Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Streamlight ProTac 2L & 2AA

Left-Mini-Maglite,Center PT 2AA,Right PT 2L

            I had been looking at the Streamlight Protac flashlights for some time, but was hesitant to buy one as I was suspect of the quality and unsure of what model to get.I've always carried Surefire and specifically an E2D LED Defender for EDC,but for clipping on the belt of pants, it's a bit heavy/bulky and the strike bezel is a bit sharp.I also didn't find factory clip that is bezel up carry to be conducive for a proper tactical quick draw.I did find an aftermarket clip that took care of this and allowed bezel down. So, I went looking at a replacement for the SurefireE2D.I wanted a light that was bright(at least 100 + Lumens) and that was light and compact enough to not be obtrusive.I also wanted dual output(a high setting for tactical defense use and a low setting for everyday tasks.The Protac also have a Strobe feature which I really wasn't all that interested in although it wasn't necessarily a deal breaker.I also wanted a clip that allowed for bezel down carry and I wanted a light that could also function as a fistload/striking weapon/Kubotan/Persuader.
                   I recently bought some Streamlight Polytac and they are outstanding,so I decided to try the Protac as possible replacement for my E2D. I was considering the Protac 2AA and the Protac 2L models.I kind of liked the use of AA batteries in the Protac 2AA,but the 2L was significantly brighter at 180 Lumens vs the 120 of the 2AA.I thought the 2AA might be a bit too long and the 2L a bit too short for my desired specifications. I couldn't decide so I bought one of each.
                             Once I got them and strapped on the 2AA I quickly determined that is was simply too long for every day carry when wearing summer attire.It is longer than a Mini-Maglite as you you can see in the picture.When sitting, it would contact the chair and when twisting of bending , it would protrude out from from shirt.It also WOULD NOT TAILSTAND at all.
                              The PT 2L I feared might be too short to use as fistload, but once I actually held it,I determined it is probably minimally long enough and while it doesn't have a sharp strike bezel like the Surefire E2D Defender, it is in fact crenellated and should make a decent striking tool if needed .I do wish it was at least 1/2 of an inch longer, but I still feel I can make it work if I was forced to do so.I just have have to let it sit down deeper in the palm of the hand which won't give any protrusion on the thumb side at all, but I think I could still work the tailcap while still keeping enough length for striking.Ideally for me personally I would like it to be about 5.5" in length which is the same as the original Kubotan.  6"(same length as a Persuader baton)would also be OK as well although perhaps a tad long for EDC carry comfort and at least 5" would also be alright albeit a bit on the short side for my preferences and for the effective application of the full range of Kubotan techniques,especially joint locks.Individual hand size,structure and dexterity will determine if it will work for you.The light is compact and very unobtrusive clipped on the belt or waistband. It also WILL TAILSTAND(update:For some reason,the second PT-L2 I bought WILL NOT tailstand.Not sure why,but it a slighter older one based on the S/N or maybe it just varies from light to light.I emailed Streamlight about it and report back on what they say)---Streamlight says they are not designed to tailstand,but is simply an added bonus if they do(makes me concerned about build quality variations) although it does wobble a bit.Both lights are bright although they do not have the super hot spot light qualities and throw like the surefire, but rather a spot and a wide flood beam(like the Polytacs) which is probably actually the more versatile.I've read reports about tailcap operation being tricky,but I didn't find it to be so at all.First Click is High,Second Click is Strobe and Third is Low.You just click quickly to cycle through the modes and it's very easy to operate.I have even come to embrace the strobe, but more as a signaling/safety device than a tactical feature although it is indeed very disorienting and repulsive to look at once I tried it out. I found the Protac 2L will be my preference for summer carry while the 2AA will be reserved for cooler weather when wearing a coat or jacket or need a AA light.With it's longer length,it is the better striking/impact weapon,but inferior as a lighting device.I paid 35$ for the 2AA and $40 for the 2L with FREE shipping on Amazon was and while not as robust and neither feel to be of as high quality as my Surefire E2D was,but we're talking $35-$40 for the Streamlight vs nearly $200 for the Surefire and in that context,the Streamlight is a great choice and I liked each so much that I'll be getting another 2AA & 2L.

       Can you use Lithium AA Batteries in the Protac AA modes?....YES!

      Streamlight advertises using Lithium AA batteries in their Protac EMS, but don't mention it for the other PT AA's.I emailed them a few times asking about using Lithium AA's and they usually said not to use them as they we're designed for Alkalines.That didn't make sense to me and figured the CS tech was just saying due to the that the ratings & standards etc. being designed around Alkalines,but that shouldn't disallow the use of Lithiums in no way. I called Streamlight customer service over the phone and the guy said I could use Lithium AA's So, I sent another email to Streamlight saying I'm getting conflicting answers and got this back........

Dear Customer,

The word from our engineering department is:
The PT (now called ProTac ) 1AA and 2AA work with alkaline batteries and with lithium AAs. With lithium AA batteries the run time will be approximately doubled (around 3 hours on high).

     Energizer battery customer service says that their AA Lithiums are safe to use in anything that uses AA batteries.I assume there might be some off brand AA Lithim that are overcharged and might be to much for the Protac's,but as long you as you stick with reputable manufacturers like Duracell & Energizer,there should be no problem whatsoever and Streamlight has given the green light,so warranty will be honored of something was to go wrong.