Back in August of 2012, I posted A Daily Companion: The Glock 26, which was a review of the third Glock to reach American shores, the “Baby” Glock. Among the features of that article was information on the Laser Lyte rear sight laser, which is a really neat idea that did not work out well for me. It’s a slightly larger rear sight with a laser emitter in one wing, and a battery compartment in the other. Unfortunately, the batteries—four of them—are tiny, and the tolerances are so tight, not every brand of battery of that type works. In addition, the battery compartment cap threads were so fine, it was virtually impossible to put the cap back on without cross threading once it had been removed, so I eventually changed to a Crimson Trace Laser. Some time ago, I posted an article on that change at Bearing Arms, but it’s no longer easily available in its complete form, so I thought an updated article might be helpful.
It was the Brady Bill with its ban on magazines of more than 10 round capacity that gave birth to the Glock 26, which in turn caused other manufacturers to follow Glock’s example. Limited to ten rounds, why not make a more concealable handgun scaled down for ten round capacity? To that point, Glock was marketing only the Glock 17 and Glock 19, 18 and 16 rounds respectively.
The Brady Bill’s greatest success was in running Democrats out of office. After a decade, when the law sunset, even Democrats wouldn’t touch it with a ten round magazine. It accomplished absolutely nothing for public safety, which law abiding gun owners pointed out ten years earlier.
Reliable, accurate, with great magazine capacity for their size, the baby Glocks are, in many ways, ideal concealment handguns. But because they have no accessory rails, adding accessories has always been difficult.
My first Glock 26 laser sight was an early version of Crimson Trace’s model LG-852. The laser generated a characteristically bright, easily seen dot, it was easy to adjust and kept its zero. I had only two arguments with the design: the laser unit, mounted high on the right hand side of the frame, protruded into the path of the off hand fingers when manipulating the slide. I could compensate by somewhat clumsily altering my grip, but it was an annoyance.
The other problem eventually caused me to abandon the sight. The entire unit was attached to the Glock frame via a long pin through the frame that replaced a Glock pin. For more than a year, this arrangement worked, but eventually, the pin wore the plastic of the laser unit, and merely gripping the weapon/laser would cause the windage of the laser to noticeably shift. CT has since changed the design of that unit, and presumably, addressed the shifting problem, though I have no experience with that particularly sight.
As I earlier mentioned, the Laser Lyte replacement was also unsatisfactory, and Mrs. Manor and I ended up with Crimson Trace LG-436 lasers. This right side view illustrates the quality and exceptional fit of the unit:
This left side view illustrates the clean lines, with nothing to hang up on holster or clothing.
The unit consists of two parts that clamp onto the trigger guard of the handgun. The parts fit very snugly and flow well with the lines of the Glock. Notice that only two screws are necessary to secure the unit, so well does it fit the frame.
If there is a design quirk it is that the left side of the unit must be removed to change batteries. I’ve had a single battery change, and the unit returned to zero, as promised. The two screws that clamp the unit together fit perfectly and feel substantial despite their relatively small size. The allen wrench that attaches them is not nearly as tiny as many included with firearm lasers, and is easy to use.
A well-considered feature is a master on-off switch allowing factory sight use without activating the laser.
It’s hidden beneath a Crimson Trace logo on the right hand side of the unit. Press the logo for less than two seconds and the laser is turned on or off. It is not necessary to turn it off to preserve battery power, which the unit does not draw unless the laser activation switch–beneath the second finger on the front strap of the weapon–is pressed. Relaxing the pressure of the second finger deactivates the laser. There is no need for a “time-out” device common to other designs. Crimson Trace claims a five-hour run time for the battery, and offers free lifetime replacement of batteries, limited to one per weapon per year, provided the sight was originally purchased directly from CT. All CT sights can be purchased on line at a discount, so it’s up to the user to determine if the CT battery replacement program makes financial and convenience sense.
I’ve found batteries to last for three years, however, I don’t use the laser for training or demonstration purposes, only for regular practice and carry.
The laser switch works perfectly for me, and is easily manipulated with slight changes in finger pressure. Mrs. Manor took only slightly longer to become comfortable with it.
CT claims to sight in their lasers at 50 feet, but it was necessary to slightly adjust the windage of both laser units. Adjustments were positive with no “mushy” feel. A slight turn of the allen wrench produced immediate and proportionate movement on the target. Once set, the laser did not shift.
The red dot is relatively large and easily see—this is common for CT lasers–in bright daylight out to about 20 yards, particularly on lighter colored targets. Darker targets may reduce visible range to varying degrees. In darker conditions, such as indoors, dusk or night, the laser dot is visible to substantially greater distances. While 20 yards may not seem like much, the overwhelming majority of gunfights take place at seven yards and less–most much less. At those distances, the dot is easily seen against any background.
Some suggest laser sights unnecessary, even detrimental, but as I’ve aged, eyesight is no longer as sharp as it once was. I can still use factory sights reasonably well, but the front sight is no longer razor sharp. Lasers are potentially faster and enhance accuracy. Keeping both eyes open when shooting is preferable for correct laser employment, but correct grip, stance and presentation are always necessary. Done right, the laser dot instantly appears where it should.
Naysayers will also note that batteries die at the worst possible moment. What then? One need only immediately transition to the factory sights, and if one is using a proper grip, stance and presentation, they’ll be right there, on target or nearly so. Particularly in daylight, one will need to use them for targets much beyond 20 yards anyway.
The laser emitter is positioned just below the muzzle, but one needs to fire more than 100 rounds to experience any powder accumulation on its glass window. Obviously, this may vary with the brand of ammunition used, but the sight come with little swabs for cleaning, and Q-tips are cheap.
My LG-436 cost $229.00 via Amazon.com, which is $50.00 less than CT’s web site retail price. While this is in the upper range of quality laser sights, the unit fits perfectly, mounts solidly, and works very well indeed. A good quality laser sight will help anyone be a better, faster shooter.
After a hand surgery, Mrs. Manor found her formerly comfortable G26 grip to be a bit painful, so transitioned to the Glock 43, which works perfectly for her. I bought one as well, and we added CT laser/flashlight combinations, as we documented in The Glock 43: A Svelte Companion. Those work so well I’ve been waiting to buy a similar sight for my G26, and CT has introduced one, but as this is written, it’s not yet available.
In laser sights, as in much else, one gets what they pay for. CT sights with only a single exception, have proved to be exceptional.