Cover Your A$# – Viridian XTL: Weapon Mounted Light & Camera – Review

Viridian XTL weapon light and camera shown mounted to a SIG M17.

The Viridian XTL with Cam is a 500-lumen waterproof weapon light with a high definition camera built into the unit (has audio). I tested it at a 2 gun night match and the results are as follows. 

The light is very bright. It’s advertised as 500 lumens. I have no way of accurately testing lumens but I did compare it to several other weapon lights that I own that are 300 lumens and it is substantially brighter than they are. 

For the match, I mounted the light on a 2011 pistol that I built and that doesn’t technically have an in spec rail because the rail was added as an afterthought before a big 3 gun night match. The light fit, but because the pistol was out of spec, it didn’t lock on. It worked fine until the last shot of the 2nd stage when it went flying off. Luckily it was the last shot needed on that stage. To be completely clear this was NO fault of the XTL light. It’s my Frankenstein gun that was out of spec. On a gun with a proper rail, this would have never occurred. The XTL handled the fall like a champ and never missed a beat. 

This 2011’s rail isn’t in spec and the light came off during the match as you’ll see in the video.

I remounted it and tightened it substantially tighter than I had before and had no other issues the rest of the match. We got some light rain during the match and it was great knowing that the XTL was completely waterproof. 

The Viridian XTL with CAM has what Viridian calls an INSTANT-ON feature. If you use a Viridian holster when you draw, the holster activates the light and the camera giving the user one less thing to worry about in a bad situation. It’s my understanding that it uses magnets to do this so maybe a holster could be retrofitted to work. I didn’t have a Viridian holster to test with and so I can’t comment further.

Obviously, if you don’t’ have an INSTANT-ON holster, you can still activate the light the old fashioned way with your finger. There is a rubberized button on either side of the light that turns it on and off. You can run the light with the camera off but I didn’t figure out a way to run the camera with the light off. 

The round circle is the activation button.

I set the XTL so that when the light was turned on the camera also records. 

As far as the light goes, I’d describe it as more of a flood than a spot. The XTL really lit things up well as you can see in the video. I had no problem shooting at near daylight speeds at pistol ranges out to 25 yards. There is no reason that the Viridian XTL couldn’t be mounted to a rifle, shotgun, crossbow, or any other weapon with a Picatinny rail. That being said, it would work best at pistol or shotgun distances. We had some rifle shots at the match that were over 100 yards and it would not have worked at those distances because the beam is not focused enough to have that reach.

The camera has a wide-angle lens and shoots out of the box in 1080p 30fps, which is HD. Apparently you can download software and change the setting to 720p 30fps but I have no idea why anyone would want to do that. I suppose it would make for smaller file sizes but it would also make for poor quality video by today’s standards. The software also allows you to toggle a timestamp display in the video and set the camera to write over the oldest files so that you never have to download or delete them unless you need them, much like a security system. 

Speaking of file sizes, the XTL has 32GB of memory onboard and will record until it’s full unless you set it to record over itself as previously mentioned.  That’s a large amount of video. 

The video looks pretty good to me, especially considering that it was shot in complete darkness. To view the video simply plug the mini USB into the XTL and your computer will recognize the drive with the video files. The files are .MOV and should play on most platforms without hassle. 

Watch the Video

The other really nice thing about the XTL is that the battery is rechargeable and replaceable. You can charge it directly while attached to the gun or you can remove the battery and charge it in the external charger. Additional rechargeable batteries are available from Viridian so that you always have a full battery in the light.

I have two small things to gripe about but don’t think either is a big enough deal not to buy the light. One, I wished the activation button was a little easier to find/feel in complete darkness. You can definitely feel it but I just wished it was more aggressive. If you have the INSTANT-ON holster then it’s a moot point. 

Two, I wish Viridian would have used a standard-sized universal USB like USB C, rather than the Mini USB they chose. I have lots of USB cables and this is the only device I have that requires Mini USB. Once again, not the end of the world, but annoying. 

Overall the light is extremely bright, robust and I like the rechargeable battery. I used the camera and light together off and on from about 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. and the battery lasted just fine. I won the biggest division in the match and took 2nd (by 3 seconds) overall to a shooter running open gear. Being able to see well makes a huge difference; it’s hard to shoot what you can’t see. I attribute seeing well to the light. 

I love the idea of having a camera as part of the package. As an active practicing attorney, I’ve seen cameras save officers’ careers and verify their stories significantly more than I’ve seen anything negative come from using them. If you’re a law-abiding citizen it could be the difference between getting charged in a self-defense case when it’s your word against someone else’s. Having a video with audio to show exactly what you did and said could mean being totally exonerated and never charged. If you’re going to break the law and use your firearm irresponsibly, then you definitely don’t want this on the end of your gun:)

Also, the Viridan XTL with CAM is both designed and manufactured in the good old USA!

MSRP: $399

Specs

Key Features:

  • 500 lumen LED light
  • 1080p HD camera with microphone
  • Removable, rechargeable battery
  • Mini USB port and indicator lights for on board charging file transfer
  • IPX7 waterproof rating (Exceeds 1 meter for 30 minutes)
  • INSTANT-ON Technology
  • Fits in most holsters designed for the Streamlight® TLR1®
  • Fits most full-sized handguns and rifles
  • User-defined operating modes
  • 2 year limited warranty

Operating modes:

  • Pulsing Light
  • Solid Light

Dimensions:

  • 2-3/4″ from trigger guard
  • 1-1/2″ wide
  • 1-1/2″ high (with rails)
  • 7/8″ high (without rails)
  • 3 oz. weight

About the author: True Pearce is the Managing Editor at GunsAmerica. He’s a competitive shooter, hunter, instructor & attorney. You can see and follow his adventures on Instagram. @true1911 https://www.instagram.com/true1911/

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Mark Maund July 20, 2020, 8:49 pm

    Its a fine unit and agree with the small miniUSB charger is way too dedicated- My main gripe is actually getting to USE the video. I use apple products so have to go thru all sorts of movements to get it on screen. While I can understand the security of having memory onboard I think a mini SD might give everyone the opportunity to actually SEE what they record.

  • BILL ADAM July 20, 2020, 7:00 am

    DOES THIS UNIT WORK WITH THE WALTHER PPQ Handgun?

    • Andy Scott July 20, 2020, 4:57 pm

      This unit will fit on any mid or fullsize railed pistol.

  • Michael July 16, 2020, 2:32 pm

    Been carrying the X5L Gen 3 (which is this but with the laser too) and it’s been a workhorse for me and been very good. Adjusting the laser can be a hassle but everything else is perfect and with the camera, it is definitely a feeling of comfort for training and self defense purposes in proving my story and protecting me.

    As a former officer, it is definitely something that has proven in at least 1 case to protect an officer in a shootout in his actions and it’s a great tool.

  • David Weber July 16, 2020, 8:53 am

    Looks like a great product, but as far as holstering it seems it would be better turned 90 degrees so as it is not wider than the pistol.

  • David P Douglass July 13, 2020, 10:16 am

    Been using them since the product became available and teach classes on use-of-force in the state of Florida. Over ten thousand rounds on my first unit and it still works great. Had the second one develop a problem with the usb port transmitting the files to the PC, sent it to the manufacturer and they handled the problem with speed and professionalism–a great company.

    For me, there is no other way to carry for self-defense. Having a witness to any use-of-force event does two things, one…it reminds the user to focus on implementing a ‘legal’ reaction to a lethal threat and two …it provides proof of the user’s actions and the attacker’s actions to better enable the correct outcome for law enforcement, i.e. helps law enforcement accomplish the right actions in the case.

    This unit is ‘life insurance’ as far as I’m concerned. Never carry without it.

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