The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Gear and Accessories

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 14, 2010, 08:24 AM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: June 4, 2007
Location: Shenandoah Valley
Posts: 3,276
Lasers for Self Defense Pistols

Another thread really highlighted the "laser" issue to me and got me to thinking about use and usability of lasers on a weapon in a self defense (handgun) situation.

Crimson Trace puts out a (free on request) DVD about lasers and self-defense and it is, obviously, a marketing pitch but it also contains some very valid points to consider. The videos segments are now also available online at the Crimson Trace website and make for some interesting viewing.

Basically the conclusion I've come to is that a laser can be an extremely useful tool under self defense situations but actual usefulness depends heavily on the system used for activating the laser.

The system of a handgrip that you squeeze (instant on as you draw) seems like a very sound concept to pair with a laser and has been used by a few manufacturers while others require various sorts of switch activation with the free hand which I think one would negate most of the tactical advantage of a laser due to the extra time/fumbling involved with that type of switch mechanism.

So how about it, is the true usefulness of a laser sight dependent on it's activation method?
"The dogs may bark but the caravan moves on"

Last edited by ZeSpectre; April 14, 2010 at 08:30 AM.
ZeSpectre is offline  
Old April 14, 2010, 08:33 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: November 20, 2008
Posts: 10,534
Good idea with the new thread - I'll continue over here, but I will watch the video - might change my mind.
Skans is offline  
Old April 14, 2010, 08:45 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: June 4, 2007
Location: Shenandoah Valley
Posts: 3,276
I'll be honest, I was pretty "meh whatever" about lasers until I saw that video. It was quite an eye opener for me in terms of tactics and usefulness.

That's not to say that lasers are the "be all and end all" but I think it sure could be a fantastic additional tool.
"The dogs may bark but the caravan moves on"
ZeSpectre is offline  
Old April 14, 2010, 08:51 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: November 20, 2008
Posts: 10,534
Ok, I watched most of the video - skipped those parts where there was a lot of talking and shooting at targets. I also didn't pay much attention to the part where the lady was running through a course and shooting BG targets - that's offensive type shooting, not realistic defensive shooting, in my opinion.

However, there was one good clip where a guy was attacked while at an ATM machine. I watched that several times. If you are knocked down to the ground or in an unusual position, the laser did seem to help the well-trained demonstrator to get on target quickly. I also noticed that the Crimson trace laser was on as soon as the guy pulled his weapon - so I did a little checking and it seems that the light is activated by simply gripping your gun normally. Ok, that's a good feature. Lasers with buttons that need to be pressed would have been useless. Still, I think that with good practice, you can learn how to aim your pistol from any position and get the natural point of aim down so that you don't have to rely on a laseer.

So, maybe this has changed my mind a little. The one scenario at the ATM machine was interesting and informative.

Last edited by Skans; April 14, 2010 at 09:08 AM.
Skans is offline  
Old April 14, 2010, 09:01 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: August 8, 2009
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 1,891
Lasers have their place. The video by Crimson Trace is an very nice marketing tool to sell lasers.

I consider myself an excellent marksman and while I do have a laser on one of my guns, I use it only to be proficient with it. Otherwise, I prefer to shoot without it. It has no place is draw, point, the way I train.

On the flip side of the coin, one of my shooting buddies hangs a laser on each and every new gun he buys. He spends countless time and ammo zeroing in the laser and has become what I call, "a laser cripple." If the battery goes dead and he has no spare, he is finished shooting for the day. He has become so very dependent on that laser that his manual skills have declined to the point that is unwilling to re-hone them.

It boils down to whatever one is comfortable with. I'm an old school type of guy. Yeah, I like the technology but am most comfortable with the good old fashion sights. Some may even call me a dinosaur, egad.....I must be getting old. Yet, others love and embrace the technology. It does not make anyone right or others wrong. It is just a matter of personal preference.
May the Schwartz Be With You.
NRA Instructor
NRA Life Member
45Gunner is offline  
Old April 16, 2010, 05:27 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: July 24, 2009
Location: Las Cruces
Posts: 115
I've put a CT on my HD Glock 19. My niece is engaged to a B P agent and he has given several family members some pretty decent training.
27Veer is offline  
Old April 17, 2010, 12:21 PM   #7
Join Date: September 2, 2009
Location: FL
Posts: 17
Well as for lasers you have to activate with a switch I have no problems with them. My roommate has a Veridian green laser on his SR9 that I have used before and it is a simple push button. By drawing properly with my index finger in the right place the tip is right on the button so I switch it on as I draw. A person with short fingers my have trouble but I don't. I think its a great laser and hope to get their laser/light combo for my HDG.
Graywolf727 is offline  
Old April 17, 2010, 06:00 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: January 2, 2006
Location: Kansas City, MO.
Posts: 580
In reference to the crimson trace lasers mounted on the grip;

I don't use them because if my index finger isn't on the trigger (finger on finger index) it blocks the beam. This precludes being able to see the dot on the target until I am already looking down the sights and move my finger to the trigger to fire. At that point, I don't need a laser.

I suppose you could train yourself to keep your index finger out of the beam, but I just never thought it was worth it.

But I agree, I think their usefulness in a fight does depend on their activation method. An extra step to activate the light does make it harder to deploy.
NRA Benefactor
MSSA Life Member

Last edited by HuntAndFish; April 17, 2010 at 11:02 PM.
HuntAndFish is offline  
Old April 17, 2010, 08:18 PM   #9
Junior member
Join Date: March 31, 2010
Posts: 151
Nice if you have young eyes but....

I have CT laser grips on my Airweight and 329 because I'm old and can't see the sights and the target, especially in low light.
Insofar as blocking the laser with your trigger finger....well once my gun clears the holster, my finger is on the trigger as:
1. It hard to fire a double action revolver "accidently".
2. If it's drawn, that means there is probably going to be shooting done.
3. You leave the on/off switch "on" whenever carried and your natural gripping of the gun activates the laser switch.

I don't subscribe to the UK's "Stop armed police drop your weapon" mindset or worry about range safety when dealing with a thug or bear.

CT DVD is a must have as it shows many situations where conventional sights are either useless or force you to expose yourself unecessarily.

I'm just waiting for the 300 yard daylight laser, then I'll sell all my riflescopes.
Brandy is offline  
Old April 17, 2010, 11:09 PM   #10
Gary L. Griffiths
Senior Member
Join Date: April 7, 2000
Location: AZ, WA
Posts: 1,412
I have CT lasers on my Kel-Tec PF-9 and Ruger LCP. I have them both zeroed parallel with the bore, and both will allow me to keep all shots on a 12" target at 25 yds.

I find it much easier (with my 60+ yr old eyes) to get quick hits with the laser than without it, although I spend at least a third of my practice rounds with the iron sights. Of course, the sights on the LCP are pretty crude. I really like the ability to look over the top of the weapon in a point-shooting stance and see precisely where the bullet will strike.

The deterrence effect of the laser is all well and good, but I am confident that I can shoot more quickly and accurately using the laser than I can using sights. Since they add little to the weight or bulk of the weapon, I can see no reason for not having them on a weapon you plan to carry for defensive use. Like the pistol in the first place, it's always better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them!
Violence is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and valorous feeling which believes that nothing is worth violence is much worse. Those who have nothing for which they are willing to fight; nothing they care about more than their own personal safety; are miserable creatures who have no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of those better than themselves. Gary L. Griffiths, Chief Instructor, Advanced Force Tactics, Inc. (Paraphrasing John Stuart Mill)
Gary L. Griffiths is offline  
Old April 18, 2010, 08:45 AM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: October 18, 2008
Location: Downeast Maine
Posts: 1,771
I have CT LG-105 grips on my S&W 360J, I carry it as a BUG when on duty and fairly often as an off-duty piece. To me the big advantages of the CT laser grip is that it requires nothing but a firm grip to to turn it on and, no matter what position I'm in or how compromised I may be, as long as I can hold the gun and see I can put rounds on target.
WC145 is offline  
Old April 18, 2010, 09:44 AM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 10,841
One thing left out about the CT video is the section where the CT is used in Dry Firing.

Heavy Dry firing with the CT will greatly improve your shooting, both with the Laser and iron sights.

Dry firing is always good, but with the CT sight, you can actually see what happens when you drop the hammer, its easy to see what you are doing wrong and correct it.

This carries over to shooting with iron sights.
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
kraigwy is offline  
Old April 18, 2010, 09:17 PM   #13
Join Date: January 24, 2010
Location: SW PA
Posts: 80
I just picked up a CT for my Glock 23 and had it to the range yesterday to sight it in. I am pretty impressed with it but do wish it had a master on/off switch (I think the new model does) I like the fact that it is pressure sensitive but would like to shut it off for open sight practice without killing the batteries. Once I had it lined up it was pretty close to the sight plane of my open sights anyway.
palabman is offline  
Old April 18, 2010, 09:42 PM   #14
gun nut
Senior Member
Join Date: June 7, 2009
Location: midwest
Posts: 303
I think the laser is a nice additional tool. But I want a pressure switch where my hand/finger engages it in a normal shooting position/grip.
The only stupid question is the one not asked! (Unknown)
gun nut is offline  
Old April 18, 2010, 11:56 PM   #15
Junior member
Join Date: March 31, 2010
Posts: 151
Then buy a CT

as that's where the switch is.
Brandy is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:49 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.07713 seconds with 7 queries