Just mere life is not victory, just mere death is not defeat.

Search The Knowledge

Streamlight Protac HL USB

According to Streamlights description: "Streamlight’s ProTac is a high lumen tactical light that is USB rechargeable, so it can be charged on-the-go using almost any USB source. It also accepts multiple battery sources to use as a back-up. A multi-function, push-button tail-switch facilitates one-handed operation." It is one of the very first USB rechargeable EDC flashlights which Streamlight has come out with back in 2016.  I have been using Streamlight Stingers on duty and they are rechargeable also, but via car charger or wall charger.  This Protac USB has a micro-usb cord to charge from any standard USB port.  I purchased this Protac USB off of Amazon for around $85 when it first came out in 10/16.

Reason for Purchase:
I carried the Streamlight Protac 2AA until I purchased this Protac USB.  I went with another Streamlight because I was very happy with the performance of the 2AA and I wanted to try a USB charging flashlight, on top of, the need for more lumen output.  I ended up with the Protac HL since I had a micro-usb cord in almost every bag (as was very widely used in 2016) and I got tired of replaced 2AA batteries, even rechargeable batteries.

First Opinion:
Protac USB came with a micro-USB cord which is great, because you always need your fifty-seventh USB cord.  It comes with a pretty decent clip which is one of my biggest issues with various EDC marketed flashlights, their clip works well and can be slightly bent for a little bit more retention.

The Protac USB came with a rechargeable battery and it is a pretty decent one.

The main button is robust and feels like its pretty dense.

The front glass has a slight blue tint to it, I'll touch more about this later on and how it effects the color of the light.

The USB port is covered by a heavy sliding door.

In the Field:
I carried this flashlight everyday until I switched to a Surefire EDCL2-T around July of 2018, which gave me a good two years using the Protac USB everyday in an off-duty capacity.  I had a period of time where I needed to use this flashlight on duty and it worked really well.  I was very content with its overall functionality, specifically the half-press for on-pressure momentary light and a very positive "click" for constant light.  I prefer this type of functionality on a flashlight.

The ten-tap programmable capability of the Protac USB is decent and I played with it a few times, but I ended up just using the flashlight with its default settings.  One half press gives you max lumens, another half press gives you strobe, and another half press gives low beam, in quick succession.

Ownership and Usage:
I have nothing bad to say about this flashlight.  The only detractor I have is that it's about the size of your average cigar, its not skinny in anyway.  Having carried it in my back pocket it did feel like a big heavy rod at times.  That also means it was really sturdy.  I did use it as a hammer on a few instances and it worked pretty well.

The battery life, which I am sure everyone wants to know about, is fantastic.  I have not had the Protac USB turn off due to low battery, not once.  I used it extensively on several occasions while out and about, it worked really well.  There is no low-battery warning of any kind other than Streamlight's "bright-to-low" switch, which shows up when you hit the full lumen flashlight and it auto-dims to low to conserve energy, that's the only way to tell it's got low battery.  I am not going to guess how long of a run-time it has, I know that I went weeks at times between charging it, and other times I would plug the flashlight in while I drove and it would fully charge.  I had a few instances where I had to charge it overnight as I used it before going to sleep.  I think that having to charge it as you drive is the best course of action for this particular flashlight.  I also charged it from a portable battery device, not that I had to, but I was outside and I knew I was going to be using the light for a while and wanted to top it off.

When the Protac USB is fully charged the green light turns on to let you know.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations:
It does not come with one of their new micro-USB charging batteries, they weren't released yet as of the time I bought the Protac HL and I have not tested them to see if they work with it.  I do not see why not, but it's sort of redundant so I wouldn't recommend it.  I ended up going to a Surefire EDCL2-T from this Protac USB, not because I wanted an upgrade but because I carried the Protac USB for more than two years and wanted a change.  I will likely go back to the Protac USB unless there are other options of the same design/format on the market which I may be interested in.  If you are looking for a workhorse of a flashlight, this is definitely it.