US Army Selects LaserMax Defense Pistol Enhancer as Pistol Aiming Light

Last fall, the US Army’s Product Manager, Soldier Precision Targeting Devices (PdM SPTD) issued a requirement for a Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) Pistol Aiming Light (PAiL) as a replacement for the AN/PEQ-14 and for use with the new Modular Handgun System.

PAiL must mount to the integrated rail on MHS and offer a white light and Infrared (IR) capability Because the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) determined that a visible pointer is currently not required PAiL will provide the user with greatly increased P (h) when using Night Vision Goggles (NVG). The additional white light must provide visual recognition in dark or night time applications.

Originally referred to as Multifunction Aiming Light or MFAL, during requirement definition, PdM SPTD took a look at Streamlight TLR-8 and the LaserMax Defense Pistol Enhancer.

Just prior to SHOT Show, LaserMax Defense was informed that the Army had selected their solution, the Pistol Enhancer as the new PAiL.

The switches are designed to be operated while wearing gloves and both the white light and IR illuminator (while using gen III Night Vision Devices) are designed to provide positive weapons ID at 40m.


WHITE LIGHT: 175 lumens (typical) of white light
IR ILLUMINATOR: 175 mW (typical) of 850nm illumination
IR LASER: 850nm 0.7 mW max (class1) eye safe aiming laser

Length: < 2.8″
Height: < 1.4″ (not below trigger guard)
Width: < 1.5″
Weight: 2.6 ounces with battery

The Pistol Enhancer offers two hours of continuous use with a single CR-123 battery, which can be changed without removing the device from the weapon.

19 Responses to “US Army Selects LaserMax Defense Pistol Enhancer as Pistol Aiming Light”

  1. Vic Toree says:

    I get that the focus was IR/NV use, and I get that it’s cheap (MSRP of $349/ea) – it does the IR/NV part and the cost is always a big consideration, so truly – I get it.

    What I can’t get my head around is a 175 lumen white light being issued for ANY use in 2019 and beyond, much less for a weapon light.

    Save the space, complexity, cost, simplify the switching, and just run it without that tiny useless bit of white light if the focus is night vision compatibility.

    • Yawnz says:

      Cheaper to provide lights to handguns than to provide every solider with NVGs.

      • some other joe says:

        Because mounting a tube at noon when you’re continually transitioning between light and darker areas is a better solution?

  2. Marcus says:

    I liked this product from the first time I saw it. Very innovative and compact. My only issue was the light brightness. Too bad they don’t make a civilian version. Even their listed price point is lower than anything else comparable on the market.

  3. Pat says:

    My concern with this is that, considering those who have a real need for a pistol mounted white light, IR light, and vis / IR laser, this is likely only intended for people who have considerably less need. If that’s the case, why bother with this at all? Steiner and Surefire, while much more expensive, have much more capable systems. This is almost certainly the choice due to cost…but if cost is the concern, $0 is less than this, and if soldiers who don’t need a higher functioning device, do they really need one at all?

    • tcba_joe says:

      “MP units (mainly, but others as well) are issued PEQ-14s, so we have to replicate that capability for this new pistol even though no unit issues them out” would be my assumption.

      I’ll assume any cool guy unit that wants to utilize this capability will spend the extra money for a much more capable XVL2, X400VIRC, or DBAL-PL.

      • Nick M says:

        10 years of Army Army Army -6 as an MP and I have yet to see a peq14.

        We’d be better suited with a plain white light (with better performance for what we use our pistols for.

        Part of me hopes they get issued because it’s a step in the right direction with MPs actually having a WML. The other part of me hopes they stay in the arms rooms and only get touched for SI and cyclic inventories and our guys use lights and holsters that are already widely available and better performing than a white light from 10-15 years

  4. BoneCrusher6 says:

    For those who are unaware – The Program Office writes the specs of the material solution they are looking for, based on the requirements that are generated. Industry builds a product to those specs. Systems are purchased and tested (yes, tested…) to ensure the material solution/s meet the requirement. After all of that, the Program Office makes their selection and purchases the system.

    Sometimes I get the impression that people think the Program Offices are buying something after a 10 min meeting at SHOT, or based on something they see in a magazine. I assure you, there’s much more to it than that. And the manufacturer is building exactly what they are told to build, by the person/people that control the purse strings. Aka, smart business.

    • Chuck Mac says:

      Smart business is buying a commercially available solution, aka proven over time, versus building and then issuing a system with no historical data. Surefire does this stuff everyday !!! The RFI that was published to buy this cited COTS, but to your point, it looks like the DoD toy-makers went all Crocodile Dentist when all the kids really need is a stick and no parents to supervise play time. Looks like a toy to me in pictures., and 175 lumens confirms it is a toy. $5,000,000 could’ve bought a lot of R&D fixes to the MHS this thing will hang on

      • BoneCrusher6 says:

        I know it’s hard to imagine, but maybe, just maybe, all the systems listed above were actually tested and failed to meet threshold/objective, or failed a KPI outright. Perhaps, and I know it is difficult to imagine, this system was the only one that survived testing. Pretty crazy considering all the pedigree mentioned in these comments, right?!

        I love ragging on the Army’s poor acquisition decision making tendencies just as much as the next person, when it’s warranted. However, I have a distinct suspicion that most people commenting here have never even seen one of these systems, let alone used it.

  5. Ray Forest says:

    Maybe I should quote someone from a popular Modcast that I listen to on occasion. “Ok, perhaps there are combat developers out there that are not doing their jobs”. This gives me the feeling I’ve gotten too many times when I walk into a committee meeting staffed with people who are excited about new kit but in no way versed in its use and quality, and they present a dud that they are already 95% committed to.

  6. Ray Forest says:

    Also ref the 175 lumens, there are still a lot of Surefire M951XM07 lights out there in service. A 60 lumen incandescent weakling that way outlasted it’s usable service life.

    • Sommerbiwak says:

      They could get replacement LED heads for those from Surefire, Malkoff and others. Boom! tax money saved and instant capability increase. Unit installble too! Just switch em out.

  7. lcso264 says:

    and the hits just keep coming….. as stated above, I have to assume unit cost is what dictated this purchase, because it certainly isn’t based on performance and quality…. I guess we will see how these work out once they get issued……….

  8. Attack7 says:

    Fanboys on here! Pistol light, ha! You want your cool brand:

    1) Have your logistician get a TLSP account
    2) Find your budget officer, get MIPR authority
    3) Call a prime vendor on DLA’s TLSP, get a TLS quote
    4) Send the order form in, MIPR approved, awarded, lights headed to your unit
    5) Get back out there shooting, don’t take no for an answer
    6) Repeat with the next capability gap

    All those Army civilians, greensuiters, etc, trying to do their best in a system that’s not friendly for the units. That’s why DLA created the TLSP. Find out about it, use it. The best units do this instead of crying about it for 2+ yrs then everyone changes out and this happens all over again. Bonecrusher told you how it works, and I just gave you the solution, now, “whatcha gonna do PL?