Viriidian C5L, TLR-2 Light/laser combos, LaserMax Unimax, luminescent sights & more

This is a discussion on Viriidian C5L, TLR-2 Light/laser combos, LaserMax Unimax, luminescent sights & more within the Related Gear & Equipment forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Lot's of catching up to do. I just reached the 10,700 round count for the year. I will break the 11,000 count by year's end. ...

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Thread: Viriidian C5L, TLR-2 Light/laser combos, LaserMax Unimax, luminescent sights & more

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    Viriidian C5L, TLR-2 Light/laser combos, LaserMax Unimax, luminescent sights & more

    Lot's of catching up to do. I just reached the 10,700 round count for the year. I will break the 11,000 count by year's end. Yesterday and lately I have been enjoyed a surprisingly pleasant experience with laser sights and tactical light combos.

    I've never really got into the laser sight but at the same time I could readily see the advantages of a laser sight. One primary advantage is, you can know where your impact is going regardless of where your gun is, i.e. eye level, shoulder/chest lever, waist level, or from some awkward position where you can't bring the gun up for visual indexing.

    I'll have to do this in multiple posts because it is very pic heavy and you can only post 12 pics per post.

    And, I'll make no pretense about this, the Viridian C5L light/green laser is my choice by far, even likely over the C5L's big brother, the X5L, which is not availabe yet. There are two reasons I like the C5L over the X5L, even though I haven't even tried an X5L yet, one reason is compactness, the other is Raven Concealment makes a Phantom holster for the Hk P30L/C5L combo.

    Having stated my preference, my choice needs some qualifications. It's pretty simple really: I want a light/laser combo I can carry concealed. Given that alone, the pics will clearly show why the C5L wins for this application - it's small; it's light; it uses one battery; it does not extend past the end of the muzzle, even on a Sig 229R; it has a green laser and a tactical light; the mode programming is stupid simple for the different modes; and it has, IMO, one of the best operating switches available. But let's get on to the comparisons...

    I already had a Streamlight TLR-2 and was pretty impressed with it's performance both as a WML and a laser sight. The tactical light is bright, the red laser is bright and it's easy to adjust. The TLR-2 'tips' on. Most weapon mounted lights (WML) slide on from the front of the rail and click in place. The TLR-2 installs in the position it will be in by kind of rocking it onto the rails and tightening down the mounting screw. That takes longer, but the upside is you don't have to place your hand forward of muzzle - that seems like a good thing to me. Well, let's take a look at the TLR-2 before we get into sight offset. Here's the TLR-2 on a Sig 226R SRT:



    Notice two things in the pic: how low it sets below the frame (i.e. the laser) and how far it extends beyond the muzzle. And, the P226 is no small gun! For comparison, here's a Surefire X200 (no laser) on the same gun. Notice it extends past the muzzle a bit more than the TLR-2:



    And before I forget it - a tactical issue arose while shooting the TLR-2. The switch on the TLR-2 is a rocker switch at the back of the unit - it's like little paddles on each side. Hang on to that for a minute. I shoot with a thumbs forward grip. On numerous occassions while shooting with the TLR-2 laser, I became aware that in recoil, muzzle flip was causing the paddle switch to contact my support hand thumb, knocking the switch to the off position. That can't be good!!! I've thought of two solutions to that so far - duct tape or cut the last joint of my thumb off. I don't think we use that part of our thumb much anyway.

    So, that would complicate things for a carry gun - it just makes a large gun larger (longer). Then, here's the Viridian C5L:



    It's important to realize the C5L is both a WML and laser. And before we leave size and compactness, let's look at the C5L on a smaller gun - the Sig P229R SRT E2:



    Which brings us to laser sight offset.

    If I measure the distance from the laser to the centerline of the bore for the TRL-2, I get 2.75". That means that if the laser is sighted parallel to the bore, you will hit about 2.75" high. That may or may not be a problem. E.g. if you put my upper lip, you'd hit me right between the eyes! I suspect that would be true for most 'heads'. And it would be a consistent offset. There would be some bullet arc/drop, but out to about 15 - yards it shouldn't be a problem. But there are some other approaches some might like better.

    One would be to sight the laser in at a longer range, say 15 yds. So at 15 yds the bullet should hit right where the dot is. As you come back from 15 yds, you'll get that offset again, though not as much as with the parallel laser. I would think this could be a bit more challenging IF you want surgical shots at various ranges, because you would have a different offset as the range changes.

    Another way would be to set the laser on at 7.5 yds - half way to 15 yds. That would give you 2.75" high at 15 yds, right on at 7.5 yds, and about 1.6 inches of offset at 3 yds. I guess one needs to try each and see what works for him. I used the parallel method with my TLR-2. How about the C5L.

    Well, the laser on the C5L is almost where it should be - on top of the light instead of on the bottom. That reduces offset and offset error a lot! The offset of the C5L is 1-5/8" - a full 1-1/8" less than the TLR-2 and I'd say the X200 series as well. The reason I say 'almost' is because it's offset a bit to the right of the centerline (referenced from the rear of the gun as you would see it in your hand). It's not much, looks like less than a quarter of an inch, so that's not so much of an issue. FWIW, Crimson Trace grip lasers have both offsets as well. So if I set the laser parallel with the bore, I would shoot 1-5/8" high and 1/4" to the left of the the laser dot.

    The C5L has 6 modes of operation: Laser only, light only, laser strobe only, light only, light strobe with non-strobing, and laser strobe with non-strobing light. While there are a few other possiblities of light/laser flicker possiblities, only the six listed are implimented. Selecting the mode couldn't be easier - even I can do it!

    There are two 'soft' switches, one on each side of the unit, located as close to the front of the trigger guard as they can be. Here's a closer look at the switch on one side. The C5L is mounted on a Hk P30L:



    The C5L comes on in the mode it was last programmed to. You (re)program it while it is on and it is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get. To turn it on, you press either switch; there're on or off, i.e. neither is momentary. Once the unit is on, you can program it. You press both switches at once and each time you press and release (both) you get the next mode. When you get what you want, you stop and press one switch to turn it off.

    The C5L uses one CR2 battery, that's good and it's bad. It's good because it only uses one battery; it's bad because now I have to keep CR2s, CR123s, and AA batteries on hand - I have a lot to worry about don't I . Like the programming, the battery couldn't be easier to install. Looky here:



    You see that big ol' screw? Well that's where the battery goes - you don't even have to take the light off the gun to replace the battery! Show me another laser/light that will do that! No difficult 'rear' door to pry off, no worry about 're-alignment'.

    The C5L comes with three mounting adaptors as seen here:



    Hmmm, I don't know what's up with photobucket, I re-sized that and it's just as big as it was . Anyway, at first I thought these were to adapt to different rail widths, but I don't think that's the case. What they're actually for is to get the C5L closed to the trigger guard. Basically they change the slot cross bolt to different positions to locate the unit.

    You can see from previous pics that I used one set and it worked on the Sig P226 and P229, no surprise there, but the same set also worked on the Hk P30L. However, I have found a use for the longer adaptor set. Remember the "Two is one, one is none" principle, well here's "two is one":



    Did you see it! That's the C5L mounted underneath a LaserMax UniMax red laser! Here's the UniMax:



    Pretty cool huh!

    The reason you'd want to do this is because, you might....well....in case....hmmm, what if.....etc. Actually there might be a couple of reasons, one, "two is one", another is, you'd have a choice of a red laser or a green laser. Why would you want both? That's easy, because you might....well....in case....hmmm, what if.....etc. Well, for me, one would be a night laser (red) and the other a day laser (green). To wit:

    I shot the C5L at the indoor range yesterday; I was shooting at a 2" diameter ShootnC at 10 yds. I think some of the range ligths were out; certainly plenty to shoot by, but slightly subdued. The laser was so bright at 10 yards, I could hardly see the ShootnC - I'm not kidding. I even went to the flicker mode, but that didn't help. At that point I realized a variable intensity laser would be nice, but since one of those isn't anywhere in sight, I thought, hmmm, what about the C5L with the red UniMax!

    I didn't get to try that because I had been sighting in the UniMax another day and the windage adjustment screw quit windaging. NOW HEAR THIS!!! I called LaserMax and was kind of casually told, "Yeah, you over adjusted the screw." It turns out there no stop; the screw just goes in until it runs out of threads and then there's no way to thread it back out. So he gave me an RMA; they're gonna fix it - or more accurately they're gonna restore it to normal, which isn't a fix!

    And now on to the second post because I need to post another pic and I've used up my 12 images in this post.
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    Well that brings us back to that long adaptor set for the C5L. The cross bolt slot on the UniMax is up near the front of the unit. If I mount the C5L with the adaptors shown in the pics, I get this:



    Well, that's not good! The C5L switches are too far away from the trigger guard. BUT, it isn't over yet! If I replace the short adaptor set with the long adaptor set, I get this:

    Well that brings us back to that long adaptor set for the C5L. The cross bolt slot on the UniMax is up near the front of the unit. If I mount the C5L with the adaptors shown in the pics, I get this:



    AAH HA!!!! Just look where the switches are now! Right where they oughta be!! There's just one little catch: Viridian says if you use the long adaptors, you should use two cross bolts Hmmm, I can't use both, I only have one cross bolt slot in the UniMax - I'd better call Viridian about this!!!

    The tactical light is not as intense as the brighter handgun mounted lights like the TRL-2, X200 and X300's but I'd venture to say it's as bright or brighter than the more compact lights like the Glock lights, the TLR-3 and the Insight XLM (XML??). It's plenty of light though. Oh, it's not going to heat up an assailent's eyeballs to the boiling point so they explode, but you'll certainly be able to see them without any problem. The light is 'soft' meaning it doesn't have that real intense center and a sharply contrasted less intense outer beam. The center of the C5L beam is brighter, but to a lesser degree. I think it spreads the light uniformly and will light up most of a room. Actually, just about right for concealed carry.

    More coming - hang on a minute - my coffee is ready!!!!

    Ok, now for the two biggies - how you gonna carry all that, and how does it shoot?

    Raven Concealment makes a Phantom holster for the P226R with the C5L as well as one for the Hk P30L. I have one for each on order. I'm for sure gonna give this package a good try for concealed carry.

    Ok, with all the 'offset' issues, how does it shoot? Well, this is six shots at a 2" diameter ShootnC at 10 yards. Remember me saying the green laser is so bright that you can hardly see the 2" target? Well, it's true. I had to aim this so I couldn't see all parts of the target equally. of the six shots, the one in the center is actually a miss.



    Yeah, but is it fast!!!! You betcha it is. I was surprised how fast you can get a laser on target and fire.

    Well, that's about it - that didn't take any time or space at all did it .

    Awww, man, now I've got to proof read all that .
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    My goodness! I just realized I left out something important about mounting regarding both the UniMax and the C5L. This could be a bit of an issue if you strongly prefer or need fast-on/fast-off - no tools mounting. Let's take the Surfire X200/300 WML/sights. You simply slide the unit on the rails and it clicks into the cross bar groove - done.

    The Streamlight TLR1/2/3 is a step away from the slide and click mount. The Streamlight kind of 'tips' on and is then secured with a screw which actually serves as the cross bolt.

    Hang on, I'm getting to the C5L mount. But first, let's look at the pros and cons of these two mounts. No doubt that the Surefire X series is significantly faster to install and uninstall. However, to be secure, especially secure enough to re-align the laser sight accurately, the rail fit has to be tight. I have found that there is enough variation in rails to cause problems with this type of mount.

    The SureFire X series has adjustable rails to accommodate these dimensional variations, but it is time consuming to adjust and you need an allen wrench. And there is no way you will be able to maintain laser alignment if you adjust the rail width, although it may be close enough at short distances.

    However, if you don't intend to use it on different guns, i.e. different manufacturers, then this may not be a problem. And if you only use an X series on one gun and leave it on, then the problem completely goes away. OTOH, if you never remove it, the fast-on/fast-off mount becomes irrelevant. On to the Streamlight mount....

    There are essentially two advantages to the Streamlight mounting system, actually three: one, it tips on so your hand never needs to be in front of the muzzle. Two, it is instantly compatible with variations in rail dimensions, and three, it's about as secure as a mount could be. I suspect, i.e. don't know for sure, haven't tested this, but I suspect, since one side of the rail on the TLR is fixed and the other moves, it should re-align (same gun) pretty close each time it is installed, because it references with that solid, fixed rail.

    The disadvantage of the TRL is it's a little slow due to having to tighten the cross bar screw; it requres a tool, a coin will work well, and I've dropped the TRL-2 a number of times because when I tried to 'tip' it, the cross bar screw wasn't lined up with a rail groove and it leveraged the unit off quite unexpectedly and suddenly. I've learned a better technique now. Now to the UniMax and C5L.

    Both the UniMax and C5L (and the C5L's big brother, the X5L) mount the same way - you have to remove the cross bolt screw completely, slide it over the front of the rails, align the cross bolt with a slot in the rail, insert the cross bolt screw and tighten snuggly with a coin. Here's what it looks like for the UniMax:



    Grrrr, that didn't re-size - again.

    I don't have a pic of the C5L, but it's the same arrangement, but a little more complicated - here's why:

    You remember those little adaptors, well they really are significant in helping to position the light/laser near the trigger guard. For reference:



    Well those mounts slip into slots on the sides of the unit and are secured with a button head allen cap screw - one for each side. If you tighten these screws, you won't be able to slide the unit on the rails . Soooo, what you do is leave the screws loose, align the unit and insert the cross bolt screw, snug it up finger tight and then tighten the adaptor plate screws, and then tighten the cross bolt screw.

    Well, perhaps that sounds worse than it really is. It's certainly easy to do and takes very little time really, but it does require an allen wrench for the button head screws, that, BTW is a different size than the allen wriench needed to adjust the laser sight, and a coin for the cross bolt screw.

    This is worth mentioning too: if you are accustomed to scope sighting adjustments, you may find laser sight adjustment a bit lacking. You know on scopes how you have those little arrows to indicate which direction does what and those nice little clicks as you turn the adjustment screws? Well laser sight adjusters don't have any of that!

    All you have is an allen wrench to turn a screw that's kind of mushy - no clicks; not even direction indicators. But, it does work and once it's done, I find they hold adjustment well.
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    Thanks for the nice writeup and pics!
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    Ex Member Array Bullet1234's Avatar
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    Thanks for the write up,,,, very helpful & done well.
    I am considering a laser for my Glock; thanks.

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