Lights are a great addition to your airsoft kit. Not every field is well lit and if you’re looking to play at night, a light can help you see your targets, your teammates, and stop you from tripping over uneven terrain.
In this article, we will look at how to choose your own airsoft lights.
Features To Look Out For
Before buying a light for airsoft, you should consider the following criteria. These will all help you choose the right light for you.
In layman’s terms, lumens measure how bright a light is. The higher the number, the brighter the light.
However, be aware that these counts are not always accurate. To make sure that you are getting the correct Lumens count, look for lights that use ANSI lumens instead of just ‘lumens.’
ANSI refers to the American National Standard Institute and it means that lights measured in ANSI lumens have been externally tested and their lumens confirmed.
Lights can be bought with a wide range of lumens. You can find lights that start as low as 10 lumens and reach as high as 40,000 lumens.
As a general guideline, 1000 Lumens can light up around 220 yards so you can see that the higher lumens counts will be completely unnecessary for airsoft.
The best light will depend on where you are playing. For indoor games or close play, a light with only 300 lumens will do all you need. If you’re playing outside and over large spaces, you might want to get a stronger light.
A good compromise is to buy a light that has different settings, so you can choose from a high, medium, or low light. This way you can choose the best brightness for your situation.
Lights will be run on batteries and you need to make sure that either your battery will last throughout your airsoft event, or you have enough spares.
Battery life is usually measured in hours but there are some circumstances that can reduce this time. For example, keeping your light on constantly in higher modes will drain your batteries more quickly.
Producing light also produces heat. The stronger your light and the longer you use it, the hotter it will become.
This can lead to burnout and overheating and is another reason to keep the light as low as you need instead of opting for a stronger light.
Pressure pads are sensors that can be added to lights as a way of conveniently and easily switching them on and off. Adding a pressure pad means that you don’t have to manually switch the light on from its usual button.
Some lights might come with their own pressure pads but if they don’t, you can easily add one. It does require additional wiring and can increase the chances of accidentally activating your light when you didn’t mean to, however.
We mentioned previously that some lights will come with the options of being switched to high, medium, or low modes. However, there are some other modes you should consider, too.
Some lights will let you choose between being constantly on and momentarily on. Having a light with a momentary on function can be very useful as it means the light will only be on when you’re physically pressing the ‘on’ button or pad.
This gives you more control and allows you to only have the light on for short periods of time.
Other lights come with strobe features, but we don’t recommend searching for this mode. In theory they work by using a flashing light to confuse your opponents but in practice, just annoy other players, the referees, and yourself.
They can also be a danger if any players are sensitive to flashing lights.
Another important consideration with an airsoft light is if you are going to mount it on your gun and if so, where. Here are the three main positions and what you should consider before mounting your light.
This is the most common placement for lights on airsoft guns. Undermounting is placing the airsoft gun underneath the barrel. For airsoft guns with longer barrels such as long rifles and carbines, this is the best place for your light.
An undermount light leaves the top and sides of your gun free for an optic sight, laser, or any other accessory you want to attach. It’s also easy to use with either hand and as it doesn’t add any width to your gun, you’re less likely to hit doors or walls.
You may find an undermount light to be a little irritating when you’re lying prone, however, as it adds extra thickness to the bottom of your gun.
Lights can also be mounted to the side of your gun. There is a wider range of mounting as they can be mounted at the side of your barrel (at the 3 o’clock or 9 o’clock positions) or even at more of an angle (such as the 1 o’clock or 11 o’clock positions.)
Like undermounts, side mounted lights are also suitable for airsoft guns with longer barrels. Many airsoft players prefer a sidemount as they can get a better grip on their gun than if it is underneath the barrel.
However, it’s easier to damage your light or the mounting system when it is on the side of your barrel compared to underneath. It can also be trickier to move out from cover with a sidemount.
This is a less common mounting position, but a few airsofters prefer a top mount.
It shares some of the same advantages as an undermount light as you can easily fire from cover and it can be used with either hands.
When choosing an airsoft light, consider how bright it is, the available modes, battery life, and if you want to mount it to your gun. We hope this article will help you choose your airsoft light.