by Richard Nance

There’s little dispute as to the effectiveness of laser-aiming devices on firearms. A laser sight simplifies the aiming process and can be a sufficient deterrent. With a laser sight, there’s no need to shift your focus from the threat to aligning front and rear sights, a process far easier said than done in a rapidly evolving self-defense situation.

But there’s more to defensive shooting than just aiming. Equally important, perhaps even more so, you must be able to quickly discriminate between what is and what is not an actual threat.

Why? The moral, legal and tactical implications of not shooting an individual who poses an imminent deadly threat or mistakenly shooting someone who doesn’t pose such a threat are life-altering. With a powerful firearm-mounted light, you will be able to identify a potential threat in low-light situations and determine if they are friend or foe.

Beyond Laser Sights

Long considered a pioneer in the field of laser-aiming devices, Crimson Trace® has forayed into the firearm-mounted light market. Judging by the quality and functionality of their new products, the decision was clearly not an afterthought. Here’s a glimpse into a few of the company’s firearm-mounted lights and light/laser-sight combos.

CMR-208 Rail Master® Universal Tactical Light

Constructed of anodized aluminum and weighing just over 4 ounces, the CMR-208 is a rugged unit. Powered by a single CR123 lithium battery, the CMR-208 has a run time of 1 hour, 5 minutes on high, delivering 420 lumens, and 1 hour, 50 minutes on low while providing 110 lumens.

Waterproof and impact-resistant to 1 meter, the CMR-208 can be operated in high, low or strobe modes. Simply hold both activation buttons down simultaneously and release the buttons when the desired mode is established.

With the CMR-208, pressing and immediately releasing the activation button results in continuous light, while holding the activation button then releasing it produces momentary activation.light/laser-sight combos.

CMR-205 Rail Master® Pro Universal

If you’re looking for something smaller and lighter than the CMR-208, the CMR-205 may be right up your alley. Designed to fit most pistols, rifles and shotguns with an M1913 Picatinny or Weaver-style rail, the aluminum-constructed CMR-205 combines the benefits of a 100-lumen white light with a red laser sight for faster, more accurate aiming.

Yes, smaller and better-equipped units are more expensive. In this case, about $200 more. But the CMR-205 can be operated in four modes: laser sight and light constant on, laser sight constant on, light constant on and laser sight with light strobe.

All of this capability is powered by a single CR2 lithium battery that provides 2 hours of continuous use. There’s even an auto-shut-off feature that kicks in after 5 minutes to conserve battery life.

LTG-770 Lightguard™ for the Smith & Wesson® M&P® Shield™

The LTG-770 is the perfect companion to the ever-popular Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. This 110-lumen white light mounts securely and almost seamlessly to the triggerguard of your Shield. The polymer LTG-770 won’t weigh down your Shield but it will stand up to hard use.

The externally accessible battery cap houses two small batteries, which will power the unit for 2 hours of continuous use. The light can be employed in constant on or momentary modes and comes with dual-side activation buttons. The buttons are placed so the trigger finger for righties and lefties can reach the button to activate the unit prior to engaging the trigger.

CWL-102 Tactical Light For Rail-Equipped Long Guns

Made of anodized aluminum, the 4-inch, 3.9-ounce CWL-102 is a sturdy light that is waterproof to 1 meter and impact resistant. With the press of a button, the CWL-102 delivers a head-turning 500 lumens from its LED white light. A single CR123 battery will power the CWL-102 for 1 hour and 10 minutes of continuous use.

The light can be activated in momentary or constant-on mode via the tailcap or remotely using a supplied pressure-pad activation switch with hook and loop mounting straps and double-stick tape.

Not only will the CWL-102 fit most long guns with an M1913, M-LOK, or KeyMod rails, it can also be removed and used as a handheld flashlight. Now that’s versatility.

CWL-202 Tactical Light For Rail-Equipped Long Guns

Think of the CWL-202 as the CWL-102’s big brother. It’s 1.3 inches longer, an ounce heavier and is powered by two CR123 batteries. It’s a whopping 900 lumens brighter and affords you another 15 minutes of run time. Best of all, it only costs $20 more than the CWL-102.