The Best Tactical LED Flashlight: Streamlight Protac 2L-X USB Review

Streamlight Protac 2L-X Review

Streamlight Protac 2L-X USB

There are dozens, if not hundreds of tactical flashlights available for EDC (Every Day Carry), so let me tell you about an awesome one that you may not have considered. I like it so much, I decided to write a “best tactical LED flashlight review” so I can share what I found!

My pick is the Streamlight Protac 2L-X USB Tactical Flashlight.



If you are reading this article, you are probably in one of these categories:

  1. You already carry a flashlight, but are not happy with it and are looking for something better.
  2. You want to start carrying a tactical LED flashlight, but don’t know which one will suit you.
  3. You can’t stop buying cool flashlights because you love gear!
  4. You are buying a gift for someone. If this is you, you cannot go wrong with my recommended model!

I was in category 1, but honestly I am also a card-carrying member of category 3! I recently changed to a completely different model and I will tell you what my issue was with my former light.

Streamlight size comparison
Streamlight Protac 2L-X size comparison

Over the years I have used a couple of different flashlights for everyday carry, and I just moved to a new one which I think is the best pocket tactical flashlight available, at least for my purposes. There are definitely many fine tactical flashlight that I have not tried, and there are lots of excellent brands that are guaranteed to satisfy. Brands such as Surefire, Fenix, 5.11 and Maglite manufacture some of the best flashlights on the market.

Best Pocket Tactical Flashlight?

There really is no flashlight that is the absolute “best” because it all depends on what you are looking for in a pocket flashlight, and what you expect it to do for you.

These are the things that I want in my search for a great flashlight and why:

  • Easy to Carry in a pocket. If it does not easily slip into my pocket, I may not always have it with me.
  • Great battery life. I want to know that it is going to work when I need it.
  • Rear power switch. If the switch is on the side, I will have to fumble with it to locate the switch. If I need my flashlight, I am probably in the dark, so I do not want to search for the switch.
  • Super durable. I drop stuff all the time.
  • Dual battery configurations. If I cant charge it for some reason, I can always put CR123 batteries in it and I am good to go.
  • Looks cool. Enough said.
  • Better than the lame lights my friends carry. Naturally, it will be. Most of my friends rely on the pathetic iPhone light!
  • Can be used as a contact weapon. There are lots of places that do not let you carry a gun, but they ALL let you carry a flashlight. Just sayin’.
Streamlight Protac 2L-X Bezel

I did a ton of research and read lots of reviews on all makes and models and decided that I would go with the Streamlight Protac 2L-x LED Tactical flashlight for my EDC light. The one brand you will always find on any top ten best tactical flashlight list is Streamlight. That is one reason why this is my preferred brand.

My Streamlight Review: What I like about the Protac 2L-x

First, I will list the features that make this an awesome flashlight, then I will go into detail as to what made me choose this particular light for my EDC.

Pros

Here are the Pros in no particular order:

  • Powerful. 500 lumens is perfect for disorienting an attacker as well as flooding an area with light to see where the heck the dog went when he went after that skunk!
  • Has a low power setting too. My flashlight is with me all the time and for most of my everyday needs, 40 lumens is plenty and it conserves the battery power. No need to nuke everything with 500 lumens!
  • Long run time. This LED light will run on HIGH for 2.75 hours with the CR123A  batteries and 3.25 hours using the included rechargeable 18650 battery! This is really good. On low, you get 40 lumens for 30 hours!
  • Rechargeable. This battery does not need to be charged very often, but I like to charge it once a week so I know it is always ready to go. I already have a ton of devices that need charging on a regular basis (Fitbit, headphones, iPhone, portable bluetooth speaker) that it is no big deal to add the Streamlight.
Best Tactical LED Flashlight Review- Recharging the 18650 Battery
Recharging the 18650 Battery
  • Dual power. Streamlight calls this “Dual Fuel”. I doubt I will ever need to take advantage of this feature, but it is a big one. If I need the light and I am not sure if it is charged, I simply insert a couple CR123A batteries and I am ready to go! And I have a small arsenal of these babies from my prior flashlight!
  • Perfect size. This light fits in my hand comfortably, but sticks out enough that it can easily be used as a striking weapon if necessary. It is 5.14” (13.0 cm) long. Yet it is small enough to carry in most tactical pants. My former Streamlight 1L is a great small flashlight, recommended if a small size is important to you, but it cannot double as anything.
  • Streamlight quality. Streamlight is one of the most reliable, high quality tactical light companies there is. I refuse to buy a cheap knock off. Enough said.
  • Programmable. See the next section for details on this handy feature.
  • Rugged. Drop it, throw it, smash your attacker in the face with it, the light will work like nothing happened!
  • Waterproof. All weather, no worries!
  • Lifetime Limited Warranty. Streamlight backs their products.
  • Here is the Fact Sheet  from Streamlight.

    Cons

    I have two things that make this fall slightly short of the perfect LED Tactical Flashlight:

    • The Streamlight 2L is just a little bit long for EDC, but I wear tactical pants almost all the time so it works for me. A shorter flashlight will fit in more pockets.
    • You must remove the battery from the flashlight in order to charge it. This does keep it waterproof, but it is still a con in my book.

    My Experience with Streamlight flashlights

    The feature that sold me is the dual fuel feature. This flashlight takes either two Type CR123A Lithium batteries, or one 18650 Lithium Ion Rechargeable Battery. It comes with an 18650 battery.

    The main reason I was looking for a new tac light was because the Streamlight 1L I carried for many years (see pic) has one thing that drives me crazy. That thing is that when the battery gets low, the light fails extremely quickly without warning. I am otherwise thrilled with that flashlight, and I do recommend it. I do not believe this is a technical flaw, because the reason this happens is the circuitry is design to get the brightest light for the longest amount of time.

    Best Tactical LED Flashlight Review- My Streamlight Protac 1L Flashlight
    My Streamlight Protac 1L Flashlight

    This is a common issue with the better tactical flashlights, and if you change the battery often, it will not be an issue for you. However, I am cheap, and the CR123A batteries are not!

    I considered several options to fix this issue:

    • Option 1: Carry a spare CR123A battery. I did try this for a while but ultimately did not like to carry a lithium battery in my pocket all the time.
    • Option 2: Carry a backup flashlight. A backup flashlight? I don’t think so!
    • Option 3: Get a flashlight that takes cheaper batteries and replace them often. I considered lights that take AA or AAA batteries that are not nearly as expensive as Lithium CR123As. However, the problem with lights that take AA or AAA batteries is that there is a reason that a lot of tactical flashlights use CR123A or 18650 Lithium Ion batteries. The difference in power output is huge. I was not going to settle for a lot less lumens. It just isn’t cool.
    • Option 4: Find a different flashlight. Winner! I started my search for a flashlight that will not suddenly fail due to a dead battery.

    If you like the small size of the Protac 1L, it is an excellent pocket flashlight and uses one CR123A battery and kicks out 275 lumens on high and 22 on low. Runs 2 hours on high and 24 hours on low! I carried this little powerhouse for years.

    Get yourself some of these CR123A batteries if you are not going to go with the rechargeable.


    2 thoughts on “The Best Tactical LED Flashlight: Streamlight Protac 2L-X USB Review”

    1. Lots of people underestimate the value of a quality flashlight, until they need one. Reliability and durability are key features when it comes to something like a flash light. For some it’s an afterthought and for some having a quality flash light in certain situations can mean life or death. You offer a great product that is not too expensive. Thanks for a quality review about a quality product!

      Reply
      • Danny, thanks for reading my Best Tactical LED Flashlight review and leaving a comment! As I stated in the article, I always carry a flashlight and I expect it to work flawlessly when I need it!

        Dave

        Reply

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