A Guide To Tactical Flashlights & Headlamps

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The Basics: Choosing Between Flashlights & Headlamps
Tactical Flashlights
GT-1 Tactical Flashlight
Tactical Headlamps
HX-1 Tactical Headlamp
Tactical Flashlights & Headlamps: Which Is Better?

Flashlights are, arguably, among the most useful inventions throughout history. There have been countless times when we find ourselves in dire need of light, whether during a power outage due to a severe storm, when we are faced with a car breakdown in the middle of the night, or other situations where having a light source is immensely useful. As an essential tool, flashlights have become far more advanced since the large plastic tube that likely took D-size batteries and shined a yellowish beam that you likely stored in your kitchen cabinet years ago. Advancements in LED (light-emitting diode) technology and battery efficiency have resulted in flashlights that are smaller, lighter, brighter, and more useful than ever before.
Tactical flashlights and headlamps have surged in popularity in the active-outdoors space. Of course, the two have their distinct differences; one a handheld light source with a variety of functions and features and the other a hands-free lighting source. While both headlamps and flashlights have their uses, one may be better in some uses than others. If you are not sure which is right for you, you’ve come to the right place. We put together a guide to tactical flashlights and headlamps to help you choose the best one!

The Basics: Choosing Between Flashlights & Headlamps

If you are purchasing a tactical flashlight or headlamp for the first time, choosing one or the other may require some serious thought. Before we dive into the specifics and features that both offer, let’s take a look at some of the basics about headlamp and flashlight design can better enable you to pick the right light source for your needs.

  • Brightness. The advancements in LED efficiency have been beneficial to flashlights and headlamps alike. Today, most headlamps and flashlights utilize LED technology to offer a brightness like no other — some deliver LEDs that are as bright as vehicle headlights.
  • Form. Flashlights fit in the palm of your hand, while headlamps are securely mounted on your head. The fundamental design of each unit makes them simply different tools.
  • Durability. Tactical flashlights are designed to be more durable and versatile than headlamps. However, many tactical flashlights and headlamps are made with high-grade aluminum to make them long-lasting and nearly indestructible.
  • Beam Angle. Of course, tactical flashlights are hand-maneuvered to capture different angles of light, while a headlamp shines from a fixed point.
  • Duration. Most tactical flashlights and headlamps have bulbs that can last for thousands of hours, so with either, you can assure that you’ll get good use out of it.
  • Beam Distance. Being able to see ahead is essential when using a flashlight or headlamp. The beam distance is how far a light will reach. A quality flashlight or headlamp will be able to cast a beam anywhere from 700 to 1000 feet.
  • These are just some of the basics of headlamp and flashlight design to keep in mind. A flashlight allows the flexibility to shine a beam in whatever direction needed without blinding people in the process, but prevents you from using both hands. A headlamp gives you the flexibility in using both hands but eliminates the possibility of shining your light in a direction without moving your head.

    If you’re still stuck choosing between flashlights and headlamps, fear not as we continue to shed some more light on the two.

    Tactical Flashlights

    What Are Tactical Flashlights?

    Tactical flashlights are sturdier, more reliable and functional than ordinary flashlights. In fact, a tactical flashlight can be ten times brighter than a typical flashlight and can be small enough to fit in your pocket. Tactical flashlights are an essential tool for anyone who values self-dependence and protection. While they were initially designed for military and law enforcement use, with durable construction and emitting a much brighter light than the average flashlight, tactical flashlights have become a great tool for a variety of situations.

    Tactical Flashlight Features

    Tactical flashlights are designed to be used in a variety of harsh environments and situations. Designed to be durable and reliable, tactical flashlights are built to work when you need them. So what are the characteristics that set them apart from your average flashlight? The most important components and features that set these flashlights apart are the following:

    Luminosity and Beam Distance

    The best tactical flashlights emit a tremendous amount of light from a small powerful beam that can cut through the night. The most popular light sources for tactical flashlights are LED bulbs and they’re typically rated by the amount of lumens they can put out when they are turned on. Your ordinary household flashlights typically have under 500 lumens, but tactical flashlights often deliver much higher than that, typically anywhere between 700 and 1000! You’ll also want to consider the beam distance, which is how far the light will shine before the brightness diminishes.

    Water / Impact Resistant

    Tactical flashlights need to be able to withstand a variety of situations, including the occasional drops and exposure to water. Unlike tactical flashlights, normal flashlights are not designed for use in rugged environments. Impact resistance is the highest level in meters the flashlight can be dropped onto a hard surface and still operate. Most tactical flashlights will have an impact resistance of 1m or higher. Water resistance is based on an IPX rating. Lights with an IPX4 rating means that the flashlight is water-resistant while IPX6 and higher mean the light is waterproof and can be submerged in water and is still operational.

    Size and Weight

    Compared to standard flashlights, tactical flashlights are typically smaller so that they can easily fit into a pocket or be attached to a belt. Most tactical flashlights are built with aircraft-grade aluminum to offer a lightweight yet durable light source.

    Setting and Function

    The most popular tactical flashlights have five light output modes. Multiple light modes enable the ability to adjust to situations as needed. Additionally, some tactical lights have special modes as well. SOS modes are for emergency or survival type situations while strobe is used to disorient a perpetrator in a self-defense situation.



    Reasons To Use Tactical Flashlights

    A quality tactical flashlight is an essential tool to have on you. The great thing about a tactical flashlight is that you can carry it with you wherever you go and they can be effective for a variety of situations that you may find yourself in. Let’s review six reasons you should carry a tactical flashlight.

    1. Illumination

    Many tactical flashlights come in small convenient, sizes so that they can easily fit in your backpack, handbag, or even in your pocket. This means that if you ever find yourself in a situation where light would be helpful, whether you find yourself walking alone at night, looking for something in the dark, or are in an area that just feels unsafe, you can illuminate the dark path ahead to see your surroundings better. Not only does this help with safety against potential attackers or thieves, but it also helps in making sure that you can safely walk on a path without tripping or stumbling, potentially resulting in an injury.

    2. Self Defense

    How can a small flashlight be used as a self-defense tool? You’d be surprised by all the ways. Primarily, most tactical flashlights can narrow the field of light into a singular beam. With the light’s high lumen count, they are incredibly bright. So bright, in fact, that tactical flashlights are also known as disorienting flashlights. A blinding tactical flashlight can come in handy when faced with self-defense situation. Blinding a perpetrator in this manner will allow you to make an escape, which is the priority in all self-defense scenarios. Additionally, the durable metal construction enables the flashlight to be used as a non-lethal weapon and can even be used to hit an attacker over the head if need be.

    3. In Urgent Situations

    There is no doubt that when the power goes out or our car breaks down at night, one of the first things we search for is a flashlight. Sure, our mobile phones have handy flashlights, but they aren’t nearly as bright, not to mention your phone could be dead. In emergency situations having a light is imperative. Tactical flashlights can not only be used to see, but they can also be used to signal your location — as mentioned, some lights come with special modes such as SOS and strobe for just such a situation.

    4. As A Utility Tool

    Tactical flashlights are designed to withstand the toughest conditions, which is why they are popular among the military and law enforcement industries. The flashlight’s hard exterior and thick handle can make it useful as a non-lethal weapon. Additionally, flashlights with serrated edges or a bezel edge can be used to break a window, either to get in or get out of one in an emergency.

    5. Identify Threats

    Of course, flashlights are great for seeing in the dark, but if you’re in a dangerous situation you can use a tactical flashlight to identify a threat. With a bright light output and long beam distances, it's easier to spot potential threats.

    6. Save Your Phone Battery

    If your phone dies, it can be a real issue in a variety of situations. Device flashlights are a quick way to drain your phone's battery. Instead of wasting your phone’s battery life to provide yourself with a dim light, a tactical flashlight can be used. Not only are these lights brighter, but their battery will last much, much longer than your phone’s.

    What Is The Best Affordable Tactical Flashlight?

    When it comes to tactical flashlights, there are a variety to choose from. Some are bigger, some are smaller, some are made with different materials than others and offer different features, and of course, some cost more than others. However, when it comes to affordable flashlights that don’t lack quality, you cannot go wrong with the GT-1 Tactical Flashlight from Centaur Ridge.

    GT-1 Tactical Flashlight

    Centaur Ridge’s GT-1 flashlight is a high lumen tactical flashlight that is compact yet powerful. Made from aircraft aluminum and powerful with 750 lumens of output, it’s a solid option for anyone on a budget looking for an affordable tactical flashlight. The GT-1 Tactical Flashlight has a variety of features, making it one of the most essential tools to have on you.

    5 Light Mode

    The GT-1 has five different light output levels that can be used for a variety of situations.

  • HIGH. 750 lumen
  • MEDIUM. 300 lumen
  • LOW. 90 lumen
  • STROBE. For signaling and disorienting
  • SOS. For distress signaling
  • Aircraft Grade Aluminum

    Made with durable aircraft grade aluminum, the GT-1 is one of the toughest and most durable tactical flashlights available on the market. You can rest assured that this flashlight can take a beating without interrupting operation at all.

    XML-T6 LED

    GT-1 flashlight LED bulbs can last over 100,000 hours and have a blinding max output of 750 lumens which can cast a beam of light up to 900 feet!

    IPX6 Water-Resistance

    With durable construction and o-ring seals, the GT-1 is water resistant. Whether you’re caught in a rainstorm or drop it in a puddle, your flashlight will still operate as normal.

    Impact Tested

    Due to the durable construction, the GT-1 tactical flashlight is able to withstand adverse conditions and impacts. Heck, it can even be run over with vehicles without interrupting its function.

    Anti-Slip Grip

    Flat top knurling makes this light comfortable to hold while also offering just the right amount of texture to ensure you can maintain a solid, anti-slip grip.

    Pocket Clip

    The GT-1 is compact enough to fit within your pocket, but with a convenient pocket clip the light can be attached to your belt, pocket, or bad for quick and easy access.

    Attack Head

    The bezel edge of the GT-1 can be used as a weapon, utility tool, or self-defense mechanism. Should you ever find yourself in an urgent situation, this attack head can certainly come in handy.

    Waterproof Tail Switch

    WIth a push-button tail switch, operating the GT-1 with one hand is easier than ever. Even in complete darkness, you’ll know right where to locate the switch.

    GT-1 Tactical Flashlight Reviews

    “Best. Damn. Flashlight. Period. I had been in the market for a decent flashlight for a while. I was hesitant at first because of the low price on the Centaur Ridge but I went ahead and pulled the trigger and this thing got here FAST. The flashlight is very well built and exceeded my expectations and then some. The battery lasts forever and charges super quick. I would recommend and I am already planning on purchasing two more for gifts and another for work. A+ product” -Keith

    “I've bought several expensive flashlights in the past wanted to find a light that was comparable and didn't cost as much so I wouldn't have to worry about it. This light is really bright, has 5 different light modes for different situations, and fits nicely in my hand. Definitely a bargain and worth every penny!” -AJ

    “I can’t speak highly enough about this bad boy! Waterproof! Rechargeable battery was a nice touch. Probably the best flashlight I’ve ever owned!” - John

    Tactical flashlights are without a doubt an essential item. They are incredibly useful in so many situations. From finding your lost keys in the dark to using it as a self-defense mechanism. Certainly, they are a tool you should consider owning and using for your everyday light needs. Remember, it's important to choose one that is resistant to impact and water, equipped with multiple operation settings for a variety of situations, and fits within your budget. The GT-1 Tactical Flashlight from Centaur Ridge is the perfect flashlight to fit your needs.

    Tactical Headlamps

    What Are Tactical Headlamps?

    When you’re operating in a dark or low-visibility setting, you need a consistent, durable lighting source. Tactical headlamps provide advanced hands-free lighting options and adjust to varying light conditions. They are more durable, have a longer range of site, and most of them have different lighting modes. Tactical headlamps are lightweight, compact, and designed for quick, easy, and efficient activation and mode switching. These headlamps can come in handy in emergency situations or during outdoor adventures.

    Tactical Headlamp Features

    Tactical headlamps are designed to be used in a variety of situations and conditions. Created with durability and versatility in mind, tactical headlamps give you a bright, wearable light source that allows you to still use both of your hands freely. So what are the features that set tactical headlamps apart from normal headlamps? The most essential components and features that set these headlamps apart are the following:

    Luminosity and Beam Distance

    Quality tactical headlamps emit a powerful light from a small beam. Most tactical headlamps use LED bulbs and, just like flashlights, they are rated by their lumen output when turned on. Quality, bright headlamps produce 900+ lumens. Additionally, consider the distance of the headlamp beam. While this is likely to be less than a flashlight’s beam distance, a quality tactical headlamp have 250+ meter beam distance.

    Water / Impact Resistant

    Tactical headlamps are made to withstand field hazards, adverse weather, or challenging terrain without interrupting operation. Many are impact tested, and are given an impact resistance of 1m or higher. Similar to flashlights, tactical headlamps have a water resistance that is based on an IPX rating. Headlamps with an IPX4 rating will be able to work in the rain, while headlamps with an IPX6 rating and higher mean the light is waterproof and can be submerged in a certain water depth level and is still operational.

    Size and Weight

    Unlike flashlights, you don’t have to hold your headlamp. Instead, it is strapped onto your head or helmet. Therefore, it’s important to consider the size and weight of the headlamp you are looking at. You don’t want a big, bulky, beam but you also don’t want your headlamp to lack lumen output or beam distance. Many tactical headlamps are designed with aircraft-grade aluminum to ensure they are light as well as durable and resistant to impact.


    Since the light is worn on your head, you want to make sure that the headlamp you are interested in is comfortable. The headlamp you choose should have an adjustable elastic headband and have a strong fastener to fit in every head size. This is an essential feature as you can’t work efficiently with a loose headlamp.

    Setting and Function

    Many of the most popular tactical headlamps will have three light modes, a zoomable light feature, and beam rotation. Multiple light modes enable the ability to adjust the brightness as needed. Plus, some headlamps will have a strobe setting for emergency or signaling situations.



    Reasons To Use Tactical Headlamps

    Tactical headlamps are a great tool to have in your arsenal. The great thing about headlamps is that you get a powerful beam of light, but still have access to both hands.

    Whether you’re setting up your tent at night, taking the dog for a walk at night, or just looking for something in your dark attic, you cannot beat the convenience of hands-free lighting offered by a tactical headlamp. Let’s review some additional reasons to use tactical headlamps.

    1. Car Breakdowns

    Nobody wants to go through a car breakdown, especially during the darkest hours of the night. Car troubles are burdensome and often require you to use your hands to fix the issue, whether its a flat tire, running out of oil and gas, or adding radiator fluid, and having to hold your phone flashlight can make making the repairs much more difficult. With a tactical headlamp on, you’ll not only have enough light to be able to see what you are doing, but you will be able to use both hands. Plus, you can even use the headlamps strobe setting to signal anyone for help.

    2. Home Repairs and Power Outages

    Home repairs and tasks seem to come at you in waves. There is the leaky faucet, the plugged up drain in the kitchen, or the furnace that’s making that unusual noise in the basement.

    What better way to do these repairs than going hands-free with a tactical headlamp?  Gone are the days of holding a flashlight between your teeth so you can see what you are doing and work with both hands. Additionally, when the power goes out, you can rely on a tactical headlamp to provide you with the light you need to navigate around your pitch-black house.

    3. Hiking

    Whether you are setting out for an early-morning trek or hiking into the dusk hours, you will want to have a clear vision ahead of you to see where there might be trees, rocks, and other obstacles in your way, as well as to stay on the trail. Tactical headlamps will illuminate the path in front of you to ensure you are taking the safe route.

    4. Fishing

    Are you an avid fisher? If so, you likely head out on the water early in the morning before the light even comes out, as this is known as the best time for the fish to bite. The only problem is it is still dark outside. With a tactical headlamp, you will be able to see your way around and see how to bait a hook as well as where your line casts.  

    5. Walking the Dog

    Dogs have to go outside to use the bathroom, and it’s often not at the most convenient of times. When holding a leash and trying to control a pet, holding a flashlight isn’t always the most ideal. A headlamp can provide you with the light that you need to safely walk your dog, allowing you to see what’s around you and allowing passing drivers to see you and your pet.

    What Is The Best Affordable Tactical Headlamp?

    When it comes to tactical headlamps, there are many to select from. Some are more durable than others, some have different features and settings, and of course, some are more expensive than others. When choosing a tactical headlamp for yourself,if you want an affordable headlamp that does not lack quality and brightness by any means, you cannot go wrong with the HX-1 Headlamp from Centaur Ridge.

    HX-1 Tactical Headlamp

    The HX-1 Tactical Headlamp offers a variety of features that other headlamps don’t, which is why is becoming one of the best tactical headlamps available.

    4 Light Mode

    The HX-1 has four different light output levels that can be used in various situations.

  • HIGH. 1000 lumen
  • LOW. 300 lumen
  • STROBE. For signaling and disorienting
  • COB HALO LED. For wide flood light
  • Aircraft Grade Aluminum

    Constructed with durable aircraft grade aluminum, the HX-1 is one of the toughest and most durable and lightweight tactical headlamps you can find. You can rest assured that this flashlight can take a beating without interrupting operation at all.


    Equipped with an XM-L2 LED bulb, the HX-1 can last over 100,000 hours and have a blinding maximum output of 1000 lumens which has a beam distance of up to 1000 feet!

    90 Degree Rotation

    With a 90 degree rotation, this headlamp can help reduce neck fatigue by enabling you to direct the light in the direction that you need it.


    The HX-1 has an adjustable focus that makes this headlamp perfect for both close and long range. It can function as a spotlight to focus light directly in a certain direction or adjust it to create a flood light that covers a wide area.

    Adjustable Elastic Head Strap

    The headlamps adjustable elastic head strap increases comfort when wearing. The head strap can be adjusted to fit any head size.

    IPX6 Water-Resistance

    With solid construction and tight seals to prevent water penetration, the HX-1 is IPX6 water resistant. Whether you’re caught in a rainstorm or drop it in a puddle, your headlamp will keep on providing you with the bright light you need.

    Impact Tested

    Due to the durable construction, the HX-1 tactical headlamp is able to withstand adverse conditions and impacts.

    HX-1 Tactical Headlamp Reviews

    “Huge fan of the new headlight. It’s very comfortable and very bright. The way you charge it is very user-friendly. I've bought expensive brands before and this is just as good at 1/3 the price. I will be using these headlamps from here on out. This is the second product I have got and I am very impressed with both. Can't wait to see what they come out with next…” - Daniel

    “I use this headlamp all the time when biking and running down trails. It's very bright and can light up a large area in front of me. I also love how it zooms so I can focus on things far away. Comes with batteries and a charger. Seems to be very durable as well...highly recommend!! Thanks, Centaur Ridge!” - Sharon

    “Awesome headlamp. The design is great, it's comfortable enough for all-day use/wear. The battery lasts me a full workday. The headlamp has more than enough lumens for whatever you need, and I love that you can dim it as well. Definitely recommend this headlamp to anyone looking for a great hands-free way to put some light on your work. -Harlee

    Tactical headlamps are without a doubt an essential hands-free item. They can come in handy in a variety of situations. From working on your car or going from a quick night run. Certainly, they are a tool you should consider owning and using for your everyday light needs, especially for activities and situations that require the use of both hands. Remember, it's essential to choose one that is impact- and water-resistant, equipped with multiple operation settings for a variety of situations, and fits within your budget. The HX-1 Tactical Headlamp from Centaur Ridge is the perfect headlamp for any light-reliant situations you may come across.

    Tactical Flashlights & Headlamps: Which Is Better?

    Trying to decide between a tactical flashlight and headlamp can be more challenging than it seems as they are both great in what they do. Choosing one that will suit you best depends on your personal preference as well as the activity being carried out. Get a tactical headlamp when you need to use your both hands and buy a tactical flashlight when you need more power and versatility. No matter which tactical light you choose, or if you decide to get both, be sure to invest in a product that has the features you are looking for, has positive customer reviews and fits within your budget. Luckily, both the GT-1 Tactical Flashlight and HX-1 Tactical Headlamp from Centaur Ridge are quality pieces and don’t break the bank. Order your flashlight and headlamp today and let Centaur Ridge help you find your way.