If you’ve never heard of a “BOB,” have never wanted to secure a perimeter, don’t camp, or don’t hunt, then you don’t need to read the following tactical flashlight review. Well, unless you just want a really awesome flashlight. Then you can stay.
What is a tactical or survival flashlight? They are everything that the flashlights of your childhood probably were not: compact, lightweight, and bright. People with careers in security and law enforcement tend to prefer them, but anyone who likes to explore the outdoors can benefit from having a survival flashlight on hand. Another important metric for finding the best survival flashlight is the battery (or batteries). Rechargeable is our preference, since the bright light output can drain batteries quickly with heavy use.
The Streamlight ProTac 2L is a best rated tactical flashlight from a reputable brand. It meets all of the requirements to be the best tactical flashlight: rechargeable batteries, lots of Lumens, weighs barely anything, and built tough without being heavy. But if you’ve ever looked into top rated tactical flashlight models before, you already know that these cool features don’t come cheap. We at OutSmart Brands had one question: is there a comparable product that works just as well, but has a low price? We tested a dozen flashlights based on their reviews and ratings, and discovered that yes, you can get a cheap tactical flashlight that feels just like the expensive brand products.
The Streamlight ProTac 2L is a 260 Lumen tactical LED flashlight from a brand that produces some of the best rechargeable tactical flashlight models out there. Its IPX7 waterproof rating makes it a great choice for severe weather, fishing, water sports, and serious survival situations. It requires two rechargeable CR123A lithium batteries, which are included with the flashlight, but we recommend buying an extra set for making quick swaps at a moment’s notice. It is slightly lighter than the J5 Tactical V1-PRO, so if you’re trying out ultralight camping or similar activities where every ounce counts, you may prefer the ProTac 2L’s 0.7-ounce edge. However, we recommend the J5 Tactical V1-PRO for hunters, survivalists, and for everyday use over the ProTac 2L for a few reasons despite the ProTac 2L’s great features, so stay tuned.
The J5 Tactical V1-PRO is a 300 Lumen tactical LED flashlight that might seem too good to be true. But we can confirm the good reviews: this cheap tactical flashlight is a diamond in the rough. It runs on just one battery, and can be powered by rechargeable batteries or basic AA batteries. This versatility is useful in emergencies or other situations where recharging isn’t possible. And despite using only one battery, the V1-PRO has a similar battery life to the ProTac 2L. You can also adjust the focus of the V1-PRO’s flashlight beam to study something in more detail or cast a broader beam. The color options include camouflage patterns as well as a high-visibility orange, while the ProTac 2L is only available in black. All of this combined with a low price makes the V1-PRO one of the best LED flashlight models around.
The ProTac 2L is a 260-Lumen model, although other ProTac models are available with higher Lumen ratings, usually with a higher price to match. The bright 260 Lumen setting produces a beam that reaches up to 150 meters, or 493 feet.
The V1-PRO produces 300 Lumens in a beam of up to 600 feet. A longer and brighter beam means you can scan an area in greater detail from near to far. With a 17% longer reach and 14% more Lumens, the V1-PRO is the brightest tactical flashlight option.
The ProTac 2L uses “C4 LED lights.” “C4” stands for “controlled collapse chip connection,” which is a method that is used when soldering the flashlight components together with the LED. The “C4” doesn’t mean the ProTac 2L uses better LEDs than other brands of tactical flashlights.
The V1-PRO also uses LEDs. “LED” stands for “Light-emitting diode.” This technology is what makes top tactical flashlight models lighter, more efficient, and more powerful than traditional flashlights. LEDs last longer and require less power to produce the same amount of light than other bulb types.
The ProTac 2L requires two CR123A lithium batteries, which are included with the product. Other Streamlight models include USB chargers, but the ProTac 2L does not. These batteries take around 2.5 hours to charge. A full charge lasts about three hours on the ProTac 2L’s high setting, and fifty hours on the low setting.
The V1-PRO survival flashlight requires a single AA battery or a 14500 rechargeable battery (which charges in about the same time as the Streamlight product’s batteries). On the high light setting, the single AA battery lasts about four hours, while the low setting lasts 20 hours (these are estimates based on Amps and battery data).
The ProTac 2L has impact-resistant tempered glass with an O-ring seal to prevent water infiltration.
The V1-PRO has a strong convex lens and also has an O-ring seal, as well as an adjustable bezel.
The ProTac 2L has three light settings: high (outputting 260 Lumens), low (outputting 13 Lumens) and strobe (used for biking and being visible to motorists).
The V1-PRO also has three light settings: high, low, and strobe. The low setting doesn’t have a specific Lumen rating, but produces a similar brightness to the ProTac 2L.
The ProTac 2L does not have an adjustable beam beyond the light settings. Although it is one of the most powerful tactical flashlight products at its price point, not being able to adjust the spread of the beam makes searches and scans more difficult.
The V1-PRO has a beam that can be adjusted and focused by turning the bezel on the flashlight’s head back and forth. This allows you to focus in on certain areas and really “put them in the spotlight” if you see something that catches your interest.
The ProTac 2L is waterproof in up to one meter of water for up to thirty minutes (an IPX7 rating). If you want to be able to swim with your survival flashlight, or spend a lot of time around bodies of water, you may prefer the ProTac 2L for its IPX7 rating.
The V1-PRO is water resistant, but not waterproof. An O-ring around the lens and inside the battery cap help seal out water, so this flashlight is likely to survive downpours and splashes. It can still take a lot of abuse from the natural world without complaining.
The ProTac 2L has a non-slip textured grip and rubber tail switch button.
The V1-PRO also has a non-slip textured grip and textured tail switch button.
The ProTac 2L is built from lightweight anodized aluminum. The anodizing process makes the aluminum durable and corrosion-resistant.
The V1-PRO is also designed with an anodized aluminum body and an “attack head” designed with blunt spikes around the lens.
The ProTac 2L is only available in black. If you want to be able to pick your survival flashlight out easily from a crowd or camouflage it for hunting and other terrains, you may prefer one of the other colors offered for the V1-PRO.
The V1-PRO is available in five colors: plain black, bright “hunter orange,” and three digital camo shades. The blue aqua color is a blue and brown camo, the desert camo is brown on white, and the forest camo is brown.
The ProTac 2L comes with a removable pocket clip and a nylon holster for belts as well.
The V1-PRO also comes with a removable pocket clip, so you can keep it at your side at all times.
The ProTac 2L weighs 2.8 ounces with batteries. The best tactical light products don’t weigh you down, and the V1-PRO is a similar weight.
The V1-PRO weighs 3.5 ounces with one AA battery installed, which is still incredibly lightweight for the powerful light the flashlight can produce.
The ProTac 2L is 4.77 inches long, with a 0.9-inch diameter at its widest point. Both products have a small size, making them a great addition to a bug-out bag or backpack.
The V1-PRO is 4 inches long, extending to 4.25 inches when the focus is adjusted. It is 1.1 inches in diameter at its widest point, so it is slightly shorter and wider than the ProTac 2L.