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  • Writer's pictureCasey Wilson

I Tested And Ranked The Best AR-15 Flashlights In 2024

A quality AR-15 flashlight will improve your viewing range in low-light conditions and help identify targets. Here’s my ultimate ranking of the best options on Amazon.

best ar-15 flashlights

FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.

1. Streamlight TLR-1 HL - 1000-Lumen Weapon Light

Top-rated: 21,556 ratings

best ar-15 flashlights


Highlight: 283 meter beam; runs 1.5 hours.

Helpful review: "I have been very impressed with this light so far. I usually have it mounted on my duty Glock 22. I use this every single day clearing houses and buildings. I have had it for a couple months now and I have still not had to replace the batteries. The light does seem to be able to mount to pretty much every rail (I have personally put it on the Glock 22, Sig Sauer P229, CZ-75 Shadow and my AR). The light is really easy to attach/detach. I also like the options of light; on, momentary on(on if you hold the switch), and strobe. Not too many to get you confused but you have a couple options.
This is my first weapon mounted light. I have previously been clearing buildings holding a separate light and my weapon at the same time. That can be effective but I am a much better shot with two hands on the weapon if it came to that. I feel relieved and more confident with the light mounted on my weapon so I only have to focus on clearing, not how I'm awkwardly holding two items in my hands. If you are trying to decide if a weapon mounted light is worth it and you are still cross-drawing with a separate light; I am telling you to drop the money and buy this light. It will simplify your life and free up a hand if you need it for something else (eg grabbing someone, opening doors, moving obstacles).
I have heard from some of the guys I work with that they've had malfunctions on their pistols with the TLR on it. I have shot my Glock 22(Gen 3) with the TLR-1 mounted and I have not had any malfunctions yet. I have probably put about 200 rds through the Glock with it on. I tried to make it jam by rapid firing and some limp wristing but nothing. I also placed this light on my AR-15, and was very impressed. The light withstood that extra recoil, no problem, and the light illuminates plenty far for rifle shots.
Extremely bright. If you used this in a home in the dark or low light you would blind anyone without having to put it directly in their face. My wife says this light is "cruel" (unattached to the rifle she "volunteered" to be a test subject) and said it was completely disorienting and left her partly blind and seeing spots for a few minutes. That was with 1-2 seconds of strobe light to the face at ~5 yards. Outdoors it lights up a large area at night... far distances too. I can see clearly 50 yards out (now because it's ~50 yards from my back window to the backyard fence). I use this on my AR at the 3 o'clock. It works best for my grip.
With practice, I have it so I can flick the switch quickly in the 'constant one' direction and then quickly switch it 'on' causing the light to stay in constant strobe mode. I am also able to easily turn it 'on' constantly or just tap it in the other direction for light until I release the tab, or double tap the tab in that same direction to strobe it until release the tab. Point is it takes practice to get it down so you can do it every time without thinking about it, but it's easy to figure out and the variety of functions is great.
I also ran 1500rds through the AR with the light on it and the light didn't move at all, tightening screw didn't loosen and there was zero effect on functioning. I now don't keep the light on the rifle at the range, cause there is no point (unless I wanted to look cool I guess), but I know it will stay in place and work when I need it. Just keep practicing with it (on an unloaded firearm) as you would anything you want to master under stress." — Elliot Jones

Get it from Amazon now: $140.80 & FREE Returns


2. OLIGHT PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie - 600-Lumen Tactical Flashlight

Top-rated: 8,830 ratings

best ar-15 flashlights


Highlight: Charge by connecting the light directly with the included magnetic USB cable.

Helpful review: "I bought this for my new Sig P365XL. Sig’s proprietary rail forced me to spend another $47 bucks to get a rail cover from tactical dot dev but it was necessary since guys are saying the Sig light is lame. This little light surprises me with its brightness every time I use it. I am very happy with it. I didn't think I would like a rechargeable system but I like this one a lot. Especially the way the connector quickly locks up with a magnet for charging. And the indicator light makes it easy to see when it is fully charged.
When I take my dog outside I shine it all around my property and it lights up the trees over 100 feet away. It is almost as bright as my much larger StreamLight TLR-8G. At first I didn't think I would like the quick-release clip because of the added bulk, but now I love it because I can quickly remove it from my P365XL for day carry and quickly pop it back on with no tools for night use.
After all, the whole idea of having these tiny Sigs is to keep them small... right? So it's nice to quickly make the day footprint as small as possible with no light attached. When it's removed for the day that is also a perfect time to charge it.
Final thoughts... buy, buy, buy! I can't imagine you won't love this tiny light. My buddy is getting one for his SBR to keep it as light and compact as possible. I'm going to remove my Streamlight TLR-8G from my Taurus G3 (which BTW is an awesome handgun for the money) and mount it on my AR and get another OLIGHT PL-Mini 2 for the Taurus G3.
Tested on a few guns ranging from a SA XD mod2 9mm, AR-15 (16 inch), and Mossy 930. Keep in mind I'm aware it's not intended for long guns, it was mounted specifically for durability/reliability testing. Light performs great on pistol and rifle, not so much on a shotgun, specifically 3" and magnums. Performed well on low recoil and military grade 00 buck, but on the 2nd magnum round, the light module flew off the mount and bounced a few feet down range, still on and creating a nice light show. High recoil loads seem to have a chance of disengaging the QD lever, which keeps the light locked on the sliding mount as well as locking the mount to your rail. Works great for its intended platforms, just don't expect the QD mount to stand up to extended 12 gauge shotgun use.
Absolutely LOVE this weapon light so much I bought another one and sold my streamlight tlr-7. I love that it's rechargeable so I can keep the charge topped off and never have to keep replacing batteries. Also I love the quick detach feature and the buttons are intuitive and easy to press. This light is super bright. Olight now has the baldr mini, which includes a green laser. I also own one of those and I prefer the baldr mini simply for the green laser. However, on my pistols I still run the pl-2 mini because they fit my safariland holsters (designed for surfire x300 light and tlr-7 with a bit of dremel work) where-as the balr mini is about a mm too tall and sticks out below the trigger guard so it won't fit my holsters. So, I use it on my AR 300 BLK instead." — Ben Cook

Get it from Amazon now: $89.95 & FREE Returns


3. Streamlight TLR-1 - 300-Lumen Weapon Light

Top-rated: 4,076 ratings

best ar-15 flashlights


Highlight: Deep-dish parabolic reflector produces a concentrated beam with optimum peripheral illumination.

Helpful review: "I did quite a lot of research on this light. It appears to be the least expensive quality light that will stand up to recoil. I have seen it used on many tactical pistols with thousands of rounds through them and listed on AR-15 forums as durable tactical lights, when I looked up this light compared to others.
My personal experience: the key system and overall design of this light is outstanding. I have it on a Springfield XD 40 and use the Glock key. I can easily switch it out and use the 1911 key for my AR carbine or pistol-soon to be SBR. The toggle switch is pretty user friendly. I use a 2 hand grip on my pistol and do have to move my left hand slightly forward on my grip to toggle on with my left index finger. However the rocker is very smooth.
You use the right side of the toggle switch with your index finger to toggle it on momentarily and then if you continue depressing it will switch to on continuous mode.
Left toggle is ambi momentary/Right is push down partly to momentary and farther to keep on. I imagine if I had to use this while shooting in a "tactical situation" I would use my left hand index finger while clasping my right hand in a typical golf club like 2 handed grip.
I would then periodically hit the light on momentarily to spill into a room on the floor and continue until I needed to engage at which point I would just keep the left finger in the down position and this would keep the light on while you are free to grip the gun with both hands. The rocker switch extends just past the finger guard to aid with this.
Compared to my wifes Elzetta. I found it brighter (she doesn't have fresh batteries though) and it has a hot spot with much more spill than the Elzetta. Both a nice white light. For most situations I like the spill of this light much better as you really get a lot of peripheral illumination. This allows you to just point your weapon at the floor while checking on your kids for example. Inside a house there is no reason you ever have to raise your weapon until you have a target.
I think the Elzetta would be better for an all purpose AR-15 SHTF gun because of the durability. But I would consider this for a nice weapon light on an AR 15 pistol. Regardless it is an outstanding light. I have not shot it yet but will get back if any problems with recoil from 357 sig/40 caliber." — Jeff Hughes

Get it from Amazon now: $247.75 & FREE Returns


4. OLIGHT Baldr Mini - 600-Lumen Green Beam and White LED Combo

Top-rated: 5,450 ratings

best ar-15 flashlights


Highlight: Green beam is added for greater accuracy and more options to select between white light only, green beam only, or both combined.

Helpful review: "First, I have not had this product for a long enough period to provide information on battery life or staying zeroed after firing a great number of rounds. Subjectively, I really like the design of this product. I was able to utilize the included picatinny rail adapter to install it on my full-sized polymer handgun within a couple minutes.
After installation, the light slid on-and-off my rail easily with the quick-release feature on the side of the laser sight. The controls and ergonomics of the overall design impressed me. It is easy to switch the laser on/off with a quick extension of the finger. The sight has an option of continuously compressing the switch to enable the light/laser, which will immediately turn off when the pressure is removed from the switch.
In addition, you can tap the switch once without constant pressure and that will enable the light/laser to stay on without further manipulation. Then ,simply tap it again when you want the device off. The light seemed to be charged on arrival, but I charged it as the instructions indicated before trying it.
At about 12 feet ,it appeared in-line with the sites on my full-size handgun without any adjustments. The green laser was bright and the light was bright enough for my needs, i.e., around the house at night. I have average-size rooms and I felt the light sufficiently illuminated the features in these rooms. Overall I am satisfied with the purchase at this time.
Easy to install, extremely bright white light and green laser combo. I have the Baldr Pro on my SIG Rattler, and got these (ordered two black and one FDE) for my FN 509T and G20 & FNS-9. Charging is a snap (or a "clink!") with the magnetic charger. Battery holds up great, burn time is as advertised. Easy to activate/deactivate with your index finger along the trigger guard. Plus they're light, and it was only after 300+ rounds that there was any noticeable fouling on the lens cover. Besides, if you need to sling that much down range from a pistol, at night, you're in the wrong fight and it's time to leave before worrying about lens fouling... A simple wipe from the cloth during post range cleaning took care of it anyway. Adjustments are simple and easy. Takes 10, maybe 15rnds at the range to sight in. Even less done off a bench. Spare screws and rail adapters included with each. If you're trying to mount to an M-LOK, get a rail piece. Don't complain that it doesn't fit when you should know better. Easily the best laser-light combo I've tried. If you have a full sized rifle or an AR-Pistol/SBR, I'd go with the Baldr Pro. But these little guys are perfect for any pistol with a rail.
The ideal companion for a compact handgun with rails. Lightweight, rechargeable, easy to reach switches and adaptable, it installed perfectly on my P229. The green laser is brilliant and easy to see out to beyond 25 yards, the LED is bright enough to dazzle and has a full 600 lumen continuous runtime of 1 minute, stepping down to 100 lumens after 2 minutes - plenty of time for its purpose (you hopefully don't use your gun light to light your way - this light is for stunning and target ID, seconds and then off). There is a handy switch to change modes - laser, laser + light, and light, readily available within fingertip reach. The flip-lock quick removal is an added bonus and a great feature for switching holsters. For those reporting a zero shift, they likely need to check their rail mount - it comes with Glock (GL) rail mount pre-installed, which is narrower than the included standard 1913/picatinny mount. This will allow some front-to-back play during recoil in a standard rail (which includes some Glocks) causing a POA shift, although it will actually install in the picatinny slots. Overall a nicely engineered, well made, reasonably priced package that does exactly what it was designed for - enhancing your combat ability with a short-barreled handgun in the dark or in dim light, perhaps saving your life." — Nick Crowe

Get it from Amazon now: $124.95 & FREE Returns


5. Feyachi FL11-MB - 1200-Lumen LED Weapon Light

best ar-15 flashlights


Highlight: 4-hour, 200-meter beam.

Helpful review: "I mounted this on the side of my AR. It comes with 2 end caps. One allows you to carry this as a regular flashlight. The other is connected via cable and has a mountable switch that allows for an on/off finger switch as well as a momentary switch.
I mounted mine on the side of my fore grip handle and it works great. I love the momentary switch function. The switch itself is rather large and can be activated from pretty much anywhere along the length of the switch. This means I don’t have to try to situate my finger(s) on just one point. I grab the handle, my fingers wrap around and (almost) fall perfectly on the momentary switch. Pretty close to a perfect setup.
As usual with anything like this, the mounting of the switch is problematic. Double sided tape does not hold well, and certainly not for any duration of time. There isn’t a lot of room on either end to grab on to, so I used a combination of things. I used removable 3M double sided adhesive under the switch (my handle has a cutout for a light switch). I then took electrical tape and wrapped it around the top of the switch, where the cable goes in. This gives it a lot of stability, still blends in, and, in a pinch, gives me a little extra electrical tape I can remove if I need it somewhere else.
This light is super bright. The charging process takes a little bit (it says quick charger on it, but I’m not convinced it is). But, it comes with 2 batteries and they seem to keep their charge for a decent amount of time.
I have not done a test yet to see exactly how long they last, but since I prefer the momentary bursts of light over the on/off switch, I imagine I’ll get a lot more use out of each battery. The light is not zoom-able and has no other functions (medium, low, strobe, etc). It is just full on or off in either constant on/off or momentary via the momentary switch. For me and for what I wanted, this light is perfect!
One thing I almost forgot - when I first plugged the battery in and left it to charge, I came back several hours later (description says 3 hour charge time). After checking on it at 3 hours, then 4 hours, and then 5 hours, I went to pull the battery out to see if it was seated properly. As soon as I touched the battery, the light on the charger turned green. I let go of it, and the light went back to red. I decided to turn (spin) the battery in the charger and the red light flickered between red and green.
I decided to switch batteries and the next battery charged for a few hours and then went green on its own. When I put the first battery back in, it did the red/green dance again. Not sure if this is a charger problem or what, but the battery is in the flashlight and has been working fine, so I assume the charger just has a problem with it’s indicator somehow." — Asher Ellis 

Get it from Amazon now: $39.99 & FREE Returns


6. OLIGHT Odin Mini - 1250-Lumen Rechargeable Mlok Mount Weaponlight

best ar-15 flashlights


Highlight: Removable Mlok mount features an innovative slide rail and mechanical lock for secure operation.

Helpful review: "I'm a thrifty penny pinching cheapskate when it comes to most things I buy for myself. The only exceptions being car parts, firearms, and the things I mount to them. I decided however to build out my young son his very own AR, and for reasons decided to go with lower to mid range parts and accessories. I typically buy white lights that are 3-5 times the price of this Olight Odin.... I'm now regretting all the "higher end" lights I've purchased in the past. So far it has been very impressive. I'm especially fond of how you can remove the light and its switch without removing the mounts, which are properly installed and are quite solid. The fact that you can go from a switch, to a push button just by removing the magnetized tail cap, and not have to wear out threads switching it out is a great idea. I also like that it has a quick detach charger, and that it charges at all. Lumen output is pretty good too. It's only been in use long enough to put an initial 1,000 rds (all in one day with very little pause) through the rifle it's mounted on, but so far so good. My only complaint is that the paint on the housing is a bit glossy out of the box... but let's face it, that's a 1st world problem. One that can easily be solved with a rattle can.
I bought 7 light systems from different manufacturers of various price points and this is the winner. Price was important, but I wanted the best for something as important as my optics. The Oden mini was in the middle for price, so it felt like a fantastic value. Do you just feel the quality? You know that feeling when you’re handling something that’s made well? So, anyway, I just thought I'd post this to help save people the time and hassle of everything I had gone through. Excellent mount included. System is perfectly sized (not too big or too small). Great ergonomics. Amazing Brightness. And it just looks awesome on my AR.
Picked this up for my AR. It is well made and the tape switch mounts up solid to a pic rail. I am very happy with the purchase. The Mlok light mount is strong and sturdy. It is Scout compatible. If I could complain about anything it would be the light color temp is a bit warmer than I like (more yellow). You can replace batteries in the light but have to use proprietary olight cells. It gets warmer than other lights but this light is most likely not to be left on nonstop for it to get hot." — Erik SIngletary

Get it from Amazon now: $139.95 & FREE Returns


7. OLIGHT Odin - 2000-Lumen Rechargeable Light with Remote Pressure Switch

Top-rated: 3,038 ratings

best ar-15 flashlights


Highlight: Designed specifically for PICATINNY mounts.

Helpful review: "If you head over to the AR forums, Reddit threads, and IG comments, and ask the "experts" their opinion on the Odin, and on Olight in general, you will get laughed right out of the chat by brand snobs, and the holier than thou internet gatekeepers that will tell you these lights are "chinese garbage", and then proceed to tell you you should make better choices, and not be "poor"... True?!? Hardly.
These lights stand toe to toe with, and in some cases, outperform most of the "name brand" USA made lights on the market.
And... unlike the revered S-fire brand, they come with a complimentary tape switch, included in the price of the unit, at no additional charge. When these lights debuted, I bought three of these units, straight from Olight, on a flash sale for the price of one of the decked out "good brands'' because I needed light. At the time, every major city in the country was on fire, and who knew what was going to happen going forward.
Fact is, these lights are legit, and the only lights that can even get close to its performance cost two and a half times as much. Rugged? Yes, they are, and there have been plenty of torture test showing these lights stand up to abuse. Bottom line? These lights are made in China, and that sucks, but they are tough, they work, and they are an excellent alternative for people on a budget that want to put a REAL light on their stick, and still want to be able to buy groceries later.
You won't get bragging rights on the internet, but you can't please the tactical toddlers anyway. They're probably just jealous because my Chinese light is brighter than theirs. Hang in there, tots, maybe Olight will have another flash sale. 😉
My first ever Olight product which I bought to mount on a 10.5" AR build and couldn't be happier with the product and the value. Even the packaging was well thought out, compact and not wasteful. I save all my boxes because I have OCD but even if I didn't I'd probably repurpose the box because it's that nice haha. The light itself is extremely well designed and feels like you could hammer nails with it. The light on/off switch comes encased in a rubber sleeve (?) which snaps onto a picatinny rail. It came with a few very tiny zip ties for switch cable management. The light comes with a picatinny mount that has hex screws to tighten for mounting but the mount has an easy button push to release the light. The mount also includes two slots to slide the light into so you can change light position without moving the mount itself. To charge the light you easily pop it off the mount, the on/off switch cable is held to the light with a magnet and slide ring lock. The charging cable is USB powered and it snaps onto the light with a magnet, easy breezy. And the light itself is super bright! I'm very happy with this purchase and won't hesitate to buy another Olight product!" — Kyle Duren

Get it from Amazon now: $159.95 & FREE Returns


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