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Customer Review

114 of 132 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you know what you're buying, this is a great light!, November 12, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Streamlight 88039 ProTac 2AAA 80 Lumen Professional Tactical Flashlight with High/Low/Strobe w/ 2 x AAA Batteries (Automotive)
This may not be the flashlight for you. If you're looking for a basic general purpose light, you probably are going to be happier with the Streamlight Stylus Pro at almost half the price, or if you want something with a few more features, try the 4Sevens Preon 2. Good lights, both.

But neither of them is what the ProTac 2AAA is. I'll address that "tactical" stuff first for all you zombie hunters, then we'll address real human beings, and finish up with some stuff that applies to everyone.

Zombie Hunters and tactical crowd

The ProTac 2AAA is more or less designed to be a forward-clicking momentary light. That's why the tailcap is so stiff. It's a "tactical" light, and a bright light at night is just as good as a bullseye. That's one school of thought on lights, and it's one use this light is made for.

The next tactical use is to hold between middle and ring fingers of a shooter's support hand. A lot of lights are too thick to make that work, but AAA-based penlights generally are easier to do it. The Streamlight Stylus Pro and the ProTac 2AAA are perfect for this, but the ProTac is obviously going to have a hotter hotspot and be brighter overall. The light might make you a target, but the way you hold it helps keep YOU on target. That's use #2.

The light has three modes, a high, a low, and a rapid strobe "disco" setting, which general flashaholics object to being between the high and low modes. But again, being in the middle makes it easy to get to for a momentary flash in the face--and people have found in real-world testing that being strobed by this thing in the dark really is awfully disorienting and uncomfortable. That's use #3, and finishes out the tacticool features.

The crenelations are there to look cool, but seriously you're not gonna be cracking zombie coconuts with this thing. But if you study something like Small Circle Jujitsu, you'll probably discover that this flashlight would make for brutal finger locks! You may want to ditch the pocket clip in that case and find a good sheath.

Regular Human Beings

Now, if you're a normal human being in a city, probably the only zombies you have to face on a regular basis are coming out of malls, university classrooms, clubs, and local brew pubs. If that's you, well, let's consider your needs for a "tactical" light:

If you need your light to have a good throw, but not necessarily be a floodlight, this might be a good choice for you. For what it is (a 2xAAA based penlight), it's amazingly bright. It will light up that dark spot ahead of you before you get to it, especially on dark, rainy nights in the city. Don't expect it to light up the whole alley at once, but you can sweep it across the potentially risky spots to find trouble lurking before it finds you. You're not going to get a solid flood and good throw in a light this small, so you have to pick one. If you're picking throw as I am, this is your light.

Second, I live in the urban jungle and frankly it's easier to take public transit than to drive. Well, that strobe mode is again awfully bright. Point the light at the ground and I guarantee you the bus driver WILL see it. Point it downward, not at the driver. Unless you want them to stop the bus for you by crashing it into a pole, of course, because the thing is that bright. Seriously don't try that at home, folks!

Third, the low mode is still very bright. I've used that lower setting quite a bit, and I find it's sufficiently bright even for cleaning cuts, scrapes, and doing other basic first aid.


First let's address the cons. The light has anti-roll features. They're not terribly effective, actually. The pocket clip is much better at stopping a rolling light, but in certain uses you might want to remove that. No lanyard hole either, though that's common of lights with tailcap switches.

You may also find out of the package that your threads are a little dry. A drop of a quality oil will do wonders and enhance the life of your O ring. Your light is fairly waterproof to a given depth as long as your seals are intact. That's true of any device, so take care of them.

It also sucks down alkaline batteries, though that's an obvious function of the bright LED, the tiny AAA batteries, and the lack of a truly low-light mode. I'm not really calling this a con, since you can just as easily swap out the alkalines for Energizer lithiums (either Advanced or Ultimate for a bit longer life. Personally I buy these things seemingly by the truck load anyway for emergency battery uses since they have such low self-discharge rates, though that's another review.

I said at the beginning that if you know what you're buying, you will be happy with this light. It's a great tool, easy to carry, and for its size it packs amazing

A Final Note on Why Not 5 Stars

I'm rating what would otherwise be a 5 star flashlight as 4 stars because I had a defect or something. That stiff rubber cap? Mine's gone after carrying it in my pocket awhile. Now, it looks like it threads on to the end of the tail cap or something, but I can't put it back on because it's not there. I emailed Streamlight asking if they sold replacement tailcaps for this light, as I know they do for the Stylus Pro. They responded within 24 hours asking for my address to send me a new one, free of charge. So while the light lost a star in my estimation, Streamlight itself has earned themselves a full five stars in my estimation.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 24, 2013, 5:39:54 AM PST
SF says:
Great review! Very enjoyable to read and helpful as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2014, 9:24:29 PM PDT
Missy Lucas says:
I am so recommending this newly released one on Amazon-- 650 lumens... very well made and better price.Portola 650 Lumen Tactical Torch Flashlight LED Focus Light

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2014, 11:31:35 PM PDT
iKarith says:
I haven't seen this light up close and personal (and my recent very unplanned expenditure for a Whynter ARC-1400SH precludes picking one up today), but I don't think that Portola and this Streamlight are in the same usage category. The cited Portola appears to be a 2xCR123A light-awesome if you want a 2xCR123A or 1x18650 light. They're bigger, so they don't really fit into the penlight class very well. The Streamlight does, if barely. But while the Streetlight is not suited to use as a defensive weapon in and of itself, the Portola is clearly big enough (using batteries as reference) that it should do even if made of relatively thin aluminum. Whether it continues to be a useful flashlight after the fact is largely irrelevant since as a civilian it'd be taken into evidence if you ever had to use it as such anyway. If made well, it's a good size for use as a weapon light on a rifle if you need such a thing. While other Streetlights can be rolled into that duty, the ProTac 2AAA is definitely not one of them. As noted, it could be held in a support hand while using a pistol when investigating that sounds-like-a-break-in-sound at 3am, but it's not suited to a bigger gun at all.

For non-tactical uses, the ProTac 2AAA is a very bright alternative to the Mini-Maglite. For those who aren't flashaholics, the Portola is going to be bigger around than a light that takes AA batteries, but smaller than one that takes a pair of C batteries. And again, it's going to be a whole lot brighter. The use of lithium CR123A batteries (not rechargeable and kind of expensive if you buy them locally) is also a potential disadvantage if you're not serious about your flashlights-but it does come with a pair of them and a decent lithium ion 18650 cell which IS rechargeable if you remember to keep one topped up.

Overall I'd say it looks like a good light, but it serves a different market. For the most part I've been carrying a FourSevens Preon P2 in place of the ProTac 2AAA because it comes in colors other than black, draws less attention, and starts off in the low mode which is better for most tasks. I would recommend the Preon P2 if not for the fact that its pocket clip is terrible, the metal tail button WILL be unintentionally actuated, and I've discovered that it gets a little slick in driving rain conditions. Oh, you can replace the metal button with a rubber one (Streamlight's buttons work well and you can buy several of them for a few dollars), and I bought some very nice replacement pocket clips for my Preons... But by the time you replace these things you're in for the cost of the light in just customizations for a light that looks great, but is slippery when wet. There are better penlights. Not worth it, as much as I love the Preon's UI compared with the ProTac's.
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