REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan Light/Laser Combo

    Think back to the first time you saw a weapon-mounted laser in a movie. For me, it was Terminator, when Arnold Schwarzenegger cut through a smokey room with a red beam of death. That massive device shined dimly even at short distances and probably had a sub 10 minute battery-life. Thrity years later we have the LaserMax Spartan which is the size of a match box car, includes both a green laser and a 120 lumen LED light, all with an impressive battery life.

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    Terminator – 1984

    My thoughts on weapon-mounted visible lasers used to be pretty simple: novelty.  Concerns, often drilled home by past firearms instructors, centered on the shooter’s over-reliance on a laser, hesitation searching for the dot, zero distance and offset, shooting through glass and mechanical failures. And while some of those issues have been addressed with technological advances, the remaining downsides for a weapon mounted laser are shooter dependent. Meaning, in most cases a poor shooter without a laser will be a poor shooter with a laser.

    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan

    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan

    Standard Warnings: You must follow all of the weapon safety rules, which includes, but is not limited to making sure your firearm is unloaded prior to attempting to mount a light. Also, once your light/laser is mounted on a gun it becomes a weapon light – not a general flashlight to look for Oreos in the cupboard or to make your cat dance like it’s high on PCP.

    I. Introduction – Lasermax Spartan:

    The Spartan is a rail-mounted combination LED and laser that runs on a single AAA battery. It’s outer shell is made from light-weight black injection-molded plastic. The LED throws a dimable “mint green” light in wide pattern and the laser (my test unit was the green model) is adjustable for both windage and elevation. Two separate upper and lower paddle-type switches control the laser and light respectively as well as program the beam patterns and light output when the correct pattern of clicks are issued.

    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan

    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan

    The Spartan is very light. Almost too light: my first thought was ‘is this going to withstand repeated punishment’? The LED sits on the right hand side, the laser in the middle (and slightly above), in line with the bore axis and the battery compartment on the left.

    II. Installation & Specifications:

    Installation is straight forward:

    1. Remove the hex screws with the included hex wrench.
    2. Install a fresh battery (not included).
    3. Line up the Spartan on the rail section closest to the position to where your trigger finger can easily manipulate the paddle switches.
    4. Make sure the internal alignment plate locks into a rail groove.
    5. Close the battery door/left side mount and insert the hex screws.
    6. Tighten (not over tighten) until the Spartan is securely mounted on the rail.

    SPS-C-R (Red Laser)

    • Class 3R Visible Laser
    • Output Power: <5mW
    • Wavelength: 650nm
    • Light: 120+ Lumen Mint Green LED

    SPS-C-G (Green Laser)

    • Class 3R Visible Laser
    • Output Power: <5mW
    • Wavelength: 510-535nm
    • Light: 120+ Lumen Mint Green LED

    Two screws double to both mount the Spartan as well as secure the battery compartment:

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    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan

    Rail alignment plate:

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    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan

    The Spartan’s electronics can’t handle lithium batteries. Stick to Alkaline or NiMh.

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    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan

    III. Features/Controls:

    Although the paddle switches make a soft rattle when the unit shakes, they are firm and decisive when activated. The buttons are laid out efficiently, allowing the user to either turn on/off the light and laser individually or activate both with a single push to the recessed portion of both paddles.

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    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan Light/Laser

    Zeroing the laser took about two minutes. Stand your desired zeroing distance (20 yards for me) from a wall. Using the supplied hex wrench, adjust both the elevation and windage settings until the green dot is just above and centered perfect sight picture. Then, using the elevation adjustment, drop the dot down so the dot is no longer visible with the front and rear sights aligned. It shouldn’t take more than half a turn with the wrench to get the dot close to alignment.

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    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan – Windage Adjustment

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    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan – Elevation Adjustment

    Controls and Programming:

    • To activate the laser, press and release the top paddle switch. Press and release again to turn the laser off.
    • To activate the light, press and release the bottom paddle switch. Press and release again to turn the laser off.
    • To activate the light and laser simultaneously, press and release both paddle switches using the recessed channel. Press and release again to turn the laser off.
    • To change either the light/laser to pulse or steady mode, press and release the appropriate paddle switch, wait one second, then press and release the the same paddle switch for two seconds. Release the paddle switch when the mode changes.
    • To dim the light, start with the light in the off position. Then double tap the light paddle switch and hold on the second tap. While pressing the light paddle switch, press and hold the laser switch until the desired brightness level is achieved.

    IV. Testing

    The ‘mint green’ LED is surprisingly bright for its size and power source. Identifying items and objects in otherwise complete darkness out to ten yards is not a problem. I’m fairly confident that in the longest open part of my house, maybe 15 yards, I could detect if an unknown individual was carrying a weapon or a cell phone. That’s the most practical test as you are going to get for a defensive weapon light. At lower brightness settings the LED acts more as a navigational light than a primary weapon light.

    The green laser pops at any ambient light level, including broad daylight. I easily painted trees that were 75 yards away with the sun shining. And even at that distance the dot stayed relatively the same size. In darkness, the green laser is equally impressive, illuminating targets out to about 100 yards. Sweet.

    Two yards. Indoors.

    Eye-level, suppressed.

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    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan Light/Laser – Inside Illumination.

    Two yards. Indoors.

    Chest level, suppressed.

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    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan Light/Laser – Inside Illumination.

    Twelve yards with the light and laser. Outdoors.

    The steel turkey target is approximately 10″X10″.

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    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan Light/Laser – Outside Illumination.

    Twelve yards with only the light. Outdoors.

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    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan Light/Laser – Outside Illumination.

    Twelve yards with only the laser. Outdoors.

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    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan Light/Laser – Outside Illumination.

    Twenty five yards with only the light. Outdoors.

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    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan Light/Laser – Outside Illumination.

    Twenty five yards with the light and laser. Outdoors.

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    TFB REVIEW: LaserMax Spartan Light/Laser – Outside Illumination.

    V. Conclusions

    Overall, the Spartan is a complete, useable light/laser package for defensive applications and general shooting sports. In all honesty, I was a bit skeptical of the advertised performance – when I think of a weaponlight that includes a green laser, my mind immediately applies a $400 price tag. So I figured that LaserMax had to cut corners somewhere.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find that the light is bright and useable, the laser is strong and accurate and the programmable settings work as advertised.

    As I like to remind all our readers, managing expectations is the key to buying the right gear. Whereas the Spartan is perfectly capable of living on your nightstand gun, expecting to use it for long range applications like whomping ISIS leaders at range is beyond the scope of it’s design.

    My one request: I’d like to see LaserMax improve on the Spartan by changing the battery compartment to a sealed screw cap on the front that doesn’t require unmounting the whole device from the gun to change the battery. (Safely and completely breaking down the pistol first, of course.)

    Anyway, let’s break it down.

    Not so good:

    • Battery – Only accessible by unmounting the light from the rail, requiring a re-zero check.

    Neutral:

    • Paddle Switches: There is a slight rattle/play when the light is moved. It’s less noticeable when mounted on a rail.
    • Finishing – Visible seams, mold marks and indentations that could be easily addressed with tighter tolerances and a little buffing.

    Good:

    • Light – Bright greenish light for a small LED.
    • Laser – Daylight visible out to 50-100 yards
    • Programmable – Different modes, light levels and an auto-shutoff feature.
    • Accurate – Rounds hit where you aim. Holds zero under heavy recoil.

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    VI. Final Thoughts

    There is little doubt in my mind that the future of weapon light and laser combinations will be an evolution of products similar to the Spartan – small, lightweight, powerful, great battery life and programmable settings. LaserMax did a really good job at producing a well thought out piece of gear at an impressive price point.

    Even with its minor deficiencies, if you are in the market for a weapon light/laser combo, I can recommend the LaserMax Spartan. I suggest opting for the green laser model – the price difference is minimal and a green aiming dot trumps a red aiming dot every time, especially in daylight situations.

    From the LaserMax website:

    Capitalizing on the most visible wavelength in the color spectrum, Spartan Light & Laser delivers 120 Lumens of groundbreaking Mint Green™ LED light and quickly adapts to a multitude of rail platforms with exclusive Rail Vise Technology. Lasers come in red or daytime green. This is LaserMax’s first offering that uses a readily available AAA battery. Spartan Light & Laser packs vital target identification and illumination capabilities into the smallest housing available today. Protected by a 5-year warranty, Spartan™ Light & Laser are priced for every shooter’s budget at just $175 for red (SPS-C-R) and $215 for green (SPS-C-G). LaserMax is now accepting pre-orders for the next production run.


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    LASERMAX – https://www.lasermax.com/

    3495 WINTON PLACE
    ROCHESTER, NY 14623
    800-527-3703

    [email protected]

    Pete

    Editor In Chief- TFB
    LE – Silencers – Science
    [email protected]


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