Testing Streamlight’s New Rifle Light – The HLX Pro By:

Streamlight’s HLX Pro mounted on rifle resting outside on forest floor
Streamlight’s HLX Pro offers some great new capabilities in the gunlight world.

Anyone who asks me about firearm accessories knows that my first recommendation is always a good weapon light or in the case of a rifle, a good optic then a good light. After all, a light probably won’t do much good if they can’t aim at what they’re illuminating.  

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I am such a big supporter of weapon-mounted lights because I see them as an integral part of both defensive firearm use and basic firearm safety. Identifying your target and seeing what is both in front of and behind it is critical any time we use a firearm. And that concept does not simply cease to bear weight as soon as we lose natural light. 

Table of contents

  • Preface
  • Introducing the HLX Pro
  • Power Supply
  • Illumination
  • My Setup For the HLX Pro
  • Conclusion
View of a target through an optic
Eight-inch steel target at 190 yards illuminated by HLX Pro

The burden is on us as responsible gun owners to outfit ourselves and our weapons with the tools to effectively and ethically make the shot no matter the environment. After all, the darkest deeds always seem to happen in the darkest places. 

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The original HLX has been my go-to rifle light for about the last four years and I currently have them on two of my rifles. I have found them to be both reliable and effective while keeping a price well below competitors like Surefire or Modlite. 

Enter the HLX Pro. This light is very similar to the original HLX but with one main difference. The tail cap has been engineered to include a Crane plug as well as a standard push button. The Crane plug is one of the most popular pressure pad plug types for use with flashlights and IR lasers. 

Streamlight HXL Pro with Crane Plug for aftermarket customization

By including this plug, Streamlight has made available the entire expanse of aftermarket tape switched to fit every need imaginable. Shot cables, long cables, big buttons, little buttons, dual switches with multiple buttons, and cables to control different lasers and lights together. For most, this has never been an issue but for some, this is exactly what they have been waiting for. 

This is a dual-fuel light meaning that it can run on two different battery types. Ether a single SL-B26 (basically an 18650 with a built-in charger) or a pair of CR123s. This flexibility is one feature that I certainly appreciate. Even though I have yet to run through one of these rechargeable batteries before topping it back off I am glad to have the option to swap it out for the disposable ones if it goes dead in the field. 

The battery life is reported to be 1.75 hours on high with the SL-B26 and 1.25 hours with the CR123s. This light is also “Ten Tap” programable which allows you to switch through different program settings for high, low, and strobe by pressing the tail cap ten times in rapid succession. I set mine up for high only. I don’t need multiple modes on my rifle light and by reprogramming it I can be sure to never accidentally activate anything other than high. 

Like the original HLX, the HLX Pro is 1000 lumens and 50000 candela. Although it has the same specs on paper its performance in the field seems slightly better. Both myself and others have noticed that the beam on the HLX Pro seems a bit tighter, thus throws farther than the original. To test this I put the same battery in both lights and shined them at a wall about twenty yards away. The HLX Pro’s beam seemed a bit tighter but only just. 

Streamlight’s HLX Pro shining up into night sky

The more noticeable difference was the temperature of the light produced. The original had a warmer tone while the Pro’s light was cooler but not to the point of having that annoying tinge of LED blue. Maybe this slight color difference is what led to our perception of it having better throw. 

Strong light beam from end of rifle at the dead of night

Either way, this light is bright and it has no trouble illuminating an entire treeline from over two hundred yards away. 

I mounted this light on a sixteen-inch BCM upper that I currently have configured as my SPR build. The light came with an M-LOK mount that I attached to the second slot from the front of the rail. I chose the second slot so I would be able to access the light’s tail cap button with the thumb of my support hand. 

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Streamlight HLX Pro mounted to the end of a rifle

Since I use the tail cap button for primary operation I tried something new with the tape switch. I mounted it as far back as the cable would reach under the objective lens of my scope. I figured since I have a bipod on this rifle this would be the easiest way for me to momentarily activate the light in the prone position. I’m not sure if I will leave it this way long term but it should be interesting to try.

Streamlight’s HLX Pro offers new capabilities to the tried and true HLX

Overall I think this is a great light. I have been using the HLX lights for years and I am sure the HLX Pro will hold up just as well. With the retail cost sitting right around $150 I think the Pro model is a great option if you need the flexibility that the Crane plug-tail cap offers. Otherwise, I think the $125 original HLX will suit your needs just as well.

Visit Streamlight’s website to see a full spec sheet or to find a dealer near you.