Things That Don’t Suck: Streamlight ProTac HL USB Rechargeable Flashlight

You never know when or where you’ll need to light up the night. And not just to illuminate a potential target in a defensive situation.

Life presents its challenges. You could have a flat tire on a lonely 2-lane road on your way home. You might be assembling one of those annoying IKEA cabinet units and need some extra light in an interior corner. Or maybe you dropped something that rolled under the bed and, well, it’s dark under there.

Streamlight’s ProTac HL USB flashlight is notable because it will run off of three different power sources. It comes with a rechargeable USB battery. But if that runs down, it will also run on an 18650 cell or a couple of CR123A batteries you can find in almost any grocery store or gas station.

I’ve owned this light for about five year and it lives in my car’s center console. I keep it tethered to one of the USB ports in there so it’s always with me and always fully charged.

It puts out 850 lumens on its high setting for over an hour if I need that much (I rarely do) or about 85 lumens on low beam for 12 hours. You can switch between those two intensities and a strobe setting with Streamlight’s easy Ten-Tap programming feature. You can also switch it to a low/medium/high configuration.

This flashlight isn’t small (about 6.5 inches in length) and you could use it as a decent bludgeon if you had to (it weighs 7.2 oz). It’s not cheap ($75 online). But the ProTac HL USB is tough, water-resistant, versatile and always ready. It’s a great option for an emergency preparedness kit or go bag.

It definitely doesn’t suck.

comments

  1. avatar Thixotropic says:

    I have 2 Streamlight weapon lights.

    A TLR-1 500 Lumen that I use on my EDC G32 and a TLR-1 HPL 750 Lumen with a large reflector that I use on the light rails on the Grip-Pods on my Carbines.

    I like both as much or more than my Surefire X-300B XL.

    Good battery life and the perfect amount of light.

    They Don’t Suck.

  2. avatar Mmhmm says:

    Slow day

  3. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

    Streamlight makes good gear. If I didn’t already have two Fenix PD-35 lights this would be an attractive offering.

    I have a box with old Streamlights in it that are past their product life…a dead SL-20 and a handful of equally dead aluminum and poly Stingers…nostalgia (spouse just says I’m a packrat).

  4. avatar LifeSavor says:

    I have a bunch of inexpensive but reliable flashlights staged throughout the house. I check them regularly, they always work. The biggest problem is getting my wife and daughter to return them to their staging places after use.
    My EDC light is a Nebo 120 lumen “bigger-than-a-pen-but-still-a-pocket-carry” light. Lightweight, low and high settings, strobe. Runs on 2 AAAs. $20 at my favorite, family run hardware store.
    Love the idea of the stream lights but cannot coax $75 out of my wallet for one.

  5. avatar Forrest says:

    I have had one of these for about two years. If you don’t think it sucks, you just haven’t carried it enough. It’s half a pound with battery. Pelican makes a similar sized light in the 7600 that has much better features at a lower weight (and about $20 cheaper) while the 7100 is just about as perfect as you can get if you’re willing to drop down to ~750 lumens instead of ~1,000.

    Any way you go though, the streamlight is just way too heavy for 2019

  6. avatar strych9 says:

    “I keep it tethered to one of the USB ports in there so it’s always with me and always fully charged.”

    LiIon and NiCd batteries don’t like this kind of treatment over the long term. You need to cycle that battery occasionally.

    1. avatar Drew says:

      Thanks for the tip Professor Poindexter.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Here’s another tip for ya, Drew:

        Try really, really, really hard not to be what might be termed a “cocksucker” when advertising your own lack of useful knowledge.

        If you’re going to be ignorant try not being ignorant and a twat because then you’re an ignorant twat.

        No one likes an ignorant twat, but they’ll generally put up with people who are just ignorant.

        “The more you know” *flying rainbow sparkles*.

        1. avatar Drew says:

          ok. And thanks again Poindexter.

    2. avatar sound awake says:

      the manual…
      that came with mine…
      the one that streamlight…
      the maker of the light…put in the box…
      says basically:
      “you can leave it plugged in”

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        What the manual says doesn’t change the chemistry of how the battery works.

      2. avatar Geoff "Hurry-up and *die*, Ruthie" PR says:

        “you can leave it plugged in”

        Streamlight isn’t using a magic battery that no one else uses. Those kinds of batteries don’t like being kept on a ‘float’ charge, it can seriously reduce the battery’s capacity.

        Rechargeables in general make poor long-term storage batteries. They *excel* at frequent and daily-use situations, but not for when they will sit unused for long periods of time.

        Strych happens to be right on that one…

  7. avatar Anner says:

    We’re in a golden age of handheld lights. We can thank Cree for the early 2000’s revolution, and everyone that piggy-backed on Surefire’s engineering.

    1. avatar Geoff "Hurry-up and *die*, Ruthie" PR says:

      Nichia as well, they developed the first sort-of white light LED (early ones had a ghastly blue hue to them).

      Good LEDs now have a decent ‘warm’ quality of light to them, and prices are plummeting. There’s no really good reason not to use them today…

  8. avatar JS says:

    I have this light as well. Only had a couple 9f months but it IS all it’s cracked up to be. Also…. Only $53 on Amazon…

  9. avatar Draven says:

    rechargable lights like this don’t keep their charge long if left in your car a few days.

    1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

      …and that’s why my car flashlights all have 123a’s in them…resistant to low / high temps and a slow self-discharge.

      1. avatar Geoff "Hurry-up and *die*, Ruthie" PR says:

        Damn straight, dry lithium 123A batteries can sit for 10 years and still be usable…

  10. avatar Bud Harton says:

    And Olight beats all of those named hands down. Y’all need to move into the 21st century and see what modern flashlight companies are offering. Just read or watch a review on the Olight Warrior X compared to the rest of the dinosaurs named.

    1. avatar SkorpionFan says:

      Bud, I agree. I have been replacing/upgrading my handheld and weapon lights with Olights. Higher performance and lower cost than similar products from other companies.
      Maybe we can get some more reviews on Olights in TTAG?

  11. avatar sound awake says:

    thought about getting one of these for a weapon light on my 16 inch gun
    until i saw one at the gun store
    the price was right
    but its too big
    too heavy to put that far out in front

    1. avatar SkorpionFan says:

      Check out the Olight The PL PRO Valkyrie weapon light as a possible solution: 1,500 lumen, 3.25 oz. with mount, optional remote pressure switch that connects to magnetic recharger port. Only $130 + $30 for switch.

  12. I use a Wal-Mart purchased Bushnell Pro ( crowned, crenelated, and aggressive…) Rechargeable USB, 850 lumen LED flashlight…reminds me of a surefire L4/L5, but at a cheap SWAT styled upgrade. (Re:has a wall of light beam profile for close to medium range.)
    Also, have and use a Armytek Doberman pro 1700 flashlight.
    A Jetbeam 1200 lm flashlight
    A Fenix, PD35 950lm flashlight. Older model. Still running strong and just as powerful for a pocket light. And a few others that compliment a civilian EDC(with Altec lansing Baby BOOM XL , in tow….For the beats!)

  13. avatar Jericho says:

    Going 4 years now with my Protac HL-USB. Still using the original battery. I only charge it when it runs and I don’t leave it connected to the charger when it’s not charging. I have used 18650 Samsung batteries in it and they work well. The anodization has held up well. It used to be part of my EDC but I switched to a 600 lumen smaller Surefire. It’s my go-to home flashlight now.

  14. avatar B.D. says:

    mmm… light porn. I am recharging my 2L-X at the moment. Microstream as well.

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