Glock Model 417 Laser Grip
The first laser I purchased was the TLR-2 for my Glock 22. I carried the combo for 2 years without any malfunctions. The problem I did have with the TLR-2 was the laser off-set. Due to the distance from the bore, the range that the laser was sighted in for had to be carefully chosen. I had sighted the laser in for 15 yards and found the laser would be off at any other distance.
With the release of the ALS holsters by Safariland I was interested in upgrading from my 6280 to a more secure holster that still allowed me to use a pistol mounted light. After speaking with Safariland they advised that a TLR-2 or X400 version of the ALS was not on the drawing boards, so I started to look for options. My Glock 22 has been reliable and did not want to switch to a non factory recoil spring, so the Lasermax was out. I had looked at the Crimson Trace Laser Grips prior; however I had read that their laser would not fit Safariland holsters. After some research I found that Crimson Trace was releasing a new laser grip for the Glock pistols in March of 2009 that claimed to be holster compliant. I attempted to locate the grips on several occasions but was unable. After contacting Crimson Trace I was advised that they had production problems and they wanted to work the bugs out prior to a release. Crimson Trace advised that the release would be pushed up to August of 09. In August I contacted Crimson Trace and was advised that the release date was being pushed to December 15, so I continued to wait. I sold my TLR-2 during this time and started carrying the TLR-1 in the ALS in November. On December 15 I called Crimson Trace and was advised that they had sold out of the grips that day, however they had only been open for business 30 minutes when I called. I was advised to wait till January 15 to call or send in my order and they would hold a unit for me. The order was sent and I was notified on January 13 that the sight was shipped. The sight arrived on January 20.
Included in the box was a storage bag, two spacers, hex wrench, two cleaning swabs, decals for the pistol, an instruction manual and CT decal. I had installed A-Grips on all my Glocks as the slip on grips and decal grips never stood up. Once I started to install the laser grips I found out that the A-Grips would have to be removed. The laser grips have a post that sticks out on one side of the grips that pushes the pin on the rear of the Glock grip to the left. Once the pin is pushed to the left the laser grip used the empty space the pin leaves and the exposed section of the pin to stop the laser grip from rotating or sliding down. Next you install the spacer that is installed at the beavertail section of the grip. Two sizes are included, small and large. The instructions indicate that the spacer is chosen by the design of the pistol’s beavertail. My Gen 3 Glock produced in 2000 required the small spacer. I tried the large spacer first, but found that the large spacer caused the laser to reflect off the frame and produce two dots. The large spacer also caused the laser to impact far left. After installation of the small spacer the dot was only an inch low at 25 feet and dead center. After very minor adjustment the dot was setting on the top of the front sight at 25 feet.
The laser grip adds .384” to the middle of the grip, .178” at the thumb indentions, .462” at the slide, .176” from the first finger grove to the beavertail and .295” added to the beavertail. Once tighten down the grip does not move. When I ordered the laser grip I had asked Crimson Trace’s LE rep if the grip laser was compatible with the Safariland ALS holster, he advised that he was not sure but would contact an agency in FL that had just purchase of the grips. The rep called me back in about 15 minutes and advised that the FL agency did not have any problems with the ALS. Once I tried the pistol in my ALS I found that the LG-417caused the pistol to not lock completely into the ALS and the hood was stiff when I attempted to rotate it. After a closer look I found that the indentation on the belt side portion of the holster was rubbing on the thumb indention of the grip and the laser diode guard was causing the holster to be spread apart. After some light sanding and trimming with a hobby knife I was able to make the ALS work. On a side note, the grip is compatible with my 6280 and 6004 without modification.
The activation button for the LG-417 does stick up noticeably and is very easy to activate. When attempting to hold the pistol and deactivate the laser, I feel as if I do not have a secure grip on the pistol. This may go away as the grip is used and the button wears down. I have problems with Glock 22’s wearing the skin off my right thumb joint during extended firing strings. The extended beavertail is a nice addition without permanently modifying the frame. One thing that takes getting use to is positioning the trigger finger so as to not block the laser. After years of training myself to index my trigger finger on the takedown latch, it makes for a learning curve. I have found that by placing my trigger finger between the frame and the TLR-1 switch I can still index my finger and not block the laser. The LG-417 is described as over molded and I was under the impression that the grip would be similar to their other rubber over molded grip. The actual surface of the grip is hard plastic with a rough texture. I prefer the non-slip grip of the A-Grip material and will now have to find something that will work with the laser grip. One additional item I would like to see is a holster comparability chart by Crimson Trace or holster companies.
Crimson Trace recommends that the LG-417 be removed prior to cleaning the firearm. The instructions do say that the grip is resistant to cleaning solvents, but you should avoid cleaning agents contacting the lens or internal components. The battery life of the two CR2032s is stated to be 4 hours of continuous use or 5 years of shelf life. Swabs are included to clean the lens of the laser. Crimson Trace states that the LG-417 will maintain zero even when removed.
On 2-19-10 I was able to put 100 rounds through the pistol with the LG-417 attached. The conditions were far from ideal for testing a laser sight, 10-12” of snow on the ground with clear skies and a white IPSC target. I was surprised to be able to see the dot back to 15 yards even in those conditions. The sight required no additional adjustment from the initial install. No point of impact change was seen with the limited amount of rounds fired and the grips did not loosen. Point of aim/point of impact was the same from 7-15 yards. I will try additional ranges in the future under different conditions.
Plain Clothes and Court Carry
I had been looking for a security holster option to carry my Glock 22 with the LG-417 and TRL-1 during court and plain clothes details. I had heard that the Safariland ALS 6378 had a light option, but could not find one until recently. While at the local cop shop I was finally able get the product code.
After some online searching I found a company carrying them and placed an order. Once the holster arrived I was glad to see the holster came with both the paddle back and belt loop options. Due to fit problems with my 6360 duty holster and Glock 22 with LG-417, I expected the same problems with the 6378. The pistol would lock in the holster, but only with considerable down pressure. After inspecting the holster I found the same problem as the 6360, the LG-417 interfered with the belt side indention that fills the thumb grove. After some light shaving with my hobby knife, and light rough sanding and finish sanding I was able to get the holster to function properly.
The paddle back fits tightly on the belt and requires me to remove my belt to get it off. I am not a fan of paddle backs, especially if there is a risk of actual hand to hand confrontations such as court and plain clothes details so I switched to the belt loops. When I went to switch out the paddle for the belt loops I found three different hex screws, a spacer of some type and the belt loop included in the package. I searched through the instructions and could not find the instructions for installing the belt loops. I took a chance and installed the spacer against the holster and placed the belt loops over the spacer. So far it seems to work.
The holster body is sturdy and uses the STX plain finish. I have had great luck with this finish on my duty belt and it stands up to use. The fit of the pistol in the holster is excellent with only minor movement up and down. Due to carrying the 6360 on duty the 6378 is easy to use and just as fast to draw from. The belt loops have the spacers to allow a belt larger than 1.5” to be used, however once you clip them out you unable to reinstall them. An instructor belt still has some movement, but I believe this will be a good thing with using a stiff belt. I have just started using the ALS system and so far I am impressed.