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Old October 24, 2012, 07:30 AM   #1
j3ffr0
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Crimson Trace with Carry -- A Tactical Advantage?

With most folks on these forums agreeing that accuracy is king in any gun play situation, I started thinking about an experience I had with Crimson Trace. If accuracy is paramount, why wouldn't everyone want one of these things on their carry gun, especially a compact. CT says that police hit rate is 90% in shootings where their product is involved. http://www.crimsontrace.com/ctc-defe...nt-purchasing/ Contrast that with the often cited 30% hit rate. Here is a product that evidently not only works at the range, but offers perhaps an even bigger advantage in stress fire situations.

I'm curious about experiences other folks have had with CT lasers and why one would choose them or not. I've only had a two experiences -- described below:

Prior to this spring, I shot guns one day in my life about 20 years ago. In modern times the first gun I shot at the local range was a rented 686 with the CT laser. With the laser, I was deadly accurate out of the gate. Without it, not so much. I ended up buying a 4" SP101, and it's taken a few months to get really accurate with the iron sights. After I few moths I'm finally able to perform significantly better with the iron sights on my SP101 than I was as a complete beginner with the CT equipped 686. But I'll never forget that 686 with the CT.

More recently, I bought and LCP. Mine shoots hopelessly low and right. It's way off even at short ranges like 15 feet. The sights are tiny, and difficulty to acquire in even good lighting -- not a confidence builder. I've also read that people focus their vision on the threat in real life situations -- to me that means that many folks often don't aim their guns properly when faced with a real threat, and videos I've seen confirm this. People say, "know thyself." I can't see myself spending the time to acquire my tiny, inaccurate LCP sights when a dude is pulling a gun or charging me with a knife. I'm a pretty cool customer, but I'm not that cool -- not even close.

So I was remembering how good life was with the CT, contrasting that with how bad the iron sights on my LCP suck. I bought the CT, and my LCP is a completely different gun. A gun that would be lucky to get a couple on a pie plate at 15 feet (with hold off) now shoots a ragged hole a 15 feet. Point shooting? I can now aim accurately with the gun held low. No worries about point shooting and hitting a by-stander because I didn't aim.

I don't intend to get CT for my other guns. I like using iron sights at the range, I really do. But for a carry gun (especially something compact), it seems like CT should be a pretty easy choice unless people have experiences radically different from mine. I feel that it offers me a tactical advantage that I could not have without it -- even if my teeny little LCP iron sights were dead on.
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Old October 24, 2012, 08:30 AM   #2
geetarman
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I have CT sights on 3 of my handguns and they do work. The bullet goes where the dot is.

I do not keep my CTs ready to go. I have to turn the switch on before the little side switch will activate the beam.

I would have two concerns with using them on a daily carry gun.

1) If the master switch is on, you might have something press the little switch that would drain the battery.

2) In a real emergency, you might not have time to turn the master switch on which would negate the reason for the sight in the first place.

I use them for my home protection gun. I might need them and I might not depending on the situation.

You ask a very good question. Others will chime in shortly.

Normally, for carry in my truck, I use a G30 or a G19 and I don't have CT sights on either one.

HTH
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Old October 24, 2012, 08:59 AM   #3
Amsdorf
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I use a CT on my G26 carry piece, I want to give myself all the advantages I can, it is always on, just grip it and go


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Old October 24, 2012, 08:59 AM   #4
kraigwy
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Laser sights don't REPLACE iron sights, they supplement them. I have the CT sights on my 642. If I can see my sights I use them, in low light where I have difficulty seeing the sights I use my CT Laser Sight.

My LS are activated by squeezing a button on the grip. You don't have to turn on or off a switch.

The best advantaged I've found in using the CT is in dry firing. When you dry fire using the LS you get instant feed back as to what is happening on the target.

Again I think they are a valuable "supplement" to my iron sights, but not a replacement for them.

I don't have CT on my other guns, only on my carry gun.
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Old October 24, 2012, 09:25 AM   #5
Gbro
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You state your LCP shoots hopelessly low and to the right.
Your shooting fundamentals are not being put into use and what is happening is predictable.
When you watch the laser dot on the target you are putting all of your efforts on holding the dot right there and if you did that with the sights on the gun the results will be much the same.
Yes laser sights are very good but one needs to be good with the gun sights also.
I also have an LCP and am extremely impressed with the accuracy.
I put my first laser sight on a Ruger single six and used it for shooting rats and when not at the dump (back then) I would shoot 12 gauge hulls. When shooting off hand I didn't do that well but if I anchored the pistol at my hip I missed almost nothing. Yes they are fun and good.
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Old October 24, 2012, 09:58 AM   #6
noelf2
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I have one on my P3AT. I can shoot with the regular sigts just fine at close range, but at night the laser helps a lot. Laser, IMHO, also provides an "OH S--T" factor.
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Old October 24, 2012, 10:07 AM   #7
grumpa72
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No CT for me because I trust my open sights more. I have seen several fellows at the range sighting in their pistols with CT grips. Instead of aiming with the sights they are aiming with the CT dot of light and it is all over the place. I am guessing that, unless you practice a whole heck of a lot, then CT grips on an EDC might not be the best. If you are in a life or death situation, are you going to remember to turn on the CT? Again, I don't have one so I may be blowing smoke!
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Old October 24, 2012, 10:20 AM   #8
iraiam
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I have CT grips on my carry revolver because the iron sights can be quite difficult to see in low light.

If aiming in daylight or well lighted areas, the laser will be useless because you can't see it. No switch necessary, there is a power switch but I leave it on all the time, the switch that turns the laser on is on the grip, just grab the weapon normally and the laser is turned on.

I also find the laser to be a good tool for practicing trigger pull during dry fire practice. about 7 yards away while dry firing, you can see the laser move if you mess up the trigger pull even a little.
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Last edited by iraiam; October 24, 2012 at 11:16 AM. Reason: stupid typos
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Old October 24, 2012, 10:44 AM   #9
Frank Ettin
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A laser will not take the place of basic marksmanship skills, i. e., trigger control. If one jerks on the trigger, he will miss whether using a laser or any other method of indexing on the target. However --

A few years ago, I was at Gunsite for a rifle class. But most of the instructors were sporting Crimson Trace Laser Grips on their sidearms. So I spent some time talking with several about them. The story as I recall was as follows:
  1. The Gunsite instructional staff was in the process of evaluating the use of lasers on self defense guns.

  2. For someone well trained and practiced in the use of a flash sight picture, a laser was slower.

  3. But a laser is definitely useful in situations in which one can not readily index on the target in other ways, e. g., shooting from behind cover or unconventional positions in which one can't get a sight picture.

  4. So they have their uses.
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Old October 24, 2012, 11:06 AM   #10
Brian Pfleuger
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I like my CT grips for several reasons:

1)I have large hands and even the notoriously large Glock grip is small for me. The CT grips make it better, for me. Would be worse for others.

2)See Frank's point about skill and training. I am neither skilled nor trained. I assume that a laser will benefit me.

3)I know there's a good chance that a defensive scenario will have me in a less than flattering position. Angle, sight picture, proper form, don't matter with a laser at typical SD distances. I can "aim without aiming", such as it is.

4)It's funny to watch the cat chase the laser. Yes, I only do it when I clean the gun and it's disassembled. I might be willing to destroy the cat, but the wife would be angry at the hole in the floor.
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Old October 24, 2012, 11:28 AM   #11
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Disclosure, I am a skeptic by nature.

When the stat 90% hit rate got tossed out it peaked my interest. What officers was this study done with? Beat cops? HRT/SWAT? What was the improvement of this same cross section of officers in hit rate compared to unaided by CT grips shooting?

So I went looking for the answers. Now maybe my search-fu is failing me today, but this supposed study by the NIJ is no where to be found. The only references to it I can find are by people selling CT grips, and one article about NYPD training, which references the study and claimed 90% but only provides a partial citation (Heal, 2007).

I'd probably try them out, but regardless of their merits I am wary of the marketing claims.
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Old October 24, 2012, 11:39 AM   #12
iraiam
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Quote:
For someone well trained and practiced in the use of a flash sight picture, a laser was slower.

I would agree with this, I have my laser sighted just barely above the front sight with a standard sight picture (this is also where the bullet goes), I can see the laser on the target while looking down the irons. In low light, a sight picture can be very difficult to obtain but I can still see the laser.

My carry revolver is the only gun I have with a laser, I don't carry a piece with combat sights very often.
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Old October 24, 2012, 11:43 AM   #13
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Having used CTC grips on some of my guns in the past, I will second some things others have said, and add a couple more.

Already said:

They are good dry fire aids (and bear in mind, with poor trigger control, the bullet DOES NOT go where the dot is, so dry fire is essential);

They are useful in low light, and in situations where conventional sight alignment would pose challenges;

but, also already said:

I am faster and more accurate using irons.

Not yet said:

Lasers are very useful for the bifocal crowd. My mother has a very hard time focusing on the front sight and still seeing the target - the dot lets her focus on one plane;

and

Lasers allow the defender to focus on the threat, rather than the front sight, enabling a better scan.

Still, in my case, I gave my last laser sighted gun to my parents.
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Old October 24, 2012, 12:17 PM   #14
j3ffr0
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Quote:
Your shooting fundamentals are not being put into use and what is happening is predictable.
When you watch the laser dot on the target you are putting all of your efforts on holding the dot right there and if you did that with the sights on the gun the results will be much the same.
Not so -- I'm not saying I have great fundamentals, but I have three other guns and none of them shoot low right. They all shoot where I aim the iron sights with the exception of the LCP which absolutely does not. With the CT dialed in on target, the iron sights point high left.

However, let's pretend that you're correct. My shooting fundamentals suck so bad, that I can't use iron sites at the range. Does anyone here really think that people who can't use iron sights properly at the range are going to be cool enough to do it when a bad guy 15 feet away is drawing on them?

Videos show that many people don't even use the sights at all in a real life situation. Scared crapless -- they just bring the gun up and shoot without taking their eyes of the threat. If you are looking at the threat you aren't looking at your front iron sight and vice versa. I think that points to a huge advantage for the CT. It allows a person to aim properly and still keep their vision focused on the threat.

Did BG really have a gun or was he just pulling out his business card? With CT you never have to say you didn't know because you took your focus of the BG to lock in on your front iron sight to aim properly.

Quote:
I would have two concerns with using them on a daily carry gun.

1) If the master switch is on, you might have something press the little switch that would drain the battery.

2) In a real emergency, you might not have time to turn the master switch on which would negate the reason for the sight in the first place.
My CT doesn't have a switch. However, nothing is going ever going to turn the laser on when the gun is properly holstered in my pocket, because nothing else is in the pocket. The CT is as likely to work when called upon than the gun itself. If for some reason it doesn't than my fall back position is iron sights that I have to hold significantly high and left.
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Old October 24, 2012, 12:51 PM   #15
shearpinn
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Good stuff. I just joined this forum and stated looking around. This past weekend I added 2 M&P .40c for the wife & I. Still contemplating the CT grips. Lots of food for thought here to consdier from experience
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Old October 24, 2012, 01:16 PM   #16
kraigwy
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Quote:
situations in which one can not readily index on the target in other ways, e. g., shooting from behind cover or unconventional positions in which one can't get a sight picture.
"Fun and Games with CT Laser sights"

When I was in LE I did a heck of a lot of building searches. I use to carry a little inspection mirror for peeking around corners and what not.

Didn't have LSs back then (or I didn't know about them). I don't do building searches any more but I still like using the mirror.

On my private range, I get behind the barricade, poke the gun around the barricade without exposing my head, then use the mirror to sight the red dot on the target.

Lots of fun, after a while you can get pretty good. Just remember using the mirror you move the dot opposite of what you think. Try it some time, Challenging at first but like I said, lots of fun.
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Old October 24, 2012, 02:13 PM   #17
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By no means would I ever say that any kind of laser sight should replace the use of iron sight or routine practice with iron sights cause they are mechanical, run on battery and are subject to fail. But then again, so is a gun subject to failure. Other then an excellent practice tool, I find the CT laser to be a very helpful added tool on a SD pistol.

Quote:
Not yet said:

Lasers are very useful for the bifocal crowd. My mother has a very hard time focusing on the front sight and still seeing the target - the dot lets her focus on one plane;
A very true statement.

I wear no-line bifocals and do more practice at SD distances with my ccw without using the CT laser and often practice without wearing my glasses and can hit COM fairly well. Using the CT laser, my groups tighten up dramatically with our without glasses. Especially when double/triple tapping.
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Old October 24, 2012, 05:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
More recently, I bought and LCP. Mine shoots hopelessly low and right. It's way off even at short ranges like 15 feet.
Are you left-handed?

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Old October 24, 2012, 06:27 PM   #19
shortwave
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...and what ammo(bullet weight) are you using?
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Old October 24, 2012, 06:43 PM   #20
j3ffr0
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Quote:
Are you left-handed?
No, I'm right handed. However, a minority of my practice is with the left, and it still shoots low and right with the iron sights no matter which hand I pull the trigger with.

Quote:
..and what ammo(bullet weight) are you using?
AT the range I use Federal 95 Grain Range and target. I also fired some with my 95 grain Speer Gold Dot.... both are always way low right with the iron sights.

It's not the ammo and it's not me. All my other guns shoot where I point the iron sites including a double action revolver with a stiffer trigger pull than this LCP. This LCP will now shoot a ragged hole at the same place I point the CT every time. The iron sites are simply off significantly.
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Old October 24, 2012, 06:59 PM   #21
arch308
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I have a CT on my LCP and I really like it. I feel in a SD situation it would really come in handy. With a little practice the CT is a bit quicker than the tiny iron sights as my eyes were never that good and are not getting any better.
Just FYI, the red dot lines up perfectly with the iron sights and both have the same point of impact.
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Old October 24, 2012, 07:27 PM   #22
Eppie
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My carry gun, my car gun, my nightstand gun and my den gun are all equipped with lasers. I bought my first one for my LCP because the sights were so bad, and it helped a lot.

After a few months of using it in practice, it finally occurred to me that I should have a laser on any pistol that I'm likely to use in a home invasion/defense situation. Now the only pistols that don't have lasers are my "range toys".

And, yes, they are useless in the bright Texas sun, and do not replace regular sights. But what a difference they make when the sun is behind the clouds.

The new universal tiny lasers from Laserlyte can be mounted on the picatinny rail that many pistols have and they cost ($80) half of what a CT laser does, and work just as well.

Here's another reason to have a laser, it may save you from having to shoot:

I was out trimming my trees in the front yard, I live at the end of a cul-de-sac, and my Dobermann puppy (6 months) was with me. I was training him to stay close by letting him drag a 25' rope. While I was tying a bundle of branches a pick up truck came in the cul-de-sac and stopped. I had my back to the truck and my dog. When I turned around about a minute later I saw the guy had gotten out of his truck and picked up the rope and was taking my dog back to his truck. I called my dog and he tried to come but the guy held him back, so I called out to him while walking towards him. I asked him what he was doing and he said that he had lost the dog and now was taking him back. I told him that was my dog and he responded that it was his dog. I told him the dog was microchiped and I could prove it was mine and any of my neighbors will attest to that. I was about 20' away.

To put in things in prespective, I'm close to 60, 5'8" and weigh 156 lbs. the other guy, I call Bubba, was about 30 years old and 6'4" and husky. My dog is 6 months old, friendly, beautiful and costs me $3,000.

Bubba looked at me and he said this was his dog and he was going to take him home. I had my LCP with my Crimson Trace laser in the front pocket of my jeans and my hand was on it. I pointed to his zipper and said " Do you see that red dot by your zipper?" He looked down and while he did so I drew my pistol and aimed right on his family jewels. Then in a calm voice I said "That's were the first bullet is going to go if you don't let go of that dog."

He looked up and saw the gun in my hand, Bubba's eyes got as big a silver dollars and he simultaneously dropped the rope and said "!!" and remained frozen. I told him to get back in his truck and that if I saw him again I would assume that he means to harm me and that I would shoot first and ask questions later.

He got in his truck and I haven't seen him once in the last three years.

I am firmly committed to conflict avoidance, deterrence and defense.
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; October 24, 2012 at 09:52 PM.
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Old October 24, 2012, 07:35 PM   #23
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as far as low and to the right, my lcp will put differant brands of ammo in differant spots on the paper, the closest ive found to hitting point of aim is using powrball ammo, went through several differant brands of ammo before i found it, just put the crimson trace on yesterday, havent tried it yet, hopefully it will help with the bifocal issue, if it does my kimber is getting a laser also!
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Old October 24, 2012, 09:47 PM   #24
valleyforge.1777
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I like the guys who insist that laser sights are bad for all the various reasons that they give, and yet every one of them has an Aimpoint or EOTech on their AR's.
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Old October 24, 2012, 09:50 PM   #25
sigcurious
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Valleyforge, I don't see the correlation. Can you expand on that?
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