun Flashlight Black 9.2M tactical flashlight. This is just an all-around great tool. The brightness is robust, but not overwhelming. It’s got 5 different settings (high, medium, low, S.O.S, strobe), so I can shine a dim light on a Colonel’s I.D. without blinding him, light up an approaching character in the dark, or, if I ever had to, blind a perpetrator with strobe as I held my M9 on him.

Tactical Pen Flashlight

For everyday use and carry, I really like the tactical pen flashlight. First off, I love that’s it’s a pen. Aside from doing the obvious with it—writing—you can also use it combatively like a tactical pen. I also like the length of this piece, as anything that creates more distance between me and an attacker is helpful. Plus, because it’s skinny and long, this one is hard to see coming if you were ever to use it against an attacker. I especially recommend this one for women, since it’s a bit lighter and the diameter is lower, for better retention and manipulation with smaller hands.

Of course, the tactical flashlight that’s right for you has to fit your needs. In general, as long as you pay attention to materials, brightness, and any defense features you think would be useful in your home, you should be good to go.

Check out the above flashlights and many more at The Home Security Superstore’s Tactical Flashlight page. Start replacing the everyday flashlights you’ve stashed around your home with something you’ll actually be able to count on. Stay safe!


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