This time of year is always an exciting one for the firearms consumer. The SHOT Show is over and all the new products that were kept under wraps are now available — or at least can now be ordered. This year is even more exciting than the last eight or so with the much-awaited exit of the former president and the defeat at the ballot box of the Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton. It could have been the start of a very bleak year indeed.
I may sound like a broken record (which is a saying that is going to be lost on the current and future generations), but Streamlight continues to be the leader in handheld and weapon-mounted tactical lights. One of their new products for 2017 is the Strion DS HPL Tactical flashlight.
The Strion line of rechargeable lights now has a total of seven variations, including a Breast Cancer Research Foundation pink model. For each BCRF Strion sold, Streamlight will donate $5 to BCRF. Don’t let the pink color throw you off; the BCRF has a 260-lumen maximum output and, like all Strions, is a solid tactical performer.
All Strion lights are of the “compact tactical” size. The Strion is perfect for carry as a backup light on a law enforcement officer’s duty belt, a detective’s primary light or, of course, as a carry light for CCW permit holders. It also makes a great emergency/tactical light for use within the home or while traveling.
Two of the current Strions are the HPL models (High Performance High Lumen). One is the standard HPL model; the other, which I received for testing, is the HPL DS (Dual Switch) model.
The HPL’s larger bell-shaped head is a specialty unit that is also used on the rechargeable Stinger series as well as the TLR-1 and the non-rechargeable Super Tac and Super Tac X handhelds. Because of the larger head, the Strion HPL is a bit large for pocket carry, with the exception of a coat or large tactical pocket. But concealment is not where the Strion HPL light shines — it is designed to provide long-range concentrated lighting horsepower.
The Strion HPL DS has a number of important and desirable features, the most critical of which is the DS (Dual Switch) feature. The Strion HPL is longer and an ounce and a half heavier than a standard Strion due to the HPL head, which makes it a bit more unwieldy to run using the tactical tailcap switch — at least for my medium-sized hands.
The second switch on the HPL DS is located in the “traditional” flashlight switching position, directly across from the triangular charger fitting on the opposite side, which helps to orient the light properly in the hand. This allows the Strion HPL DS to be used as a traditional light for area search, while still being available for use in a tactical grip for those persons who desire it or for those times when a tactical grip is indicated.
As mentioned, the purpose of the HPL illumination head is to project concentrated light at a distance. The maximum output of the Strion HPL is a hefty 700 lumens with a 420-lumen beam reach. This level of power achieves the desired effect while still producing a bright enough halo around the tight central “spot,” making it suitable for close-range interior searches or contacts as well. By way of comparison, the Strion HL, with its 500-lumen output, has a reach of “only” 200 meters.
The Strion HPL DS also features Streamlight’s TEN-TAP programming system, which allows the user to program any light so equipped to their personal preference through a series of “taps” on the activation switch. Standard factory default setting for basic switch operation is high/medium/low with strobe, high only without strobe, and high/medium/low without strobe. I prefer the standard default as the most flexible setting, so I didn’t change it. The medium setting delivers 300 lumens of light out to 268 meters (still quite impressive), while the low setting provides 40 lumens out to 102 meters. Having the lower light setting available on handheld lights with greater than a 200-lumen output is critical for the mundane uses that such lights are mostly subjected to, because most of a high-lumen light’s output gets reflected back into your eyes instead of being absorbed by what you are focusing on. Also, the strobe feature is very useful for disorienting an opponent, and I like to keep it available for emergency use.
The Streamlight Strion HPL DS is constructed of 6000 series anodized aluminum, while the HPL Lens is unbreakable polycarbonate with a scratch-resistant coating. The solid construction makes the HPL DS IPX-4 water resistant, which gives it protection against sprays and splashing of water from all directions. The body is serialized for identification in case of theft (or for inventory). Streamlight provides a limited lifetime warranty for the Strion HPL DS, as they do on all their products.
Streamlight sent me one of their nylon belt holders for the HPL DS. There is a protective flap that snaps over the top of the lens, which is critical in protecting its larger surface. The HPL DS carried quite well on my police duty belt, and access to the light was easy. The HPL DS works very well as a police patrol light. I definitely recommend purchasing the holder as an important piece of equipment even for civilian use.
The HPL DS is a great addition to Strion line, and gives increased flexibility to the HPL with inclusion of the second switch, which also allows easier use of the old “FBI” flashlight technique — an oldie but a goodie. It would be my primary choice for a handheld tactical/utility light were I living on a piece of land larger than a couple of acres. Actually, it works nicely for my ¾-acre yard, which is surrounded by woods and fields where coyotes are known to prowl.
The Streamlight HPL DS came equipped with a charger with AC/DC charging adaptors for mounting in an automobile, RV or even a boat. It is available at Optics Planet for $151.99. For more information, go to www.streamlight.com.