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Old January 28, 2014, 08:39 PM   #1
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thoughts on laser sight use?

I once owned a Walther P22 with a laser sight on it. The gun was just used for plinking and the laser wasn't of great quality, but it DID result in more accurate shooting.

Moving to the more serious subject of defense handguns, I am considering a Crimson Trace Laser for my Sig 238.

Could someone outline some pros and cons of using laser sights?
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Old January 28, 2014, 08:56 PM   #2
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I probably fall somewhere in the middle of the 2 schools of thought. The purists will call you stupid to rely on an electronic device that can fail, rather than learn how to shoot and use sights. Another bad thing about lasers is that they give your position away.

The ninjas will tell you that they can paint smiley faces at a target at 25 yards with a laser and that it is invaluable in a defensive situation 'cause training takes a huge hit when the heart is racing. Someone in a SD situation must have all the tools they can get their hands on.

I believe that a laser is a tool. Much like a gun is a tool. Always use the right tool for the right job as I tell my boys. I like lasers for closer shots. like 5 to 7 yards. It's like point shooting.

For further away - 2 things.
#1 Why are you shooting at them in a DEFENSIVE situation? Can you not get away?
#2 Are you really going to stick your head out or stand still so that you can see the laser painting the bad guy?

So for longer distances, use sights. Strictly talking handguns, 'cause that's what I know.
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Old January 28, 2014, 09:50 PM   #3
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I find lasers to be useless. I shoot far better with iron sights than any laser, and I find point shooting far more useful than substituting the practice with a laser.
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Old January 28, 2014, 09:54 PM   #4
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I think they have a place. Just like nightsights on your pistol. Are they a must have... No

I think they really shine (lol) when the shooter is forced into unconventional / unusual positions that hamper the use of sights but still allow a shot to be taken.

I would disagree with the above post that they are useful at the closer ranges. At 0-5 yards you should be training to get reasonable hits through kinesthetic awareness while focused on the tgt. Anything else slows down the response and fights the bodies natural response to danger

Even looking for the laser dot slows the response at these ultra close ranges
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Old January 28, 2014, 10:29 PM   #5
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After trying them on pistols and rifles, I'd be more inclined to put them on a HD long gun. Too hard (for me anyway) to find the dot again in a hurry- but the additional points of contact on a long gun make it much more stable.
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Old January 28, 2014, 10:31 PM   #6
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... I think they really shine (lol) when the shooter is forced into unconventional / unusual positions that hamper the use of sights but still allow a shot to be taken. ...

Consider having to take cover, in a position where it is not possible to get a standard sight picture.
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Old January 28, 2014, 10:34 PM   #7
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All a laser does is make you take more time centering the laser on the target instead of illuminating a threat. If your ever in a situation where you have to shoot another person it will happen fast, and you probabally won't even think to turn the laser on. You will simply draw the weapon, and unload several rounds. To me putting a laser on a gun is like buying your first gun, putting a scope on it and trying to hit targets at 1000 yards without first learning how to hit a target up close with traditional sights. Just my .02
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Old January 28, 2014, 11:20 PM   #8
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I have crimson trace on my ruger lcp, but I'm more accurate just point shooting.
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Old January 29, 2014, 01:34 AM   #9
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i think it depends on the person, do you go to the range a couple times a month and practice? or do you have a conceal-carry and shoot maybe every 3 months?

my wife is the latter and fares well with the laser, she is a good shooter but very poor with high stress situations and she is well aware of that

and anything to help build her confidence gets her out to shoot more

that being said, i wouldnt use one personally and i wouldnt recommend anything on your carry gun that you have to turn on with a switch or button, but cool with crimson trace type

lasers are akward to me, most likely because i am kinda set in my ways, but i
think its great for practicing at home from a draw and working on perfecting a steady trigger pull

no prob with having one, so long as you dont intend to RELY on it, but can be a useful tool, especially for a new shooter
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Old January 29, 2014, 05:43 AM   #10
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They help you see how steady or shaky you hands are. I like them especially on nightstand guns.
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Old January 29, 2014, 07:08 AM   #11
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Could someone outline some pros and cons of using laser sights?
I have a CT laser on my 642 that I carry on occasion. It definitely helps in low light conditions. But in daylight outdoors, it's oftentimes nearly invisible. All things considered, I like it and feel it's a valuable addition to that firearm.
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Old January 29, 2014, 07:16 AM   #12
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Excellent devise for dry firing so you can see how good/bad your trigger pull is. As far as real world goes and just my opinion, batteries do not fail in iron sites, they always work.
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Old January 29, 2014, 07:49 AM   #13
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Another bad thing about lasers is that they give your position away.
For a home invasion scenario where you have barricaded in place, on the phone with 911, and waiting for the bad guy to possibly come and get you in the dark, then sure, they give away your location and the element of surprise.

Of course in the dark, a flashlight on your gun or in your hand gives away your position as well.

For most defensive street/public shootings, however, your position is already a given. You are shooting because somebody is attacking you already and they and their cohorts are less than 3-7 yards distant.

I don't personally like lasers in guns very much. I have tried them and not been impressed. I have seen several non-professional folks use them and not been impressed is most cases. If you practiced with one and became proficient with it, then it could be a real benefit, but we found that the laser seemed to slow down folks, though with slow fire drills, accuracy improved for several folks. The problem there is that most defensive shooting isn't slow fire.

No doubt they can be a good training aid, but personally I would not want one on a defensive pistol or rifle.
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Old January 29, 2014, 08:28 AM   #14
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Personal Preference

Me personally, I have gone the route of getting one. I went with a crimson trace hand grip which comes on automatically when you hold the gun. Nothing to fumble with as your grip activates the laser. If you don't want to give your position away, loosen your grip a little bit, or you can manually turn it off. I have also put 24/7 Express tritium night sites on top for when the laser wouldn't help. The big dot really jumps out at you in daylight and lowlight conditions, however, the laser does in lowlight too. I would most likely use my sights first as that is what I have trained with for many years, but to say lasers are useless doesn't make sense to me. If you can stay behind cover and "paint" the bad guy and look around the other side of said cover, why not. Most defensive situations will be close work and point shooting anyway so practice for that. The laser gives me another opportunity to end the engagement if traditional shooting positions didn't.
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Old January 29, 2014, 09:12 AM   #15
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I have CT sights on a 5906, P220 and P229.

I always practice with iron sights as well as the laser sights.

The laser sight is valuable me in getting the rhythm of coming back on target.

Mine are dialed in at 30 feet and they do work.

Just be aware, the sights are usually off axis to the bore. That means the accuracy goes away quickly when you open up the range.

Try registering your laser at 30 feet and then again at 50 feet and you will see what I mean. The sight picture with your irons will change and change quite a bit.

I think you will not go wrong with just the irons and that it is possible to go wrong with the lasers.

If you go the route with a laser, make sure you practice with both.

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Old January 29, 2014, 10:07 AM   #16
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Laser sights DO NOT replace your iron sights, the SUPPLEMENT your iron sights.

The batteries last a long time, but if they do go out, you have your iron sights. I laugh at people who wont have them because they say the batteries may be dead when they need them. Ask that person if they don't have smoke detectors for because the batteries may fail.

We have smoke detectors, the rule of thumb on smoke detector batteries is you change them when you change your clocks in the spring and fall. Why not do the same thing with your laser sights.

Are you going to throw away your flash light because it uses batteries that may fail.

I agree, I don't wont one that requires you to turn on or off. I like the CT that comes on when you grip the handgun.

There is no law that says if you put laser sights on your handgun you cant use the iron sights.

I can not see the laser during bright day light hours. I carry a 642 and I cannot see the sights in low light situations.

In doors you can see the laser and sometimes indoors you can see your iron sights depending on the lighting.

If you keep the laser clean and with good batteries you can sweep the target in little or no light situations to determine if its a threat or your teenage kid sneaking back into the house.

There are three methods of sighting a handgun, (for me anyway), The sights, point shooting, or the laser. I don't want to give up either of the three.

But the best use of the laser is in dry firing. With the laser you can see what's happening at the target. Even in point shooting there is no way to tell during point shooting if you would have hit the target or not. The laser don't lie, if its not on the target when the hammer falls, you miss, if its on the target when the hammer falls you hit. Cant do that with iron sights.

I've seen it a lot in my training classes where we do a lot of dry firing. People think the got the point shooting down, then I have them use the laser.

Use them, don't use them, I don't care, but its idiotic to condemn people for wanting another tool in their tool box.
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Old January 29, 2014, 10:16 AM   #17
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Traditionally, I've been vehemently against laser use in almost all situations, with one of the big exceptions being training use. But the last few months, I've softened up on them a bit. I still do not own a laser, but may consider picking one up in the future.

Some things to keep in mind if you are going to use a laser.

-Don't rely on the laser. When you practice/train, spend more time with your irons than your laser, but make sure you're working both.

-The laser is a tool. Just like any other accessory. Like any tool, it has times when it works really well, and other times when you'd be crazy to use it. I have a hammer in my tool box. But when I change the oil in my car, there are better tools to use. Know when to use the laser and when not to.

-Don't let your fundamentals slip (sight alignment, sight picture) slip just because you have an "easier" sighting method.

-Know the limitations of the laser. Know when it works the best. Know when it's useless.

I'm a practitioner of the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) method of training, shooting, carrying, etc. Lasers add complexity to your system. Anytime you add complexity, you are adding a point of failure. Sometimes, the failure isn't noticeable or doesn't effect the end result. Other times, it could mean the difference between life and death. It's up to the user to weigh whether the additional complexity is worth the point of failure. Keep in mind that in a gun fight, if you were planning to use your laser and for some reason it doesn't work, it might not be as easy as just transitioning to your irons. You may lose a second or two, and that second or two could mean the difference. Is this likely? Not really. But then again, it's unlikely you'll ever have to shoot in self defense in your life also. So we're already dealing with low odds.

Having said this, I am currently (well, I will be in a few months anyway) in the market for a church gun. Basically, I'd like to pick up small single stack 9mm that I can easily conceal in my church clothes. I'm seriously considering a laser for it. Why? Because typically small guns have crappy sights. I'd like to be able to hit what I'm shooting at.
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Old January 29, 2014, 04:48 PM   #18
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To followup to my previous comment, I just found out today the Bodyguard 380 without a laser was at the 2014 shotshow. I dislike lasers so much, ill be selling my current Bodyguard for the laserless one.
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Old January 29, 2014, 05:35 PM   #19
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Lasers are great on snubbies. They really aid in marksmanship with a snubby.

I preferred iron sights (and still do for concealed carry) before I tried a laser for home defense. I used to disparage laser sights until I tried one. Like a red dot optical sight a laser, on a home defense gun, is faster and facilitates better accuracy. You simply drive the dot to your aim point on the bad guy.

The "gives your position away" argument doesn't work with me. I use verbal challenges and commands to establish my presence as part of my threat identification process because I'm not going to wait until I'm at the brink of dropping the hammer to identify friend or foe in a high stress situation.
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Old January 29, 2014, 06:14 PM   #20
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I used to think they were a waste of time until buying a used gun that came with CT grips. I had planned on replacing with traditional grips and selling the CT grips. Until I shot the gun with it. For the guys who play range games they probably offer no real advantage. For a gun that may be used to save your life they can be a valuable tool. They allow you to use your gun in untraditional ways that would be impossible otherwise. Not a substitute for irons, but another tool in the tool box. The CT grips add virtually nothing to the guns size, weight or balance.

If the Navy Seals like and use them, they can't be a bad choice.
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Old January 29, 2014, 07:00 PM   #21
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I like that in a fast defense situation, like at home in the dark, just point & shoot. I like them in combination with night sights. Two identical guns, I'll take the one with laser. However my Sig p238 came with one new. Put it in & took right back off. Just my preference on that one.
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Old January 30, 2014, 01:50 AM   #22
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I found that they seemed to slow me down. I was always trying to get the laser perfectly on target instead of getting the front sight picture and taking the shot.

I guess if you are comfortable with them but I would test and see how fast and accurate I was with and without a laser.
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Old January 30, 2014, 02:27 AM   #23
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laser aimers, sights....

Ive owned CT lasergrips in the past.
Lasers and white lights can help your marksmanship but they do not replace the basic skills.
You can get a free company DVD & product guide from Crimson Trace.
Lasers can also act as a deterent too but you need to be fully ready to deploy lethal force.

New green laser systems are much better than red lasers but they use power faster and cost more.
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Old January 30, 2014, 11:43 AM   #24
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They're a useful tool. As others have mentioned they are more useful in a stress/panic, situation, where you may not be able to bring the sights up because either you don't have space, or time. If you see the laser on the BG you pull the trigger. Obviously for this reason, they aren't exactly useful at the range where you can use the iron sights or optics. Like they always say, it's better to have It and not need it than need it and not have it. The only real drawback to a laser sight, that I can see, is the added weight and equipment hanging from the gun. A positive way to look at it though, is that the increased weight will generally reduce recoil. I would carry a laser sight in my defense guns, if I had any that could mount them.
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Old January 30, 2014, 03:24 PM   #25
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Laser grips are the way to go if possible.
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