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Streamlight Professional ProTac HL Flashlights – Small in Size, Large in Performance

September 28, 2016
Bill Waugaman , Ohio Valley Outdoors

Sooner or later, you'll loose your favorite flashlight, or it will get broken, or it will finally be time to just get a new one. With continual advancements in battery technology and LED lighting, there is a wide variety of excellent flashlights available to the general public. For anyone who enjoys outdoor activities, a good flashlight is a necessity.

For myself, I want a high quality flashlight that is relatively small, light weight and has high output. Having these features will drive the price up, but it is well worth the investment. An internet search gave me a starting point to see what is available. The first decision was choosing the manufacturer. Streamlight offered a very wide selection, had a lot of positive feedback on their products, and they are located in Eagleville, PA.

Scanning through their lines of flashlight, the ProTac series fit my needs the best. It became a toss-up between the ProTac HL3 High Lumen Professional Tactical Light and the ProTac HL High Lumen Professional Tactical Light.

Article Video

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ProTac HL3ProTac HL
Lithium Batteries (included)(3) 3V CR123A(2) 3V CR123A
Length7.1”5.4”
Barrel diameter1.0”1.0”
Head diameter1.64”1.375”
Weight with batteries9.3 oz.5.6 oz.
High Output*1,100 lumens750 lumens
36,000 candela18,300 candela
2 hrs run time1.25 hrs run time
Low Output*35 lumens35 lumens
1,200 candela900 candela
43 hrs run time18 hrs run time
Strobe (high output)2 hrs run time2.5 hrs run time
Effective Range (high)379 meters (414 yds.)270 meters (295 yds.)
Effective Range (low)69 meters (75 yds.)60 meters (65 yds.)

* Lumen: a measurement of the total quantity of visible light. Candela: the standardized scientific measurement of luminous intensity in a given direction; a modern term for what was commonly referred to as candlepower.

Article Photos

ProTac HL3 and ProTac HL

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Both lights have some common features:

** C4 LED technology, 50,000 hours run time, impervious to shock

** TEN-TAP Programming using the push-button tail switch

** 3 light output levels

** Anodized aircraft grade aluminum construction

** Aluminum reflector with plated, mirrored finish

** Anti-roll head design

** Removable pocket clip with a loop for attaching a lanyard

** Tempered glass lens with an anti-reflective coating

** O-ring sealed glass lens

** IPX7 Waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes

** Impact resistant to 1 meter

** Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Compliant

** Limited lifetime warranty

Both reflectors are shaped in such a way that that the center cone of the beam is focused into a 6-8 angle and is surrounded by less intense halo that covers a 60-65 angle. At 25 yards, the intense center cone of light is about 8 feet in diameter and the surrounding illuminated area is about 100 feet in diameter. The reflectors are slightly different in the HL and the HL3. The HL reflector has a 'dimpled' mirrored finish that blends the light from the center beam into the halo; the HL3 has a smooth mirrored finish that gives a more defined pattern between the center beam and the halo.

The TEN-TAP Programming allows the user to choose how the light functions. Using the push button tail switch, you can change how the ProTac light functions based on one of three preprogrammed settings. You can select the 'high/strobe/low', the 'low/high' or the 'high only' programming. From the factory, the TEN-TAP Programming is set to 'high/strobe/low'. To select a certain function, partially depress the tail switch repeatedly to cycle through the different functions. When the light is functioning as desired, completely depress the tail switch to keep the light in the desired function. This works the same for 'low/high' programming. For the 'high only' programming, the tail switch functions like a typical on/off switch.

The design engineers for Streamlight incorporated two enhancements into the head of these lights. First, the outside of the head has three areas that are flat. This prevents the light from rolling around. Second, the outside edge around the lens is not flat; it has a wide notch in three places. If this light is on and put face down on a flat surface, the notches allow light to come out on the sides so you can tell the light is still turned on, and the notches allow some of the heat generated by the high-output LED to escape.

The barrel and tail cap are knurled for a secure grip. The HL3 comes with a rubber sleeve that fits over the barrel for an even better grip especially if your hands are cold or the light is wet.

Both of these lights have a serial number stamped on the barrel. When registered with Streamlight, this is used for lifetime warranty purposes. The serial number also makes it possible for the light to be returned to the rightful owner if recovered after being lost or stolen.

Batteries are included with these ProTac lights. Unlike some manufacturers who will include cheap batteries (or no batteries) to save on costs, Streamlight included DuraCell Ultra Lithium batteries with these two lights. When it comes time to replace the batteries, the instructions specifically state not to use rechargeable batteries in these lights.

Both lights come with a nylon sheath. The sheath has a flap with Velcro to secure the light in place and it has straps on the back for attaching around a belt or strap. The lights fit in their sheath even with the pocket clip attached.

Reviewing and evaluating any product is almost always a learning experience. With flashlights, when the manufacturer states the range of a specific light, how do they arrive at that number; is it advertising hype or a quantitative measurement? I posed this question to Streamlight about their HL and HL3 lights and found out that "most all Streamlight products are evaluated against the ANSI/NEMA FL1-2009 Flashlight Basic Performance Standard which introduced testing methods for flashlight basic performance as well as associated markings. The standard helps customers rate and compare the most important features of lighting tools, including peak beam intensity, beam distance, impact resistance, run time, light output and water resistance."

When deciding which one would fit your needs, it becomes a choice based on personal preferences. For myself, the HL (smaller size, less weight) would be great for deer hunting when you're walking in or out of the woods in darkness, or going fishing before sunrise or staying after sunset. For camping, hiking or boating in remote areas, or hunting at night, the HL3 (brighter light, longer range, longer run time) would be my choice. Your use for these lights may be different, but there is one common denominator both of these lights can be use for multiple outdoor activities, and they are both very good.

Warranty: With proof of purchase, Streamlight warrants this product to be free of defects for a lifetime of use except for batteries and bulbs, abuse and normal wear. This limited lifetime warranty also excludes rechargeable batteries, chargers, switches and electronics that have a 2-year warranty.

MSRP for the ProTac HL High Lumen Professional Tactical Light is $135. The ProTac HL3 is $20 more at $155. Shopping around, you can find both of these lights at a substantial savings. For more information about the HL and HL3 lights, and all of the other Streamlight products, check out their website at: www.streamlight.com.

 
 

 

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