Most people know that hunting hogs after dark generally yields better results than hunting during daylight hours. Especially when the weather is warmer. For those who pursue the better odds of night hunting, there is a plethora of tools to choose from and we’ve used quite a few. No doubt, some work better than others. The X5L-RS Viridian Green Laser is one tool that I’ve haven’t tried until now. Waiting so long was a mistake.
I like having all the best gear for a given situation. I like thermal for its ability to detect animals day or night. Traditional night vision is great for seeing details in the dark. IR lasers and illuminators go hand in hand with night vision. All this gear has limitations though, and can cost a bundle no matter how worth it the kit might be.
Inevitably night vision batteries fail from time to time and you forget to bring extras. Nope, I’ve never done that. Ha! They also have a habit of going dead at inopportune times. Like when you’ve stalked a sounder of pigs and are just about ready to commence firing.
Having something simple and reliable as either a backup or primary illumination and/or aiming device is important. If you have all the NV gear you want, you still need a quality visible flashlight at minimum. My brother and fellow SHWAT™ founder, Jonathan and I have had many discussions about the ideal gear kits for hunting. My personal conclusion is that a simple to use visible light combined with a visible laser is a desirable part of that kit. Safety should always be the number one priority. If, for example, you are using an ATN Thor thermal weapon sight, and in the middle of an engagement with hogs you are, for any reason, unable to make use of it, or if the hogs are too close and moving too fast to keep up with in the Thor, then being able to immediately employ both an alternate light and aiming device could save your own bacon.
The Viridian X5L-RS fits that description. The model I have came with a green LED light installed. Green lights are popular among hog hunters in both handheld and feeder lights such as the Inhawgnito. It’s said that the green doesn’t bother hogs and some other animals like a white light does. There is some debate on this, and I have personally witnessed Bill Wilson of Wilson Combat do some things with white lights that most would say is impossible. However, I have had good success with green lights. Better than with white lights. So, having my light/laser combo from Viridian come equipped with a green light is a bonus for me, and a big draw for the hunter.
One of the best featurs of the X5L is the green laser. Humans see green better than red. A lot better. For about ten percent of the American population who are red/green colorblind to some extent, this fact is amplified. I happen to fall in that one out of ten, so the green laser is truly ideal for me. The ability for people to see green better than red means that if you put a red laser and green laser of equal quality and equal wattage side by side, the green will appear much brighter than the red. According to Viridian, up to 50 times brighter. That is an impressive number. The bottom line for me is that I can see the Viridian laser in broad daylight on any surface or target at close range. Red lasers tend to melt into the daylight and prove to be mostly useless to me.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that red lasers are no good. I love the red laser in my Crimson Trace Laser Grips I have on a pistol. I’ve killed a pig at night using it. But all lasers have limitations. Green out performs red in most cases. Green also tends to cost more than red.
The X5L has a wide variety of settings governing what happens when you engage the dual pressure switch. A small omnidirectional rotating selector with nine positions, plus off is on the back of the housing. Each position gives a different combination of lighting. Almost any combination you can think of is included – laser or light only, laser and light together, one button for laser and one for light, pulsing or constant on. Whatever your preference, it’s probably there.
Taking the X5L to the field is a real eye opener. The range at which one can see the laser is impressive. In my testing I used my naked eye, a Vortex Solo R/T 8×36, a Vortex Crossfire II 4-12 x44, and a Leupold 1.5-5 Mark 4 MR/T. This testing was done after the sun was completely down. The location for my testing was well within the Dallas, TX city limits, so it wasn’t even close to complete darkness. My primary goal was to determine how long the effective reach of the Viridian X5L is at night. With my naked eye, I could see the laser on the trees at approximately 1,400 yards and structures at approximately 2,000 yards! Chances are, if you can identify a hog at night, it’s within range of this laser. Considering its compact size, the light is good. Rated at 160 lumens in constant on mode, I found it to have potential more than 100 yards when combined with an optic. As with any light, the useful range depends greatly on the optic you use with it. Using the Vortex Crossfire II at 12 power, I felt confident I could identify an animal and take an ethical shot at up to 85 yards. Switching to the Leupold Mark 4 at five power, I would be confident beyond 100 yards depending on the amount of contrast of the target versus its surroundings. Both Vortex and Leupold make good products. Your results may vary, but remember that nothing can replace good quality glass. If I had had one of our favorite Nightforce scopes on hand, I suspect I could have extended the range a little further.
The build quality is good. It feels solid and the switches have positive clicks. I can manipulate the selector with my SKD Tac PIG Gloves without issue. The included pressure switch has two distinct pads, which are easy to distinguish by feel alone. With an MSRP of $439.00 one would expect this unit to be well built and feature rich. Simply put, it is worth the price. The good news on the price is that you can easily find it for significantly less than the MSRP at many retailers
Is the Viridian X5L-RS the best thing since sliced bread? That’s not a realistic expectation. Is it a top tier laser/light combo that would be an asset on your choice of weapons when it’s time to put some hogs down? You can decide for yourself, but it is definitely an asset on mine.
Are you ready to put this Remington 700 Tactical Chassis Rifle plus a silencer in your armory? Become a Member of the SHWAT™ Team today and you might get this sweet rig in one of our member appreciation giveaways! There will be lots of other cool swag for members: gadgets, gear, exclusive SHWAT™ hunts and discounts, and the possibility of becoming a gear tester yourself! All this for a yearly membership fee of $25. That’s right, a year for a measly $25 bucks. Hey, where else you going to get that kind of “Bang for the Buck?” Join SHWAT™ today!