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Laser Sights - Usefulness

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by quatin, Jan 13, 2013.

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  1. 230RN
    • Contributing Member

    230RN Marines raising the left-leaning Pisa tower.

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    OP:
    I guess there's no consensus. Sam1911 has given slight indications that he doesn't like 'em and I do. ('Course, my eyesight probably isn't as good as Sam1911's.) :)

    I even recently put one on my M4gery. <gasp!> :what:

    Terry, 230RN
     
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Indeed, if your eyesight simply won't let you see the front sight of your handgun, but you can make out the red dot of the laser on your target, that's probably the better choice. There are still going to be downsides in trying to make hits fast and repeatedly but assuredly something is better than nothing! You can only do what you can do. :)
     
  3. 230RN
    • Contributing Member

    230RN Marines raising the left-leaning Pisa tower.

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    Sam 1911:

    Well, part of that is that I practice with the range lane lights off, since that's when I'm most likely to really need a defensive sidearm --in dimly lit circumstances. I'm not practicing for competition on a range in noon daylight, I'm practicing for competition in dark alleys, as it were, or by the handicapped spaces of Walmart in the dark of night. As it were. G-d forbid, but that's what my defensive sidearm is for, not racking up points on a range, and with my handicap, I ain't going to be dancing back and forth in evasive maneuvers. Well, maybe "hobbling," back and forth if my cane doesn't get in the way too much.

    No offense, but you and I seem to have different goals in our practice regimens. I want a plunk preferably near or in COM at three yards, not the ring (versus no-ring) of a gong exactly 10" in diameter at 25.

    In the dark.

    Terry, 230RN
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  4. gym

    gym member

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    In a shoot out, they aren't a good idea. But if you need to take an off angle shot from cover, or a weak handed shot, they can save your life. The main thing is not to get hung up on looking for the dot.
    It's ok at the range, but if you have to draw down on someone, your front sight is still your fastest way to go, now if there was a guy with a gun to your loved ones head, the laser "could" make a difference weather you took the shot. If I had to shoot and it was a matter of inches, I would use the laser as long as I had it zero'd in to where I knew it was right on.At 25 yards I was putting every shot in the black using a lasermax on a 9mm.On a std 25 yard rifle "sight in", target, that was very impressive. I couldn't see that far without the laser. the range is dimlly lit. Close up it was a quarter sized hole at 7 yards.
     
  5. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    We do a lot of low-light stuff (several times a month, and in almost every match), and I personally still don't choose a laser for that. I've trained with a well-known defensive trainer in near pitch blackness and we did not use lasers then either.

    Competition and self-defense are not the same thing, but practice for them can overlap. If I run drills in the dark, I'm trying to make the best hits I can in the least amount of time regardless of which "event" I'm practicing for. I prefer a white light for target identification and acquisition. I can't shoot what I haven't positively identified. If I'm close enough to make an identification in the dark, I'm close enough to shoot with or without a light. If I'm farther away, I'm not shooting without a light on the target, and in the glow of the light I can see my sights just fine.

    It is probably difficult to set up truly comprehensive and comparative tests of these principles in action. I can't tell someone who cannot see their iron sights that they will do better without a laser. I know I train with one system (irons, and a white light if needed) so whether I'm on the competition range or on a city street I don't have multiple paths to try to choose from. Just do what I've done thousands of times before.
     
  6. 230RN
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    230RN Marines raising the left-leaning Pisa tower.

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    ^ OK. I like my steak medium well, and laser sights on as many guns as I can afford to put them on.


    YLMV --Your Lumens May Vary.


    Terry, 230RN
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  7. -v-

    -v- Member

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    Also +1 for laser sights. Good training aid. Now how absolutely useful they are will depend on how you train. Personally, I prefer to have as many up's over the BG as I can get. Under stress a bright dot might be much easier to get on target then to line up your sights. Additionally a laser helps when you are moving around, since you can keep the gun at mid chest level and still expect a good degree of accuracy.


    One option that has intrigued me lately is the Viridian C5L sights. Small and they use a green laser vs red. Seeing as our eyes have the greatest sensitivity in the green range, the dot is damn easy to pick out, this coupled with a 140 lumen light with strobe feature all in one fairly compact unit.
     
  8. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Have you practiced this? IS IT? "Might be" is a terrible thing to be counting on in the moment. Have you run timed drills or done any force-on-force practice, or done any stress-inducing training in which you compared the speed of placing that dot on the target vs. "front-sight-press?" A practiced shooter can snap the gun up, see the front sight on the target and break a shot in a fraction of a second. I've yet to see anyone practicing with a laser who could come anywhere close to that speed...and fractions of a second COUNT.

    Now...take that second shot! A decent pistol shot can see the front sight again and press the trigger in 0.15-0.25 seconds. How long does it take you to find the red dot again?

    See, this is one of those ideas that I challenge. I really don't know how to prove the point, though, without somehow getting a bunch of people together from both sides of the debate and running scenarios.

    IMHO, eye-hand coordination is not good enough to line up a laser dot and take a shot when the gun is held at chest height, compared to the speed at which you can snap the gun up to eye level and take aimed shots. And that's just for the FIRST shot. Once you consider that defensive scenarios aren't "one-shot" deals, but usually strings of rapid shots, the laser simply falls far away. And at the distances we're talking about here, you don't even need to see the sights, per se, but simply the silhouette of the gun imposed on the body of the attacker. A decent pistol shooter could have 4-5 aimed shots hitting the bad guy in the first second. I've never seen any such shooting with a laser and cannot do so myself. I'm willing to be convinced, but haven't been yet.
     
  9. quatin

    quatin Member

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    You bring up some good points about night time shooting. I've not had the opportunity to practice pitch black or low light so this is all new to me. I did what you said about holding a flashlight and using the glow to see the sights. Here's what I got:

    2u7n0it.jpg

    There's no way for me to see those sights during an intense situation. I will see the silhouette of the pistol against the background. Having done USPSA, I agree that a laser sight won't help for follow up shots, but what about that first shot? Wouldn't a laser help me get the first shot on target and at least get me oriented for follow up shots?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  10. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Argh...the pic is too small for me to make it out. There are a couple of different good ways to hold a flashlight when shooting under low-light conditions. Some give a better view of the sights than others. Without running this drill with you I can't do much to show you what I'm talking about.

    Can a laser help you put the sights on target under those conditions? Sure. I won't say it's the fastest way or the best way, though. It all depends on your level of practice/familiarity with the different methods.
     
  11. gym

    gym member

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    I also agree that a flashlight or weapon mounted light is absolutelly necessary, I just stuck to the laser issue. I carry a tac tight or mini tac light even when I walk the dog at dusk. If I can't see what I am shooting at, the laser nor the sights are going to help, and where I live there is no light at night. Just a road with some sparselly built land across from my development, so it's pretty much black at night, all my house lights do are light me up.
    First thing I do if I hear something suspicious is kill all the lights, then get my tac or mag light and 45 or shotgun, and wait in the dark. I heard this metal sound, like hitting my grill, last night, "first time in almost a year", and didn't even wake up the wife, just rolled out and sat by the window, peeking through the blinds.
    A laser would have done me no good if it were a bad guy, as I couldn't see anything unless they walked into a motion dectector and tripped a light. So light trumps laser and light and laser are a good combo.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  12. Ehtereon11B

    Ehtereon11B internet infantryman

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    I love using a laser/light on my EDC weapon. I train with it both ways as I don't become too "dependent" on one or the other. Half the ammo I intend to shoot at the range I do with laser and the other half without. Laser really helps with dryfire practice. You really notice how much you jerk a trigger during pull when you first start using a laser on a spot on the wall. With practice your trigger squeeze really becomes a squeeeze.

    Sight your laser at the farthest distance you expect to use your weapon. For instance on a home defense weapon, sight it the length of the longest room in the house. Or from the top of the stairs to the bottom if the bedroom is upstairs. This will throw off your shot at closer or further distances.
     
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