Update 7/13/17: Escort has released firmware version 1.1 which should help address the issues jamming the newest guns discussed in this article. Updated testing is showing that the ShifterMax can now detect and jam some new DragonEye guns it couldn’t before, but not very reliably.
Escort has released their latest integrated remote mount radar detector and laser jammers, the Max Ci and Max Ci 360. They’re the successors to the 9500ci and offer all the same benefits with even better BSM filtering, the ability to add a rear radar detector antenna to give you arrows, and they come with new laser jammers that Escort is calling their “ShifterMax” sensors. I don’t have a Max Ci on hand myself yet personally, but I will soon and am looking forward to it because the radar detector is looking very promising in initial testing. The laser jammer side is looking good against traditional guns, but against the latest DragonEye guns with more advanced anti-jamming capabilities, Escort has repeatedly claimed that their new ShifterMax jammers can jam those guns, but testing has consistently been showing us otherwise. This has been a hot topic lately so I’d like to compile and share some of the testing and videos with you so that you can see as well.
Note: A lot of people are upset with Escort right now and, in particular, the way they are handling this issue. Personally I have nothing against Escort and am really glad that they’re releasing a new and more advanced laser jammer. For us as consumers, having more options in the marketplace is a great thing and this is something that Escort definitely needs considering they like to say they are leaders in the industry. If anything, I’d like to encourage them to keep progressing for their sake and for ours. The reason I’m sharing this with you is testing is consistently showing that the initial release of the product is falling short of expectations and advertised claims. Escort is looking into this and can issue firmware updates over time to address this, but their immediate response has been concerning because they are attempting downplay the issue, delegitimize testers, delete test results off their forum, and otherwise keep this hush hush. It’s totally normal for newly released products to need bug fixes, firmware updates, and improvements, but making improvements will be tough if you’re not willing to admit there’s a problem in the first place. (Maybe they are privately, but they certainly haven’t publicly.) For those of you guys who depend on your countermeasures to keep you protected, it’s important that you have an accurate understanding of your jammers’ full capabilities so that you know the degree to which you are protected (or not). There’s some drama associated with the issue right now which I’m not going to get into. My focus in on the objective and verified results. My focus is on your protection. I’m really looking forward to Escort eventually addressing these issues down the line, but in the meantime, here’s how things currently stand.
Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with the DragonEye guns, here’s a quick video overview of the DragonEye Compact lidar gun:
What Escort says about the Max Ci 360 jamming Variable Pulse Rate lidar guns
One of the new benefits that Escort is advertising for their new laser jammers is the ability to jam newer and more advanced variable pulse rate (VPR) guns. (By making the pulse rate variable and thus unpredictable, it makes it much harder, though not impossible, for a laser jammer to know when to send back its jamming pulses.)
On Escort’s forum, they brought this up as well when announcing the new product (naturally, since it’s important) and also say that it works on even the current versions of these guns.
When the new ShifterMax encounters a DragonEye gun, what happens in reality? Well testing will show us for sure.
BRD acquired and tested a Max Ci 360 on the bench early on and found that the ShifterMax was able to alert to one of his older DragonEye guns from 2014, but against three newer guns it didn’t alert at all.
If the jammer doesn’t recognize the pulse pattern and doesn’t even alert, there’s no way it can jam either.
RALETC also acquired a Max Ci 360 and did their own testing as well. You can check out their ShifterMax initial impressions compared to the ALP as well as their Max Ci 360 vs. DragonEye test results. They go into more detail than the overview of the results I’m sharing here. In any event, let’s start from the top.
When RALETC placed the Max Ci 360 on the bench, they found that the ShifterMax series jammers are able to alert to the DragonEye only when ECCM (Electronic Counter-Counter Measure, DragonEye’s name for their anti-jamming functionality) is disabled.
Max Ci 360 only alerting to the DragonEye when ECCM is disabled
Testing on the road, RALETC found that against an older 2014 gun, the ShifterMax is indeed able to jam, but it has difficulty doing so. While it’s able to jam the gun at a distance, as you start to get closer to the gun, the gun is able to punch through and get a speed reading.
ShifterMax able to jam an older DragonEye gun at a distance, but not close up
Against newer guns, just like we saw with bench testing, the ShifterMax is unable to even alert to newer DragonEye guns, much less jam them. Here’s a video showing a late model DragonEye punch right through a ShifterMax like it wasn’t even there.
ShifterMax unable to detect or jam a newer DragonEye gun
After this test was conducted, there was discussion brought up about the way that the GPS works with the jammers. You see, below 25mph, the ShifterMax will NOT jam any gun. Once you go faster than 25mph, the jammers will activate and be able to jam. However, if you are shot below 25mph and continue to be shot as you cross the 25mph threshold, the jammers will NOT jam once you’re at speed.
The reasoning is that in the real world no one would accelerate while they’re actively being shot with laser, but that’s important to note, especially because you’ll notice in the video above, the initial speed reading that the lidar gun registers is 23mph.
People used this as a way of dismissing the test results. However, no matter whether you are above or below the 25mph threshold, the ShifterMax is designed to alert you either way.. this way you know not to accelerate. This is precisely what we saw with bench testing with ECCM disabled where it alerted. However, no matter what speed you’re traveling, the ShifterMax is not able to alert to, much less jam, the newer DragonEye guns with ECCM enabled. Thus GPS is not the culprit here, even if the vehicle was traveling slower initially.
For more detailed info from their testing, check out RALETC’s Max Ci 360 vs. DET Compact testing article on their website.
Understandably after RALETC posted up these tests, Escort’s customers and potential customer started getting concerned about the efficacy of the latest jammers. Escort assured us that their new system can indeed jam the DragonEye guns.
Next, @Dukes from the CACTG purchased a Max Ci (the front only version with no rear radar detector or rear laser jammers) and started doing some testing of his own. His videos and testing are being posted here on RDF.
He tested his Max Ci against a traditional gun like the Ultralyte and the Max Ci alerted instantly. He then grabbed his DragonEye Compact and just like what everyone else has been seeing, the ShifterMax didn’t alert.
Max Ci alerting to an Ultralyte but not a DragonEye
He has since acquired several more DragonEye guns including multiple DragonEye Compacts as well as a DragonEye Speed Lidar, all with different firmware versions.
ShifterMax alerting to an older Ultralyte gun, but not four different DragonEye guns
Again there was more concern that GPS could play a factor in the lack of alerting (despite the fact that it’s alerting to other guns). To address this and see how it performs in real life, Dukes installed the ShifterMax laser jammers onto his truck.
Since he lives in Edmonton, Canada where the DragonEye guns are actively used targeting both the front and the rear, it was easy to get some real world encounters. To see this, he temporarily mounted his ShifterMax heads just above his rear license plate. In Edmonton they use DragonCam where they target the rear, take a photo if you’re speeding, and then send you a ticket in the mail.
He set both his ALP’s and ShifterMax jammers to receive only mode and found a DragonCam set up in the area.
ALP and Max Ci ShifterMax vs. a DragonCam shooting the rear
As you can see, both jammers alerted which is great. They weren’t actively jamming since this was a detection test, not a jamming test, but it looks like Edmonton is using some older lidar guns which is good news for Escort.
Doing some further real world testing, he moved his jammers to the front of his vehicle. You’ll see the two ShifterMax heads just under the G and the C in his grill. (You’ll also see the ALP triple and Stinger VIP triple heads installed in custom 3D printed mounts.)
He then went out and did his own testing with the different guns in his arsenal. As expected, the ShifterMax was able to detect and reliably jam the Ultralyte gun, but just like what we saw on the bench, it was unable to detect or jam the newer DragonEye guns. For further verification, he turned on his Stinger VIP jammer heads and set them to receive only mode so they would detect the DragonEye and confirm that he was being shot, but only the ShifterMax jammers would be doing the actual jamming. (The ALP’s were turned off altogether.)
Max Ci road test vs. an Ultralyte and two DragonEye Compacts
Full test results and discussion of Dukes’ testing can be seen here: https://www.rdforum.org/showthread.php?t=63250
As you can see, the evidence is quite clear at this point. Against older guns, the ShifterMax does have a certain level of effectiveness. Against newer guns, however, including the current guns coming out, the story is different. Multiple testers have all gone and independently verified the claims and capability of these guns. Things have gotten a bit heated and again I’m not going to get into all the details, but Escort is now reviewing these claims.
There was a firmware update that was supposed to be released to address these issues within 1-2 weeks of the ShifterMax’s release, but we’re all still waiting. Jamming the newer versions of these guns is more difficult than jamming the older versions of these guns so it’s not an easy fix. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Escort is able to address these issues, that they do it in a reasonable amount of time, and ideally can do so by working with their customers rather than turning against them out of defensiveness, but that’s another issue.
If you’re looking for a high end remote mounted radar detector and laser jammer, initial tests overall are looking quite good. On the laser jammer front, yes it does look to offer solid protection against traditional older lidar guns and if that’s all you experience, the Max Ci and Max Ci 360 should do a good job of keeping you protected. At the same time, having a future-proof setup is something to consider too when purchasing a new system that retails for $3000 (Max Ci) or $3500 (Max Ci 360) plus the cost of installation.
For more information about purchasing and installing a Max Ci or Max Ci 360, contact a local dealer.
Update 6/28/17: Escort has finally acknowledged the issue and is promising an update very soon to address these guns. Personally I have my doubts because it’s significantly more challenging to jam the newest guns and requires completely different strategies to jam the newer versions of these guns compared to the older versions, but time will tell.
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