Let There Be Light: Why Streamlight's Protac Series Lights are Ready Made for EDC - ITS Tactical

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Let There Be Light: Why Streamlight’s Protac Series Lights are Ready Made for EDC

By Rob Henderson

When it comes to EDC, I try to ensure that what I’m carrying covers the bare essentials of what I’ll need, without any additional unnecessary gear. Over the years, I’ve been fine tuning and until recently, felt that what I had on me was everything I could need. However, after hearing about and reading through Bryan’s AAR of the Telluric Group Night Vision Operator Course, I knew that I needed to add in a flashlight to my EDC.

I’d experimented with carrying a flashlight daily in the past, but ended up not being able to find a light that fit the criteria I wanted. I’m not a fan of lights with multiple output modes that require you to cycle through using the tail cap. While having a strobe light and low power mode might be nice for some people, I find more often than not that I activate these functions accidentally as I’m trying to get to the high power mode. This is a no-go for me, as in an emergency situation, the last thing I want to do is mess with different light modes.

After he returned from the Telluric Group class, Bryan showed me the Streamlight Protac 2L he picked up and I was really impressed with some of the features. After digging into the Protac series, I ultimately settled on the Protac 1L-1AA for reasons I’ll get into below.

The Streamlight Protac 1L-1AA

The main features I was looking for in an EDC light was durability, an LED light with a bright output and a single mode tail cap. The 1L-1AA fit these requirements and after a short wait on Amazon, I had it in hand ready to go. Streamlight has recently added a feature to their lights that eliminates my struggle with accidentally activating the wrong mode.

Streamlight’s Ten-Tap programming allows the user to designate a single mode to use every time the tail cap is pressed. By default, the lights come with High Power, Low Power and Strobe modes that are alternated through using the tail cap. However, by following the included instructions, you can tap the tail cap ten times and select your desired constant mode.


Overall, the 1L-1AA feels rock solid with no rough edges or tooling marks and the whole light weighs in at only 2.5 ounces. The only moving section of the light is the removable tail cap, where you access the battery. This cap has a nice knurling to it and the inside features an O-ring to keep out water, dust and other debris. The push button on the tail cap is fairly flush with the edges, which I find helps to prevent any accidental light discharge.

The standout feature of the 1L-1AA is the “Dual Fuel” ability, allowing the light to accept both CR-123 and AA batteries. This was the biggest deciding factor in my purchase and I was really drawn to the ability to use both type of batteries.

With the 123, the light puts out a high of 350 lumens for 1.5 hours. Switching to a lithium AA will increase the run time to 4.25 but decrease the lumen high to 150. While I definitely favor the CR123 for daily use, it’s comforting to know that I could switch to AA’s if I had to.


The 1L-1AA also features a reversible pocket clip that allows you to carry the light in a pocket at different heights. While this is a clip-on piece, I’ve never had an issue with it coming off the light. Though if that’s something that worries you, you could always tape the clip on as a backup.

Daily Use

Due to its light weight and small form factor, many times I’ll forget that I’m even carrying this light on me. After carrying it daily for a couple months now, I’m amazed at how often I reach for it. I’m no longer struggling to activate the small light on my phone to search for something I dropped behind a cabinet and I can easily blast the runaway object with 350 lumens.

I haven’t run into a defensive scenario with the light, but the high output makes me confident in its ability to identify and disorient threats in a low-light situation. The small size also allows it to be easily manipulated with one hand in the event I need to use it with a firearm.

Overall, I’m extremely happy with the Streamlight Protac 1L-1AA and it’s been a valuable addition to my EDC. The light’s price was low enough that I don’t mind the loss risk of carrying it on a daily basis and its construction doesn’t make it feel cheap.

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  • Ken Bass

    Nice write up Rob! I’ve been carrying the 2L for a bit now, but after reading the 1L has the “dual fuel” option, I’ll probably be picking one of those us very soon as well!

    • Eric Southland

      I’ve been carrying this one for a few months and love it.

  • Josh Adams

    Over a year of edc still going strong! Mt favorite by far.

  • Douglas White

    Great flashlight with a horribly designed clip that won’t stay on. Crenellations on the striking bezel are tame at best.

    • Sean Wilbanks

      Agreed. The pocket clip is annoying. Overall though they’re really nice BOB/EDC lights. I’ve just always been a Surefire guy lol

    • Nik Joseph

      I have yet to use a clip on a edc light but I took this one e off immediately and through a loop of 550 cord through the hole and hang it out of my pocket.
      As for as the striking bezel… anymore of a aggressive bezel would be a no sale for me… I don’t need to keep ripping through pants for a feature I will probably never use.

    • Douglas White

      Sounds like the perfect light for you

    • Nik Joseph

      Douglas White, you don’t know how long I have been waiting for something like this to come along bud. I like it so much I get excited about using and giving opinions on it.

  • Cory Cepelak

    One of these is my next light splurge. Out of six or eight Streamlight flashlights I’ve used since 1992 or so, I’ve only had one junker. They kind of blew off the customer service at the time, maybe ’95, but since then I’ve never had any issue. The SL-90 fire department lights I’ve had have held up fantastic, I prefer them to others I tried.

  • Nik Joseph

    This light is a amazing EDC, it has all the things I want in a light and a extremely reasonable price point.
    Also this light will run off of a AAA as well.

  • Fred Simons III

    I’ve got a AAA version that lives in my pocket. 90 lumens and no bigger than a tube of chapstick.

  • Justin Case

    I use this awesome little light at work every night

  • Chase Gibson

    I must be the only person who has had problems with streamlight. I had a microstream break in a month and a 1l-1aa break in the first two weeks. After that I went back to strictly surefire lights.

  • Scott Dilley

    Love the 1L-1AA but HATE the clip. It is so slick and barely grips the pocket. I nearly lost it at a college bball game I attended recently. It replaced the 2L for me, but the clip sucks compared to the 2L. Wish Streamlight, Inc. would address this.

  • Daniel Rodriguez

    +1 on stream light. I’ve got two pro tacs and they are great and will take a hell of a beating.

  • Barley Kaetzel

    I carry the 2L daily. Great little light. I agree that the pocket clip is an ongoing issue. Actually, I’m surprised I haven’t lost it. That is really the only problem I’ve had with it, and I still carry it every single day.

  • Rob Wry

    You know the clip can mount the light onto a baseball cap, right?
    Either way, it’s part of my EDC. Gets less use than my Surefire Titan Plus, but that’s a great general use light. The ProTac is for when I need everything the light has got, right now.

  • WitchDoc

    I have been carrying the 2L for quite a while.  I did not know about the “dual fuel” 1L.  May have to make a change up.

  • I have several and I think they are the best light in the price range.  Mine have never failed and I have had a few for a long time.  I like the AAA and the CR123 models.

  • Alex Householder

    Could you guys do a gear tasting on edc belts for conceal carry? I currently have a “gun belt” by Bigfoot belts. It has a metal core insert, it’s definitely a sturdy belt that doesn’t sag but it’s almost to much and uncomfortable. I thought about maybe getting some type of cobra belt but I would like to see what you guys recommend.

  • Chris DuBois

    I started with a 2L and moved down to the 1L. It fit better in my pocket and I don’t accidentally turn it on like I did with the 2L. The 2L is now on my nightstand. I have no issues with my clip, but mine looks different than the one pictured above.

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