Streamlight MacroStream USB Flashlight: Too Good Not To Have!

Flashlights are sort of like potato chips, in that most people can’t have just one. We might even go so far as to say that they’re addicting. Especially for the tactical crowd, who typically seem to go on lengthy tangents down those rabbit holes.

Anyone who happens to be “into” flashlights will be familiar with the name Streamlight. Since 1973, they’ve been bringing us lighting tools. Initially, they started out with only six employees, but that has grown to approximately 240 employees today.

Based in Pennsylvania, they are known for quality products that do not cost an arm and a leg and that are durable, while giving high performance. Known as a “hands-on” company, employees are active in many varied pursuits, and these experiences lend expertise when they’re developing and testing lights. For example, many Streamlight employees go through firefighter training and are hunters, fishermen, and outdoor enthusiasts. These folks know what we need in the field!

Today we’re going to take a close-up look at the Streamlight MacroStream USB Flashlight. What’s so great about it? We’re going to let you know!

Rechargeable Batteries — The New Wave!

Having to constantly replace and purchase batteries is a real drag and can become pretty costly for those of us who use lights frequently. I personally use my lights multiple times per day. They are an irreplaceable part of my wardrobe. With the innovation of rechargeable batteries, flashlights have benefitted immensely. No longer do we have to constantly buy and replace batteries. The cost savings can be significant for many of us.

The MacroStream comes with a USB charger cable, or you can use the one from your phone. (Photo: Jim Davis)

A Caveat

While I am a zealous fanatic about my love for rechargeable lights, there is one minor downside. It might not affect everyone, but I’ll throw it out there anyway.

The issue can occur if we exhaust the charge in one of our rechargeable lights. That light must now be plugged in to recharge, presumably until it is fully charged. During that charging time, the light is out of commission. As such, the user probably should have a backup light source to fall back on. For most of us, that means buying multiple lights. That gives us an excuse to go out and buy more lights, which most people will happily do.

Is this a huge issue? It depends upon what we’re using our light for. If it’s law enforcement or Search And Rescue, it could be a huge deal. In such instances, having a backup is absolutely paramount. Those who plan ahead will most definitely have extra lights.

For lights that are just EDC-type items around the house, this shouldn’t be a huge issue, as it’s easy enough to have a spare light around the house.

Despite small inconveniences, the rechargeable nature of lights with their cost savings will still be wildly welcomed by most people.

Streamlight MacroStream USB Specs

The length of the MacroStream is 4.5 inches (11.43 Centimeters) and it weighs 2.2 ounces (62.37 grams). In short, it’s a small, lightweight light that easily clips inside a pocket. As far as compactness and ease of carry are concerned, they got this one right.

There is an internal, lithium-ion battery in the light. The body of the light is constructed of anodized, machined aluminum. The lens is polycarbonate. I’ve not had any issues with the lens scratching.

The light is tested to one-meter impact resistance. The aircraft aluminum body is protected by a Mil-Spec Type II anodized finish that gives it a nice, flat black appearance.

The LED light source is immune to shock and features a 30,000 run time.

A USB charging cord is included with the light. Or you can use any of the dozen or so charger cables that are likely around your home, leftovers from years of cell phones.

The switch for the light is a rubber-coated tail switch. The first push of the switch gets the user 500 lumens (2,000 candelas), while the second push gets us 50 lumens. At either setting, if you push the switch all the way in, it clicks and stays on (Constant On). If you don’t push it until it clicks, the light turns off as soon as pressure is released from the switch (Momentary On). This is, to me, the perfect way to set up a switch.

Tail cap switch.
The tail cap switch is easy to find in the dark and in emergencies. It works well for Momentary On or Constant On functions. (Photo: Jim Davis)

For a defensive or tactical light, in my opinion, the only way to go is the push button tail switch. The thumb automatically goes straight to the tail to activate it, and there’s no blind searching for the switch in the dark. The Momentary On aspect is also perfect; if pressure is released, the light goes off. These are both mandatory requirements for me in a tactical/defensive light.

A twist of the tail switch can lock the light out so it won’t be activated accidentally.

Run Times

  • At the 500-lumen setting, the light runs for two hours.
  • At the 50-lumen setting, the light runs for eight hours.
  • Internal lithium-ion battery charges in four hours.

How To Charge the Streamlight Macrostream USB 

Speaking of charging the light, it’s a unique process. Pull the head of the light forward, and a metal sleeve slides forward to expose the charging port. Plug in the charger cable. A red charge indicator light indicates that the unit is charging, while a green one indicates that it is fully charged.

After it’s charged, just push the sleeve back down toward the light, and it seals again, making the unit water-resistant. The light is rated for IPX-4 water resistance, which protects from splashing water, regardless of the direction.

The Streamlight MacroStream Clip

The clip on the Streamlight MacroStream USB is stellar, in that it allows you to carry the light with the head either up or down, which offers versatility. I personally like to carry my lights with the tail cap in the upward position in my pocket because I find the light is in a good position to activate the tail cap switch as soon as I draw it.

Streamlight MacroStream clip
The Streamlight MacroStream clip can carry the light either bezel up or down and is sturdy. It can also clip easily to the bill of a hat. The MacroSTream is light and compact. (Photo: Jim Davis)

One convenient aspect is that the MacroStream can be clipped onto the bill of a ball cap for hands-free operation. The light doesn’t weigh much and won’t drag the hat down on the user’s head, so this method works extremely well. On top of that, the clip can be affixed to any number of other pieces of gear, including pack straps and such. I’ve found this clip to be extremely durable, which is another huge plus. I don’t have to be concerned with it bending or breaking off.

Finally, the clip is removable, should the user decide to take it off.

What’s the range for this light?

Set at 500 lumens, the range of the MacroStream is listed at 90 meters, while at 50 lumens, it is 30 meters.

A little more about the beam. It has a main, focused throw that reaches out nicely. Then it has a wide flood, which helps light up the surrounding area. I like the flood because it helps illuminate objects or threats that might be nearby in the periphery. All in all, it’s a good beam that works well for many tasks.


In my opinion, this light is good for tactical, self-defense, and EDC (Everyday Carry) use. For tactical/self-defense, I like the fact that the first setting gets me the highest light output. If I’m trying to illuminate or blind a threat, I want that high setting right now, not later on. Having it as the primary setting is smart.

MacroStream, Spyderco PM2, Glock 43X.
Streamlight’s MacroStream offers a bright output. It makes a nice part of an EDC package, including a Spyderco Paramilitary 2 and a Glock 43X. (Photo: Jim Davis)

The fact that there is a lower setting (50 lumens) is great for EDC when we don’t necessarily need blinding light. Plus, it saves the battery, giving us many hours of light.

Will this light blind an attacker? Absolutely. Sure, there are brighter lights out there, but this one brings a lot to the table: it’s rechargeable and has two very sensible light outputs. It’s solidly constructed, as well. In an emergency, this light could be used to strike an attacker, as it’s built solidly enough.

One of the best aspects is that it is simple to use! There are just two settings, as opposed to other lights, some of which have a half-dozen different settings. Often, simple is better.

For navigating around the house or outside, the lower power setting works great, as it gives enough light to see up close, but won’t blast the eyes with night-vision-killing lumens.

MacroStream in hand.
The tail cap switch is fast into action. The light is also stout enough to be used as a striking device. (Photo: Jim Davis)

To Summarize

Streamlight’s MacroStream USB checks off a lot of the boxes for many of us. It has two very useful power levels that cover defensive, tactical, Search And Rescue, and EDC functions, among others.

The rechargeable aspect of it saves us from going broke purchasing fresh batteries, so there’s a real economical aspect to it. And talking about economics, there’s the price, which, at the time of this writing, happens to be $57.99.

It’s a durable light as well and will stand up to an impressive amount of abuse.

This light covers a lot of bases for a very reasonable price point. It comes from a company that stands behind its products with a limited lifetime warranty. I have to say, the Streamlight MacroStream USB is one of the better buys on the market, considering what you get for the money. You need one. 

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