Preview: Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro

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posted on August 21, 2014
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It didn’t take long for Crimson Trace’s Lasergrips to gain favor in the self-defense community, and for good reason. The laser automatically activates when gripping a handgun equipped with them, reducing the number of steps required prior to engaging a criminal threat.

But, a couple years ago, the company rolled out the Rail Master, which fits on nearly all railed handguns, rifles and shotguns. The “universal” fit meant pressure pads hidden in handgun grips are gone, although the ambidextrous activation paddles at the front of the triggerguard are extremely fast.

They work, and work well—as expected from a company like Crimson Trace. This year it launched an improved Rail Master Pro by adding a 100-lumen weaponlight to the laser.

There are four modes of operation: laser and light; laser only; light only; and laser with a strobing light. That’s versatile for a unit that weighs only 2.7 ounces (with the battery installed). Best of all, changing the setup is much less complicated than what’s required on some weaponlights. Squeeze both ambidextrous pressure paddles simultaneously and hold pressure until the unit lights up. Maintain pressure until the Rail Master Pro toggles to your preferred configuration, then release. That’s it.

The CMR-205 version has a red laser, the CMR-204 is green, and both emit 5 milliwatt beams. A single CR2 lithium battery supplies power and anticipated lifespan is 2 hours. The unit automatically shuts down after 5 minutes to prevent inadvertent draining and coupled with the company’s Batteries for Life program dead cells aren’t much of a concern.

As expected, the laser is windage and elevation adjustable. A tiny Allen wrench comes in the box, along with four rail spacers that allow customized fit on virtually all railed handguns.

In testing, point of aim held and adjustment was a breeze. The activation paddles don’t invade triggerguard space, and a slight taper makes their engagement almost natural as you start to move for the trigger. In addition, the support-hand thumb (on a semi-auto handgun) can engage the ambidextrous paddle with about ½ to ¾ inch of movement (unless you tippy cup).

This unit works extremely well and deserves a close look if you’re in the marke for a versatile weaponlight/laser combo. The waterproof  Rail Master Pro has an aluminum body, with polymer construction in a flat-black finish. It measures 2.25 inches in length (including activation paddles), is 1.10 inches tall and 1.20 inches wide.

MSRP for the American-made weaponlight/laser combos is $379 for the CMR-204 (green laser), or $100 less if you want to go red, CMR-205.

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