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Monday, June 10, 2013

Viking Tactics Light Mount

The VTAC light mount is a lightweight polymer mount for your 1 inch or 30mm diameter tac light.   The diameter is adjusted by the use of an included insert.  The mount attaches to any standard Picatinny rail via a pair of hex bolts.

Now that the boring part is out of the way, how about the mount?  It's lightweight, seems pretty sturdy, and does what it's supposed to.  Most light mounts protrude from the rail straight out, and can be awkward to use with modern shooting stances.  

So, what separates this from the other mounts out there?  Well, for one, it's polymer.  So, no adding a ton of weight when you bolt this on your gun.

Second, it's an offset mount, basically it is offset to either side of whichever rail it is attached to, and is perfect for thumb activation whether you are using a vertical grip, no grip, a handstop, or whatever your flavor is.

Although unconventional, the setup above allows the operator to use a thumb-over-bore grip, and activate the light with the thumb or knuckles of the support hand.

When "broomsticking" a traditional vertical grip, it can still be activated by the support-hand thumb when placed on the 3 o'clock position on the rail.  

So, if those are the best things about it, what's the downside, because everything has one.

If you don't tighten the mount evenly on the rails, or the ring to the mount, the light will sit unevenly.  This is an easy issue to fix, and as long as you can see, you should be able to tell if its lined up correctly.

However, the next issue is a bit more serious.  It sits funky on the rail when you tighten the mount down.  It literally looks like it was spec'd for a different rail system, like when someone slaps a Weaver mount on a Picitinny rail.  This is supposedly normal in this particular design, but it still makes me a little leery.

In about 6 months of testing (2 range sessions/month, dry practice weekly), the mount has not slipped, loosened, or warped, even when the gun is dropped on the "flat" side.  I haven't dropped it straight onto something bezel-first, but I'm sure that'll happen eventually.

It's not a metal mount, and I don't expect it to take rough handling like a quality metal mount will, but I believe this will take a pounding before it quits.  At a $25 price point, it beats the hell out of a lot of other polymer mounts out there, like the CAA mount, both in terms of ergonomics and positioning options.  A lot of metal mounts out there have obnoxiously large tightening screws to deal with, and though this mount requires an Allen wrench to remove/install, it feels a lot better on the gun.

The current setup I'm testing involves mounting the front sight behind the light mount and a small area for my thumb.  Sight purists may cry foul, but on a specter length rail, the sight is close to the location of the carbine-length setup, so although I'm giving up a few inches of sight radius, I'm not losing anything versus a carbine fixed sight setup, and it feels and points quite well.  My .02.

This grip on the weapon is not as strange as it looks.  A carbine-length system with a fixed front sight and an MRE rail is very similar to this.  The biggest issue I've had is trying to mount the VTAC around the massive external screw on the front sight I currently have.  I activate the light with the thumb of my support hand, or with the middle knuckle on the support hand index finger.  Running the grip as far forward as I can makes it impossible to activate the light without pushing the sight back a bit.  With a streamlined sight like the DD fixed front sight, this is not an issue, and the light can be mounted on the 6-o'clock rail, allowing the user to run the sight in a more traditional position.

Everyone is a critic or think they could do it better, so here's my armchair quarterbacking on the mount:

- A forward offset.  You give us a polymer Thorntail and you can officially print money.  I love the MOE Scout mount, and run it as a ramp for my thumb even without the light.  

- Make it sit right.  No, I haven't had any problems.  But the way that the mount sits makes me hesitant to un-mount and re-mount the system.  I've done it a dozen times, but its not like using a standard screw mount.  

Overall, I like this mount, especially for the price and weight.  It works better for me than a lot of other mounts on the market.  Coming up, I'll be comparing it to some of the other mounts out there, as well as working it on other weapons for comparison.

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