For 20+ years, Crimson Trace has been the absolute leader in handgun-mounted laser sights. Originally introduced as a sporting-type sighting system (one of the earliest models was designed for Ruger .22 pistols), the defensive implications of the Lasergrip became readily apparent, and more models were introduced to fit the combat pistols of the day.
The Lasergrip was — and is — a stroke of innovative genius, especially when compared to the laser mounted on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s AMT Longslide Hardballer pistol in the first Terminator movie. The laser unit, which was the size of a C-Cell Maglite flashlight, made it impossible to use the handgun’s iron sights. Crimson Trace was the first company to make handgun-mounted lasers practical. The Lasergrip design allowed guns they were mounted on to be carried in standard holsters, since the only modification to the handgun was to remove the existing factory grips and pop on the CTC Lasergrip.
Pros to Using Lasergrips
I have been using Lasergrips on my defensive handguns since the late 1990s. There is no doubt that on-duty or off, the use of CTC laser sighting systems do two things that are critical in a deadly force confrontation. First, they allow the user to lock eyes entirely on the threat instead of on the gun’s sights, enhancing friend or foe identification. Second, they let the threat know exactly where the first and subsequent bullets will land (on them). The use of CTC laser sights eliminates any conjecture on the part of the attacker and helps re-orient their desire from “attack” to “exit.”
I recently received a Smith & Wesson 351 PD .22 Magnum revolver for testing and felt it would be an ideal candidate for evaluation as a defensive revolver when equipped with a set of green CTC Lasergrips. CTC sent me a pair of LG-350G Green Lasergrips for mounting on the 351 PD. But first I decided to compare the brightness of the LG-350G Lasergrips against a set of compact CTC “Boot Grip” Red Lasergrips that have been on my Smith & Wesson 642 for a decade.
Crimson Trace has largely overcome the technical issues involved with designing and manufacturing green Lasergrips that have the same dimensions as their red laser versions. The LG-350G has the same size laser module mounted in the same position as CTC’s Red Lasergrips, and both are 5mW in terms of energy output.
CTC upgraded the Lasergrips overall by adding more cushioning area to the front strap, back strap and side area of the grip. And, unlike my no-longer-manufactured Boot Grip, the revolver frame is entirely enclosed. The grip is also extended a bit to allow for full support of the pinky finger of the shooting hand. The activation button of the LG-350G is standard CTC momentary “on” only and mounted on the front strap of the frame. It is activated by pressure from the middle finger of the gripping hand. There is also a master cutoff switch on the base to deactivate the grip for long-term storage.
Testing the Crimson Trace LG-350G
While energy output of the red and green Lasergrips are the same, as well as the size of the laser modules, there are other differences between the red and green versions.
Green lasers require more power to emit the same energy output as red lasers. This means you need more battery power to deliver a similar duration of run time. Even with more batteries being used, run time of any green laser will be shorter than a red one. Four included CR2016 watch/calculator batteries are required to power the LG-350G (rather than two CR2032s as required for the red laser models).
There is an additional screw inside the grip to secure a cover plate over the batteries in addition to the two screws needed to secure the grips to the gun. The batteries are simple to load and the directions for the battery positions are contained in the grip. However, even with four batteries, the maximum run time is 2+ hours for the LG-350G (as opposed to 4 hours for the red LG-350). But in the big scheme of things, 2+ hours are a lot of laser activations before you run out of juice.
Comparing Red and Green
Since I didn’t have any of the required apparatus to check the brightness of green vs. red objectively, I had to go with the subjective method. Bright sunlit conditions are where green lasers are said to “outshine” red ones. On a bright afternoon, I hung up a black NRA B-27 Silhouette Target. I figured this would be a good test since black absorbs light. Backing off to about 15 feet, I simultaneously activated my CTC Boot Grip Lasergrip and the LG-350G Lasergrips on the target’s head. To my eye, it appeared the green laser was the more vivid of the two, even if by a little bit. I can tell you that under indoor conditions with varying degrees of artificial light, the LG-350G’s green dot is more quickly caught by the eye than a red dot.
The LG-350G has an MSRP of $399, while the LG-350 has a price of $319. If you can afford it, go for the LG-350G. If you can’t afford the extra $80, the LG-350 in red will do nicely. Both will give many, many years of service, and Crimson Trace stands behind their products. After 10 years of use, including annual police qualification courses and constant carrying under all sorts of conditions, my CTC Boot Grips stopped holding their zero. I sent them back to CTC and they were repaired and returned to me inside of a week at no charge. CTC is not only the leader in quality and innovation of this type of laser sight but also in customer service.