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LaserMax Defense Pistol Enhancer LMD-PE-IR-1

Guest post by Brent Sauer.

On January 17, 2017 Sig-Sauer was declared the winner of the Army Modular Handgun System (MHS) competition. Sig-Sauer’s P320 based M17 / M18 design beat out designs from Beretta, FN, Glock, CZ and Smith & Wesson to name a few.

In addition to fielding new pistols, the Army is fielding an entire ‘system’ of accessories that include a holster kit manufactured by Safariland and a new family of ammunition consisting of five different rounds. The ammunition in the program is the M1152 full metal jacket (FMJ), M1153 Special Purpose, M1156 Dummy, a Drill round and an inert round. The Army also wanted a Pistol Aiming Laser (PAiL) for the warfighter that would provide the soldier with a white light, infrared light (IR) and an IR aiming laser.

On September 5, 2018, the Product Manager, Soldier Precision Targeting Devices (PdM SPTD), located at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia published a Request For Information (RFI) for Competitive Procurement. The RFI requested data from potential sources for a Pistol Aiming Laser (PAiL) with Laser/white light Illuminator, that meets performance requirements set forth in the Modular Handgun System Capabilities Production Document Addendum for the Pistol Aiming Laser Module.

To find the soldier a light with the desired capabilities, the Army conducted an evaluation between the LaserMaxDefense (LMD) Pistol Enhancer (LMD-PE-IR-1) and the Streamlight TLR-VIR-II weapon light. Evaluation of the offerings by LMD and Streamlight took place in the summer of 2018.

LaserMaxDefense Pistol Enhancer LMD-PE-IR-1

Streamlight TLR-VIR-II

There has been some discussion on the internet as to why the DoD didn’t select an existing, proven weapon light like the Surefire X300 or X400. These two lights were disqualified from consideration for the PAiL requirement because one of the design requirements in the DoD industry solicitation was for the pistol aiming lights submitted for evaluation to not extend past the muzzle of the M17/M18 pistol. Here are a few photos that I took to demonstrate the differences in light profiles.

On January 17, 2019 LaserMaxDefense (LMD) announced that they were awarded an initial contract from the U.S. Army for 20,000 Pistol Enhancers. The PAiL is being fielded in a kit that consists of the M17 pistol, a Pistol Enhancer and a specially designed holster from Safariland shown in the following photo.

Photo courtesy of Soldier Systems Daily

A U.S. Army Infantry company was authorized nine M9 Beretta pistols. Under the Modular Handgun System fielding plan, Army pistol authorizations increased to 46 pistols in the an Infantry company. Pistols are being assigned to soldiers in leadership positions from the Team Leader level up to the Commander and First Sergeant. Each pistol issued in an Infantry company will be issued with a PAiL and holster.

Some of the more notable features of the LMD Pistol Enhancer are:

        * Battery compartment is on the bottom of the light body. This enables the battery to be changed without removal from the pistol. This ensures retention of laser zero.

* The laser is located inline with bore of the pistol increasing accuracy once zeroed.

* The windage and elevation can be adjusted with a slotted screwdriver or multi-tool.

The multi-position switch on the left side of the PAiL has the following functions:

        White dot- White light

        Red dot- Off

        Green dot- IR light and IR laser

The black button at the rear/top of the PAiL body on the left and right side is the main on/off switch for the unit. It is easily manipulated from each side with the index finger.

One item that seems to be complained about by soldiers using the PAiL is that the IR aiming laser is on anytime that the IR light is on. The IR laser/light cannot function separately from each other.

The LaserMaxDefense Pistol Enhancer comes in a small, sturdy cardboard box. Inside the box is a pink bubble-wrap envelope that contains the Pistol Enhancer, a clear ziploc bag with one CR123 battery and one Pistol Enhancer booklet.

The U.S. Army does not have a separate Technical Manual (TM) at this time and the LMD booklet fills the role of TM at this time. Here are some excerpts from the booklet.

Overall, The LaserMaxDefense (LMD) Pistol Ehancer/PAiL brings a compact improvement in functionality to the M17/M18 pistol as part of the MHS fielding program. The integration of the aiming laser into the light unit could translate to faster target acquisition and increased lethality once the PAiL sees use in a combat environment.

The features of the Pistol Enhancer/PAiL are:

175 lumens (typical) of white light

175 mW (typical) of 850nm illumination

850nm 0.7 mW max (class1) eye safe aiming laser

Length: < 2.8″
Height: < 1.4″ (not below trigger guard)
Width: < 1.5″
Weight: 2.6 ounces with battery
Housing Material: Glass filled nylon can be in black, desert tan, or FDE
Switching: 3 position rotary switch
Activation: Tactile feel button located on both sides of the unit for easy location in the dark. Single tap on single tap off + Momentary.
Power: Single CR123 reduces previous battery requirement by 50%
Battery life: 2 hours continuous in any mode
Bore sight retention: within 4 inches at 50 yards
Operating range: -10° to 50° Celsius
Immersion: 1 Meter for 30 Minutes
Warranty: 1 year
Price: $349 per unit

Currently the LMD Pistol Enhancer is only available to the U.S. Department of Defense, government agencies, law enforcement agencies. Personnel that work for a DoD, government or LE agency can also purchase the units by contacting LaserMaxDefense from a DoD/government/agency email account.

There is some discussion of a revised PAiL for the civilian market. I think a version with a visible laser in place of the IR laser would be a popular accessory purchase by people who have had the opportunity to purchase one of the Sig-Sauer M17 Surplus pistols that came onto the civilian firearms market in 2019. I have used my personally purchased LMD Pistol Enhancer and Sig-Sauer M17 Surplus pistol in the photos in this article.

For owners of the Sig-Sauer M17 Surplus pistol, there is Facebook group dedicated to these pistols and accessories at:


For more information on the LaserMaxDefense Pistol Enhancer see the links provided below.

This Laser and Light Combo Could Find Its Way Onto The Army’s New Handgun 23 JAN 2018


Army Close to Selecting Lights, Holster for New Service Pistol


Army Times (Gear Scout) article discussing the new pistol light requirement and mention of competition between LMD and Streamlight. 11 JUL 2018


Army In Search of Laser/Light Module for Modular Handgun 24 JUL 2018

Request for Information (RFI) for Competitive Procurement of

Pistol Aiming Lights with Laser / Illuminator  5 SEP 2018


Federal Contract Opportunity for Pistol Aiming Light (PAiL) W91CRBPAiL 5 SEP 2018


XM17/XM18 MHS Executive Summary 2018


LaserMaxDefense Contract award announcement 17 JAN 2019:

LaserMaxDefense article 22 JAN 2019

Army Times Article Referencing the PAiL 22 JAN 2019


Soldier Systems Daily article 28 JAN 2019:


Soldier Systems Daily PAiL Holster article 7 FEB 2019


PAiL Holster 2 JUL 2019

Infrared M3 Sniper Scope Find

I stopped at a yard sale the other day and the nice fellow who sold me several military transport cases invited me into his house to see his personal collection.

He told me how he acquired the IR sniper scope. He bought a house to fix up and resale. While tearing down a wall to remodel, he found the case with optic and accessories hidden in the wall.

It is the complete system minus the M1/M2 carbine. You can see the vertical grip with on off controls to the left.

The optic and accoutrements are mint but for showing a little age. The battery back pack and battery are still all together.

Blast from the past: Fulton Right Flashlight

I’ve been trying to clean up and sort out all the junk I have. Then I figure out excuses to not get rid of any of it.

In my digging around, I found a right angle flash light. Then I found another one. Last time I saw one of these was on Mel Gibson in “We Were Soldiers”.

We wore ours on the non-firing shoulder.

Back when I was in boot camp, I was issued one of these. Actually, they gave me one and billed me for it. So I should say that I was forced to buy one. I thought it was so cool.

Made by Fulton in the U.S.A.

Says U.S. MX-991/U, but the Fulton website calls it a “N47”

We used these a great deal when I was in boot camp and school of infantry. Firewatch would patrol with them on and the red lens installed. Road guards during runs would wave them to (hopefully) get the attention of traffic. And we would wear them on our 782 gear.

This 2 D-cell battery flash light had several features which I thought was just great.

In the battery compartment, under the spring, was an insert that held a spare bulb. It was good that they designed it to carry one, as I remember often having to replace the bulbs. I’d steal bulbs out of the spare compartment of other Marines (or recruits during boot camp), to keep my light running. In the cap under the compartment there are colored lenses. Blue and Red were common. I seem to recall seeing yellow lens at some point in time, but I may be mistaken.

Up at the working end, there is a second bezel that can hold the colored lens in. On green light, a light I used while I was in the Corps, these lenses still have my initials written on them with a Sharpie. If I recall correctly, I started doing that because my red lens kept getting stolen and I would have to steal someone else’s red lens. Finally I started marking them.

I only ever saw green angle flash lights while I was in. Some years back I bought a foot locker, and it had some clothing and gear in it. There is where I got this black angled flash light.

The brass controls and clip come blackened from the factory. You can see that I wore the black off the controls on the one I used while I was in. It has a sliding switch for on and off, and a very very stiff button for momentary usage. We often clipped this light to the metal loop on the Y harness of our 782 gear.

The fact that it was waterproof, had multiple controls, the ability to change the color of the output, and it carried it’s own spare bulb. There would have been a time I would have told you this was the coolest piece of infantry gear. I used it a little after school of infantry, but then when I learned about the Surefire 6P, this was pretty well forgotten.

In lieu of red lenses, in Iraq we picked up little keychain lights with red LEDs like the one above to use. I still have the one I carried in Iraq in 2006, and it still works. I’d snap a picture, but it is somewhere in the pile of junk I was moving around.

These angle lights are pretty well obsolete, but they had a good run.

Rechargeable batteries, those bastards

Two Rechargeable 18650 batteries. Note the different lengths.

Long ago I had this idea. I was going to use a Surefire weapon light and an Eotech 553 and then all I would need is CR123 pattern batteries to run them. I would then be able to use rechargeable CR123s and save money.

This was before I learned first hand how bad Eotech sights are. I also contacted Eotech and Surefire and asked about rechargeable batteries. I got a hard NO, with terms thrown in like, “melting”.

A CR123 puts out 3 volts. Some of the RCR123 can be charged to the point where they are putting 4.5+ volts each. Put a pair of those in an electrical device that is not designed for it and you might cause catastrophic failure. So that killed my plans back then. Fortunately that got me into Aimpoints.

Now, a good bit more battery powered devices are designed to use rechargeable batteries, and there are new sizes of batteries. A little while back I sold several older lights and I picked up a Surefire M600 Dual Fuel light that uses a 18650 rechargeable battery. It can take 2 CR123s for a slightly lower output, but one rechargeable 18650 out performs them. Now, there is also the Zenitco Perst-2 which has an Green Laser, Slaved IR Laser, IR Illumination, and a 740 lux light that uses the 18650 battery. One battery could run a high performance Surefire weapon light or a Perst-2 combination device.

This just seemed awesome to me. I sold a bunch of older stuff to update to this new versatile configuration.

But then those bastards screw me. Turns out, that the 18650 battery is a very loose standard and almost each company making them makes them different lengths.

Over on the Candle Power Forums there is even a chart made by HKJ about it:


Manufactures can never make this simple. What a mess.