Seeing Red

I’m personally a big fan of laser sights for self-defense handguns, especially the easy-to-use LaserGrips from Crimson Trace. The old myths about laser sights being useless gimmicks have mostly been put to rest, but if you still need some convincing before you try a laser sight for yourself, here are a few good reasons:


Featured gear used in the video:
Smith & Wesson M&P9 w/ Crimson Trace Lasergrips firing Federal JSP 95 gr 9mm.
Ruger LCR-22 w/ Crimson Trace Grips firing CCI Standard Velocity 40gr LRN.

From “Ahnold” to Your Carry Gun

When handgun laser sights first came out a few decades ago, they were mostly seen by shooters as a gimmick. And rightly so. They were used in movies like Terminator when the creators wanted a gun to look high tech and futuristic, but the actual lasers sights on the civilian market in the 1980s and early 90s were far too impractical and expensive to be useful for the average shooter.

In the late 90s and early 2000s, companies like Crimson Trace started making laser sight products that were actually usable. The new generation of lasers were compact and rugged. They would hold a zero pretty well, had a long battery life, and were affordable enough that some people were willing to give them a try. It still took several years for serious shooters and firearms instructors to get over the gimmicky reputation that laser sights had. But finally, today laser sights tend to be viewed more as a useful accessory for a self-defense gun and not just a novelty.

CT Grips for Ruger LCR
Crimson Trace LaserGrips are by far the most user-friendly laser sight tools on the market. The laser is activated by a small pressure switch in the grip. As long as you have a firm grasp on the gun, the laser is on and ready to go.

Despite having an improved reputation, plenty of gun owners aren’t convinced that adding a laser sight to their carry gun is worth the expense. The best handgun lasers aren’t cheap, and can add up to 50% to the price of a new firearm that has a laser sight pre-installed. That’s not chump change, especially if the prospective buyer hasn’t had the chance to see the benefits of a good laser sight first hand. Even some people who have actually tried the lasers don’t always see the benefits right away, which I think is often the result of misplaced expectations.

If you still don’t buy the hype about lasers after watching the video above, I’d challenge you to at least seek out somebody who can let you try out a laser equipped handgun at the range in low light. Coupled with some decent flashlight techniques, a good laser offers an enormous advantage for fighting in the dark. If that doesn’t have you drinking the Crimson Kool-Aid, then I promise not to complain when you call me names in the comments.


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13 Responses to “Every Self-Defense Handgun Needs a Laser Sight”

  1. John McGrath

    I do not agree with having a laser on a carry pistol. My opinion is NOT because of the expense of a quality laser or what a good laser brings. My issue with a laser is a shooter using it as a crutch over good shooting skills and training. It's one more device you're adding in into the formula that can fail. If that device fails, and a person has been relying on that device the whole time, they are libel to do more harm than good.

    Reply
  2. Peter Eckley

    there is a lot in what you say. I always tell new shooters that they need to learn over iron sights before they even consider a laser. that being said, I have lasers on both of my carry pistols. The one thing I do know that alot of people may not be aware of, red lasers do not show up in bright sunlight, a mark against. Green lasers do show up.

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  3. Brock Fowler

    Well, I very seldom practice with a laser on the range (or dry firing). So, why wouldn't I want to have it? Why would that extra possibility in low light, or when I can't shoot from a normal position, be bad? I personally know a man who saved a shooting by putting a dot on the bad guy who then ran away: why would that not be a good thing? (My carry guns have lasers.)

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  4. John McGrath

    Brock Fowler Again, I'm not talking about the function of the laser it self, but its up to the shooter to be proficient with or without it. I see too many not taking the proper steps in being a good shooter without it.

    Reply
  5. Mike Rowe

    I use mine at night to aim at a target since i would have time to fumble for my glasses, but could use the laser to aim…

    Reply
  6. David Cole

    The one thing to remember is lawyers will always ask how you judged a threat. I prefer a light instead of a laser. When you illuminate your adversary, you can honestly say you saw their hands. Lasers won't allow you to say that with a straight face. My 2 cents.

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  7. Mona Lewis

    Okay ~ then, in broad daylight, with no guns involved (always in their best interest) ~ then what??

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  8. LG Chris

    Apples and oranges, man. Lights and lasers serve two totally distinct purposes on a pistol, and they're not mutually exclusive.

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  9. Bruce Bradley

    Too many people rely on lasers and not on real shooting skills. It's amazing to watch people with very expensive pistols and lasers shooting 3 foot groups at 10 feet with their laser dots bouncing all over the damned place. With a light you've got a chance of blinding the bastard.

    Reply
  10. Don Frejay

    Bruce Bradley I believe Flash lights make great targets at night.
    I also want every advantage I can get in case of a real fight.

    Reply
  11. Daniel Schwartz

    Here's an argument in favor of lasers that I was expecting to see…

    In a self-defense situation, I'm not looking to put holes in anyone unless I have to. I'm hoping that the situation can be resolved without a shot being fired. And I suspect that, if a perp doesn't back off when a pistol is aimed at him, he just might when he sees a red dot dancing on his chest. Extra deterrent, with no damage done.

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  12. Michael Taylor

    LG Chris Agree 100% lasers & lights serve different rolls – both useful in a HD scenario – the light has a greater downside – the obvious: giving away your position. the not so obvious: the tendency to use that mounted light as a flashlight. — e.g. neighborhood kid sneaking home late night through your yard. You hear a noise – you grab the pistol to check it out – you light up Johnny and realize he is not a threat. Unfortunately, you just pointed a loaded firearm at an unarmed kid – see where I am going with this?

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