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Crimson Trace laser (courtesy

Crimson Trace sent out a press release on the Top Ten Reasons for Owning a Laser Sight. Five of them are [self-serving] marketing blather—deleted here in acknowledgement of the value of your time and your continued exposure to anti-gunner blather. But five of the sales points are worth consideration. Make the jump for their pitch. And tell us: do you have a gun with a laser on it? Which gun, which laser and, most important, why? As for the philosophy of NOT mounting a laser on your gun because the targeting system might fail an inopportune moment, well, what about it? . . .

1) Holding Is Aiming: If your firearm has a laser system (such as Crimson Trace’s Lasergrips® or Laserguard®) installed and aligned, where the laser is projected is where the firearm is aiming-period. Crimson Trace lasers are factory sighted at 50 feet.

2) Lasers Instill Confidence: Any firearm with a laser sight can be quickly aimed, even in low light conditions or when the user-or the target-are moving.

3) Laser Sights Offer Distinct Advantages: Handguns are compact firearms that can be difficult to aim because of small or no sights, but adding a laser sight can help the shooter with point of aim and to achieve more accurate shot placement.

4) Laser Sights Can Reduce Threats: Everyone has seen laser sights on firearms used in movies and TV, and in the real world lasers can Help Bad Guys Make Good Decisions™. – Click here for more.

5) Real World Application: Having a laser sight can save your life. Click here for more details

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  1. I don’t, for two reasons. First, I don’t need any crap hanging off of my handgun or messing with holster fit. Second, I’ve timed my shooting with and without a laser; I’m just as accurate and fast with and without. Honestly, the first few times I tried a laser sight was was markedly slower with it. Third, if I’m going to put something on a handgun that improves speed and accuracy, it’s going to be a red dot, not a laser.

    • Mr. Smith, A few days ago on this site there was an informative post about the majority of shootings (DGU or otherwise) being un-aimed and at very close range. The shooter’s ability to acquire the sights, whether open or Red Dot, appears in most cases to be irrelevant. That being said, the use of a laser to paint the target even from the hip or in awkward positions without having to align the pistol with your eye is the major point of such systems.

      Anyone with a little bit of practice can learn to align the sights and hit the X ring on paper given no rounds coming back their direction and plenty of time for target acquisition. Doing this under stress and/or when flat on your back and experiencing adrenalin dump is not so easy. I’ll bet if they mounted even a paint-ball gun downrange to fire randomly in your direction your accuracy would suffer dramatically.

      The other point is that for too many of us OFWG’s the eyesight is no longer up to managing open sights, especially on pistols. I do reasonably well with open sights on my J-frame at short ranges if I am satisfied with a torso hit two times out of five, but my Ruger SR9c with Crimson Trace nails center of mass every time barring operator error.

      • Cliff’s mention of rounds coming back at you my test of movement is exactly why I don’t have a laser. Try running, I mean hauling a## and hitting a still or moving target. With a laser, if the laser is not on target I have a hard time acquiring it. With iron sights, I always know about where they are pointing and can get them on target long enough to score good hits. Doing that with a laser is not nearly as easy for me. I am waiting or hoping for the laser to cross the target and then I have reaction time to pull the trigger.

        • @SAS – The laser is obviously not a magic pill that will solve every problem. In certain situations, especially moving, you would have to rely on other skills if you wanted to make a shot in transit. The real point in this discussion is that a laser has certain advantages over regular sights or even muscle memory in some scenarios and when those advantages are not approproate to the situation the laser is not in the way of other solutions. Not rocket science.

    • The CT laser built-in to the grip is not in the way of anything and definitely helps me aim a little 38 snubbie revolver.

  2. Lasers are… ok. I have one. The best use I’ve found for them is training by dry firing (with a snap cap) with the laser to better reduce movement/jitter during the trigger squeeze and the shot.

    I don’t think I would actually use it in a tactical situation. Mostly because I don’t think i’ll have time to fiddle with the switch and also the beam can give your position away.

    • With my Crimson Trace it is more difficult to get the laser to NOT come on than to make it work. The button is on the grip and as soon as you get a firm hold on the pistol the laser comes on. n the event of laser (unlikely) or battery failure the open sights are still available. I certainly do not myself and would not recommend to anyone that they train ONLY with the laser. You should have at least a passable ability to hit your target with the factory sights should the laser quit or get broken a scuffle.

    • “and also the beam can give your position away.”
      This is a myth.

      If using a flashlight or other incoherent light source, then there is a visible beam of light emanating from the source, and that can give your position away. This is not true with a laser (coherent) light source, because the beam of light is invisible, unless you are in a smoky or foggy environment.

    • No and don’t ever intend to on a handgun, but it’s not because I’m not SWAT, I just personally feel that a good flashlight used in conjunction with a handgun works better for me.

      • A flashlight will not help you with shot placement.

        A well-adjusted laser, as from Crimson Trace, will…..

        Especially if you have multiple targets to ‘service’, or, as in the Klackamas Center incident, you want to be EXACTLY SURE where the bullets are going to hit.

        Additionally, a flashlight adds a LOT of bulk to a compact pistol in a concealed carry situation.

        • TO: Roscoe
          RE: Under Stress?

          ….will, IF you have good trigger control…under high stress. — Roscoe

          Very few people, especially those without LOTS of actual combat experience have such.

          And even a lot of those combat vets get the shakes in combat.


          [If your shooting stance is good, you’re probably not moving fast enough nor using cover correctly. — Marine Corps Rules for Gunfighting]

        • I run my flashlight independent from my carry gun(s), Glock 19, if carrying a brace of 19’s I have/will (sometimes) run a Surefire x300 on the secondary 19. Never been a big fan of lasers on handguns and to your point of multiple targets to “service” if my focus is on getting/seeing a laser on target rather than laying down lead I believe I have already lost.

        • TO: Ross
          RE: Seperate Carry of Flashlight

          You’re still:

          [1] Demonstrating to the opponent where you are.
          [2] Showing the opponent what direction you’re looking.
          [3] Destroying your night vision.
          [4] Can’t establish an ambush.

          All of these are tactically disadvantagous.


          [Be Prepared….Be Trained…..]

          P.S. RE: Lasers & Multiple Targets to Service

          All you have to do with the laser—if properly matched to the pistol—is point and click. No need for using the iron sights. You can even LITERALLY SHOOT FROM THE HIP!

          Hell….maybe all you need to do is sweep the laser across the opponents eyes.

          I’ve even considered setting up a device of multiple Radio Shack laser pointers to activate and spin like one of those disco-light balls to ‘entertain’ intruders.

      • Ross,
        Absolutely agree about the flashlight; it’s desirable to see what you’re shooting at.

        • TO: Roscoe
          RE: Pitch Black

          …. it’s desirable to see what you’re shooting at. — Roscoe

          You must live in a cave, not to have any ambient light available. Either that or you have absolutely NO night vision.

          If I hear an odd noise in the house at night, I don’t turn on a light. Instead, I depending on the nature of the noise:

          [1] Alert the distaff.
          [2] Get the ACP.
          [3] Go through our ‘battle drill’, accordingly.

          Our night vision is just fine. We don’t need flashlights to alert intruders to where we are.

          And in the daylight, a flashlight is just additional junk, compared to a laser.


          [Be Prepared…..]

      • A laser works well in almost any lighting conditions, a flashlight, even high intensity, not so much.

        If you are in a low-light situation where you are concerned that the laser may give away your position you probably should not take the shot anyway. On the other hand, a quick target acquisition with the laser, fire, shut the thing off. Not like the movies where they leave the laser on all the time and swing it around the room.

        • Malarkey. Laser suck in bright sunlight, and do not aid in target identification. Unless I want to look badass in the fog (and clearly give my position away) I’ll pass.

        • No argument there. In very bright light the laser has limited applicability, and a flashlight even less. However, as pointed out a few post lower on this thread, neither a laser or flashlight prevents you from using your factory sights or any optics.

          Lasers do not and are not intended to aid in target identification. If it’s that dark you really should know who and what you are shooting at already and if you flip on a flashlight guess who just got first chance at target identification? Most likely the BG spots your light before you spot him.

          I really don’t understand the animosity regarding lasers. If you don’t want to spend the money, don’t. If you’ve got a good one you know they weigh almost nothing, are not in the way, and can be used or not as you desire. Where’s the downside?

        • TO: Accur81
          RE: Bright Sunlight

          Laser suck in bright sunlight, and do not aid in target identification. — Accur81

          As if one needed ‘target identification’ in bright sunlight.

          So how often do home invasions take place OUT DOORS!???!?!

          Inside most buildings, except green houses, you don’t HAVE ‘bright sunlight’.

          Most home invasions take place at night. And even in the daylight, the house keeps out ‘bright sunlight’.

          Or do you live in the proverbial ‘glass house’?


          [There is no known cure for ‘dumb’.]

        • P.S. ‘Fog’??!??!

          Unless I want to look badass in the fog (and clearly give my position away)…. — Accur81

          Do you run a smoke generator in your house? Or is the humidity so high that your humidifer generates ‘fog’ indoors?

          If it’s the latter….how do you cope with the mold infestation?

    • If you ever have to protect property from looters after a natural disaster, a laser is awesome. Mine is in the gun safe – I’d only mount it for such a situation, since I agree with the drawbacks everyone has mentioned.

  3. I have put a laserlyte guide rod in my wife’s glock to help learn better trigger squeeze and make it more fun but that was it as far as lasers.

    • That’s exactly why I have LaserGrips on one 1911. The grips are are similar in shape to my non-laser pair. I only use the laser periodically to see what I’m doing as I pull the trigger: I use the metal sights, but have a friend stand behind me and watch the gyrations of the laser beam. It’s informative.

  4. I do not. I’ve thought about it, especially as my P238 doesn’t have the Siglite night sights, but I’d have to buy new holsters if I did.

  5. Yes, yes and yes. Springfield Loaded, Colt Officer and S&W m60. It’s particularly helpful when dry-firing the revolver to watch and learn how the point of impact changes during rapid firing of a double action trigger.

    My eyes aren’t as good as they once were even with glasses, and if they got knocked off, lost or broken I can still make out the laser on body mass.

    That said, I practice with the iron sights and point shooting w/o the laser, but run a dozen or so rounds with the laser to confirm it’s aligned properly.

  6. My Bodyguard 380 and my Sig P290 both have lasers… I’m not sure I’ll ever use them – not planning on turning on the laser before I pull the trigger. Another thing I noticed, is that I have to _practice_ shooting with the laser instead of looking for sight picture… they mess with each other. Never shot in the dark… how do I practice that?

    • At my club we have a 50 foot indoor range, and since I usually have the place to myself (surprising since there are 900 members) it would be no problem shooting with some of the lights off.

      I think they even hold events where they do that or have some strobes going for fun/competition.

  7. Not any more.

    First, I’ve found it doesn’t improve accuracy. Second, it takes me longer (timed) to get on target with a laser. (This may not be the case for someone who is new to shooting .)

    Third, and most important, after attending numerous jury trials as a reporter, you can’t convince me otherwise that an actual DGU with a laser-equipped gun won’t be fodder for any prosecution or a possible civil case. For all the reason Crimson Trace lists in their reason (4). I’ve seen lawyers twist factors that should be positives for the defendants into negatives. You will be portrayed as a Rambo wanna-be, a gun nut with a laser. ‘Cops don’t use lasers, why did you?’ They will berate the use of a laser just like they would if you had a bayonet attached. It happens. Lucky for Mr. Zimmerman he didn’t have a laser.

    • Zimmerman…perfect example of why a laser is un-useful. Most citizen DGUs will be at close quarters and of very short duration. Laser won’t be of much use there.

      Also, a lawyer using the tactical features of your firearm to impeach one’s assertion of self defense is a VERY good point. Note how the State AG tried to use Zimmerman’s self defense training and Criminal Justice course against him during the prosecutions presentation of its case to paint him as the aggressor. ANYTHING is fair game, unless the judge disallows it.

      In my view, on a pistol, a laser is a toy.

    • And if you don’t have a laser they will claim that you didn’t care who your bullets hit. Second guessing prosecution lawyers who will promote any anti-gun argument they can devise is a fool’s errand. Their job I to twist ANYTHING you do to try to make you look guilty of something since their whole professional reputation rests not on justice but convictions.

      Lasers may not improve accuracy, but they do improve hit probability when you do not have time to actually aim the sights.

      As for Zimmerman, he fired from on his back at a target 4 to 6 inches from his muzzle. Even if he had a laser it would not have bee of much use.

  8. Point shooting accurately should be the end goal of any self defense minded shooter. A laser can help you get there. As mentioned above, dependence can breed disaster.

    I use mine to practice center mass shots from the draw. It can be useful tactically as well. I think the key is just to avoid dependence.

  9. TO: Robert Farago
    RE: Laser Equipped Weapons

    All .45 cal ACPs have Crimson Trace lasers on them.

    All AR-15s have sniper scopes and AimPoint red-dot sights.


    [Be Prepared]

    • Do you mean “all of yours” or literally “all.”

      By the way, this is another of the really stupid applications of the interoffice memo format.

      • Try not to be so obtuse…..

        Seriously. You got a .45 cal ACP? Does it have a Crimson Trace laser on it?

        Do you see such at gun shows and stores?

        • Why would you have a laser sight on your rounds? Wouldn’t that make it hard to chamber them?

        • TO: Gyufygy
          RE: Heh

          Why would you have a laser sight on your rounds? — Gyufygy

          Apparently you’re not familiar with the acronym ACP.

          Let me disabuse you.

          ACP stands for Automatic Colt PISTOL.

          Hope that helps.


          [The Truth will out….there is no known cure for ‘dumb’.]

        • … I think person I was screwing with is screwing with me. That must be it. I hope that’s it. I reeeeaaaally hope that’s it.

        • TO: Gyufygy
          RE: Heh

          … I think person I was screwing with is screwing with me. That must be it. I hope that’s it. I reeeeaaaally hope that’s it. — Gyufygy

          It’s not smart to ‘screw’ with a knuckle-dragging genius.


          [Am I getting smart with you? How would you know?]

  10. Yes and No. I have a Kimber Solo that came with one but I do not use it. None of my other firearms have one. I tried using it outdoors at the range once and could not see it on the target as the sun was too bright. Other than that I forget it is there and never turn it on.

  11. I don’t have anything on my gun that:

    -makes it bigger,
    -gives me another non-critical button to worry about fiddling with,
    -adds a chance of being surprised with a failure of some sort,
    -announces my presence on walls or around corners,
    -points to my location in fog or dust,
    -and most of all forces me to play eye-spy across the room with some flitting little cat toy on a long lever arm rather than just slapping that front sight in my own hand on the bad guy and pulling. Why should I take the time to find an follow a dot across the room when I already know where the front sight can be found?

    The only shooting situation I could see a laser being useful for is if you wanted to peek around cover in one direction while shooting around it in another direction. That sounds too fancy for my tastes though.

    I like lasers in non shooting situations to:
    -train my awareness of how and where the gun points,
    -and as a visually magnified indication of good trigger control (if the dot across the room on the wall flits then trigger control was poor).


    • TO: Don
      RE: The ‘Button’

      -gives me another non-critical button to worry about fiddling with, — Don

      The activation button on a Crimson Trace laser is ‘pushed’ automatically, when you grip the handle of the firearm. It’s built into the ‘grip’.

      So you don’t have to ‘fiddle’ with anything, after mounting and aligning the laser.

      On the XDm, it adds about a half-inch forward of the trigger guard.

      On any M1911, it adds a quarter-inch to the right side of the pistol grip top, just under the slide.

      Hope that helps.


      [Be Prepared….to outfight the opposition…..]

  12. S&W airweight with a Crimson Trace laser grip. Because the sights on the revolver aren’t that great; and because it is my carry gun, I may not have time to properly aim my shots. I also have a surefire laser on my HK USP Tactical. Because the suppressor blocks the iron sights and the laser makes it easier to aim. Also, according to the MSM and Hollywood, a silenced pistol with laser sights makes me a dangerous, tacticool, ninja, hit man.

  13. Yes, but no.
    I have a laser guide rod on my XD-9 subcompact. To activate it, I have to push a little button in the shaft of the take down lever. It’s a little tricky to get sometimes. I doubt I could do it (if I even remember to) in a high stress situation. My other guns, including my other three carry guns, are laser free (unless you count aimpoint holosights).

    Under 10 yards, I practice point shooting, because I expect in a stressful situation, I might just point the gun and pull the trigger until the bad guy goes away.

  14. Yes; only on my main home protection weapons, set up only for short range shots needed to be taken quickly, along with other optics & lights.

  15. Yes and no. I have a green laser on my hunting rifle. The 6x scope is
    sighted for 300m and the laser is set for 25m. Works pretty well
    when a rabbit jumps right in front of you. I don’t use one on handguns
    or my AR, except for practice.

  16. I used to believe lasers were a crutch for people with poor accuracy. I own Crimson Trace grips for my Colt 1911 and I love them. The ability to fire from cover is a great advantage. Not having your face behind your firearm but still being on target was a big selling point for me. Also the ability to fire accurately from a compromised position when you are unable to get a clear sight picture is worth it.

  17. I agree as an officer that’s why I have one on my sidearm works well and especially for dark or low light situations.

  18. Yes,
    and not for accuracy. The reason I have one is intimidation. I practice with the iron sights (if I remember rightly, a NYPD study of about 35 shootings and about 55 cops involved: all were interviewd and askd if they used their sights, only one said he did). I thought the laser as a good idea until a few times in moving practice I spent too much time looking for the red dot.

    On the other hand, the individual I’m shooting at might just see the laser and panic and run, thus no gunfire or if necessary if the individual hesitates, I’ll get my shot off first. Not for aim, just for intimidation. I will stick with iron sights.

    • I don’t think the NYPD should be anyone’s benchmark for pistol competency. Just sayin’…

  19. Lasers hadn’t been invented yet when my guns were new (not just lasers sights, but lasers in general), so I feel like it would look silly.

  20. No. never felt the need. Tho as I age, I may re-consider. I have to wear my glasses now just to see the front sight with any clarity.

  21. Don’t have any lasers on anything.

    I’ve tried them. I found that they reduced speed of acquisition, and mostly, (I believe) by changing where and how I was focusing. When I have a laser dot on a target, my eyes are “out there,” and I start trying to bear down, getting the little red dot to cease dancing around. The gun is in the sight picture, but is out of focus.

    This business of trying to get a red dot 10+ yards away to stop moving about is silly, of course, and results in anything but the dot settling down.

    When I’m concentrating on the front sight, I can get a handgun to print groups and put the bullet where I want it. It might be an issue of I’m too old to change my muscle memory of how I aim guns, but I see no practical value of laser dot systems on a handgun or rifle.

  22. Yep, if I have to fumble for my S&W @ night without my glasses on, I’ll take all the help I can get.

  23. Lasers may instil confidence in a novice shooter or maybe when things go bad fast and you cant focus, but I think a betyer confidence booster is learning to do it right.

    • Not only a novice shooter, but many of us who do not have the time or money to spend “learning to do it right.” Much as I would like to take the fancy (and expensive) training course at Thunder Ranch and to pop 100 rounds or so every couple of weeks, or compete in practical pistol courses, who has the money for that sort of thing? And for your average citizen, how much is enough and how much is too much? (That last is rhetorical, I know the answer.)

      • True. Especially now during the great ammo depression. But if you have the time to learn with a laser, why not just line up the sights?

  24. I have a Laserlyte RSL Glock on my G29. It replaces the rear sight, so holster fit is no problem. I have been trained to use my standard sights in most situations, but as others have said, being able to hit a target in a weird position where your head isn’t behind your gun can be an advantage. Also, my one brief encounter with a carjacker ended when I shined the laser in his right eye and told him to get lost. He turned and ran.

  25. I saw a laser on a gun for the first time last week.

    My mom and I went to Cabela’s to get some gun cases, ammo, and other things. I wanted to bring her along to try out pistols and maybe a rifle or two. Since all they had for rifles was M91/30s, and I already own one, the rifle idea didn’t work. This was the Cabela’s in CT, so no good ARs or AKs either.

    She did get a chance to look at a pair of pistols. I was hoping they would have a CZ 97B or CZ 75B, but again, they didn’t. She did get to play around with a Turnbull M1911. It was a very old school styled M1911, internal extractor, a regular non-commander hammer, thin block trigger. She liked it, but at $1700, it wasn’t coming home with us that day.

    She also looked at a SIG M1911 that had a laser built into it. Funny enough, the salesman gave it to her to play around with. She found the laser amusing, but when I asked her later, she thought it was pretty stupid. I agreed with her; it takes about the same amount of time to push the laser button than it does to squeeze the trigger.

    If your life depended on it, are you really going to push the laser button or shoot the gun? And why would you run around with the laser on, wearing out the batteries and giving away your element of surprise?

    • “If your life depended on it, are you really going to push the laser button or shoot the gun?”
      Agreed — which is why the only reasonable laser choice, IMO, is Crimson Trace. Specifically because you DON’T have to screw around with pushing buttons. When you grip the gun, the laser is on. Unless you’re gripping it in a firing grip, the laser is off.

      It’s automatic, it’s done for you, you never have to think about it, you never have to change your training, you just proceed as normal and — hey, maybe you get a bonus of there being a red dot on the bad guy. Or maybe not, in which case you just proceed as normal and as your training dictates.

      I’ve got a LaserLyte on another pistol, and I doubt I would ever use it, specifically because it requires additional thought and effort to turn it on, something I doubt I’ll want to devote brainpower to during an actual gunfight. That’s what makes the Crimson Trace so brilliant– they have automatic integration such that you don’t have to turn it on, you just grip the pistol normally and the laser is inherently activated.

      Seriously, it makes all the difference in the world.

    • Sheeesh ….$1700 ?

      Your first instincts with a CZ75B were right. You should be able to get one in the $550 range. Check

  26. I have one on my USMC rifle, along with IR flashlight, etc., but I’m not fond of it. I don’t like things that point out to others where I am. I don’t think the enemy is entirely ignorant of the fact that a simple cell phone will see your IR light, and anyone can see a laser. I like my position to be a bit more unknown than that.

    • I am amused by the number of responses from people who seem to envision themselves in some sort of intense and protracted gun battle at some distance from the target targets. Where exactly do you folks live and what scenarios are you preparing for? I want to make sure I do visit there.

      In a tactical gun battle, of course, there would be limited utility for a laser sight of any sort. For most of us the most likely self-defense situation will be CQB, very likely in rooms less than 7 yards square or in parking areas, etc. with limited distances. Seems like a shot from more than 30 feet away would be very rare. In those cases, with limited training and even less time to react to the threat, a laser point anywhere on the target indicates a hit on that target and may be the difference between life and death.

      In the long run it is not necessarily who fires first, but who hits first that matters.

  27. I have a Viridian C5L that works great but the problem is it drains the battery when not in use.

  28. I’ve tried them but don’t use them. Apparently, I was a cat in my past life and get terribly distracted by the bouncing red dot and forget about the target.

  29. As several have pointed out, lasers are very good for dry fire practice.
    I have learned a lot from training with a laser on my SW J frame. I also have a CMR-201 rail master for dry fire training that I rotate on handguns and have even tried it on the AR.

    CT sets the lasers at 50 feet, but since I think most incidents happen much closer, I have adjusted it to 7 yards.

  30. I’ve used green lasers in Airsoft, mostly night games, before, but the purpose for that was to attract attention to allow others to maneuver and show people “I know where you are” so they’ll move. From my limited experience with force-on-force games (all for fun) in close ranges the laser may light up too much, especially with light-colored walls (such as white), the same as with weapon-mounted lights that are too bright and end up blinding you as well. Green is good for distance, and has a nice-looking beam at night, but I wouldn’t use one in a real situation. A red laser is less blinding close-in, but still gives your position away. If there were a more intuitive laser switch, like a finger on the trigger, to activate the laser it would make more sense, but too many controls can kill.

    I had thought of using a laser to help newer shooters, as it can help you see exactly where they are aiming and what happens when they pull the trigger, but I don’t want to make them dependent on the laser.

    I’d rather fill those rails with a weapon light (although there are laser/light combos), then again a laser does have a certain Resident Evil appeal to it.

  31. I have a Crimson Trace on my Kahr CW45. I like it for dry fire practice with snap caps. I don’t enjoy it much at the range though.

  32. I most definitely DO have a laser. Springfield XDs, with Crimson Trace lasergrip.

    First things first — lasers you have to turn on, are kind of pointless. The Crimson Trace is a totally different thing — it is automatically enabled when you grip the gun for firing. So you never have to think about it. It’s — just — there.

    How is that a bad thing? I will answer: it is not a bad thing.

    What if the battery’s dead? Well, then you’re no worse off than if you didn’t have a laser at all, are you? But if the battery’s *not* dead, then you have MORE OPTIONS than if you didn’t have the laser, now don’t you?

    So here’s the second MAJOR reason to have a laser: aging. The older you get, the less flexible your eyesight, and especially after age 40 you lose the ability to focus close. I cannot focus on the front sight anymore, at night. I just can’t see it. I can see to infinity just fine, but not up to arm’s length. Having the laser lets me focus on the bad guy, where my eyes actually work.

    Make no mistake: I train without the laser. I do not count on the laser. I can shoot rapid fire and punch out the center of a silhouette at 7 yards in broad daylight with no laser.

    But if I was ever startled in the night, am I going to reach for bifocals? Or just point the weapon and — hey, will you look at that, there’s a red dot on the guy, son of a gun, let’s pull the trigger…

    Not to mention the convenience of being able to fire from cover or at any angle, and not having to drag the firearm up to eye level to be able to get a shot off.

    And for those who preach about the value of shot placement, it is nearly impossible to get more accurate shot placement than with a laser. You put the dot where you want the hole to be, and the gun makes a hole there.

    Learn to shoot without one. Learn to not depend on it. But if you ever are involved in a defensive situation and the laser happens to be working, you’ll be better off for it.

    Bottom line: if you’re talking about a defensive pistol, and you can afford it, there’s no valid reason to not have a Crimson Trace on it. Holster makers accommodate CT lasers. You get free batteries for life. And it just gives you more options.

    That’s my take, anyway.

    • As a 67 year old disabled VN vet, I’m with you 100%. I have CT lasergrips on my carry and home defense pistols for the exact reasons you mention. I do not not have, nor do I intend to have, any lights (laser or otherwise) on any of my rifles or shotguns.

  33. I have one on my rarely used Glock 32. Its in the barrel and I would use it as a back up defense weapon. I have an 870 and a 930 spx, both with tactical lights for primaries for my wife & I. Pity the fool who tries to invade my home.

  34. I used to think lasers weren’t much more than noveltys on firearms. This article presents some valid arguments for laser usage. I just bought my wife a pistol with an integrated laser and am looking forward to practicing with it.

  35. No, and for all the reasons listed above. It actually slows target acquisition and follow up shots, forces either training/use of the laser or of the sights, is too slow or even not visible in very near encounters, it can fail quite easily (batteries, damage, ect). It draws a literal high contrast red line to exactly where your opponent should aim, it probably isn’t exactly prosecutor kosher in some localities, it’s a crutch for having failed to properly learn front sight only and or point shooting skills, makes the weapon bulkier, teaches dependence on the device instead of good fundamentals, it can be easily misaligned resulting in wide misses and thus increases risk of collateral damage. . . I could probably go on but the only place one of these belongs on a pistol is as already mentioned it can be a good training aid when learning proper grip and trigger control in the absence of or in addition to live fire.

    However, as a reflex option on a rifle that is carrying magnifying or specialty optics to enhance rapid reaction to unexpected near threats the laser is a good solution.

    I can also see it’s utility on very rapid cycling sub-machine guns intended for very close range work (entry, vehicle takedown ect. Given the close range and high cyclic follow up shots are. . well automatic. Also on such tactical weapons the lasers function and alignment can generally be ascertained immediately before deployment and the weapon is used only as a weapon or in training, it’s not an everyday arm that gets lugged around in a holster all the time.

    • OK, that’s about all the F-ing “crutch” talk I’m willing to tolerate.
      Enough, especially about something you know little, or less than
      nothing, about. This sort of blatant self-puffery about how you
      don’t need this “crutch” as you put it, is woefully bereft of what
      could be considered by most, an attributable fact, and moreover,
      bleating know-it-all’s hardly ever, in the long history of man, ever, ever, know-it-all, or anything remotely close to it. Sad, but true.

      First, lasers aren’t a crutch, they’re an aid. If you feel the need to feel superior, please, send in your latest targets from 30 feet
      without using your OEM metal sights as proof of your superior
      ability. I’d really love to see if you can even hit the F-ing paper.
      I’ve been shooting for over 30 years, and I’ve seen hundreds of
      shooters, and 98% of the biggest talkers at the range were also
      the worst shooters. Most of them couldn’t hit paper at 7 yards,
      let alone 15 yards/30 feet away. You sound like one of the 98%.
      I have been critiqued/assessed by defensive shooting trainers,
      PPC coaches, and several competitive IPSC shooters as being in
      the upper 2% of expert handgun shooters. At least, I used to be.

      Second, I’ve also been shooting those 3o years without the aid of a laser. Your contention that anyone who uses a laser doesn’t already know how to shoot is the assumption made by a fool, who, without thinking, belittles everyone who is not them. WTF?
      Is this what you require to inflate or prop-up your self-esteem?
      You have quite deliberately chosen to describe a laser as a crutch, instead of an aid, which, through your eyes, only sees others as somehow lacking in skill, or being less capable than you, who, as we now learn, needs no such “crutch.” This goes for everyone who chose the word “crutch” in place the word “aid.” Grow up! Please. Or go tell the SEAL’s and Spec Ops teams what a bunch of losers they are for using their laser sights as a crutch. When they finally discharge you from the hospital, tell us all how well that went.

      Third, my Lasermax can be seen on a beige wall 60′ away in the
      bright Florida sunshine. If you know of a place sunnier or more
      beige than Florida, by all means, inform us. Arizona maybe, but
      sand is pretty much sand wherever you are. So that settles that
      bit-o-dis-info. Our soldiers in Afghanistan get the attention of
      anyone within range when they pop them with their laser sights.
      Attitudes change, and right quick. A laser sight bridges almost
      all language barriers. It’s the international sign of “If you F with
      me, I’ll put a bullet where the red dot is.” I’ve heard that account
      from someone who’s actually been there. Lasers, in day or night
      situations will not automatically give your position away. They
      will however, let the bad guys know that someone has got sights
      on and is prepared to do some shooting. Only a fog or mist can
      reveal your actual position. When this occurs, turn the laser off.
      The ridiculous assertion that target acquisition is more difficult
      with a laser sight is so stupid it doesn’t even merit a response.

      Forth, you proceed with the assumption that everyone is fully
      capable of using standard, non-laser OEM metal sights. Ugh!
      Seven years ago, I was severely injured in a motorcycle accident,
      and my strong arm is now disabled and frozen at the elbow. My forearm is held together with 2 long titanium plates, that are
      anchored to the base of my wrist. Because of this, I can no longer achieve a Weaver stance or an isosceles triangle, and align my eye with the metal sights. My 30 years of practice and muscle memory are nearly worthless because my muscles can’t move to where they once remembered. I now must use a laser sight as an aid to assist me with target acquisition, from about chest height. That’s where the slight bend in my elbow allows me to attain a level plane with the ground. A laser sight, combined with my 30+ years of shooting has allowed me to remain a reasonably effective defensive shooter. Without a laser sight, I would be guessing, at best, where my shot would go. That’s just not good enough. Also, with the Lasermax guide tube mounted laser in all of my Sig’s, I don’t have to buy other holsters to accommodate an externally mounted laser sight. If you have any Kydex holsters, this can be an issue.

      Lastly, please don’t elevate yourself by diminishing others.
      That’s what you’re doing when you call a laser sight a “crutch.”
      My mom had a saying, “When you attempt to belittle others,
      you will only succeed in belittling yourself.” Sage advice.

  36. I use crimson trace lasergrips on my S&W Governor and both of my 1911’s. For self defense they are very useful. Woken up by a bump in the night you are not in top form to sight your firearm, and you can also shoot around your cover to not give your position away with the laser itself. Very useful if your head is not directly in back of the sight line.

  37. Never really tried one. However, unlike some, i won’t tell you that you’re a bad person and horrible at guns if you use one.

  38. Wow CT’s testimonials are terrifying. One guy was being attacked with a hammer, so he used his gun to beat down the attacker and then the laser to keep him at bay…. I know ammo is expensive, but I think I’d let at least one rip.

    To my mind there is no reason to ever show a gun without firing it. Unless the guy can rotate his body away from you and haul ass in less time than it takes to squeeze off a round.

  39. I wear glasses, so I have a CT on my night stand gun which is a glock 20. If you are awakened by an intruder, sleepy and vision impaired, it makes a lot of sense.

  40. I used to be right eyed dominant until my right eye was damaged by illness. I shoot tactical matches at the local range. I shoot pistols RH and rifle/shotguns LH. When I transition to right side to pie a LH corner with my AR I use a CT laser. Even thou I still use my left eye I’m a smaller target now.

  41. You really don’t know if it would help or hinder in a high stress situation unless you’ve been there. I haven’t and hope I never am. I shoot my LCR in practice with it and without it. I suck equally both ways.

  42. I tried the Crimson Trace Grips on my Beretta 92A1 and didn’t like them. I didn’t like how sensitive the activation button was. Barely grasping the grip caused is to engage, which some people may want, but I didn’t. I didn’t want it to engage until I had firmly grasped the grip. Also, when I placed my trigger finger along the slide, it completely blocked the laser. In the firing position, my suppressor blocked the laser. No good. I will stick with the Streamlight TLR-1 and my suppressor.

    On another note, I love all the guys that justify their laser for dry fire practice. If that is an added benefit of having a laser, fine, but the guys that immediately jump to the dry fire as their primary purpose in having a laser make me laugh. You know you could buy 1000 rounds of 9mm for the price of the $300 laser? That is a lot of ACTUAL firing practice.

    To each his own. If you like a laser, fine put one on. I don’t like/nor need them. My AR actually has no optic on it of any kind as I prefer the iron sights.

  43. Not on any of my guns. Thinking of getting some sharks and mounting frickin’ laser beams on their heads. . .

  44. It never really occurred to me in this way before, but I have decided that the “lasers reveal my position to the enemy” is by far the stupidest of the commonly heard reasons on this subject. We are not special ops on a secret mission behind enemy lines, we are “just folk.” If, as we all acknowledge, the likelihood of getting into a gun fight is pretty small for us “just folk,” and then further reduce that by the possibility of the goblin in the incident using our laser as a breadcrumb to find us, the resulting level of possibility is so low that I would be embarrassed to actually use this reason out loud in conversation. It’s just that stupid.

    • Yep. And, at least with CTLG’s, you have no need to reveal your position until you’re ready to pull the trigger. Ten years from now our ‘guns’ will be all laser and no bullets, with Radio Shack parts mounted on fine tropical woods.

      • Yeah, I’m gonna stay away from beam weapons until they work out the overpenetration issue.

  45. Do I?

    Not only “no” but HELL NO.

    Times every AR I’ve got.

    Too many folks think they can buy practical abilities in a bubble pack in aisle 3 of Gander Mountain.

    Laser on a rifle?

    Spend the money on some training instead.

    You’ll be miles ahead of the guy who bought the laser and put it on his rifle “to give him the edge”.


    • My local Bass Pro had 3-packs of practical ability on sale last weekend. I bought two so I’d have an even half dozen. On the way home, I got in two accidents, and then once I got here I cut my thumb opening a twist off beer bottle. Guess that purchase was money down the drain, because it clearly didn’t do shit for my skills.

  46. Cliff H writes: That being said, the use of a laser to paint the target even from the hip or in awkward positions without having to align the pistol with your eye is the major point of such systems.

    Hey Cliff: How long does it take a bad guy to cover 21 feet?

    In my 16-years of experience as an instructor, I’ve seen far too many (damn near every one, in fact) people with lasers on their gun that fool around trying to find the laser dot on the target when they need to be shooting.

    While Cliff’s looking for the laser dot instead of using a trained, instinct shooting technique, the bad guy will be on him quicker than you can say supercalifradulisticexpicalidocious.

    • John, I have seen the videos of the “knife to a gunfight”. I understand how quickly a man can cover 21 feet if that is his intent. I also understand that you cannot predict nor prepare for every scenario.

      I have three pistols (S&W 686, S&W J-frame and a Ruger SR9c). Only the Ruger has Crimson Trace because it is my usual carry gun.

      When I can afford to train at all I practice both sight and point shooting with all three at an indoor range. The point shooting builds my muscle memory to aid in quick target acquisition. The laser, as I use it, simply gives me very quick confirmation that I am in fact on target and can squeeze off the round. I NEVER hunt for the laser dot as I have already pointed the pistol and I am pretty sure about where that dot should be. It’s usually pretty close to where I expected. I shoot.

      The other real advantage I can envision is that when NOT pressed for time it is possible to hold your point of aim from the hip or some very awkward positions without having to hold the pistol up to your line of sight. YMMV.

    • TO: John Boch
      RE: Instinctive Gun Fighting

      How many people have the time and money to spend years developing that kind of Wild West gunslinger accuracy?

      Not many, I’ll wager.

      And as for ‘far too many’ people spending time looking for the red-dot of the laser and aligning it on the target.

      What’s the difference in time for doing that and looking down iron sights?

      I’ll wager the laser is less time.


      [Be Prepared…..]

  47. Nope. Just not convinced of the need, only have one gun for everyday carry and home defense. Having to mount and unmount it isn’t worth it to me. Self defense distances are too short for the need. Might consider a Recoil spring assembly type if I ever hear they work well, are rugged enough.

  48. Hmm, they left off the most important reason … cats! 🙂

    Yeah, yeah, muzzling cats is no bueno. But seriously, I like (removable) lasers as training aids, especially on handguns. I think they’re helpful for discovering trigger discipline issues, double-checking sight alignment, etc. But I don’t want to rely on a laser. Batteries can fail, but sights will always be there. If a laser helps me to shoot reflexively better and use my sights and trigger correctly then it’s a good investment.

  49. I have a combination laser/light that I can move to either of my bedside pistols. I adjust the laser to light up just above the point of aim at my expected longest shot in the house, and use it basically as a glorified fiber optic sight… same technique to use iron/fiber optic sights, but the laser is there if I need to take a compromised shot. Putting the laser at the actual point of impact (behind the front sight) would tend to create bad habits I’d assume… And hitting 1-2″ lower than the laser isn’t going to be a huge problem shooting at center of mass.

  50. I’ve got the CT foregrip with light and laser on my S&W M&P 15T. If I have to use it at night for home defense, the ability to have a light and/or laser in a fraction of a second makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Having an instant light without changing my grip is invaluable. I don’t like the idea of walking around in the dark with my laser giving my position away to an intruder but I can hit the button for the laser and have a quick aim even if my rifle is not shouldered properly.

  51. had a CT red dot on my Glock 34 for use at night. good news was it worked well for my needs–bad news is that Hawaii eats electronics and within a year it was smegma. be very cautious about putting any electronics in a potentially fatal point of failure if you live in a salty humid environment…that includes electonic gun safes.

  52. No. One it would give away your position such as in LE. Two, your not really getting anything out of it. If you know where your aiming with a laser then your not getting any down sight practice.

  53. I’d like to point out how funny it is to hear people talk about tactics in a firefight and what they would do with or without a laser, when they have never had anyone shoot at them. All these “tactics” that come from gun mag writers who used to be on a podunk part time swat team 40 years ago and never did anything.
    Personally, lasers are good for two things. Dry fire practice as some have previously said. And IR lasers at night when you walking through a village with NVGs on.

  54. I have lasers on a couple of my “fun guns” but not on any of my carry pieces. Practice with what you have and you should be able to hit MBM at defensive distances sights or no sights.

    Some people around this site seem to forget the fun part of the firearms equation. Fun coupled with responsible firearms handling can be one of the best tools we have to entice new shooters and increase our numbers. It also helps show the uninformed that the “evil gun” may not actually be at fault for all the “gun violence” they see.

  55. I’ve used IR lasers on ARs with PVS-14s against feral hogs, and to me, they’re not optimal. Red-dots work much better and are faster.

    I’ve shot competitively beside people who were normally fast and witnessed the laser slow them down.

    I have an RMR on my Glock19 and it’s taken some time to get used to, but I’m still faster with it than with a red laser.

    Remember that you can lose the dot behind your gun. It can be low and obscured by your own weapon. If you are sighting across the sights, then you’ll immediately know when you’re too low. If you’re only using the laser, then it’s not always apparent and you have to take the time to adjust.

    You can use the sights, or chase the laser dot. When it’s time to shoot, you have to pick which one you’re going to use.

    • Good post. I almost never see someone talk about the difference training-wise for lasers and iron sights. Lasers are not just an add-on that makes everything better. It’s a fundamentally different way of acquiring a target that needs to be appropriately trained and implemented.

      That said, as I get older and deal with the potential need for bifocals, I may explore a laser as a pragmatic matter. I am not excited about working out the potential training interference though. I don’t get to the range enough as it is.

  56. I have a BSA laser on my Rossi Circuit Judge 45/410. I have one because I am a quadriplegic and it i sometime hard for me to hole the dun all the way up to my shoulder and aim. With the laser I don’t have to use perfect mechanics. I cannot use a hand gun because of my limited hand function. The gun moves a lot to the left if I try to fire a hand gun. I will eventually get a short barreled rifle or shotgun so it is lighter. I will put a laser on either of those guns also.

  57. I have lasers on several of my rifles. Am looking at slapping one on my 1911 here soon. The lasers are good for low light problem solving, and creeps never come in broad day light, at least not here, I recently got two green lasers. One is going on my AR-10, the other on my primary AR-15.
    Its all about training. If you train with them, you et better. if you don’t, you will never improve. I’m a young codger, just over the half century mark. My goal is to make the century mark in spite of the night creepers and drug zombies.

  58. I have one on my shark’s head. It’s more convenient because I’ve lost 3 limbs in swimming accidents. (it’s a real b!tch to carry, I don’t recommend)

  59. I put one on my wife’s shotgun. Due to a medical implant, she can’t handle the recoil of our home defense loads, so she’s stuck with shooting from the hip. It’s not an ideal situation, IMHO, but you make do.

    After developing and surgically removing a cataract in my right eye, that eye no longer focuses up close. I’ve managed to adapt to using my left eye for pistol work but I am concerned about what I’ll do under stress. Perhaps a CT laser makes sense in my situation.

    It’s worth pondering.

  60. TO: WebMeister
    RE: Replies

    This system ‘sucks’.

    You need to install more levels of reply and also keep such replies immediately below the person we’re replying too.


    [Good user interface is the hobgoblin of web-site management.]

  61. I am going to get flack on this one.

    I attached a “universal” lazer/flashlight on to my .22 cal Colt 1911 made by Walther… and am waiting on my [unconstitutional] tax stamp so I can suppress it.

    Why? Simple, this is to be my stealth zombie/splinter cell gun. The flashlight and lazer is for night time and quick aimed close quarter shots where I do not have time to acquire sights. The suppressor is so i do not attract an overwhelming horde of zombies or the attention of guards when i infiltrate a base.

    Basically this is my Zombie survival gun….

  62. TO: Web-Meister
    RE: iPad Access

    You’ve got SERIOUS ‘issues’ here.

    Work on them. Sort them out. FIX them.


    [Consistency is the hobgoblin of good user-web site interface…..]

  63. Lasers? Flashlights? Night vision? Low light? Knowing what your target is?


    Just shoot through the damn door in the general direction of the object making the noise just like Oscar Pistorious.

    If a laser makes you feel more sure of your abilities to defend your home at night, or a flashlight, or just the factory sights, or just ambient light from inside & outside the home, etc. ….use what lighting source you feel most comfortable with. Isn’t that what the most important part of this discussion? Use what you feel is best for you.

  64. Laser sights not for me! I carry a sub compact Karh 45 ACP with adequate iron sights so why would I want to show off my position to an attacker so he can nail me dead? Why do I need anything else on this perfect protector. It cost me plenty on my meagre income and I’ll be damned if I will buy a laser sight ever in my life for a carry pistol!

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