Do You Like It Flat? Your AR-15 That Is…

The LaserMax Uni-Max ES offers a very low profile option for your AR-15. Mount it on the top, side or bottom.

The LaserMax Uni-Max ES offers a very low profile option for your AR-15. Mount it on the top, side or bottom.

Do you like it flat?

Meaning the front of your AR rifle? Perhaps you don’t want a vertical fore grip laser and light assembly up front. If you frequently shoot at longer ranges, from sandbags or perhaps from a prone position, a vertical grip can get in the way. If you still want a laser attachment, there’s a great alternative that won’t get in the way of that nice, clean front hand guard.

The LaserMax Uni-Max ES is technically a multi-purpose product – it can switch teams with only a little bit on tinkering. Through a little rearranging of internal (and included) parts, you can convert this from a rifle laser with a remote activation pad to a pistol rail-mounted laser.

For pistols, you install the toggle switch that enables laser on / laser off from either side. With a rifle installation, you can certainly use the toggle switch if you like, but the momentary activation switch option is even better. This is a remote pressure pad which turns the laser on as long as you squeeze it. With judicious placement of the pad according to your personal preference, it’s a very natural motion to turn the laser on and off as desired. Just to be clear, while you can reconfigure this laser, it’s not something you would want to do daily as it will take you five minutes or so. The purpose is to give you flexibility over time to move between different guns.

Let’s talk about that “flat” configuration. The laser unit itself only extends 1/2 inch from a standard picatinny rail. So even if you mount it on the bottom of your rifle hand guard, as shown here, it hardly extends downward at all. Of course, if you want zero footprint, you can mount it on either side of the barrel and keep the bottom rail completely clean.

Here’s what I prefer. I mounted the laser unit on the bottom rail so that there are no “side to side” issues between the laser dot and point of impact. On the Daniel Defense rifle shown here, the laser and bore are only about 1 1/4 inches apart, so it’s not a big deal either way. I’m just being picky. All I have to worry about is an elevation difference of just over an inch between the laser and the point of impact at short distances. That’s nuthin’ right?

I chose to mount the momentary activation pressure pad on the right side so my natural grip was right on it.

I chose to mount the momentary activation pressure pad on the right side so my natural grip was right on it.

I chose to mount the momentary activation switch pressure pad on the right side of the hand guard. I’m right-handed, so my left hand is up front. Holding the hand guard from underneath, my fingers are used to press the pressure pad. I find it to be a very natural position. Squeeze a little tighter and the laser comes on. Release a bit of pressure and the laser goes off.

LaserMax includes a MantaRail cover with the Uni-Max ES, which is 2 3/4 inch section of textured rubber rail cover with an internal slot for the cord connecting the laser unit and momentary activation switch. So the cord comes out of the laser on the bottom rail, feeds underneath the rubber MantaRail cover and bends up to the side mounted momentary activation pad. All in all, there are only two one-inch sections of cord exposed, so there aren’t loose wires hanging around to get caught up on stuff. A side benefit of the MantaRail placement on the bottom rail is that it provides a grippy and comfortable rail cover where you hand goes. Nice touch.

A view from the bottom. Note the MantaRail cover just behind the laser. It secures the cord and makes a great hand grip.

A view from the bottom. Note the MantaRail cover just behind the laser. It secures the cord and makes a great hand grip.

The laser body itself also has a single-slot picatinny rail section on the bottom, so you can hang something else, like a light, just below the laser if you like. The laser unit is small and light, weighing just 2.5 ounces, so there is virtually no bulk up front on your rifle. It’s powered by two Silver Oxide 357 batteries and will run continuously for about an hour and a half.

I’m digging the LaserMax Uni-Max ES setup on a Daniel Defense DDM4V5 300 AAC Blackout rifle. A traditional optic is up top for longer ranges. I have the laser zeroed for 10 yards, but shorter and longer distances work just fine as the laser is so close to the bore line. So, in one package, you can have it all. A laser for home defense (or perhaps night hog hunting use) that’s preset for shorter distances and optics for reaching out.

The best part? Your laser configuration is pretty much out of the way when you want to use the rifle outdoors.

Why Green Lasers Aren’t Green – New Native Green Technology from LaserMax

While at a LaserMax media event, I learned a lot about lasers. Like most everything else with a battery or plug, the technology is evolving at a dizzying rate. One of the things I learned was that green lasers aren’t green. Actually, they’re invisible (to the human eye) as they are derived from infrared light.

The LaserMax Native Green UNI-MAX (top) is noticeably brighter than traditional DPSS green laser light (bottom)

The LaserMax Native Green UNI-MAX (top) is noticeably brighter than traditional DPSS green laser light (bottom)

Allow me to explain. To produce green laser light, you need to shoot an infrared laser beam through some seriously mysterious conversion crystals. It’s a process called diode pumped solid-state technology or DPSS for short. The invisible infrared light goes in one end of the crystals and comes out the other side green. It’s a process called “magic.” Make sense?

While DPSS works, and does produce bright and easy-to-see green light, there are some drawbacks.

The Native Green Laser dot (left) and traditional green laser (right)

The Native Green Laser dot (left) and traditional green laser (right)

First, those magic crystals add bulk and weight. Not much, but when you’re trying to build a laser device small enough to work on a gun, every little bit counts. Think about those Ghostbusters Proton Packs. While not technically lasers, they generated some awesome light shows, but required a full-sized backpack particle accelerator. That would never be practical on a carry pistol as concealment would require a cover garment the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.

The other consideration is efficiency of the DPSS system itself. At high and low temperature extremes, the conversion process starts to break down and the light becomes less effective. For example, standard DPSS lasers (which use the crystal conversion process) operate beautifully at temperatures between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Those temperatures don’t cover the full range or normal field environments. Any area north of the Florida border is likely to experience near freezing temperatures for a large part of the year. And while 100 degrees sounds like a reasonable top end, think of our men and women deployed in sandboxes around the world, where temperatures reach 120 degrees. Or, consider interior environments like those spooky shipping containers and warehouses prevalent on TV crime dramas. Those non-air-conditioned places get insanely hot in the summer, right?

Native Green lasers generate green light right off the bat using a green laser diode. With a native green light source, there is no need for the extra bulk of crystals to convert the light beam to green. Additionally, the effective temperature operating boundaries are extended. For example, a Native Green laser retains operating efficiency all the way down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. At the high-end, they continue to generate bright green light up to about 150 degrees.

Read the rest at!

LaserMax Ends The Rodent Chronicles Arms Race?

If you’ve been around here a while, you might remember a little incident involving wetlands, a raised home and a rat.

It all started when a hot-shot realtor, wearing capri pants, sold us a home surrounded by “wetlands.” You see, “wetlands” is realtor-code for “swamp.” And where there’s swamp, there’s rodents. Some, like deer and the occasional fox are fun to have around. Others, like rats, just need to be shot.

It’s not as bad as it sounds though. Many “wetlands” homes are raised, meaning the first floor is actually one level up. This leaves a big open area underneath that most folks would consider a garage. We, who are in the know, call it a flood facilitation zone, as the next big tsunami will wash a few shrimp boats and mobile homes through there. Anyway, one of the benefits of raised homes is that the swamp critters don’t have direct access to your living quarters, but they do on occasion invite themselves into your garage area.

The problem is this. Normal Ruger 10/22 aiming is just fine with the standard iron sights, or maybe a low power optic. But as varmint squatters only appear in dark conditions, you can’t really see sight or optics. I’ve tried other strategies with mixed success. One plan was to flip on the lights and rely on a snap shot before that little beast of my burden could scurry back into his hole like the coward he is. That was great fun until I snap shot the gas line. $75, and a lame explanation to the gas repairman later, I decided to try something different. In my defense, the gas fixit guy did say he had seen weirder things, but he declined to specify.

The best solution seemed to be application of advanced technology, because even though I think rats might just have opposable thumbs, I’m pretty sure they can’t read instructions. That means advantage me in the arms race. As the rat extermination gun of choice is a Ruger 10/22, I ruled out a night vision scope as that would just look silly.

The LaserMax Ruger 10/22 Laser turns your rifle into the equivalent of an Abrams tank ballistic fire control system. Well, almost.

The LaserMax Ruger 10/22 Laser turns your rifle into the equivalent of an Abrams tank ballistic fire control system. Well, almost.

Enter the new LaserMax Ruger 10/22 laser.

This little rodent illumination gem changes the whole ball game. I can now lurk in the shadows and dot that little garage squatter at leisure.

Here’s how it works.

Installation is a snap. Just remove the barrel band and slide it on.

Installation is a snap. Just remove the barrel band and slide it on.

The LaserMax Ruger 10/22 Laser is designed to replace the existing barrel band on the 10/22. After removal of the factory barrel band, the LaserMax 10/22 assembly slides right on to the the stock fore end. Kind of like a tactical beanie. Insert the included battery and tighten a couple of screws and you’re good to go.

To activate the laser, simply press the side lever right to left, or left to right if you’re feeling particularly rebellious, and it will stay on until you un-depress the lever. The switch is perfectly placed for your support hand to activate and deactivate easily.

Next, making sure your rifle is really and truly unloaded (chamber too!) aim it at a safe backstop and see how that newly-minted laser dot lines up with your iron sights. Windage and elevation adjustments are sensitive and you won’t need to use more than 1/2 turn total. If you do, something’s wrong with your mounting job. Once at the range, you can tweak the laser alignment to your preference , but lining up at home with your iron sights will get you really, really close.

Battery is included and note the accessory rail - they're on both sides.

Battery is included and note the accessory rail – they’re on both sides.

One of the neat things about the mount is that the laser is positioned directly under the bore and not offset to one side or the other. Using a sophisticated measuring device known in engineering circles as a ruler, I estimate the laser is just about 5/8 of an inch below the bore. So you can align the laser parallel with the bore, knowing that your shot will hit 5/8″ above at closer distances, or you can zero point of impact at a desired distance. Your choice.

One other note about the mount. Short rails are on both sides so you can mount a sling swivel, light, or any other rail mounted accessory you like.

The LaserMax Ruger 10/22 Laser is available in a couple of ways. If you already have a Ruger 10/22 rifle, you can order one as an add-on accessory. Or, if you’re in the market for the world’s most useful .22 rifle, order one ready to go from a Ruger dealer.

All in all this is one nifty add-on for a Ruger 10/22. It adds virtually no weight or bulk, and won’t get in the way of daytime shooting with iron sights or a scope. But it sure adds a lot of fun.

Keeping the garage rodent free is no longer a challenge.



What Do You Need To Shoot 3 Guns At Night? Loadout for the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational

Later this week, I’m going to run around shooting guns in the pitch dark. Just for fun.

The Crimson Trace midnight 3 Gun Invitational event takes place far from city lights outside of Bend, Oregon. The matches begin at 9 or 10pm each night and continue until 3am or so. So it will be dark. Really dark. All three guns – shotgun, rifle and pistol – will need a 100 lumen light at minimum. Lasers will help  make target designation faster. Night vision gear is allowed, but I’ll take that plunge next year if I’m able to attend.

Since Crimson Trace is sponsoring the event, I’m choosing to equip with everything possible from Crimson Trace products. Just to see what’s possible with the current product line. Here’s a breakdown of the gear I’m bringing:

Glock 17 Crimson Trace lightguard lasergrips 9mm

Glock 17 Gen 4 – It’s hard to beat a double-stack polymer wonder gun for this type of event. High round count, low-recoiling 9mm ammo, easy availability of Crimson Trace Lasergrips and a rail to attach a Crimson Trace Lightguard makes this a strong contender or the ideal M3GI pistol.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear Glock Lasergrips

Crimson Trace Lasergrips for Glock Gen 4 full size and compact – I like this specific version as it’s compatible with a Crimson Trace Lightguard. The laser features a rear-activated pressure switch while the Lightguard has a front-activation switch. There’s also a positive on/off button to save battery life when you’re shooting in daylight conditions.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear lightguard Glock 17

Crimson Trace Lightguard for Glock – Blasting out 100 lumens of light with 2 hours of continuous operation, this light will make target identification easy for anything within pistol distance.

Smith  Wesson M P 15 VTAC 8  1

Smith & Wesson M&P 15 VTAC – With a 1:7 twist barrel, this rifle shines with heavier projectiles at longer range. While this match, given the dark conditions, will have all targets inside of 200 yards, how can I not bring this honey? The Viking Tactics JP hand guard allows you to mount sling attachments and rail segments just about anywhere you want.

Bushnell Elite Tactical 1 6 5x24 12  2

Bushnell Tactical Elite 1-6.5×24 with BTR-2 reticleI reviewed this a while back and loved the flexibility. With a first focal plane reticle, it acts like a red dot at true 1x power and a moderate range scope when zoomed in. It should be perfect for nighttime targets from 25 to 100 yards away.

Switchview 679

MGM Switchview – You know MGM Targets right? The folks that make all those fun steel plates and critters to shoot at? Well, they also have a nifty little accessory for rifle optics with a zoom ring. The Switchview lever clamps over the zoom ring and features a “throw bar” lever to make adjusting power level fast and easy. It also offers a great visual indicator as to how the scope is currently set. If you’re shooting in the pitch dark, like at the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun event, you can feel the current zoom setting on your optic!

Crimson Trace MVF 515 673

Crimson Trace MVF-515 Modular Vertical Foregrip – I’ve used this in daylight and dusk conditions but can’t wait to shoot it in the dark. Dual touch controls on both sides operate either a green laser and/or a 150 to 200 lumen tactical light. Couldn’t be more intuitive.

Vtac ug main

Viking Tactics Padded Sling – Love, love, love this sling. Here’s why. It’s two point attachment allows you to brace the rifle for steadier shooting and of course tote your rifle around. It’s got quick-adjust tabs that allow you to instantly tighten the sling, or loosen it for shooting. You can even flip the rifle to your offside shoulder without removing the sling. The rifle carries well muzzle down in the front or muzzle up in the back without adjusting the sling straps. Oh, and it’s padded for comfort. Highly recommended!

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear Magpul PMAG Window

Magpul PMAG 30 Gen 3 Window Magazines – PMAGs. Need I say more? With windows to see how many rounds you have left.

Mossberg JM Pro Tactical Class  1

Mossberg JM Pro Semi-Automatic Shotgun – Look for a full review on this one soon. In short, it’s part of the Mossberg 930 Signature Series and this one has Jerry Miculek behind the design. If you need more than the 9+1 capacity to deal with your targets, you might want to bring some friends with guns.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear RailMaster Light

Crimson Trace RailMaster Universal Tactical Light – I’m actually bringing this along with no intention of using it. Currently, I have it mounted on a rail segment on the Mossberg JM Pro. With 100 lumens of light and a constant on switch, it will work great for shotgun distance targets. Hopefully it will get left in my shooting back for the event. Read the next segment to see why.
? Crimson Trace CMR-204 Combination Light / Laser – Word has it that these soon-to-be-released units will be available to test at the match. So, if my assumptions are correct about this being a rail mounted unit with integrated light and laser, it will be taking the place of the RailMaster light currently strapped on to the Mossberg JM Pro!
Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier  4 Mesa Tactical SureShell ShotShell Side Saddle Shell Carrier – Say that 10 times fast. Now again, but in Cantonese. When 10 rounds of 12 gauge isn’t enough, reach for some reloads on the side of your receiver. The match format calls for low-volume shot gun reloads so this should provide perfect insurance against the occasional miss.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear Cyclops LED visor light

Cyclops Solutions LED Hat Clip Light – The whole place will be pitch dark! So I’m bringing this nifty little device I found on a recent trip out west. It’s a 3 LED light that clips on to the brim of most any hat. Turn it on and illuminate whatever is in front of your face. Unfortunately I’ll probably be sulking over my scorecard with this piece of gear.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear Safariland ELS competition belt

Safariland ELS Competition Belt and Magazine Carriers – Another review in progress, the Safariland ELS system is impressive. An inner belt goes through your pants belt loops. The outside of the inner belt is velcro. The outer belt is pretty rigid stuff with a velcro lining. This sticks on to the inner belt and is surprisingly secure. The outer belt features 118,839 holes (my estimate) that are used to attach ELS plate “sockets.” Accessories like magazine carriers, holsters, shotshell carriers, rifle magazine carriers, light pouches and duty gear are attached by mounting the male portion of the “plate sockets” to the individual accessory. You can easily add and remove components depending on your match or duty requirements. It’s really, really flexible. I’m configuring the belt with two Glock magazine pouches, two shotshell carriers, two AR magazine punches and a holster. I might add a Bat grappling hook system if I have time.

Desantis Speed Scabbard Glock Lightguard

DeSantis Speed Scabbard Holster for Glock 17,19,22,23 with Crimson Trace Lightguard or Laserguard – This is really more of a concealed carry holster for Glocks equipped with Lightguard tactical lights. It’s made of leather, not Kydex and does not feature a reinforced mouth for quick reholstering. As the match stages all end with pistol, the way I’m shooting them anyway, this will be fine. I’m really excited to use this as a CCW holster after the match.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear SportEar hearing protection

SportEar XT4 Electronic Earmuffs – I picked up a set of these at the Shooting Industry Masters event and have used them ever since. Not only do the electronics block out dangerous sound levels over 85dB, they amplify nearby sounds up to eight times. Separate frequency adjustment knobs allow you to tune the system to hear things like range commands and quiet noises like a twig snapping in the woods.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear 685

Cabelas Armor Xtreme Double Long-Gun Hard Case – This case is a tank. Made of sturdy, high-impact resin, it has four crank-down locks and accepts two padlocks for travel. You can cut the center foam layer to fit your specific toting needs. It’s got a gasket seal and is water and airtight. A pressure release valve makes it cool for air travel. Most important feature? Lifetime warranty!
blackhawk padded weapons case Blackhawk Padded Weapons Case – This two rifle soft case is what I’ll use while at the range. The Cabelas Armor Xtreme is for travel while this one is for range use. A padded interior with divider allows you to easily carry to long guns. Extra pockets accommodate magazines and range gear. You can even unzip this case all the way to configure it as a shooting mat.

Danner Rivot TFX Hot Military Boots

Danner Rivot GTX Hot Military Boots – Danner has graciously provided these for the match. I’ve been wearing them the past few weeks to break them in and already it’s clear these are not only comfortable, but durable.

ESS Crossbow Eyeshields

ESS Crossbow Eyeshields – We reviewed these a while back and found them to be some of the best eye protection that money can buy, short of full combat goggles.

Think that’s enough? Let’s see how I fare with the TSA gauntlet of molestation…

Buyers Guide: Crimson Trace Green Laserguard for Glock LG-452

My Gun Culture Shooting Buyers Guide

We reviewed one of the first pre-production Crimson Trace Green Laserguards for Glocks (LG-452) a couple of months ago and found it, well, awesome.

Crimson Trace Green Laserguard LG-452 for Glock

Crimson Trace Green Laserguard LG-452 for Glock

What’s the big deal?

This. Green lasers are highly visible. Day, night, dusk, twilight, bright sunlight – you name it. We found that you can use the Crimson Trace Green Laserguard in sunny conditions with no problem. We tested it an outdoor shooting range in full sunlight and found the green laser dot easy to spot at 25 yards.

What’s really impressive is the visibility in “traditional” laser conditions, i.e. indoors or in low light. The speed at which your eye picks up the green laser in comparison to the red is simply amazing. The green dot really jumps out at you.

Green lasers drain suck power like Rosie O’Donnell consumes donuts, so for now, the Crimson Trace Green lasers are available in Laserguard configurations as there is more space for battery. Also, be aware that you’ll get about 2 hours of constant use. This is plenty considering the unit as a manual on/off switch to save juice when you’re just practicing.

Like other Crimson Trace Laserguards, this one uses an instinctive activation button. Just pick up the gun and it’s on.

Available Here Crimson Trace Green Laserguard for Glock LG-452

On the Seventh Day of Christmas… Seven Lasers Aiming


On the seventh day of Christmas, I hope my true love gives to me…
Seven lasers aiming…


Lasers make a great addition to self defense firearms and even light armor defeating rockets. Try these for your Christmas wish list:


Crimson Trace LG-850
Brand spanking new for the full size Glock Gen IV platform, this one is compatible with the Crimson Trace Lightguard as it features a rear activation button. Unlike the older models, it also features a master on-off switch.We’ve got one of these on the way for review and will post results soon!


Viridian Gen 2 Light & Laser
Been looking for a light / laser combo for the Beretta PX4 Storm. This just might be the ticket. 154 lumen light and green laser that can flash or remain constant.


Crimson Trace SFL-100 for M72 LAW Anti-Tank Weapon
We have it on good authority that Iain Harrisonand the rest of the Crimson Trace PR and Marketing team carry this big caliber combo for personal defense. Maybe you should consider an upgrade as well? It IS your life after all…One note of caution – there is some risk of over-penetration with the LAW, so remember, every anti-tank rocket you fire has a lawyer attached to it.

Uni-Green X200

Lasermax Uni-Max Green
Always liked the versatility of this one. Small and thin, use it alone or clamp a light on the bottom for a self-configured combo-unit.


Crimson Trace MVF-515G Modular Foregrip for AR Rifles
Somehow this seems like some form of ‘dual-wielding’ with lights and lasers – but without the X-Box. Gotta get the green laser option but it also comes in red.


Crimson Trace LG-402M for Beretta 92/96/M9
The newer mil-spec version is far more weatherproofy and features a front activation switch. We always had trouble with side activation switches as some holsters would activate the laser. Some people were put off by the red death beam coming out the bottom of my jeans.


Crimson Trace G10 Master Series for 1911’s
Made of tough G10 material, these grips not only look sharp, but are plenty durable. Love the Rosewood versions as well.




Six scales a weighing…
Five magnum things…
Four written words…
Three tactical pens…
Two shooting gloves
And a Smith and Wesson M and P

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