Not too long ago I had a package show up here at the Gunmart Blog Test Kitchen from the good people over at Streamlight. Inside of said package was one of their handheld tactical flashlights… the ProTac HL Flashlight.
When I first opened up the box that Streamlight sent me I was immediately impressed with what I was holding in my hand. Upon first inspection you can tell right away that this is an incredibly well constructed flashlight. The body is constructed of anodized aircraft grade aluminum – a phrase that is probably only slightly more overused than “tactical”, but in this case I tend to believe their claims. The flashlight weighs in at five and a half ounces on my postal scale, and measures in at just under five and a half inches in length. The lens and the battery compartment are both o-ring sealed and results in a light that is water proof to a depth of one meter or 30 minutes… whichever comes first. There is no real “strike bezel” on this particular light, but I can all but guarantee that anyone you were to strike with this thing would have a headache for a few days.
Another bonus (two actually) with this light are the included holster and pocket clip. The holster is a typical nylon holster with Velcro closure. Its not really combat grade, but its certainly durable enough to provide plenty of prolonged use on a job site or in a daily carry role for a civilian. The pocket clip is outstanding. its technically removable, but its so secure that it will really take some elbow grease and maybe a bloody knuckle to pry it off – thats a good thing btw… cause I dont want it ever coming off! The clip is non-reversible and is oriented to carry the light in a downward direction. It also includes a lanyard loop if needed.
Ok, so lets talk about this light’s performance. The ProTac HL runs on two CR123 batteries and will put out an impressive 600 Lumens on its highest setting. It actually has three settings… high (600 Lumens), low (35 Lumens), and strobe (600 Lumens). You can use the activation switch to cycle through the various settings or you can change the program to be high only or low/high only. The light comes programed from the factory with a high/strobe/low setting which I believe most people will prefer. Cycling through the settings takes some getting used to. At first I was a little discouraged, but once I realized that activation was more of a “half press” of the switch it became much more intuitive. Its a good system… its just takes a little practice.
The brightness of the 600 Lumen is impressive to say the least. Its most definitely bright enough and focused enough to be considered an offensive tool. Its even uncomfortable to have this thing shine in your face during daylight hours…. at night, it will without a doubt inhibit your ability to see for some time. Turning the ProTac HL on in a dark room or out in a pitch black part of the woods is pretty much right on par with flipping on a light switch. It lights up everything in and around your immediate area. The spill is very nice. It lights up my entire suburban backyard like a floodlight. The distance that it will throw its 600 Lumens is also impressive. They advertise this thing on the package as having a beam distance of 245 meters (about 268 yards)… and thats no joke. I would say that you can use this light to easily light up and engage a target out to 100 yards in the pitch black night.
I also want to note that the 35 Lumens of output on the low setting is absolutely perfect for casual usage. It sounds strange, but one of my pet peeves when it comes to flashlights is when they are too bright on their lowest settings. Wait. A flashlight thats too bright? Whoaa? Yes, its true. It can indeed be a problem. I have a headlamp (from another company, which I wont name here) that I wish more than anything would be about half as bright as it is on its lowest setting. Its a wonderful headlamp, and it would be darn near perfect if its low setting wasn’t too bright for those close in things that you sometimes have to do. The 35 Lumens of the ProTac HL strikes a nice balance, however, and its perfect for what will probably be about 90% of the flashlight’s usage for most people. It will also extend the battery life up to 18 hours on the low setting.
For everyday carry this light is great. Its size and weight make it something that you can easily carry all day long with the belt clip or the provided holster. Its not small enough to disappear in a pants pocket (they have those too if you want them), but its size is certainly not an inhibitor to EDC. If you dont have an untucked shirt while wearing this then most people are probably gonna know that you are carrying a flashlight. Not that big of a deal, but it most likely will be a light that is noticeable to someone who is paying attention. Also worth noting is that the bezel of this light measures in at about an inch and a quarter across. This is going to make it bulge a little more in your pocket, but its still not enough to be a deal breaker.
I will also point out that this flashlight has a one inch tube, so you can easily mount this to the rail of your favorite long gun if you so desire. It would IMHO make a superb weapon mounted light.
The final thing that I will say about this light is probably the best ringing endorsement that I can give it…. I will actually be handing these flashlights out as Christmas presents this year. They are great and the price is astounding. Its easily worth twice if not more than what it retails for. I have been very happy with its performance, and I think the people that I end up giving them to this year will be equally happy.
Amazon has the best price that I have seen if you are interested in picking one up for yourself.
Here are the full specs from their website:
- Ten-Tap Programming – Choice of three user selectable programs:
2.) high only
- C4 LED technology, impervious to shock with a 50,000 hour lifetime
- 3 light output levels:
High – 16,000 candela peak beam intensity, 600 Lumens, 1.25 hours runtime
Low – 800 candela peak beam intensity, 33 Lumens, 18 hours runtime
Strobe – 2.5 hours runtime
- Multi-function, push-button tail switch for one-handed operation
- Optimized electronics provide regulated intensity
- Durable anodized machined aircraft aluminum construction
- Anti-roll head prevents the light from rolling away when you set it down
- Removable pocket clip
- O-ring sealed glass lens
- IPX7; waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes
- 1 meter impact resistance tested
- Uses two 3V CR123A lithium batteries (included)
- Includes nylon holster
- Barrel diameter: 1.0″ (2.54 cm)
- Length: 5.40″ (13.7 cm)
- Weight: 5.6 oz. (159g) with batteries
- Limited lifetime warranty