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Crimson Trace shootability

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by 38snapcaps, Oct 3, 2005.

  1. 38snapcaps

    38snapcaps Well-Known Member

    I recently bought a CT-642 for home defense thinking having the laser dot would make it easier to hit an intruder in the dark, especially for wife who would be willing to shoot if under deadly threat but she is not a recreational shooter. We find placing the laser dot on things around the house works really good while dry firing.

    I take the laser snub out and I am shocked that my accuracy is just awful. Now, its not that I'm not a bad shot but it was harder than I expected to replace the red dot with a black hole on the target at 20-30 ft. I'm 58 so I attribute it to my age, so I hand it to my thirty year old son-in-law and he can't do any better. One of my carry guns is a regular 642 and I do pretty well with it, certainly better than the CT.

    I'm worried now that I made an expensive mistake based on a mistaken conception. If he and I can't be accurate with it what about my wife?
    Is this whole laser sight thing just a gimmick, does it really work, is it just a matter of practice, what?
  2. EddieCoyle

    EddieCoyle Well-Known Member

    I had a similar experience with the laser grips. I bought a 642 without them and later picked up a set of Crimson Trace grips on Ebay. I tried them out and found that I was worse with them than without them. I also found it very hard to pick up the laser outdoors in the daytime. They went back on Ebay a couple of weeks later.
  3. hnm201

    hnm201 Well-Known Member

    What kind of stocks do you have on your non-CT 642? The only thing that I didn't like about the CT snubby grips was their slick, hard surface (the rubber version not being available for the taurus) required me to reposition my grip after each shot. I practice with snubbies firing with one hand only, double action only. Some of the THR regulars who are revolver toters will be along shortly to voice support for the Crimson Trace product. Here are some of my own observations about the laser grips:

    1 - Like Red Dot Optics, the laser can only show you where the gun is pointed. It cannot pull the trigger for you, and your trigger pull has a more significant effect on your accuracy as recorded on the paper target than a less than perfect sight picture.

    2 - The laser grips are NOT intended to be an aid to achieve precise accuracy, nor are they intended to completely replace iron sights. They are intended to aid target acquisition in a high-speed defensive situation and are particularly useful in low-light and in situations where a normal "iron sight picture" is not feasible.

    3 - The biggest problem that people have with Red Dot Optics and Lasers is that they are unwilling to accept a certain amount of "shake" in the electronic sight picture. I've seen people who have just bought CT grips spend hours trying to hold the dot perfectly still on a bullseye and pull the trigger while the dot is still. While this is often possible in a dry firing scenario once you introduce recoil from live fire into the mix, the shooter spontaneously develops odd trigger jerks and usually winds up milking the grip in anticipation of the shot while trying to make the fire at the precise moment that the dot is still.

    I'd suggest shooting the gun with the laser turned OFF for a while to see if you can get the same accuracy with its irons as your non-ct 642 and then try putting one snap cap in each full cylinder and giving it a blind spin while you're at the firing line. Then you can see how the dot moves when the hammer falls.
  4. middy

    middy Well-Known Member

    The CTs are adjustable. Are you consistently missing to one direction, or are you all over the place?
  5. 1 old 0311

    1 old 0311 member

    I have a S&W 60 with a crimson trace laser as my night stand gun. When I go to the range I use a silouette target for practice.The laser I use for a referance point, not a bullseye aid.
    I practice by sitting in a room and pointing the gun at a object, light switch, vase, etc. Then hit the switch for the laser. Do this a few time and you will see a improvment.

  6. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    I have CT's on my carry SIG 226 - also on older carry SP-101, M28 and M629 - in all cases I shoot better with them!

    In fact I must be careful to not rely on them too much. My old eyes do make iron sights harder to use - I am a coupla years older than you 38snapcaps.

    It is important IMO to spend that necessary time setting them up just right - I choose the approx 21" distance and altho obviously there are parallax prob's outside of the ideal range - they are not enough to matter seriously IMO - so let's say I am pretty much spot on between 15" and 30" - and last time I did a night IDPA shoot I gave them a good workout - awesome was the word!

    They do for sure show how unsteady we can be but again I'll say - if set up right and usual grip/trigger control is there - they should be really effective.
  7. milcaztra

    milcaztra Well-Known Member

    Like the others said, you need to sight-in the laser, just like you have to zero a new rifle scope. If you just installed the grips and hadn't sighted-in the laser, I can see that your range experience would be very frustrating.

    If your iron sights are right on, measure out 30 feet at home and adjust the laser dot to fall right in your sight picture. Then try it out at the range for fine adjustments. It's worth the time to adjust the laser as close as possible. Remember to recheck the zero periodically or if you remove the grips.

    Also, because the laser sits slightly right and lower than the bore, you should sight-in the laser at a specific range, like 10 yards or so. Shooting closer than that range, your point of impact may be a little high-left of point of aim; and farther than that, your POI may be low-right of POA. So, if you're shooting at a BG five feet away, impact may be about 2" high and 1/2" left of the laser dot -- something to remember if you need accuracy.

    I have the larger CTC rubber overmould grips on two J-frames, and CTC grips on a Ruger MkII and 1911 (for training). I like them and think that they're worthwhile.
  8. black bear

    black bear Well-Known Member

    After you sight in the laser, go to the dark range or back yard and place a Osama target (or any other) at ten yards.
    Now forget about streching your hand and blocking half your vision, trigger the flashlight in your off hand to illuminate the target them shooting from the hip (with the hip support) shoot when the dot stabilize on the target's torso.

    You'll find that it is easier to shoot this way and avoid tunnel vision and blockage of your vision with your hands and arms.

    The bracing of the right hand against your hip (or side) will stabilize more your small revolver than if you have it out there in front of you.

    black bear
  9. Dienekes

    Dienekes Well-Known Member

    I "won" a set of these things a couple of years back when CT ran a contest asking "why you hate laser sights". I related to them our limited experience in LEO night fire qualifications where officers without lasers outshot the one with the laser easily, both as regards speed and accuracy. At any rate, they sent me one which my wife put on her M37 Smith. We zeroed it and she dry fired with it somewhat and did some live fire with it.

    Same basic results--plus the grips hurt like hell to me.

    As far as I'm concerned they are a gimmick. The money would be better spent on practice ammo and a good small high intensity flashlight.

    BTW hers is for sale, cute little felt baggie, box, instructions, tiny wrench, and all. Reasonable offers entertained.
  10. Werewolf

    Werewolf Well-Known Member

    I had the same problem with CT grips I put on my S&W 638 - until I stopped using them as a precision sight and started using them for what they are designed for.

    Much thanks to the posters in a thread I started about this very issue because the suggestions they made made it possible for me to use the things!

    Laser Grips are for quick acquisition of targets in low light conditions. They work okay outside in the shade but just barely and work really great inside.

    Use them as if you are point shooting. Draw, activate laser without looking for dot and naturally point the weapon without using the irons.

    I've found that by doing that the dot shows up pretty close to where I want it to out to about 15 yards or so. I can get on target now very, very quickly as opposed to using the iron sights.

    That method has also forced me to shoot my 638 in DA mode which is not something I used to do - I practice in DA now using the laser.

    In the last two months I've gone from draw, double tap COM (generally stay in 9 or 10 ring) at 15 yards getting two hits in 5 seconds (told ya I was slow) to draw, double tap, hit B-24 target twice in the black (generally stay inside the 7 ring) in 2 seconds.

    So what's better getting 2 torso hits in 2 seconds or 2 heart hits in 5. I've decided that 2 torso hits in 2 is better.

    Aside: CT's I installed were way, way off (not zeroed at 50' like CT claimed) so I had a gunsmith boresight them at 50'. Work like a champ. Shoot high left at less than 50' - don't know what they do past that since I don't use the snubby for shooting past 15 yards.

    TOADMAN Well-Known Member

    This website (forums.crimsontrace.com) may help some.
  12. kevin387

    kevin387 Well-Known Member

    I like mine and find them pretty accurate, more so than I am with the snubby and about equally so with the Sig 220. I did have to sight them in but they have never lost their zero. I also believe that there is a substantial intimidation of being on the recieving end of them which may help end an encounter without shots being fired.
  13. Buck Snort

    Buck Snort Well-Known Member

    I'm pleasantly surprised to see that a whole flock of luddites didn't come out of the woodwork at the very mention of laser sights. Maybe we've turned the corner on this issue.
  14. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

    My wife bought a CT-642 (factory S&W laser grips). She loves it. I sighted in for her and now she shoots very well with it. I surprised at the accuracy she gets out of a 1 7/8 inch barrel.

    SAWBONES Well-Known Member

    If you can hold well and not jerk the trigger, they're fine IME.

    I have two sets of the CT compact hard J-frame grip, one on a S&W 642 and the other on a S&W 340PD, and both guns hit right where the red laser dot sits.
  16. nhhillbilly

    nhhillbilly Well-Known Member

    Most people have a problem with CT grips is when they get to greedy. YOU ending jerking the trigger when the dot its the exact stop you want to hit. Remember in self defense your target is about 6" wide and about 12" tall. CEnter mass and head area of the bad guy. YOu do not have to be super percise for most self defense situtations.
  17. The Goose

    The Goose Well-Known Member

    Well here is my .02 on the CTC grips. I bought some for my 342 and in dry fire I loved them Ran around the house drilling vases, pictures and knick knacks. At the range I found they required great concentration, at least for me. One day I went to the range and ran a target out to 30' with a 5.5" Shoot-N-C put the gun on the table picked it up and fired 5 shots as fast as I could. I put 3 shots on the circle and the other 2 on the paper and felt some hesitation making the CTC work. Then I switched out the grips to regular Uncle Mike's boot grips and put all 5 shots in the circle. I repeated this several times with the same results. Personally, I shoot better instinctually with regular sights. The guy I sold the CTC's to thought I was crazy. To each their own

    TOADMAN Well-Known Member

    I have the CTC (LG-205) grips on my 640 and the LG-305 grips on my 60-14. They are spot-on target (15 yds) with good trigger control. I need eye glasses to see things up close like - food - beer - front sights and other important stuff. With CTC Laser grips, I don't need glasses. For me, in an inextremis situation, low to no light, the CTC grips are a tool to get my revolver pointed to the right spot quicker/better without wasting time fumbling around for glasses.

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