Beyond Dashcam and Bodycam: Viridian's X5L GUNCAM!


The guncam runs on a rechargeable system, easily topped off with a USB cable.

This gun-mounted camera has numerous advantages over bodycam and dashcam in proving what you were facing when you had to fire.
We’ve had cops wearing bodycams for years and dashboard-mounted cameras in police cars for even more years. They have been critical in providing public transparency, and in exonerating officers from false allegations.

They do, however, have shortcomings. The dashcam stays fixed, pointing in only one direction once the vehicle comes to a halt. Often, all or much of the shooting takes place out of view of the camera.

A problem with the body-worn camera has always been, “Where do you put it?” Worn with headwear like a GoPro, it is uncomfortable for all-day wear, and problematic in other ways: It can easily be knocked off in a struggle, for example. As torsos twist and angles change, a shoulder-mounted camera might lose the needed POV too.

The way it has worked out, the great majority of police bodycams are worn at the center chest or solar plexus area. This is perhaps the least uncomfortable approach and works very well for capturing most action the officer is facing.

Unfortunately, two-handed eye level shooting has been standard in police training for generations. When the gun comes up this way, it blocks the view of the bodycam’s lens. The camera records the pistol is firing, but the gun may obscure its view of what the officer, whose eyes are higher, is seeing that causes him or her to shoot in the first place.

The guncam’s integral white light has ample lumens to


Viridian details the features of the multi-purpose attachment as follows: “500 lumen LED light. 5mW green laser sight. Mini USB port and indicator lights for onboard charging and file transfer. IPX7 waterproof rating (exceeds one meter for 30 minutes). Integrated microphone. 1920×1080 HD video INSTANT-ON technology. Fits most holsters designed for the Streamlight TLR-1. Fits most full-sized handguns and rifles.” All for $599.

For some time now, I’ve been testing a sample of this on a Gen4 GLOCK 17, with a Viridian-provided Safariland security holster. They work fine together. While it could have diagnostic/analytical applications in firearms training, the guncam’s greatest advantage is in documenting how a gunfight went down: what the gun — and its shooter — were seeing at the instant the potentially controversial shots in question were fired.

The X5L Gen 3 Viridian on the test G17 brought its front roughly parallel to the gun muzzle. This preserves the too-seldom recognized advantage of a tactical light that protrudes in front of the muzzle, which is creating a stand-off effect if a press contact shot becomes necessary.
Pressing the muzzle hard against something will drive most service autos out of battery and prevent them from firing. An attachment such as a weapon-mounted light keeps that from happening and allows the initial and follow-up shots. Our sample worked for straightforward press-contact shots with the guncam on the G17.

Mas and Firearms/Tactics Instructor Daniel Shaw tested
the Viridian XTL Gen 3 on this Gen4 G17.

Case In Point

Proof of concept” is found in a 2019 shooting in Vernon, Texas, in which the involved officer was wearing a bodycam at midriff level and had a Viridian guncam on his GLOCK. Corporal T.J. Session had his duty weapon drawn on a suspected pedophile when the man whipped out a gun and shot the cop in the shoulder. Sessions “moved off the X” and returned fire, hitting the punk eight times and winning the encounter.

The bodycam showed only the officer’s blazing pistol, shooting into a vehicle and pumping bullets into a man who could not be seen on that video to be armed. But the Viridian guncam did see and record the would-be cop-killer’s weapon. As a result, Corporal Session was vindicated.

Consider the price of the Viridian X5L Gen 3 with a camera is roughly one hour of a good lawyer’s time. Having long since lost count of the OIS trials I’ve been involved in as an expert witness, those generally run into hundreds of hours of those legal fees. Seen in that light, the Viridian guncam is a stone bargain. I am doing two cases now that would have been a lot easier if the officers had had Viridian gun cameras.

The same could be true for a private citizen who needed to use a firearm in self-defense. Viridian is a pro-2A company and advertises its product as suitable for armed citizens as well as police. With today’s concealment holsters, a service-size pistol so equipped can be carried daily and discreetly, even IWB and AIWB.

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