kraigwy, like I said, a preventive maintenance cycle should be employed.
Things still fail. Sometimes due to user error (leaving interior lights on in the car, for example); sometimes due to trauma of which we are unaware (example, wire comes loose or shorts in car, so battery drains without our knowing it); sometimes due to simple entropy (I've had a couple batteries just suddenly go bad, well within their projected life cycle).
Also, having owned two sets of Crimson Trace grips and one CT LaserGuard, the battery lives between the three did not seem the same. It may take some time to figure out the appropriate battery change interval.
As far as your 50 ft target suggestion, I'd like to point out that whether the laser is the better choice will depend largely on where you have the laser sighted. Depending on the type of laser you mount, parallax can be a real issue.
At the range you've zeroed, it should be fantastic. At other ranges, some odd Kentucky windage may come into play.
I typically zeroed mine for 20 yards, figuring the parallax at any reasonable distance would be within an inch. I've seen a lot of people zero at ranges from 5-7 yards; for those, your 50ft drill would be pretty unsettling.