LaserMax recently launched a new spin on and old favorite, the Native Green Guide Rod Laser. This new laser breaks through some of the barriers that kept older green lasers from being as reliable as any firearm owner would want them to be. But, who cares, green, red, it’s a dot, right? Well, sort of right. Firearm lasers have been around for a long time now, and most of them are red. Why? Red lasers are cheap, efficient, and maybe most importantly, reliable. Why would you ever want to change that? Well, the human eye is more sensitive to green light, so a green light will appear brighter than a red light of the same intensity. While some people will call green lasers “daylight” lasers, they certainly work much better than their red counterpart, but in direct sunlight you are still going to have a bit of trouble locating the dot at more than 10 yards.
Until recently, green lasers were a power hungry and unstable beast, usually inoperable at cold temperatures, you know, in the arctic tundra where most of us live right now……Where was I, oh yeah, the green laser. Older Green lasers are called DPSS (diode pumped solid state) lasers which means an infrared laser diode is aimed at a special crystal that doubles the frequency of the light and out comes green light. The new technology that has just come out does not have the frequency doubling crystal, and instead the laser diode is actually green. So what does this mean, the new Native Green LaserMax lasers combine the reliability and simplicity of the tried and true red laser with the visibility of the green laser.
So with all of that technical stuff behind us, lets look at the actual LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser. We installed our guide rod laser in a Gen 3 Glock 19, a very standard pistol. Installation took probably about 10 minutes. LaserMax provides all the parts and even a few tools to make installation go quickly (we’ll have a video on youtube soon). The basic premise of the installation is as follows:
- Unload firearm and verify it is empty and safe
- Remove slide from frame
- Remove take down (this will vary from gun to gun, but was super easy on the Glock 19
- Replace take down with the new one provided by LaserMax
- Remove guide rod and recoil spring from slide
- Replace with guide rod laser and spring provided
- Check function of pistol and activation of laser
That’s about it, they keep it very simple. I’m going to focus on the Glock 19 installation here for a bit, and discuss why I like it. LaserMax provides a new take down latch and spring, and a handy tool to get the spring back in the correct spot. Once installed, the laser is activated by pressing in on the take down. This means the laser is ambidextrous, and the switch is exactly where it should be, your finger rests on it when you are keeping it off the trigger in the safe position.
Now I am also a fan of Crimson Trace and the instinctive activation, and thought that was great, but LaserMax brings up a good point in their literature about lasers and why theirs is superior. They state with their laser, you don’t activate it until you want to, so there is no chance you reveal yourself/firearm/position/etc… until you actually flip the laser on. Honestly I can see both sides, but it is something to consider depending on how you think you will be using the laser.
Back to the LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser. As with all the guide rod lasers, there is no adjustment they are factory aligned at 20 yards. This is a strong point to consider, there is nothing to go out of alignment, you can be confident that wherever the laser is pointing, that is where you are going to shoot. Since the laser is internal, it also means you will be able to use it with any holster you might have or any other accessory you might want to, and it adds absolutely no bulk to the pistol. In fact, if you were to look at a pistol with a guide rod laser and compare it to one without, you probably wouldn’t notice unless you were familiar with the guide rod laser controls. The guide rod lasers are also very durable, and they are backed up by an unheard of 5 year warranty. When is the last time you heard of anything electronic being backed up with a warranty that long??? One last feature to mention is the actual laser. The laser, when activated, pulses rapidly. This is to help your eye pick up on the dot faster. I have yet to confirm this, but I can see where they are coming from, and another benefit is it will increase the battery life versus a continuous wave laser. A related note, the battery life is rated at one hour of use, which will probably last most users a very long time unless you are just pointing it around all day for fun…..which I don’t recommend!
I have had the Native Green Guide Rod Laser installed on my Glock for probably a month now. I left it in my truck overnight when we had some below zero temperatures this month, and it still functioned, which honestly surprised me, so you know it is good to go! Shooting with the laser can help illuminate (pun intended) bad habits such as anticipating or pulling, because you will see the jerk right before you shoot.
One last thought regarding putting a laser on a pistol. Not only can having a laser give you a faster target acquisition time, improve your “bad position” aim allowing you to be confident in situation where you might not normally be, but is also shows the bad guy right where you are aiming. When you get right down to it, nobody wants to have to shoot someone to defend themselves. If I wound up with a weapon laser dot on my chest, I would certainly think twice about whatever it was I was doing that got it there, so weapon lasers can also act as a deterrent. In my book, the LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser is a definite advantage that I am sure glad I have on my side.