ProTac 1L Tactical Flashlight Review – JasonKage


Nowadays you can get “tactical” anything.  A quick Google search of “tactical gear” yields numerous results ranging from tactical pants, tactical boots, tactical bags, tactical gloves,  tactical knives, tactical wallets, tactical pens, tactical hats, and, even, tactical coffee mugs.

Now you can drink coffee like a man, unlike those sissies who ask for cream

Most of this equipment is only good for guys who sit in their BDUs, eating MREs, doing their CBTs, while watching a CDU, and waiting for orders from their CMC.  This last statement is in no way a slight on those who serve in the military; these guys protect our freedom and deserve copious amounts of respect.  Nor is it a jab at those who simply have a thing for tactical gear.  If that’s your thing, go for it.  However, to many of us, most of the stuff of which the “tactical” gear flood is comprised seems just plain redundant, unnecessary, and silly.

Tactical pen, the bane of all muggers and evil standardized tests everywhere

However, there are occasional pieces of gear among the tactical mess that are able to stand their ground against the influx of uselessness and impracticality – if not for the simple reason that they have a use other than being camo-colored or have “tactical” written on the side.  One of these items was given to me yesterday by a good friend of mine.  It’s called the ProTac 1L by Streamlight and it just happens to be, you guessed it, a tactical flashlight.  I know, I know, this sounds like something that crawled out from under the bottom of the tactical crap pile but hear me out.

Firstly, it’s an LED flashlight. It actually has a non-tactical functional use; I mean who hasn’t dropped their keys while trying to get into their car at night, or had a small piece of [insert annoyingly small item here] fall into a dark crevice.   Second, this thing is tiny.  It’s less than an inch in diameter, about 3.35 inches long, and weighs 2 ounces so you can carry it on your person without walking like you have a peg-leg.  Finally, this thing has two main modes of illumination, one significantly brighter than the other (plus a third that will be discussed below).  The brightest mode is freaking bright – about 110 lumens; while the lower mode is about 12 lumens.  This makes a huge difference in battery life (1.75 hrs versus 14 hrs respectively).  Thus, you can conserve battery power when you’re not busy using this thing as a spotlight for your interrogation sessions.

Hang on, I think I've got some AA batteries in my bat pocket...

Now, I have a confession to make. I am a slight, slight tactical gear person.  Yes, I traded my tactical pen in for the flashlight (no seriously, I did).  Being a tactical gear-head, as well as having trained for a while various forms of martial-theory, there are a few things that I notice about this flashlight that help to make it worthy of the label tactical.  The first thing I notice is that it’s made of machined aluminum.  This provides for a stout, lightweight frame, which is impact-resistant, which leads to my second observation.  The flashlight also doubles as an impact-weapon.  Around the rim surrounding the head of the light are 3 depressions – these depressions produce the equivalent of short prongs around the rim of the light.  The rim, by nature of the prongs, has less surface area than it would if the rim were equal in depth throughout its circumference.  Less surface area equals greater psi if one is forced to use the rim of the light to strike and/or manipulate someone with the flashlight.

Having my tac-gear hat on, the next thing I notice about this flashlight is that it has a strobe function.  Allow me to back up a minute; I’d mentioned earlier that the bright mode on this light is “freaking bright” and a big part of what makes this light “tactical” is the fact that it is so bright.  If you were to shine the 110 lumens that this flashlight puts out into someone’s eyes, especially in a dark environment and especially if they’re not expecting it, you’re going to temporarily blind them at least long enough to run or take advantage of those wonderful little prongs I described in the above paragraph.   Given the flashlight’s small size and black-color, it’s likely you could be holding the light without anyone noticing you had it, until you hit their eyes with the beam.  Now that I’ve said all that, you’re saying “so you mentioned something about a strobe function, are you now going to tell me that this is the ultimate in tactical raver gear?”

No this is the untimate in tactical raver gear

Actually, the strobe function takes all the good things that occur when you shine the bright setting in someone’s eyes, and can add disorientation, dizziness, vertigo, and a host of other fun effects.  Notice I say “can,” it is important to know that everyone reacts differently to different stimuli and the strobe-effect may just cause the temporary blindness.  With every non-lethal defense tool (pepper spray, mace, tazers, etc.) there is a chance that the person you try it on will shrug it off.  While I’m on the subject of disclaimers, I also want to say that this flashlight, while very cool, will not make you invincible – and anything that I’ve mentioned above should not be tried unless it’s truly necessary.

To close I thought I’d throw in a little trivia.  The tactical crowd wasn’t the first to pick up on the fact that flashlights could be used as a weapon.  Biker gangs used to (and still do) carry around large aluminum flashlights and utilize them as makeshift clubs.  The street name for these flashlights became “kill lights.”  Thus, if you see a guy with a large Maglite hanging from his belt be sure to give him a wide berth.

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8 Comments to “ProTac 1L Tactical Flashlight Review – JasonKage”

  1. Hey you are right on about the tactical crap out there. I have the mini Streamlight. I might pick one of these up

  2. @glockman1727ak47
    Yeah, it seems purveyors of certain items will try to slap “tactical” on the side of anything in order to market it to the right crowd. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that but it just seems like it’s all a bit too much sometimes. Anyway, this flashlight is quite useful for me. In the course of my workday, I frequently have to make trips to the local courthouse(s) and, while I could probably sneak my knife in there with just a flash of my admission badge, I’m an honest man – thus I refrain from doing so. That doesn’t mean I want to set foot in there without anything at all, however. My tac pen (yes I’m confessing again that I own one) is made of black aluminum and is pointed on the non-ink end, so I have the feeling it would raise a few eyebrows if it were to be noticed. With the flashlight I don’t have that problem, and it’s actually less of a pain to carry because it’s about 2 or more inches shorter than the pen. Hope the review didn’t ramble on too much for your liking 🙂

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