Review: Crimson Trace CMR-201 IR

Crimson Trace has been busy rewriting the rules when it comes to handgun grip mounted lasers. This innovative company has made a series of service worthy products in a category that until recently was thought of as “gamer gear” only by many in the shooting community. I’m pleased to announce that I found the CMR IR laser to be another excellent offering that earned a place in my armory.

Crimson Trace Rail Master IR


The Crimson Trace CMR is a very compact and lightweight IR laser that was designed to be mounted on the integral light rail with which most of today’s serious handguns are equipped. This product was constructed to fill a very unique offensive, low light handgun niche and is very small and lightweight. While this may be something that your average end user does not require, it’s far from the only application for this laser. Keep in mind that it is IR only and as such requires the use of a night vision device (NVD) for viewing.

Observations From Use

I had no need to run an IR only laser on a handgun, but I found a home for this product on my “battle rifle,” a Larue 7.62 PredatAR. My rifle’s primary role is for up close to 5-600 yards during daylight hours and to be as light as possible. Because it is not primarily a night fighting gun, and is heavy enough after being properly accessorized, I had no desire to add an expensive and somewhat bulky laser/illumination system. However, after being exposed to the CMR I was very impressed by its capability and small size and decided to try it out as a secondary night fighting accessory.

I placed the laser in the 12 o’clock position right in front of my forward BUIS. You would never even know it’s there. I’ve had it on the rifle for about 6 months now with regular use and even though the product was designed for handgun use, it doesn’t seem worse for wear. I zeroed the laser for 100 yards utilizing my helmet mounted PVS-14 and with an auxiliary source of IR illumination can get 100% first shot hits on a steel 2/3 IPSC target in full darkness. This was as far as my time/range constraints allowed, but the laser is visible at much farther distances through the NVD.

Crimson Trace Rail Master IR Top

Operation of the device is very simple: press either of the ambidextrous side levers and you have 5 minutes of laser. The IR dot blinks rapidly as a warning before automatic, battery saving shut down commences. It is powered by a 1/3N Lithium battery with a four hour lifespan. This battery should already be common to many Aimpoint users.

Despite my teeth rattling PWS FSC on a 16″ barreled 7.62 rifle, I observed no loss of zero during my live fire testing. One small point of contention with the product is that the windage/elevation adjustment screws were not labeled with directional arrows. The included written directions clearly explain which way is which, but when zeroing in the dark and having the CMR “upside down” on a top rifle rail it would have been nice (and saved some incorrect adjustments) to just follow the arrow. Also, one should note that zeroing an IR only device is a slow and sometimes frustrating process under the best of circumstances.

Crimson Trace Rail Master IR PVS14

Laser dot shown at 100 yards

Wrap Up

I like this device so much I’m debating as to whether or not to spend on a separate IR illuminator to mount on the rifle and make it independently night capable on the cheap. While price should never be the driving force of a gear decision, the reasonable cost of this piece of gear when compared to other IR options is worth noting. While I would not consider this for a primary night fighting rifle, it makes an extremely appealing back up. Check it out for yourself at Crimson Trace!

Disclosure: This product was provided, free of charge, to me for review by Crimson Trace.


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