Streamlight Stinger 2020 Review — Displacing the Darkness

Streamlight Stinger 2020 Review — Displacing the Darkness

As any frightened three-year-old will tell you, monsters live in the darkness. The capacity to push back that darkness is a critical aspect of any survival situation. Hence, why we value light so very much. Light is life.

If you live someplace other than around the two poles, chances are at least a third of the time it will be dark. Whether you find yourself navigating a blacked-out house during a power failure, searching for something precious lost outside after dark, or confronting something bad or scary during a time when you are at a disadvantage, having a rugged, bright, reliable light can make all the difference in the world.

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The landscape is littered with portable flashlights, the quality of which ranges from superlative to crap with everything in between. What we will talk about today is the former.

The Stinger Flashlight

Streamlight has carved out a comfortable niche in the rarefied world of tactical illumination. It offers a bewildering array of onboard weapon lights for handguns, shotguns and rifles. Their handheld illuminators range from Lilliputian versions that snap onto your keychain all the way up to big night-crushing beasts. I live in this world, and their Stinger 2020 sits on my bedside table. I have no higher accolade.

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For starters, the Stinger 2020 doesn’t look much like your Grandad’s flashlight. Offering an ergonomic design that interfaces beautifully with the human hand and won’t roll away when you set it down, the Streamlight 2020 is the product of years of technical and mechanical evolution. The aluminum alloy chassis features aggressive stippling on the sides for a firm grip when you are sweaty or terrified. There’s a power switch up front under your thumb as well as another in the tail, so you can activate and deactivate the light from any conceivable position. An intuitive mode selector is also thumb-selectable among low, medium, and high settings.

Streamlight Stinger 2020 Details

Until somebody really smart figures out a way to safely put a cold fusion nuclear power cell into a handheld flashlight, batteries will always be the limiting reagent when it comes to a tactical illuminator. The Stinger 2020 is powered by a built-in rechargeable SL-B26 protected Lithium-ion battery pack. The light comes with a dedicated cradle where it can be safely stored either flat or hanging on the wall. The thing incorporates enough onboard computing power to regulate itself and maximize its battery performance over time, all the while remaining ready to grab and go in an instant. 

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On its maximum setting, the Streamlight 2020 puts out 2,000 lumens and is effective out to 315 meters. In this configuration, it will run for about two hours on a charge. The medium setting offers 860 lumens for about four hours. Low power output will produce 100 lumens for a full 24 hours. Learn more about flashlight runtime and the the difference about candela vs. lumens.

In addition to the standard offerings, the Streamlight 2020 also has a disorienting strobe setting. This mode will get the attention of someone far away or foment confusion up close. The strobe will flash for nearly 3.5 hours on a full charge. Toss somebody into a box with this thing thusly configured and you will eventually get a crazy person back out.


The Stinger 2020 is a bit south of 8″ long and weighs 12.3 oz. The light is waterproof to IPX7 standards and drop-tested up to two meters onto a hard surface. It also looks like something out of the movie Aliens.

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Like any advanced tactical instrument, there is a manual of arms. A light press will activate the light at the power setting determined by the thumb switch. The light then extinguishes when you release the switch. A full press creates an audible and tactile click and produces a constant-on state. A quick double press engages the strobe. A further solid press in any mode turns the light off.

Streamlight Stinger 2020 Review switch operation function

One of the features offered on a number of high-end Streamlight lights is called the TEN-TAP programmable switch. This widget is more versatile than an Eagle Scout and allows you to optimize the light to your personal specifications. However, the Stinger 2020 replaces the TEN-TAP system with the more basic mechanical switchology previously discussed. The Stinger 2020 is simpler to use as a result.

  • Four flashlight modes: high, medium, low, and strobe
    • High: 2,000 lumens with a 315m beam and a 2 hour runtime
    • Medium: 850 lumens with a 200m beam and a 4 hour runtime
    • Low: 100 lumens with a 70m beam and a 24 hour runtime
    • Strobe: 3.25 hour runtime
  • Independent head and tail switches
  • Uses two Li-Ion USB rechargeable battery packs
  • Compatible with existing Stinger chargers — it can also charge using a USB cord or the company’s SL-B26 bank charger
  • Aluminum alloy body with ergonomic, anti-roll body design and textured grip
  • Water resistance: waterproof (IPX7)
  • Impact resistance: 2 meters
  • Weight: 12.3 oz
  • Length: 7.67″
  • Warranty: limited lifetime


I’ve yet to wrap my Stinger 2020 up in C4 or throw it out of an airplane, but it seems at least as rugged as I am. The lens gets fairly warm during prolonged operation, but the rig is just stupid bright. I have used mine for all of my illumination needs around my rural farm for some two years now and have been thrilled with it. 

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A cursory Google search shows the street price of the Stinger 2020 hovering around $140. That’s not chicken feed, but it’s not insane, either. What you get for that investment is an eminently well-reasoned, all-weather flashlight that is as rugged as a tire iron and will reliably displace the darkness. Whether you are a cop, an independent-minded private citizen or a three-year-old growing weary of being terrorized by the monsters under your bed, the Streamlight Stinger 2020 is a loyal, reliable companion.

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