Almost all handguns have a small rail in front of them, and if you were unaware of its purpose, let me clear it up for you – it’s for mounting accessories, typically a tactical torch. Anyone who handles a handgun on frequent basis, regardless of whether it’s for recreational or professional purposes, should also have a quality torch. Pistol torches are a very convenient solution, as they can be mounted on the handgun so they don’t occupy your other hand. Alternatively, you can opt for a handheld torch, which is also a popular solution that many firearms instructors prefer.
But regardless of your preference, it’s essential that the pistol torch or handheld torch you opt for is of high quality. Even if you skip the training and practice that’s necessary to become an expert in torches, having a ready-to-access source of illumination is far better than waving your gun around in the dark.
A pistol torch is typically the more expensive option out of the two, even if you’re looking at torches of equal quality. This is simply because they pack a lot of illuminating power into a small, compact package that can be mounted directly onto your firearm. Generally, there will be a switch that you can easily reach to turn it on and off. The quality of the pistol torch is essential, so its electronics can withstand the recoil of the handgun.
The lens material needs to endure the muzzle blast and fouling without permanently diminishing or breaking the quality of the beam. That being said, these things cost, and that reflects in their overall price tag. While the average weapon mounted torch will function rather well over the course of a few months, only the most rugged, high-quality torch can withstand the abuse that comes with being attached to a pistol for a few thousand rounds.
Hand-held torches are the more affordable solution, and if you’re buying from a reputable brand, you can almost always depend on it. I say ‘almost’, because even well-constructed torches are not always suitable with handguns. Besides the light output and basic quality, an important feature to look for is a switch that you can flip easily with one hand. Additionally, a simple interface is also preferable. Some hand-held torches have various brightness modes and strobe functions, depending on how many times you flip the switch. For self-defense purposes, the light should be extremely easy to operate so that you don’t waste much time and effort on it if you’re in a stressful situation.