Tactical lights are not just high-beam intensive flashlights with a durable body. Rather, this specific group of lighting is geared towards assisting the shooter with target identification and illuminating the area. Such flashlights by manufacturers SureFire, Insight Technology, and Streamlight may be handed or mounted and, in addition to assisting with target identification, the light may be used for temporarily blinding the target.
Handheld lights are used more often in law enforcement and with smaller weapons like handguns. An officer using a gun and a tactical light at the same time will hold one in each hand and aim and beam in the same area.
Longer guns, however, require use of two hands, and this arrangement with a tactical light is not possible. Instead, the light can be mounted to the gun, which is typically a rifle, shotgun, or submachine. Although this group of mounted lights is more expensive, these flashlights have a strong enough construction to withstand the recoil of a firearm. Also, if you're looking for a light for a specific gun model, the well-known manufacturers of these products make each light for a specific long or handgun.
Illumination is an important component. Aside from seeing the target directly, the flashlight assists with giving the shooter a better picture of the area. In this case, certain tactical lights are designed for illumination purposes, although some have a target and illumination combination. Specific illumination lights are fitted with colored lenses. A red lens, for example, gives the shooter better night vision. A blue lens, meanwhile, is helpful with high-contrast viewing; in particular, blue lenses are ideal for seeing blood in an area. An infrared lens, additionally, gives the shooter night vision capabilities.
Most tactical lights use lithium batteries for power, while the bulbs are high-powered xenon or LED, with the latter allowing for maximum battery life. Most tactical lights, additionally, are created to be weatherproof and use O-ring and gasket sealing. As far as turning the device on, most rail-mounted lights have a body or tail-mounted switch.
Aside from flashlights, headlamps are widely-used tactical lights for illumination purposes. Although headlamps are also commonly used in fields like diving for similar purposes, those for military and law enforcement uses have a compact and durable design. Much like rail-mounted lights, headlamps use a three-color system for illumination purposes. Red and blue lights are used for the same purposes, but green, a color for hunter safety, is also added.