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I’m a bit of a flashlight enthusiast. I won’t classify it as full flashlight geekdom, in that I don’t go deep into the weeds on specs, but I do want certain performance features and keep trying lights to see what’s new. Flashlight tech really does advance and newer ones are generally better than older ones. Not that an older light still won’t do their jobs, light is light after all, but newer ones tend to do it better. The Streamlight Strion 2020 is a point in case.

The Strion 2020

When I first started police work, more than 20 years ago, the Streamlight Stinger LED was pretty new, and the light to have. LED’s in general were still fairly new and having a rechargeable, duty-rated package was amazing. You had a light much smaller and lighter than a Maglite, and that didn’t require expensive CR123’s which weren’t all that common at the time either. They came with a wall charger and vehicle mount and most of us had multiple batteries for them, or at least those of us that worked the night shift did anyway.

It was a good light and I used it for years, but technology moves on. I eventually replaced it with smaller, brighter lights, with better battery life. I’ve upgraded a good number of times over the years with both my work lights and lights I used off duty for EDC, for camping and general utility use. Many of the lights I’ve had have been Streamlights, and looking at my current rotation, I mainly use a Wedge and Wedge XT for EDC and have a Streamlight Scorpion XL as my current issue duty light. I even still have the old aluminum D cell Streamlight I got when I was 14 or 15. I upgraded it with an LED bulb along the way, and it still sees fairly regular use.

The Strion 2020 is a new release and it reminds me a lot of that first Stinger I used, but a lot has changed in 20 years. The Strion 2020 is a rechargeable light that’s a little more compact than those early Stingers at only 6.33 inches long, and weighs 5.7 ounces. It has three brightness modes, a 1,200 Lumen high, a 460 Lumen medium and a 120 lumen low setting. Battery life is 1.75 hours, 5.5 hours and 12 hours respectively. There’s also a strobe mode with a 3.5 hour run time. Like the Model T you can get it any color you want, as long as what you want is black. It’s made from machined aircraft aluminum with an anodized finish and has a knurled texture along the body of the light.

Going back to the opening statement about being a light enthusiast, but not a geek, I never paid close enough attention to candelas before. I always lumped it in with Lumens. They aren’t the same though. Lumens are a measurement of total light, whereas candelas measure intensity, or throw. So you could have a really bright light, with high lumens, but poor throw. Meaning it may be bright but may not have that much range. Putting light on target is what you usually want so if you want a light that reaches out further, a higher candela could be more important than a high lumen rating. Optimally you get a black of both for a general duty light.

With that said, the Strion 2020 has 28,000 candelas on high, 10,000 on medium and 3,000 on low. So, in this case, as you step up in power, you not only get more light, but further reach.

The Strion 2020 comes with a charger holder that comes with both a vehicle power port cord and a wall cord. Spare cords, chargers, batteries, lenses and holsters are available. The Strion came charged, but I tossed it on the charger just to top it off anyway. Fully charging the light takes 4.5 hours if you’re going from a dead battery. LED indicator lights on the charger indicate charging status and the side mounted switch on the light itself indicates current charge.

The Strion 2020  has two buttons and a switch. A side and tailcap mounted power button. A light press gives you momentary light, a hard press is for steady on. A 3-position switch on the side of the light, just behind the light head, allows you to select low, medium and high settings. The light defaults to whatever position the switch is in when you turn it on next. I much prefer this system to ones where you have to cycle the  light using the button to get the setting you want.

For police work or EDC in conjunction with a concealed weapon, I typically want the light to come on in high mode. If I need light I want it immediately, I don’t want to cycle through settings to get where I need to be. On the flip side, if I’m using the light camping or as a utility light, especially in a tent, or in an enclosed space, I might prefer the light come on in low mode. That generally provides plenty of light for utility tasks and doesn’t blind you when you turn it on in a tight environment.

Uses

I think the Strion 2020 would make an excellent duty light for police or security officers. It’s way more compact than a D-cell Maglight or the old aluminum Streamlights, but still a little big for pocket EDC carry. It would ride nicely in a belt holder, which is available from Streamlight, or in a duty bag. It would also be great for doing maintenance and repair work. The low setting is great for working up close but if you need some throw to check the status of something up on a telephone pole, something mounted high on the ceiling or out on a roof, having the medium and high settings would come in handy. It’s also a great light to have camping or around the house.

I’ve used the light over the past couple months around the house, and on a camping trip. Around the house is nice because I can pop it back into the charger between uses and just leave it there, ready to go. Battery life is good, but it never hurts to stay topped off. I’ve used it for a myriad of things on the low and medium settings in the house like when I needed more light working on projects in the garage, running cable through my drop ceiling and outside at night to see if the raccoons are getting into my bird feeders. The high setting definitely has good throw to it, and I could easily reach out to the wood line and have plenty of light on target.

Camping also showed the utility of the variable light settings. I Jeep camped, and the high setting would be blinding inside the vehicle, but low was just right to get situated at night or find things after dark. It was also good around camp to watch for tent and tarp guidelines and navigate the campsite. Don’t ask me about tripping over the metal fire ring when I didn’t have a light with me.

There was a pond adjacent to our campsite and that gave me more distance to try the various light levels out. Low definitely did not have the throw to effectively light up the far side. Medium got me to the shoreline or so, but high had me lighting up the hillside on the other side of the pond.

I used the light a good bit over the three days I was camping and didn’t recharge it at all. It was mostly used on low or medium, with short burst of high use, but I think that’s a pretty typical use pattern.

I did not not shoot with the light, but it would work well with a variety of flashlight techniques. Having both a tailcap and side button gives you options on how you hold and activate the light.

Light it Up

If you’re in the market for a high-power, but versatile light, the Strion 2020 is well with checking out. It’d be a great duty or work light, but also has great potential for camping and as a do-all around the house light. The low setting allows you to use it for utility use without killing your battery, and the high is enough to use for defense either to help disorient an aggressor or to identify and engage a target if need be. I like the dual activation buttons, and love that the light low, medium and high settings have their own independent switch. The fact that Streamlight gives you both a wall and car charging option right out of the box is great, too. The Strion 2020 is selling for about $160 online and is available on Amazon and through other Streamlight dealers.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. For my needs(which ain’t much)I get 3 for $20 package of led flashlights. And I saw a 3 pack including batteries at Cabela’s for $20. Literally have a flashlight in every room & vehicle.

  2. I have a bit of a flashlight fetish myself. Saw one at Home Depot this weekend, about the size of a magic marker, rechargeable, and bright as hell. Had no price so i ran it across one of the self checkout silos for a price check. 77$. No can do right now.

    • “I wired a tin pie plate behind the kerosene lantern.”

      You improvised, adapted, and overcame… 😉

      • My mom wrote an article about me coon hunting when I was a kid, it was published in Bill Boatmans ” Full Cry” magazine.
        That was a long time ago.

      • Got some of that too but no coal miners lamp.
        We used to put it in a fruit jar with a little water screw the lid down tight and toss it in the river.

  3. Eh…the trend or standard these days is a rechargeable light via USB with an 18650 battery and the ability to use 2 or more CR123A disposable batteries. Also, ideally, tail cap needs to have a surround so you can tail stand it for use as a lamp. Would never depend on a rechargeable only light to work when you need it to.

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