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Thursday, November 20, 2014

TRUGLO MicroTac Green Laser Review


TRUGLO MicroTac Lasers

The TRUGLO MicroTac is available with red or green laser diode.
TRUGLO MicroTac Specs:
 Next Generation, high-efficiency superconductor laser diode
 Ultra-compact lightweight CNC-machined aluminum
 Weights less than 1oz.
 Universal Fit - Fits any weapon with a Picatinny or Weaver-style rail
 Powerful 520nm green laser (TG7630G)
 Powerful 650nm red laser (TG7630R)
 Windage and elevation adjustments
 Easy ambidextrous push-button activation
 Recessed on/off buttons eliminate accidental activation
 Two Laser Modes:  Constant and Pulse
 Automatically shuts down after 5 minutes
 Operating temperature:  14 F (-10C) to 122 F (50C)
 2 year limited warranty
 2 sets of batteries included (LR626)
 Matte black finish
 MSRP - $149.99


The small laser in the big package.  Look for this package at your local retailer.
The laser includes two allen wrenches to mount and adjust the laser, instruction manual,
and spare batteries.  The green dot above the TRUGLO logo is the actual laser output.
TRUGLO offers a wide assortment of optics for firearms and bows.  For over 22 years TRUGLO has been an innovator in fiber optic sights and continues to introduce new products to the shooting community.

One of their newest products is the MicroTac Tactical Micro Laser designed to fit the shorter rails found on concealed carry handguns.  Designated as a universal fit laser it will also work on any standard Weaver or Picatinny rail.  TRUGLO provided a green MicroTac for this review.

I use lasers frequently in my ammunition testing and review work.  They are exceptionally valuable when you are trying to evenly space 5 ammunition test shots into a gel block measuring 7 inches tall and 7 inches wide.  I also try to conduct handgun accuracy testing with a laser to remove my less than perfect vision from the testing.  I own several of these universal fit lasers and move them from firearm to firearm as needed.

TRUGLO lasers, and green lasers, were both new to me.  In addition to reviewing the MicroTac laser, I wanted to see if a green laser was more visible than a red laser.

The laser weighs significantly less than 1 ounce.
I'll cover green vs. red lasers first.  According to my afternoon of research on Wikipedia, it is true that the human eye can see green more easily than it can see the color red.  Humans have more receptors available for green than we do for red.  When comparing red and green laser outputs in high sun and near dark, I could see both lasers equally well.  I'm not refuting claims that green lasers are more visible than red, I just couldn't set up the right conditions to prove this to myself or demonstrate it for you.

The laser housing is very small and almost disappears under a US Quarter.
For the evaluation, I mounted the MicroTac on a Springfield XDs 4.0 in 45 ACP.  As you can see in the lead photo, the laser fit easily on the short accessory rail with plenty of room to spare ahead of the trigger guard.

Mounting the laser was simple.  Using the included 2.5mm allen wrench, you loosen the mounting screw to allow the laser rails to slip over the base you are mounting the laser on.  Once positioned on the base, you tighten the mounting screw to secure the laser.  TRUGLO cautions against over-tightening.

For perspective, the MicroTac weighs a bit more than 3 quarters, and less than a 200 grain
45 Auto cartridge.
Twin laser activation buttons are located on the left and right side of the laser housing at the rear of the laser.  The buttons are small, but I had no problem activating them easily with trigger finger or support hand thumb.  The activation buttons require a light press and provide tactile feedback that the button has been activated.  Protective ears, positioned at the rear edge of the laser housing behind the activation buttons, serve two purposes.  The ears protect the buttons from accidental activation and also provide an index point for positioning the finger before laser activation.

The laser lens is centered with the bore.  To the right of the laser lens is the battery access
door.
According to the manual, the laser activation module will automatically turn off the laser after 5 minutes.  What I discovered with my laser was that after 5 minutes the laser will start slow pulsing for an additional minute before shutting off.

Holding down either laser activation button for three seconds switches the laser between constant beam and pulse beam.  The laser "remembers" the last beam setting and will start up in that mode the next time the laser is activated.

Per the included manual, the laser operates on LR626 button cell lithium batteries.  The red laser requires 4 batteries and the green laser requires 6 due to higher energy demands of the green laser.  Battery life is approximately 60 minutes of constant beam time.  Using pulse mode extends battery life.  The batteries included with the laser were stamped SR626SW.  The good news is that these batteries are common silver oxide watch batteries available from many sources for 40 to 70 cents each.  Battery changes won't break the bank.  The battery access door is located to the side of the recessed laser lens.  Battery changes can be done without removing the laser from the firearm.

Playing around with the laser in my dimly lit basement, I was very impressed with the quality of the laser output.  With other lasers I often find the projected laser dot will be smudged or elongated when projected out 7 yards.  The MicroTac laser dot remained round with minimal starburst, or scatter, around the projected dot.

On the range, I tested the laser in full sun.  At 7 and 10 yards I had no problems seeing the dot on the black and white target.  It took me a bit longer to get the laser zeroed in with the iron sights than it should have.  Following the manual, adjusting the elevation adjustment screw clockwise moves the POI (point of impact) down.  I assumed this meant bullet point of impact.  What the manual meant was laser dot point of impact on the target.  I found myself adjusting the laser in the wrong direction for a few minutes before figuring out the problem.  I think the manual could be a bit more clear on the zeroing process.

Once I had the laser adjusted to same point of impact as the iron sights I ran a box of 230 grain FMJ target loads and a box of 230 grain full-power defensive loads through the XDs.  Shooting from a rested position on the bench, and also from standing positions, the laser maintained zero through all 100 rounds.

The only improvement I would like to see with the MicroTac is a more appropriately sized mounting screw.  The mounting screw extends beyond the laser width on both sides of the laser.  I understand the need for additional length on the threaded end to accommodate variances in rail width and for ease in mounting the laser.  Perfectionists can shorten the threaded end easily for permanent installation on a specific firearm.  The attachment screw head seems to large for the recessed area in the side plate.  A flush fitting attachment screw head would be a welcome improvement.  


The TRUGLO MicroTac Laser has quite a bit going for it.  It's very small, light-weight, throws a quality beam, and seems to be suitably robust to stand up to large caliber handgun recoil.  TRUGLO offers the lasers on their website for $95 (red) and $178 (green).  Savvy shoppers can find the MicroTac available on-line from reputable retailers for $70 (red) and $110-$125 (green) with free shipping included.  The very reasonable price, demonstrated performance, and two year limited warranty make the MicroTac Laser an incredible value for anyone looking for a universal fit laser for their firearm.