Cheap Chinese Laser Sight – what’s inside

I have another hobby – target shooting. Also, once a week I also lightly compete in a relaxed rules USPSA-based tactical shoot. I am purely an open sight shooter but, recently, I was reading a thread on an on-line forum about laser sights – specifically debating if cheap laser sights were ever worth buying.

I have no interest in using laser sights and, therefore, I will never invest in a proper set – nonetheless the on-line discussion intrigued me from a technical perspective. So, on a lark, I purchased on, eBay, a cheap $15, including shipping, laser sight directly from China, with a goal of testing it to see just how good, or bad it would be. The package’s branding is EB – Ever-Bright.

Ever-Bright Laser Sight

Ever-Bright Laser Sight

Shipping took almost a month but the Chinese laser sight finally arrived. The unit is a casting of some sort of metal – it looks like aluminium. There was no manual at all, as in NOTHING, and there were no markings on the battery terminals. With a 50% chance of damaging the device I inserted the battery with the “+” end out towards the screw cover retainer. Fortunately, that turned out to be correct.

From outward appearances the laser sight looks nice and gives the impression that it would work well for indoor or night/evening operation. It is not bright enough for operation in direct sunlight. The fingertip operated slide switch operates smoothly with a satisfying click of its mechanical detent. Consequentially, in a store’s showroom, the Ever-Bright laser would seem like a quality made bargain product. Ah, but looks are often deceiving.

Upon mounting the Ever-Bright Laser Sight onto a pistol’s Picatinny rail, with the supplied allen wrench, it was out of alignment for both windage and elevation. Using the smaller supplied allen wrench, I adjusted elevation to match where the iron sights aimed (which is correct). Windage was another matter. Turning the windage adjustment screw beyond maximum – to the point that it was about to fall out, it became obvious that I would never be able to adequately adjust windage towards the right. Time to open it up and see how it worked.

First I removed the two Phillips head screws that retain the switch assembly. Be careful – there is a tiny steel ball bearing under spring pressure and you don’t want to lose it.

laser-sight switch retainer

laser-sight switch retainer

Next, I used a punch and vise to remove the dovetailed metal plate that covers the circuit board. Be careful here as there is another spring under the plastic oval.

Cover Plate Removal on laser sight

Cover Plate Removal on laser sight

Once open I could examine how the adjustments were accomplished. My impression of the Ever-Bright Laser Sight took a big tumble at this point. The laser, inside the brass barrel, is secured on the front end within a plastic “C” shaped mount. The rest of the laser is unsupported and basically free floats. Adjustment is best explained in the photo after the one immediately below.

laser-sight Adjustable Mounting

laser-sight Adjustable Mounting

The plastic oval and spring, sitting on my finger, sits over the flat spot on the laser’s barrel and pushes against it. The flat spot is at a 45º angle so as to apply pressure in two directions at once. The windage and elevation adjustments are accomplished by screwing  Allen screws against the laser brass barrel, against the spring tension, until the desired deflection is accomplished. The aforementioned spring pushes the laser barrel against the Allen screws. Only the windage screw can be seen in this photograph but the elevation screw works in the same manner.

I was expecting to see a laser tube firmly captured in a two directional gimbal-like mount that would not permit vibration to move the laser. I also expected the adjustment screws to have mechanical detents that would prevent vibration from shaking them loose. I was disappointed on both counts. As is, I don’t see how this sight could possibly retain a setting over time. I expect that, after a few shots, it will be pointing somewhere other than where I set it

Adjustments on laser sight

Adjustments on Laser Sight

The drawing below is my drawing of the laser in cross-section to illustrate how the spring and adjustment screws function together.

Laser in Cross Section

Laser in Cross Section

I was able to get this sight to point true by using a screwdriver to forcibly move the brass laser tube towards the windage adjustment screw. I don’t have a lot of confidence that it will stay there once the pistol that it is mounted on is fired.

I will test it in the coming weeks and I will update this post with the results.

Now, having expressed negativity about the Ever-Bright Laser Sight I believe that there is something that could be done to salvage it – maybe. I have thought of a way that may make it permanently sight true for one, and only one pistol. Assuming that the laser moves under test, I would readjust for aim and then lock the adjustment screws with locktite thread-locker.  If the laser still moves under test, I would readjust for aim then (1) Again lock the adjustment screws with locktite thread-locker; (2) open up the laser sight and encapsulate the laser tube into permanent position with electronics potting resin. Since I don’t want to spend much more on this piece of junk laser sight I may simply use Hot Melt glue as my potting compound. When this is done, the sight should stay true for the one pistol that it was sight on.

Ever-Bright laser-sight Mounted

Ever-Bright laser-sight Mounted on 9mm Pistol

UPDATE

I range tested the Ever-Bright laser sight on the pistol, as shown in the photo above. I took no extra care when transporting the laser equipped pistol, placing it in the bottom of the range bag and piling targets, hat, earmuffs, etc. on top. When I opened up the bag at the range the laser was on, meaning that the stuff above had knocked on the laser’s switch. I then proceeded to fire approximately fifty 9mm Luger rounds. To my great surprise the laser mostly stood up to the firing. I say “mostly” because the dot did move about an inch to the right, at 12-yards, from its initial sighting. Possibly putting Locktite on the adjustment screw threads would have prevented that from happening. I am really surprised – I thought that the sight would get horribly out of alignment yet it did not.

For now, I have removed the sight from this pistol and gone back to what I love – open sights. As I said, this was just an experiment and the experiment is now over, as far as I am concerned. Draw your own conclusions.

 

 

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3 Responses to Cheap Chinese Laser Sight – what’s inside

  1. Cheapsucker says:

    Hey, just a question as I am one of the many suckers how have bought this item and am now trying to make the best of it. What size and type of Allen wrench will work for both the windage and elevation adjustment screws? The one that came with the package won’t even fit the screws on the laser. Also, if you wouldn’t mind explaining where and how to apply the locktite to the adjustment screws, I would be greatly appreciative. I will only be sighting this in for my one pistol so I figure I will just lock it in and hope for the best.

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    • celem says:

      The wrench that came with my sight fits. Anyway, I used my other wrenches to answer your question. I was able to adjust the sight with a 1.5mm hex wrench. I recommend putting Locktite Blue on all screw threads, even the two holding the switch in (remove those carefully, one at a time to avoid the spring and ball bearing flying away). Apply a small dab of Loctite Blue directly the threads of a removed or backed out screw, then screw back in. You only have 10 minutes of working time after it is applied. With force, a screw sealed with Locktite blue can be removed. That is not true of Locktite Red, which requires heat for removal – DON’T USE LOCTITE RED!

      Locktite website:
      http://www.loctiteproducts.com/p/t_lkr_blue/directions/Loctite-Threadlocker-Blue-242.htm

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  2. Mike says:

    I purchased one of these cheap rail mount lasers and I have been nothing but pleased. After purchasing it I have fired over 1000 rounds (9mm) and it is still holding the same target sighting as when I originally adjusted it. I would recommend using “VIBRATITE VC-3” on the threads, it is made to be reusable over and over (so much better than LOCTITE BLUE or PURPLE) For $10 even if you had to replace it every other year it it would be a bargain for the casual user (I don’t think this was intended for SWAT Team members) So I got what I paid for …. an inexpensive laser that I feel comfortable having mounted on my rail for SD. I think if I had to put a quick target on something without looking down the barrel through the sights in a hurry I could rely on this.

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