Review: Streamlight PROTAC 1AAA Flashlight

Angle view

Single AAA flashlights have been of great interest to me of late, so much so that I spent days torturing a bunch of inexpensive 5mm LED AAA lights in another forum – just to see how the lights would hold up under the abuse.
AAA lights have a lot going for them – batteries are cheap and plentiful; the lights are often inexpensive and rugged; run times are relatively long; the lights are small enough to have in your pocket, on your keyring, or just about anywhere. Just like any other tool or a firearm, the one you have with you when you need it is the most useful!
So the timing was perfect when Streamlight offered up their Protac 1AAA light for evaluation.
The details:

  • Features Ten-Tap® Programming – Choose from three user selectable programs:
    1.) high/strobe/low (factory default); 2.) high only; 3.) low/high
  • C4® LED illumination output and run times:
    • High for bright light: 70 lumens; 550 candela peak beam intensity; runs 30 minutes (alkaline); runs 2.25 hours (lithium)
    • Low for a less intense beam and longer run time: 5 lumens; 40 candela peak beam intensity; runs 11 hours (alkaline); runs 22 hours (lithium)
    • Strobe for disorienting or signaling: runs 1.2 hours (alkaline); runs 5 hours (lithium)
  • Includes nylon holster and one “AAA” alkaline battery (holster alternately accepts one “AA” lithium battery for extended run time)
  • Solid State power regulation provides maximum light output throughout battery life
  • Rubber push-button tail switch
  • Durable, anodized aluminum construction with impact-resistant tempered glass lens
  • IPX7 waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes; 2 meter impact resistance tested
  • Unbreakable pocket clip
  • Anti-roll head
  • 3.94” (10 cm); 1.3 oz (37 grams)
  • RoHS compliant

The light is enclosed in an easy to open clamshell plastic package, and includes the already mentioned holster, battery and a pre-attached clip.
Front of package Back of package

Beam pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For what it’s worth, my integrating sphere confirmed the “high” level output at 70 lumen on a fresh Duracell AAA battery. The beam is shaped nicely the tint is free of the angry ‘blue’ that so many of these small lights have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View of the Cree emitter
Emitter view
This light is really small for my large hands, but the raised tail switch boot makes it easy to operate.
Light in hand Cigar Grip Tail switch

 

 

 

 

light, tailcap, battery, clip

 

 

 

The clip has a solid friction attachment, but can be removed easily for those who prefer no clip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This would make a nice, reliable backup light. List price is $48 and the light can be readily found in the $30 range online. It is on the upper end of the range for AAA lights, but value is in the eyes of the purchaser.



Dan M

Love firearms and flashlights – and they go well together. I’ve been admiring and writing about quality flashlights for about 9 years…built my own integrating sphere….done a few mods. Proof positive that a 59 year old can still love toys!


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  • Cayton Jones

    So maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see a review.

    I do have the 2x AAA version of this light, which I really like and usually carry. I hated the pocket clip, which felt really cheap, and it broke within a week, so I guess it was. The rest of the light was great. If this smaller version is similar at all, I would recommend it.

  • Horse Taco

    I also don’t see any review, just a picture.

  • josh

    Must be the best flashlight ever, no review needed.

  • Echo5Charlie

    I concur with the opinion provided in this review.

  • jefferson stabler

    What is going on? What happened “Edward O’s” post Cz958 Review: Bringing the Cold War into the 21st Century ?

  • Dan M

    Glitch in the system folks – sorry. Review is up now.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Got myself a few of those $1-$2 AAA LED flashlights over on Dealextreme from China. They are bright and stable as hell, last a good time and best of all are easily replaced should they break.

    $48 MSRP for a $0.50 cent flashlight that Streamlight probably relabels is a highway robbery.

    • Fred Ziffle

      It says made in China right on the package! Like you said, a ripoff.

  • ak1134

    i have this flash light. I use a lithium batter. Its worth it for the price. Surefires are great but the fear of losing a $200 dollar torch that needs 6 back up batteries on a trip made buying this thing a good decision. I also own the penlight by streamlight. that thing has been a work horse. only downside is it uses the rare 4AAAA battery.

    • Grindstone50k

      I have a bunch of penlights that use 3 AAAA batteries. I’m lucky that my dad works for a tool supply company that gets the light and the AAAAs for wholesale.

    • Vincenzo

      Open up a 9v battery and you have 6 AAAA sized cells. By far the easiest way to get them

  • JB

    I prefer the Streamlight MicroStream It’s a little cheaper but holds up well. I have carried one for over 5 years and has served me well. The cheap M.I.C lights don’t seem to have the battery life or switch durability. Whatever you carry, when you need a light and you have it with you it will be the best flashlight in the world.

  • Blake

    I got a StreamLight Microstream for everyone in my immediate family for pagan winter festival last year.

    My brother has beaten the everliving crap out of his & it’s still waterproof.

    • Standard Velocity

      Agreed. The MicroStream is my EDC that sees daily real world use. I only bought it because it is exactly the right size to clip onto the back side of my Victorinox Spirit holster. The reverse s-clip is brilliant (clips onto hat visor with minimal futzing), run time is plenty long enough for the minute and a half a day I use it and the forward clicky engages when only partially depressed.

      It’s cheap enough to not be pained by the inevitable loss. It’s also cheap enogh to be an appropriate gift for coworkers and family (four given so far and all used daily, surprisingly).

    • Tactical Tightwad

      +1 for the Streamlight Microstream. My EDC and in a flashlight this small, programmed modes are unnecessary. Just EZ on, EZ off, and a pocket clip that won’t break. I have several cheap Dealextreme Tank 007 AAA flashlights in the drawer with broken pocket clips.

  • Southpaw89

    Bought a Coast A8R for the same reason, cost about the same but is even slimmer, though a little longer, is rechargeable, and comes with a no questions asked lifetime warranty, very happy with it.

  • Cymond

    A $30 street price is pretty fair. I have a FourSevens Preon 2 that fills a similar role for me. I started running it on NiMH rechargeable batteries because I was tired of frequently finding my batteries at half power, and either throwing out usable batteries, or running the light at a fraction of its potential.

    A high end company would offer a AAA-size flashlight that it’s rated for a 10440 rechargeable lithium battery. They’re 3.7V instead of 1.5V, so they’re capable of an extreme output level for a short run time. With a 10440 battery, a light this size could put I over 200 lumens!

  • Bill

    “Easy to open clamshell package” is a major feature, I’m tired of needing sutures every time I get a new thing. I’ve had one of these for a while and like it, though all single-cell lights of any battery size are small in my hands. I can attest to it’s durability – though it isn’t a dive light, its made numerous trips through the washing machine and survived.

    The 2AA Protac subs as a duty light when pocket size permits.

  • Don Prather

    Will this fit into the polymer frame of the Rogers Rail Lite?

  • Dan M

    No doubt that the single AAA category is crowded and there are many choices – a number of them brighter and cheaper. The proliferation of the M.I.C. lights certainly plays a huge role in this. (Incidentally, this light and the oft mentioned Micro Stream are BOTH made in China.) I suppose what sets this one apart is having programmability (10 tap) with a low setting.

  • JimmyHickey

    I suggest you check out some stuff from the Klarus XT range, best lights I have ever owned and you can be assured I have beaten the hell out of them. I have used my XT1A as a defensive impact tool more than once and it bear the scars and is my current EDC.
    I really cannot recommend them enough.

  • Mr_Fastbucks

    Streamlight honored their warranty with me and replaced a several-years-old microstream light recently. Take comfort in the fact that if you do buy one of these and it ever fails, they will replace it.

  • Dan M

    Thanks Ray. Very familiar with the Fenix line. Good stuff.