Gun lights are invaluable tools that allow you to part the darkness while maintaining a solid grip on your firearm. Like any tool, what works for one job might not be ideal for the next. Here’s a roundup of the best gun lights on the market. Lights for Long Guns
Known for their grip-mounted lasers, Crimson Trace‘s Tactical Lights exhibit the same quality as its other products. Providing up to 900 lumens of white light, the CWL 200-series models have tap on/tap-off instant activation and an optional remote switch pad with cord, hook and loop mounting straps, and double-sided tape.
The CWL-200/201 gun light will run for almost four hours on two CR123 lithium batteries at the 90-lumen setting. As a bonus, the lights can be removed and used as a hand-held flashlight. The CWL-200 attaches to Picatinny rail-equipped long guns, while the CWL-201 interfaces with M-Lok or Keymod rails directly. MSRP: $80
At home, on the battlefield, or on the Back 40 taking out coyotes, the Surefire M622 Ultra Scout Light provides 600 lumens of bright white light. Part of Surefire’s success as a light manufacturer stems from its Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lenses, which produces a tight beam with distant throw, while also offering plenty of peripheral light to get a view of your surroundings beyond the target.
A plug-in momentary-on remote switch with seven-inch cable is included with the light, or you can activate it with the on/off pushbutton switch on the tail cap assembly, both of which operate independently of one another. The M622 attaches quickly to any Picatinny rail using a throw-lever mount that positions it to the side of the rail so it stays out of the way of your forward grip or other accessories. Two CR 123 batteries provide about 105 minutes of light before performance starts to taper off. MSRP: $480
A relative newcomer to the world of gun lights, Inforce has made a name for itself with its lightweight models. The WMLx Gen 2 is no exception, weighing only 4.02 ounces—less than five .308 rounds. This is achieved by using a glass-reinforced nylon body that shaves mass but still offers impact resistance.
The 800 lumens of white light are available in constant-on, momentary, and strobe modes. A safety lever prevents accidental activation of the light when the rifle is being handled, stored in a case, or while slung, and there is a lockout on the strobe mode to prevent inadvertent activation—a big plus.
An easy-to-operate clamp system needs no tools to attach to a Picatinny rail, and that attachment is secure. Two CR 123 Batteries provide approximately two hours of runtime. MSRP: $170
If you’re serious about taking fur, you’re going to need a serious light. The CoyoteLight Pro LED Light fits the bill handsomely, with four hours of runtime on high and 32 hours at a quarter power for all-night hunts. Infinitely adjustable from zero to 100 percent, the beam adjusts from flood to spot so you can use the same light for scanning or shooting.
The light comes with mounts for both Picatinny rails and scopes so you can outfit your favorite bolt action without drilling any new holes. A 2650 battery and a wall charger are also included. All this comes at the cost of weight, with the CL1 tipping the scales at 10.4 ounces. MSRP: $300
CR 123 batteries are found in most gun lights because they pack a lot of power in a small package. There’s only one problem with these tiny powerhouses: you can’t find them everywhere like you can the humble AA battery. The Streamlight Protac RailMount 1 Long Gun Light can use alkaline or lithium AA, or CR 123 lithium batteries so you can top off at a convenience store in the middle of nowhere if you have to.
There is, however, a difference in runtime and output depending on the batteries you use. The CR 123 has an edge with 350 lumens and 105 minutes on high. Double-A batteries will put out 150 lumens on high, and lithium makes will provide four and a half hours on high, 90 minutes for alkaline.
The light comes with a remote switch with constant-on or momentary operation and a pushbutton tail switch and the mount attaches to any Picatinny rail using a thumbscrew. MSRP: $175 $$$ Available at online retailers for $80-$110 $$$
Gun Lights for Pistols
Crimson Trace is familiar to many that own handguns, from full-size down to subcompact, mostly for their excellent laser sights. While they’ve made gun lights in the past, CT is jumping into the market with both feet this year.
Their latest offering in the Rail Master line, the CMR-208, was designed with Glock 17-sized pistols in mind, but will fit any firearm outfitted with a Picatinny rail, so it will be equally at home on a shotgun or AR-style long gun. Instant tap on/off performance is ambidextrous, thanks to a switch pad on both sides.
Weight is only 4.1 ounces with the battery, so it won’t cause your firearm to become muzzle-heavy once installed. A single CR-123 powers the Cree XPL LED, which outputs 420 lumens on high or 110 on low. Runtime at the lower setting is about two hours, half that on high. MSRP: $100
The Surefire X300U-A may be the most widely adopted pistol light on the market, issued to many police departments and military units worldwide. This light has one of Surefire’s TIR lenses to provide distant throw with plenty of peripheral light.
The 600 lumen light is activated using via an ambidextrous switch located at the rear of body; press the switch on either side for momentary-on activation or flip up or down for constant-on operation. The X-300U-A is mounted via a Rail-Lock system, which attaches to both Picatinny and universal rails so you could also use this light on a long gun, if so desired. Two CR 123 batteries provide about 105 minutes of light before performance starts to taper off. MSRP: $300
Keeping with its philosophy of lightweight lighting, Inforce‘s APLc 200-lumen pistol light clocks in at less than two ounces with the battery installed. The glass-reinforced nylon body houses a single CR2 battery that provides up to 90 minutes of light.
An ambidextrous on/off switches enables left- or right-hand activation, and the head rotates, functioning as a lockout so the light only turns on when you want it to. The APLc interfaces with a number of handguns outfitted with Picatinny rails; check with the manufacturer for compatibility. MSRP: $115
The manufacturer of the rechargeable duty flashlight of choice for years, Streamlight took their knowledge to the gun light market years ago.
The TLR-7 is one of their latest offerings, scaled to fit both full-sized and compact handguns. A single CR123 Lithium battery provides 500 lumens of white light, dropping down to the 10 percent output level after one and a half hours. An ambidextrous switch controls output modes, with a bezel lockout to prevent unintended operation.
The light snaps on to Picatinny rails and tightens using only one hand so you can deploy it quickly when needed. MSRP: $215 $$$ Retails everywhere for around $140 $$$
Subcompact pistols call for a subcompact light. The CTL Tactical Light from Viridian fits on the smallest railed guns.
This diminutive pistol light is made of molded polymer and uses only one CR2 battery to keep weight down. The 100-lumen beam is wider than most, banking on the idea that you’re not going to be taking 100-yard shots in the dark with your .380.
Runtime is about an hour in constant-on mode; 80 minutes in strobe. The light can be programmed fro instant-on performance when used in conjunction with one of Viridian’s holsters. MSRP: 150