CMR-201 Rail Master Universal Laser Sight right side

[Review] Crimson Trace Rail Master Universal Laser Sight

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I am not a great pistol shot. Sure, I’ve killed deer, past 100 yards even, with an open-sighted .44 Magnum revolver but for most intents and purposes, I’m not great. I am getting old, or so my body tells me and with that revelation comes the need for progressive trifocal glasses. I have worn them for several years now, but that doesn’t mean that my pistol shooting has shown the benefits of those wonder glasses. I have trouble getting the front sight in focus with the target through the optical distortion that my progressive lenses encourage with my head low, looking through the sights.

So, it was with great expectations (sorry, Mr. Dickens) that I requested a Crimson Trace CMR-201 Rail Master Universal Laser Sight from our contact with CT. I was hoping that it might somehow be a cure for what ails my shootin’. It certainly will help.

Crimson Trace has been around awhile. As a company owned by Smith & Wesson since August of 2016, they play a big part in the shooting sports. They make upper-end laser and other sights and are a large manufacturer of laser grips for revolvers. I have requested one of those laser grips and will write it up after I receive it. At any rate, I just got their Universal Laser Sight. I opened it when it got here, stuck the included battery in it and then proceeded to give our cat fits chasing the dot on the floor. Isn’t that what lasers (pointers, etc.) are really for? After wearing the cat out a couple of time, I mounted it on my Taurus G3c 9mm. It actually fits, but with one caveat (later). It works, to put it bluntly. activated by pressing a paddle switch (one on either side) to turn the laser on then press again to switch it off. It is a 5mW red laser and runs for four hours off one 1/3N lithium battery. It does have a 5-minute timeout feature to save the battery. Speaking of batteries, you can register your sight with CT and get free batteries for life. Not a huge deal, but a very nice touch.

Let’s look at it up close.

What comes with the laser
What’s in the box?

The sight, four adapter plates, two Allen wrenches, two cleaning swabs, a battery, a decal to stick on the laser that warns you not to look at it (!), an owner’s manual and a CT decal for your car window.

CMR-201 Rail Master Universal Laser Sight bottom
The bottom of the sight. This tells when it was made and gives a serial number.
G3c with laser dot
The dot says it all.

Dot size in MOA is not mentioned in the ower’s manual but it says it covers ½ inch at 50 feet. It is bright, even in daylight.

CT laser on G3c
Mounted on the G3c

CMR-201 Rail Master Universal Laser Sight right side

Left and right sides. Not the paddle switches – they are easily accessed.

CMR-201 Rail Master Universal Laser Sight left side

As you can see, the sight fits. Well, mostly. The manual lists what guns it should fit, along with which adapter plate to use for each gun. It does include the following statement, which states that your gun must have this measurement in order for the unit to fit:

* With a minimum of 1 1/16″ from recoil lug.

My G3c wasn’t listed, but two other Taurus guns were. The plates are basically spacers. They range from #1 (very short distance between the Picatinny or Weaver slot and the front of the trigger guard) to #4, more space between those points. It did take some fiddling with the plates and experimentation to come up with the one that would allow the paddle switches to be close to the trigger guard but yet still allow the unit to mount freely under the frame in front of that trigger guard. The longer (higher-numbered) plates would not let the sight mount under the frame – it made the whole assembly too long. So, experiment with the plates and find one that works. Alternatively, you could read the list of guns the sight fits to see if yours is listed or if you’ll have to play with it to get it to work.

Here is a screen grab from the website of guns the sight is guaranteed to fit:

CMR-201 Rail Master Universal Laser Sight fit chart

Notice that not only pistols are listed, but some rifles as well.

CMR-201 Rail Master Universal Laser Sight on Taurus G3

You will want to be careful if you order this sight for your gun. It has to do with barrel length and how close to the trigger guard you can place the unit. My G3c’s barrel is 3.2 inches, common for a sub-compact 9mm. But the actual sight is large enough that you cannot place it with the activation paddle switches anywhere near the trigger guard – the sight body bumps into the trigger guard/frame, as you can see from the pics above. In order to put the sight plate adapter’s rail in the frame’s slot and still snug the mounting brackets down, the activation paddles are in front of the trigger guard. This would not be the case with a pistol with a longer barrel – that would allow the sight enough leeway to place the paddles either just inside the trigger guard or at least even with it.

Did I have problems with the switches in front of the trigger guard? No, I didn’t. Any sort of normal two-handed grip on the gun allows you to press the paddle switch with either your trigger finger or support hand index finger. It was not a deal for me.

So…

Do I like this sight? Of course. It’s made by Crimson Trace and is specified to fit many different guns. This is one sight for the “rest of us” who may not have the wherewithal to buy a top-end laser. With an MSRP of $164.95, it won’t break the bank. If you are looking for a laser to put on your rifle or pistol, check this one out. The build quality is excellent, the dot is bright and the manual is well thought out. Once I snugged down the mounting screws, the sight or its zero didn’t move. See the photo at the top for one of the targets I shot with it. Once I get its adjustments fine-tuned, I shouldn’t have to touch it again to zero it. This target was shot at 15 yards on a windy, 30-degree day, so I know it can (and will) do better when conditions permit. If you’ve had experience with this sight, let us hear from you below. As always, keep ‘em in the black (this sight should help with that!) and stay safe.

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10 comments
  1. Good write up Mike. For my P365, I’m going to have to go with the LIMA since the P365 isn’t a standard M1913 rail, but this may be an option I’ll consider for a couple of my other guns.
    Aren’t aging eyes wonderful (HEAVY SARCASM)? I’ve worn Trifocals for a dozen years or so, but for shooting, I stepped up to Quadrifocals (the two trifocal segment on the bottom plus an additional segment on top of the lens (set for arms length). They do make seeing the sights easier, since you only tip your head forward to pick up the segment, rather than backwards to find that narrow 7mm strip. Depending upon the frame and it’s orientation on the eye, you can end up with a segment easily twice the size of the typical Tri seg. The downside is they’re very expensive, costing nearly twice what a pair of trifocals typically run, so, on my budget, they’re not something I can replace yearly.
    I put a little sheep laser on my P22, and after adjustment, it’s a lot easier than relying on my aging eyes. So this CT looks to be a much better laser than the $19 PacRim laser. Both my wife and daughter love the CT grips they have on their J-Frames. I agree, that at that price point, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who does it better than CT.

    1. Bemused, I definitely know where you’re coming from. Didn’t know about “quadfocals”. Sounds interesting. I think you would like this laser – it is well-made. As always, I appreciate your comments!

  2. Not sure about the batteries for life commitment..I did register upon my purchase two years ago. Still waiting for my first battery! Albeit, this is a great product. I have it on a Walter p22. It makes it a much more accurate/functional pistol at longer distance. Also, as you mentioned for older eyes it is a must!!

    1. Far North, interesting on the batteries. We’ll see how that works out. I’d bet this is great on your Walther. Thanks for writing!

  3. Looks absolutely identical to a generic laser I got years ago at a gun show; it has been a great laser; bright, holds zero; long battery life.

  4. Great job Mike! Another excellent, real life honest evaluation. I too are in need of any and all help with aiming due to um………advanced number of trips around the sun!

    1. Sean, you bring to my mind the 90s comedy “Third Rock” – that was funny at times. Yeah, getting old ain’t for sissies! Thanks for writing.

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