(Article originally published on The Firearm Blog)
Think back to the first time you saw a weapon-mounted laser in a movie. For me, it was Terminator, when Arnold Schwarzenegger cut through a smokey room with a red beam of death. That massive device shined dimly even at short distances and probably had a sub 10 minute battery-life. Thrity years later we have the LaserMax Spartan which is the size of a match box car, includes both a green laser and a 120 lumen LED light, all with an impressive battery life.
My thoughts on weapon-mounted visible lasers used to be pretty simple: novelty. Concerns, often drilled home by past firearms instructors, centered on the shooter’s over-reliance on a laser, hesitation searching for the dot, zero distance and offset, shooting through glass and mechanical failures. And while some of those issues have been addressed with technological advances, the remaining downsides for a weapon mounted laser are shooter dependent. Meaning, in most cases a poor shooter without a laser will be a poor shooter with a laser.
Standard Warnings: You must follow all of the weapon safety rules, which includes, but is not limited to making sure your firearm is unloaded prior to attempting to mount a light. Also, once your light/laser is mounted on a gun it becomes a weapon light – not a general flashlight to look for Oreos in the cupboard or to make your cat dance like it’s high on PCP.
I. INTRODUCTION – LASERMAX SPARTAN:
The Spartan is a rail-mounted combination LED and laser that runs on a single AAA battery. It’s outer shell is made from light-weight black injection-molded plastic. The LED throws a dimable “mint green” light in wide pattern and the laser (my test unit was the green model) is adjustable for both windage and elevation. Two separate upper and lower paddle-type switches control the laser and light respectively as well as program the beam patterns and light output when the correct pattern of clicks are issued.
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