Gun writer Tom Mchale reviews the best pistol laser and light combos for your concealed carry weapon.
USA –-(Ammoland.com)- Technology can be cool. Just a few years ago, lights (and sometimes lasers) on carry guns were limited to the domain of uniformed police officers wearing huge holsters on four-inch wide duty belts.
Thanks to technological advances in miniaturization, battery performance, and electronics durability, we now have light and laser combinations perfectly suitable for concealed carry use.
If you consider lights and lasers as an addition of capability rather than a crutch, then there’s no reason not to have them available assuming that there is no undue “cost” in terms of bulk and weight. In low light conditions, a light allows you not only to see but verify, your target before you pull the trigger. And that laser supports your natural inclination to focus on the threat while allowing you to shoot from less conventional sighting positions.
Crimson Trace Laserguard Pro
The new Crimson Trace Laserguard Pro is designed specifically for carry guns, as evidenced by the first three models to hit the market. Those new models fit the Glock 42 and 43, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, and the Springfield Armory XD-S.
Not a one-size-fits-all approach, the Laserguard Pro is molded to specific pistol frames. It not only matches the look and feel but wraps around the trigger guard to provide an instinctive activation button on the front grip surface. Just grasp the pistol with a normal firing grip and the pistol laser and lights both come on. Lighten up your middle finger pressure and it turns off. Of course, you can choose between four modes of operation including laser and light, laser only, light only, and laser plus flashing light. You can get them with red or green laser, and all models have a 150-lumen light.
With the Laserguard Pro, finding a compatible holster is easy. In fact, you can even buy a bundled combination of the Laserguard Pro and Blade-Tech IWB holster for the Shield, XD-S and Glock 42 or 43. You can also buy the holsters separately if you already have the Laserguard Pro.
In addition to the Blade-Tech options, you can check these out too:
- MTR Custom Leather: Check out the MTR Custom Leather Tuckable Adversary holster. It’s a minimalist, single-clip design that you can mount in traditional or appendix positions, and, like the Deluxe Thoroughbred we'll talk about in a minute, it’s available for dozens of pistol laser and light configurations, including the Laserguard Pro.
- Swaprig Holsters: As the name implies, SwapRig allows you to reconfigure the same holster body for different guns. A removable “gun pocket” panel switches out, and you can order a wide variety of panels to fit not only different guns but different light and laser configurations too.
- Crossbreed Holsters: Whatever your configuration, check with the Crossbreed guys as well. Their Light Defender holster models work very well for guns with lights and lasers up front.
LaserMax Spartan Pistol Laser and Light
Here’s a brand new unit from Lasermax that’s amazingly small and light – and it packs both green laser and adjustable brightness 120-lumen light. It’s a flexible rail mount unit – a moveable slot crossbar allows you to mount it pretty much wherever you want front to back. It features controls on both sides with a split activation lever. This design allows you to turn light and laser on independently. The paddles share a finger-sized cut out, so if you want both on or off, just mash down in the middle, and both the pistol laser and light are activated simultaneously.
This unit is brand new on the market, so custom molded holsters to fit are still coming out. However, there’s no reason you can’t use a one-size-fits-many approach like the Galco Halo. Also, you might check with the folks at MTR Custom Leather. They currently offer models for the laser-only Spartan models so I wouldn’t be surprised if they elect to add support for the combo unit as well.
Crimson Trace RailMaster Pro
The Crimson Trace RailMaster Pro offers a little more flexibility than the Laserguard Pro. The aluminum-bodied tactical light and laser combination is a rail-mount only solution that’s operated by paddles on either side, so it’s not pistol specific. Just press one of the paddles with your support hand or trigger finger to turn on the pistol laser and light.
Like the Laserguard Pro, it has four modes of operation from which you can choose: light only, laser only, light and laser, or laser plus flashing strobe light. You can also choose from red or green pistol laser and light configurations, and all have a 100-lumen light. You’ll get about two hours of constant-on battery life from this unit. It’s also a little beefier in construction so you can stick it on a rifle or shotgun if you like.
Since it’s been on the market longer, the RailMaster Pro has a number of holster options.
Here is a couple to get you started.
- Galco Halo: The Halo is a leather outside the waistband holster for common guns like Glocks, Sig Sauer P2XX series, Springfield Armory XDs, and 1911s. The light pocket is a one-size-fits-many design, so it will usually fit the RailMaster Pro as well as models like the Streamlight.
- Bravo Concealment: The BCA and RTT OWB holsters are molded from Kydex and can be ordered for RailMaster Pro and other weapon light configurations.
- MTR Custom Leather: If you like to carry IWB, check out the Deluxe Thoroughbred Holster from MTR. The all-leather design with dual belt clips can be ordered for just about any pistol laser and light combination you can imagine.
Build Your Own Pistol Laser and Light Combo…
You can also build a light and laser-equipped setup using separate light and laser components. Pistol laser and light options like the Crimson Trace Lasergrips or a LaserMax Guide-Rod Laser have no “holster footprint” so you can use just about any holster with either. With this approach, rather than having to find a holster that fits a very specific pistol laser and light unit, you can simply add one of the more common weapon lights like a Streamlight TLR or Surefire X series. There are plenty of holsters on the market for those.
In addition to the ones already mentioned, here are a few other holster makers that are currently offering models with pistol laser and light configurations.
With the dizzying array of light and compact pistol laser & light options, there’s no reason not to think about adding the improved low light capability to your carry gun. While it may take a little shopping time to find the right holster to fit your needs, the odds are pretty good there’s one out there for the configuration you want.
Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon. You can also find him on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.