You are here so you know what tonight means, esoteric night vision content! We started this year’s Friday Night Lights looking at the B2 Spirit with cooled MWIR thermal imaging. Tonight we look at the Rheinmetall/Oerlikon LLM01 (Laser Light Module 01) which various European militaries use on their service rifles.
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Rheinemetall/Oerlikon Contraves LLM01
Oerlikon Contraves was a Swiss anti-aircraft artillery manufacturer and was acquired by Rheinmetall in 1999. Oerlikon Contraves was renamed Rheinmetall Air Defence AG in 2009. The LLM01 was made by Oerlikon Contraves.
I acquired the LLM01 from a fellow collector last November. To my surprise, it came with two different heads. You can see the odd-looking one above. Normally the LLM01 has an incandescent bulb to produce a mediocre 100 lumens.
Thankfully, Lumens Factory makes an LED replacement head for under $100 and it produces a more useful 800 lumens of white light.
One downside to the LED head is that you cannot filter the light like the incandescent bulb to filter only infrared light. See the accessories list from the manual below.
The accessories list explains what the other head is for. It is an infrared laser illuminator. It is technically full power at 3.8mW and has a rather tight beam, 3m x 3m at 100m away.
Just above the LLM01 main head are the apertures for the infrared aiming laser and visible aiming laser. The shooter’s right side is the infrared aiming laser, and the one on the left is the red VIS laser. In between the two aiming lasers is the IR led for low close-quarter IR illumination.
See flat-headed screws in the laser IR illuminator head? Those are how you can zero the long-range illuminator. The windage and elevation adjustments for the aiming lasers are on their respective sides. They are not slaved to each other and have their own independent adjustments.
The controls on the LLM01 are rather straightforward. There are three activation buttons. One on each side at a 45º angle and a single button at the back. Just above the left side button is the mode selector.
Just above the right side button is the remote switch port.
With the mode selector set to 9 o’clock, the LLM01 is turned off. There are two positions above and below the off position. VIS modes 1 and 2 are below and IR modes 1 and 2 are above. The first mode in either direction is for aiming laser-only activation with the side buttons. So VIS mode 1 will be red aiming laser. IR mode 1 will be IR aiming laser only. If you rotate the selector to the second position up or down, this will activate their respective illuminator and aiming laser at the same time. In the case of the VIS mode, both the white light and red aiming laser will turn on. In IR mode 2 the IR aiming laser and close-range IR illuminator will turn on.
The back button will turn on the illuminator only regardless of the mode you are in. If you are in either VIS mode, the back button will turn on the VIS illuminator. In IR modes the back button will only turn on the onboard close-range IR illuminator. The buttons are constant activation only. Click them and the mode turns on. Click it again to turn it off.
If you have the long-range IR laser illuminator head, instead of the white VIS LED or incandescent bulb head, this head is activated only in the VIS modes. Either the back button or on VIS mode 2 with either side button. But just know that the red VIS aiming laser will activate with the long-range infrared illuminator if you are in VIS mode 2 and use the side buttons.
The Oerlikon Contraves LLM01 is powered by two CR123 batteries. There is a battery door at the bottom of the housing that can be accessed without having to remove the LLM01 from your weapon. Just use a coin to quarter turn the screw and the battery door will open.
Here is an example of the Lumens Factory LED upgrade head. It is a rather floody beam and does not throw very far. Still better than the anemic 100-lumen incandescent bulb.
Here are some photos of the long-range IR illuminator.
This fence is 136 yards away and the illuminator looks very pale.
Mounting The LLM01
The LLM01 came with two styles of mounts. They bolt to the top of the LLM01 housing. One is marked G17/SIG. It is a fixed sliding style mount with a spring detent. It fits GLOCK frames just fine and some Picatinny rails. Here it is on my Glock 17L.
I noticed some Picatinny rails, the G17 mount has a hard time sliding over. The spring-loaded recoil lug does not pull down all the way flat with the mount.
These are based on photos I have seen online of the LLM01. Europeans like to stick it on guns but they put them in weird positions. Usually sideways and it always looked odd to me since the LLM01 is not a small LAM by any means.
The LLM01 sticks out like a sore thumb.
This LLM01 also came with a second mount marked PICA P220. It has ad adjustable knurled knob and a throw lover. However, the throw lever does not allow enough slack in the Picatinny clamp so I always have to loosen the nut on the other side and then retighten it if I want to mount the laser back on. It does allow for the use of this ramped shade. I suspect it is to help shield the laser emitters and light from getting coated with muzzle blast on a handgun. The yellow warning label says, in German, Emergence Of Laser Radiation.
Here is an example of how the LLM01 is equipped on a G36. Or in this case an HK243. It is mounted using a dedicated clamp-on mount that attaches to the G36 dual optic carry handle. You will notice there is an absurdly long remote tape switch so you can activate the LLM01 with your support hand.
Here is Brianmcgeeat showing how the remote tape switch is activated with the support hand. He has it set up for a c-clamp style operation and has the switch at 12 o’clock.
I do not understand what the Europeans were thinking when they made this mount. It is not ambidextrous as far as I know. I do not think you can flip it around and mount the laser on the right side of the dual-optic carry handle. It makes more sense for a left-handed shooter. However, with the position of the LAM, the illuminator will light up the entire side of the gun.
Look at the photo below. Now just imagine looking through the 3x scope or even the red dot above. Your left eye will be blocked by the laser right in front of your face.
The mounting of the LLM01 is not some silly thing that Brianmcgeeat and Scaarat (who owns the carry handle) but I see it often in other photos found online. Here is the LLM01 mounted on Steyr AUG. The photo below has it mounted on the railed optic with a long remote switch that is positioned on the folding vertical grip of the AUG.
Here are some photos from an article we posted earlier of the Austrian Budasheer upgrading their AUGs. They mounted the LLM01 below the railed optic and you can see the Picatinny folding AUG VFG has a cutout for the remote switch.
I guess they don’t care about barrel shadow? Here is a promotional photo by Heckler & Koch of their G28 DMR. I guess they don’t care about a slow-quarter weapon light on their DMR gun. That won’t help illuminate targets past 20m. Not really useful and seems rather silly for a DMR gun. Maybe if it had the long-range IR laser illuminator and a proper night vision clip-on, it would have a purpose.
Here is another G36 but now with a grenade launcher and the LLM01 mounted upside down.
Here is another photo I found on Elbit’s website promoting their night vision goggles. These are German soldiers using a simulation kit but you will notice the LLM01 is mounted upside down at 12 o’clock on the handguard of the G36 with the remote tape switch mounted directly behind it.
Final Thoughts On The LLM01
The LLM01 is big and bulky. I am not really sure how it won contracts other than it is made in Europe. There are better, smaller, weapon lights with built-in lasers that they could have used. The IR illuminator is too weak for any real use other than looking at the ground in front of you. It does not have the output to illuminate shadows or overcome photonic barriers. Even with the 800-lumen LED upgrade, the beam is too floody. Not a lot of throw. A SureFire X400 has a better-shaped beam and can throw light 100 yards away to light up shadows. I do not have the remote switch and like the VarioRay I reviewed a while ago, the LLM01 only has eye-safe power levels for the lasers. However, I doubt a brighter aiming laser is really going to make this more useful. It still can’t light up things far away unless you have the long-range IR illuminator. But even that I find rather lackluster. It is too narrow of a beam. Maybe with the full power tape switch, it could be useful but I did not find it lighting up past photonic barriers at just 100 yards.
I could see the LLM01 more useful for a pistol but due to its massive size, there is no holster that I am aware of that can accommodate it. It seems this laser unit is only popular for cloners who want to copy the look of some European military or law enforcement firearm.
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