Streamlight MicroStream, Protac 1AA and Protac HL


Description:
Streamlight MicroStreamStreamlight Protac 1AA, Streamlight Protac HL - Link to descriptions.

All the listed flashlights have the C4 LED that Streamlight has recently been putting into each of their flashlights.  The Protac 1AA and HL are both ten-tap programmable flashlights which you can switch the High-Strobe-Low order of occurrence, works really well for hard use flashlights that you want a specific option only and not others.  I purchased all the above from Amazon (see links above), since they have the best deals.


Reason for Purchase:
I own four MicroStream's, three that I have for duty work and one for off duty.  The first I purchased well over 3 years ago.  Why do I have three MicroStream flashlights for duty you ask? Primarily because they are super small and you can put them anywhere, they work for paperwork and very specific lighting situations at 28 lumens and because I do not carry flash bangs, these are $19 a piece, expendable for those types of situations where I have to throw them into a dark room/hallway/etc.  For summer EDC, carrying a massive flashlight is just annoying and bulky with shorts.  The MicroStream is small, yet powerful enough to do what I want.


I purchased the Protac 1AA a few months back to EDC for the winter since it fits well into a jacket pocket and is not in the full-size flashlight range, but still pretty hefty and durable.  The single AA battery option is awesome since they are very plentiful and I carry a few in my bag.  At 70 lumens it is just enough to do a lot of work, without being too cumbersome, and provide adequate light in most situations even tactical.

The Protac HL is a beast, a buddy of mine bought one and I wondered where it had been all my life. So I bought one last year.  I bought it as a backup to my Streamlight Stinger DS LED HL (Sunday Pix post).  The Protac HL pushes out 600 lumens of eye bleaching pain.  I have used it several times on duty and while its not rechargeable, and CR123's can be a pain to get, the flashlight is extremely bright and will hurt if you look at it too long.  I knew that it will eventually be a supplemental weapon light for one of my rifles.


First Opinion:
The MicroStream comes in a clear plastic heat sealed container, with an AAA battery.  You pop it out and put it together, pretty simple really.  It comes with an extra push button, which I lose quickly, but I have yet to need to replace any of the MicroStreams buttons they hold up well with hard use.  The light was smaller than I expected.  About half the size of a normal Bic pen, except with a clip.  No I have never used the clip the way it is advertised on the streamlight website I have never clipped it to my cap, but having the option is cool I guess.  It also comes with a lanyard, but good luck finding it, I don't use it, don't need it and probably toss it in the trash, I don't remember.

The Protac 1AA comes in the same clear plastic container the MicroStream does and has the same add-on's.  It was much brighter than I originally expected.  The fact it goes from high to strobe to low is very cool, especially in the size of it.  It has a small strike bezel, which is good to have even though the flash is just long enough to fit in my hand.  The clip is removable and able to be flipped (don't know why you would, but you can if you want to), and it is ten-tap programmable.

The Protac HL comes in the same clear plastic container the MicroStream and 1AA does, no lanyard but comes with a clip and two CR123 batteries.  Mine does not have a clip because I removed it since I just took it off a rifle to take pictures of.  This thing is bright, and by bright I mean really bright.  Much brighter than I originally thought it would be.  For the size, the output is amazing.


In the Field:
The MicroStream has performed exceptionally well over the years I have owned them.  I have thrown them into dark rooms, dark hall ways, against walls and dropped them numerous times.  It is a very hard working flashlight.  For its size and the abuse I put it through, it should have broken multiple times over, but yet it keeps on running.  The battery life on them is extremely good.  I replace the batteries in my main duty backup light once every 3-4 months, which is awesome.  The EDC MicroStream for the summer I have yet to replace the battery on.  You do have to get used to the click of the button to turn the light to constant on.  It is not the same as other flashlights and requires a very specific method of pushing, which I have yet to find in a different flashlight.  The light is meant to be a momentary on type of light, but does have the constant on function.


The Protac 1AA is an excellent all around flashlight.  Out of the box it worked the way it was designed and I have no complaints about it.  It has become my EDC flashlight and I have done a lot of work with it outside of normal EDC functions (like checking for stuff I dropped under the seat).  The 70 lumens which it outputs sounds like nothing, but its actually pretty capable.


The Protac HL has been abused, a lot.  I have dropped it, ran it over, hit stuff with it and it sat on the end of my SR15 during a recent Bennie Cooley class. I have no complaints to its ability.  Only issue I found is that if you want to keep buying CR123 batteries you are going to go to the poor house.  So I went on amazon and purchased some rechargeable batteries and they have worked extremely well.  I always have an extra four batteries with me just in case the batteries die during use and the design allows for extremely easy swapping.  This is an extremely capable and bright flashlight that is under-appreciated.  At the Cooley class it was extremely bright during the night shoot, so much so that it lit up the entire half of the range at 50 yards.


Ownership and Usage:
All three flashlights have their place in the world of tactical lights.  The MicroStream and Protac 1AA have a very wide usage range and the price is not something that will break the bank.  The Protac HL has a niche use, since its just too big (in my opinion) to EDC (unless in a backpack) but is just perfect for duty and/or rifle light.  It is so bright that inside a structure you will blind anyone you point at it.  The MicroStream is cheap enough to have multiples of to keep around the house, your car and in a backpack or EDC bag.  The Protac 1A is the right size for EDC and has ten tap versatility which puts it above many other flashlights in the same category.  The Protac HL is slightly cheaper than other flashlights with the same output, but its non-rechargeable, which may be an issue.


Size comparison Protac HL to MicroStream:


HL on my SR15:


Final Thoughts and Recommendations:
There are literally dozens of flashlights out there, most flashlights, from my experience, do not have the same quality as the Streamlight brand.  Surefire, Fenix and Nitecore seem to be the go to brands, alongside Streamlight for most people.  Where I work, everyone uses Streamlights and those that do not use Streamlights, use Surefire.  All three of the listed flashlights have competitors that offer nearly identical specs, design and warranty.  I would suggest if you are in the market for a specific flashlight or a flashlight for a specific task, that you do your research such as reading reviews like this one.  For me Streamlight is everything I need and more at a very affordable price.



Update 6/2/14:
I decided to put the Protac HL flashlight on my 11.5 BCM for an HD gun setup.  I used a Haley Strategic Thorntail mount w/ a 1 inch ring.  I used this mount in the Cooley class so I know its pretty sturdy.



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