Tag Archives: Streamlight

The Streamlight 88081 PROTAC HL 5-X 3500 Lumen Light IS a Beast On Your Side – Part 2 – Out of the box & performance report

As mentioned in the first post, I ordered a Streamlight 88081 from Amazon. It arrived and, of course, I had to immediately check it out. Here are a series of photos with the story told in the captions.

This is the 88081 with the 18650 USB rechargeable batteries
The box has twp tables talking about performance metrics based on the type of battery used. The left table is for CR123A batteries and the right is for 18650 batteries. The model I bought comes with the 18650 class batteries (two of them are used at a time) so the right table is applicable.
The first thing I noticed was how it felt – there’s a nice solid heft to it, the rubberized grip is very positive and it fits my hand real nice. Note, I wear XL-sized gloves for reference.
Here’s the business end of the light. Notice the interesting lens. It kicks out one hell of a bright focused center but still radiates a very broad cone of light. It is not adjustable but I really haven’t found the need to change it after using it for over a month.
It has some big fins for heat dissipation. Note, the rubberized surface is only on the handle – the emitter head is just anodized aluminum to allow for cooling. Good idea on their part. The longest I’ve run the light about 5-10 minutes. It does warm up but I’ve not run it long enough to see just how hot it can get.
These are the Streamlight brand Micro USB rechargeable 18650 batteries. I was unsure about the concept at first but they give you a ton of options for recharging in your home, vehicle or even with a big battery in the field.

Streamlight 22102 Rechargeable Li-Ion Lithium-Ion 18650 USB Battery Set - 2 Pack

$27.96
End Date: Wednesday Sep-25-2019 13:17:15 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $27.96
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Streamlight 18650 Rechargeable ProTac Flashlight USB Battery 2pk

$28.48
End Date: Sunday Sep-15-2019 11:01:08 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $28.48
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Because I already have an 18650 charging cradle, I bought some spare 18650 batteries. OLight makes good gear so I got a pair of their batteries. As I write this, they are in the light right now. I also bought them because I wasn’t sure how the Streamlight USBs would perform and the short answer is that if I had it to do over, I’d buy a second pair of Streamlight USBs because of the flexibility to charge just about anywhere. DO NOT BUY CHEAP BATTERIES!! You risk performance and them catching fire/exploding.

Olight 18650 3.6V 3600mAh Rechargeable Li-ion Protected Battery ORB-186P36

$19.99
End Date: Monday Sep-16-2019 19:36:12 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $19.99
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Olight 18650 3.6V 3600mAh Rechargeable Li-ion Protected Battery ORB-186P36

$19.99
End Date: Monday Sep-16-2019 19:36:12 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $19.99
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They use a nice beefy spring on the tailcap. This spring is a failure point on cheap lights along with the switch. I’ve never had a spring or switch fail on a Streamlight product.
According to my Bushnell 1200 laser range finder, the hedge row at the back behind the trees is 65 yards. You can see the very bright center and flood light around it.
The bush to the left of the driveway is 62 yards away. Again, you can see the very bright focused center beam and broad light to the sides.

TEN-TAP Programming

I have a pet peeve with some lights – I loathe the ones with tons of modes where you need to click the power switch to cycle through them – low, medium, high, strobe, SOS, etc. What a pain in the butt!! Streamlight wisely made the PROTAC HL programmable via what they call “TEN-TAP”. Mine is set to high beam on and off. That’s it. Sure, I can adjust it if I ever want to but all I need right now is the high beam and I don’t want to have to fumble around clicking the button to get to the high beam mode. Streamlight has a page that tells more about how to program your light – click here.

Bottom Line

I really, really like this light. It is the brightest one I own now and when we pull down the trash at night, we can see everything very clearly. If there are any coyotes, I am sure they are getting the heck out of Dodge as soon as they see that light and hear us coming. Furthermore, the light has enough heft that if we do need to hit something with it, the blow will do massive damage – you’d be amazed what a freaked out fat man can do 🙂 At any rate, I have no reservations recommending this light to you.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Streamlight 88081 ProTac HL 5-X Rechargeable USB LED Flashlight 3500 Lumens

$99.99
End Date: Sunday Sep-1-2019 12:13:15 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $99.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Streamlight 88080 Black ProTac HL 5-X 3500 Lumen LED Flashlight w/ USB Charger

$101.13
End Date: Friday Aug-23-2019 6:21:51 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $101.13
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Streamlight 88074 Black ProTac HL 5-X 2500 Lumen LED Flashlight w/ USB Charger

$86.85
End Date: Friday Aug-23-2019 6:21:55 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $86.85
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Streamlight 88080 ProTac HL 5-X Rechargeable USB LED Flashlight 3500 Lumens

$101.08
End Date: Thursday Sep-5-2019 10:39:10 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $101.08
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Streamlight 880256 ProTac HL 5-X Rechargeable USB LED Flashlight 3500 Lumens

$97.99
End Date: Saturday Sep-21-2019 19:49:14 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $97.99
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Streamlight 88081 Black ProTac HL 5-X 3500 Lumen LED Flashlight w/ 18650 Battery

$100.04
End Date: Friday Aug-23-2019 6:21:58 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $100.04
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Streamlight 88080 Black ProTac HL 5-X 3500 Lumen LED Flashlight w/ USB Charger

$99.02
End Date: Thursday Sep-19-2019 6:28:19 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $99.02
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Streamlight ProTac HL-5X USB - Brand New without Box

$85.00
End Date: Wednesday Sep-18-2019 8:29:24 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $85.00
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Streamlight 88080 ProTac HL 5-X Rechargeable USB LED Flashlight 3500 Lumens

$105.00
End Date: Friday Aug-23-2019 12:47:13 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $105.00
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Streamlight 18650 Rechargeable ProTac Flashlight USB Battery 2pk

$28.48
End Date: Sunday Sep-15-2019 11:01:08 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $28.48
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

The Streamlight 88081 PROTAC HL 5-X 3500 Lumen Light IS a Beast On Your Side – Part 1

One Sunday morning at about 7am, I was putting stuff in the trunk of my wife’s car when a surprised coyote carrying a dead reddish brown cat in its jaws ran by me about 20 feet away. I was startled but not especially worried – you could tell the ‘yote was just as surprised as I was. I knew we had them in the area but this was the closest I had been to one.

A few days later, my wife and I were pulling our trash cans down our long 300 foot driveway at night and all the woods and bushes are dimly lit. My wife said she saw a dog or something running across our yard in front of a hedge. My eyes are crap now and I didn’t see it until it reached the driveway and turned to run away from us – it was another coyote. Well, that did it for me, I wanted us to have a heavy flashlight with one hell of a bright beam to carry when we pulled the trash cans out at night.

My wife will tell you that I am fascinated by flashlights and have quite a collection. I have converted 3, 4 and 5 cell MagLites to LED – they had the weight but not the brightness that I wanted. I wanted something that would absolutely nuke the immediate area in light. I needed something that would push a ton of light in a flood pattern about 100-200 yards and that meant something with well over 1,000 lumens. My 250-500 lumen lights would light up a pretty large area but I wanted a tactical nuke that would light up a big chunk of our yard and stun/scare anything caught in its beam.

The other mandatory requirement that I must emhasize was reliability. I’ve had a ton of cheap import lights fail me – sometimes its the switch, sometimes the cheap under-powered spring pushing the batteries forward, etc. Most of the time, when you buy a cheap light, you get a cheap light. I honestly wanted a light the family could rely on and if they needed to swing it as a club in self-defense to hit a coyote, or any attacker really, it would still reliably work.

If I am going to put my family’s safety on the line with a light, such as this case, there are only two brands of light to be considered – Surefire and Streamlight. Surefire lights are excellent but usually priced outside of my reach. Streamlight on the other hand, is a great combination of excellent quality and affordability. My everyday carry light is usually a Streamlight Microstream and has been for the last 2-3 years. The only weapons lights I buy are Streamlights – either from the TLR or PROTAC series. I’ve never had one fail on me so I am confident with this brand in general.

Thus, I started my journey broad by surfing the web and reading and quickly narrowing my choice down to the Streamlight 88081 PROTAC HL 5-X LED light.

The PROTAC HL 5-X Flashlight

As mentioned, I did a ton of reading. The specs on this light were wicked and convinced me to order one:

  • 3,500 lumen on high using 18650 batteries or only 2500 if using CR123A
  • Can use either two 18650 reachargeable batteries or four CR123A batteries
  • Three operating programs – 1) High/Low/Strobe 2) High Only 3) Low/Medium/High
  • Light output and battery life depends on both the mode and the type of battery:
    • High (18650 USB): 3,500 lumens; 452m beam; runs 1.25 hours; 51,000 candela
    • High (CR123A): 2,500 lumens; 385m beam; runs 1.5 hours; 37,000 candela
    • Medium: 1,000 lumens; 237m beam; runs 2.5 hours (CR123A); runs 3 hours (18650 USB); 14,100 candela
    • Low: 250 lumens; 120m beam; runs 10.5 hours (CR123A); runs 11.5 hours (18650 USB); 3,620 candela
    • Strobe for signaling or disorienting: runs 1.5 hours (CR123A); runs 1.25 hours (18650 USB)
  • 9.53 inches long
  • Weighs 1 pound 3.4oz with the Streamlight USB batteries
  • Rubber sleve over an aluminum body gives both a sure grip and is a thermal insulator

Yeah, it was definitely #1 on my “this is the light to get” list. An interesting note is that you can buy complete kits including Streamlights USB reachargeable 18650 batteries. I’m used to the traditional batteries that go in a charger so this was new to me – these batteries have a small micro USB port on each of them and Streamlight can supply a USB cord that plugs into the charger of your choice. Their cord has a split head for charging the two batteries at once. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

The problem with a great many rechargeable batteries is the need for a dedicated charger -either tying up the whole light as you plug a cord into the light or the batteries are removed and put in a charging cradle of some type. With the Streamlight 18650 USB batteries, things are actually simpler – many folks have USB chargers all over the house, in cars, at work, etc. All you need is a charger and any micro USB cable – there’s nothing proprietary to deal with. The light can still use regular rechargeable 18650 batteries as well – I use both but may well get another set of Streamlight 18650 USB batteries. I already have the charger in my office but I don’t have the flexibility I just mentioned.

So, I ordered the full USB kit from Amazon and they did their usual great job of shipping.

How Did It Perform?

As they say, that is a story for another day, or at least the next post so click here to read it. I’ll tell you though, it is one heck of a light and totally lived up to what I hoped for.

Fresh out of the box.

Click here to read the next post that has many photos of the light, its parts and night time photos showing the illumination.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


The following are current eBay listings for a variety of PROTAC HL 5-X lights and not just the one I bought:


Streamlight 88081 ProTac HL 5-X Rechargeable USB LED Flashlight 3500 Lumens

$99.99
End Date: Sunday Sep-1-2019 12:13:15 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $99.99
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Streamlight 88074 ProTac HL 5-X Handheld LED Flashlight 2500 Lumens, Black

$81.64
End Date: Sunday Sep-1-2019 11:04:09 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $81.64
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Streamlight 88080 Black ProTac HL 5-X 3500 Lumen LED Flashlight w/ USB Charger

$101.13
End Date: Friday Aug-23-2019 6:21:51 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $101.13
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Streamlight 88080 ProTac HL 5-X Rechargeable USB LED Flashlight 3500 Lumens

$101.08
End Date: Thursday Sep-5-2019 10:39:10 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $101.08
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Streamlight 88081 Black ProTac HL 5-X 3500 Lumen LED Flashlight w/ 18650 Battery

$100.04
End Date: Friday Aug-23-2019 6:21:58 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $100.04
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Streamlight 88074 Black ProTac HL 5-X 2500 Lumen LED Flashlight w/ USB Charger

$86.85
End Date: Friday Aug-23-2019 6:21:55 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $86.85
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

ProTac HL 5-X - Missing Batteries and Charger

$68.41
End Date: Saturday Aug-24-2019 20:05:47 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $68.41
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Streamlight 88075 ProTac HL 5-X Handheld LED Flashlight 3500 Lumens, Black

$88.60
End Date: Sunday Sep-1-2019 11:00:24 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $88.60
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Streamlight 880256 ProTac HL 5-X Rechargeable USB LED Flashlight 3500 Lumens

$97.99
End Date: Saturday Sep-21-2019 19:49:14 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $97.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Streamlight ProTac HL-5X USB - Brand New without Box

$85.00
End Date: Wednesday Sep-18-2019 8:29:24 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $85.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

A Kershaw Knockout Knife and Streamlight Microstream LED Light Are In My Pocket These Days

I have quite a selection of folding knives that I use all the time for work – cutting open boxes, plastic pails, insulation, tubing, etc. It’s funny but I wind up rotating through them for one reason or another – it may be because one needs to be sharpened and is too dull (my ZT 0350 is that way right now) or because I just pick up the blade that is by my desk and drop it in my pocket as I head out to the shop. The same is true for whatever small light I am carrying. A while back, I posted about buying both a Kershaw Knockout and Streamlight Microstylus. I’m so happy with both that I figured an update was in order.

Kershaw Knockout

As mentioned, I did buy this blade some months back and posted about it For the last few months, my goto blade has been the Kershaw Knockout. It is a very decent medium sized pocket knife that has a 3.25″ blade made from Sandvik 142C28N steel. It is holding the edge remarkably well – I haven’t needed to sharpen it yet and am very impressed. Note, I use a Work Sharp Ken Onion edition sharpener to true up my blades and it can handle any steel.

The handle is very comfortable, The Knockout gets its name from the cut out in the handle where they rivet in the blade lock. It makes for a very easy to operate locking mechanism. I always like the flag they add to their American made knives also.
The blade is holding up great. You know, I don’t know the details behind the “Diamond Like Coating” – DLC – process but it is really impressive. I’ve beat my ZT 0350 half to death and that coating is holding up on that knife also. Also, you can see the Streamlight Microstream light.

The second reason is that it is remarkably light and thin. For its size, it really does not drag down my pocket. At the same time, the hande is big enough for me to get a firm grip to cut open plastic pails.

The third big reason is that it uses Kershaw’s “SpeedSafe” flipper mechanism for one handed opening. When I am working, being able to open the knife with only one hand is a huge benefit.

The Streamlight Microstream LED Light

I have bought a number of these little lights – my best guess is 6-8 of them. Simply put they hold up great and are at a very reasonable price especially given the quality. Here’s a blog post that I did after my initial purchase back in 201.

I have put at least four of them through the clotheswasher and as long as the base is on tight, they survive. If the base comes loose and water gets in then it is pretty much always game over.

This is a good photo both of the Knockout and the Microstream. The Microstream is 3.5″ long and has a diameter of about 0.6″.

What I can tell you is that I have never had one fail on me due to worksmanship. Dead battery, yes. The switch, body and LED have all held up just great.

I really like these lights because they are small, don’t weigh much, use regular AAA batteries and only cost $16.22 off Amazon. I should also point out that they produce 28 lumens of light and that little battery will last about 2-2.5 hours. I probably carry this light even more than I do a blade because it is just so handy and I can’t see as well as I used to.

In short, I am so happy with both that I wanted to post the update to you folks,


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Streamlight Microstream and Stylus Pro Lights – Quality Brilliance in Small Packages

I recently needed to find new small LED lights that had four key characteristics – reliable, acceptable brightness, decent battery life, and small size.  Let me explain the reason for them:

  • Reliable – to be honest, a lot of the “miracle” lights that are advertised are total pieces of crap.  Everything from poor switches, low quality soldering and, believe it or not, weak springs that break down with use and no longer make reliable contact with the battery.  When I need a light, I need a light.
  • Acceptable Brightness – there is a trade-off between brightness and battery life.  There always has been and always will be.  Now LEDs have really helped push that envelope but even they have trade offs.  For most use, you’d be surprised just how bright 45-100 lumens really is and the cheap lights are misrepresenting about what they put out anyways.  Americans especially seem to think that brighter is better.  Well, for me, I really need to figure out the balance.  I’ve found that 45-100 lumens is pretty darned good for stuff within 100 feet.  No scientific studies were done – I just walked outside and shined different lights around.
  • Decent battery life – I needed a light where the battery would give me at least two hours of light per battery set.  This magical number is based on having easy access to replacement batteries.  Out in the Styx, you may find decent priced AAA batteries but not CR123As for example.
  • Small Size – I need a flashlight that fits in my pocket and does not weigh a ton.

So, armed with this, I started digging around.  I have no affiliation with Streamlight so when I tell you I like their stuff, I actually like their stuff.  I have been using their TLR weapons lights for a number of years now and never had one fail.  Armed with that, I started looking at their small lights and decided to get both the Microstream (single AAA battery) and the Stylus Pro (two AAA batteries) to try out.

Now the specs are pretty good for both.  Look at the battery life relative to Lumens:

So, I installed the supplied Duracel AAA batteries and spent some time playing with both.  The switches are solid, no rattles, and the light is pretty good.  This is me running the lights side by side at a fence about 30 feet away.  The Microstream did surprisingly well compared to the bigger light – it seems to be a tighter beam vs. more of a flood from the Stylus Pro.  The Microstream is on the left and the Stylus Pro is on the right.

Bottom line, both seem like they will meet my needs.  I’m going to carry the Microstream for regular use and the Stylus Pro when more light is needed for a longer time.

2/22/2018 Update:  These lights have held up great.  I even accidentally put one through the clothes washer without any problem -nothing happened to the finish and no water got inside!  I actually have four of the little single battery Microstreams and they are pretty much my every day carry when working in the shop, travelling, etc.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


1 Streamlight Stinger Police Rechargeable Flashlight USED TESTED WITH NEW LENS

$29.00
End Date: Friday Aug-23-2019 15:26:27 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $29.00
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Streamlight 88066 ProTac HL-X Rifle Rail Mount Dedicated Fix Mount LED Light

$97.25
End Date: Friday Sep-13-2019 9:15:16 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $97.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Streamlight 66608 Microstream Rechargeable USB LED 250 Lumen Flashlight, Tan

$29.99
End Date: Sunday Sep-1-2019 8:06:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $29.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Streamlight 66601 Microstream Rechargeable USB LED 250 Lumen Flashlight

$28.45
End Date: Sunday Sep-1-2019 8:07:11 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $28.45
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Streamlight 66603 Microstream Rechargeable USB LED 250 Lumen Flashlight, Blue

$28.94
End Date: Sunday Sep-1-2019 7:34:18 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $28.94
Buy It Now | Add to watch list