REVIEW: A Weapon-Mounted Camera System that Works
Viridian’s FACT DUTY aims to capture the action every timeBy Tom Conlin | Sep 26, 2017
Body- and dashcams have been around for quite a few years now. Both have been controversial for almost as long. Most of the controversy seems to stem from exactly when the cameras were–or weren’t–turned on. T.V. news programs always seem to focus on those incidents for which the cameras weren’t started until after the force-related incident ended.
Many times, dashcams don’t capture the action since they were pointed away from the suspect or vehicle or were positioned too far away. For bodycams, the image is often blocked by the gun, which is usually positioned between the lens and suspect. But a new system created by Minneapolis-based Viridian Weapon Technologies has solved both problems.
Some officers might be familiar with Viridian’s weapon-mounted red or green laser sights and/or tac-lights that use their patented “instant on” technology. I have their Reactor R5 laser mounted on my own semi-auto and it’s worked perfectly from the day I bought it. But this is the first time this technology has been adapted to a high-quality, encrypted HD weapon-mounted camera.
FACT stands for “Fast Access Camera Technology.” The secret to this system is that the HD camera/audio and 500 lumen tac-light self-start as soon as the weapon is drawn. Using a magnetic system that’s compatible with most security holsters, the weapon-mounted 1080-x-1920 pixel HD cameras and tactical lights start the instant the weapon is drawn and turn themselves off when the firearm is holstered. It provides up to 8 hours of video and sound, powered by rechargeable batteries.
You never have to worry about turning the system on. The biggest advantages to the Viridian FACT DUTY System are that it’s always on while your weapon is unholstered and there’s nothing between the muzzle and the suspect. Unlike chest-mounted body cams, where the gun can block the view of the immediate threat, or shoulder/shirt mounted, devices where the lens can shift with the officer’s arm or hand movement, the Viridian FACT Duty HD camera is permanently mounted on the rails of the weapon. Bottom line: The camera will capture exactly what the muzzle is pointed at. There’s no chance of the gun ever blocking the action as in body mounted cameras.
The Viridian FACT DUTY weapon-mounted “instant on” camera system is sent to the agency with factory installed encryption that can’t be manipulated by an individual officer. Downloading can only be accomplished through specific software maintained by a designated agency member. The FACT DUTY System is available only to bona fide law enforcement agencies. Viridian also offers two other cameras that are non-encrypted for civilian use.
Viridian Weapon Technologies, Inc.
(800) 990-9390; Viridianweapontech.com
Call for agency pricing, $500 – $525 per unit.