5 Best AR-15 Flashlights [2018 Real Views]

Still looking for the perfect holiday gift? Check out our Best Gifts for Gun Lovers [All Budgets]!

Want your AR-15 totally ready for low-light situations?

We’ll cover 5 of the most popular AR rifle-mounted flashlights…from $40 to $240.

Tested AR-15 Flashlights
Tested AR-15 Flashlights

By the end you’ll know which is the best for your end-use and budget…plus the best positions, mounting methods, and usage tips.

Or for a sneak peek…

Best AR-15 FlashlightCategoryPrice
SureFire M600 ScoutEditor's Pick$240
Inforce WML (Gen 2)Most Lightweight$130
Inforce WMLxMore Power, IR Capable$144
Ozark Rifle LightMost Affordable$40
Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount 2Best Bang-For-The-Buck$105

Now let’s get started!

Table of Contents

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1. SureFire M600 Scout

SureFire M600 Scout
SureFire M600 Scout with Steiner DBAL-A3

The SureFire M600 Scout is the gold standard of AR-15 lights.

Chances are if someone is depending on their rifle for their job/life…they’re going to be running a SureFire.

Quick Stats

  • Lumens: 600
  • Battery: 2x CR123A
  • Battery Life: 1.5 hrs
  • Weight: 5.6 oz
  • Warranty: Lifetime Guarantee
  • Price: $240

Build

The Scout is ruggedly built and you can feel it in-hand.  There’s a reason why people choose SureFire when it matters.

SureFire M600 Scout
SureFire M600 Scout

Most regular packages come with only a rear push-button cap…which is fine if you know you’re going to be using a light and leave it on.  I left it like that for a while for competitions.

SureFire Button End Cap and Remote Switch
SureFire Button End Cap and Tape Switch

However, if you’re only looking for momentary-use…such as when clearing rooms…you’ll want to get a remote tape switch (UE07).

I’m testing out a couple different ways of cable management…so far my favorite is the old-school cut up bike tire (12 x 1.5-2.25 above).

Now you’re ready to rock n’ roll like a pro…

SureFire Pressure Pad Activation
SureFire Pressure Pad Activation

It only comes in full power on or off…keeping it simple so you don’t have to fumble through different modes.

Light

First, it sits at my sweet point of rifle light brightness of around 500 lumens.  Good for some distance outside…while not totally blinding if I’m using it indoors.

Second, it has a very bright center beam that makes it easy to identify your primary target.  Here is a test at around 25 yards.

SureFire M600 Beam
SureFire M600 Beam

Even though it’s very bright in the center…you’re still able to see stuff in your peripheral.

Color of the beam is also slightly warmer (yellow) when compared to the others.

But it’s so subtle I could only tell when having them next to each other.  Sorry…but it became really bright indoors with 5 lights on and I couldn’t get great pictures to show the difference.

Mounting

Out of the box it comes with a Picatinny rail mount…but Picatinny on the sides are going out of style for weight issues (Best AR-15 Handguards) and putting the light on the top rail gets in the way.

One option I’ve seen a lot is SureFire’s Offset Mount ($59) that goes on top of the Picatinny rail and moves the Scout to an angle.  Good if you don’t mind using up some rail space or don’t have M-LOK.

SureFire Offset Mount

There’s also the option of the Midwest QD Mount ($62) if you’re wanting to move your light between different rifles.  But it does add some extra height.

Midwest SureFire QD Mount
Midwest SureFire QD Mount

My current favorite is the Midwest Offset SureFire Mount ($39) for M-LOK handguards.

SureFire M600 with Midwest Offset Mount
SureFire M600 with Midwest Offset Mount

Super slim and light…plus it brings it in close…but not so close that you can’t put other stuff on top like my IR laser/illuminator.

Overall Impression

SureFire M600 Scout
SureFire M600 Scout

It’s never failed to go on when I did my part with fresh batteries before extended use sessions.  This one hasn’t been through intense abuse (yet) but I’m sure it will make it out alive.

Get it if you want the best that pros throughout the world use.

Just be prepared to get in that “buy once, cry once” mentality since you’ll likely want the remote tape switch (UEo7).

What do you think of the M600 Scout if money were no object?

Readers' Ratings

4.99/5 (254)

Your Rating?

There’s also the smaller version M300 that still produces 500 lumens.

2. Inforce WML

Inforce WML
Inforce WML

The mostly polymer Inforce WML is what I’ve been using the longest.  Mine’s a Gen 1 so there’s been some updates in specs.

Quick Stats

  • Lumens: 400 (Gen 2)
  • Battery: 1x CR123A
  • Battery Life: 1.5 hrs
  • Weight: 3.1 oz
  • Warranty: Lifetime Guarantee of Original Owner
  • Price: $130

Build

First thing you notice is that it’s different from other AR-15 specific flashlights that pretty much look like regular flashlights.

Inforce WML, Front
Inforce WML, Front

It’s mostly polymer and only needs 1x CR123 battery which makes it lightweight.

There’s some stories that if you really bang it hard against something…the metal vs polymer battle commences and the light breaks.  I’ve used it pretty hard and it’s met some walls…so far so good.

Plus it has an ergonomic activation button and two methods of preventing accidental use…a lever that comes up to physically block the switch and a head rotation lockout feature.

Inforce WML Activation
Inforce WML Activation

No need to get a remote pressure pad!

Light

Keep in mind that mine is a Gen 1 with 200 lumens while the new Gen 2 has 400 lumens.

Inforce WML (Gen 1) Beam
Inforce WML (Gen 1) Beam

It’s more spread out compared to the SureFire and a little cooler in color.

Very usable and at 400 lumens still very bright and less blinding indoors.

Mounting

It comes with a built-in Picatinny mount with a thumbscrew.  It’s never fallen off for me through thousands of rounds of 5.56.

Though you can mount it on the top rail and still have an ergonomic grip…I like my lights offset.

Inforce WML Mounting
Inforce WML Mounting

I’m digging the Magpul Offset Light Mount ($18)…affordable and held on great even though it’s polymer.

Overall Impression

My WML has been through a lot and has kept on ticking.

I recommend it if you don’t like dealing with pressure pads and want to save a few ounces up front on your rifle.

Most Lightweight
InForce WML (Gen 2)

InForce WML (Gen 2)

3. Inforce WMLx

Boom!  The big brother of the WML…the WMLx.

Inforce WMLx
Inforce WMLx

Quick Stats

  • Lumens: 800 or 700 with 400mw IR
  • Battery: 2x CR123A
  • Battery Life: 2 hours or 4 hours (IR)
  • Weight: 4.0 oz
  • Warranty: Lifetime Guarantee of Original Owner
  • Price: $144

Build

You’ll notice that there’s mention of IR (infrared).  This one is a dual light that can help you illuminate areas if you’re wearing night vision goggles (NVGs).

However…there’s also a pure white light version that gets you 800 lumens.  While the IR version gets you 700 lumens of white light and 400mw of IR.

WML vs WMLx
WML vs WMLx

Everything else is pretty much the same…just bigger.  It now has two batteries for more oomph and there’s a switch that lets you choose between white or IR if you have that model.

Light

Here’s 700 lumens of white light…with a fairly concentrated center.  Also a little cooler than the SureFire.

Inforce WMLx Beam
Inforce WMLx Beam

800 would be even more eye-searing if that’s your thing.

Now…how about night vision?  Here’s what the IR does for you.

You can tell the NVGs were struggling a little since there wasn’t much ambient light…but when the illuminator came on the details came with it.

Overall Impression

WMLx
WMLx

You can see the white light switch at the bottom as well as some scratches on the front metal portion.

I haven’t used this WMLx as much since I got it for my NVG project.  But it’s held up great like its little bro WML.

Highly recommend if you’re looking for more white light illumination with the regular 800 lumen model…or if you need wide IR illumination.

4. Ozark Rifle Light

Ozark Rifle Light
Ozark Rifle Light

Our budget pick…the Ozark Rifle Light.  I chose this one based on the best reviews of a rifle mounted light under $50.  And surprise cat feet!

Quick Stats

  • Lumens: 600
  • Battery: 2x CR123A
  • Battery Life: not listed
  • Weight: 4 oz
  • Warranty: 1 Year Warranty
  • Price: $40

Build

A little chunkier and not as great feeling in the hand.  But it’s multiples cheaper than the others we’ve tested so far so I’ll let it slide…

I abused it a little against walls and the ground…now it has scratches but it’s still chugging along!

It comes with a Velcro mounted remote pressure pad that is a little tall and very spongy…but works.  Rear-most button makes it stay on while the front is for momentary.

Ozark Rifle Light Activation
Ozark Rifle Light Activation

There’s also an odd rear button on the light itself…

Ozark Rifle Light
Ozark Rifle Light

It activates strobe function if pressed by itself…or if the light is already on…it will cycle through low, medium, and high output.

I’ve definitely accidentally activated the strobe function when laying down the rifle.  The other brightness options are nice to have…but in the end I’d rather have high on or off.

Plus…the only one on the list that isn’t fully waterproof and only comes with a 1 year warranty…

Light

Ozark Light Beam
Ozark Light Beam

A little more spread out of a center beam…but it’s plenty bright at 600 lumens and the coolest color (most blue) of the bunch.

Mounting

So far so good in terms of durability and light output.  However…mounting is lacking.

Ozark Rifle Light Mounting
Ozark Rifle Light Mounting

I had a Magpul Picatinny Rail ($6) section on my MOE handguard.  But if you take a look carefully at the mount…there’s no lock bar that fits into the rail.

It’s completely held on by tension/friction.

Good news is that it’s held on for a couple hundred rounds of .223…but I probably would check each time I go to the range and also not go higher in caliber.

The pressure pad adhesion is also very meh…

Ozark Rifle Light Pressure Pad
Ozark Rifle Light Pressure Pad

Two trips to the range and it’s already falling off.  Plus the cord is so long you can probably mount it on your buttstock.

Good thing it comes with a push-button end cap…I’m going to swap it out for that.

Overall Impressions

Derp Cat with Ozark
Derp Cat with Ozark

Decent value for the money.

The light itself is robust so far…but the mounting, pressure pad, and weird strobe button stop me and my derpy cat from fully recommending it.

Most Affordable
Ozark 600

Ozark 600

Prices accurate at time of writing

Especially when the next one has so much more to offer at a slightly higher price…

5. Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount 2

Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount 2
Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount 2

From my favorite best bang-for-the-buck light company (like in Best Pistol Lights)…the ProTac Rail Mount 2.

Quick Stats

  • Lumens: 625
  • Battery: 2x CR123A
  • Battery Life: 1.5 hrs
  • Weight: 5.0 oz
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime Guarantee
  • Price: $105

Build

Feels quality in hand…and if it’s like my pistol lights…will survive for many years of use.

Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount 2 Accessories
Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount 2 Accessories

First thing…is that it comes with LOTS of goodies.

There’s a Picatinny mount, remote pressure pad, two ways to attach the pressure pad (double-sided tape or rail mounted inserts), regular endcap, and zip ties for cable management.

The pressure pad is also very nice quality and has a higher button for constant on.

ProTac Rail Mount 2 Activation
ProTac Rail Mount 2 Activation

And of course…a comparison vs the SureFire…

Streamlight ProTac 2 vs SureFire M600
Streamlight ProTac 2 vs SureFire M600

Very similar in dimensions.

Light

Also similar in lumens with 625 (I feel they just had to beat them a little bit).

Streamlight ProTac 2 Beam
Streamlight ProTac 2 Beam

Very powerful center beam that’s just a tad bit cooler than the SureFire.  I’m only able to tell when they were next to each other indoors.

It comes stock with High and Strobe (double-click) function, but you can reprogram it to be other options (search for Ten Tap).  I’ve set mine to High only.

Mounting

One very cool thing…the ProTac 2 has the same footprint as the M600.  That means all the mounts you use with the SureFire work with the Streamlight.

This one is rocking the straight version of the Midwest Industries Mount.

Streamlight ProTac 2 with Midwest Mount
Streamlight ProTac 2 with Midwest Mount

I still like the offset version since it brings in the light closer.  I’d only get the straight if you have a large device that might get in the way on the top rail.

One complaint is that the rail mounted attachment for the pressure pad is a little oversized so it lets the pad move about a quarter-inch.

Maybe I’m being nit-picky but I’m probably going to swap it out for the bike tire method.

Overall Impression

This is the light for almost everybody.

Streamlight ProTac 2, Front
Streamlight ProTac 2, Front

Worth-it price, great beam, lots of accessories, and a history of stuff that works/lasts.

Best Bang-For-The-Buck
Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount 2

Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount 2

Rifle Light Tips

Hopefully now you know which light to go with…we’ll end with some quick tips that will get you started:

  • Your gun points where your light is pointing…remember your safety rules!
  • If you’re using your light in a safety situation…try to only turn it on when needed.  It can give away your position.  That’s why I like having pressure pads or the Inforce for serious guns.
  • Keep your wires away from the gas block…it’s going to melt sooner or later.
  • If you’re shooting during the day…put some tape on the lens to avoid carbon buildup.  And the best lens cleaner is a rubber pencil eraser.

Conclusion

Our Tested AR-15 Flashlights
Our Tested AR-15 Flashlights

Our overall Editor’s Pick if you want the best and have the budget…is the SureFire M600.

Also be sure to check out Inforce for something lighter and doesn’t require a pressure switch.

Most Lightweight
InForce WML (Gen 2)

InForce WML (Gen 2)

While our Best Bang-For-The-Buck goes to the Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount 2.

Best Bang-For-The-Buck
Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount 2

Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount 2

Now that your AR is outfitted with a light…how about getting yourself (Best Tactical Flashlight)…or your pistol (Best Pistol Lights)?

And to keep those lights fed…make sure to have a good supply of CR123 Batteries.

How did we do in our Best AR-15 Flashlights list?  Anything we missed and should add for next time?  Or any tips for beginners?

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Jeff
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Jeff

Personally I really like my M&P with Crimson Trace. The system is totally wireless with controls on the grip for easy on / off as necessary. The green laser is also very nice for any middle of the night surprises. Just push the button on the grip and you have target recognition and acquisition at the same time. I’m running a Holosun green dot sight co-witnessed for daylight shooting but for low light situations I think the Crimson Trace is the bees knees. Only draw back is at 300 lumins it’s not going to blind anyone; but I figure that’s… Read more »

Tyler
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Tyler

I personally have been a huge fan of Olight for years. I’m in the military and have been consistently spending more and more money on their products because they are very well made products! I have the Olight PL-1 Valkyrie mounted on my Remington 870 and my custom built AR pistol in .223 Wylde. For $60 you get a 450 lumen flashlight coming standard with a Picatinny rail using (1) CR123A…and it’s waterproof! Even a 5 year warranty. For $60 you can’t really get much better than that. Worth it to check it out.

Alfredo S.
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Alfredo S.

Informative article, with interesting choices. Personally, I have great things to say about the surefire 600 and it has last me years. It is expensive so buy once cry once right? I would also take a good look at Arisaka’s 600 series, it’s easier on the wallet & interchangeable with surefire mounts/switches.

p morris
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p morris

IMO , on my bump in the night gun i have 2/two flashlights , i used 2 do cave diving and the rule is redundancy in everything or 2 is 1 ,1 is none , so i use 2 cheaper/less expensive lights on 1 gun , handguns 1 on the gun another in hand/pocket , just offering my older guy perspective 😉

Wzrd
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Wzrd

Streamlight all day. Have three ProTacs. If I was rich I’d probably splurge on Surefire, but I’m more than satisfied with my Streamlights.