Since deadly encounters are more likely to occur in low-light conditions, it pays to be prepared for such; Crimson Trace’s firearm-mounted Lightguard-series illumination devices do just that by enabling increased target visibility. Tested here is the LTG-760, which fits full-size Smith & Wesson M&P pistols.
The U.S.-made Crimson Trace Lightguard is a two-piece, 1.5-ounce polymer unit that attaches to the dustcover on a pistol. The unit artfully integrates with the design of the pistol and is securely held in place by two hidden screws. Installation takes about two minutes.
The 100-lumen LED light operates on a single CR2 lithium battery, which is provided. Constant runtime is about two hours. There’s a master on/off switch and a pressure-activated button extending back beneath the trigger guard on the frontstrap, continuing the instinctive grip activation concept that applies to all of Crimson Trace’s handgun laser products.
The company offers Lightguards for Glocks, Springfield XDs, Smith & Wesson M&Ps and M1911s, which work in unison with Crimson Trace Lasergrips on all the aforementioned handgun models. Used together, the Lightguard illuminates the threat while the Lasergrip provides an aiming point for precise shot placement. The combination is particularly helpful in low-light conditions and when shooting from unconventional positions.
For testing, we added the LTG-760 Lightguard and LG-660 Lasergrips to an S&W M&P40, then subjected them to testing at Gunsite Academy’s “Fun House” during a nighttime shoot. During the low-light event, immediately evident was the value of the firearm-mounted light and laser combination; the self-defense practitioner is able to activate the light and/or laser with a single hand, leaving the remaining or support hand to open doors, dial 911, etc. Additionally, relaxing one’s grip turns off the light and the laser, allowing selective use and preventing giving away one’s position.
It must be noted that the LTG-760, or any other firearm-mounted light for that matter, should not be used for searching. Doing so requires that the gun indiscriminately “sweep” everything, an unsafe practice; instead, use a handheld flashlight independent of the firearm to search for threats.
Another advantage of the Lightguard is holster compatibility. A Lightguard- and Lasergrip- equipped Smith & Wesson M&P will fit in Galco’s Summer Comfort Light Guard inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster. Concealment holsters for other Lightguard-equipped handguns are available from various manufacturers.
The LTG-760 doesn’t displace the handheld flashlight for defensive work, rather it supplements it. As such, it should be viewed as an integral part of a complete personal-protection strategy.