It’s Friday night and that means we delve into the dark arts of the night. Today’s topic is the LaserMaxDefense (LMD) Pistol Enhancer aka PAiL (Pistol Aiming Laser). This multi-function aiming laser (MFAL) won LaserMaxDefense a contract with the U.S. Army. So let’s take a close look at this somewhat obscure weapon light/laser.
Pistol Lights/Lasers @ TFB:
The LaserMaxDefense PAiL has a couple of different names. LMD calls it the LMD-PE-IR-1 and it was submitted in the Pistol Aiming Laser program which is why some call it the PAiL. It is also called the Pistol Enhancer. LMD won the PAiL program Army contract against Streamlight’s TLR8 as mentioned in this article.
The LMD PAiL is a fairly straightforward MFAL. It is typical of most MFALs in that it only has three out of the four features. Ideally, an MFAL has a laser and light in both IR and VIS spectrums. The PAiL only has an IR laser with IR LED illuminator and white LED illuminator. The LED illuminators sit side by side while the IR laser sits just above them and in the middle so the laser is in-line with the bore of the M17.
The right side of the PAiL is rather stark. It just features the mounting screw and the right side activation button along with LMD’s logo molded into the polymer housing. What I found interesting is the requirements for the Pistol Aiming Laser Program. According to the RFI request by the U.S. Army, the PAiL must be installed without tools. See the article here. But we see the LMD PAiL needs a flat head screwdriver to tighten the mounting screw. Already the coating on the screw is wearing off.
The right side of the PAiL has the windage adjustment, Light/Laser selector switch and left side switch for ambidextrous activation.
There are only three modes:
- White – VIS light
- Red – OFF
- Green – Infrared Light/Laser
Underneath the PAiL is the elevation adjustment for the IR laser.
Near the back of the PAiL are two captive screws. Unscrew them and you can open the battery compartment door. Similar to the Steiner DBAL-PL, the battery changing does not require you to remove the laser. That way your zero does not shift when changing batteries. The pistol enhancer is powered by a single CR123 battery.
PAiL As PDW MFAL
I tried the PAiL on my FLUX Raider. While it looks and functions well enough, ergonomically it is less than ideal.
The problem is the battery compartment screws. The PAiL is certainly designed to be used on a traditional handgun. But with the Flux Raider, your support hand sits directly underneath the battery door screws making it very uncomfortable.
Using The LMD PAiL
The LMD pistol enhancer is a bit underwhelming. The white light only produces 175 lumens. This is very underpowered compared to other pistol light options like the Streamlight TLR-8 producing 500 lumens. LED technology has sort of peaked with CR123s. The batteries can only pump out enough amps to drive the LEDs to about 500 lumens. With rechargeable li-ion batteries like the 18350, you can drive LEDs to push out more than 1,000 lumens. However, we are talking about a handgun here but more light is not a bad thing. There is a benefit to only pushing out 175 lumens out of a CR123 and that is the fact that the light is not that taxing on the battery. The Pistol Enhancer gets a run time of 2 hours in VIS or IR mode.
The LMD PAiL is very simple. It only has VIS/OFF/IR modes. VIS and OFF are self-explanatory. IR mode is like the Streamlight TLR-VIRII. The laser and IR light are turned on at the same time. There is no way to isolate the IR laser or IR light. The IR light puts out just 175mW of IR light. While that may seem like a lot, remember this is an LED and not a laser. A SureFire Scout Light vampire head puts out 120mW. The Steiner DBAL-D2 and SPIR put out 500mW of IR LED light. The IR laser on the PAiL is an eyesafe 0.7mW like any standard civilian IR aiming laser.
There are specialized holsters made by Safariland to fit the M17 and PAiL.
Final Thoughts On the PAiL
The LMD Pistol Enhancer is a bit underwhelming with regards to performance. The Streamlight TLR-VIRII is a better performer. It puts out 300 lumens for 1.5 hours. If you use the IR-only mode, the battery lasts 12 hours! The IR LED puts out 600mW/sr. But LMD says theirs puts out 175mW (typical). I am unsure about the difference in nomenclature but I do not think the Streamlight is 600mW. Their IR illuminators look similar even though the Streamlight looked dimmer in the video above, possibly due to low battery.
According to the LMD website, the Pistol Enhancer costs $349, however, there is a hiccup here. It is only sold to the military and law enforcement. It is not sold to civilians. I questioned this fact. Nothing about the Pistol Enhancer should be restricted from civilian ownership or sales. The laser is all within FDA regulations as an eye-safe device. LMD cannot sell to the consumer market and that is why the PAiL fetches high value. The $349 MFAL goes for $700-$800 on average in the secondary market. Sort of like the Insight WMX-200 weapon light. It is not sold to civilians and is a rather mediocre weapon light and yet it fetches around $850+ because we cannot have it and cloners lust over it. The same thing occurs with the PAiL, unfortunately. While it is neat for a collector who wants to clone the U.S. Army MHS M17, that is about all it is good for. You can get a better light and laser for your SIG M17 for less. Just look elsewhere. However, if you want to learn more about this MFAL go to LMD’s website.