SureFire offers a variety of models with specific features so you can choose the best SureFire handheld flashlight for the job. But which one is best? That’s a matter of determining your specific needs.

During a recent sit-down with Brownells’ Caleb Savant, SureFire’s Andrew Wright offered a valuable tutorial on some of the unique differences and benefits among SureFire’s comprehensive line of handheld lights. You can check out that video by clicking the link above.

the best SureFire handheld
SureFire’s EDCL1-T and EDCL2-T are two EDC models that incorporate a sturdy pocket clip for secure storage in a shirt or pants pocket.

Simply studying a spec chart, selecting the flashlight with the brightest or farthest-reaching beam, and calling it a day might seem like a good idea, but that isn’t the ideal method. Instead, we recommend that you determine not only how and where your light will be used most often, but also how you plan to carry it. SureFire’s flashlight family includes an Everyday Carry line with compact, round-bodied models and slimline models that feature durable steel pocket clips for easy and secure storage in the pocket of your pants, shirt, or jacket. However, if you plan to store your flashlight in a glove box, drawer, or in a backpack or duty vest pouch, a more traditional general-purpose flashlight may be more to your liking.

the best SureFire handheld
SureFire Fury handhelds deliver 1500 lumens of LED white light when powered by SureFire’s new SF18650B rechargeable lithium-ion battery. They are Dual Fuel lights; they can also be powered by two 123A lithium primary batteries.

Power Source
SureFire pioneered the use of 123A lithium primary batteries in compact flashlights, and most SureFire models continue to use them because they are energy-dense and boast an exceptionally long shelf life—up to 10 years in most cases. Furthermore, they’re easy to swap in the field, so you can keep your light working when you need it most. If you prefer a rechargeable flashlight, the SureFire Stiletto and Stiletto Pro utilize integrated lithium-polymer batteries. Lithium-polymer batteries offer the convenience of recharging via a supplied MICRO-USB cord, so you can refuel them via a vehicle or computer port, or a 110-volt wall outlet if you use an adapter. They also facilitate a slim form factor, which helps make the Stilettos the least obtrusive lights to carry on your person.

But you can also choose SureFire flashlights that are rechargeable or can accept lithium primary batteries. SureFire Dual Fuel handhelds come with a rechargeable SF18350 (3-volt) or SF18650B (6-volt) battery included but offer the added flexibility of swapping in 123A batteries if you’re not in a location where a recharging source is available.

the best SureFire handheld
The Tactician features a tactical push for momentary-on/twist for constant-on tailcap switch. Output mode is selected by twisting the bezel. Simple and foolproof under stress. Looping lanyard over back of hand and bezel, as shown, allows you to maintain control of flashlight while performing other tasks.

When SureFire pioneered the light-activating tailcap, it revolutionized the entire flashlight industry. Every SureFire EDC flashlight still offers this versatile and convenient feature, but the way they activate depends on the model. SureFire EDCL1-T and EDCL2-T models feature our gas pedal-style tailcap, which incorporates a momentary-on switch and a twist feature. Lightly depressing the switch activates a low output for administrative tasks. But firmly pressing it unleashes the light’s maximum output, a critically important quality in high-stress situations where positive identification may help you defend yourself against a potential threat or avoid a conflict entirely. If you need the light to remain on constantly, you can rotate the tailcap one-quarter of a turn to maintain low output, or one complete turn for high output. The SureFire E2T-MV Tactician incorporates the same features but with different activation; its single-stage tail switch is similar in feel but activates high or low output only, depending on how you’ve set the output by rotating the front bezel.

SureFire’s click-style push-button switching is the most popular style, and it is available on many handheld models. This switching activates high output first, either by pressing the switch for momentary-on or pressing and clicking through to maintain constant-on. The dual-output E1B-MV Backup and E2D Defender Ultra allow activation of momentary-on low output by pressing and then releasing the switch for 1 second, or you can click through to maintain constant-on low output.

The aforementioned Stiletto series incorporates a programmable primary switch that allows you to activate three different output levels from low to medium to high or vice versa — whichever you choose. Stiletto models also feature a tail switch that you can press to activate momentary-on high output, pressed three times to activate an emergency strobe function, or programmed to activate high output in constant-on mode.

SureFire Beam PatternsBeam Pattern
So, you’ve determined how you want to carry your SureFire handheld, how you want to power it, and how you want to activate it. Now’s the right time to discuss beam patterns. While we cover that topic in detail in our SureFire Beam Pattern 101 feature, here are a few items to ponder:

–SureFire’s family of flashlights include models with three distinct beam pattern configurations, each developed to excel within a specific parameters.

–Our proprietary MaxVision Beam® behaves like a floodlight, It is exceptional in situations that favor a seamless light pattern with maximum peripheral light, anything from camping to close-quarter combat. Its intensity varies gradually, from the beam’s center out to its edges, so you don’t see a bright center spot when you shine the beam on a wall. Although it is still over 10 times brighter at the center than at the outer edges of the beam, the eye sees the light uniformly across the entire field of view. The E1B-MV Backup, the E2T Tactician, and the rechargeable Stiletto and Stiletto Pro models all utilize MaxVision Beam technology.

–Our Hybrid beam pattern packs a more traditional beam style with a lot more punch. Designed to excel in medium- to long-range view, it produces a substantial hot spot with a comparatively “tight” central cone of light along with an outer cone containing the remainder of the emitted light for ample peripheral illumination. SureFire’s Fury series, G2 series, EDCL1-T, EDCL2-T, and E2D Defender Ultra all feature the Hybrid beam pattern.

–Our Turbo Series delivers a beam pattern that we pioneered in the 1980s, when it was necessary to stretch every lumen for long-range performance. Our Turbohead optics provide a tightly focused, concentrated shaft of light precisely engineered for maximum throw. Turbo models deliver tremendous illumination for positive target identification well beyond 500 meters with minimal light bounce at close range, which is ideal for peering through windows or around barricades. SureFire’s EDC1-DFT and EDC2-DFT are Turbo Series handhelds.

Self-supplied illumination can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency. SureFire offers the finest and most innovative handheld compact flashlights in the industry. Designed, engineered, and assembled in the U.S.A., they are proven reliable in the most hostile conditions and guaranteed for life. Whichever model you choose, you’ll never want to be without your SureFire again.