Streamlight ProTac HL USB

I have a confession to make. I really like Streamlight’s products. I have yet to test one out that doesn’t exceed all expectations. Plus, the prices aren’t generally crazy high like they are with some other flashlight companies. I’ve seen “tactical” lights out there for a couple hundred bucks or more and they don’t perform any better than ones for half or less.

I’ll tell you up front, though, the Streamlight ProTac HL USB isn’t an inexpensive purchase. Here on Amazon, it goes for a little more than $100. That’s pretty pricey, yes. But, you get an awful lot for your money.

The HL USB has three levels of illumination, plus a strobe.

High – 850 lumens
Medium – 350 lumens
Low – 85 lumens

Obviously, the level of illumination will affect the run time on a set of fresh batteries. On high, figure about 1.5 hours, medium about 4 hours, and low 12 hours. That’s all give or take and not necessarily accurate down to the second. Generally speaking, the low setting will suffice for most day-to-day (or should that be night-to-night?) tasks. So, if that’s the case, why would you want 850 lumens?

Here’s the thing. When you’re out and about in the middle of the night and it is darker than a coal digger’s butt, the last thing you want is a light that just isn’t quite bright enough to handle the job. I guarantee the Streamlight ProTac HL USB will shine further than you can probably see clearly with the naked eye. In other words, with this in your pocket, you’ll never want for more brightness.

As with many of Streamlight’s products, the ProTac HL USB is programmable. You have three choices for programs:

High – Low – Strobe
High only
Low – Medium – High

All of the settings are accessed by the on/off button at the butt end of the light. It is covered by a rubber boot which, along with rubber O rings, make the light very water resistant.

The ProTac HL USB is about 6.5″ long and about an inch thick. It weighs in at a bit more than 7 ounces. Not the heaviest light you’ve likely carried but it does have some heft.

It has a removable pocket clip. This light is a bit too big to carry comfortably in a shirt pocket but it isn’t bad at all in a front pants pocket. The clip also helps to keep the light from rolling across a table. It does have an anti-roll head, meaning the head isn’t quite round but has flat spots spaced evenly around it. However, the clip works better in my experience.

If you don’t want to carry it in your pocket, the light does comes with a nylon belt sheath.

Let’s talk about that USB part of the name. Here’s the cool thing about this light — it is USB rechargeable. Simply slide the collar down and you’ll find the USB port.

The collar is sealed by an O ring, protecting the USB port from water, dust, and such. The light comes with a cord but you can find the correct size one just about anywhere if you lose it. Having a USB rechargeable light really expands your power options. Many of us have invested in those small portable solar panels, such as the SunJack. You could easily keep this light going indefinitely using such a system. In the event you don’t have USB power available, you can use another Lithium-Ion 18650 battery or even just two CR123A lithium batteries. The battery cradle self-adjusts so as to avoid any rattling inside.

How many flashlights do you have that are have such versatile options for power? Pretty damn cool, if you ask me. This light would be an excellent option for both office and home. You could keep the plugged in to your computer until it is needed, guaranteeing a full charge at a moment’s notice.

With the solid feel of the light, plus the slightly crenelated head, the ProTac HL USB also makes for a handy self-defense weapon in a pinch.

While it certainly is at the higher end of the price spectrum, the Streamlight ProTac HL USB would make for a powerful addition to the prepper or survivalist toolbox. You’ll see trouble coming from quite a distance off, that’s for sure.