Viridian CTL+ with SAFECharge review

When it comes to weapon-mounted lights, the Viridian CTL+ with SAFECharge checks a lot of boxes. It’s got multiple output settings, including strobe. There’s a rechargeable battery with innovative, in-safe charging. Run time is more than sufficient for most users. Ambidextrous controls make it easy to activate from either side. And when paired with the right holster, it offers improved retention, plus INSTANT-ON technology*. All that, with a current MSRP of just $149.00 makes it more than worthy of consideration.

Viridian CTL+ with SAFECharge.
Viridian CTL+ with SAFECharge.

Viridian CTL+ specs and features

Constructed of 6061 aluminum with a black hardcoat anodized finish, the CTL+ weighs just 2.91 ounces. Dimensions are 2.75″(L) x 1.06″(W) x 1.37″(H). Its LED is rated for up to 1,100 lumens, and it has a maximum runtime of one hour. A magnetic port on the bottom allows for easy charging of the internal battery with the included cord. Full charges take 90 minutes. Rubber buttons on either side allow for easy activation with a positive tactile feel. While I’d use this model more for home use than carry, it’s got an operating range of 14 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and is water-resistant. A single cross-bolt and lug allows for universal mounting on most rails. Tapping the buttons simultaneously cycles the LED through low, medium, high, and strobe.

Viridian CTL+ on a Ruger American Competition.
Viridian CTL+ on a Ruger American Competition.

Included in the box are the CTL+ light, SAFECharge battery, and cables for both. There’s also a lens cleaning cloth, wrench, and extra mounting bolt. You also get a quick start guide, sticker, and a card with info about their VIP program and warranty registration.

SAFECharge battery specs and function

Concerns of rechargeable batteries include the inevitable drain during storage, and having to recharge. Do you leave your firearm out of the safe while charging, or remove and re-mount the light each time? Neither is ideal. Viridian addresses this with their innovative SAFECharge system. This compact 5,000 mAh battery is designed to be stored with your firearm, keeping the light topped up. If it senses the need for a charge, it will charge the battery until full, then shut off again. Its magnetic connection allows for positive engagement yet it quickly disconnects.

SAFECharge port and magnetic cable.
SAFECharge port and magnetic cable.

Four LEDs (green, of course) indicate the state of charge at a glance. Recharging is accomplished via the included USB micro cable. I’m a little surprised it’s not USB-C, but the micro is still pretty ubiquitous today. At 4.16” (L) x 2.60” (W) x 0.34” (H), it takes up very little space yet provides huge peace of mind for those worried about battery life.

Installing the Viridian CTL+

For the perfect fit, the Viridian CTL+ has a spring-loaded clamp with an adjustable, sliding lug. Once installed, it has approximately an inch of fore/aft adjustment. Whether your rail has a single slot, or a few, it’s easy to get the perfect position. My “Mock 19” has a single slot, yet I can dial it in just as well as on my Ruger American, with four slots. Simply pinch and slide, then tighten it down with the included wrench. My preference is just outside the trigger guard, so my finger rests on the button where it would naturally sit. Too close, and it could block my finger, while too far forward can make it more difficult to press the button.

Adjustment range on the Viridian CTL+.
Adjustment range on the Viridian CTL+.

LED settings, beam quality, and pattern

Pressing either button activates the LED. Squeezing them both at the same time cycles from low to medium, then high, and finally strobe, one step per squeeze. A memory function recalls the last setting when turned off and back on. Curiously, Viridian does not list output or runtime on their website, but it’s printed on the box. Max lumens is 1,100 with a runtime of ten minutes. At the medium setting, output is 400 lumens, and the runtime is 30 minutes. The lowest setting is 200 lumens, providing the longest runtime of 60 minutes. Like others, I would have preferred to see this on the site before ordering.

Viridian CTL+ weapon-mounted light.
Viridian CTL+ weapon-mounted light.

Other companies have been known to list the LED type and CRI (Color Rendering Index). Do I want to know how accurately colors will be rendered with the Viridian CTL+? Well, yes. Do I need to know? Sort of. Can I tell by just using it? Certainly. There is a central spot that’s slightly cool and appears to render fairly true colors. Surrounding it is a warmer floodlight effect with a distinct, but soft falloff at the edges. Beam width can be difficult to convey in words or photos sometimes. But it will illuminate a 12×14 bedroom, wall to wall while standing in the doorway. That suits my intended purpose just fine. Outdoors, it will throw a beam farther than I may have any reason to shoot.

Recharging with the SAFECharge battery

Although the Viridian CTL+ can be charged from any USB power source with the included magnetic cable, that’s generally not necessary. Viridian includes the SAFECharge battery with each CTL+ light. Before the first use, I recommend charging the CTL+ via USB, and the SAFECharge battery as well. The light should take no more than 90 minutes, while the SAFECharge can take up to six hours if fully discharged. Once they are both full, the SAFECharge can recharge the CTL+ at least five times before needing a charge itself.

Viridian CTL+ with SAFECharge.
Viridian CTL+ with SAFECharge.

The key here is that there’s no need to remove the light or leave your firearm out in the open. Whether using a full-size gun safe, or a nightstand rapid access box, it can charge while being safe and secure. Even without small children or frequent guests in my house, this is a feature I appreciate. With all things rechargeable, I also try to set up a schedule to make sure things stay charged. If you’re not going to the range regularly, at least check the SAFECharge monthly to make sure it’s in good shape, and charging the CTL+.

Hands-on with the Viridian CTL+

I’ve tried to cover all the details and features, and here’s where I got to discuss using the CTL+. I ran through what I refer to as “bump in the night” drills. And I’ll preface this by pointing out that our home is littered with flashlights. There is at least one in every room. When I hear a noise, it’s generally one of our pets. So a hand-held flashlight is my go-to, even if I have a firearm in my hand. But for this drill, I am using the weapon-mounted light, with the scenario being an intruder within our dwelling. If there was reason to believe it was a family member or guest, use proper judgment and don’t point a loaded firearm at them.

Viridian CTL+ weapon-mounted light.
Viridian CTL+ weapon-mounted light.

For a typical American home, I would leave it on the low setting and be done. That way the buttons are only used for on/off, and there’s no need to learn something that may be forgotten under pressure. Sweeping each room and navigating hallways, I found that the lowest setting was more than ample, even with no moonlight. This also allowed my eyes to adjust quickly once the light was turned off. The highest setting washed out my sight picture, so I would only use it outdoors, or in a space much larger than my home. The central hot spot makes it very clear what the muzzle is pointed at, while the halo around it prevents me from getting tunnel vision. That 60 minutes or runtime is plenty as well.

Some thoughts on the strobe feature

I find the strobe very annoying, which is a compliment. There may be a time when you want to disorient an aggressor. It’s been proven that humans have difficulty planning their next action with a bright strobe going off in their faces. Whether you are rushing someone, or distracting them so you can retreat, a strobe can be beneficial. The downside is that accessing the strobe function and applying it is probably outside the expertise of most users when under duress. Therefore, when using a light for home defense, I would avoid it. If I was in a position where I frequently faced dangerous and/or aggressive individuals, that would be a different story.

Viridian CTL+ on a "Mock 19".
Viridian CTL+ on a “Mock 19”.

The verdict

The Viridian CTL+ is a solid performer. It’s got enough output and runtime for daily carry, and charging is nearly seamless with the SAFECharge. Controls are simple and well-placed, demonstrating good design. Aesthetically, it goes well with modern firearms and their angled cuts.  The MSRP of $149 makes it quite affordable. There’s no need to buy a supply of batteries, which is good for your wallet and the environment. And the limited lifetime warranty speaks to the confidence that Viridian has in their products. They’ve been in business since 2006, and are a trusted name in the industry. Check out the CTL+ and the rest of their product line at

What are your thoughts? Have you tried the Viridian CTL+ or any of their other products? Feel free to leave your questions and comments below.

As always, I’d like to thank Viridian for providing the CTL+ for my testing and evaluation. It’s nice to get hands-on with innovative quality tools for demanding applications.

*I’m hoping to test the INSTANT-ON feature in the future. Currently, I lack a compatible holster.

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