Streamlight ProTac HL
Does one ever really “need” another flashlight? Don’t we all have more than enough battery eating light machines? I thought so until I read the specs on Streamlight’s ProTac HL (High Lumen). I saw a 600 lumen, 6v compact flashlight made by a respected manufacturer for a super reasonable price (<$70) and thought, “ ’Eh, what’s one more light?” I’ve been super impressed with the ProTac HL. It is a handy light that is just the right size for belt carry. It is much more compact than its bigger rechargeable duty light brothers. It even fits, bezel up, in a popular hard molded duty belt holster than accommodates bezel up/down carry for other lights. You just have to be sure to line up the pocket clip in on one of that holster’s rear channels.
The HL’s bezel is a little bit bigger than comparably sized lights but its 600 lumen output more than makes up for the increased size. It eats standard CR123A batteries. The light uses Streamlight’s C4 LED that ensures bulb longevity and increased runtime.
The light also features Streamlight’s TEN-TAP programming. This allows you to choose between three button push configurations – high/strobe/low, high only, low/high. I got a little frustrated at first because the instructions tell you to quickly tap the tailcap button nine times and hold it down on the tenth until the light shuts off. This is supposed to then cycle the button’s activation scheme to the next program. It took me a while before I got the hang of it and now it is easy to switch the program should I ever want to but I prefer the high only setting. Few things are more annoying than needing blinding light and getting the low setting or strobe. So I don’t give myself the options and I don’t miss them Run time has been comparable to the other 6v compact LED lights that I carry. The HL runs down a little bit quicker but I’m ok with trading off minimal battery life for the level of light this thing cranks out.
The picture below is a bit deceptive. On the left is my issued Streamlight Stinger DS LED. This light’s rating is 350 lumens. The photo shows the HL being much brighter and it was. But the biggest difference between the two was how much throw the HL had up close. As you can see everything at ten yards and in is bathed in light. (To be fair, I used the same 2 second exposure for both lights. The amount of close-in light REALLY shows up in the HL’s pic. Please don’t discount the DS based on the pic however.) The Stinger DS has a much more focused beam. The HL reaches out just as far and farther and spills a lot more light on the way out. Obviously you expect the higher rated light to be brighter, and it was. I guess I wasn’t prepared for how bright things were going to get up close. It was a pleasant surprise.
Since I’ve gotten the HL I’ve used it to search rooms and under one very cluttered mobile home. In late afternoon I was able to illuminate from one end to the other of the underside of the skirted mobile home. The light was bright and crisp enough to give detail to objects at the far end. That was impressive.
If I have a gripe it would be the attached pocket clip. The clip is strong and I don’t fault it for that. It is thin and rather hard to snag the bottom part if you are trying to clip it in a vest pocket or on a piece of webbing. I imagine the width is, by design, optimal for the circumference of the light’s body. I just wish it was a little wider and had a more pronounced flare at the bottom. If you’re looking for a bright pocket light, this isn’t it. The ProTac HL is a bit big to be lugging around in your pocket. But it’s perfect for a duty belt or tac vest. If you don’t need the economy of a rechargeable flashlight the ProTac HL is a durable and really bright duty-capable light at a smoking price.
Available through Amazon Streamlight ProTAC HL as well as many other online retailers.