The Laser Products Corporation Model 310 is a dedicated handgun weapon light that was a game-changing product for weapon-mounted tactical lighting from the moment it was introduced.
Dr. John Matthews is the founder and president of Laser Products Corporation. The primary reason was to create life-saving products for those who go into harm’s way. In 1985 Dr. Matthews approved to start the project of Model 310. Its design was entrusted to Ed Reynolds, who had adapted the LPC LASER for the AMT Hardballer .45 Long Slide pistol, famously used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator movie.
Dr. John Matthews – Founder and President SureFire (formerly known as Laser Products Corporation)
Using the Colt M1911 as a guide, Reynolds made a wooden mockup and some prototypes followed up. The process was still very primitive, the first ones were machined out of extrusion, and later they went to investment casting.
Designing a compact light body to securely fit under a handgun receiver with no accessory rail presented was a challenge. Besides that, SureFire was not yet involved in the illumination business and lacked the capability to manufacture specific components like lamp heads. As a result, completing the prototypes required sourcing these parts from another company, which turned out to be more complicated than anticipated. So Reynolds bought whole flashlights and demounted these and took out the parts that he needed. He used the reflector and socket and built their own housing. Continuing the process the very first ones just had a pin that was threaded on the end and after that, they created their own latch. Eventually, they ended up with a low-level light on the gun. The switching was still kind of primitive, but it was a step closer to the end result.
Another challenge presented itself when Dr. Matthews showed an LPC weapon-mounted light to a potential battery supplier because they questioned the safety of the battery in such an application. LPC suggested some solutions to solve the problem and Dr. Matthews decided to hand over the blueprints to the company. After this, LPC designed the modifications that allowed the lithium batteries to work in a weapon-mounted light. The CR123A battery became the standard in high-performance compact flashlights and weapon-mounted lights.
In 1985 the first production versions of this unique new tactical light was released by Laser Production Corporation. But their main focus at that time was still the built-in (laser-aiming) systems for the COLT TROOPER and the Remington 870.
Model 310 was made for the Colt and the Beretta M9. The product was constructed of aluminum and weighed 6 ounces. It generated 15 lumens, powered by a single 3-volt lithium battery. Its light was effective for distances out to 5 yards (around 4,5 meters). The light can be turned on by pushing forward on the slide switches located on each side of the unit. To keep the light on, the pressure needed to continuously be applied on the switch. It takes less than 2 minutes to attach the Model 310 to the weapon and can easily be removed.
Model 310 performed precisely as intended and improved user safety by facilitating the identification of potential threats in low-light situations while maintaining a secure and unaltered grip on the host weapon. After successfully obtaining a patent, they proceeded to create a compact housing for a Remington 870. After that, they replicated the same process for long guns. The Remington 870 is a 12 gauge pump-action shotgun for tactical and home defense use, with over six decades of service.
Once the Model 310 became available there was a high demand for the product. It was a game-changer and the best-selling tactical tool of its era. Another change was the renaming of Laser Products Corporations to SureFire. SureFire continued to advance in laser aiming technology and create high-performance illumination products with advanced features and high durability.
Model 310 laid the foundation for SureFire’s products with more advanced technology. The SureFire X300U is now the golden standard in handgun-mounted weapon lights. Nevertheless, the Model 310 is still being used and appreciated by a lot of users and collectors.