Tell me about the streamlight protac 1L-1aa

Tusk

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Jan 21, 2009
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98
No no please go for it! I'm not an expert here anyway. I've had the same light as an edc for 5 years so I won't have much to compare it to. Please share. I'm looking forward to it. I'm a fan of the low/high option.

LOL, I bought this as a replacement for a Fenix L1T v2.0 that's been the fob on my truck key since '09, so I'm not exactly on the cutting edge of flashlight technology either!

Let me apologize up front for this "review". I'm not going to be doing any beam shots since I don't own a white wall. Honestly I doubt my camera would do them justice. As well, I'm not a techie when it comes to these things. As far as I'm concerned the single most important feature of any light is reliability. A simple UI and robust construction are virtues, not things to complain about. AA and AAA powered lights satisfy 99% of my lighting needs and I believe the guy who invented the Eneloop battery should be sainted.

On with the review, such as it is.

The Streamlight ProTac 1L-AA comes packaged in plastic clamshell packaging with both AA and CR123 batteries included, a nylon pouch and instructions. The light is 4.25" long and weighs between 2.4 and 2.8 ounces, depending on what battery is installed. The aluminum body is anodized black and the tempered glass lens has a non-reflective coating. The only knurling is on the tail cap, which gives you fingers something to hold on to when twisting it on and off to install/uninstall the battery. The "O" ring that keeps everything water tight is larger than I've seen on other lights, which I like. The head has cooling fins which are cut in such a way as to provide an anti-rolling feature even if the clip is removed. The cooling fins and the clip act to give you something to hold on to, since the lack of knurling might make for a slippery light if wet. The light will tail stand but it's a bit wobbly since the rubber switch cap protrudes ever so slightly above the base ofthe back end.

As I said in an earlier post I don't use clips on lights like this but if I did I'd want it to be just like this one. As the picture I posted earlier shows, it's one of those that works two ways, letting you clip the light to a pants pocket or the brim of a ball cap. It's strong enough to hold tight and there are NO sharp edges or corners anywhere. It just clips to the body of the light so it can pop off but not without a good bit of effort.

The 1L-AA has three available modes, High/Strobe/Low, High only and Low/High. The light is configured using what Streamlight calls 10 Tap programing. This is easy to use, easy to remember and just complicated enough that you're never going to switch modes accidently. The factory default is High/Strobe/Low and I'll be leaving it that way. The three levels are accessed by rapid partial press of the rear mounted forward clicky switch. The light does have momentary on.

The LED has a warm tint with decent color rendition. The quality of the beam is good with no artifacts I can see. The diffuse hot spot (warm spot?) is surrounded by decent spill for a good mid-range working distance. It's not a real thrower but I don't think a light in this class should be. High/Low lumens are 350/40 for the CR123 and150/40 for the AA. Streamlight claims a reach of 160 meters (CR123) and 105 meters (AA) on high. Run times are as follows:

CR123 – High 1 hour 30 minutes, Low 14 hours, Strobe 3 hours.
AA Alkaline - High 1 hour 20 minutes, Low 7 hours 30 minutes, Strobe 3.5 hours.
AA Lithium – High 4 hours 15 minutes, Low 14 hours, Strobe 8 hours.

Looking at these specs, unless you specifically need the higher lumens of the CR123 this light really deserves an AA lithium, giving long run times for both high and low.

The claim to fame of this thing is its ability to run on either a CR123 or an AA battery. Given that CR123 batteries dominate the first responder and military supply chains and the AA is the most popular battery in the world, being able to take both would seem to be a pretty handy thing. Not everyone needs that kind of capability but for those that do I think Streamlight does it better than anyone. There are no adaptors to buy, carry with you or keep track off. Anyone familiar with Streamlight's own Sidewinder Compact II knows exactly how this works. There is a long spring in the front surrounded by an internal two piece adapter. The longer AA battery fits down the middle and is held in place side to side by the outer casing. The outer casing acts as a stop for the shorter/wider CR123. That description makes it sound complicated but it's nothing of the kind. Simply slip your battery of choice into the light. If you didn't look inside you wouldn't know there was anything going on at all. It just works.

In summary, if it's not already obvious, I like this light a lot. I've only had it for a day but so far it's all good. Fit and finish is fine. Light levels are very good and the multiple modes make sense. CR123 and AA compatibility means you can keep it up and running almost anywhere. All this adds up to a lot of light for the price ($40.00 - $45.00). If this proves to be reliable I think Streamlight has a winner on their hands. I guess that's it except for a couple of comparison pictures posted below.

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL176/1171244/2214857/412587149.jpg
ProTac next to the light it will be replacing, my FenixL1T

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL176/1171244/2214857/412587148.jpg
Left to right, Sunwayman V11r, ProTac, Fenix E11

 
Last edited:

bykfixer

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Aug 9, 2015
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John 3:16
^^ Thank you!!!
That was spot on!
Sounds like a great one to EDC.

Also sounds like they updated their already nice 1L and configured it to run not only on a 3+ volt cell but downshift to a 1+ volt cell. All while gently cradling the smaller cell.
 

Eidolon

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Apr 4, 2016
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Thanks for this, I was looking at this light as well. I think I'll give it a go.
 

mjpgolf1

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Jan 8, 2016
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Ok so quick update. I'm guessing this is a user error somewhere but I didn't see that when I ordered from optics planet that it wasn't actually in stock. I went back and looked and couldn't find out where this was said but after several days order status said waiting for the item to show up at the warehouse. I cancelled the order and called briteguy. They answered when I called. As in not a recording but a real person. I verified with them they do in fact have them in stock. Soon thereafter I had a real person call me back within 30 minutes of placing the online order(with free shipping mind you...) to verify some information. Assuming it ships inside of 24 hours big thumbs up to my first experience with them.

Bright guy is a good company. I just actually found out that they are only 20 min from me last week and I paid them a visit. Nice people but it's going to be bad for my wallet having them so close. I picked up a couple of Zebralights while I was there. SC5 and SC52.

Now onto the Protac. I actually held the demo light while I was at bright guy. I like streamlights but I have the Protac 2L, which take 2 CR123s, and what I don't like is that the coating on these lights is just awful. They wear out and look really bad very fast unlike other lights on the market like Fenix, Olight, Eagletac, zebralight, etc. they must use a different process or an all together different coating. The light did work well and I like the looks, but with lights like the new SC5 from Zebralight on the market running a regular aa at 500 lumens and a true moonlight mode, which is very useful to me, it's hard for me to get excited about this new offering by Streamlight. I do still carry my Protac 2L every now and then, and I have a microstream and a stylus pro that I use as well. Which the stylus and micro have a more durable coating on them than the Protac 1L/2L.

Im sure you will enjoy your new light op. I just have been trying some other stuff out lately that seems to be smaller, more powerful, and more durable, so this one just isn't for me.
 

Spin

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Nov 8, 2005
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282
I would think that with an adapter this light can also be used with a aaa cell.
 

Tusk

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Jan 21, 2009
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I would think that with an adapter this light can also be used with a aaa cell.

No adaptor needed. You can wrap it something to thicken it a bit but it's not required.
 

chrisw1

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Mar 5, 2010
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Tampa Bay area, FL
So I'm a little slow to the game and as the OP I apologize for not staying up on this but I got my light in. Great big huge thumbs up to bright guy. If I buy a light again I will use them again. Moving on. The bad. Remember I have almost nothing to compare it to other than my e-11. The e-11 may be the ultimate EDC especially for someone new to carrying a light. $25 and takes no space in the pocket and super simple user interface. The bad thing about this new protac is that it is a little longer and wider than the Fenix. It is noticeably bigger in the pocket. I use my lights often so having thenrightmlight is important. The size difference has proven tolerable as of now but it is noteworthy. The positive now... And that is everything. The low is perfect. More or less lumens wouldn't be but this is perfect. The beam has just enough spill but with a perfect and clear hotspot in the middle with no noticeable artifacts. (Take this for what it's worth. I have minimal experience.) the light feels to be durable. Time will tell on this. The push button is recessed a bit to prevent accidental activation. The high mode is far more than I would ever need. I will edc this light but I wish it was smaller. The multi fuel technology is excellent and I feel will become more popular with time.
 

Tusk

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Jan 21, 2009
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Chris,

Glad you got the light and it's working for you. The second picture at the bottom of my "review" compares the size of the Protac to the E11. It is indeed on the large side compared to that.
 

light_emitting_dude

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I picked up one of these lights and I must say what a great little light! I'm really digging the dual fuel capability. I'm surprised other light manufactures have not made this concept more popular. Fenix did do something similar with their CL20 camping light but it would be awesome to see them do something similar. If you run out of CR123s, you can just put in some aa batteries and you are good to go.
 

Msf

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Very nice light. I picked one up for my bag, but due to the size, find myself carrying my protac 1L more often. If I were forced to choose for an austere environment or long trip, the 1L-1aa wins, but it's size is an issue for daily carry.
 

Tusk

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Jan 21, 2009
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I picked up one of these lights and I must say what a great little light! I'm really digging the dual fuel capability. I'm surprised other light manufactures have not made this concept more popular. Fenix did do something similar with their CL20 camping light but it would be awesome to see them do something similar. If you run out of CR123s, you can just put in some aa batteries and you are good to go.

Fenix also has the HL50 and the Sunwayman V11r uses both CR123 and AA as well as the LiOn versions of both. The problem with them is they both require an adaptor to use the longer AA battery. I'm not sure how many people want to carry around the adaptor as opposed to just carrying a spare battery.
 

StandardBattery

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Fenix also has the HL50 and the Sunwayman V11r uses both CR123 and AA as well as the LiOn versions of both. The problem with them is they both require an adaptor to use the longer AA battery. I'm not sure how many people want to carry around the adaptor as opposed to just carrying a spare battery.
Or there was the Zebralight... SC80 was it? that supports AA and CR123, the adapter is build in, and just needs to be reversed to change cells, it always stays in the light. Great concept. Zebralight are good designers and engineers. I don't think they make it any more. I have one, maybe more and it is nice. It was not too popular because or was a bit thicker that either an AA or CR123A light at the time, and of course since the light stays the same size regardless of power source and some people didn't like that. I thought it was brilliant. Now days it might be even better as the larger size would allow for more heat dissipation which is important again as the output of the new LEDs continues to jump upwards.
 

light_emitting_dude

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Not having an adapter is a big plus to this light. It could be easily misplaced. There is a spring loaded mechanism in the light that only allows the AA battery to be pushed down further. A retainer ring stops the CR123.

Looking at the fact sheet from streamlight, regulation looks better with the AA battery. It looks like the CR123 steadily drops.

http://www.streamlight.com/static/document/fact_sheet/279.pdf
 

Repsol600rr

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May 7, 2016
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Why did they make the low on this model so much higher than the low on either the 1l or the 1aa. I woukd buy it in a heartbeat if the low was where the others are.
 
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