The flashlight business is continuing to grow as people are understanding the importance of having good visibility at night when working, camping, or defending themselves. Streamlight has a good variety of lights on the market with a good history of quality and customer service behind them. The light I am taking a look at today was a light I just picked up because it was on clearance for $15. I didn't look at the brand, but merely checked to see if the high output setting was sufficient to serve as a small backup light. Through the years, I have come to like this light more and more. I learned a great many things about this light and came to respect it. In this article, i want to share a few of the things I have learned.
The Streamlight ProTac 1L light is not the smallest light that is offered by Streamlight, but it is quite compact compared to the other handheld lights they offer. It is less than 4" in length, and just under an inch in width at its widest point. This light just barely fits in my hand all the way without my hand interfering with the beam while working the tail switch with my thumb. It almost feels like my hand swallows the light up, even with my smaller hands. If this light were any smaller, I don't think I could use it without struggling to hold it just right. However, this size and weight puts the ProTac 1L in a terrific spot as one of the best options for a concealable handheld light, or just a small pocket light for camping or other utility uses.
Streamlight is a trusted name when it comes to flashlights. This is because they have some of the most durable designs on the market, and the ProTac 1L is no exception. The body of the light is a 6000 series Aluminum Alloy commonly used for constructing weapon and aircraft parts that need to have good corrosion resistance, but only require medium strength. I imagine that being corrosion resistant is extremely important for a flashlight since we will be expected to be handling it alot and not taking very good care of it. The 6000 series of Aluminum is also very easy to process and make things out of, which is probably a big consideration for companies like Streamlight. If they were to build the lights out of a 7000 series Aluminum Alloy, they would likely need to do heat treating and they would have to deal with degraded corrosion resistance as well.
The light utilizes the C4 LED light in a narrow and deep channel that allows this light to project 350 lumens or 5100 candela. On the high setting, this light can run for about 2 hours while the lower settings will offer a slightly longer battery life. The overall life of the LED is estimated to be about 50,000 hours on the high setting.
The idea behind a tactical and utility handheld light are pretty similar, as far as standards we have for both. in both styles of light, we want them to be light and no bigger than necessary to get the job done. We like to have a light that offers the right amount of lumens for the task at hand. Generally speaking, tactical lights need to have as many lumens and as much light as possible. Utilitarian lights can usually get away with lower lumen counts as long as the end goal of low light visibility is achieved. Lastly, no one is going to fall in love with a cheap light or one that has a ridiculous price tag attached to it. We want it to be affordable, but also have a good build quality to it. This is why companies like surefire, streamlight, Fenix, and even Olight are good and well trusted names that you will find people favoring. Fenix drive a pretty good bargain for the product you are getting. They are priced well, and they give options and high lumens for the size. Also, the quality of the light in terms of the hot spot and such are pretty well regarded throughout.
USE IN PRACTICE
I will not deny that this light falls short of perfection. It is a good size, but I feel that the size and parts of the design on the body and tail switch can prevent the user from employing it with a firearm. Because it lacks knurling and has a pretty good guard around the tail switch, it can be quite tedious or impossible to use this light in a cigar/syringe technique. Also, I feel that sometimes the size of the light is not optimal for what I need in my hand. i have on occasion drawn the light quickly, only to cover the lens with my hand and cause very little light to go through. I feel that it being a half inch longer and adding a few millimeters to the bell would not only enhance the grip, but give added benefit to the lumen and candela count as well.
As always, as I write this, I am only sharing my own opinions and hoping to add my drop of experience to the pool of experience out there. i love this light as it is the best light that I know of for the job of concealed carry and quick utility. I know it has some shortcomings, but in general, they are small in comparison to what the light offers, and I have adapted to them somewhat. However, i would always be happy to take more lumens.
Do It Rite
Alaska-Based Youtube Vlogger, Retired Marine, gun enthusiast, and passionate firearm and gear evaluator.