|Streamlight ProTac 2AAA|
This is my review on the Streamlight ProTac 2AAA flashlight. This is one flashlight in Streamlight's ProTac series of lights. I've been carrying this light around for the past few months, and I have say that I love it. I'll go over some of the technical details in a minute, but I want to share with you the intended use for a light such as this. First off, it's not really a "tactical" light, though the name suggests it, ie: Pro"Tac." It's an everyday carry light. What do I mean by "everyday carry?" For the uninitiated, everyday carry is just that, or EDC for short. Everyday carry items can be anything from a small pocket knife to a flashlight, such as this, a pocket sized multi-tool, or any other item (aka: gear) that you think you would need everyday.
For instance, my EDC system consists of a lock-back pocket knife, a Leatherman Juice S2 multi-tool, a flashlight, and typically another small keychain knife, which includes tweezers, tiny screwdrivers, a toothpick, a very small knife, and a bottle opener. I also carry a gun, but that varies depending on my mood. For the most part, the items mentioned above do not change, and they go everywhere with me, no matter what.
Not all people are mechanics, however. The one thing we all have in common is we all have the need for a small flashlight at one time or another. Trying to find your keys in the dark can be a real chore. Or perhaps you lost a small screw behind a desk and need to find it. Maybe you dropped something in the foot well of your car and the dome light doesn't illuminate where you need the light. Or perhaps the power goes out and you suddenly find yourself groping in the dark for the candles and battery operated lantern - or ironically, another flashlight. The point is that no matter who you are, or what your situation is, you could always use a small, rather powerful light on your person.
|ProTac 2AAA top, Maglite Bottom|
|Maglite left, ProTac 2AAA right|
The head also has an anti-roll feature, with three flats machined out of the aluminum housing. Since you always want to set your flashlights down, as shown in the picture above (never on the bezel), the anti-roll flats on the head will keep the flashlight from, eh, rolling away from you. If you have the clip on it still, then it really isn't going anywhere.
ProTac 2AA flashlight, which is basically the same light, but it runs on AA batteries instead of AAA. You also get 120 lumens for 1.75 hours. The features are virtually identical, however, it is good to note that this light is obviously larger than the ProTac 2AAA model. The major advantage of the 2AA flashlight over the 2AAA flashlight is that it uses more readily available AA batteries instead of the harder to find AAA variety. By harder to find, I don't mean that AAA batteries are rare, but I don't see them on every shelf that stocks AA batteries. In many cases, AA batteries are less expensive than AAA batteries. If I wasn't so terribly concerned about keeping a small and light footprint for my everyday carry, I might just opt for the ProTac 2AA instead. The price difference between the two is negligible. At $35.68 on Amazon Prime, it really comes down to needs and preference over cost.
New in Streamlight's lineup are the ProTac 1L and ProTac 2L series of lights. These are the same lights, except they use either one or two CR123 batteries. I like them. At 180 lumens for 2.5 hours for the 2L and 110 lumens for 1.5 hours for the 1L, each does a lot for giving you options. If you are running a lot of CR123 powered lights, these might be the route for you. Of course, that is also the downside of these 1L and 2L lights. They use expensive and harder to find CR123 batteries, and the run times are about the same as the ProTac 2AA and 2AAA models. For everyday carry, the 1L and 2L don't offer anything that my 2AAA doesn't already have, except for higher light outputs and more money spent on batteries that are harder to find and more expensive than the run of the mill AA or AAA batteries you can buy at 7-11.
Now, if I was to buy one of the two, 1L or 2L, I'd get the 2L. The reason is that I obviously want the 180 lumen output that it throws. It might be a good EDC option for when your size and weight constraints aren't as pressing. I can't see any reason I would get the 1L because if I was determined to get a really compact light, I'd get the ProTac 2AAA because despite the fact that it is longer, it is much slimmer in the main body and hides in my pants pocket easier.
ProTac 1AA, which is nice and compact, yet runs readily available AA batteries. The major downside is that you are restricted to 50 lumens instead of 110 from the 1L and even the 80 from the 2AAA model, or the 120 from the 2AA model. However, for my use, a good EDC light will be 50 lumens or above. Since it's not a tactical light, it's not entirely imperative to have the most lumens in the world. Finding your car keys at night does not require 180 lumens of light. It requires enough to see. 50 lumens is ideal for that. But since I prefer between 80 and 100 lumens for everyday carry, I went with the ProTac 2AAA model. By the way, all the aforementioned lights are waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
So, if I didn't have any of these, and was in the market for one, which would I buy? Well, that's going to depend. I have a lot of flashlights that run CR123 batteries anyway, so it only makes sense for me to choose another CR123 powered light. At $40 on Amazon Prime, the 2L is $10 more expensive than the ProTac 2AAA, and boasts more than double the light output, which means it could cross over and be a small tactical light if necessary. For EDC, I'd still go with the ProTac 2AAA because of the overall slim design. If I was going for a more tactical loadout, the 2L would get the nod.