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Viridian’s HS series Hand Stop lasers are a new series of product that make you wonder, “Why the hell didn’t I think about that?” It also made me wonder why no one else had thought about it. It’s one of those gee-whiz ideas that make sense. As soon as you use it, it becomes second nature. Anyone who loves shorty pistol AR-15s knows a good hand stop can serve multiple purposes. At the minimum, it can give you a great index point for where to put your hands every time you shoot your AR, giving you some stability. A good hand stop is even more important on, say, a tiny AR pistol like my Springfield SAINT PDW. That big muzzle brake gets hot, and no one likes burnt hot dog fingers. Now in the extreme of why I “heart” hand stops, I love my phalanges even more. Look, don’t laugh, plenty of people have inadvertently shot their fingers off! What I am trying to say is that a good hand stop is an important piece of kit that you should not skip.
Viridian is well known in the firearms industry for their green light lasers. They are also well known for supporting and having light and or laser options for tons of different brands, makes, and models. Recently they expanded their lineup with the HS Hand Stop laser. They did the whole “you put chocolate in my peanut butter” thing by combining the simple hand stop with one kick-butt green laser. Having both in one unit means that there is less bulk and no wires to get in the way. In the instance of my PDW, I am not adding things—simply replacing them, which is a win in my book.
Using the HS1 is what I like to call “idiot’s delight.” Any idiot (including myself) will be delighted by how easy this device is to use. If you have used a hand stop on a firearm in the past, it will come as second nature. You already wrap your hand around that area anyway, so let’s put it to use. The activation button on the HS1 is similar to a second trigger. A couple ounces of pressure wrapped around the stop and you get this magical beam of green laser light. (Immediately in my mind I am hearing Star Wars lightsaber sounds Schvrmmmmmmm Vrummmummmmm. Lone Starr, as you can see my Schwartz is bigger than yours, HA HA HA!)
Seriously, the first time you turn on one of these lasers at night, it will amaze you at how bright it is. I was easily able to mark a parked van almost a mile away! Remember this is not a toy, and not something that you want to be waving into the night sky. Furthermore, once you’ve installed the Viridian HS1 on your firearm, you need to remember the rules of firearms safety. Treat them as if they are loaded and don’t point a firearm at anything you do not want to destroy.
The HS1 is adjustable for both windage and elevation, and I was able to sight mine in at 100 yards. The distance between the bore and laser is only about 0.75”, so by sighting my gun in at 100 yards the difference between my impact point and laser point is negligible. At 100 yards the point of the laser is about 4-5 inches in diameter anyway, so my shots are somewhere in the target zone at that distance. In Alabama you really don’t get many chances to take multi-hundred-yard shots, but imagine night hog hunting. I can now feel comfortable with potential longer shots in the moonlight even if I can’t make out my sights.
The HS1 uses the 1/3N battery, which can easily be had at places like Amazon. (In fact, you can even get a four-pack of Viridian-branded 1/3N batteries for about $10.00 shipped if you are a Prime member.) The battery life in the HS1 is 1.5 hrs continuous use. That may not sound like a lot, but remember that is continuous use. You are using the laser in bursts to help you get on target so you will get plenty of useful life out of one battery. In playing with two different HS1 lasers I have yet to run out of battery, and believe me I have been playing with these constantly. Keep a couple spares on hand and you should be good to go. It is super easy to change the battery. I used a penny to unscrew the battery holder, place the battery plus side up into the unit and screw the lid back on. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!
Right now the Viridian HS1 mounts to M-lok rail system, and the company offers an optional M-Lok to Picatinny adapter. Looking at the Viridian website they call the HS1 part of the Hand Stop Series. If this is hand stop 1, I wonder what else Viridian has up their sleeves. Maybe a keymod, or a direct-to-Picatinny version… wow that would be cool. How about a light laser combo that is a hand stop? A nice clean install all in one unit with no dangling wires…Take my money now!
From the first time I saw the press release on the HS1, I knew I needed this in my life. It is so well designed that it could only improve the functionality of my PDW. In my opinion, it gives my weapon an advantage and capabilities that I may not have had before. You may train 24/7 and be the world’s best AR shooter, but imagine a situation where stress overrides all fine motor skills. As long as you can grip the hand stop, you will see your laser. If you can see your laser, then you can take the shot. Click here to get yours.
James has almost 20 years in and around the firearm industry. He is a world famous gun mechanic and everyone agrees he is the sexiest man in the gun industry.