If you’ve been in the tactical world for a while, you probably already know the value of carrying a flashlight with you every day. If not, you might wonder why one should carry one, especially because most people carry smartphones that have a flashlight.
Why Carry a Flashlight?
While smartphone flashlights can fulfill basic lighting tasks, a tactical flashlight is a much better tool for the job. Tactical flashlights have more power, studier construction, and better battery life, i.e. runtimes.
In addition to the many practical situations that a flashlight helps, there are key safety and security aspects to carrying an Everyday Carry (EDC) flashlight.
They can be used as an impact weapon and a bright light can deter a potential attack. Furthermore, a tactical flashlight can be used in positively identifying threats from non-threats. Nobody wants to be that person who shoots an innocent person in the dark because they thought a criminal broke into their home.
EDC flashlights are important; however, there are so many options out in the market that it can get overwhelming.
This being said, here is tactical flashlight we really like, the Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA Everyday Carry Flashlight.
The ProTac 1L-1AA is a lightweight, compact, high lumen, CR123 Lithium or AA battery powered tactical flashlight featuring the latest in shock-proof power LED technology with several different user selectable programs.
Its size, output, and battery versatility make it an excellent everyday carry light option. The flashlight comes with a removable pocket clip and holster, CR123 and AA alkaline battery.
What Makes a Good EDC Flashlight?
When evaluating tactical flashlights for daily use, we look at a number of important points:
- The Bezel
- Location of the Power Button
- The Tailcap
- Battery Options
- Water Proofing
- Pocket Clip
We’ll take a closer look at how Streamlight’s ProTac 1L-1AA everyday carry flashlight does based on our review criteria, but first, here are the flashlight’s specifications:
|Run Time on High||1.30 hours|
|Run Time on Low||14.00 hours|
|Beam Distance||160 meters|
|Battery Type||AA Alkaline, CR123A Lithium, AA Lithium|
|Length||4.25 inches (10.80 centimeters)|
|Weight||2.80 ounces (79.38 grams)|
Here’s how Streamlight’s ProTac 1L-1AA tactical flashlight performs based on our criteria:
Manufactured by a trusted brand, Streamlight, one already assumes the flashlight should operate as intended without any issues.
I’ve carried mine daily for over a year. Besides my phone, keys, and money clip, my ProTac 1L-1AA gets used more than any other EDC item I carry.
It has yet to fail me and it continues to shine a steady, bright white light when I use it. Not at one point have I noticed any flickering or dimness.
The Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA feels like a high-quality flashlight, constructed with 6000 Series machined aircraft anodized aluminum. It’s designed with an anti-roll head so that the flashlight does not accidentally roll off somewhere when you don’t want it to. The lens is made with high temperature, shock-mounted, AR coated, impact-resistant borofloat glass.
The flashlight is made very well. I’ve dropped it over a dozen times and it still works perfectly.
When considering an EDC flashlight, size is an important factor as you’ll likely be keeping it in a pocket. Regardless of how you carry it, you will want to feel comfortable and will likely want to conceal it to a certain degree.
I recommend an EDC flashlight that is slightly longer than the width of your hand and is no more than an inch in diameter. This size fits nicely in a pocket but still provides some bezel striking options and allows for more battery options that will provide sufficient brightness.
Battery options play a big role in both the size and brightness of an EDC flashlight. Selecting a light that runs on AA or CR-123 batteries usually gets you in this size range and the batteries are readily available.
The ProTac 1L-1AA is 4.25 inches long and .95 inches in diameter. The perfect fit for my hand size. If you have big hands, this light may work for you, but if you need something bigger, Streamlight makes the ProTac 2L-X which is similar to the 1L-1AA but it is bigger with improved brightness and runtime.
The flashlight offers up to 350 lumens, a max candela count of 6,400, and a beam distance of 160 meters, which is very respectable given the flashlight’s compact size.
Streamlight’s ProTac 1L-1AA has TEN-TAP® programming that allows users to select three operating modes: 1) high/strobe/low (default); 2) high only, and 3), low/high.
With a CR123A lithium battery:
- On high mode, output is 350 lumesn; 6,400 candela; 160 meter beam
- On low mode, output is 40 lumens; 720 candela, 53 meter beam
With a AA alkaline/lithium battery:
- On high mode, output is 150 lumesn; 2,750 candela; 105 meter beam
- On low mode, output is 40 lumens; 720 candela, 53 meter beam
5. The Bezel
When looking at a flashlight’s bezel for EDC, I like flashlights that have a ‘DNA collector’ at the end. In other words, a bezel with some kind of jagged edge in case I need to use the flashlight as an impact weapon.
The Streamlight’s ProTac 1L-1AA has a nice serrated edge that will cause some damage should I need to use it as a weapon.
6. Location of the Power Button
For everyday carry flashlights, I like and recommend tail-cap switches versus side switches. Tail-cap switches are commonly used for tactical applications because when held in an “icepick” grip a tail switch can be easily located by feel (with or without gloves) and regardless of the orientation of the light.
The Streamlight ProTac uses clicky tail switches that give momentary activation by partially depressing the switch, or alternately, clicking on and off by depressing the switch fully.
7. The Tail-Cap
The tail-cap’s design is important for EDC. It’s important to use a shrouded tail-cap switch to avoid accidental discharge (AD) of your flashlight. Without a shrouded tail-cap, the on and off button will be exposed and it’s easy to turn on—without you knowing it!
Fortunately, the Streamlight ProTac has a nicely designed tail-cap that helps prevent ADs.
8. Battery Options
The Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA accepts three battery types: One 3 Volt CR123A lithium battery (with a storage life of 10 years), one AA Alkaline battery, or one AA Lithium Battery.
The more options the better given you never know when you’re going to run out of power, and you never know if you’ll be somewhere that sells lithium batteries.
AA Alkaline batteries can be bought almost anywhere, so you have the option to use AA batteries, albeit the light output will be lower—but still reasonable.
The flashlight’s runtime varies depending on the battery type you use. Regardless of the battery, the runtime is very respectable. However, if you want to get the most out of your ProTac, you’ll want to use a CR123A lithium battery.
Runtimes based on battery type are:
- With CR123A batters: High 1 hour 30 minutes; Low 14 hours; Strobe 3 hours
- With AA Alkaline: High 1 hour 20 minutes; Low 7 hours 30 minutes; Strobe 3.5 hours
- With AA Lithium: High 4 hours 15 minutes; Low 14 hours; Strobe 8 hours
If you're looking for good CR123A lithium batteries, here are several we've used, like, and recommend:
- SureFire SF123A 3-Volt Lithium Battery
- Streamlight CR123A Lithium Battery
- Viridian CR123A 3-Volt Lithium Battery
10. Water Proofing
Because an EDC flashlight is meant to be carried on you everywhere you go, it makes sense to get a flashlight that can withstand the elements. The Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA has an IPX7 rated design that is waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
11. Pocket Clip
The flashlight comes with a removable and reversible pocket clip, which comes in handy to secure your flashlight in your pocket and for hands-free use, i.e. the clip can attach to caps, visors, etc.
If you don’t need the clip, it can be removed which is a nice touch. Although it can be removed, it is securely attached to the flashlight so you shouldn’t run into any issues with it popping out of place.
I’ve used it for over a year pretty much every day, and the flashlight’s clip has never popped off or caused problems.
The Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA is very affordable. You can purchase it online on Amazon for about $40, the cheapest we’ve found anywhere. For the price, it's difficult to beat. For $40, you’ll have a great EDC flashlight that will last you for a long time.
The Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA is a great EDC flashlight option. I cannot speak highly enough about it, and with its prize, I actually have multiple lights, i.e. one in each car, one if my go-bag, and one I carry on me.
If you have larger hands and are looking for something bigger with a bit more power, a good option is Streamlight's ProTax 2L-X High-Performance Tactical Flashlight.
The Final Verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED