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Old September 3, 2008, 10:31 AM   #1
Saab1911
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Are laser sights any good?

I think laser sights have their novelty appeal, but I have some issues with
them.

1) POI and laser dot can be off by as much as 3" at 25 yards.

2) Lasers need batteries.

3) Lasers will not help with proper trigger pull. So, essentially it only helps
people who don't need help.

Are laser sights just gimmicks or do they have a purpose in self defense
situations?

cheers,

Jae
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Old September 3, 2008, 11:06 AM   #2
kpitt
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Lasers

I have a M6X light/laser on my duty gun. If used right, it can be useful.

First off there is the mental advantage for having a laser. If I stop a car and a guy or two or three gets out, the fact there will be a laser dot on one's chest may be enough to stop whatever they may have up their sleeve. People think about the movies when they see a red dot on them....

Second, they can be helpful when shooting in odd positions, such as under a car....it gives me an option when I may not be able to line up the sights.

However, those points being made, I also like to have the option to turn it off when I may not want to give my position away. It is a useful tool but I would never rely totally on it.

Be safe!

Last edited by kpitt; September 3, 2008 at 12:55 PM. Reason: grammer
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Old September 3, 2008, 11:11 AM   #3
spamanon
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Quote:
1) POI and laser dot can be off by as much as 3" at 25 yards.

2) Lasers need batteries.

3) Lasers will not help with proper trigger pull. So, essentially it only helps
people who don't need help.
The crimson trace on my SIG are within an inch at 25 yards, good enough for self defense.
I have had the same batteries since I bought them, and the dot is still strong. It has been about 5 months. I use them about once a month.
Lasers can be really useful if you are wounded, or shooting while tied up, or shooting weak handed while bleeding. Since these scenarios are rather unordinary, they are a little gimmicky. I do use them for dry-fire practice. Nothing keeps your aim right like trying to let that dot move as little as possible while pulling the trigger.

Also, a red dot on the chest is a sure way to stop most BGs who otherwise would, from wanting to charge you into a drawn weapon. I think as long as they aren't used as a replacement for practice and proper training, they have their purpose, but I agree that they are mostly gimmicky. Still I have them and enjoy them.
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Old September 3, 2008, 11:48 AM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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They are standard issue for at least one local agency. They do seem a little "mall ninja" but I can see the usefulness (see LE post above).
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Old September 3, 2008, 12:03 PM   #5
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I think they're a great idea. People would like to not like them because they are expensive.

But lasers do indeed solve one problem. As one lines up one's sights, you only have as much resolution as you have sight radius. Some guns, this is 4", others 10" or more. But a laser has pretty much an infinite sight radius. This is a huge benefit on something like a snubbie. It allows the full accuracy to be had despite the shorter barrel.

Some of the reasons noted above, I had not thought about, but they make sense too.
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Old September 3, 2008, 12:04 PM   #6
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One last thought: Aren't lasers banned in certain shooting competitions? Probably because they give an unfair advantage to those who can afford them.

Kind of like how recumbant bikes were banned from certain bike races for the same reason.
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Old September 3, 2008, 12:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smaug
Kind of like how recumbant bikes were banned from certain bike races for the same reason.
Aren't recumbent bicycles strictly for people who can't afford Segways?

Isn't the idea to look as dorky as possible to drive women away
so that one does not have to bother with fathering children?
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Old September 3, 2008, 12:10 PM   #8
sholling
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They aren't intended for IDPA or target practice. They're a self defense tool and we have discussed on here 8 zillion times.
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Old September 3, 2008, 12:57 PM   #9
Smaug
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Saab1911 - As we say over on sport-touring.net: "Thank God I'm not cool. Now I can do whatever I want."
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Old September 3, 2008, 02:45 PM   #10
Jermtheory
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go to the Crimson Trace site and order the free video.

they do a great job of demonstrating the advantages of a laser.almost everyone ive heard say "they're a novelty/gimmick" have changed their minds after some real trigger time with them,especially in low light.


1.depends on the laser and how you zero it,a properly zero'd CT grip should better than that at even 50 yards.

2.four hours isnt bad if you make sure to keep fresh batteries in them.i change them out for practice and carry/HD.

3.they most definately help training proper trigger pull.
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Old September 3, 2008, 03:27 PM   #11
darkgael
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laser

"Aren't lasers banned in certain shooting competitions?"
As far as I know lasers are banned from ALL shooting competitions. I believe that they are similarly banned for hunting.
I don't see that a laser gives an unfair advantage. It's a sight; if the shooter holding the gun wobbles, the dot will too. Don't know exactly why they are banned.
Pete
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Old September 3, 2008, 03:35 PM   #12
astromanluca
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They might be useful at night, but if you can afford a laser, you can afford night sights.

Was at the range last week and saw someone a few lanes down with a laser. They were wobbling all over the place and the target had holes all over... at the edges, in the middle, in between... I think a laser is a poor substitute to knowing how to actually aim a gun! But they still have their uses as others have pointed out.
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Old September 3, 2008, 03:42 PM   #13
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
I believe that they are similarly banned for hunting.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense doesn't it? Ban something that can help make accurate shots lessening the likelihood of a wounded animal. It's not like a laser makes the gun more effective or gives you longer range, all it does is show you where the bullet is going.
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Old September 3, 2008, 04:03 PM   #14
Don Gwinn
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Jermtheory is the only one I've seen mention it so far, but we used Crimson Trace grips at the Para/Blackwater gun blogger weekend. I'd never really used one before, and Todd Jarrett was teaching the class. He's a huge proponent (well, he works either for or with Crimson Trace now, so I guess you'd expect that) of the laser as a training aid. He says it was the single biggest leap in shooting ability he's ever made when he started using a laser with dry fire and group shooting.

He could watch the dot and tell exactly what everyone was doing wrong, and it's not just trigger control. The follow-through, returning the sights to the target for the next shot . . . . the laser doesn't let you get away with anything. It's harsh and honest, which is what you want in an assessment tool.
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Old September 3, 2008, 05:58 PM   #15
tschmittel
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I have them and consider them usefull for self defense situations. In the event that I need to use my weapon, I'm not sure it would be easy to concentrate on the front sight instead of looking at the threat. A red dot on the threat would be visual confirmation. I know everybody thinks they will focus on front sight and squeeze but when shtf and adrenaline is flowing and heart rate is racing and stress is high I think they can be helpful.
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Old September 3, 2008, 08:34 PM   #16
Rmart30
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Quote:
1) POI and laser dot can be off by as much as 3" at 25 yards.
3 inches off POI/dot on a 18x24 torso wouldnt concern me at all....

I can definently see where especially in LE work where they would be a asset.
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Old September 3, 2008, 09:10 PM   #17
okmic1
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My buddy has a crimson trace on his S&W 9mm. I can't even see the thing during daylight, so I'm not considering getting it for one of my XDs. I might get a Viridian Green laser down the road though. It's a lot easier for me to see.
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Old September 3, 2008, 09:11 PM   #18
treg
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A lazer pointer taped to your barrel while dry firing can be an invaluable training tool.
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Old September 3, 2008, 09:32 PM   #19
vox rationis
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Quote:
A lazer pointer taped to your barrel while dry firing can be an invaluable training tool.
Yeah but if you are properly focusing on the front sight while dry firing, you'll see minute movements that you might even miss by watching that laser, so using the sights while dry firing is still superior.

To me the only use for lasers is in low light, for poor eyesight that can't focus on the front sight, or in certain cases where a traditional grip and aiming is tactically impossible. I suppose it is better to have the laser and not need it than to need it and not have it, but personally I am comfortable with the night sights on my weapon and am not planning on getting a laser anytime soon.
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Old September 3, 2008, 09:57 PM   #20
FM12
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I've not seen enough in action or tried one to be able to intellegently make up my mind. The biggest potential problems I see are relying on them instead of a proper sight picture, and them either failing or becoming knocked out of alignment. As a range officer for department qualifications I watched one of our retired officers use a laser sighted 229/.357 Sig at night. He used the laser instaed of his flashlight, so didnt know if he would be able to id the target or not. I can see some good, but the POSSIBILITY for bad also. If you rely on them and need them in bright daylight, you might be watching for the dot and not paying attention to what is going on. I dont rely on night sights either, for what it's worth.

I've been handgunning since my US Navy days in the early 1970s, and full time LEO since 1975. I'm a FBI trained, state APOST certified firearms instructor since 1983, and do more shooting than the average gun owner and police officer. In my opinion, less is better, but there is always room for improvement, as long as the improvement dosent pose more liabilities than benefits.

As an aside, I shot alongside the above mentioned retired officer during rifle quals, which is only 10 rounds at 50 yards. He had a Bushy in .223 with lights, a laser and a HOLO sight. I outshot him with an iron sighted Marlin 9MM camp rifle.

I see a lot of shooters buying add-ons hoping to make up for poor shooting habits and seeing the latest piece of equipment as a fix for poor scores or large groups. A new $2000 custom 1911 will "surely" fix their poor scores and large groups caused from trying to "wish" and"spend" themselves into a class A shooter's position. These are very much like the golfer who is convinced the newest set of clubs will make up for his failure to practice or get professional help from a local pro.

As I see it now, and have for 30+ years, you can't spend your way out of poor shooting habits and failure to praqctice.

Please, no flames, there is no intent here to rain on the laser parade. This is just from 35 years of handgunning/policing/shooting/instructing, and what I've observed first hand.

Last edited by FM12; September 3, 2008 at 10:01 PM. Reason: changed 1991 to 1911. Duh!
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Old September 3, 2008, 10:45 PM   #21
robhof
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robhof

I've got a Crimson Trace on my M9 and it's great for point shots from any angle. With several hundred rounds fired with the laser, I've developed muscle memory to the point that I can point the pistol without the laser on and get center body shots on a target at 10 yds(normal self defense distance). The CT's and most good lasers are adjustable and sturdy enough to handle many rounds. Even my wife, who is a very novice shooter was able to put an entire clip into the 9-10 rings by watching the red dot on her first time shooting a 9mm at 7yds.
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Old September 3, 2008, 11:05 PM   #22
vox rationis
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Quote:
I've not seen enough in action or tried one to be able to intellegently make up my mind. The biggest potential problems I see are relying on them instead of a proper sight picture, and them either failing or becoming knocked out of alignment. As a range officer for department qualifications I watched one of our retired officers use a laser sighted 229/.357 Sig at night. He used the laser instaed of his flashlight, so didnt know if he would be able to id the target or not. I can see some good, but the POSSIBILITY for bad also. If you rely on them and need them in bright daylight, you might be watching for the dot and not paying attention to what is going on. I dont rely on night sights either, for what it's worth.

I've been handgunning since my US Navy days in the early 1970s, and full time LEO since 1975. I'm a FBI trained, state APOST certified firearms instructor since 1983, and do more shooting than the average gun owner and police officer. In my opinion, less is better, but there is always room for improvement, as long as the improvement dosent pose more liabilities than benefits.

I see a lot of shooters buying add-ons hoping to make up for poor shooting habits and seeing the latest piece of equipment as a fix for poor scores or large groups. A new $2000 custom 1911 will "surely" fix their poor scores and large groups caused from trying to "wish" and"spend" themselves into a class A shooter's position. These are very much like the golfer who is convinced the newest set of clubs will make up for his failure to practice or get professional help from a local pro.

As I see it now, and have for 30+ years, you can't spend your way out of poor shooting habits and failure to praqctice.

Please, no flames, there is no intent here to rain on the laser parade. This is just from 35 years of handgunning/policing/shooting/instructing, and what I've observed first hand.
Great points.

At the last pistol course I took, the instructor told us that he had a fellow there with one of those laser units that fit on the front of the trigger guard, but he had trouble seeing it in the very bright and sunny day and his shooting was very poor because unfortunately he didn't know how to properly use his sights, and was essentially using his laser as a crutch, something that was wasn't working for him in a very bright outside environment.


Quote:
As an aside, I shot alongside the above mentioned retired officer during rifle quals, which is only 10 rounds at 50 yards. He had a Bushy in .223 with lights, a laser and a HOLO sight. I outshot him with an iron sighted Marlin 9MM camp rifle.
classic! this reminds me of that scene in the movie "This Boy's Life" where Robert DeNiro's character with the tricked out target rifle and the fancy shooting outfit and hunter's hat, is out shot by his wife using a good old pump action 22 with dovetail sights..(pretty good movie I thought ) Robert DeNiro's character then goes on to berate his, latest, in a series of many we are to understand, rifle, and how it too was no good, and how the sights were junk, etc etc
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Old September 3, 2008, 11:30 PM   #23
Jermtheory
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i think everyone would(should) agree that there are no magic fixes...and that technology shouldnt be used to try and replace proper training or building the proper skills.

but that shouldnt be used as an excuse to ignore potential benefits(if used properly and with the right mindset).

for every person who uses some piece of equipment as a crutch...theres another who misses out on something which can be a great tool.
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Old September 4, 2008, 12:04 AM   #24
kozak6
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What I have seen with red lasers is that they are worthless in daylight, but can be handy indoors or in low light.

How are green lasers in daylight and brighter situations?
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Old September 4, 2008, 12:09 AM   #25
Jermtheory
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based on what im always hearing are "realistic handgun ranges",the Crimson Trace is far from worthless even at high noon in my experience.
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