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Review: Crimson Trace LG-405 (S&W J-Frame LaserGrips)

As much as I liked the Crimson Trace (CT) LG-417 for the Glock, I think I may actually like the LG-405 for Smith & Wesson J-Frame Revolvers even more. These CT LaserGrips greatly enhance the capabilities of a classic CCW.


The LG-405 is a compact grip for a compact handgun. It is relatively slim and only as long as the J-Frame grip tang. The grip is comprised of cushioning rubber on the upper back and front strap with hard plastic panels on the sides. The laser module is located at the top of the grip panel on the opposite side as the cylinder latch. There is a very small switch at the base of the grip that can disable the laser.

The grip has all of the ergonomic features that I like to see in a J-Frame grip. It completely covers the front strap of the grip tang so it is hand filling. It fills in behind the trigger guard to keep it from beating the tar out of your knuckle, it keeps the base of the grip tang clear for easier concealment, and the cylinder latch side of the grip is aggressively recessed to allow the use of speed-loaders.

Observations from Use

The LG-405 would be a great J-Frame grip even without the laser. This is subjective but it does everything I like a J-Frame grip to do. It has ergonomic features that take the edge off the sharp recoil that is typical of these handguns, it is textured enough to lock it into the hand during recoil, it stays out of the way of even with the most finicky speed-loaders (Safariland, which also happens to be my favorite), and it does this all while remaining very compact.

If you want to improve your double action trigger pull, get a laser, head to the range, and prepare to be humbled as you watch the laser dot dance, dart, and dive all over the target as you learn to control the trigger throughout the long and heavy double action trigger pull. It can be hard to master, but being able to see how your trigger pull is affecting your point of aim in real time on the target is the type of feedback that can help accelerate your learning.

J-Frame revolvers have one main issue that holds them back in low light scenarios – you can’t see the sights. The sights on most J-Frames consist of a short ramp front and a shallow notch rear that are not easily replaceable. They are hard to use in full daylight, let alone in low light. The addition of CT LaserGrips makes the J-Frame far more useable in low light, even when used with a flashlight. In drills, my hit probability and hit quality both when up while the time it took to take these shots went down. The LaserGrips provide a measurable improvement in the low light capabilities of the venerable, old J-Frame.

The same issues with the sights mentioned above, also make it difficult to use the J-Frame at extended handgun distances (beyond 15 yards). The difficult-to-master double action trigger doesn’t help either. However, the LaserGrips improve both issues. They provide an easier method of aiming and give real time feedback about what your trigger pull is doing to your point of aim. They give the confidence necessary to utilize the J-Frame at 25 yards and further.

The grips must be removed in order to change the batteries (2x 2032 coin cells). I co-witnessed the laser to the iron sights, then removed and reinstalled the grips to test whether the laser held zero after removal. It seemed to or at least it was close enough for my purposes. If you do have to re-zero, it is pretty easy to do. You can simply co-witness to the iron sights at your desired distance and then refine at the range if you like. I find that co-witnessing alone is good enough for my purposes.

Wrap Up

The LG-405 LaserGrips make J-Frames easier to use effectively in low light and at extended distances, effectively removing two limitations of the J-Frame revolver. If you carry a J-Frame, it should be wearing a set of LaserGrips.  I am convinced of that.

Check out the LG-405 LaserGrips on CrimsonTrace.com.

Green LaserGrips Coming from Crimson Trace

Green lasers have the advantage of being more visible than red lasers, especially in bright daylight. However, they also come with the disadvantages of increased battery usage, larger size, and inconsistent cold weather performance. Crimson Trace has been able to engineer solutions to deal with these drawbacks and now they are set to release green laser versions of some of their more popular models of LaserGrips.

From Crimson Trace…

(Wilsonville, OR) Crimson Trace will launch five new Lasergrips which feature the industry’s smallest green diode
before the end of the year. This groundbreaking technology raises the bar when it comes to size, battery life,
temperature stability and visibility in all levels of lighting conditions.

Utilizing the company’s patented Instinctive Activation™, models will be available for 1911 full size and compact
frames, Glock full size and compact frames and the Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolver.  All five of these models will
be available in December through normal distribution and from www.crimsontrace.com, starting at $299.

Although the human eye perceives green lasers as being brighter, until now they have had several drawbacks when
it came to power consumption, performance in cold weather and overall size. Crimson Trace has solved all of these
by developing an entirely new laser package, no larger than the tried and tested red version currently used in its
award-winning Lasergrips. “We have been anticipating and perfecting this line of green Lasergrips over this past
year,” explained Kent Thomas, Director of Marketing for Crimson Trace. “Our goal was to deliver the most visible
and consistent green laser available on the market in our flagship platform and we’re proud to have accomplished
everything we set out to do.”  Finding holsters to accommodate firearms equipped with these green Lasergrips is
simple as the grips do not interfere with most standard holster options.

All Lasergrips models are pre sighted from the factory at 50’ and are fully adjustable by the user to fine tune it to
their chosen self defense ammunition.  Featuring the most powerful laser allowable by law, the units offer an industry
leading 2 hour run time on two, easily replaced #2032 batteries.

All Crimson Trace products are proudly designed, engineered and built in the USA. For further information contact;

Iain Harrison
1-800-442-2406 x1303

Review: Crimson Trace LG-417 LaserGrips for GLOCK

There was a time when I would have said that handgun mounted lasers have limited utility for the civilian shooter. That opinion was very much a product of the crop of lasers that were available at that time. The market was flooded with junk that didn’t work. They were bulky, burned through hard to find batteries quickly, and required extra steps to bring them into action.

Then, Crimson Trace (CT) came along and changed everything. Their lasers always seemed to be integrated into the host firearm, always took easy to find batteries, and always had what CT calls Instinctive Activation. So, when CT offered to let me check out a few of their products, I jumped at the chance. The subject of this review will be the LG-417 LaserGrip for Gen3 GLOCKs (stay tuned for a review of the LG-405 for S&W J-Frame Revolver and CMR-201 IR Rail Master).


The LG-417 is part of the CT’s LaserGrip Series. LaserGrips are designed to either replace or wrap around the grips of many of the most popular handguns on the market and integrate in such a way that they change the handling characteristics of their host as little as possible (in some cases, LaserGrips actually improve the handling characteristics).

The one piece LG-417 wraps around the grip of the GLOCK and fastens with a single screw in the “beaver tail” area of the grip. The wrap around design places the activation button, a small rubber covered nub, on the front strap of the grip where it is automatically activated by the middle finger when the GLOCK is held. This design also allows the 2 CR2032 batteries to be placed on either side of the grip which forms a sort of palm swell.

The LG-417 features an on/off button that is deeply shielded from accidental contact.

This is CT’s lowest profile LaserGrip for GLOCKs yet. It is actually low profile enough that it will fit in Safariland SLS and other security holsters. The laser module sits on the ejection port side of the GLOCK. It is placed lower and closer than previous versions that mounted on the backstrap only. The older backstrap mounted versions are still offered and that is a good thing because they work with a wider variety of GLOCKs.

Observations from Use

I will start these observations out by saying that I tried lasers from several different companies while I was testing the CT LaserGrips. The lasers from Crimson Trace are the only ones I saw that turn the laser on just by gripping the firearm. Crimson Trace calls this Instinctive Activation. Lasers that do not have this feature are toys. I have no use for a laser that adds a step to my draw stroke.

The activation switch is located on the front strap so it is activated when the GLOCK is gripped.

I think that the 2 biggest takeaways from the time I spent with the CT LaserGrips so far are how they excel in low light and how they have changed my training. There have been other lessons learned which I will talk about, but these 2 have been the most revolutionary for me.

I’ll touch on how they have changed my training first. The training value of these units is off the charts. I have been using them to augment my dry fire training in two main ways: improving trigger pull and improving the ability to move while shooting. The laser shows you very graphically what your sights are doing in relation to the target as you pull the trigger or move. I like to place a photosensitive night light (the kind that turns off when the ambient light is bright) on a wall that I can dry fire toward safely and then dry fire toward it. If I can keep the night light turned off throughout the entire travel of the trigger, then that was a good trigger pull. Even if you never carried a set of LaserGrips or took them to a live fire range, they could earn their keep just during your dry fire regimen.

The CT LaserGrips are good for more than just training. They are amazing for low light. I tried the LG-417 with all of the pistol lights I could get my hands on (Surefire X300, Streamlight TLR-1, Insight M3 and WX-150) and it worked perfectly with all of them.  The combination of white light, laser sight, and quality night sights gives you tremendous capabilities in low light and some good redundancy. The laser greatly increases my confidence in low light. I can engage targets measurably more accurately and more quickly.

The LaserGrips are also a great aid when trying to shoot from non-standard or retention positions. The laser really helps get good hits if you are knocked to the ground on your back or side. It is also allows you to place aimed shots from retention positions rather than just relying on indexing.

I found that it is best to approach the LaserGrips with some discipline. You do not want to change the way you present the handgun or start searching for the laser dot instead of using the sights. You will still need to present the handgun in such a way that the front sight can be brought into your vision and aligned quickly as this will still be your fastest and most consistent way to get on target. You can watch the front sight onto the target until the laser dot becomes visible ON THE TARGET. Only then should you switch focus to the laser dot and you should still be looking over your sights. Having a laser is not a license to forget about your sights and I’ll tell you why.

Imagine for a moment that there is a target placed in front of a large white wall like you might find in your home. If the laser dot is not on the target, it can easily be tracked on the white wall and moved until it is on the target. However, this is not always the case in the real world. Now imagine for a moment that the same target is placed in the middle of a large, empty field. There is nothing on either side of the target to use to track the laser dot. Your only hope of getting that laser dot on target quickly is to use the sights first. You must discipline yourself to use the same sighting and indexing methods that you have already trained before transitioning your focus to the laser dot. Once you have the technique down, the transition is easy, fast, and seamless.

One person that I spoke to about the LaserGrips questioned the battery life. These run for about 4 hours on a set of batteries and if you think about it, that is an eternity since they only turn on when you gripping the handgun. The LG-417 also has a kill switch that can be used to turn off the laser for those times when you want to practice without it (which should probably be most of the time). It will take you a long, long time to go through a set of batteries with normal use. If you are using the laser properly, it is easy to transition to the sights if the batteries give out on you at an inopportune time.

Speaking of batteries… it should not be overlooked that CT builds their LaserGrips to take common, proven batteries. In fact, they usually take batteries that many shooters keep on hand. In this case, the LG-417 takes 2 CR2032 batteries that are quite common and very reliable when purchased from a manufacturer that makes them in the US.

The laser can be difficult for me to see in bright sunlight.  I have a form of color blindness that makes seeing the color red a bit difficult so I confirmed this with other shooters as well. Just a little bit of shade makes the laser much more visible, even on bright days. CT is working on green versions of the LaserGrips which should be even easier to see in full sun light.

The LG-417 does add some bulk to the both the front and the sides of the grip so shooters with smaller hands will want to test one before they buy. The extra bulk is a complete non-issue for my medium to large hands.

The durability of the LaserGrips appears to be excellent. The laser is well protected and the housing seems to shrug off impact. No amount of recoil, holstering, or manipulations seems to be able to move the laser or affect the laser adversely in any way.

Wrap Up

It is no secret that I often have things sent to me for free so that I can review them on here on JTT. One of the best compliments I can pay a review item is to spend my own money to purchase more of the item that I reviewed. After spending time with the LG-417, I bought another CT LaserGrip for my carry gun and I plan to buy others as funds allow.

The LG-417 improved my training. It improved my confidence and performance across most lighting conditions.  I am sold on Crimson Trace LaserGrips and I can’t wait to see the green versions.

Check out the LG-417 LaserGrips on CrimsonTrace.com.

Disclosure: Crimson Trace sent me these LaserGrips to review, free of charge.

Green Lasers Coming Soon from Crimson Trace

People have been after Crimson Trace for years to come out with green lasers. Well, the wait is almost over. Crimson Trace will be introducing new green laser models for several different weapons in September.

Green lasers are much easier to see, especially in day light conditions. A green laser aiming point can generally be seen further away and more easily seen in bright conditions. They can also be handy for people like myself, who are color blind and don’t see red particularly well.

Check out CrimsonTrace.com for additional info.


Crimson Trace Rail Master now in Coyote Tan

The Crimson Trace Rail Master is just about as low profile as a rail mounted laser can be and now it is available in Coyote Tan. The Coyote Tan coloration is actually Cerakote which is an extremely durable finish. It comes with 4 rail inserts that allow it to fit a tremendous amount of rails – from handguns to rifles with railed hand guards.

Check out the Rail Master in Coyote Tan on CrimsonTrace.com.

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