Viridian C5L Review: Light/Laser Combo and 23 Rounds of 9mm?

By Beyond Seclusion
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Viridian C5L Review: Light/Laser Combo and 23 Rounds of 9mm?

June 19th, 2022

9:08 runtime

Editor’s Note: In today’s article, Beyond Seclusion offers a Viridian C5L review. This is a tactical light and laser sight combination unit that mounts to a variety of firearms. It could be ideal for your home defense set-up. Be sure to watch his entire video which includes a torture test and nighttime shooting.

Viridian C5L mounted to Springfield XD-M Elite 5.25" Precision
Does the Viridian C5L turn the XD-M Elite 5.25″ Precision into the perfect defensive pistol? The author reviews the light and laser unit to determine the answer.

So, not too long ago, I reviewed the XD-M Elite Precision 9mm.  My focus was accuracy at a distance as I wanted to see what I could do with the competition-grade iron sights at 50, 100 and 200 yards. The 22+1 pistol performed extremely well (see it hit at 200 yards here) and I made this my new “service” or “carry” firearm.  The biggest reason was its size and stability and the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) component with its iron sight system instead of a red dot optic.

Heading Indoors with Viridian

That brings me to this review.  For the exact same reasons, I wanted to evaluate and assess it for a “static” self-defense role.  I am not speaking of concealed carry; this is much too big and robust for that for most people.  I am talking about it in a home or vehicle where the size is not a hindrance but actually a tactical asset. Is this an ideal gun for the bedside?

Testing the Viridian C5L outdoors at night
The author believes that having a weapon-mounted light is essential for any firearm that might be used on low-light conditions.

When we talk “bedside” guns, in my opinion, it’s absolutely critical to have a weapon-mounted light. I think the most likely scenario is an encounter after dark and you want a bright light to put lumens on the potential intruder.  Identification of “what” or “whom” you are pointing a gun at is an absolute necessity.

Aside from the light providing you with certain target identification, it also is a very effective deterrent as it affects the vision of possible assailants and, with a strobe mode, is very disorienting, giving much-needed seconds to respond. I would not have a bedside gun without a light, PERIOD.

Narrowed Focus: C5L Green Laser and White Light

Thus, the Viridian C5L comes onto the stage for me. Now, if you are going to have a light, why would you not also just do the laser as a supplemental aiming tool? The C5L is a green laser/white light combo and the only way to go in my opinion.

Demonstration of visibility of green laser indoors at night when using Viridian C5L on a pistol
Combining a white light and green laser into one accessory allows you to have two tools immediately available if needed.

We already discussed why you need the light. The laser is going to be extremely beneficial in low light as you will not be able to see your sights, or possibly even the gun itself. If you have not tried it, take your bedside gun out some time to a range and try shooting it in the dark. Exactly!

Viridian C5L Specifications

In addition to what I list here, I cover the specification for the C5L in the review video above.

Visible Laser Range (daylight)100 yards
Visible Laser Range (night)2 miles
Laser Type5 mW output, 510-532 nm (visible green)
Laser AdjustmentWindage, elevation
Light Output100 lumens (constant), 140 lumens (strobe)
Light Beam TypeRadiance (wide beam)
Activation ControlSide button with optional automatic activation
ModesLight only, laser only, light and laser, strobing light and laser
Runtime4 hours (light only, constant), 7 hours (light only, strobing), 60 minutes (light and laser, constant)
Warranty7 years

Even though the C5L is light, it can act as a small counterweight to recoil, further increasing stability and shots on target. This gun in this configuration is going to be as manageable a 9mm out there, providing a very stable and manageable platform for shooters. 

Viridian C5L unit with Viridian instant-on polymer holster
Viridian uses Instant On technology that — when paired with a compatible holster — allows you to activate the unit during the draw. Image: Viridian

Could it get any better?  Viridian also makes the TacLoc Holster that is designed to house the C5L for your specific model of firearm.  The TacLoc, which is sold separately, provides an automatic activation with an “instant-on” function. When you pull the firearm from the holster, the laser/light comes on automatically to the last setting it was set on.

No need to turn anything on, no switch, nothing. Just pull and it’s ready to go. Simply put it back in the holster and it shuts it off until drawn again. Combine this with the Elite Precision’s design and built-in safety features even when a round is chambered, you have an ideal self-defense gun that simply needs to be pulled from the holster and is ready to go with laser/light. You have nothing to remember but simply target identification.

C5L Battery Installation

Viridian designed the C5L with the battery compartment facing forward. This allows you to replace the battery without removing the unit from the Springfield pistol rail. This saves you time as you will not need to re-zero the laser.

Viridian C5L
Viridian designed the C5L with an easily accessible battery compartment on the front face of the unit. Image: Viridian

However, the battery replacement procedure also requires a degree of caution. Fortunately, it is no more than the same caution you use when field stripping and cleaning your XD-M.

For safety, unload and disassemble your pistol. (Watch a video on field stripping the XD-M here.)

Once you have the slide assembly removed from the frame, rotate the frame into a comfortable position so you can access the front of the Viridian C5L. Using a coin or gunsmithing screwdriver, remove the aluminum cap holding the Viridian battery in place. Slide the old battery out and install a new one by reversing the above steps.

Demonstration of the brightness of light and green laser on Viridian C5L at night outdoors
Even a muzzle flash doesn’t overwhelm the brightness of the Viridian green laser in this photo the author took during his testing.

The C5L uses a CR2 battery. These are lithium, barrel-type batteries that offer excellent long-term storage and high power output — perfect for powering compact lights and lasers.

C5L Review Conclusion

There is a great deal of debate about what the “best” bedside gun is for self-defense, ranging from a shotgun leaning against your bedpost to an AR on the wall to the more conventional and traditional pistol in the nightstand or lock box on the nightstand (make sure to read our article on where to keep a gun for home defense).

Regardless of which of these or what specific brand of gun you feel is best, in my mind a laser/light combo is a must, and the XD-M Elite Precision is my first choice of the pistols I own for the above-listed reasons.

Now I have one pistol for all my needs — a day at the range, competition, distance shooting, SHTF and now bedside self-defense.

Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Beyond Seclusion

Beyond Seclusion

Drew of “Beyond “Seclusion” earned both his bachelor of science in nursing and his master of science in nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He has always had a love of the outdoors and shooting and has been shooting for 40+ years. He started a YouTube Channel reviewing guns and ammo just for fun and it is now a full-time business for him. He resides in southeast Nebraska with his lovely wife DeeDee and his two children Adree and Wyatt.

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