A tactical laser sight from Viridian could be the difference between life and death in the following scenario.
After a long week of work, you’re looking forward to spending the evening on the couch by the fireplace to do some reading. Just as you settle in with a nice bourbon and a book you’ve been meaning to read, you see some headlights coming up the driveway.
That’s a little odd, as you certainly haven’t ordered a pizza yet and since it’s been snowing all day you don’t expect anyone to come over unannounced. You do remember seeing on the news yesterday that there have been some break-ins, and the sheriff still doesn’t have any leads.
You hear your gate open. The “no trespassing” signs and the lock didn’t deter them. This is not good. You get up and grab your AR: turning off the lights in the living room.
Next, you move to the window you can see down the driveway best from and open it, turning on the bright light on the gun for a second. There’s at least two of them and they’re out of the truck, coming your way with what looks like long guns.
You turn your light off, flick on the green laser so you have a good point of aim, and try to breathe as you wait for them to do something foolish.
Viridian X5L-RS Gen 3 Tactical Laser Sight
That may sound a little far-fetched, but attacks like that one happen in America regularly. Especially in rural settings, law enforcement might be half an hour or more away, and in circumstances, you may well have to defend yourself. In those cases, we think having a home defense rifle is a key part of a sensible defense strategy.
A key part of coming out on top in any tactical engagement is having the right gear to help you identify friend from foe, and being able to make your shots count if shooting does start. That’s why today we’re looking at the X5L-RS Gen 3 Green Laser Sight with Tactical Light by Viridian Weapons Technologies.
Conceptually, this is a combination of light and laser that comes with everything in the box that you need to substantially increase your ability to see and shoot more effectively in low light environments.
In terms of specifications, the light outputs 500 Lumens from an LED; this is more than enough light to fight well inside, but not so much that it will blind you or give away your position from miles away. The green laser portion of the tactical laser sight gives you a dot at the point of aim so that you can get on target even without the careful use of sights.
The body of the tactical laser sight is made from 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum and is a sealed, waterproof unit. Lithium batteries, which are rechargeable, should give you 6 hours of light, 10 hours of strobing, or a little over half an hour of running both the light and the laser.
Also included in the box is a pressure switch that can be mounted where you like on the gun to make sure that you can activate the tactical laser sight instantly when you need to, and there’s a 7-year warranty on the whole thing.
There are several applications in which the combination of a light and laser can be seriously handy. The first, which we implied above, is for a tactical or fighting rifle. When it comes to home defense, night fighting is a real possibility, and in those cases, a tactical light with a laser gives you a serious advantage.
Even in good lighting conditions, you might have to shoot before you can get a good sight picture on an optic: a green tactical laser sight can provide you with a sighting solution nearly instantly.
Ideally, an AR set up with one of these units as well as an optical sight of your choice would provide for a flexible defensive option. If you’re serious about night fighting capability, adding a suppressor will also be worth considering.
In the same vein, adding one of these to a shotgun would give the same advantages, and we think would make a great upgrade to something like a Mossberg 590A1.
Second, this has practical hunting purposes as well. For instance, a lot of hog hunting is done in thick brush and at close range. In that environment, taking the time to get a good sight picture just is not an option: being able to deploy and use a laser or light might make the difference between getting a shot and going home empty-handed.
There are some specific features to this package that we find compelling. First is that it comes with the pressure switch: a lot of units are sold separately and it’s nice to know that you’re getting, with a single purchase, a ready to go setup.
The fact that the laser is green is, for some folks, a major bonus. For people with astigmatism, red lasers can have rough edges or appear like a splotch instead of a dot: the same thing happens with red dot sights. With a green laser, though, there’s less of that effect, making the shooting experience a bit better for those folks.
The addition of a rechargeable battery is also a major plus. First and foremost, it’s convenient to not have to buy more batteries for years. Second, we do try to be eco-friendly when we can, and not tossing batteries in the trash does help with the e-waste problem.
As far as it being ruggedized, the waterproofing is a nice touch: you don’t want your light refusing to function over a little rain.
Ideal Setup Scenarios
To give you some ideas on how we’d like to use this, we’ll offer four ideal setups that include this tactical laser and light combo.
As we’ve mentioned, this would be great on an AR. We would adhere the pressure switch to the magazine well on the right side: a mag well grip is good for close quarters, is stable, and keeps your non-trigger hand close to the magazine release, bolt catch, and now the switches for the light and laser. With a little practice, it could be a slick setup. Some foregrips also have rail covers: if you can, get the cord for the switch routed under those to keep the rifle slick. Otherwise, zip ties have been a go-to in keeping things tidy.
Similar idea here as with the AR platform. These days, you can get an AK gas tube cover that has a rail on it, making it the perfect place for this. There, the side of the receiver is an excellent spot for the pressure switch and can modernize the platform substantially.
In an ideal world, we’d pick up a railed version of an MP5 or one of its many clones on the market. Combined with a collapsing brace, a red dot, and a suppressor, it would be a formidable close-quarters defensive solution.
While finding rail space on a shotgun can be tricky, some tactical models come with some on the top of the receiver or the forend. It might take some experimenting to mount this on the forend since it is a moving part, but if you can get it configured in a way that works for you, it would be a compelling way to get a laser sight on a shotgun to make it a more precise defensive or hunting platform.
X5L-RS Gen 3 Installation
As far as setup goes, this is an easy tactical light to install: it mounts to a standard Picatinny rail. One thing we do recommend on all accessories like this is to use some thread locker on the screws such that they don’t walk out under recoil.
This is an excellent light and laser, but even the best tactical laser sight doesn’t do you much good laying on the ground. For the pressure switch, some high-quality double-sided tape is a great way to make sure that things stay where you put them.
Once you’ve got it mounted and zeroed at the range, you can flick the switches quickly between modes: they offer strobe, pulsing, and solid modes for the light, laser, and both. This gives you lots of options for whatever the situation may need.
Overall, the X5L-RS Gen 3 tactical laser sight is one of the more compelling sighting solutions with an attached light on the market today. Viridian is known for making high quality, long-lasting and durable lights, so we think this one is more than worth a look, and we’re considering putting them on a few of our rifles for home defense.