Tough Torches: 12 Best Self Defense Flashlights

Photo: Olight M1X Striker

Flashlights are a staple of any well-thought-out everyday carry loadout. But, in a world in which our gear increasingly requires multi-functionality to meet all of our changing needs, sometimes we have to ask a little bit more out of them.

One of the more common secondary functions of a solid EDC flashlight is that of self defense. Whether you just need something surprisingly bright to disorient a would-be attacker or you require something with a little bit of striking capability, there are quite a few portable torches out there that could get the job done. But if you want to get the absolute best bang for your buck, you should choose from our following list of the 12 best self defense flashlights available now.

Smith & Wesson Tactical Pen Light

Certainly most well known for their firearms, Smith & Wesson has more than a literal century and a half of experience making self-defense tools. So it should come as no surprise that they rank when it comes to self defense flashlights. This pen light is a subtle and small addition to any everyday carry, has a decent output for daily illumination applications, but also includes a glass breaker tip for emergency and self defense purposes. And it can even be turned into a real functional EDC pen.

Max Output: ~35 Lumens
Impact Resistance: 1 Meter
Power: 2x AAA

Purchase: $15

NiteCore P20 Tactical Flashlight

With a highly efficient circuit that gives this pocket torch a battery life of about 26 hours per charge, NiteCore’s P20 Tactical Flashlight makes for a great addition to anybody’s EDC. But take its excellent illumination output and double up on the value with its ability to be used in self-defense – thanks to a sturdy mil-spec anodized aluminum body, toothed bezel, and a disorienting strobe illumination mode.

Max Output: 800 Lumens
Max Runtime: 26 Hours
Impact Resistance: 1.5 Meters
Power: 1x 18650 Li-Ion battery, 2x CR123A Lithium, or 2x RCR123 Li-Ion

Purchase: $56

Olight M1X Striker Flashlight

Olight has a reputation for making some of the best flashlights available anywhere. That’s especially true when it comes to their M1X Striker. This super-durable, impact-resistant, hard-anodized aluminum self defense flashlight will never let you down – what with its up to 1,000 lumen output, IPX8 water-resistance, and toothed bezel. Big enough to fit comfortably in your fist but small enough to still slip back into your pocket afterward, this torch is top-tier.

Max Output: 1,000 Lumens
Max Runtime: 360 Hours
Impact Resistance: 1.5 Meters
Power: 2x CR123A/RCA123A or 1x 18650

Purchase: $60

Olight M23 Javelot Tactical Flashlight

Another superb offering from Olight, their Javelot is perhaps a bit more subtle than the tactical styling of their M1X Striker – but it is no less a superb self defense flashlight. For starters, it features a beefy bezel matched with a shockproof body, perfect for striking in a pinch. But it also has a whopping maximum output of 1,020 lumens – enough to temporarily blind any assailants – perhaps even if they were wearing sunglasses.

Max Output: 1,020 Lumens
Max Runtime: 30 Hours
Impact Resistance: 1.5 Meters
Power: 2x CR123A or 1x 18650

Purchase: $80

Fenix TK20R Tactical Flashlight

No best flashlights post would be complete without at least one offering from Fenix. And when you take a look at their TK20R tactical flashlight, it’s pretty easy to see why. Rechargeable by micro-USB, done up with a water-resistant internal treatment, and featuring a battery level indicator, this is an excellent portable torch on its own. But since it also has a toothed bezel and a tough and durable body, this one gets bonus points when it comes to self defense.

Max Output: 1,000 Lumens
Max Runtime: 160 Hours
Impact Resistance: 1 Meter
Power: 2x CR123 or 1x 18650

Purchase: $100

EagleTac T25C2 XM-L2 XLamp Flashlight

With a variable output of up to 1,180 lumens, courtesy of a Cree XM-L2 U2 LED emitter, this sturdy palm-sized flashlight is a super handy and versatile everyday carry illumination solution. It also features a sturdy pocket clip, has a tail-mounted button for easy and convenient operation that won’t randomly go off in your pocket, and can also balance on its tail for hands-free room illumination.

Max Output: 1,180 Lumens
Max Runtime: 150+ Hours
Power: 2xCR123A, 2xRCR123A, or 1×18650 Li-ion

Purchase: $100

SOG Dark Energy DE-06 Flashlight

As unique in its appearance as it is effective and durable, SOG’s Dark Energy SE-06 everyday carry, self defense flashlight is a brilliant and shining example of what makes SOG such an excellent brand when it comes to tactical gear. It also offers multiple illumination modes, comes with a rechargeable battery, and is slapped with a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

Max Output: 687 Lumens
Max Runtime: 32 Hours
Power: 1x 18650

Purchase: $103

Taser Strikelight Stun Gun Flashlight

While most of the flashlights on our list are intended to blind and/or strike would-be attackers, Taser took things a step further and included an actual stun gun tip to the toothed bezel of their Strikelight self defense flashlight. Not only can you use this bad boy to light your path and as a striking tool, but it also can scare off assailants with arcs of electricity and, when worst comes to worst, actually shock them.

Max Output: 80 Lumens
Max Runtime: 5 Hours or 100 5-Second Stuns
Power: 1x 18650

Purchase: $111

SureFire Defender Tactical Flashlight

Featuring a mil-spec, hard-anodized, aerospace grade aluminum body paired with a toothed bezel and an output of up to 300 or 600 lumens (depending upon which size you grab), SureFire’s Defender series of tactical flashlights are certainly formidable. And that’s true both from both a self defense and an everyday carry standpoint. It also features a tail switch for easy swapping between illumination modes.

Max Output: 300-600 Lumens
Max Runtime: 67.75 Hours
Power: 1x 123A

Purchase: $140+

SureFire P1R Peacekeeper Tactical Flashlight

Boasting a “nearly-indestructable” LED emitter, the SureFire P1R Peacekeeper will make short work of all your portable lighting and self defense needs, so long as you add it into your everyday carry lineup. It also features an oversized head with a toothed bezel, comfortable slightly knurled grip for in-hand security, and a simple-to-operate tail switch for convenient switching between illumination modes.

Max Output: 600 Lumens
Max Runtime: 46 Hours
Power: 1x 18650

Purchase: $150

Pelican 7060 Tactical Flashlight

While this is certainly a bit bigger than we’d like out of an everyday carry flashlight, the Pelican 7060 tactical torch is no less excellent when it comes to self defense. And a lot of that can be credited to for whom it was made. You see, this flashlight was designed specifically to become a standard piece of gear for the LAPD – meaning all of their officers were to carry it in their day-to-day and use it regularly. We don’t know about you, but that seems like a plenty good endorsement to us.

Max Output: 402 Lumens
Max Runtime: 57 Hours
Power: 1x 18650

Purchase: $162

SureFire UDR Dominator Tactical Flashlight

If you’re looking for sheer power, then you’ll do no better than SureFire’s UDR Dominator tactical flashlight. Granted, the price tag is well over anything else on this list, but what you get out of it is practically your own personal portable star. This beastly self-defense flashlight boasts a whopping 2,400 lumen output. And that’s just insane. In fact, it’s not even necessary to add a toothed bezel, because anybody coming your way would be instantly blinded. They did include one, however, just in case you have to give an attacker added motivation to cease their advance.

Max Output: 2,400 Lumens
Max Runtime: 22.75 Hours
Power: Li-ion Rechargeable or 12x 123A

Purchase: $1,370

Best Non-Lethal Self Defense Tools

So you’ve got your flashlight situation squared away, but you still want a little more backup when it comes to keeping you and yours safe. In that case, we bet you can find something of note on our list of the best non-lethal self defense tools.