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Product Review: LaserMax Sabre

Discussion in 'Sights, Optics and Lasers' started by RayB, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. RayB

    RayB Retired Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    First Impression

    My new Sabre™ was packaged for retail sale with copy and images to assist at the point of purchase. In addition to instructions, there are five components provided:

    1) The Sabre™ Unit

    2) A Replacement Trigger Housing Pin

    3) An Alternate Trigger Housing Pin

    4) A Tool to Facilitate Pin Removal and Installation

    5) A Hex Wrench for Collimation Adjustments

    The instructions are lucid and adequately illustrated for do-it-yourself installation and collimation.

    As always, unload the weapon before beginning. Check and recheck that the firing chamber is empty.

    Note: Jot down the serial number of your new Sabre™ before installing it. You’ll need this number for warranty registration. The Sabre™ comes with a three year limited warranty.

    A handy installation tool facilitates quick and easy mounting of the Sabre™. I had the unit installed on my 3rd Gen G17 in just a few minutes. Simply follow the steps, removing the OEM trigger housing pin, and use the prescribed pressure points to position and press the unit onto the frame. Insert the supplied replacement pin, and installation is complete!

    The lower body of the Sabre™ is curved like the pistol frame, but it’s a bit narrower. As you press and spread the lower body of the Sabre™ over the frame’s back strap, you align the holes in the trigger housing with those of the Sabre™, and secure it by inserting the provided (longer) pin. Rather like a wave, or lock washer, the resulting tension holds the unit in place. While installation isn’t difficult, adult hand strength is required.

    The Sabre™ creates a beavertail-like appendage to the rear frame of the pistol, with the batteries and electronics mounted in a module.

    The first impression is, Slick! The Sabre™ looks like it was made for the Glock. It has the look and feel of a quality accessory.

    The Sabre™ adds a high-tech look to my G17. The unit fits snugly to the gun's frame, with no apparent movement. The beaver tail addition to the grip looks interesting, and feels very secure in the web of my hand, rather like a 1911's grip does. A slide switch at the very back of the beaver tail lets you select from Master On/Off, Steady or Pulsing beam; this area also contains the batteries. A squeeze of my right hand activates the laser.

    I feel the Sabre’s design may be problematic for concealed carry, since the appendage and module may imprint on the wearer’s clothes; but since I live in a state that does not permit concealed carry, I did not pursue the matter further.

    Range Day: One

    The Sabre™ does get in my way when racking the slide. For me, a modified grip is necessary--annoying, but something that can be learned. Cocking serrations at the front of the slide would be welcome with this new addition to the gun.

    It was necessary to remove my Hogue Handall® grip to install the Sabre™ on my G17, and I missed it immediately. But the newly added beaver tail does offer a secure feeling in the web of my hand, and the gun's ergonomics feel otherwise about normal.

    The master switch which offers On/Off, Steady and Pulsing modes, felt a little vague under my touch, but posed no problems. Still, I'd like to see a switch with deliberate detents--a positive click for each position. In a CCW, I’d be concerned with accidental deactivation.

    Collimation is achieved with a supplied hex wrench. Simply adjust two screws with small movements for windage and elevation.

    Not surprisingly, my new Sabre™ required collimation. At thirty feet, the first shots were a bit low of the intended bull's-eye, forming a loose group in the lower left nine ring. It should be noted that I have never laser-fired this gun before, nor did I do any dry fire practice with it for this range session. I adjusted the laser by slipping on my LaserMax UNI-GREEN, which was already collimated for this weapon, and bringing the Sabre's pulsing red beam, to overlap the UNI-GREEN's bright green dot.

    I commenced to do some laser assisted shooting. With new targets and magazines, I was soon grouping tightly, punching one ragged hole in the ten and nine rings. All these shots were made while holding the gun in front of me—not sighting down the barrel. The Sabre™ works!

    The beaver tail, a/k/a whale tail appendage really does lend stability to shooting! This is best appreciated using +p ammo. Follow-up shots seemed a bit quicker for me. Now I understand what some 1911 enthusiasts are talking about… I could even see a non laser, well designed, whale tail add-on accessory catching on! You'd have to try it, and see it it's for you.

    As the range testing went on, I found the pressure necessary to activate the laser both tiring and distracting. With my preferred thumbs high grip, that part of my hand simply does not engage that part of the grip strongly enough while firing, to easily keep the laser activated. I would benefit from the inclusion of an elongate, more elevated switch, as opposed to the low profile button that's there now.

    As a big guy with fairly strong hands and very long fingers (I find the standard Glock Model 21 to be just right), I got the distinct impression that a person with somewhat smaller hands (or shorter fingers) might engage the laser much better than I am able to do. The switch design simply is not optimal for me. Again, one fix would be to provide a taller, longer activation button, as this would offer more contact with that part of my hand.

    My shooting, sans laser, for the day, was the usual center-cored targets at 30 - 40 feet. With my eyes, and good open sights, that's the best that I can do at any time. The Sabre™, while switched off, posed no ill effect to my usual shooting performance.

    Battery replacement is no problem, and one can see that collimation would be unaffected. I liked seeing that the battery cover set screw threads into metal, rather than plastic, since it will be removed and replaced many times over the life of the unit.

    The laser module does get in the way of cleaning the right, rear slide rail guide, but a cleaning patch on a hex wrench reached this easily, and a blast of canned air finished it off. Lubrication is no issue.

    After two hundred rounds, nowhere was it evident that the slide in any way contacted the Sabre™ during firing. Nor did the laser become loose.

    The instructions say that some minor settling may occur after initial firing, and that some collimation readjustments might be required.

    Range Day: Two

    Another two hundred rounds with the Sabre™ did see some settling of the unit, slightly affecting the laser’s collimation.

    This time, I reeled out a fresh target to thirty feet, and using the G17’s carefully tweaked Dawson Precision, Fiber Optic, Adjustable Sights, fired a shot into the ten ring—almost on the cross hairs. I then proceeded to tweak the laser a bit, until the red dot overlapped the sight picture. It took about 8-shots to get it right, but it’s as zeroed as I’m ever going to get it. Center-cored targets at 30-feet are now the norm for this rig. Certainly, it’s accurate enough for self-defense applications!

    The Sabre unit remains secured to the frame with no hint of wiggle or movement. Again, nowhere does the slide come into contact with the Sabre™ unit.

    After two range sessions and four hundred rounds of CCI Blazer and Double Tap ammo, it has been unnecessary to clean the Sabre’s laser emitter! There is something to be said for the rearward, outboard placement of this laser!

    My previous observations and impressions of the Sabre™ remain unchanged.


    The LaserMax Sabre™ is an impressive new offering at a very good price point!

    I really like the feel of the beaver tail appendage—it’s an even trade for my Hogue Handall® grip!

    I like the device itself and I’ve even grown to like the looks of it on the gun!

    Still, the activation switch ergonomics aren’t optimal for me. But keep in mind that another shooter may have no problem with the Sabre™ just the way it is! You should see what I go through to find comfortable shoes!

    As the product evolves, it could stand a few refinements. IMO, eventual attention needs to be given to...

    • Master Mode Switch
    • Grip Activation Switch.

    While it’s not my favorite laser, as an overall opinion, I like the Sabre! If the activation ergonomics fit your hands, I’m guessing many of you will like it too! :thumbsup:

    Last edited: Apr 4, 2009
  2. Glockster_James

    Glockster_James Man W/ A Badge

    Nov 26, 2002
    Aberdeen, WA
    Great review Ray. Just when I was positive I didn't need a Sabre, you've gotta go and post up some sweet pictures making me rethink everything. lol.

    Lookin at your pictures, I can completely understand what you mean about it interferring with your racking the slide.

    Quick question...whats your opinion on how much it does or does not change your grip on the G17 vs stock form? That was the only part I didn't care so much about the Crimson Trace was that it really changed the feel of my grip more than I cared for.

  3. RayB

    RayB Retired Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    1) Thanks, James! :wavey:

    2) Well, I altered the G17's grip immediately, with a Hogue Handall, as it felt too skinny, left stock; and that felt real good. But I really do like the feel of the whale tail too; enough so that I considered it an even trade!

    I find the Sabre's affect on the grip an improvement, and firing the gun, sans laser at the range, my target scores are the same.

    The Sabre deepens the frame a bit, and that feels good to me! It is, IMO, far superior to the feel of the CT Grips for Glocks that I have tried.

  4. Ticman


    Jul 25, 2008

    Do you think the Hogue Handall would fit with the Sabre? Maybe a little trim work would make it work?
  5. RayB

    RayB Retired Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Well, skilled hands, good eyes, and a new Exacto-Knife blade might just pull it off...

    You won't get the Hogue under the Sabre, without stretching and pinching the rubber grip. The Hogue will have to be neatly trimmed in a U-shape beneath the Sabre on the back strap. I'd coat the inside of the Hogue Handall with hairspray, before slipping it on.


  6. Scott_F


    Nov 8, 2008
    Great review. I just can't get over the whale tail. I'll stick to CTC.
  7. orlasttoy


    Apr 1, 2009
    Looks sweet! Great review too...I just ordered my Lasermax but went for the internal one...are there positives & negatives with the 2 difft kinds or is it just preference?
  8. RayB

    RayB Retired Member

    Dec 2, 2005

    You'd have to try it, and see if you like it. I was pleasantly surprised! ;)

    If CTC ergonomics work for you, you've picked another good product! :cool:

  9. RayB

    RayB Retired Member

    Dec 2, 2005

    Again, thanks! :wavey:

    We've got the LaserMax guide rod lasers in our G19 and G21, and they remain my favorite! :thumbsup:

    Both products, in fact all three LaserMax products, have their relative strengths, based on my personal experience with all of them...

    Guide Rod Laser Pro:

    - No impact on gun ergonomics
    - No collimation necessary
    - Few holstering issues
    - Allows weapon-mounted light
    - Separate, redundant system

    Guide Rod Laser Con:

    - Pricey!
    - Gets dirty quickly
    - Dedicated to one or a few gun models

    UNI-GREEN Pro:

    - Outstanding 24-Hour visibility!
    - Little impact on gun ergonomics
    - Can utilize offset or sweet spot collimation
    - Allows weapon-mounted light
    - Use on multiple weapons!
    - Separate, redundant system
    - Holster options coming on line

    UNI-GREEN Con:

    - Pricey!
    - Gets dirty quickly
    - Battery consumption

    Sabre Pro:

    - Great price!
    - Instant-on grip activation!
    - Great grip ergonomics with Whale Tale!
    - Master On/Off with steady and pulsing modes
    - Allows weapon-mounted light
    - Separate, redundant system
    - Stays cleaner, longer!

    Sabre Con:

    - Grip activation not optimal for large hands
    - Requires modified grip to cycle slide
    - Mode selection switch feels vague
    - Dedicated to one or a few gun models

    Note that the LaserMax UNI-MAX (not included above) would offer all the Pros of the UNI-GREEN (minus the green laser), plus steady and pulsing laser modes. This laser can be found for well under $200.00...

    Note: I received my UNI-GREEN as a gift last summer (yes, I am a bit of a geek) and I really like it! I'd planned to add another gun to my collection, but the world is not cooperating with me lately... :upeyes: Like the UNI-MAX, the UNI-GREEN can be used on any weapon with a rail...

  10. gargodude


    Sep 29, 2009
    Georgetown, CA
    Thanks for your in-depth review. I'm ordering one tomorrow. I've had crappy luck with my 1st choice (LaserLyte), so I hope this will be better for me.
  11. mikegun


    Jun 22, 2006
    I have used four or five brands of laser sights , internal and ex, the only fault i find with lasermax products is the red dot u put on tarket is smaller then crimson trace products, to me CT dot is larger in diam thus faster target sighting and re sighting, they are somewhat brighter as well. i am now using a laserlite on my g23 and find it works well, and does in no way effect my drawing ability,as some ct sights can. all arew fine companies and there is never an issue in returns exchanges or the like......
  12. jamaicanj


    Nov 25, 2007
    Great review, so thanks for sharing.

    Any other input from others that have used this laser grip?