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Laser sights; Good, bad, or what?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by JellyJar, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. JellyJar

    JellyJar Well-Known Member

    I have never shot a firearms equipped with laser pointers so I don't know if they are really a good thing or not. One thing I am worried about is that the one time I might really need it to work it won't either because the battery would be flat or it would be otherwise broken.

    Also, if you should go to the web site www.thegunzone.com there is a link there that takes you to an archive of comments made by the late Col. Jeff Cooper. In one of them from the early 1990s he remarks that laser pointers are not that practical because in a real shooting you need to acquire a "flash sight" of the target asap and that waiting to see where the laser hits would slow you down too much.


    Any comments will be welcomed. Also, is there anyone who has actually used a laser pointer in an actual shooting?

    Take care ya'll!!!:)
  2. Darthbauer

    Darthbauer Well-Known Member

    They are good if you know how to use them.

    If you get one and zero it at 100 yards and wonder why it hits in a different place at 25 yards then they are not for you.

    TXHORNS Well-Known Member

    You will get mixed opinions on this subject. I have shot many guns with laser grips or rail mounted lasers. I think they are great but the good ones aren't cheap. The main downsides that usually get mentioned are that shooters will begin to rely on the laser too much and that the lasers can fail on you when you really need them or you cant see it in the daylight. Neither of those downsides mean anything if you practice shooting without your laser as well and become proficient with and without your laser.

    The upsides are faster target acquisition for some, better accuracy, and a good training tool. I find that using a laser helps you see if you are pulling your shots in one direction or another. They can be very helpful in this way. Did I mention that they are just plain fun too? Also some guys talk about shooting around walls without exposing yourself as much which I guess is possible, but I will let you decide if thats important to you.

    Personally, I think nightsights are more important and I would go that route first. But I really like lasers for guns that wont take nightsights easily, like a Smith 642 for example. The laser can be a big help here when your only option is fixed black sights.

    Like most things firearms related its personal preference and at the end of the day, you cant make up for practice with fancy equipment.
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    If you get one you can even see past 25 yards in broad daylight you have a $5,000 dollar military model that is too powerful for civialin ownership!

    Lasers are a very useful training tool. They will tell you right off the bat if you are jerking the trigger or flinching. They will improve your shooting, either with the laser, or using open sights.

    They have a decided advantage in very dim light and/or shooting from awkward positions.

    Fun to play with if you have a cat.

    Totally useless in broad daylight target shooting as you can't see the dot in the sun much over a few yards.

    They will not make a good shot out of a bad shot. It is just as easy to miss with a laser as without one if you don't have the shooting skill already.

    Expensive. Cost of a good laser would buy a lot of practice ammo, which might help your shooting more if applied correctly and not just blasted off!

    Internal lasers like the LaserMax require two hands to turn it on & off. During a confrontation, you may not have two hands available.

    If it was me, I'd spend the money on a really good tactical flashlight first.
    1. You can't shoot what you can't see & I.D..
    2. Even Attila the Hun would shut his eyes and scream like a little girl if you hit him with a 140 lumen TAC light in the dark.

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
  5. Darthbauer

    Darthbauer Well-Known Member

    I have a Surefire L72 and I can see it during the day. It retails for $699 though.
  6. doc540

    doc540 Well-Known Member

    depends on the situation

    dark house = excellent

    +25yds/daylight = not so much

    I have lasers on both my wife's handguns and on my SHTF SKS.

    In the right situation they work very well.

    But with no battery power, all of them can be aimed and fired conventionally.

    Visit the Crimson Trace website and watch the videos. That'll help.
  7. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Well-Known Member

    ANYTHING mechanical or electrical can fail at any time.
    I've been using and shooting laser equipped guns, pistols, rifles and shotguns, for several years now. I practice with lasers and laser/lights an average of three evenings a week.
    In all that time I have never had a problem with a (good) laser and that's a lot more than I can say for the guns.
    ("good" being Crimson Trace and Streamlight TLR-2 lasers)

    Bottom line, because of years of actually shooting and experimenting with laser (laser/light) equipped guns, ALL my defense guns are equipped with lasers, if available for the gun.
  8. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member

    It's another tool in the toolbox. Some pros, some cons. Some people will love and swear by them, some will hate them, but I'd bet the silent majority don't feel too strongly one way or the other.

    I've added them to my carry pistols because:
    The grip is just fine with them on
    They're great during training to see just how badly I'm flinching
    You still have sights, although to hear many complaints, you'd think they mysteriously vanish if you add a laser.
    They can allow some potentially accurate non-traditional positions of shooting where sights just may not be an option.
  9. possum

    possum Well-Known Member

    personally i only use a laser for doing dry fire training, in the context of concealed carry i have no need for them on a carry handgun.

    in the context of military operations, i have use and love the ability to have my peq 15 IR laser.
  10. jaydubya

    jaydubya Well-Known Member

    It depends on what you want to use them for. Red lasers are worthless for busting bowling pins at fifty yards in the noonday sun. Green ones might work for this, because this is the color the human eye likes the most. Expert marksmen don't need them -- and good for them. I have Crimson Trace red laser grips on three handguns and would not buy a handgun that CT did not make grips for. I practice weekly with them at five/ten yards, home/self defense distances because that is all I need a firearm for anymore. I'm seventy-eight years old. Without my glasses on, I cannot even SEE the iron sights. But I can see that red dot, and I just love to put a black hole where the red dot used to be. And with my glasses on, I'm still pretty good with iron sights as well.

    Laser sights are not for everyone. But I recommend them for anyone in my position.

    Cordially, Jack
  11. dairycreek

    dairycreek Well-Known Member


    A laser sight is not a substitute for the regular sighting system on your gun. You should practice with both so that you are absolutely c ompeent with either or both, as the case may be.
  12. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    How about good for somethings and not so good for others.

    1. They were trying them out at Guniste a few years ago, and some instructors commented that they were a little slower than using the sights.
    2. They are useful, however, if postion, posture or circumstances make it difficult or impossible to use your sights.
    3. You still need your basic marksmanship skills. Without good trigger control you will miss, even with a laser.
  13. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    They rock for dry-fire practice, but pretty much any situation you can see your sights, the sights will be faster.

    If you can't see your sights they could make all the difference. So I've got Crimson Trace Laser Grips on a couple of my carry guns. They were much more important to me before I had Lasik, much less so now that I can see the front sight again without glasses.

  14. possum

    possum Well-Known Member

    the irons don't die, so they are always your go to if the laser does go out, and you are no worse off than you were if you didn't have the laser in the first place.

    i agree
  15. 9MMare

    9MMare Well-Known Member

    I have a question: if you have a laser, would you still need tritium nite sites? (assuming the batteries werent dead for the laser.)
  16. conw

    conw Well-Known Member

    I agree mostly with rcmodel.

    They don't make bad shooters good. They are great for practice. They could come in handy for a situation where you needed to make a shot at an awkward angle (injured, around corner, etc). They are also good IMO for moving targets. You can acquire using a site picture then hold on it with a laser. They are great for follow-up shots if you are in a semi-dark area trying to focus on a dynamic target.

    9MMare, you would definitely be best with both. Like others have said the irons are generally used in conjunction with a laser, and the laser can always fail.
  17. TDR911

    TDR911 Well-Known Member

    As you can see everyone has a different opinion.
    First always train with your sights. Night sights are installed on all of my CCW guns. I train at least 3 days aweek dry firing and with an airsoft using sights first about 75% of the time. next I train with a laser. Followed by the last few minutes sights only.
    Lasers are also great for dry fire practise. You can also use a video camera to record a string of shots with the laser and then review it watching the laser movement at or near trigger break. I feel more trigger control issues are addressed here with the use of a laser that actual firing.
    Last I have installed a laser in a airsoft gun barrel and a switch on the trigger . This allows me to use the sights and verify the exact bullet impact point.
    I also shoot regularly at IDPA and IPSC meets.


    And here is a target that will help identify your trigger control issues.

  18. JellyJar

    JellyJar Well-Known Member

    TGR911, I really like that target you published. According to it if you are right handed and shoot high and to the left then you are pushing, anticipating the recoil. That is exactly what I did on my last trip to the range and that is exactly what I think is my problem!
  19. 9MMare

    9MMare Well-Known Member

    Thanks very much.

    Now, can people tell me why the laser is so great for dry firing? I do that at home, using snap caps.

    What/how are you practicing?
  20. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    You look at the dot on the wall as you pull the trigger, the less it moves the better and where it is when the hammer falls relative to where you wanted it to be is great feedback.

    As you get better you can "magnify" any motion with more distance between the gun and the wall.

    With pure dry fire, its pretty easy to assume your sights were aligned when the hammer fell even if they weren't.

    You don't remove the existing sights when you add a laser, if you like night sights no reason not to have them too.

    I like night sights on a night stand gun for sure. On a concealed carry gun, sometimes they can be too bright and show through your cover garment. Don't worry, they'll be half as bright in 12 years :)


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