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.
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.
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.
Left and right sides. Not the paddle switches – they are easily accessed.
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:
Notice that not only pistols are listed, but some rifles as well.
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.
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.