If you're forced to draw your handgun in a self-defense scenario, the last thing on your mind will be fiddling with the controls on your pistol's flashlight or laser sight. It's obvious that you'll need to see your target clearly and aim your gun accurately, so a flashlight and laser can be very beneficial. However, you may not have time to pause and flip a switch or press a button to activate these items in the heat of the moment. Therefore, it's common sense to minimize the number of steps between drawing your gun and firing.
In Issue 18 of our printed magazine, we review the Viridian X5L pistol-mounted flashlight/laser. To read our complete review of the X5L, pick up a copy of that issue in January 2017. In the mean time, we'd like to discuss a special feature we noticed during testing of this light. The X5L features a system known as Viridian Enhanced Combat Readiness (ECR). When used in conjunction with an ECR-compatible holster, such as Viridian's own TacLoc design, this allows the X5L to be activated instantly when the gun is drawn.
In essence, ECR uses a magnet to activate an internal circuit in a compatible Viridian light/laser — specifically the C5, C5L, and X5L (Gen 2) models. First, turn on the light/laser and change to the desired mode (light only, laser only, light and laser, etc.). Then insert the gun into the TacLoc holster, and the device will power off automatically as the gun locks in place. When you're ready to draw, depress the holster release, and draw the pistol — the light and/or laser will turn on instantly to its last-used mode.
Based on our testing, the ECR system works quite well. It reliably illuminated the X5L every time we drew it with no delay. By the time the gun leaves the holster, the device is already on, allowing the user to focus wholly on the most important task: self-defense.
The only slight hiccup we encountered was that the X5L would occasionally stay lit after re-holstering, but a quick jiggle or bump would activate the magnetic circuit as intended. Regardless, we'd much rather have this issue with the light not turning off than have to worry about the light/laser not turning on reliably. Thankfully, that was never a problem.
As for the TacLoc outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster, we were pleased with our experience. As you'd expect, this molded Kydex holster fits the Viridian X5L like a glove — after all, it was made by Viridian specifically for the device. The level-two retention lock clicks into place firmly on the Glock, and is easy to release with the index finger for a fluid draw. The TacLoc's mid-ride placement is comfortable and quick to access, and the $49 MSRP is very approachable.
If you want a Viridian light/laser with instant-on ECR system but would prefer to BYOH (bring your own holster), that's also an option. Viridian offers an ECR Instant-On Holster Upgrade Kit for $15. This kit includes everything you need to make your existing holster ECR-compatible.
For more information on the Viridian TacLoc holster and ECR system, check out the video demonstration below, or visit ViridianGreenLaser.com.