A Not So Good New Product from Crimson Trace

Crimson Trace's new Defender Series Laser

Lasermax Centerfire

There are times when you have to wonder if people designing and approving new products for a designated market really have a good grasp of what people want and, more importantly, what people need. In this case, I believe Crimson Trace has missed the boat. In fact, they've gone and built a completely different boat designed for people who haven't expressed much of an interest in where the boat will be going.

Crimson Trace is noted for, among other things, building handgun lasers that have their "instant on" feature. An actuation switch mounted on the grip so that it comes on with a firm shooting grip. Many people like this feature. Many people don't.

LaserMax makes a similar laser, the CenterFire, with the activation switch in front of the trigger guard so that it is easily actuated, or not, by the shooter whenever her or she wishes to turn it on. Many people like this. Many people don't. So, both companies have staked out their markets for this type of laser sight.

Now, Crimson Trace has introduced the Defender Series which is, except for the form factor, basically the same sight as the LaserMax CenterFire. The actuation switch is different in shape and color (it's red on the CT, which is nonsensical to me since the shooter won't be looking for the switch anyway), and the laser shape is different from the CenterFire and from CT's own Laserguard, which I think is a big mistake and a significant issue.

Why? First, and least important, it signals a weakness in their design and innovation concepts. Functionally, the Defender is the same as the LaserMax CenterFire, only it's newer and going up against an established competitor with a proven track record.

Second. Price competition I think. The Defender and LaserMax CenterFire are both priced about the same, but CT's Laserguard series is significantly more costly.

Third. And most important from the perspective of people who conceal carry pistols with laser sights, now you are going to have to buy yet another holster.

If you are going to introduce a significant improvement in handgun laser technology and adaptation to the handgun, why reintroduce the wheel that has already been invented by someone else? I think this is basically a move to get some of LaserMax's CenterFire business.

As I've said directly to representatives of Crimson Trace and LaserMax, do your yourselves and us a favor. Develop and provide a reasonably priced semi-automatic handgun laser that does not require the customer to invest even more money in another holster. If you carry concealed, holsters are a big deal. Good ones are expensive, so take that laser sight MSRP of $129 and add about $80 for another holster, or $160 for two. Now, you are spending $200 to $300 for a $100 laser.

At the least, CT could have kept essentially the same form factor as their Laserguard with the change in switch position so that for those who have Laserguards, another holster would not be mandatory. Notice, too, that the Defender's form factor is such that it won't fit a moulded holster made for the CenterFire. So, you can't even try one out in your existing CenterFire holster.

In my opinion, I don't see any reason to go with the Defender Series since LaserMax is already there, and has been for some time with their switch-activated, under-the-slide laser, the CenterFire.