When Crimson Trace sent me the CTS-1400, they also sent a Rail Master Pro. The Rail Master Pro is a combination laser and light system that predictably mounts to the rail of your weapon. It’s designed for handguns, but like most things, the Rail Master Pro can mount to anything with a Picatinny rail.
Crimson Trace made their name with their laser aiming systems. They’ve been quite creative in implementing lasers over time. With the Rail Master Pro, they’ve simply placed the laser below the light. It comes comes in a green or red laser option (green is slightly more expensive), and mine has the green laser.
The Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro comes with a constant and momentary on option. A quick press of one of the rear switches and the light booms to life giving you constant illumination. Momentary requires you to hold down the button for a period longer than about a second. When the button is released, the light will shut off automatically.
Pressing the two rear activation switches simultaneously allows you to swap between the switches activating the light and laser together, the light-only, or the laser only.
Mounting the Rail Master Pro
The Rail Master Pro can be easily mounted to full-sized and compact handguns. The mounting system has two bolt slots that allow you to adjust where the light mounts on the gun. This setup makes it easy to mount to a GLOCK 19 or a Glock 17 and keeps the buttons positioned ergonomically, just forward of your trigger guard.
Lights from companies other like Streamlight do the same thing with a key system that the user can replace to allow the light to fit rails and in various positions. This accomplishes the same thing and keeps it stupid-simple.
Rail Master Pro Ergonomics
The activation buttons are two “wings” that provide ambidextrous controls. Press or hold the wing in to activate the light.
When properly positioned on the rail, the Rail Master Pro provides you with two very easy-to-reach buttons. They have a tactile and audible click when activated. I can activate either button with a right-hand dominant grip. My trigger finger or support hand thumb can reach the buttons and kick them into gear.
The Rail Master Pro extends the light slightly past the muzzle of a compact firearm. Think GLOCK 19-sized when I say compact. The Rail Master Pro is 2.75 inches long and weighs 3.46 ounces with a single CR123 to power it. It’s not quite as small as a TLR-7 but smaller than a TLR-1.
I’m not big on visible lasers on my defensive pistols, but I know plenty of people who are. A friend of my dad’s keeps a laser on his carry gun because his vision isn’t good, and in a bad situation, his glasses might not be on. He can’t see his sights well without his glasses but he can see a bright laser with ease. While I might not use one, I feel I can fairly evaluate one.
The green laser is plenty bright and very potent. Lasers can be tough to see in the daylight, so I took this one out to five yards during the brightest part of the day in a shade-free area. The human eye is about six times more sensitive to green light. That’s why picking up a green laser in bright light is easier than a red one.
I moved back one yard at a time until I couldn’t see the dot anymore. It maxed out right around 16 yards in full sunlight. I’d say 15 yards is safe is the max range of the laser in the worst possible conditions.
Inside a normally illuminated building, the laser is more than visible at distances much farther than you’re likely to shoot in any self-defense situation. The green dot is massive and makes it very easy to aim indoors. You can’t help but see it and your eye is naturally drawn to it.
The windage and elevation (locatedon the bottom and side of the laser housing) of the Rail Master Pro’s laser are easy to adjust and get on target. I have fun shooting targets with lasers. There is something about shooting accurately from the hip that is always fun. I can see the appeal of a laser for some, especially for weird shooting positions.
I found myself wanting a little more light from the Rail Master Pro. It puts out 400 lumens of even white light. If the unit was considerably smaller, that would be fine, but it’s not much smaller than a 1,000 lumen, 10,000 candela TLR-1. In fact, the TLR-7 and TLR-7 Sub are much smaller and still pack 500 lumens.
Lumens aren’t everything, and if the candela was high, I’d have more praise to heap on the light. However, Crimson Trace doesn’t publish the candela rating. When taken outside, it’s OK…the range is limited up to about 25 yards of bright white light for target identification.
If the Rail Master Pro was cheaper or smaller, I could excuse the light, but at this price point, I think the output should be higher. To be clear, it’s more than enough for home defense and indoor use. In fact there are good arguments for not using a more powerful light than this in an indoor environment. However, for a little bit more money, I can get a lot more power.
Beating It Up
As the final part of my test, I decided to test the durability of the ole Rail Master Pro. This involved a three-stage attack. First, I’m going to drop it. I mean, drop it over and over again at every angle I could possibly do so. I dropped the Rail Master Pro on the lens, on its sides, and on the bottom.
I then tested the light and ensured the laser remained zeroed to the iron sights of the blue gun I attached it to. Forgive me for not wanting to drop a real gun over and over again. The good news: the Rail Master Pro remained zeroed.
For the second round of testing, I went all ham with the CT light. I used it as an impact weapon against my Century Bob punching bag as well as a real standard punching bag. I whipped both into submission. The unit stayed on, and the laser remained zeroed.
For the final round of testing, my four-year-old took the Rail Master Pro (attached to the blue gun) and did four-year-old things with it. This wasn’t intentional. The kid just loves lights and loved playing with the laser even more. The Rail Master Pro remained strong and defiant in the face of grimy hands.
Lights, Lasers, Camera
The Rail Master Pro delivers an ergonomic option to fit a multitude of guns. The laser proved daylight powerful. The beam makes aiming easy. The only downside is the comparatively weak 400 lumens of output. I’d like to see Crimson Trace ratchet this light up to 1,000 lumens for the same price.
Specifications: Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro
Weight – 3.46 ounces
Length – 2.75 inches
Lumens – 400
Battery – CR123
Battery Life – 50 minutes Light/Laser On
MSRP – $284.99 (street price about $150)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Ergonomics * * * * *
Ergonomically I have zero complaints. The buttons are ambidextrous, easy to activate, and provide instant-on power. Controlling the various functions is easy and as is zeroing the laser.
Power – Light * * ½, Laser * * * *
The laser provides a big bright, green laser beam that’s easy to see in the brightest part of the day within typical concealed carry ranges. Indoors, or even with a smidge of shade, it goes even further. The 400 lumen light is a bit of a disappointment, especially for a light priced this high, and that is this bug.
Bang for Your Buck: * * *
The Rail Master Pro does a lot right, but what holds it back is the light. It’s a short-range option with limited power. Outdoors it lacks a lot of the range and power I’ve come to expect from a light priced this high and is this large in size.
Overall * * * *
The Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro is a tough, well-built, durable weapon light/laser combination. If you’re like most users and intend it for indoor use, it does everything you need it to do and does it extremely well. If you’ll be using it outdoors, you might find its light output limiting.