I recently picked up a Streamlight PROTAC 1L-1AA tactical light that I saw at a local gun store. The thing that initially attracted me to it is the fact that it will run off of a few different sources.
Like many other lights, it can use a CR123 Lithium battery. They’re great batteries with a very long shelf life, but the downside is that they can be a bit pricey. Unless you work for an agency that will feed your light for you, that might be a factor in your choice of lights.
This light, however, will also accept the commonly available and inexpensively priced AA battery! No modifications are needed to the light; you just pop in whichever battery you decide to use. It is that simple.
Aside from standard AA batteries, the Lithium versions can also be used, and they will give a much longer run time.
There are a few different modes available with this light. The factory default setting is as follows: One press of the end cap gets you the High setting. If you press the cap a second time within .4 seconds, it goes to strobe. A third press in .4 seconds gets you the low setting. You can stop cycling through the settings by merely keeping the tailcap switch pressed in at any time. Or you can press it in until it clicks, in which case the light will stay on until you press it again and click it.
A second programmable option allows you to just program the light in High mode.
The third option allows you to program is so that Low mode comes on first, then High mode.
Personally, I’d like to see a program that lets us access High mode first, then low mode, taking out the Strobe mode, but that is unavailable.
To go through the various programs, the user rapidly presses the tailcap nine times, while holding it down the tenth time until the light turns off (about one second).
Speaking of run times and lumens, and all of the flashlight geek terms, let’s lay out what this light is capable of.
Using a CR123 battery, you can expect 350 lumens for 1 ½ hours on the High setting. The Low mode produces 40 lumens for 14 hours.
With a AA Alkaline battery, High mode gives 150 lumens for 1 hour 20 minutes. Low mode produces 40 lumens for 7 hours 30 minutes. Not too shabby.
If you use a AA Lithium battery, High mode gives 150 lumens for 4 hours 15 minutes, and Low mode is 40 lumens, which lasts for 14 hours. That’s fairly impressive!
This little light gives us quite a few options, both in performance and in power sources. So far, so good!
The Streamlight PROTAC is also waterproof to one meter and drop-tested for two meters. It seems to be a fairly durable light so far in my testing (no, I’m not diving with it, nor jumping out of airplanes).
The light has a glass lens and an anodized aluminum body, available in a few colors. I’ve seen black, but my light has a sort of brown/bronze color that I find attractive. The bezel has anti-roll construction (and cutouts for striking) and a pocket clip, which makes it handy. Of course, the bulb is LED.
The PROTAC’s length is 4.25 inches and weight is around 2.5 ounces with batter installed. It is pleasingly light!
Streamlight got the beam right, in that there is a focused portion that reaches out over 100 yards to illuminate subjects. At the same time, there is a nice, broad “throw” that illuminates the surrounding area as well. Both elements of the beam, the focused and the throw, make for a good working light.
Applications for the Streamlight PROTAC are obviously tactical/defensive, but also utilitarian. Personally, I use a light many times per day for utility purposes. It’s nice to have a light that will perform both tasks well. Since many confrontations and attacks occur at night, having a good light available is crucial.
Aside from illuminating targets, the Streamlight can also be used to deliver strikes against attackers, and the bezel has cutouts for this purpose.
The tailcap switch works fairly well; a light press gets you light, and if you relax your grip, the light goes off. This works well for tactical use, since we don’t typically walk around with the light on all the time. Rather, the operator gives a quick flash of light and then moves to a new position so as not to become a stationary (and very convenient) target.
For constant light, press in further until there is a click. For this aspect, the switch is slightly “mushy” when compared to those used by Surefire. The Surefire switches are more firm and give a slightly more positive click. Not a big deal at all, just an observation and mild criticism on my part.
Overall, the Streamlight PROTAC 1L-1AA is a nice light that appears to be durable and performs well. Given the price point, it will be hard to beat. I’d love to see a rechargeable version in the future. If you’re in the market for a tactical and general use light, this Streamlight ProTac should serve you well. To top it off, Streamlight offers a limited lifetime warranty.
While you’re looking at lights, check out the Streamlight Siege. It’s a camping light, not a weapon light like the Streamlight ProTac 1l-1aa.
You might also be interested in the Streamlight TLR Series of weapon lights.
Be sure to check out what’s on the radar for SHOT Show 2021 On Demand!
See also: Springfield Hellcat: A Micro Workhorse