Gear Test: Crimson Trace Laserguard Pro

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Crimson Trace Laserguard Pro-1-2 If you look closely, you can see a Laserguard Pro in action on the second target from the left. Notice how the laser is still highly visible in the center of the 150-lumen light beam.

Brand new from Crimson Trace, and introduced for the 2016 NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville today, is the LaserGuard Pro combination light and sight.

Initially available for the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, the LaserGuard Pro combines both tactical weapon light and laser in a shockingly small package.

Like its predecessor, the LaserGuard, the Pro model is built to follow the contours of a specific gun model. The unit takes advantage of the pistol rail, but also shadows the trigger guard to provide an instinctive activation button on the grip. The idea is to create a light and laser solution that is fully integrated with the pistol so it’s smaller and easier to conceal.

crimson trace laserguard pro
Crimson Trace Laserguard Pro-2 Crimson Trace had to do some fancy engineering to make the unit work reliably when the light and laser are in such a small package. Note the scallop pattern that matches the slide texture on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.

I had the opportunity to shoot Smith & Wesson's M&P Shield equipped with the new Laserguard Pro at a pre-launch event at the luxurious Blackstone Shooting Center in Charlotte, N.C. recently. (The "guntry club" range is a model of the new breed of shooting retail stores and range facilities. Looking and acting more like a Nordstrom's store than an industrial park space, Blackstone attracts shooters from all walks of life: men, women, families, singles, hipsters, students, and others. I loved this place, mainly because there were no crotchety "gun guys" to be found.)

Other invitees and I had our own shooting bay, so we could turn off the lights for our shooting session to see how the Crimson Trace Laserguard Pro really shined. (See what I did there?)

I burned through some ammo doing all sorts of low light shooting drills, such as raising the gun to target and firing single shots, quick pairs, and multiple-shot strings. What I found was that the light and laser were a perfect complement. Although the light is bright, beaming out 150 lumens, it in no way washed out the laser. I deliberately did not try to shoot with or without the laser, but instead identified the target and fired – I wanted to see where my eye went. The forward facing light had enough ambient illumination so that I could easily see the sights, but I don’t recall using them once. The laser literally jumped into view on the target right in the center of the illuminated area.

crimson trace laserguard pro
Crimson Trace Laserguard Pro-3 The CR2 battery is accessible through the side panel and offers two hours of constant run time.

The Laserguard Pro has four modes of operation: light and laser, light only, laser only, and flashing strobe light with constant laser. With a control button hold and press, you select the mode you like, then the grip button activates the unit when you assume a natural firing grip. Loosen your grip and the light and laser turn off.

I made a deliberate effort to experiment with something new to me: the strobe light. I’ve always used lights in a constant “on” mode, because I’d assumed that a strobe would distract me. Of course, the idea of a strobe light is to distract the person on the other end. As it turns out, I barely saw the strobe effect, and it certainly didn’t distract me. If it messes with the person on the receiving end, then using this mode seemed to be a win.

Around the time of the NRA Annual Meeting May 21-23, the Laserguard Pro will be available for the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. Later this year, models will be out for the Glock 42/32 and Springfield Armory XD-S. The red laser model has an MSRP of $279, or $299 for a package with an included Blade-Tech holster. The green laser models will be $379 and $399 respectively.

I’ve already made the leap to equip each of my carry guns with a laser. Now the technology is allowing an even better solution – both light and laser in a package small enough to conceal.

Crimson Trace Laserguard Pro-4 The mode button on the side of the Laserguard Pro is used to select from one of four operating modes.