Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review: Laser Genetics - ND-3x50

After my visit to the SHOT Expo, I thought it was time to roll out one of my big lights. 

I had seen these whilst browsing the Canis Latrans Sports website (they do "replica" gear, where my Ops-Core style helmet came from ...) The idea of a laser pumped light sounded really cool, but I had no idea what to expect. I took the plunge and ordered one.

It turned out to be much bigger than i had expected (I did choose the bigger of the three versions available.) Here it is, the Laser Genetics ND3x50 laser designator (or a clone of the same)

The fist thing I need to tell you is that it IS large. The objective lens end is 60mm (2.35”) in diameter, and the barrel, whilst the standard 1" ring size gives the unit a 240mm (9.45”) over all length. It's a big light at 380g (13.5oz). However, it gives BIG results.

Powered by two CR123A batteries, the light has a maximum output of 50mW, which is purported to give a visible light at up to 4.8km (3 miles). It manages this by producing light at 532nm (green), apparently the easiest light for the human eye to see. 

So it's a huge laser pointer, so what?  

Built into the base of the objective end is a Rotary Optical Collimator, which allows you to dial in the focus of the beam, from 50mm to 320mm at 300mm from the end of the objective. That then spreads out to about 2m at 11m (see pics below), or , when dialed in tight, leaves a pretty much 50mm spot for as far as you care to through, up to about 450m (500yrd) effective range.

By "effective range" I think they mean when mounted on top of a scope, which, as it happens, they include mounts for with a "weaver style ring", a 1" scope mount (essentially a windage and elevation adjustable double sided mount, a tripod mount, as well as a pressure switch accessory. Lots of tactical options there. Just remember, this is a BRIGHT light, and you can see the beam in the night air, leading right back to the source. 

Tracers work both ways.

That said, the all aluminium body, with its anodised finish, o-ring seals and nitrogen charged lens cavity make for a pretty solid piece. One thing I noted were some imperfections. There is dust on the inside of the objective lens, and when dialed to wide-beam, there is a distinct "gibbous moon" effect where the lens is not quite right. This may be because this is a "replica" rather than a stringently QC'd piece.

Here are a couple of shots of me testing it indoors, from room-sweeping, to tight spot. In its room-sweeping end (or any of the wide angles, it also casts a secondary diameter, giving you a pretty good field of illumination at the "up close" distances, great for trails and sweeps.

I also took it out to the valley near Puffing Billy scenic railway, and had a bit of a play with it.

This is a really cool light, and I really enjoy taking it out and beaming it around. It is very powerful though, and I am always careful to steer clear of aircraft, delicate eyeballs and Sith Lords.

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