Question of the Day: Do You Use a Laser for Practice?

Ever wonder why you’ve been pulling your shots to the right? Is it bad trigger finger positioning? Lack of breath control? A case of the yips? That Laserguard’s good for more than entertaining the cat. It can show you in real-time crystal clarity what your muzzle is really doing up to and through your trigger pull. And as this NSSF vid points out, you can do it dry in the comfort of your own home or yard (observing safe gun handling practices, natch). And think of all the ammo cost you can save in fine-tuning your trigger pull. Do it often (and effectively) enough and you can just about pay for your laser in saved ammo cost. Do you use your laser to practice?

comments

  1. avatar Jim R says:

    I will as soon as I get one.

  2. avatar Shire-man says:

    I have a laser bore sighter I use. It was cheap and works. Can’t draw from a holster with it obviously but for actually pulling the trigger and sight alignment it does the job.

  3. avatar Charles5 says:

    No lasers. I would rather spend the money on ammo.

    1. avatar Jeff says:

      Look for one of Travis Tomasie’s videos on dry fire practice. He said something to the extent of going to the range is the live performance. The dry firing is the practice where the techniques are rehearsed and fine-tuned.

      As a law enforcement firearms instructor since 2007, I firmly believe this both for me personally as well as the hundreds of students I’ve seen through academies I’ve instructed. Even when I prepare to go to additional instructor and tactical schools, I’ve found the slow dry fire practice in the home to be one of the best resources for honing skills. (This is also true for practicing combat reloads, tactical reloads, weapon malfunction drills, weak-hand weapon malfunction drills, etc.) “Smooth is fast.” It is a great way to reduce/eliminate “recoil anticipation” and “trigger jerk.” The laser for me has been invaluable. I use it to practice for longer shots (15-25 yards) and have someone spot the laser for me. It allows me to focus on the front sight and they can see any trigger jerk, etc.

      1. avatar Charles5 says:

        There is definitely something to that. However, I don’t want to spend the money to put a laser on all three of my carry guns. I don’t like the Crimson Trace style that puts the laser on the frame just below the slide because it interferes with my high grip and is always activated if I have a firm grip on the firearm. I don’t really care for guide rod lasers. The only lasers I am ok with are mounted on a rail and that adds extra bulk. I do have a laser light combo on my nightstand gun, but not on any of my carry guns.

        Incidentally, I do a lot of dry fire practice, but I just watch how much my sights move from the target.

        1. avatar Jeff says:

          That makes complete sense. The only 2 handgun laser units I have (with the exception of the CT on my MP340) is a TLR2 (old one from 2007) and a X400. The TLR2 has been on my duty weapon (G21) for years, and I can also use it on my Beretta’s with the rail as well as my 1911’s and a few others I have with rails (point of impact varies, but that’s not what I use it for). Most of my practice with the laser is on my G21 and my Ed Brown 1911 I use for IPSC. I have tried the CT on the 1911 in the past and had the same problem with the high grip (especially if my trigger finger is straight on the rail. I sold that set and have stayed with the light combo units.

          I did try the LaserMax guide rod on my G21 about 7 or 8 years ago for a month. I had a lot of failure to feed issues (the slide would not completely return to battery 100% of the time, especially around the 5th or 6th round in a magazine, similar to limp-wristing). I sent that thing back quick. I know some people that really like it and haven’t had issues, but it didn’t work for me.

          I wish I could switch over to the X400 (I like the pressure pad) on my duty weapon, but Safariland doesn’t make a 6280 holster for that combo. 🙁 I recently picked up that unit (the new high output version), and it is about 5X as bright as my old TLR2.

  4. avatar Timbo says:

    I find the laser distracting. I do have one integrated into the light on my nightstand gun. But I ignore it for aiming. I do not like to practice dry firing with it as I don’t want to get into the habit of relying on it. I concentrate on the front sight.

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    What else could you use a laser for?

    1. avatar Gordon Wagner says:

      Cat toys.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        I use a laser boresighter or a little bore light with laser for that. But I think that the cats are catching on.

  6. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    No, I do not use a laser for practice.

    With practice most people do not need sights for effective combat accuracy at distances to 10 feet or so. That methodology means a person can put rounds down range at the fastest time physically possible … and do so even if their laser battery or the laser itself fails.

    Lasers really shine (pun intended) when trying to put precise rounds on target at “long” ranges without a lot of practice.

  7. avatar Sean N says:

    I like lasers for plinking, or squirrel control..
    I like the idea of a laser as that added intimidation deterrent. But that’s not really something you can count on. Just because I would beat feet at the sound of a shotgun being racked and a red dot, doesn’t mean everybody else would. And I do hate the idea that somebody might count on the sound and the dot, more than being able to pull the trigger.

    For training trigger control, locating flinches and such.. sure.
    For live fire, I would do without it. I’d hate to need a crutch.

  8. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    They are fantastic for dry firing in the home.
    Quadruple your trigger time AND shoot bad guys on TV!

  9. avatar Maineuh says:

    My LCP has a Lasermax on it. When I first got the gun, I thought I’d be using it all the time. Instead, I tend to forget it’s there. The little .380 is a point and shoot gun. I’ve gotten accurate by aiming with boy eyes open and firing. I’m pretty sure I won’t be making any 50 yard shots with the LCP. The laser is sort of helpful with dry firing exercises, but mostly it’s just a pain in the ass when ordering holsters.

  10. avatar alanhinMN says:

    I just put a dime on top of my G17 slide.

  11. avatar Anon says:

    Dry fire and hopefully intimidate someone I am confronting (I kind of think if you saw someone pointing a gun and laser at you, you might want to run, which is what I’ll be doing).

    I know about brandishing but if I draw to shoot and the target is no longer a threat, I’m good to go.

  12. avatar dwb says:

    I do now. I was never sold on it, but I finally sucked it up and decided to try it. Holy cow, what a difference. First, I can take 15 minutes to practice any time I want, don’t need to shove my stuff in the trunk and drive 20 minutes there and then back.

    Second, dry fire practice is one thing, but seeing where the aim point landed is a whole other thing. I just hang a standard target on the wall down the hall 30′ or so and use a Laserlyte Universal Pistol. I don’t think you need to go big and fancy, but it helps to have a device that shows you where the barrel is aimed when the hammer drops. It costs the equivalent of maybe 250 rounds ammo. It was well worth it because my groups are significantly smaller and I practice a lot more, whenever I feel like it.You can practice with whatever gun you are using, and practice drawing from a holder. There is no way I would get as much practice if I had to rely on schlepping to the range. And if you are trying to work out some heeling or flinching, nothing like dry fire practice with a visual feedback.

    Of course, its a heck of a lot more fun to actually put lead downrange, and it’s not a substitute for learning to put the gun back on target. But it it absolutely will shrink your groups and improve your trigger control so long as you practice, for about the cost of a few hundred rounds of ammo.

    1. avatar Bill says:

      Do yourself a favor and get a Laser Ammo target too. Superb device with a regular target mode and a quickdraw mode. Fun too.

      1. avatar dwb says:

        maybe. But I can walk around the house and pick out little targets from 10 yards without having to move a target. I can pick out some of my wife’s knick knacks and blow them away, which is not only good practice, but its cathartic. Since I do not aspire to be Jerry Miculek, I am not sure what an additional electronic target for do for me. I am quite happy with 1/2 minute of bad guy.

  13. avatar Hannibal says:

    Most people I know who pull their shots are flinching. They don’t flinch when it’s not loaded.

    1. avatar Logan Miller says:

      That’s me. Not sure how to break the habit of recoil anticipation. It’s a son of a b.

      1. avatar publius2 says:

        Lots of dry fire practice.

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        I know, I picked some up when I broke a finger. Firing a bunch of low-powered stuff seemed to help.

    2. avatar Mike says:

      I run into the same thing. The only way to catch them is sneaking in the dummy rounds.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        It’s like a magic trick.

  14. avatar CJ says:

    No, but my kitten does.

  15. avatar Gordon Wagner says:

    I’m not sure I see the benefit of a laser sight like this one aside from the bore sight laser I used to zero in my AR15 build (very useful). Today I learned that my computer glasses are MUCH more useful to me than my distance glasses @ the range! The target may be a fuzzy dot, but the front sight is crisp. One of those I-am-stupid-again-today revelations. Gotta get a pair of bifocals @ the eye doctor.

  16. avatar Jim March says:

    The right laser:

    http://www.wickedlasers.com/arctic

    Doubles as a secondary weapon system…a really, really evil one at that.

    🙂

  17. avatar Lolinski says:

    I find lasers too hard to use, jump around way too much.

  18. avatar Andy Roberts says:

    I use a CT LG-619 or LG-626 and dry fire hundreds of times every day. I have never seen a better way to practice, stay sharp, and teach than with these tools. Unbelievable amount of improvement and it’s simple to keep your skills sharp. Shooting discipline is a perishable skill. No matter how good you are, you drop back to a lower level without practice and actual shooting. Since I started using lasers about 6 years ago I find that I’m quickly back up to speed when I hit the range. I don’t spend an entire session getting back to where I want to be. I get back to that level very quickly and can move on to more advanced things in the same amount of time. With a laser there is no excuse or reason not to practice. It’s free and can be done anytime no matter the weather or whether you have ammo to spare or can afford ammo.

    Best investment in training and self-defense I’ve ever made. Nothing else even comes close. Even if I didn’t like or want a laser for defense purposes, I would have at least one for training and teaching. Money very well spent.

  19. avatar pirateye says:

    None of my firearms have lasers, but I use the SureStrike laser training system for my 9mm and wouldn’t part with it for anything. I am not an expert shot, but I sure am a lot better. Doing 300+ trigger squeezes at tiny reflective targets in an evening makes a huge difference. No matter what system you try it saves a good amount of cash. I’d rather spend my money at the range hitting the X verses learning to hit the X.

  20. avatar Justin_GA says:

    I use the Laserlyte system with multiple targets in rubber head and torso target. I figured I could spend a grand on the laser system in my basement or a grand on 500rnds of ammo. At the time laser was a no brainer. Honestly it became really fun. Like a video game. Learned to shoot instinctively instead of with sights. After a couple of of playing around everyday you get really good, I mean really good. Last time I went to the outdoor range with a good friend he couldn’t believe how fast I could draw, rack the slide and hit the torso of the steel target.

  21. I have CT grips on both my full-size and Officer 1911s and on a S&W model 60 snub. At the range I run a mag (or cylinder) or two with the laser to confirm POI, then the rest of my practice is with iron sights.

    Early on I had a serious flinching problems and dry fire with the lasers helped bring it under control. And with the DA revolver trigger hours of dry fire with the laser helped me keep the dot on a doorknob 30 feet down the hallway.

    Another big help with flinching while shooting live ammo is to load two or three rounds in the cylinder and to anticipate a ‘click’ each time.

  22. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    I use it not for routine training, but for reality checks with disbelieving students. Some will forever blame the firearm and the ammunition for their inaccuracy, rather than focus on stance, grip, breathing, etc., until they see the laser movement first-hand.

    It’s the difference between finding causes and making up excuses. The laser serves a great training purpose by bouncing around on the target, resplendent and revealing, pinpointing precisely the degree of control the shooter has over the firearm. Then, one variable at a time, adjustments are made and accuracy improves.

  23. avatar sigp42 says:

    Interesting some of the responses here. I seem some use it for practice and some for longer distances. I have a lasergrip on my Sig P938 for the sole purpose of “up close and personal sudden draw no time to extend arms holding pistol close to my body under stress where the hell am I pointing” defensive situation. The assumption is that seeing the laser in a defensive situation as such will let me know where I’m about to shoot. Imagine drawing while someone is close enough that it’s not a belly shot, but not far enough you’ll be able to extend and aim. Simulate that, then add stress factor, add “civilian never been in that kind of situation before and can only train so much to prepare” factor, and see where your muzzle points. It could be anywhere, right on target, off to the side, at your feet, you don’t know. Practical application of a laser? Debatable, but I think it has merit. If I can extend my arms though I’m using iron sights.

    I do use it in dry firing exercises as well, to see how much movement there is with my trigger pull, but I can do that with sites lined up just as easily.

    The other purpose is potential intimidation factor, again defensive secnario. I never use it to aim during live fire, iron sites only. Aiming with a laser just feels weird to me.

    So for practice, I can see why some people like it, but I personally don’t think it adds all that much. Defensive scenarios, if auto actuated on the grip, it could prove to be invaluable which is why I have one. It’s like that one, odd, sort of misplaced tool you have in your toolbox… It’s always in there, and may not apply to every job, but man has it come in handy sometimes.

    1. avatar sigp42 says:

      To add… I don’t think any amount of dry fire will fully make you a better shooter. It will help with a few things, or possibly improve your self awareness with fundamental mistakes you’re making, but nothing replaces range time. It’s like shooting light plinking loads at the range then putting +p+ in for carry without ever shooting them. Different worlds.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Does the laser come on automatically upon leaving the holster? Because I wonder if someone under stress would have the dexterity and wherewithal to activate it manually.

      1. avatar sigp42 says:

        Mine actuates by gripping the gun (http://www.crimsontrace.com/products/manufacturer/sig-sauer/01-7070)

        I would only use grip actuated lasers personally for the same issue of stress/dexterity and trying to actuate something on a rail… Or use something like veridian’s system, but you’re stuck with their holster. Some will say what if you don’t want it on, and, well, it may be a trade off, but you can still grip it without turning it on, just have to practice. I see it this way, if I don’t want it on, but need to draw, chances are a situation like that will be preemptive and not as stressful, and I’d have a better chance of being able to control the finger that actuates it…. But if I need it on, it will be on when I grip in a panic.

    3. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      Assuming the 3-3-3 rule is accurate, that most DGU’s take place within 3 yards, last 3 seconds, and consist of 3 shots, then I’m not so sure that lasers have much tactical value for regular people. There’s the already mentioned difficulty of activating it. Plus, within that range, I don’t see how you could miss, anyway. Put another way, I don’t see how a laser could help if you can’t hit at near point blank range on hour own.

      My biggest concern is that I would become fixated on the dot myself and distract myself from other events around me, such as position of friendlies. Overall, I’m ok with lasers for training, but not convinced of their utility in a DGU.

  24. avatar Elephant Rider says:

    Next Level Training’s SIRT pistol is awesome for dry fire training.
    Definitely has improved my trigger control and accuracy.
    http://nextleveltraining.com/content/sirt-specifications

  25. avatar Bob D Calif says:

    I can’t put a laser on my carry as it would be a “modification” , so why bother for practice?

  26. avatar Chris says:

    I used to have a laser mounted on what was then my house gun; a 92FS. And my wife and I both practiced with it. I’m a better double-action shooter today because of my Crimson Trace. And I’d rip the slide off that bad boy and use it as a dog toy. Some dogs love lasers more than cats do! Whenever my dog sees a gun, he gets excited. I don’t know if that’s good or bad…

    1. avatar racer88 says:

      Ha! I have a cat that comes running if she hears the action of a pistol or the sound of dry fire.

  27. avatar Jack says:

    What a great way of seeing what you’re doing wrong and practicing proper technique. Great piece of advise/

  28. avatar TiC says:

    In addition to the SIRT pistol, they also sell an interesting AR15 bolt replacement that shines the laser when you fire and resets the trigger. The only reason I don’t have one is that it only works for single stage triggers. Mine are two stage.

  29. avatar Phil says:

    I practice iron sights first, laser second. I haven’t had a pulling problem, but when letting new shooters try my LCP, it definitely shows the last second flintch.

  30. avatar DOnald123 says:

    The Laserlyte cartridge is GREAT practice. It improved my performanc with real rounds by 25% in a month. I practice “shooting” at a 8 inch circle without aiming at 25 ft and have seen great increases in my hit rate. It doesn’t train you to deal with recoil but it is great practice for trigger control and first shot accuracy.

  31. avatar racer88 says:

    I’ve got all sorts of lasers. My initial intent for a laser was in line with their marketing…. to aim shots. As I gained experience, I realized that I didn’t really care much for using it as a site for shooting. But, I did realize that it served quite well to illustrate trigger control issues. I’ve got a rail-mounted laser. I’ve got a guide rod laser. I’ve got a laser bore site. I’ve got the Laserlyte Pistol Trainer (LT-PRO) with their special Trainer Target. And, now I have the Next Level Training SIRT-Pro pistol.

    They’re all cool and have some usefulness.

    I don’t really use any of my pistol-mounted lasers anymore…. at least not for actual shooting.

    The downside of the Laserlyte Pistol Trainer is that, with my pistols, I have to either reset the striker or cock the hammer between shots. The Laserlyte Trainer Target is a pretty slick gizmo. (I wish it reacted to green lasers, though.)

    The Next Level Training SIRT laser pistol is the ultimate in dry fire training, IMO. The trigger resets. It’s nearly identical to a Glock. (The trigger is adjustable.) The ergonomics are the same. The weight is similar. It has a weighted, removable magazine. The only thing the SIRT pistol doesn’t duplicate is recoil. So, I can use the same holster, as well. It is a pricey gizmo, but I see a lot of value in it.

    1. avatar racer88 says:

      Typos… writing too quickly. Not “site”…. rather… SIGHT. I write about website marketing a fair bit, and my fingers were on autopilot.

  32. avatar 2hotel9 says:

    Guys? I think a lot of y’all missed the point. He does not mean a sighting laser permanently mounted to a weapon. He means a training laser that is inserted into the chamber. Some you can dry fire on and some you shouldn’t. Depends on how high quality the unit you get is.

  33. avatar Rodrigo says:

    I just got mine! I will start practicing with it ASAP!!! Thanx!

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