Glock 17 gen4 Endurance Test: Week 39

23-Dec-11 – 04:15 by ToddG

53,470 rounds 9 stoppages
(+1 w/non-LCI extractor)
0 malfunctions 1 parts breakages

So, remember when I said I was going to clean it? Yeah… didn’t happen. Maybe next week. Maybe not.

This week was all about the LG-850 Lasergrip from Crimson Trace. CTC originally sent it to Caleb of Gun Nuts, but he doesn’t have a gen4 G17-sized pistol and generously offered to pass it along to me.

As much as I love CTC Lasergrips and relied on them for a decade, their Glock offerings have always sucked. Not to put too fine a point on it, but previous Glock Lasergrips were designed for people who think Taurus is the pinnacle of quality and “minute of badguy” is a scientific accuracy standard. That’s ironic considering Crimson Trace actually got its start with an integral Glock laser that had to be installed at their factory.

The two biggest complaints about the previous LG-617 series Lasergrips were:

  1. their lack of a master on/off switch preventing you from practicing without the laser coming on; and,
  2. the fact that they retained zero only so long as you never fired the gun… and even then, not always.

So how does the new LG-850 stack up?

The first problem was easy to fix. Much like the M&P Lasergrips, the LG-850 uses a recessed button that you hold down for a couple of seconds to turn the grip on or off. When the grip is turned off, touching the raised activation button does nothing.

When the grip is turned on, it takes almost no force on the activation button to emit the laser beam. In my opinion, the button is too light. I much prefer the ability to have the gun in my hand without activating the laser. While my trigger finger blocks the beam when indexed on the side of the gun, it still creates enough light to be visible at significant distance in the dark, especially to someone with line of sight to the right side of the gun. It’s a minor nit, but ideally I’d like the laser off until I grip the gun hard enough to fire it.

The second problem, retaining zero, seems tougher to crack. The first thing I did at the range was try to zero the laser. At 15yd, my first shot was right in the center of a 2″ circle. The next shot was about an inch high and right. The shot after that was another inch high and right. The next was another inch, and the fifth was half a foot away from the first shot. It was clear, looking through the iron sights, that the laser was now pointing noticeably low and left. I started the process over again and got the same result.

At this point, I was sending Caleb a lot of emails about how much the LG-850 continued the Glock Lasergrip saga of suckage.

For about a hundred rounds, I alternated between rapid firing a full magazine through the gun and fixing the zero. The shift in zero was less and less after each mag. Finally, a little over 100 rounds into the process, the grip settled in and seemed much better. I re-zeroed one last time and began actually practicing with the thing.

First, I decided to do a comparison between the laser and the iron sights using the F.A.S.T. for data. I shot ten runs with the laser, then ten with the irons, then ten with the laser again. Let’s look at just the the first two shots:

laser (1st) irons (2nd) laser (3rd)
Time (avg) 2.14s 2.13s 2.09s
Misses 7 3 6

Times were fairly similar, but the accuracy with the laser was substantially worse.

Next, I shot the 99 Drill. The results made my F.A.S.T. runs look good. On the first string I dropped nine points… more than I usually miss for the whole drill. The second string, the reloads, has a very generous PAR time so I slowed down and only dropped two. At 10yd on the third string I dropped twelve. And out of just nine shots at 15yd, I missed another five. Total score was a 71.

So 300 rounds into the session, the laser was pretty disappointing and I was very frustrated. Still, was it the shooter or the accessory?

I burned 180 rounds shooting three to five shot groups at 2″ circles at 7yd. I started slow, working on getting hits rather than speed. With each new mag and new circle, I upped the speed a little bit. By the end, I was getting almost all of my hits at a pretty good pace.

Next, I shot the Drill of the Week, SWYNTS (See What You Need To See). I actually wrote this drill specifically as a way to compare the laser against the iron sights.

irons laser
6″ circle 12.11s with two misses 11.35s with one miss
3×5 card 15.20s with one miss 14.45s with no misses
2″ circle 19.88s with two misses 18.18s with two misses

Clearly, the laser was better in every instance. It took about 7% less time and had 40% fewer misses. Feeling pretty good, I ran ten more F.A.S.T. with the laser. Average time for the head shots was 2.02 seconds with two misses, better than any of the previous runs. Average for all six shots (including accuracy penalties) was 4.97 seconds.

Of course, one night’s worth of shooting isn’t proof of anything. But the LG-850, with some practice and effort on my part, turned in decent enough results that it’s staying on my gun for more testing.

Other thoughts about the LG-850 in no particular order:

  • Build quality seems very high. I’ve had more than one set of Lasergrips fail on me after serious use and the LG-850 appear to benefit from a lot of hard-earned lessons at Crimson Trace.
  • The laser diode is recessed deep in its housing (see photo at right) which should help stave off interference from dust, water, and other contaminants.
  • Trigger reach is substantially longer with the grip installed. I normally press the trigger with my fingertip so it’s not an issue for me, but if I wanted to use the center of the finger pad I do not think I could with these on the gun.
  • The Lasergrips position my hands lower on the gun than the Grip Force Adapter. It remains to be seen what if any impact that will have on my overall shooting.
  • The battery compartments didn’t cause any pain or leave any marks on my hands even after more than 1,000 rounds of shooting in one night. The jury is still out on whether they’ll break my grip or improve it by acting as palmswells like the M&P version of the Lasergrip.
  • Crimson Trace has modernized the wrench it includes for adjusting elevation and also includes a nice custom version of the ubiquitous Glock armorer’s tool for installation of the grip. The grip simply rests on the frame and is kept in place with a slightly elongated version of the trigger housing pin (also included).
  • By the end of the night the zero hadn’t changed enough to be noticeable at 15yd after more than 500 rounds. Obviously, that’s something else that will continue to be evaluated over time.

See you next week.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

Previous Glock 17 gen4 Endurance Test posts at pistol-training.com:

  1. 11 Responses to “Glock 17 gen4 Endurance Test: Week 39”

  2. Did you ever try the LG-417 laser for the Gen 3 Glocks? I had one for a while and it seemed to hold zero much better than the LG-619 I used prior, and the front activation button allowed for a little more control of laser activiation. The method for mounting the LG-417 is definitely superior to the LG-619’s.

    By 167 on Dec 23, 2011

  3. I’ll be watching your eval closely. I have always been on the fence WRT CT grips. I see the potential benefits but at the same time find myself chasing the laser too much when I don’t need it. That combined with the fact they make the GLOCK grips waaaaaaay big for a guy with small hands means I don’t currently own a set. I have had them on GLOCKs twice in the past but just couldn’t get used to the crappy feel in my hand.

    By VolGrad on Dec 23, 2011

  4. I think the new ultra compact rail mounted laser will be the way to go.
    My wife used a Viridian C5L in a night match a while back and the laser advantage was significant.

    By JodyH on Dec 23, 2011

  5. 167 — I have not tried the LG-417 except to play with a prototype years ago. I intend to put more time into comparing it at SHOT this year and possibly get one for my 17T Sim training gun. I’ve always preferred the front activation.

    VG — Grip size aside because only you can make that assessment, I will say that the benefits of having a laser are huge and I really missed having one on my defensive gun. Even if in the long run my grip isn’t quite as good and my splits so down by a couple hundredths, I’d keep the laser on the gun.

    JodyH — The two big benefits of the Lasergrips have always been their “instinctive activation” and the fact that they don’t require special holsters. Furthermore, they’re compatible with mounting a light on the gun. I definitely see the appeal, though, and a genuinely small underbarrel green laser with a “DG” type switch would certainly be a worthy option.

    By ToddG on Dec 23, 2011

  6. Todd, how are you zeroing the laser — parallel to your bore or to an intersection at a specific distance? Any sense whether your wandering zero issues were unique to this laser, or a break in issue we can expect with all samples?

    Jody, what is the rail mounted CT product you are referring to, and is it likely to have a remote DG style switch? Do any of the CT products have a green laser?

    By GJM on Dec 23, 2011

  7. GJM — I zero at 15yd and pretty much always have. It’s the best compromise for me between being reasonably spot on at close range (it’s off about 1″ at two yards) and delivering less offset than my group size at longer ranges (it’s off about 2-3″ at 50yd).

    I cannot speculate on whether this early production LG-850 was a little lemony, is part of a problem batch, or represents an issue that they’ll all have.

    The rail mounted laser Jody referred to can be seen here. It does not offer a DG-style switch at this time. The only green laser CTC makes currently is on their AR15 vertical foregrip laser/light combo.

    By ToddG on Dec 23, 2011

  8. Todd – When using a laser do you stay focused on the front sight, or do you let your focus move exclusively to the target/spot?

    By TWOBUH on Dec 23, 2011

  9. I had thought about the laser grips on a G17 some time back. However I found out they were mandated by a neighboring agency some time ago. In talking to one of their Deputies he advised me that none of the grips on their guns would retain zero. It’s fascinating to me that you bring this up here as I’d never come across it before.

    What’s worse is that the agency was well aware of the zero problems and still made their use mandatory.

    Thanks for making mention of it here.

    By one on Dec 23, 2011

  10. is there going to be a review of the surefire 400x at any time since it has a laser built into the flashlight?

    By Andrew on Dec 23, 2011

  11. Week 38, again? Wasn’t last week “week 38”? 8)

    By Suburban on Dec 24, 2011

  12. Suburban (and JV) — fixed it, thanks!

    By ToddG on Dec 25, 2011

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