When I originally looked into getting laser sights for my 1911, I was interested in the LaserMax product. The LaserMax units for the 1911 are built with the laser sight contained within the guide rod. Since my .45 has no accessory rail and I never had an interest in the trigger guard mounted laser systems, this seemed like an excellent idea.
My biggest problem with the LaserMax units is how the laser is activated on/off. The switch is contained in the slide-stop/takedown pin. In order to activate the sight, one must extend their trigger finger up to a small cam switch and flip it on. I considered this useless for a combat or self-defense application. Also, the fact that it would require me to replace a pre-existing aftermarket guide-rod made this LaserMax unit less appealing.
An advantage to the LaserMax unit is that is has reduced parallax as compared to the LaserGrips. Also, the LaserMax unit’s parallax falls on only one axis (strait up and down) the LaserGrips have both vertical and horizontal parallax when considering the sight line as compared to the bullet path.
The LaserMax unit is about $100 over the $250 LaserGrips.
With that said about the LaserMax unit, I will start with a short critique of the LaserGrips. As shown in the image I posted, the laser itself is neatly imbedded in the right grip panel. The electronics, the laser tube, a membrane switch and one battery reside in the right grip panel. Another membrane switch and batter resides in the left grip panel. The grips wrap around the front grip frame of the .45.
Sighting is a pain and the sighting adjustments are very sensitive. ¼ turn of the small Allen-head screw is about 2-3” at 50 feet. I sighted the sight for 50’.
The beam quality and intensity of the laser is excellent. Some of the “spray” from the laser illuminated the protruding slide-stop pin on the right side of the frame. I suspected this was because the beam is not 100% coherent. A person could observe no distortions in the beam once painted on an object.
I fired 300rnds yesterday with the sight in an indoor range at distances from 20feet to 80feet. In decent lighting conditions, the laser sight did nothing to improve the accuracy I could achieve with the normal iron sights. At black or dark targets, and especially at the 80’ distance (where the lighting was very poor at this particular range), I found myself shooting much better groups with the aid of the LaserGrip. Outdoors or in optimum lighting conditions, I suspect that in these conditions that the laser sight will offer no improvements of accuracy than what can be achieved with iron sights at any distance.
After the unit was sighted, it never lost zero after 100s of rnds fired.
The power smoke in the indoor range tends to “paint” the entire laser beam, making a cool effect. I had a friend in the next stall. I could not resist the opportunity to aim across stalls and paint his target while he was concentrating on taking a shot.
One thing I noticed it that the laser sight tends to change you focus on how you shoot a handgun. Normally, I first concentrate on acquiring the target with the iron sights, than all my concentration goes to keeping the front ramp centered in the rear block with the adjusting so that the intended target is above the front ramp. This concentration along the sight radius is on the handgun itself. When using the laser sight, the handgun becomes secondary and almost 100% of your visual focus is on the target. While I find this great for self-defense and combat, it sucks for target shooting. I probably have not yet learned how to incorporate both a visual feel for the handgun and the beam on the target. It is almost like you need to be looking at both.
As a conclusion, I am more than happy with my purchase. I was worried about the overall beam quality and the ability of the sight to retain zero. With allowance for a slight parallax over distances, I found it to meet the expectations on what I was looking for.
On the advice of my gunsmith (trusted)I went with the LaserMax.
I also bought new night sights - Heine(sp?) slant pro straight 8 with a low mount rear for carry.
(The above on a Sig P220 in .38 Super.)
Work should be completed in a week or so and I'll test and report back.
Already I'm pretty sure nothing can hurt my pistol shooting accuracy !
Your comment: One thing I noticed it that the laser sight tends to change you focus on how you shoot a handgun.
This is the reason I decided against using the LaserGrips, shooting with it tended to make me cross-eyed.[wacko] The guy I sold mine to loves it.
I can't speak for a 1911, but I have the LaserMax in my Beretta 92 and I could not be happier. I love the switch placement on the takedown lever, as it's where I rest my finger anyway when it's not supposed to be inside the trigger guard.