With the interest in flashlights (and Christmas just around the corner), I thought I'd post a revised review of Streamlight flashlights for anyone interested.
Note that my first priority for these lights is as a SD tool, and as such, I prefer the KISS principle. I don't need or want 50 different modes which require twisting, pulling, pushing, holding your tongue just right, etc in order to access the mode you're looking for. Many folks complain 'bout the order or light selection of Streamlights, but I'm sure they were designed so your first/easiest light mode accessed is the one you'd want in a SD situation.
For those that are looking for a serious SD light, you might also want to download this free American Cop magazine issue-it has numerous articles on lights-you might start with the article on page 70!
With their recent price drops for LED lights and the addition of the C4 LED, I ordered a number of Streamlights to do my own comparison-the PT-2L and the Streamlight Nightfighter are my favorites so far. For comparison, I ordered the below Streamlights-they're listed in order of decreasing PERCEIVED light:
Streamlight 88005 Night Fighter NF, C4 LED Tactical Flashlight, Black (2 CR123) 120 lumens
Designed (with removable doughnut) for use with sidearms/2-handed hold-very comfortable grip.
Seems to be brighter than the higher rated PT-2L, but probably because it has a larger reflector.
Simpler switch design (to eliminate mistakes under stress)-no strobe/various outputs-just push for momentary on-twist the end cap for constant on.
I see Streamlight now has a Nightfighter X, which appears physically identical to the above Nightfighter, but now has a high/low/strobe setting. The spec sheet also shows the newer X model has a higher output (200 vs. 160 lumens), but you lose 1 hour of runtime! I just ordered one of these, due in this week.
PT-2L (2 CR123) 180/10 lumens
Darn close in output to the Nightfighter, but is slimmer since the head is the size of the body.
For those with larger hands or slight carpal tunnel, the Nightfighter may be more comfortable while holding with a fist grip?
PT-2AA (2 AA) 120/14 lumens
The AA version of the PT-2L if you prefer AA over CR123 batteries, but it's not quite as bright.
Streamlight JR (2 AA) 55 lumens
'Bout the size of a mini Maglite, but an inch longer-not bad, but I would have preferred it be an inch or so shorter-it would be much nicer if it was the length of a mini Maglite.
The below are a step below in output and do not have the newer C4 LED.
They're not bad for pocket lights, but they're not really for serious work.
Streamlight Stylus Pro (2 AAA) 24 lumens
Streamlight Microstream (1 AAA) 20 lumens
I have a 2 D-Cell Maglite that I installed the Maglite LED bulb in-the PT-2L puts it to shame!
The LED drop-in for the Maglite was a big improvement, but the beam is tightly focused-if you twist the focusing head, you get more light on the edges, but you have a big dark spot in the middle. The PT-2L puts out more center light than the Maglite with LED (but it's pretty close), but the PT-2L has much better light at the edges-it tends to light up a much bigger area.
I have a few Nightfighters for use with a 2-handed hold of firearms (one stays beside my bed gun), but ordered some more of the PT-2L to use as glove box lights in all my vehicles. Tough call between it and the Nightfighter, but since I got the PT-2L for around 2/3 (or less) the price of the Nightfighter, they're smaller, and they're going to be in vehicle glove boxes, I opted for more PT-2L models.
The PT-2L would make a great SERIOUS light for women (or a larger pocket light)-it takes up very little space, but is blindingly bright!
Prices vary, so shop around-prices for the PT-2L on Amazon change almost daily. I also just placed my latest order with Flashlight Distributor.com as they seemed to have the best prices at the moment.
I've started wearing a PT-2L on my belt at all times, using the included nylon pouch. As stated in my review, the Nightfighter may be slightly brighter, but the PT-2L is smaller/slimmer and in its pouch, it is about the same length as my cell phone belt case.
I found someone with a 3 D-cell LED Maglite for comparison-I wondered if the LED Maglites worked better than mine with the drop-in LED (by Maglite). It appears they made no changes to the reflector/focusing on the LED models vs. my upgraded one-the 3 D-cell LED Maglite seems identical to my 2 D-cell upgraded one for both light output and rendering the focusing head pretty much useless. Maglite really needs to work on their reflector with the LEDs! They throw a decent, but extremely tight beam-if you try to broaden the light with the focusing ring, you get a black hole in the middle with very little light at the edges-the PT-2L puts both of 'em to shame.
I’d also note the Velcro on the flap of the included PT-2L’s pouch finally just gave up-Streamlight did send me a new one-they also referred me to Stallion Leather as I’m looking for a leather pouch to match my cell phone case.
I also snagged a few pricey Surefires (Z2-S & E2DL LEDs) to see what all the hoopla was about-while they seem to be a little bit nicer (or maybe just fancier) AFA appearance/construction, I had a hard time chasing the switch on the E2DL. When I try to activate it with my thumb, since the switch is recessed in the tail, the light kept sliding forward in my hand as I tried to activate the switch with my thumb-let someone at the gun shop try it, and that was also the first thing they noticed.
The Z2-S is a rough equivalent of the Streamlight Nightfighers-I might prefer the Surefire if I was going to wear it on a belt, but for night stand use I like the larger doughnut on the Streamlight-the larger doughnut on the Streamlight would make it tough for wearing on a belt?
I'd also note a lot of folks seem to prefer lights that use AA batteries-I have starting moving towards CR123 batteries in a big way. CR123s are getting easier to find (police supply houses, Lowes), and if you compare apples to apples (lithium CR123s vs. AA lithiums), I pay less for CR123s.
I run Eveready Ultimate Lithiums in all my high tech toys (EOTechs, etc) due to their wider temperature operating range, much less likely to leak, and shelf life.
'Course, I use my lights intermittently-for heavy use, someone might prefer something other than CR123s.
My brother prefers the rechargeable Streamlight Strions-he says their rechargeables seem to have an excellent shelf life between charges, which would remove one of the problems with using rechargeables for intermittent use-for such use, I usually find I spend more time making sure something's charged than I do actually using the device-sounds like Streamlight's rechargeables don't have this problem.