6 Best Shotgun Flashlights in 2021

Best Shotgun Flashlight

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Shotgun lights aren’t necessary for everyone, but if you want to use a shotgun to defend your home, especially in complete darkness, then you may need a low cost way to give yourself an advantage in a defensive situation. A shotgun tactical light is a great way to do that; you can give yourself better visibility at the same time as disorienting and temporarily blinding the assailants.

A tactical flashlight can get pretty expensive, so it can be worth keeping an eye out for gun deals for a flashlight unless you need something for your gun with some urgency. Getting a flashlight for your shotgun or shotguns can make a big difference when you’re in a defensive situation or are hunting at night. 

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR DURABILITY

Surefire X300U

Surefire X300U

Surefire X300U

  • Beam Color:White
  • Weight:4 oz
  • Material:High Strength Aerospace Aluminum
BEST FOR VERSATILITY

Streamlight TLR-1 HL

Streamlight TLR-1 HL

Streamlight TLR-1 HL

  • Beam Color:White
  • Weight:4.18 oz
  • Material:Aircraft Aluminum
BEST FOR HOME DEFENSE

Streamlight TLR-2

Streamlight TLR-2

Streamlight TLR-2

  • Beam Color:‎Black
  • Weight:Black
  • Material:‎Aluminum
BEST FOR QUICK ATTACH

Orion H40-W

Orion H40-W

Orion H40-W

  • Beam Color:‎Black
  • Weight:‎7 ounces
  • Material:‎Anodized Aluminum
BEST FOR AIMING

UTG Defender Tactical Flashlight

UTG Defender Tactical Flashlight

UTG Defender Tactical Flashlight

  • Beam Color:Black
  • Weight:0.7 Kilograms
  • Material: Aluminum
BEST FOR COMFORT

ATN IR850 Supernova Long-Range Infrared Illuminator

ATN IR850 Supernova Long-Range Infrared Illuminator

ATN IR850 Supernova Long-Range Infrared Illuminator

  • Beam Color:Black
  • Weight:11.8 oz / 335.0 g
  • Material: Aluminum

Why People Buy Shotgun Flashlights

People buy shotgun lights typically for one of two reasons: defense or hunting. Shotguns are a very versatile type of firearm, and a shotgun flashlight can help make shotguns even more versatile. 

When hunting, shotgun lights are used to increase visibility of the target downrange, and while defending, the best shotgun lights will be bright enough to disorient and even blind the suspects, at least temporarily. If you’re looking for a specific feature from a tactical flashlight, you may want to take the time to ask yourself if you really need that feature.

We’ll talk more about features after we go through our recommendations.

1. Surefire X300U

shotgun light

The Surefire X300U is certainly not the budget tactical flashlight. It’s a high quality light with a price to match. It has a high-intensity beam with a full 1,000 lumens of power that results in an incredibly bright light that is designed for outdoor use. There are just two operation modes - momentary and constant on.

The momentary is activated by just pushing the pressure switch down part of the way, and constant on is activated by pushing it down all the way. The Rail-Lock system will attach to just about any rails, including picatinny. With 1000 lumens, it has a fairly long effective distance for a weapon light. I can’t find the exact beam distance rating online, but it holds up very well.

It’s made of aerospace aluminum, has an hour and a half of battery at full power, and is even waterproof down to a meter for 30 minutes. What’s interesting is that this tactical flashlight doesn’t use a pure white light, but instead has a yellow-greenish hue that is supposed to be better for human vision.

Surefire X300U

Surefire X300U

The price of Surefire X300U varies, so check the latest price at

2. Streamlight TLR-1 HL

best shotgun flashlight

The beam on the Streamlight TLR-1 is a lot like the Surefire in that it has a bright center spot with enough peripheral light to be able to see around your target effectively as well. The Streamlight has a lot of power at 1000 lumens but not as much as the Surefire. It does have a strobe mode that is user programmable and can even be disabled. No laser attachment on this guy, though.

You can get a remote pressure switch as an accessory for the Streamlight or just turn it on and off on the unit itself. It comes with a picatinny rail mount but also includes keys to mount on a variety of other proprietary platforms. For the most part you shouldn’t run into these with a shotgun, but it’s nice to know that you can mount it on a different gun as well.

The beam is rated to be visible up to a 283 meter range, but realistically the illumination will be so diffused by that point that it won’t be hugely beneficial. It’s made out of anodized, machined aluminum and takes two CR123A batteries. Battery life is fine at 1.5 hours. It’s more affordable than the Surefire but you do make a few small sacrifices for outdoor use.

It’s important to note that you can get the TLR-1 with a lot less lumens, which can make it a lot more appropriate for indoor use, particularly for home defense. Too much brightness can reflect off of walls and disorient you as well as a home invader. 

Streamlight TLR-1 HL

Streamlight TLR-1 HL

The price of Streamlight TLR-1 HL varies, so check the latest price at

3. Streamlight TLR-2

tactical shotgun light

There are multiple models of the Streamlight shotgun light, but the core difference between this and the TLR-1 is the presence of a laser in all of the models. The beam is fairly similar and the brightness and power of the white light will be as well. You have a few different operation modes, and you can use either just the laser, just the shotgun light, or both at the same time.

The Streamlight doesn’t come with a remote pressure switch, but you can buy one as an accessory. It’s not the most affordable tactical light, but it’s right in the same zone as the Surefire. It will have the same mounting options as the TLR-1 - so it will come with a picatinny mount already on the shotgun light but will also have keys for different proprietary mounts if needed.

It’s made of machined aluminum, has a stated effective distance of 283 meters, and takes CR123 batteries. Battery life is the same 1.5 hours for the light in high mode, but goes up to 17 hours when you’re just operating the laser. There may be some difference in the life between the green laser and red laser versions.

Streamlight TLR-2

Streamlight TLR-2

The price of Streamlight TLR-2 varies, so check the latest price at

4. Orion H40-W

flashlight for shotgun

The Orion H40-W is definitely the budget option on this list, but it’s an incredible light that doesn’t require very much sacrifice. Your beam is 1000 lumens and has a range of 195 yards, and it’s a tough aluminum construction that is water resistant. There’s no strobe here, but since you can only get the high lumen version, it’s only going to be a good choice outdoors.

Lacking a strobe feature probably makes it a less-than-ideal fit for law enforcement, but for hunting use it’s going to give you a lot of distance and visibility anytime you’re not worried about the animal seeing the light. It has just the two operation modes - momentary and constant, but it comes with a pressure switch that can extend up to 21 inches.

Considering that you don’t even have to buy an accessory to get it mounted as a shotgun light, and it’s already so much more affordable than the other good lights, this is definitely worth consideration. I also like that it will work with a single 18650 battery or two CR123A batteries depending on your preference. 

The fewer batteries the better, so I always opt for a single battery when given the choice.

Orion H40-W

Orion H40-W

The price of Orion H40-W varies, so check the latest price at

5. UTG Defender Tactical Flashlight

tactical light for shotgun

The Defender only has an output of 200 lumens, so the beam is not going to have enough range for outdoor use, but it makes it quite good for indoor use where distances are much shorter and reflective surfaces are everywhere. 

My main criticism of the Defender is the battery. Somehow, even with a much dimmer light, it takes three CR123A batteries and still only gets 1.5 hours of life. It does include a remote pressure switch so you won’t have to buy it extra, and it’s a tough construction with aircraft-grade aluminum.

It has momentary on and constant on settings, but no strobe and no laser. If you’re looking for a light designed for self defense, this is your guy. With a flashlight at this price, you don’t even have to wait for any gun deals.

UTG Defender Tactical Flashlight

UTG Defender Tactical Flashlight

The price of UTG Defender Tactical Flashlight varies, so check the latest price at

6. ATN IR850 Supernova 

home defense shotgun light

Considering that a lot of shooters are looking for a shotgun light for hunting, I felt the need to include an IR flashlight on here as well to work with night vision devices. There are a lot of hunting scenarios where the last thing you want is to shine a ridiculously bright light down at your target. This is one of the main reasons why night vision is so popular with hunters.

An IR illuminator does require some kind of night vision device, but with a good IR light you can pick up the cheapest Gen 1 NVD or goggles available and still get good results. IR illumination works with all generations of analog night vision as well as digital night vision. This illuminator has four different modes, including a low light mode, to cover everything from absolute darkness to dimly lit.

It has a great range and even allows you to focus the beam using the glass lens to either increase or decrease the size of the beam. It’s made of tough aluminum and takes a single 18650 battery. 

ATN IR850 Supernova Long-Range Infrared Illuminator

ATN IR850 Supernova Long-Range Infrared Illuminator

The price of ATN IR850 Supernova Long-Range Infrared Illuminator varies, so check the latest price at

Buying Guide

Best Features to Look For In a Shotgun Flashlight

All tactical shotgun lights will be powered by led lights as the light source. Some of the more expensive flashlights will have different light modes, but if you’re looking for something at an affordable price, you’ll want to look for exactly what you need in terms of operation modes. 

The intensity needs to match what you’re using the shotgun lights for. The best shotgun lights will be matched to your purpose. For example, if you’re using it in the dark for home defense, you don’t want it to have too much power, because it can actually make it harder for you to see instead of helping. 

A lot of times, it doesn’t matter if a shotgun light has three operating modes, a turbo mode, and some fancy features unless it has the one thing that you need out of your tactical shotgun light.

Another thing to watch out for is the weight of the tactical flashlight. You may worry that a lightweight shotgun flashlight isn’t going to be as durable, but you can find an excellent light made out of aluminum that won’t add too much weight while giving you ample lighting and being plenty durable.

There are other things that can be nice like an ambidextrous switch and a strobe, but you should always ask yourself if you really need those things. Generally, I don’t recommend sacrificing on the basic quality issues like being made of a durable aluminum alloy and being lightweight just to get that bell or whistle on a tight budget.

Why You Might Not Need One

When my wife and I moved into our new house, one of the first things we did was make a plan for what we would do in the event of a home invasion. It was an important conversation to have, and by simply talking through the scenarios of what would most likely happen, we were able to make a list of the things we needed to properly execute our plans. 

A weapon light did not make the list, because we leave some lights on throughout the house anyway because we have young children, we have a lot of tight corners in our home, and I decided I would not want to risk giving away my position when going around a corner just for some extra visibility.

That was the decision we came to, but you may come to a different one, and that’s fine. 

FAQ’s

What Is the Best Light for a Shotgun?

Honestly this is hard to say without getting more into the details - why do you want a light? What will you be using the flashlight for? Do you need a lot of light? What other flashlights have you used? How dark is it going to be? Is weight an important consideration? Do you need the flashlight to go on both picatinny and weaver rails?

Generally for indoor use, I would say a flashlight that gives off less than 500 lumens and ~6000 candelas of light is going to be the best. For outdoor use, your flashlight needs to give off more light, so look at lights for shotguns that have more than those numbers above.

How Many Lumens Does a Shotgun Light Need?

Lumens are important, but the shape of the light beam is at least as important if not more. The amount of peripheral illumination you have compared to the concentrated beam can make more difference on the effective beam distance of a tactical shotgun light than the actual brightness of the light itself.

That said, for hunting needs you’ll want a flashlight that has between 500 and 1000, and for indoor use you’ll want a flashlight that has 500 or less. It can be counterintuitive, but sometimes the more dark it is, the less powerful you want your flashlight to be. 

This is because your eyes adjust to the ambient light, and then when the flashlight kicks on it can make it harder for you to see until your eyes adjust to it.

Final Thoughts

The best shotgun light is going to have the right effective beam distance, be able to get on picatinny rails, have a remote switch either included or available as an accessory, work with your gun, and ideally be able to attach to whatever weapon you want or even operate as a handheld light when needed.

It’s hard to say what makes something a “tactical flashlight” as opposed to just any kind of weapon light, but tactical flashlights are often used for self-defense and will have features that make it useful in more situations. Streamlight makes great tactical shotgun lights, and the Orion H40-W is a great choice as well.

If you’re looking for something low-cost, the Orion is good or you can wait for some gun deals to come along to get the Surefire or something else. Do you have any of these on your gun? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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