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New Illumination Tools from Streamlight

Written by Law and Order Staff

For 2014, Streamlight has made two huge engineering breakthroughs. The first is smashing the 1,000-lumen barrier for a handheld flashlight with their ProTac HL3. The second is a greatly increased operating temperature range for their green laser with their TLR-4™G.

Streamlight has slam-dunked the 1,000-lumen barrier with their ProTac HL3. With a light output of 1,100 lumens, this is Streamlight’s brightest handheld tactical light. The current ProTac HL is itself an amazing light. It was one of the first handheld tactical lights to reach 600 lumens. Remember the quick escalation among tactical lights from 70 lumens to 120 lumens to 240 lumens, then the big jump to 600 lumens?

Remember the misguided adage that 70 lumens is a “tactical” level of bright? Well, Streamlight was one of the first to market with a totally legit ANSI-NEMA FL1-2009 spec-validated 600 lumens. The current ProTac HL remains an excellent patrol light.

The ProTac HL3, however, is the next leap in technology, the next step up in brightness. Using three CR123A batteries (where the ProTac HL uses two), the ProTac HL3 jumps from 600 lumens to 1100 lumens—that is almost double the brightness.

Importantly, the candela did not take second place to the lumens in this technology leap. The candela actually more than doubled, from 16K for the ProTac HL to 36K for the ProTac HL3. That translates to a beam reach improvement from 275 yards to 410 yards.

The 1,100-lumen ProTac HL3 is, however, larger than the 600-lumen ProTac HL. The length is 1 ¾-inch longer, and the bezel is 3/8-inch larger in diameter. To put this into a patrol duty belt perspective of brightness, the ProTac HL3 has more lumens, a longer bean reach, and a smaller overall size and weight than the awesome Stinger DS LED HL.

The ProTac HL3 has a multi-function, push-button, tactical tailswitch. With one hand, you can go from steady on, to momentary, to variable intensity, to strobe. Streamlight’s TEN-TAP™ programmable switch allows user selection of one of three different programs. The default is high, strobe, low. High-only is one of the choices. Low-High is the other choice. (Some officers don’t like or use the strobe function.)

The Low setting is a very low, read inside the patrol car, 35 lumens. In High mode and in Strobe mode, the runtime is 1.5 hours. In Low mode, it is 36 hours. The ProTac HL3 has an anti-roll bezel and removable packet clip. Available in April, the MSRP of the ProTac HL3 is $155.

 

TLR-4 G

The second Streamlight breakthrough is in green laser technology. The TLR-2™ G, introduced in 2013, produces a 200-lumen White light together with a green laser. That green laser has an operating temperature between 32 deg and 104 deg F. Unlike a red laser, green is more visible in daylight. In fact, the green laser is five to six times more visible than red. The whole illumination industry, the whole tactical community, is going to a green laser.

The TLR-4 G has a green laser with the operating temperature range twice as wide. It works at high temps up to 120 deg. F. Most importantly, it also works at temps of -20 deg. F. Can you say “polar vortex?” Virtually the whole country was below the 32 deg F limit of the TLR-2 G and nearly half the country was below 0 deg F for a week, while the demand for police services continued as normal.

We got the TLR-4 G one week after the now-famous “polar vortex” and -15 deg F weather. Frigid conditions, however, came back two weeks later, this time called an “arctic blast.” The air temp was -18 deg F. Out we went to test the green laser under downright dangerous conditions—wind chills of -40 deg F. The green laser had a noticeable pulse to the beam, but it was totally visible and exactly on the pre-set zero.

The TLR-4 G does not replace the TLR-2 G. Both units will continue to be offered. The TLR-2 G has a brighter, 200-lumen White light, a strobe feature and uses a more traditional CR123A battery. The TLR-4 G has a more temperature extreme-tolerant green laser, a lower-power 115-lumen White light, and uses a CR2 battery.

While the TLR-4 G does not produce the brightness of the TLR-2 G (115 lumens versus 200 lumens), it has almost the same candela (5200 versus 6300). That means the TLR-4 G still has a good reach or beam distance. It is 175 yards for the TLR-2 G and about 140 yards for the TLR-4 G. The TLR-4 G has a slightly longer battery life. The TLR-4 G operates for 1.75 hours on LED-only, 1.0 hours (?) on LED plus laser, and four hours on laser-only.

Not surprisingly, the TLR-4 G uses an entirely different design than the TLR-2 G. the TLR-4 G is smaller and lighter. The green laser emits from below the light where the green laser on the TLR-2 G emits from behind the White light lens. The green laser is both windage and elevation adjustable.

The TR-4 G has the same ambidextrous, momentary-steady on/off switches as all Streamlight weapon lights: laser-only, LED-only and both laser and LED. The TLR-4 G mounts on virtually any duty auto pistol with a rail. The TLR-4 G runs $399.

 

Scorpion HL

Following the industry trend to much higher LED light output, Streamlight just introduced their Scorpion HL rated at 600 lumens. Again, this was an unimaginable amount of brightness just a few years ago. In fact, the original Scorpion with a Xenon bulb was rated at just 78 lumens. When upgraded to the C4 LED, it had a 160-lumen rating (Scorpion LED) later bumped to 200 lumens (Scorpion X).

Still using two CR123A batteries, the NextGen Scorpion HL now pushes out 600 lumens with a 275-yard range. It is 5.5 inches long, weighs less than 5 ounces, and reaches almost three football fields in length. The Scorpion HL uses the TEN-TAP programmable switch, which is another upgrade to the original Scorpion series.

Like many Streamlight handhelds, the Scorpion HL has both a strobe function and a low-light setting. On Low, the 33 lumen mode has a runtime of 18 hours. The small size, light weight and extreme brightness make it an excellent choice as a personal carry, secondary or backup light. When you operate under dim light conditions, “one is none, two is one.”

The Scorpion HL is one of the few handheld tactical lights with a non-slip, high-texture, rubberized grip. It has an extremely good feel in bare and gloved hands. While the Scorpion has always had an industry-unique rubberized grip, the sleeve has been redesigned for an even better grip. The Scorpion HL will both be available in April 2014 with an MSRP of $120.

Other new lights for 2014 from Streamlight include the TLR-2 IRW with an infrared laser, ProTac HL headlamp, PolyTac and PolyTac HP polymer housing lights, Stylus Pro USB and ClipMate USB.

 

SIDEBAR:

Portable Scene Light

For 2014, Streamlight introduced their first portable scene light. A scene light from Streamlight makes total sense—it is how the company got started. More than 40 years ago, the group of engineers that would become Streamlight developed a solar simulator for NASA. They wanted to simulate the sunlight outside the filtering of the atmosphere. The result was a light that generated 25 million candlepower. This same research was later used to develop a handheld, 1 million candlepower light for the military. Yeah, Streamlight can do scene lights.

The Portable Scene Light incorporates the E-Flood® Litebox® HL™ head coupled with two Lightbox batteries. The E-Flood head comes from their proven E-Flood handheld lantern. The light head uses six C4® LEDs mounted in a parabolic reflector. The head can easily be rotated from spotlight mode to diffused, flood light mode.

The Portable Scene Light telescopes in fully adjustable increments up to 72 inches. The unit comes with two stabilization legs to prevent tipping. Of course, the 12-volt, zero-maintenance, lead acid battery in the base adds ballast and stability to the extended light head. The Portable Scene Light has a 6.5-inch by 22-inch footprint and weighs 25 pounds. The light head itself is mounted on a 90-degree swivel neck.

The Portable Scene Light has three levels of light output. On the High setting, it delivers 3,600 lumens (31K candela) and a beam reach of 385 yards. At this level, it has a five-hour runtime. On the Medium setting, it produces 2,400 lumens for  nine hours and reaches 310 yards. On the Low setting, it is 1,100 lumens for 18 hours with a beam reach of 230 yards.

The battery pack can be recharged 500 times. From the fully depleted condition, it reaches 90 percent charged in 10 hours. The light can be separately powered and trickle-charged by either 12 volts DC or 110 volts AC. A 10-foot power cord for DC use is included, as is an AC adaptor. This 110-volt inverter on many police trucks and SUVs will power the unit.

The battery housing and light head are molded from high-impact thermoplastic. The lens itself is made from scratch-resistant (virtually unbreakable) polycarbonate. The unit can stand in up to  4 inches of water and is O-ring sealed. The Portable Scene light has an MSRP of $999.

 

SIDEBAR:

Candela Versus Lumens

Streamlight is following three different light strategies, i.e., making three kinds of beams. While lumens are critically important in selecting or upgrading a light, it is not all about lumens, or lumens-only. Instead, the selection involves both the lumens and the beam pattern.

Streamlight’s Tradition series has a middle road balance of beam reach (candela), beam width (lumens), and total run time. Their HP Series puts an emphasis on beam reach, beam distance, beam throw along with a bit more brightness than the Tradition Series. Their HL Series puts an emphasis on beam width with the highest brightness and a bit more reach than the Tradition Series.

HP means High Performance and that means candela, i.e., spotlight-like beam reach. HL means High Lumen and that means lumens, i.e., floodlight-like beam width and intense brightness. Think HP, the high-candela beam, for clearing all the way to the end of a dark alley. Think HL, the high lumen for a vehicle-wide beam at a traffic stop, or room clearing.

Almost the opposite of what you might think, the long beam, narrower width pattern lights have the widest bezels. The shorter beam, wider-width pattern lights have smaller, narrower bezels.

Law enforcement lights come from all three Streamlight categories.

The popular Stinger DS LED and TLR-1/TLR-2 lights are in the Tradition Series. The Stinger DS LED HP and TLR-1 HP are obviously in the HP Series. Likewise, the ProTac HL3, Stinger DS LED HL and TLR-1 HL are in the HL Series. This is not a good, better, best rating. Instead, it is all task-driven and cost-specific.

 

Photos courtesy of Streamlight.


Published in Law and Order, Mar 2014

Rating : Not Yet Rated


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