Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Crimson Trace Rail Master Install Impressions

A little over a week ago I received an email from Crimson Trace letting me know that they just released a new universal rail mount laser that will work on any rail system on pistols, rifles, and shotguns.  It looked like a good product that would definitely come in handy for my ballistics testing work so I decided to order one.  It arrived this afternoon so I spent a few minutes installing it on a Springfield XDm .45 ACP.

Opening the package, you won't be surprised by what you find if you are familiar with Crimson Trace products.  Crimson Trace always packs great easy to follow installation instructions, a pair of hex laser adjustment wrenches, 2 lens cleaning swabs, a battery, and laser warning stickers.  What was different this time was the parts kit also included 3 spare rail lock inserts with numbers 2, 3, and 4 molded into the inserts.  The laser unit is actually pretty small.  Smaller than I thought it would be, which I thought was a good thing.

Installing the laser unit is really easy.  I was surprised that Crimson Trace didn't include a screwdriver with the the laser so before you start your install, take the time to go find the right size screwdriver for the job.  If you don't find a blade that's wide and thin enough for the job, you will run the risk of the driver twisting out of the slot and ruining the screw.

Included in the installation instructions is a handy cross reference chart that guides you on which rail lock insert to use depending on the firearm you are installing the laser on.  I quick look told me that the number 2 rail lock insert was going to be the correct choice for my pistol.

Changing out the rail lock insert involves removing the rail clamp by loosening the mounting screws and sliding out rail lock insert 1 and replacing it with the right rail lock for your firearm.  The picture below shows rail insert 1 half removed to demonstrate how easy it is to swap out the rail lock inserts.

After installing the correct rail lock insert, the laser and clamp slide back together and can now be positioned on the rail lug that positions the laser in the most comfortable position for laser actuation and shooting comfort.  In my case, the closest lug to the trigger guard was too close and the 3rd lug was too far so I locked the laser on the 2nd rail lug.  The last steps include tightening down the clamping screws (easy with the correct size screw driver blade, but a challenge if your blade is too narrow), and installing the battery.  The battery compartment door is located on the bottom of the laser.  The photo below shows the battery door partially removed in preparation for battery installation.

The battery door easily slides back over the installed battery and sits in a recessed groove that will minimize and possibly eliminate the possibility of accidental battery door opening. 

The photo below shows my comfortable reach to the laser actuation switch.  The switch operates easily with just a light press on the switch required to turn on the laser.  The switch is silent in operation, but your finger can definitely feel the switch turn on and off.  I found the switch was really well done and can be operated with the trigger finger or thumb of your off-hand when holding the pistol with a two handed grip.

The laser appears to be as bright as any other Crimson Trace laser product I've used.  The dot was nice and sharp with very little corona or edge dispersion around the main dot.  The dot appeared to be quite low and needed to be adjusted up a bit when test sighting at 15 yards.  The picture below shows the laser adjustment points that are similarly located to those on other Crimson Trace lasers.

Here's the final view of the Springfield XDm .45 with the Crimson Trace Rail Master installed.  You can really see how small the laser is on this full size pistol.  It's barely as long as the rail.  I think this laser would work well on mid size and even some of the small pistols with rails.  After I have a chance to try the laser on this pistol over the weekend, I may try it on my Ruger SR-22 rifle and a few other railed pistols.  So far I think I'm going to like this laser.

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