“Patent Pending GripSense Technology utilizes similar capacitive sensing technology to smartphones,” LaserMax’s press release proclaims. “The product contains a detection zone in the area that users middle finger indexes the trigger guard of the firearm and senses the user’s grip on the firearm and activates the light or laser instantly. The user has the option to turn off the light or laser with the push of a button or disable the GripSense Activation and rely solely on the button activation.”

Knowing your target — identifying it before letting loose the ballistic dogs of war — is a big deal. That’s why I have a Surefire light on my nightstand GLOCK 19 (sorry, Max). As for lasers, I think they’re awesome for training. Mounting one on my carry gun, not so much. After trying one in force-on-force, I found I go all tunnel vision on the laser dot under stress — at a time when I need to stay aware of my overall surroundings.

Do you have a light and/or laser on your handgun? Does LaserMax’s news system appeal?

 

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42 Responses to Question of the Day: Light/Laser for Your Handgun?

  1. Yes & Yes. I like & use LaserMax products, preferring them over the competition. Want to check out their new system.

  2. Under the stress of a lethal encounter you will have a death grip on your handgun. Any grip mounted switch will be activated whether you want it to or not. The death grip will prevent you from easily deactivating it.

    A light or laser activated at the wrong times during a gun fight may have a highly detrimental effect.

    Gun mounted lights are great for shooting because you can have two hands on the gun. They are bad for searching because there is a great tendency to search with the muzzle thus pointing a loaded gun in directions that are not appropriate.

    If not grip activated, depending on the design and finger length, the switches often require two hands to manipulate. That will be a problem if the support hand is tasked with other duties.

    Hand held lights allow u to point the light where needed while keeping the muzzle in a safe direction, but also occupy the support hand.

    Neither situation is optimal. For my needs, I chose a hand held light.

    I don’t use a laser because I shoot faster than my eyes can see the laser.

    • Why not both? You don’t ever have to activate the weapon light, but if you need it, it’s there. You won’t lose it (unless you lose your entire gun), and it’s always a backup light.

      Plus, I can imagine holding someone at gunpoint that I would want to keep blinded by the light until the cops arrive. Weaponlight means this is a single hand job, if necessary.

      • Both is certainly an option.

        It is not recommended to hold someone at gunpoint with a gun pointed at the head ir body. Remember the video of the officer who had a ND to the ground right next to the perp’s head while he was being handcuffed?

        • Good point. I was actually thinking about someone who had already gotten himself shot. Still, you’re right about the handheld light in 99% of the circumstances.

        • It’s definitely recommended to keep a firearm pointed at the head of a threat, especially for proper light control. They may have temporarily given up, but at any moment they can decide to resume the actions that forced you to draw to begin with. At that point, they know you have a firearm and have chosen to attempt to take it from you (or otherwise harm you with whatever they already have in their possession) at that point, stopping the threat is paramount and a cranial vault hit is the best way to prevent grievous injury or death from being inflicted upon you.

  3. I’m so conflicted on this I want to add a crimson trace grip activated light to a HD 1911 but I’m concerned about muzzling non threatening people.

    • I see a four rules grey area…

      Never point at something you don’t intend to destroy.

      If I muzzle someone in the dark they are, at that moment, a threat I intend to deal with. Once they are identified and cease to be a threat the muzzling stops.

    • For what it’s worth; a small bit of advice. Avoid gadgetry, esp battery gadgets, on firearms. If it fails at a critical moment, you will likely be thrown off. The gadget itself restricts the value of any training that you might do, costs money that would be better spent on more ammo, training,or gunsmithing to make your chosen firearm better, and in perfect accord with Murphy’s Law will tend to fail at the worst possible time anyway.
      Training and muscle memory exist in your head, and even Mr. Murphy cannot mess with that.
      No matter how dark it might be, there is no excuse for muzzling it if you don’t know what it is. If you can see to identify it, you can see enough to shoot it, at least at combat range. And if you want a light, carry one off the gun so that if it IS a threat, and you do draw fire on activation, it will be at your off hand instead of right at your head. Hold the light with the lens facing down in your hand and you can hold it way out to the side, or over the head so as to draw fire away from you instead of toward.

      • I suppose red dots, nv, and dbals never belong on firearms? Muscles do not have memories, but using your hebbian plasticity is certainly worthwhile. Weapon mounted lights just like guns do not need to be pointed at anything that is not a threat. Baseboard or umbrella lighting should be sufficient if you have a light with the correct lumen and candella for your task. As for your proposed handheld light technique, it may work, but if the light is bright enough the threat wont even be able to see, much less see you.

        • “I suppose red dots, nv, and dbals never belong on firearms?”
          If you would please go back and read my comment carefully, you might notice that it is all about combat handguns. I have a number of red dots on various firearms, esp ARs, range guns, and match guns. I simply recommend against them on carry handguns.
          If you want them, feel free. On YOUR guns. I choose a different path.
          As to the blindingly bright light issue, you might be correct. I’m sure no lethal threat would ever dream of shooting at a light that is blinding them.
          Just FYI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_memory

        • “Avoid gadgetry, esp battery gadgets, on firearms.” I know you want to be right but making things up about a comment available for easy reference is not very bright. Just admit you misspoke, its ok. Or perhaps you didnt, in which case your inconsistency does not lend itself to credibility. Have you actually tried or researched this stuff? If you are blinding someone with an intense light, they will instinctively close their eyes or hold their hands up. Trying this and studying it will both prove its effectiveness. If someone can’t see then he still may get lucky, but the time bought by gaining solid light control with a wml is time you can use to set up a perfect cranial vault shot. They have to fight through and overcome the intital blinding. If the threat doesn’t stop because of the light, you are in the perfect position to stop them.
          Muscle memory is a misnomer and does not in fact exist. It is a term that has over time, through an attempt to simplify metaplasticity, become normal to see incorrectly used as a synonym.

  4. I have both meprolight night sights and a viridian x5L light/laser combo on my primary home defense handgun (semi compact IWI Baby Eagle II)

    If the worst happens my hope is that the bright flashing light and green dot would be enough to persuade a potential home invader to unass my apartment before I’m forced to resort to ballistic encouragement

  5. It’s probably cheaper than keeping the lights on all night, huh? Soon I guess, I need to get some sleep.

  6. I’ve got a light on my FNP 45 that is my bump in the night handgun I also have a crimson trace laser on my Taurus 605 snub-nose revolver that I sometimes carry. I also have a hand held flashlight on me basically all the time so I’m covered.

    The sights on the 605 are non-changeable so I couldn’t switch to night sights even if I wanted to and even in daylight the sights are less then optimal but at least usable. With the FNP I can basically flood an area with enough light to see my target if need be.

    My main issue is finding holsters, I’m left handed so even the biggest shops in the area have only a few to choose from and I have two drawers of holsters I special ordered that didn’t quite work out. I finally found one for my FNP and light I’m happy with so that is the weapon that got the light.

  7. I’ve got a laser on all my carry weapons. I simply cannot focus on the front sight, it’s too close. In daylight I can make it out and can shoot quite well. In the dark, there’s no change, it’s a blurry blob.

    Instant activation is the ONLY way to go. Any laser that makes you flip a switch is ridiculous. I’ve got a regular Crimson Trace on my smallest gun, a Crimson Trace Pro laser/light combo on my medium carry piece, and a Viridian C5L on my largest. They are magnificent.

    “A light or laser activated at the wrong times during a gun fight may have a highly detrimental effect. ”
    There is no gunfight scenario I will ever be involved in, wherein it would be detrimental to the point that I’d be better off with sights I can’t see. I’m not a cop. I’m not a soldier. I’m an old coot defending his own and his wife’s life. The gunfights I may be in are a thug on the street robbery, or a home invasion, or as a defender against a mall or theater or airport shooting. That’s it. I’m not out doing tactical barrel rolls, and I’m not clearing shacks in Fallujah.

    If the Zombie Apocalypse comes, well, maybe there’ll be some scenario where having a weapon-mounted light would be a disadvantage. But then again, there wouldn’t be batteries for it anyway, so — I’m not worried.

    As for NOW — as for the threats I face TODAY — point-shooting gets me on target or close to it, the lasers let me fine-tune, and at least I can see ’em.

    • A gun-mounted laser actually stopped a situation where a friend of mine would otherwise have pressed the trigger. Some road-rager followed my friend into a gas station, and as my friend was pumping gas, the assailant grabbed a baseball bat out of his (stolen, it turns out) truck and came running at him. Friend drew his laser-equipped handgun and presented it, yelling, “Stop!” The guy continued to approach rapidly, and my friend figured if he crossed the plane of the front of the truck (about 20 feet away) he was going to shoot.

      Instead, the laser flashed across the guy’s eyes and he immediately threw down the bat, skidded to a halt, reversed direction and jumped in his truck – not bothering to even take the driveway out of the station: he drove over the curb and right through the landscaping.

      My friend said that if the guy hadn’t stopped at that exact moment, he would have been shot. The responding police officer confirmed (after interviewing the witnesses that verified the friend’s story) that my friend was well within his rights to have shot the guy.

      Chalk up one positive for the laser.

      I have a Crimson Trace on my XDs small, pocket carry pistol, and another on one of my 1911 house guns. My field carry pistol (S&W 329PD) carries a red dot sight.

  8. No, I do not have a light nor laser on any of my handguns.

    I do this for multiple reasons:
    (1) Lights and lasers (especially the batteries) are failure prone. I don’t want to train to depend on them and then be ineffective if they fail.
    (2) Lights and lasers give away your position as well as the element of surprise.
    (3) Lights and some lasers add considerable bulk and weight to a handgun. I don’t want that.
    (4) Lights on handguns are far less versatile than a handheld flashlight.
    (a) If you want to illuminate something with a gun-mounted light, you have to expose your handgun and point it at the object of interest. If you are not sure that the object of interest is a hostile attacker that justifies using deadly force, you are violating one of the four safety rules … and probably violating the law if you do that in public.
    (b) Medium to large handheld LED flashlights will run at nearly full brightness for several hours whereas a gun-mounted light might only last for about 20 minutes. This could be important if you are in a long “standoff” and unable to summon outside help.
    (c) Sturdy handheld LED flashlights, medium and especially large size, double as decent melee weapons. Having a decent backup weapon is always nice.
    (d) A handheld flashlight allows you to hold an attacker at gunpoint and shine your light in a different direction to identify any additional possible threats. Similarly, you can keep your handheld light pointed at an attacker — who will stay motionless since he/she cannot see whether or not you are still pointing your handgun at him/her — and point your handgun in a different direction if another threat approaches.

      • And similar to another poster’s comment, not only can you hold a handheld flashlight up and away from your body, you can even set it down or toss it into a hallway to illuminate the hallway without revealing anything about yourself.

    • Bingo on 1, 3, and 4.

      I used to smother every concealed piece with some sort of integral laser (crimsontrace, laser max, etc). They kept physically breaking, dying, required specific holsters, and offered limited utility. I ditched them in favor of training with a handheld light and using the sights.

      For a nightstand gun, I run a streamlight and it’s held up quite well.

    • 1. Redundency is your friend, pocket light and wml tip the odds in your favor, as does frequently replacing quality batteries.
      2. Not if used properly, this is a training issue. Dont leave iton when it is not needed to gather data.
      3. They do add bulk, but this is a laziness issue. Sometimes I am too lazy to carry with a wml, but I’m working on that.
      4. I agree they can be less versatile, but that does not mean they have no place.
      A. Handheld lights excell in this role for ‘out in public’ use. Wml serve this purpose perfectly in your own home or in a known hostile environment with the use of baseboard or umbrella lighting. (Making use of low and high ready respectively, one of the two should be taking place already)
      B. My 980 lumen pocket light runs for 1.5 hours at full brightness, my 800 lumen wml runs for 1.25 hours at ful brightness. Modern lights also dim much less drastically than previous generations as the battery drains.
      C. A knife is a far more effective secondary defensive tool, as is a backup gun. A wml may prevent the need for a backup as it can be an effective standoff at contact distance, thus preventing out of battery malfunctions.
      D. That is a benefit, but how much more beneficial would it be to maintain light control via wml on the initial badguy, while using the handheld to scan for additional bad guys? That way you are still capable of placing rounds on the known threat while scanning for an unknown threat.
      Another benefit that cannot be overlooked is initial light control on a known threat while keeping two hands on the gun, enabling better shot placement and buying you time to do so.

    • I shot a .380 S&W Bodyguard and shot it a lot better using the laser than the sites. Neither method was particularly fast.

      As far as weapon lights, if something goes bump in the night outside my house it’s probably a raccoon, opossum, bear or something else that won’t shoot back, so I’m not too worried about revealing my position.

  9. I used a weapon mounted light and still think they are the best option until my kids became mobile. The last thing I want to do is explain to my three year old why Daddy pointed a gun at him because he wanted chips in the middle of the night. So for consistency in training and use none of my handguns carry a weapon mounted light. Weapon mounted lights are a better solution to the problem, but may not always be the most appropriate solution.

  10. For HD at night, yes. Other than that, no.

    The wife puts a Glock brand light on her G21 and I put a TLR2s on my USP.

    Other than that I carry a flashlight because finding a holster that takes the USP, GG&G rail and my light and meets my other requirements is a PITA.

  11. HD gun has no light on it – if I need to ID someone, that’s what the light switch on the wall is for. I did put a red dot on it as soon as they could be mounted without drilling the frame, but before that it had a Crimson Trace laser, which is functional the same thing.

    One of my carry guns has a laser on it, but because I always have a light on me and the frame mounted lights make the carry guns too big to conceal, no light.

  12. Wouldn’t be caught dead without on board laser/light on primary and defensive flashlight in my pocket. I don’t have to use any of them if I don’t want. I don’t cheap out on my CCW or try to convince myself the circumstances for there use are extremely limited so I don’t have spend money or take time training.

  13. 800 lumen Tlr1-hl on the carry gun and a 1000 lumen handheld light in the pocket. I want as much light as possible for gathering data and gaining light control. Correct use of umbrella and baseboard lighting is key to effective wml use. If a gun is to be used for self defense or home defense, it really needs a white light.

  14. I have a Streamlight TLR3 on my pistol in my nightstand. No complaints, it’s very bright. if I point it at the floor of any room it illuminates the whole room.

  15. NOT for EDC. Only green laser is somewhat useful for daylight, and at night, after the first round your night vision will be mostly shot anyway. It also gives away your position. I only see downside for my EDC weapon.

    For my nightstand I have a laser equipped P-232 and a tactical flashlight. I like to hold the flash away from my body and keep the finger activated laser off. If I spot someone, the grip response will activate the laser, and the criminals watch the movies, when the little red dot starts moving they know what is coming. It is reported to be a very intimidating thing, one might not have to lose more hearing by firing indoors because of the red dot. Crooks are not cats.

  16. I agree with every word that Tex Ted said
    Lasers do not give away your position
    Only in a room is filled with smoke (like a shooting range) can you see the beam of the laser
    The laser allows you to shoot from unconventional positions without bringing it up to your eye
    If the batteries fail, then you are back to iron sights

  17. I stopped using electronic optics such as lasers and red dots on my handguns because of repeat failures. Even the pricey brand names failed. If you shoot often, expect to replace your fancy optics often.. they just don’t hold up. However, a laser or red dot might be a necessity for you if you have eye issues or other challenges. I like the lasers and red dots but will not rely upon them on my defensive firearms due to the failure problems. On my two home defense home ARs, my red dots ‘co-witness’ with iron sights. I won’t give up on electronic optics but it would be nice to find one that held up to long battering at the range.

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