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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey what's up everyone, I've been looking around for some laser sights and some laser/flashlight combos and am pretty interested in getting one but there are SO many choices. My gut tells me to go with a Crimson Trace product since I don't know much about lasers/lights in general, and it seems to be the most popular when it comes to lasers/flashlights, which i figure is for a good reason.

So far I've been considering the Crimson Trace Rail Master (CMR-201) & Rail Master Pro (CMR-205.) I've also looked at the Streamlight TLR-2 HL (69261).

The Rail Master Pro and Streamlight TLR-2 are both laser/light combos, but the TLR-2 has 630 lumens while the RM Pro only has 100 lumens. This seems to be a pretty substantial difference?

Although Amazon isn't good for gauging a products price across the board because they vary so much on the site, the TLR-2 is generally around 15-20 dollars more.

Does anyone have any experience with the 3 products stated above? If so, what is your opinion and would you recommend the product? Also, are there any other laser/light or laser only sights that you would recommend?

Are some lasers brighter and more visible in lit areas than others? Or are all lasers the same when it comes to power and visibility? There's just so many choices that I'm overwhelmed and don't want to make the wrong choice.

Oh and does anyone have any experience with how any of these or another product fit on the XDm 3.8 compact?

Thanks for the help in advance. I need as much guidance as i can get.


EDIT: Why do the products with a green laser instead of red cost SO much more money? Is this just a cosmetic change or what? What's the big deal when it comes to a green laser over a red one?
 

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I Too am interested in this same topic... In my experiance with the lower level laser only. The Green is easier to see in daytime vs the Red.. Again I'm no tactical expert or seasoned laser guru. Just my 2 cents.

Plus i noticed that Crimson Trace also makes holsters that fit the combo's
 

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I own the streamlight tlr-4 for compact guns so it is shorter (around 2.5 ") to not catch muzzle debri. it has a momentary on off switch, laser, laser and light , or just light. it runs on CR2 batteries which to my surprise lasted me 8.5 weeks and that was using it every night for an avg run time off and on temporary use near 3-4 minutes. (it was a Panasonic battery, on my 2nd battery now , a Duracell , and one month in still strong)
The controls are very natural to use and it fits the combat trigger gaurd for the XD 4" compact absolutely perfect. 115 lumens or something like that - it is freaking bright though, no doubt about that, but not so bright where if you are using it in close quarters it will not blind you from wall reflections etc.
I've shined yotes with it 150 yards away though.
they offer an aluminum housed unit, probably the only change I would make, mine is a plastic composite of some sort- I have dropped it several time tho with no damage.

Laser is also adjustable , suitable enough adj range for pistols and shotguns, not enough adjustment for a rifle but the light is plenty bright enough for CQ. have it on my Rem 870 16 ga off and on when trying to catch a yote in the neighborhood. works great in that application as well.

For the price and quality I would get it every time over the 200-400 "super lights"

eBay for right at 100$ free shipping brand new. I think Primary Arms sales them cheap as well, they did anyhow.
Good luck in your light hunt
 

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I have a Streamlight TLR-1s on my XD40.
Its my HD setup and will light up anything in my house or front/back yard
 

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I have an XD45 Tactical, 5" barrel.
Employee discount is a wonderful thing... I have a TRL-1 light and a Crimson Trace LG-445 laser.


The laser is great - it changes the shape of the grip for the better (for me) and is pretty easy to put on and take off if i decide i want to go without it for some reason. You drive a pin out, it takes about 10 seconds. I do recommend re-zeroing if you remove it.

There are a couple of reasons I like it over the Lasermax guide rod laser - the Lasermax in not adjustable for elevation or windage. Lasermax guarantees something like 2" at 50 yards, which is more than adequate for self defense distances, but I like to fine tune my lasers for specific distances and loads. The Crimson Trace is adjustable for elevation and windage.

Activating the Lasermax requires pushing a button that replaces the take-down lever. The Crimson Trace activates when you grasp the grip firmly. In a self defense situation, fine motor skills (like pushing a tiny button) deteriorate quickly. Gross motor skills (like grasping your gun) still function.

I took Defensive Handgun 101 at Thunder Ranch, and in the shoot house with live ammo and the instructor screaming "HELP ME MARK! HELP ME!" in my ear (playing the part of my wife), my fine motor skills just went out the window. I can only imagine what would happen to fiddly little movements if someone is really in the house and my wife is really screaming for help.

With the Crimson Trace, grab the gun, the laser comes on.

I own both red and green lasers, and though green is much more visible in daylight, the XD45 is my nightstand gun, and it's going to be dark, so red works for me. However, if Crimson Trace comes out with a green grip laser, I'm buying one.

I have no preconceived ideas that I'm going to put a laser on a bad guy, and he's going to wet his pants and drop to his knees. Most days at work, me and the guys on my team end up with a dot on them a few times during the day, and you have to point it out to them, if they're not looking down at their desk. Yeah, we have a lot of fun here.

I like to use mine for dry firing (unloaded gun, magazine/ammo FAR AWAY). I was amazed at how much the dot moved when I pulled the trigger - dry firing with the laser helped me to develop a much smother trigger pull.

Another thing i like to do with it is point the XD at something without using the sights, then tighten my grip to illuminate the laser, and see if the dot goes where I thought I was pointing. Over time, I've become pretty good at having the XD pointed where I thought I am pointing it. Who knows where you're going to end up - on your back, side - I just feel like it can't hurt to get better with my aiming,

I like my TLR-1, I bought it because I felt like it is the best intersection of price and performance. There is also a version that adds strobe, the TLR-1s, but I think there's enough stuff to worry about if you're trying to stay alive, so I like a light that goes on, and goes off.

If you're looking for a light, give some thought to whether you intend to put your XD/light combination in a holster - Safariland, for example, has holsters that will fit almost any specific handgun/light combination, as long as you have a popular light... Streamlight, Surefire and the like. Same with lasers, we get a lot of disappointed people who have a $29 laser on their handgun, and no one makes a holster for it... it's just economy of scale, the holster manufacturers can't make a holster for every possible gun/light/laser combination.

Even on the nightstand gun, it lives in a holster. I like that extra second or two of drawing from the holster to wake up just a bit more, and focus.

Just my opinion, YMMV.

Mark H.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the reply Mark. You do have a couple good points. You're right about your fine motor skills deteriorating in fight/flight situation, but I still like to think I would be able to switch on an easy on/off button under stress.

I do like the concept of the grip laser but I'm like OCD sometimes it feels like and having an uneven looking/feeling grip will just drive me crazy.

It seems like the Streamlight laser/light combo isn't a bad choice to go with. Are there different laser strengths? I don't want a puny looking laser that you can't even see unless it's pitch black ya know?

Could you look up the specs for the Streamlight TLR-2 HL and tell me what you think about it's laser capabilities? And how much do you think it will stick out pass the muzzle?

Also, what do you think of the TLR-2 HL compared to the CT Rail Master Pro? It seems like the light on the TLR-2 is definitely better with 630 lumens compared to the CT RM Pro that only has 100. But what about the lases on the two? How do they compare?
 

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I have an XD45 Tactical, 5" barrel.
Employee discount is a wonderful thing... I have a TRL-1 light and a Crimson Trace LG-445 laser.


The laser is great - it changes the shape of the grip for the better (for me) and is pretty easy to put on and take off if i decide i want to go without it for some reason. You drive a pin out, it takes about 10 seconds. I do recommend re-zeroing if you remove it.

There are a couple of reasons I like it over the Lasermax guide rod laser - the Lasermax in not adjustable for elevation or windage. Lasermax guarantees something like 2" at 50 yards, which is more than adequate for self defense distances, but I like to fine tune my lasers for specific distances and loads. The Crimson Trace is adjustable for elevation and windage.

Activating the Lasermax requires pushing a button that replaces the take-down lever. The Crimson Trace activates when you grasp the grip firmly. In a self defense situation, fine motor skills (like pushing a tiny button) deteriorate quickly. Gross motor skills (like grasping your gun) still function.

I took Defensive Handgun 101 at Thunder Ranch, and in the shoot house with live ammo and the instructor screaming "HELP ME MARK! HELP ME!" in my ear (playing the part of my wife), my fine motor skills just went out the window. I can only imagine what would happen to fiddly little movements if someone is really in the house and my wife is really screaming for help.

With the Crimson Trace, grab the gun, the laser comes on.

I own both red and green lasers, and though green is much more visible in daylight, the XD45 is my nightstand gun, and it's going to be dark, so red works for me. However, if Crimson Trace comes out with a green grip laser, I'm buying one.

I have no preconceived ideas that I'm going to put a laser on a bad guy, and he's going to wet his pants and drop to his knees. Most days at work, me and the guys on my team end up with a dot on them a few times during the day, and you have to point it out to them, if they're not looking down at their desk. Yeah, we have a lot of fun here.

I like to use mine for dry firing (unloaded gun, magazine/ammo FAR AWAY). I was amazed at how much the dot moved when I pulled the trigger - dry firing with the laser helped me to develop a much smother trigger pull.

Another thing i like to do with it is point the XD at something without using the sights, then tighten my grip to illuminate the laser, and see if the dot goes where I thought I was pointing. Over time, I've become pretty good at having the XD pointed where I thought I am pointing it. Who knows where you're going to end up - on your back, side - I just feel like it can't hurt to get better with my aiming,

I like my TLR-1, I bought it because I felt like it is the best intersection of price and performance. There is also a version that adds strobe, the TLR-1s, but I think there's enough stuff to worry about if you're trying to stay alive, so I like a light that goes on, and goes off.

If you're looking for a light, give some thought to whether you intend to put your XD/light combination in a holster - Safariland, for example, has holsters that will fit almost any specific handgun/light combination, as long as you have a popular light... Streamlight, Surefire and the like. Same with lasers, we get a lot of disappointed people who have a $29 laser on their handgun, and no one makes a holster for it... it's just economy of scale, the holster manufacturers can't make a holster for every possible gun/light/laser combination.

Even on the nightstand gun, it lives in a holster. I like that extra second or two of drawing from the holster to wake up just a bit more, and focus.

Just my opinion, YMMV.

Mark H.

Mark, Thanks for taking the time to break this down.. Great Info.
 

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Thanks for the reply Mark. You do have a couple good points. You're right about your fine motor skills deteriorating in fight/flight situation, but I still like to think I would be able to switch on an easy on/off button under stress.

I do like the concept of the grip laser but I'm like OCD sometimes it feels like and having an uneven looking/feeling grip will just drive me crazy.

It seems like the Streamlight laser/light combo isn't a bad choice to go with. Are there different laser strengths? I don't want a puny looking laser that you can't even see unless it's pitch black ya know?

Could you look up the specs for the Streamlight TLR-2 HL and tell me what you think about it's laser capabilities? And how much do you think it will stick out pass the muzzle?

Also, what do you think of the TLR-2 HL compared to the CT Rail Master Pro? It seems like the light on the TLR-2 is definitely better with 630 lumens compared to the CT RM Pro that only has 100. But what about the lases on the two? How do they compare?
If, like me you have the startle reflex (there are people that don't) you're going to have involuntary movements going on - and jerky movements.

I've talked to people (including one former LEO) that have neglected to wipe off the safety under stress, I have a green guide rod laser on a Gen 2 Glock 19 (no rail, guide rod was the only option), and the Crimson Trace on the XD45... I like them both, but I would rather have the XD if something bad were happening. I guess it just comes down to how much you train with it, making it a part of your presentation from a holster so that it's just a natural movement that you don't have to think about.

Here's a good photo from The Firing Line forums:



It's a good illustration of one of the reasons I went with the 5" Tactical, the light/laser is not sticking out past the muzzle like it would with the 4" Service. The TLR-2 laser is very capable, within the limitations of a red laser. A good friend has an H&K USP Tactical .45, that has had a TLR-2 on it for about a decade, and he shoots often. The controls are especially robust, there is a real toggle switch to select between light, laser and light/laser combination... large enough to manipulate easily, and with one finger. The Surefire X300 and X300 GN have kind of a fiddly system, by comparison.

The Crimson Trace Rail Master is a good product - the CMR-204 has a 100 lumen light and a green laser in a compact package, and the on/off buttons are easier to manipulate than the smaller Lasermax guide rod buttons.

It's small - here's a CMR-204 on an XDs, you can imagine how small it would be on the 5" XD:



As a bonus, it sits back so that less crap from the muzzle gets on the lenses.

As far as output, all the manufacturers that I am aware of are at the legal maximum output for civilians - 5 mW is the maximum power for a Class III (unrestricted) laser. Over 5 mW there are legal restrictions.

If you intend to use it outdoors in daylight, green is the way to go. The green is not more powerful, your eye is more sensitive to that part of the spectrum. If you do have OCD, the dot from a guide rod laser (Lasermax) may bother you if it's not perfectly centered with the front sight - it certainly bothered me, but I have a touch of OCD myself (it really should be in alphabetical order, CDO). See? :)

I wish you could handle an XD with the Crimson Trace, I find it very comfortable - i have smallish hands, and it helps to index my firing grip.

I like having separate components (light and laser) so that I have options for moving different items to different firearms, and when the next latest and greatest light or laser comes out, I don't have to ditch them both... kind of like when stereos were components, and not an all in one receiver/tuner/amp. Also if one goes down, I don't have to do without both when it's out for repair.

The repair issue is the least of those, my department inspects all returns and in six years I think I've seen one TLR-1 come back - a xenon bulb model. At least within the 30-days-from-delivery evaluation period we offer, the TLR-1, TLR-1s, and TLR-2 just don't have any issues.

There are quite a few holsters for an XD with the TLR-2, as well, like we discussed earlier for the TLR-1. This is the list of Safariland light-bearing holsters:
http://www.safariland.com/DutyGear/...and Tactical holsters with Lights-Pistols.pdf

All training I've taken with lights recommend that you use it briefly, then move, and use it briefly again, until you locate your threat. The light draws fire - you don't want to walk around with the light on, and you don't want to be standing in the same place you were when the light went off.

Keep in mind that there is a point where there may be too much light - you don't want to blind yourself. You know when you get up in the middle of the night to grab that last slice of pizza, and you open the fridge and BAM!, you can't see jack when you close the door. Then, at least in my house, I step on the cat, he yowls, my wife wakes up and I'm busted.

Obligatory pirate content: You always see pirates wearing eye patches. Those eye patches actually had a function - by keeping one eye covered, when a sailor would go below deck, he had one eye that was already acclimated to the darkness. The eye takes approximately 20–30 minutes to fully adapt from bright sunlight to complete darkness - just something to think about when looking at lumen output.

Mark H.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have a 3.8" XDm in 9mm and by the looks of it, that TLR-2 is going to stick out like a sore thumb on my pistol, would you agree?

And you make an interesting point with the lumens being so bright that it actually blinds the user also. Do you find the 100 lumen light on the Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro to be sufficient in terms of blinding a bad guy temporarily? That is my main purpose behind getting a laser/light attachment. I only plan on needing to use this laser/light attachment in my home so they don't need to be SUPER robust but sufficient to get the job done.

By looking at the chart of Safariland holsters that you provided, it looks like Safariland doesn't make any holsters for the CT RM Pro attachment?

So i guess I'm going to narrow my choices down to the TLR-2 and the CT RM Pro. The RM Pro is smaller, correct? Do you feel like the RM Pro's light will be bright enough?

EDIT: Btw, thanks a lot. You've been a big help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So I've been doing a lot more research on the products and the situations and circumstances in which you would use these products, and I have changed my mind.

I agree with you now Mark. I think that a laser/light that is naturally activated by your grip on the gun is definitely the way to go when purchasing a laser/light for home defense. Not that I don't think I could turn the laser/light on that is rail attached, but it would definitely be a lot easier for me to turn on and turn off (so that im not detected) a laser/light that is activated on the grip.

Unfortunately it looks like Crimson Trace doesn't make a laser grip for the XDm compact frame, only the full size frame.

So with that being said I'm looking into the Lasergaurd from Crimson Trace. It has a real good price point of $160 on Amazon ($50+ cheaper than MSRP). The only bad thing is that it will be a lot harder for me to find a holster so if anyone could help me with that it would be appreciated.

Also I've decided that it would probably be best for me to just keep a good mag light by my firearm so I can quickly grab both in a self defense situation. Then i don't have to worry about the light being bright enough and can easily turn it off/on as i wish.
 
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