Hand stops have evolved from competition based luxury items to pretty much a standard feature on today’s modern sporting rifles. Having a hand stop on your AR-15 or similar firearm allows you to instantly return to the same hand position every time you pick up your rifle. This repeatability is critical for building skills that revolve around fast movements, such as transitions. If that wasn’t enough, this device also doubles as a safety feature in that it stops your hand (hence the name) from slipping up further than it should. I once witnessed an “instructor” nearly blow his fingertips off from riding far too close to a muzzle brake. The injury was no joke either…things were hanging off.
Today hand stops are commonplace, as are rail-mounted lasers. In this world of ultra-light rifles and carbines, nothing saves weight like combining multiple products. As such the Viridian HS1 laser hand stop was a natural evolution. Just like a passive hand stop the HS1 gives the shooter a tactile reference point that keeps them safely behind the muzzle blast and at the same time delivers a daytime-visible green laser to guide a shot right onto the target. It connects to any M-Lok section via the included hardware and installs in less than a minute. Once it’s hanging off of your rail, the windage and elevation screws allow you to zero it in, and if your irons or primary optic are zeroed that’s as simple as co-witnessing right on the wall at home…just watch the cats.
For my range day, I mounted mine to a custom-built AR-15 that wears a Rise Armament RA-902 handrail with 360 degrees’ worth of M-Lok. I played with positioning a little bit and then locked it in where I felt most natural. I zeroed it out against my Holographic optic and immediately started sending rounds downrange. Now, it’s no secret that I’m not a fan of lasers because they are seldom fast to get on target. However, when in the form of a hand stop, they index with your shoulder, eye, and forward-facing digit making it point far more naturally.
Each time I snapped my hips over to a target, the laser was there. This held true even at 50 yards, which was impressive just from a visibility standpoint. After over 100 rounds I inspected the mounting hardware and the zero and was pleased that everything was staying put. I will admit that I used a dab of blue Loctite on each screw so if you have some handy you might as well use it too. When it comes to sights even a few thousandths’ of an inch of slip are enough to spoil a zero.
The Viridian HS1 was a handy little addition to this AR, especially since its main role is home defense. I liked that no matter which grip method I used I hit the activation button without having to think about it. Not only does it switch on without any effort, but it also turns off without any either. This ensures that it always has juice, should you need it in an emergency. Lasers do indeed have a purpose on defensive packages and it’s important to remember that they are invaluable if you can’t get your gun up to eye level to use conventional iron sights or optics. Furthermore, there are few things more terrifying than having a brilliantly glowing dot shining on your chest when you’ve broken into the wrong house. MSRP $179: ViridianWeaponTech.com
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