5.11 Tactical ATAC L2 Flashlight Review

March 30, 2012
I believe it would make an excellent secondary light on your duty belt or emergency light for your vehicle / camp / bug out gear.

Not long ago I tested and wrote a review of the 5.11 Tactical ATAC A1 Flashlight. In that review I pointed out that the "A1" part of the named showed that it ran on one AA battery. In today's review report, the ATAC L2 is the topic light. Care to guess what and how many batteries it takes? Yep - two lithium batteries. In that way, 5.11 Tactical makes it easy to know what type of and how many batteries the light uses. Now if they'd just put the light output somewhere in that name as well...

Let's get the basic data points out of the way first:

  • Aerospace Grade Aluminum
  • (2) CR123A Duracell® Batteries Included
  • Regulated Circuit for Maximum Output
  • Cree® XP-G LED
  • Gold Plated Contacts
  • Intelligent Switch w. High/Low/Strobe
  • Momentary-On Switch
  • Rotary Dial Lock-Out Switch
  • Stamped Metal Pocket Clip
  • Black TPR Soft Touch Anti-Roll Ring
  • Break-Away Lanyard Included
  • Water Resistant Construction
  • Length: 5.3” (133.7mm)
  • Max. Diameter: 1.1” (26.7mm)
  • Body Diameter: 1.0” (24.3mm)
  • Product Weight: 2.6oz (75g)
  • Weight w. Batteries: 3.8oz (108g)

The size of the light is pretty standard for a light that uses two 3V batteries and the construction material is pretty much the industry standard.

Just like the A1, the L2 has multiple function modes to include high output, low output and strobe mode (strobes at high output light level). Reportedly (and I'm not running a laboratory so I can't measure it) the L2 at high power puts out 222 lumens of light for up to four hours driven by the two CR123 3V lithium batteries. On "ultra" low power that drops to 10 lumens but lasts for a reported 74 hours on a single pair of batteries. In strobe mode - again, strobing at the high output (222 lumens) level of light, the batteries will reportedly drive the light for over seven hours.

I both like and don't like the switching mechanism in this light. The things I like are that you can cycle through the functionality without having to CLICK each function. In other words, just using touch pressure you can turn the light on, cycle through the functions to the one you want and stay there. So, for instance, if you want the ultra-low setting, you "touch touch" the tailcap pressure button and you're at ultra-low light. If you push the button hard enough to click, it stays on at that setting. If you just hold touch pressure on the button but don't push hard enough to click, it stays on until you release the pressure. Another think I like is the lock-out switch. The light is equipped with a rotary dial lock-out switch which I recommend using. It prevents several things: it prevents the accidental discharge of your light which would either potentially give away your position or drain your batteries, and it prevents the light from getting warm in your pocket.

What I don't like is that you can't just turn this light on, in a single push, and have it be at the function you want; you HAVE to cycle through the functions: high, ultra low, strobe until you reach the one you want to use, assuming you don't want to use the high output setting. Really, for the design and price, there's nothing to be done about that. On the 5.11 Tactical ATAC L2 webpage the MSRP shows as $84.99. That's a darn good price for a light with this kind of performance and functionality.

Given that the light is generated by a Cree LED lamp assembly, I felt like I should abuse the light some in the testing process... so I did. I live on a gravel road so I took the light out front and threw it down the road... ten times. My neighbor threw it back all ten times. Neither of us caught it. So my test light was thrown about thirty or forty yards, landing in the gravel roadway, a total of twenty times. It still works without an issue. It just looks a little beat up. I've used the ultra-low power setting to navigate my way around my house, yard and shed after dark and I've used the high output setting for target identification and engagement during night fire at the range.

All in all I'm quite happy with the way the light performs. I believe it would make an excellent secondary light on your duty belt or emergency light for your vehicle / camp / bug out gear. The ONLY reason I don't recommend it as a primary tactical light is because having to switch through high output and ultra-low output to get to the strobe feature can cost valuable time and attention in a potential lethal force encounter.

Stay safe!

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About The Author:

Lt. Frank Borelli (ret) is the Editor In Chief for Officer.com, and has 30 years of military and civilian law enforcement experience. An instructor since 1989 and having delivered training across the country, he stays active in police work, training, and writing. Frank has had five non-fiction and two fiction books published along with two research papers of specific interest to the law enforcement and/or military communities. All can be found / purchased on his Author Page on Amazon.com linked above. If you have any comments or questions, you can contact him via email to [email protected].

About the Author

Lt. Frank Borelli (ret), Editorial Director | Editorial Director

Lt. Frank Borelli is the Editorial Director for the Officer Media Group. Frank brings 20+ years of writing and editing experience in addition to 40 years of law enforcement operations, administration and training experience to the team.

Frank has had numerous books published which are available on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and other major retail outlets.

If you have any comments or questions, you can contact him via email at [email protected].

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