Viridian X5L Gen3 Weapon-Mounted Camera Review

Viridian X5L Gen3 Weapon-Mounted Camera Review

If you, as a concealed weapon carrier, are involved in a self-defense deadly-force shooting, the burden of proof is generally on you to show that you legally used your gun, according to the laws of your state and/or jurisdiction and federal laws. Using the latest advanced and high-resolution technology in a weapon-mounted camera can be very helpful to supplement the several usually-inferior quality videos captured by others on their cell phones, etc. Some say cameras worn on the body are not that effective. That they can be misleading, can be easily blocked by the rear parts of the handgun or hands, and may not provide definitive data to adequately determine and provide a proper view of why and exactly when the gun was fired, among other criticisms. Viridian has recently introduced its X5L Gen 3 model with a weapon-mounted camera for the consumer market, so individuals and civilians can have the same benefits as the law enforcement market. The original X Series was introduced in 2008, so the new Gen 3 models have been upgraded with more features. I appreciate Viridian sending me their X5L Gen 3 to test and evaluate.

Advanced Technology for Superior Data Capture

Viridian conducted an in-depth study that indicates that body cameras, for example, adequately capture the view necessary to evaluate the reason officers fired their weapons only 37% of the time. Viridian says their new technology allows improved capture of the required data. They recently introduced the advanced weapon-mounted full-high-definition, digital high-resolution video camera with an integrated microphone to help gather superior footage and data to help you the concealed carrier, trainers, and others. It is the X5L Gen 3 High-Definition Camera with laser and light.

Viridian X5L Camera Review

Viridian X5L Gen 3 Description

Viridian states that their introduction of the world’s first high definition Weapon-Mounted Camera with a light and laser is designed to clearly capture full-HD video and crisp audio, specifically from handguns and long guns, i.e., rifle or shotgun. They expanded the popular X Series Gen 3 line, and it now delivers even more robust features with the addition of a full-HD digital camera with high resolution and microphone. Viridian has created an entirely new consumer category for personal protection, training, and recreational/competitive shooting.

The X Series Gen 3 with Camera comes standard with a 500 lumen LED light, green laser, multiple operation modes, and Viridian’s patented INSTANT-ON technology. Combined with a 1080p full-HD digital camera and microphone, this unique solution provides convenient playback for training, range time, or competitions. It also gives legally armed citizens an added level of reassurance when carrying or in a home defense situation. The X5L Gen 3 is for most full-size and mid-size pistols.

Viridian X5L Features

Benefits of a High-Definition Weapon-Mounted Camera in Self-Defense

The new Viridian Weapon-Mounted Camera with video and audio capabilities, a tactical 500-Lumens LED white light, and a green laser sight in 5mW may help you show that your deadly-force actions in self-defense were justified and it may save you a bunch of money, time, and headaches in court. In essence, you have eye-witness testimony and evidence on your hip.

Having clearly visible, high definition, high resolution, and non-obstructed video evidence can be very valuable in a self-defense encounter. A Weapon-Mounted Camera located near the gun barrel’s muzzle and steadied by two hands is not obstructed by the shooter’s hands or rear of the gun like with a body, lapel, or chest-mounted camera.

Also, in a life-or-death self-defense encounter with impaired fine motor skills, seconds matter and the Viridian weapon-mounted camera with its technology can be pre-programmed to automatically and quickly activate a preferred mode, like laser and camera, when drawn from certain holsters.

Below is an example of the high-definition, high-resolution video of the X5L Camera and Laser recording Evidence in Deadly-Force Encounter. Note: Draw and reholster are from INSTANT-ON Holster.

Often dashboard-mounted cameras don’t capture necessary actions, since they may be pointed away from the attacker or are positioned too far away. For body cameras, the desired image may be blocked by the rear of the gun or the arms of the defender. So, the benefits of this new Viridian Weapon-Mounted camera system help solve these two problems. On the bottom of the Viridian unit, there is a mini USB port for file transfer and charging and status indicator lights.

Viridian X5L Gen3 Review

It is evident that privacy violations matter. Video and audio recordings may incidentally and unintentionally pick up video and audio footage of victims of violence or sexual assault, in various states of undress. Individuals and vulnerable people need to be protected from privacy violations, especially children. Use caution.

TIP: When a well-intentioned individual in a self-defense situation draws and points a gun (with a camera, light, and/or laser attached) at someone, they are pointing a loaded gun at another, which may lead to a complicated legal situation. Be very cautious. Do not point the Viridian X5L unit and gun at anything you do not intend to shoot.

This new high-definition camera unit has great potential with excellent technology for training, instructional, competition, and student uses. Hopefully, for self-defense use, there will not be violations of the safety rule “Never let your muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy” in the zeal to capture video data and evidence. So, be very cautious and SAFE.

The Reason the Shooter Fired the Gun is the Critical Evidence to Capture

Capturing video data and evidence prior to guns being drawn is helpful, but in the Viridian case studies, the events leading to drawing a gun were not usually in question. The reason the individual actually fired the gun was the critical evidence in 93% of all reviewed incidents, according to the Viridian studies. Determining what the shooter saw when pressing the trigger is what is really important, as indicated by the many controversies of past incidents and trials.

And remember, it is always best to get the consent of all parties before recording any audio and video in-person communication or any telephone conversation or interaction. Of course, this may not be practical or possible during quickly escalating encounters, and every encounter is unique. Also, keep in mind that video and captured data may be used as evidence by all involved parties.

TIP: State laws vary considerably about the use of Weapon-Mounted Cameras with regard to video and/or audio recordings.  Check your state and jurisdictional laws and consult with your attorney BEFORE you record anything with this advanced technology. And follow safety rules.

Operating Modes: Viridian Model X5L Gen 3 High-Definition Camera Unit Enabled

  • Solid Constant Green LASER Only
  • Solid Constant LASER AND Constant WHITE LIGHT
  • Solid Constant White LIGHT Only
  • HD CAMERA Only

Switching Modes

The X Series Model X5L is equipped with new momentary activation technology for its various modes of operation. The HD camera mode can be used with any of the modes. Applying light pressure to either (ambidextrous) Mode Activator Control button (see below) on each side of the Unit will activate the momentary mode. Releasing the pressure will turn the device off. If the camera is disabled, momentary activation will activate the laser, light, and/or camera in whatever mode it was last set in. If the camera is enabled, momentary activation will turn on whatever mode it was last in, and the camera will record for 3 minutes. The camera will continue to record for 3 minutes after your last momentary button press. To toggle through the available modes, press, and release BOTH Activator Control buttons at the same time. Be certain to pause one second in between each press to effectively change modes. The battery indicator light will rapidly flash when in this mode. The camera will begin recording approximately 2 seconds before the indicator light starts blinking.

Battery Status and Memory Status Indicator Lights

The battery status light is located near the USB cable symbol and is on the left side when the unit is inverted. A green light indicates at least 50% battery remaining. A yellow light indicates less than 50% battery left, while a red light indicates less than 25% battery remaining.

The memory status light is located near the memory card symbol and is on the right side when the unit is inverted. A green light indicates more than 60% of memory left. A yellow light means less than 60% is left, and a red light means less than 30% memory left. Both lights are on the bottom of the unit.

Adjusting Light Intensity

If you press and hold both (on each side of gun) the Mode Activator Control buttons for more than 3 seconds while the light is in constant mode, the light will cycle through high, medium, and low brightness. Then release the buttons when the desired brightness is reached. Keep in mind that brightness settings do affect overall run time.

Viridian X5L Weapon-Mounted Camera-Laser-Light Mode Activator Control Buttons- on Both Sides (Ambi)

Viridian X5L Gen 3 High-Definition Camera, Green Laser, and LED Tactical Light Specifications

The full-featured Viridian X5L Gen 3 Model #990-0019 comes with an integrated Green laser, a 500-Lumens LED Tactical Light, and HD Camera with INSTANT-ON technology. Here are some of the Specifications and Features of the Viridian X5L Gen 3 camera system:

Camera with Integrated Microphone1920x1080p High-Definition, High-Resolution Camera
Battery TypeRechargeable Lithium-Ion (included); 1000 mAh
Battery LifeUp To 90 minutes
Video Recording TimeUp To 6 hours at 1080p and 12 hours at 720p
Camera Memory32 GB On-Board Memory (No Memory Card)
MountingRail and Front of Trigger Guard (easy installation); Designed Universal Mounting for Most Full-Size Guns
File Footage TransferUSB Port Cable Included for Charging & File Transfer
Light Lumens500 Lumens; LED
Laser Type and RangeClass III Green Laser; 5mW (510-532 nm)
Housing6061 Aircraft-Grade Aluminum
Warranty2-Year Limited Warranty; 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

Viridian X5L Gen 3 w/ Green Laser and HD Camera Special Features

  • INSTANT-ON Technology- Immediately Turns on when drawn from holster- displays last mode used;
  • Fits most holsters designed for Streamlight TLR1 & Surefire X300 lights;
  • Holster Upgrade Kit available
  • Waterproof (IPX7)


  1. Laser radiation is dangerous, so avoid eye and skin exposure to direct or scattered radiation. Do not stare into the laser beam. Temporary or permanent eye damage can result.**
  2. Proper functioning of the Viridian unit is dependent upon an adequately charged battery. So test the unit periodically during periods of non-usage to ensure its proper functioning.
  3. Do not operate the unit around cleaning solvents or flammable/combustible materials, like gasoline, paints, solvents, or other flammable liquids.
  4. Always verify that the chamber of the gun is empty or “clear” before attempting to mount or dismount the Viridian unit.
  5. Before handling any firearm with the Viridian unit, read and understand the entire contents of your firearm manual as well as the Viridian manual, especially the safety precautions and procedures for safe firearm handling

** According to, a laser’s light is concentrated into a very narrow beam. If aimed at or near a person’s eye, most or all of the concentrated light goes through the pupil and is even further focused by the lens onto a sharp dot on an individual’s retina. They say that the power from even a 1 milliwatt laser is brighter than the equivalent area of the sun’s surface and can cause serious injury to the retina.

Laser Warning Label Placement

The supplied laser Warning Label must be installed on the firearm with the “Laser Aperture” arrow pointing to the laser diode lens, per the instruction manual.

Contact Viridian:

For safety, operating, warranty, or servicing of the Viridian product, please call (800) 990-9390 or email customer service at

Viridian X5L Gen3 Charging Cord and Port

INSTANT-ON Technology

To me, Viridian’s INSTANT-ON technology is a major benefit of this X5L Gen 3 model. And it works! I believe with its INSTANT-ON technology, Viridian has raised combat readiness to a whole new level and saved you time and possibly your life. During a life-or-death encounter, concealed carriers experience physiological changes that make them less coordinated, and fine motor skills are diminished. When someone is shooting at you, activating and operating settings can be a big challenge.

So with the Viridian INSTANT-ON technology, shooters can pre-program the unit to the setting they prefer. Then all you have to do is draw the gun from an INSTANT-ON-equipped holster, and you can have your laser and/or light and/or camera quickly and automatically on after the draw. You do not then have to press a button for activation. The instant the gun leaves the holster, the Viridian activates as fast as you can draw. The INSTANT-ON technology comes with Viridian’s X-Series Gen 2 and Gen 3, C-Series, and Reactor Series models.

If you change your mind about the pre-programmed mode you chose, you can turn off or change the mode you originally chose and select a new mode. The INSTANT-ON technology is built into all Viridian holsters. Several third-party holster manufacturers also provide the technology-equipped holsters. And if you want to provide your own holster or convert a holster, Viridian offers an INSTANT-ON technology Upgrade Kit to convert them. The Upgrade Kit costs about $15 on the Veridian website.

Holsters for the Viridian X5L Gen 3 w/ Green Laser and HD Camera

Viridian’s website offers Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) holsters equipped with its INSTANT-ON technology. So when you draw the gun, the last mode you used will be quickly activated. There are different holsters offered there, but the Desantis Speed-Lite black OWB leather holster was custom-fitted for the compact Sig Sauer P320 pistol I used, and the fit and function were excellent. INSTANT-ON for the camera and laser modes I chose worked great when the Sig 320 was drawn from this holster. The chosen moded were quickly activated upon my draw from this holster (Stock #950-0160. MSRP is $91.) It is made of premium saddle leather and available through Viridian’s website.

Viridian's Desantis Speed-Lite OWB Leather Holster with INSTANT-ON with Sig Sauer P320 Compact
Viridian’s Desantis Speed-Lite OWB Leather Holster with INSTANT-ON with Sig Sauer P320 Compact

Kramer Handgun Leather also makes an excellent OWB premium-quality horsehide leather holster that accommodates the Viridian camera-laser-light X5L model. Their Vertical Scabbard holster has great workmanship, is very comfortable, extremely durable, has fine retention, covers the trigger and the Viridian X5L unit, and conceals well. The Kramer Leather OWB Vertical Scabbard has a high-riding FBI forward cant or tilt for easy draw. It is designed for wear on the strong side hip and carries the gun in a neutral rake or vertical position.  It works well for concealment, for the range, competition, and for home use. The holster’s reinforced throat band makes it extremely durable under hard use and helps reholstering. My Walther PPQ M2 full-size 9mm pistol with the Viridian X5L Gen 3 camera-laser-light is shown below in the high-quality Kramer Leather Vertical Scabbard Holster.

Kramer Holsters wants to offer my readers a 15% Discount off all purchases through November 20, 2019, for their high-quality holsters. When ordering, mention Col Ben and/or use the Discount Code “ColBen-USAC15.”

NOTE: If your desired holster does not have INSTANT-ON, there is a Viridian INSTANT-ON Holster Upgrade Kit for $15. to give you this desired feature as an easy upgrade.

Viridian X5L Camera-Laser-Light with Walther PPQ M2 in Custom-Fit Kramer Vertical Scabbard Leather Holster
Viridian X5L Camera-Laser-Light with Walther PPQ M2 in Custom-Fit Kramer Vertical Scabbard Leather Holster
Bottom View of Kramer Vertical Scabbard Leather Holster with Viridian X5L & Full-Size Pistol Inside
Bottom View of Kramer Vertical Scabbard Leather Holster with Viridian X5L & Full-Size Pistol Inside

Ammo Used While Shooting with the Viridian X5L Gen 3 w/ Green Laser and HD Camera

For drawing the two weapons from the two holsters and testing the INSTANT-ON technology and gun fits, laser accuracy, and operation of the two guns from the holsters, I shot 100 rounds of Sig Sauer FMJ 115 and 124 grain rounds in the Sig Sauer 320 Compact and in the Walther PPQ M2 Full-Size pistols. A sincere “Thank You” to Sig Sauer for providing me this fine test and evaluation ammo.

I had no problems at all with the laser accuracy on either gun after proper zeroing, and both guns performed well with the X5L unit attached. The Sig Sauer ammo was very reliable and worked well with the X5L. The INSTANT-ON technology worked great for the Sig Sauer P320 Compact in the Desantis INSTANT-ON holster. And it was reliable for me on each draw. I had no buttons or switches to press or operate, and the chosen modes instantly came on when I drew the gun. The X5L unit with its laser, light, and camera mounted fine on the Walther PPQ M2 and fit perfectly in the Kramer holster. A Holster Upgrade Kit is available, so the Kramer Holster can have INSTANT-ON.

Walther PPQ M2 Full-Size Pistol and Sig Sauer 320 Compact Pistol with the X5L with Sig Sauer FMJ Ammo
Walther PPQ M2 Full-Size Pistol and Sig Sauer 320 Compact Pistol with the X5L with Sig Sauer FMJ Ammo


This new Viridian X5L Gen 3 model with a high-definition camera, laser sight, and LED light is an excellent advanced technology tool for consumers. Through its footage and data capture, it can help concealed carriers and other non-law enforcement individuals recognize, understand, and apply appropriate actions with a pistol to protect themselves during and after a deadly-force encounter. This technology can be a great training aid for concealed carry students, new shooters wishing to improve or refine their techniques, inexperienced shooters, and competitive shooters. While there is not a single tool that provides all possible information and data to support and legally defend anyone’s actions in a self-defense encounter or for training, this high-resolution camera tool is an excellent aid.

The Weapon-Mounted Camera, laser sight, and LED light all worked fine for me, and I had no problems at all installing it to my compact Sig Sauer P320 and my full-size Walther PPQ M2 pistols. Zeroing the laser took slightly more time than I expected, but was not a problem and the laser dot is co-witnessed with the iron sights at 7 yards. An included Adjustment Tool helped with windage and elevation adjustments. Casey and Kerri at Viridian were very helpful, and I appreciate them.

When I drew my compact Sig 320 pistol from the INSTANT-ON technology equipped DeSantis holster, it worked perfectly and came on quickly. No problems with the last mode coming immediately on upon drawing. Also, my full-size Walther PPQ M2 pistol fit great in the Kramer holster designed for light attachments. I recommend both the Desantis holster and the Kramer Handgun Leather holster for this weapon-mounted-camera unit.

Overall, I highly recommend this quality Viridian X5L camera-laser-light model with INSTANT-ON technology, since it offers a practical and very useful way to help consumers and civilians as concealed carriers, but especially for training and competition purposes. This system is a great training tool to help both new and experienced shooters. But, understand the audio and video recording laws in your area, since a few states and jurisdictions have limitations. There are other similar systems on the market now, so decide on your desired features and what you want to pay for. See my August 19, 2019, general Weapon-Mounted Cameras article about the Weaponeye system, research studies and camera considerations, cautions, and advantages. Whatever tool you choose, ensure you understand its many variables, applications, pros and cons, legal parameters, limitations, and uses. Would you use it for Concealed Carry in your state? Is a Weapon-Mounted Camera system for you? And for what purpose would you use it?

Images by Author and Viridian Weapon Technologies.


Viridian Weapon Technologies
Maple Plain, MN 55359

Kramer Handgun Leather Holsters
Tacoma, WA 98411                 

Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown & Performance Ammo
Newington, NH 03801

* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.

© 2019 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at

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"Col Ben" is retired with 30 years service in the U.S. Air Force, with joint services Special Ops duty and training, and is Air Force qualified as "Expert" in small arms. He is a Vietnam-era Veteran. Ben is an experienced NRA-Certified Pistol Instructor, NRA Range Safety Officer, and FL Concealed Carry License Instructor. Ben recently wrote the book "Concealed Carry and Handgun Essentials for Personal Protection" (second printing) with 57 comprehensive Chapters about concealed carry and handgun principles, techniques, and tips for both experienced and new shooters. His reference book is endorsed by several organizations and is available on his website at Contact him at
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