Sunday, February 13, 2011

Test and Review: The LaserLyte FSL-3 subcompact laser


Being a high powered gun blogger like Carteach0 is not without it's........ awww, who am I kidding? Even *I* can't say that with a straight face. The point is, companies sometimes send me their products on loan, in the hopes I will write about them here on the blog. In most cases I am happy to do so, as long as everyone involved understands the ground rules. I
will play with the item, chances are I will abuse it, and I will most certainly tell the truth about what I see.

As can be imagined, there are a few companies who have heard those conditions and shied away. They will not be mentioned here by name, which is rather the point.... is it not? One (not to be named) distributor actually wanted a signed contract stating the product would not be damaged! Well shucks..... Carteach could demolish a steel ball using nothing but a rubber mallet, given some time to think it over.

LaserLyte is one of the companies that
didn't run away, and they have sent along a few products for testing and review. This article is about the second of them... the FSL-3 Subcompact Laser.

On the basics.... well.... a laser is a laser. You turn it on, and a shiny spot appears out there someplace. With luck and good design, the spot is bright, and aligned to the bore of the weapon. Everything after that are 'features', and that's mostly what I'll write about here.

What seems to make this laser different from the myriad others on the market is simply this: It's size. That, and the fact that nothing is given up in achieving the tiny package.

The whole rail mounted unit is less than an inch long, and half that in height. The builder states it will fit on anything that has 3/4" of rail free, and within certain limitations that is correct. It must be at least a 3/4" behind a free slot in the rail, and of course in a place with open frontal coverage.

To test that claim, we mounted the laser on three different pistols. An ISSC M-22, a Glock G-30, and a S&W M+P 9c. All three pistols are on the small side, with both the Glock and S&W classed as compact carry pistols.

It was in the swapping from pistol to pistol that we almost reached a very bad conclusion on the FSL-3. After the switch from one pistol to another, it quickly became clear the unit was not going to reach a zero on several of the weapons. It simply would not adjust far enough to bring the laser dot in line with the bore. This fact made the unit useless, and to be honest it was packed up and ready for shipping back to the company at that point.

In communicating with the LaserLyte folks about the problem, they suggested we do something before giving up on the unit..... and that was to back the adjuster screws out to their limit and just let the laser rest in a warm place for an hour or so.

That did the trick... and the laser became fully and easily adjustable to point of impact on all three weapons every time. The idea of letting the laser unit rest before adjusting it to a new weapon, that speaks volumes about how the unit is constructed. It would be poor manners to gut this loaner and splay it's innards across the table for inspection, but just based on the adjustment technique we can picture what we'd see..... and Carteach approves. I suspect the way the laser is mounted in the housing accounts for the adjustment procedure, and also for the incredible recoil resistance of the unit. LaserLyte has a video on YouTube demonstrating the FSL-3 being used on riot shotguns and magnum pistols, without problems. On a personal note.... any company that can work Dr. Evil and 'Sharks with Lasers' into their video in any fashion at all.... that's a win.

Something that should be noted: As of this writing, there is nothing in LaserLyte's instructional material about allowing the unit to rest between adjustments. It's possible this is the first it's being mentioned in the wild.

What Carteach found is this.... the best way to adjust the unit after installation is to back the adjustment screws all but out, and put it in a warm place for an hour or two. After that, make all your adjustments by turning the screws in clockwise until the exact zero is reached. The instructions do say the last adjustments need to be clockwise, and that is certainly true. It would also be of value to make sure all adjustments are clockwise after the unit rests.

The good part to this... once the unit is adjusted this way, it holds it's zero through everything up to and possibly including Armageddon. Short of beating it loose on the rail, it holds it's zero nicely.

In use, it only has two controls, and they are simply left/right versions of the same button. Push either button on the back of the unit, and the laser comes on. Hold either button for five seconds solid, and it switches modes from solid laser to flashing laser (and doubles battery life as well). Hold it for five seconds again, and it switches back. In either case, it will switch off after the choice, and the button must be pushed to bring it back to life. Once a mode is chosen, that is how it will turn on for every activation, till it's programed to the other mode.

The FSL-3 takes four teeny tiny watch batteries to power it's laser. These can be... interesting... to handle, but even big ham fists like Carteach's can get the job done. The laser comes packaged with a spare set of batteries, and that's a darn nice bonus.

Activating the unit simply requires stretching the trigger finger forward from it's safe position a bit and touching the button. The off-hand can do it as well.

As a laser for carry pistols, it would be easily workable with the right holster and some training. But... where it really appears to shine (Get it... shine?) is on the home defense market. It's so small that it can be mounted to literally anything with a rail, be it shotgun, rifle, or pistol. LaserLyte also makes a shotgun tube rail mount, which would appear to be perfect for setting up a home defense shotgun with both this laser site and a flashlight if desired.

MSRP on this laser is only $99, but MidwayUSA retails it even lower right now at $79.99.

One last note.... Shooting the ISSC M-22 with this laser mounted on it, after dark in the back yard..... that there is some fun!


drjim said...

Thanks for the tip about Midway!
I almost bought it direct from LaserLyte.
I'll be installing it on my P226 that I keep in the bedroom.

Old NFO said...

Interesting, one thing I noted is you didn't get a life cycle for the batteries...

Carteach0 said...

NFO, I didn't manage to deplete them over a few weeks testing and play. I know the spec is listed on their website, but I don't recall if offhand.

kingslider said...

Distance-wise, how far out is the laser usably visible? Great article, please keep those reviews coming.

Carteach0 said...


I used mine at short distances mostly, but I did send it out across the yard a few times for fun. In darkness it's easily usable out to 75-100 yards. In low light, I'd cut that back to under 50 yards. In normal room light, 25 yards is doable. Especially in the flashing mode. That's an eye catcher.

kingslider said...

Thanks much, Carteach0, I appreciate the quick reply.

Anonymous said...

Love this laser on my PPS...but it sat way to foward so I milled in a grove for the set screw and man what a now pretty much activates on the draw from my finger being at discipline . Batterie life is very good but I wish the laser was more brighter. Also cold realy diminishes its performance.
As of right now this laser is sitting on my new PPQ...not as easy to activate as my PPS because I haven't milled in a grove to get the laser closer to the trigger guard.

alakdan net said...

Mine did not settle to left after the reset time, i gently push the elevation hole sideway towards the windage hole and seems ok now.

Rico Jimenez said...

May I ask for the size of the hex adjustment tool? The hex tools I have do not fit into the horizontal and windage adjustment slots.

Thank you.

Carteach said...


I'll try to measure one for you today.
They are TINY!

Carteach said...

Rico, I believe it's .035"