I own Surefire flashlights, Streamlights, Maglites, Rayovacs, and even an iNova. Each has its purpose and is good at what it does, reliably. Having sold outdoor gear for so long, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to play with various ingeniously designed and expensive flashlights, including weapon-lights. I’ve determined a few generalities about my favorite brands:
Maglite: Tough, reliable, easily fixable. For head-knockers, they can’t be beat. They do the beating. Keep one 3 D-cell LED model in your car, easily reachable. Keep another by the nightstand as a combination flashlight and billy club.
Rayovac: These excel as camping lights and kid lights, as they are reliable, reasonably tough, and cheap! If your kid exits the woods without it, or you drop it in the river … oh well. Get another one. They’re available almost everywhere.
Streamlight: Probably the best overall brand of flashlight, in my book. These lights get the job done and then some, for much less mu la than the competition. There are so many models of Streamlight that it’s hard to know where to begin looking. Luckily, they have an excellent product filter on their website to help you pick the perfect light for your needs.
Surefire: The big dogs of the tactical light world. Indeed, they make fantastic products that are super bright and tough as anvils. They also charge like they were selling the last piece of bread on earth. A $400 handheld flashlight? Yes, I’ve sold two of them over the years. The M6 Guardian is capable of putting the Bat Signal on a cloud with a light the size of a cucumber. Truly amazing. Their more “reasonable” priced offering are the Nitrolon line, which are the same thing as their standard aluminum bodied lights but made from high grade plastic. Parts are interchangeable.
Surefire weaponlights are almost works of art. Brutally tough, battle tested works of art. There is a famous story of a soldier walking down a roadside at night in Iraq, who was hit by an IED. He lost part of his leg. His M4 Carbine was found shattered, non-functioning, and lying in the ditch nearby. They found the black rifle, at night, because the Surefire light mounted to the quadrail forend was still on.