In order to shoot something, you need to be able to see it and know where you’re aiming. In daylight, fulfilling both of those criteria is trivial, but once you turn off the lights things get…hard. That’s where Crimson Trace comes in, one of the foremost manufacturers of lasers for firearms. They make a line of products called “Lasergrips” that replace the standard grips on your metal framed handgun and have a small laser built right in. But how well do they work . . .

Installation is an absolute snap. The original grips come off, and the new ones are designed to fit perfectly in their place. The batteries are hidden inside the grips, but once you take them off they’re easily changed. There’s a small strip of rubber that connects the two halves and contains a few wires, but it’s designed to blend into the grip of the gun.

The grips do make the gun seem a little fatter in the hand, which for me is perfect. I have huge meathooks which is the reason I like the SIG P226 so much. And adding a little extra padding (plus the nicely tacky rubber the grips are made from) makes the gun fit my hands perfectly. I can see this being an issue if you have small hands, but I recently taught a young girl how to shoot with my SIG and she had no problem holding it and out-shooting everyone else.

The laser is located on the upper right hand side of the grips which can be problematic for lefties who use a high grip as the thumb might obscure the laser’s aperture. And for right handed shooters, I find my trigger finger sometimes gets in the way when I lay it along the side of the frame. But for me, when the finger’s on the trigger life is good.

The laser in the model I have is activated by one of two pressure switches located on either side panel and placed conveniently right under where your middle finger should lay. Or, if your hands are smaller, it comes into contact with the palm of your hand. So if you’re holding the gun loosely you can choose when you you activate the zapper by varying the amount of pressure you use.

Or, if you’re gripping your pistol in an “OH SHIT” deathgrip, the thing just comes on naturally. Which is perfect, as you don’t have to worry about flipping a switch to turn them off or on. There’s also a version that comes with the button in the middle of the grip for those with small hands. There’s also a master on/off switch for the power, so you don’t have to worry about them being accidentally activated in your range bag and sapping the four hour batery life.

Adjustments are made using a tiny wrench (provided) that slips into a nearly invisible notch. Using the wrench you can adjust for both windage and elevation, but there are no clicks like in a standard scope so its a change-and-test process for adjustment and zeroing. But if you have your sights already on target, you can eyeball most of the sighting-in by getting the laser and the sights to line up.

I know what you’re thinking. “That’s all nifty and stuff, but do they WORK?” The answer is “yes, yes they do.” Crimson Trace brought me out to their Midnight 3-Gun competition to prove just that.

I’m an okay handgun shooter, so I kinda knew where my handgun was pointing. But having a visual confirmation that I was 100% on target for the shots was a tremendous help and let me know if I needed to make a follow-up shot on the paper targets.

In a self defense situation, knowing you’re on target is even more important. If you only have one shot, knowing that shot is going to count is critical. And that’s where these grips absolutely shine.

Crimson Trace’s Lasergrips are designed to give shooters peace of mind about where their shot’s going to land even in pitch blackness and under stress. And for that, its perfect. Compared to using the standard iron sights it’s a little slower to get a “fine” bead on your target (like a small steel plate), but when all you’re concerned about is hitting a man-sized target these are just as quick. And when you can’t even see your sights because its too dark, they’re an obvious choice.

There’s another benefit, too, but it’s mostly for law enforcement. A visible red dot is one hell of a good deterrent – seeing exactly where the round will land if you decide to charge that police officer holding a gun on you. The typical thought of someone in that situation especially when sufficiently inebriated is “there’s no way he can hit me,” but seeing a visual confirmation to the contrary might make someone think twice. And a laser, much like a red dot on a rifle, gives the shooter tons more situational awareness since you’re not focusing solely on your front sight.

Personally, I think a pair of these should be on every home defense handgun. They’re on mine, and I don’t think I can give an accessory any higher praise.

Crimson Trace Lasergrips
Price: $240 – $340 (depends on exact model)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Design: * * * * *
They look just as good as the original, the material gives you a better grip on the gun, and the mechanics of the operation is genius.

Durability: * * * * *
I have no concerns about this product suddenly breaking on me. And even if it does, there’s a lifetime guarantee.

Overall Rating: * * * * *
If you’re concerned about being able to hit a target in the dark, you need a pair of these.

28 Responses to Gear Review: Crimson Trace Lasergrips

    • Polymer framed handguns don’t have replaceable grips, and so don’t work the same. They exist, but they are designed a little different. I haven’t tried these on a Glock yet, so I didn’t want to make too overly broad a statement on their usefulness.

      • There’s a grip version for glock too. For me it made the grip feel too big. The trigger guard laser is great once i found a holster i liked to go with it.

  1. I love mine on a Ruger SR9c, which has a polymer frame. It just sits in front of the trigger guard not on the grips, but sounds like it works exactly the same.

  2. The LaserGrip installation on the M&P line (excluding the Shield) is by a laser enabled version of the replaceable backstrap. Very nicely done and looks/feels great. So that’s one polymer gun where the LaserGrip is well integrated. The Shield uses the trigger guard solution.

  3. Mr. Leghorn, you state “every home defense gun” should have them. Would you apply this to a carry (CCW) gun? Why or why not? Thanks.

  4. I have a full size hk45 and unfortunately CT doesn’t make laser grips for this model. Should I go ahead and get the ct rail laser? Or stick with a rail light and forego the laser? This is strictly a HD gun.

    • Since you state that this will be strictly a home defense gun, I’d say get one of those light/laser combos.

  5. Two things that you may also consider: the warranty on my CTC LG-305s is three years, not lifetime, so check to be sure if that’s a big deal for you. And CTC sends you a free set of batteries every year. Just give them a call. That’s great customer service.

  6. My 3rd Gen Glock 19 has the “older style” laser grip on it, and I am very happy with it. They have proven to be rugged and reliable. Only down side is the bulges on each side of the grip for where the batteries are, and have heard a lot of complaints from people that have bought them regarding that. I have fairly large hands so I don’t mind the added width at all.

  7. I am a firm believer of having lasers on a defensive gun. My CT laser grips on my Glock 23, fit perfectly, they wrap around the grip, since the Glock’s don’t have grip panels to replace. I love how they look and I really love how they work. Your able to take shots from totally awkward positions, since your head doesn’t have to lined up with your iron sights.

    Lasers allow you to put fire on a target by projecting your sights onto the target. Might come in handy in low light environments, oh say like a movie theater, showing a batman movie, when a madman comes in to kill a bunch of movie goers. Just saying……

  8. I mulled over laser sights after a motorcycle accident left my right arm frozen at the elbow and could no longer bring my gun to the Weaver stance and my sighting eye. So for me, lasers aren’t just handy, they’re now a necessary part of all of my defense handguns.
    The one real problem with add on lasers is they can make your favorite holster unusable. No mention here if this is the case with this laser. For this reason, I went with the LaserMax guide tube laser for my P226’s and P228. Simple exchange of guide tubes, a left and right on/off switch is located on the slide release lever. No need to buy all new new holsters.
    For what it’s worth.

    • The CTC LaserGrip does not interfer with MOST holsterhandgun combinations, check their website for a holster fit chart.

      On a side note, I have these installed on a Springfield 1911 ( fits all holsters), two Browning Hi-Powers ( again fits all holsters), a Sig Sauer P226 ( yet again fits all holsters, see a pattern?), a Sig Sauer P228 (yup, fits all holsters), Ruger GP-100 ( fits all holsters) and a Bersa .380 Thunder ( fits all holsters). All of my grips, except for the Browning ones, are the front activated grips. I have recently replaced the grips on my 1911 and Sigs with the ‘mil-spec hardened’ ones and when the front activated grips become availible for the Brownings I will replace those.

      I love these grips, and highly recommend them to customers. In fact all of the guys who work at my shop have them on their carry guns.

  9. Mr. Leghorn, how do you feel laser sites (CrimsonTrace, LaserLyte, Viridian) compare in application to reflex sights (Trijicon, EOTech, Aimpoint, etc)? Perhaps this warrants a future post?

    It seems conventional wisdom is, “lasers are for pistols, red dot sights are for rifles”, though with RDSs getting smaller and smaller….

  10. I bought one for my Springfield. It never works, There seems to be no warranty from Crimson trace, $155.00 WASTED!

  11. I have two – on a full size 1911 and an officer’s model. I’d looked over everything available at the NRA show several years back and nothing really compared to Crimson Trace. They are everything I ever expected, and when one was damaged (after the gun was stolen then recovered) I returned it and it was replaced promptly and at no charge. They even picked up the shipping. If it seems like I’m a raving fan of CT it’s because I probably am.

  12. If you have a Colt New Agent 1911 3″ barrel .45acp you will need new bushings and longer screws to add the Crimson Trace sight because the New Agent has “Slim Grips” (at least mine does). Now for my review of Crimson Trace sights—-Fabulous! You will probably never want any other kind of sight. The Colt New Agent has trench (also called gutter) sights which is simply a milled out gutter down the length of the slide. I could not hit anything at 15 feet. When I went to the range with my Crimson Trace sight my first shot hit very close to the bullseye at 15 YARDS! I found myself shooting at my target from various positions including “from the hip”. Every one of my 200 rounds of 230 grain FMJRN hit my 2 foot square target (granted some where just barely so) but it was great. The only thing that would make the CT better is a lower price, but, then again, you get what you pay for. Lifetime free batteries and warrantee must be factored in the price.

  13. I ordered a Crimson Trace LCR grip for my Ruger LCRx only to discover that revolvers’ frames differ slightly in width. I returned the LCR grip to MidwayUSA. They refunded the purchase price, no questions asked. Good folks to deal with. Am waiting now for a CT grip for my LCRx — and hoping this time that it fits.

  14. I’ve had two sets for about 4&6 years now. One lazer grip, one lazer guard. They made two difficult to shoot well guns about perfect. A J frame snub & a TCP. I didn’t put them on easier to shoot well guns like my 1911 & PP & PPK. The two lazer equipped firearms have become my preferred carry weapons. Excellent fit,finish & function. Free replacement batteries are a bonus. Although I only just replaced one set after almost four years. Great product, if I could put them on all my guns I would.

  15. Crimson Trace will supply you with replacement batteries. Saves you a few pennies.

    I have used both the grip mount and Master Pro rail setup. hey both give fantastic and reliable results. What I like it the rail mount pro also has a 100 lumen LED white light. The only downer is that you will have to buy a holster for extra space needed for this sight.

    Blackhawk makes a nice selection of laser holsters starting at $25,00 to $100.00, I bought a $25.00 IWB holster and it does the job and is comfortable.

  16. Bought a Kimber crimson carry, Great gun, and the lazer works fine, but, the finish on the grips is JUNK ! The gun tends to rest o the forward edge of the lazer pod when laid down, even if you are gentle, the finish is gone in no time. Mine is only a year old, and I baby my guns, and the grips look like Crap on the right side. Of course Crimson expressly deletes the finish from the warranty from the git-go,—gee I wonder why ! Cheap junk, that’s why.

    • It’s a tool, not a toy. As long as it doesn’t make your gun rust, so what? I’d rather lose the finish on my pistol than have a thug kill me. These grips are an excellent investment.

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