Lasers on pistols

This is a discussion on Lasers on pistols within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I started a new thread about lasers because I didn't want to get too far off the topic of another thread. Each person has his ...

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Thread: Lasers on pistols

  1. #1
    Member Array Laseraim's Avatar
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    Lasers on pistols

    I started a new thread about lasers because I didn't want to get too far off the topic of another thread.

    Each person has his own reasons to, or not to install a laser on his carry piece. Each person has their own learned facts and beliefs for why or why not to install a laser.

    I would like to clear the air about why I have installed lasers on my pistols and I would also enjoy hearing from others about their experiences and reasons for doing so, or not doing so.

    Makers of lasers like CTC and Lasermax are high-end, quality made lasers that were designed for installation on a gun with minimal change to exterior of the gun itself.
    I tend to steer away from Lasermax because the laser itself requires you to replace your factory guide rod with the laser. I don't know how the rest of you guys feel about that, but I for one do not like replacing ANY parts on my carry gun that are not factory spec parts (aside from Wolfe springs and night sites...that's another thread) If my carry gun is utterly reliable with the factory parts it currently utilizes, then I intend to keep it that way. Lasermax also requires the additional movement of sliding a switch to the up or down position in order to turn it on or off. Extra movements, again, don't agree with adding ANY extra steps in a defensive situation. My first laser was a Lasermax, I put it on my Kimber Tactical, didn't like it at all, but not because it was poorly made or had reliability problems, it was for the above mentioned reasons that I switched to CTC.

    Crimson Trace (CTC) requires the user to replace the existing grips (on most models) with a pair of grips that has a laser molded into them. The laser itself sits above the trigger finger (for righties). There is a master on/off switch, but other than that, the only thing required to turn the laser on is to grip the pistol.

    Why a laser for me? I don't buy in to the whole thing where a BG sees the laser and high tails it back to his cave. However, I like the idea that this can help my aim in nearly any situation whereby my eye sight has been handicapped from a confrontation, or if I need to shoot weak handed, heck, if my strong hand is weak. There are just too many things that could go wrong and a laser covers many of the bases. Basically, in my eyes, I see the pros outweigh the cons. Ofcoarse, I don't intend to rely on a laser, afterall, it's not utterly reliable. My iron sights are. For me, if it can help without getting in the way of simplicity, it's good. Even if it is only helpful to use at night, it can give me an edge. When it comes to my life or a gun wielding punk, I'll take all the edges I can get.
    That's pretty much it. What is your position?
    If death is what we fear, our freedoms were never realized.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laseraim View Post
    Why a laser for me? I don't buy in to the whole thing where a BG sees the laser and high tails it back to his cave. However, I like the idea that this can help my aim in nearly any situation whereby my eye sight has been handicapped from a confrontation, or if I need to shoot weak handed, heck, if my strong hand is weak. There are just too may things that could go wrong and a laser covers many of the bases. Basically, in my eyes, I see the pros outweigh the cons. Ofcoarse, I don't intend to rely on a laser, afterall, it's not utterly reliable. My iron sights are. For me, if it can help without getting in the way of simplicity, it's good. Even if it is only helpful to use at night, it can give me an edge. When it comes to my life or a gun wielding punk, I'll take all the edges I can get.
    That's pretty much it. What is your position?
    sounds good to me...
    "Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina

    If you carry in Condition 3, you have two empty chambers. One in the weapon...the other between your ears.

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    Senior Member Array rachilders's Avatar
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    To keep it short and sweet I personally like lasers. They don't replace good gunmanship, lots of practice and being able to use the sights your gun came from the factory with, but they have a definate purpose and used properly are an outstanding training aid and accessory. I feel every edge you can give yourself is a good thing and while I may not decide to use my laser in a given situation, it's good to know it's there if I DO want it.

    Hey SIXTO and P95, should we cut and paste here all the replies we made to the other posts we've seen on this over the past week? It will save us a lot of time and sore fingers from typing on the keyboard!!
    "... Americans... we want a safe home, to keep the money we make and shoot bad guys." -- Denny Crane

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    Member Array Laseraim's Avatar
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    Sorry

    I know the senior members must see this type of conversation with a frequent amount of repetition. While I've seen questions about lasers on certain pistols, I feel that this thread covers more than just a certain type of pistol, but goes a little deeper with why or why not on any pistol and for what reason do you decide. Again, sorry about the annoyance factor, I've been there before.

    Quote Originally Posted by rachilders View Post
    As a quick reply from me, I like lasers. They don't replace good gunmanship, lots of practice and being able to use the sights your gun came from the factory with, but they have a definate purpose and used properly are an outstanding training aid and accessory.

    Hey SIXTO and P95, should we cut and paste here all the replies we made to the other posts we've seen on this over the past week? It will save us a lot of time and sore fingers from typing on the keyboard!!
    If death is what we fear, our freedoms were never realized.

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    Member Array riverkeeper's Avatar
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    I can shoot a smaller group with a laser in some combat and target situations.

    The laser dot on target creates unique confidence that the target is rapidly being hit ... a target or front sight focus may not.

    Under some limited circumstance where vision is extremely problematic my experiences indicate a laser can be helpful....almost pitch black and long distance.

    A laser is helpful during practice to establish and maintain trigger - weapon control.

    A laser is helpful to determine pointshooting accuracy and draw time such as in this site... scroll down to the drills---

    http://www.personaldefensetraining.c...77b2dc00e41b89

    However I do not look for or notice the laser in 'real' combat practice only in practice-practice(practice with a specific purpose) ... IMHO generally in defense situations the time spent confirming the dot on the BG is wasted and might be counterproductive to distracting.

    One of our Js has a laser the other no longer does.
    Old testament....Shooting to Live 1942
    http://www.gutterfighting.org/files/...ng_to_live.pdf
    Newer testament... Kill or Get Killed 1976/1987
    http://www.gutterfighting.org/files/...Get_Killed.pdf

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    Member Array Laseraim's Avatar
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    As I see it, a laser is best utilized in only certain circumstances, just as others have expressed. However, in many accounts, a poster will assume that once a laser is installed, the operator will somehow be mezmorized by the dot, needing to focus on it in order to shoot. Is this a phenomena which you have noticed from others using lasers? Or is it a guess at how people (in general) may react to the dot?
    I did not have that kind of experience with them. One thing tho, when I do use only the laser to aim the gun, I find myself focusing on the target, not the dot. For me it's almost instinctive to focus on the target and at the same time, without needing to re-focus, see where the dot lands on the target, a peripheral observation I assume.
    If death is what we fear, our freedoms were never realized.

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    VIP Member Array simon's Avatar
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    I don't have any laser equipment on my firearms...just been shooting them as usual...just about the time I save enough for laser equipment.. I go and spend it on another gun or more ammo...

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    Quote Originally Posted by rachilders View Post
    Hey SIXTO and P95, should we cut and paste here all the replies we made to the other posts we've seen on this over the past week? It will save us a lot of time and sore fingers from typing on the keyboard!!
    If I could I would.


    If your having trouble seeing, what makes you think you can quickly find a little dot bouncing all over the place? I'm not asking in jest, I really want to know. I have no problems with my eyes, so maybe its just something I dont understand.

    Also, punching holes in paper and real world shooting are two very different ball games.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Senior Member Array LoveLeather's Avatar
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    I'm getting one for my SP101 house gun...never felt the need for one but I'd like to have one to play with it...and the LG303 grip is about the most comfortable grip I have felt for the SP....so it's a win win situation for me.

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    Hey Bob - yes sixto and me could well do some copy and paste LOL

    I continue as ever tho to espouse their use and stressing they are adjuncts ... strictly secondary. I find mine invaluable for dry fire draw excercizes, giving me a good guide as to where a hit might occur - so I close eyes at the moment of draw and open when I think I am on target.

    Sure laser dots shake all over the place - doesn't matter - all it is doing is showing what occurs anyways. And I mention yet again - I see no time wasted in ''finding'' a red dot ... it shows or it doesn't so in the normal process of point or sighted shooting, you just get on with things - but, if light is even partly subdued there is every possibility that perhaps by a follow up shot it will register itself anyways.

    It so happens as a side note ... my CT's on 226 and 228 feel even better than factory grips - and even for that reason alone, red spot or no - they are worth the cost to me. I have never regretted buying mine ..... but strive always to not let them become a prop for poor std shooting practices.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    Senior Member Array blueyedevil's Avatar
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    Never liked lasers, especially for a defense gun. What is a target indicator for you is also a target indicator for the BG, except the little cigarrette cherry he sees isn't bouncing all over the place, it's a nice steady bullseye. I think all you guys that love the lasers ought to go do some force on force practice with em' and then see if you still love em'. Personally all I want on my carry piece is a good set of night sights (TFO's). JMO

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    Senior Member Array rachilders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    If I could I would...
    Since I can, I think I will...

    Lasers have advantages and they have disadvantages, it all depends on the situation and your own experience/training level. There are several recent threads on this same subject at DC, so I'll snip/cut from my replies to those posts here...

    As everyone will soon tell (if you didn't know already), there is a love/hate relationsip with lasers... some folks love them and others are almost fanatics in their dislike of them. The best advice I can give to those who haven't already decided is that you need to take BOTH groups comments with a large grain of salt. Both groups have their reasons for feeling the way they do about lasers and I doubt if anyone will change their minds because of what is said here. That being said, the majority of people owning good lasers (and who use them properly) love them. OTOH I've noticed laser haters usually have either never personally owned one, had a bad experience with an early or cheap model or were disappointed when a laser didn't magically cure shooting problems they were having due to poor training or lack of practice. I said in the other threads if anyone is thinking of buying a laser for their weapon they should first do the research, try at least one or two that seem to offer what you want and then decide for yourself if a laser will do what you want it to do for you. That suggestion still stands.

    While some people disagree, for the VAST majority of shooters they are excellent training aids, valuable in poor lighting situations or where traditional aiming methods may not work (like shooting from an awkward situation, as when falling or if you're hurt and forced to use your weak/injured hand) and/or when it's difficult to see iron sights like at night or in a dark building. Since most - the vast majority according to police and other reports - self-defense shootings take place at close range and/or under darkened conditions (at night or inside a building or other structure), being able to see the laser's "dot" is usually not a concern for the shooter and unless you are looking directly at the laser, you (or a BG) can't see it's point of origin. Another point is under stress, you'll most likely be looking at the target, not your guns sights. Since the laser projects it's light onto the target, you don't have to take your eyes away from the BG while trying to aim. You just look at your intended target and where the red dot appears, that's where your bullet will go. No guess work or wondering if you are actually aiming at your target and where. From my personal experience and research, lasers make aiming and finding your target easier for most people, are an excellent training aid (especially for improving trigger control) and provide another layer to your protection package.

    Personally, I think lasers are an OUTSTANDING aid to any pistol. So do the military and many police departments. If it's for a self-defense/CC handgun, I'd recommend something like the Lasermax or Crimson Trace lasers if there is one that fits your gun. They don't change the outline and overall look of the pistol so there is no problem with using your normal holster. If there isn't a custom laser made for your gun, try to get the smallest one that will fit your gun and is still a quality laser. Lasermax, Aimshot, Laserlyte and several other companies make some very good universal and model specific and/or rail mounted lasers that work with most modern pistols.

    FWIW, despite what some people will tell you, it has been shown by studies in recent years that a laser placed on a potential target (BG) frequently does have a deterrent effect - especially on the low level criminals most of us are likely to encounter such as burglars, muggers and others who are looking for easy targets of opportunity and a quick, easy buck - eliminating the need to actually fire your weapon and the associated legal, emotional and other problems that usually follow a shooting, whether it's justified or not!

    OTOH, lasers are not a crutch meant to compensate for poor gun handling techniques or a lack of training with traditional shooting methods. Also, you usually get what you pay for. Relying on a cheap, poorly designed and/or built $20 laser can make a bad situation worse when the SHTF and it doesn't work as advertised when you try to use it. I find it odd that hunters will spend as much (or more) on a good hunting scope than they did for the rifle it's mounted on to ensure they can kill a deer or coyote with their first shot, yet the same person will complain about spending 10%-30% of what he spent on a personal defense weapon for a device (laser or laser & light combo) that may be used to save his life or the life of his family.

    Still, while a quality laser is no more likely to malfunction than your guns magazine, trigger, firing pin, ammo or other part, from personal experience I can say don't put your faith in the laser or any other man made object 100% of the time and ALWAYS have a back-up plan. Learn to use your weapon and the sights it came with (plus any "gagets" like lasers and lights you install) and practice, practice, practice with your gun until you know EVERYTHING about it and how it works with your eyes shut!! As Murphy will tell you, if something can go wrong with ANY part of your personal defense weapon/system - and at the worst possible time - it will.

    From a liability standpoint (and aren't we all worried about liability these days), if you're concerned having a laser installed on your weapon will be used against you in court, on a list of 100 things a DA will use against you, the laser is probably #101. A good defense lawyer would simply point out you are actually SAFER than most iron sight only equipped gun owners/users and a more concerned citizen because of the deterrent effect lasers can have (whether you personally believe in it or not) in not just possibly preventing the actual need for firing your gun, but a laser also makes it less likely you would hit an innocent by-stander with a poorly aimed shot.

    I say don't knock lasers until you try one. If you like it and it works for you, use a laser. If you don't think a laser will benefit you, don't use one. I also suggest you don't take my word or anyone else's, but find out for yourself. Only you can ultimately tell what does or doesn't work for you. When you've made your decision - whatever you decide - do what you feel works best for you and don't worry about what everyone else thinks. It's YOUR gun, YOUR money and YOUR life. While I may decide not to use the laser I installed on my weapon, as someone said in the other thread, I like having the option.
    "... Americans... we want a safe home, to keep the money we make and shoot bad guys." -- Denny Crane

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    Member Array Laseraim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueyedevil View Post
    Never liked lasers, especially for a defense gun. What is a target indicator for you is also a target indicator for the BG, except the little cigarrette cherry he sees isn't bouncing all over the place, it's a nice steady bullseye. I think all you guys that love the lasers ought to go do some force on force practice with em' and then see if you still love em'. Personally all I want on my carry piece is a good set of night sights (TFO's). JMO

    In all honesty, I can understand why you feel that the little cherry can give you away. What concerns me is that the assumption is made, by more than just yourself, the operator of a laser equipped pistol will allow sufficient time for the BG to find said cherry before shooting.
    For me, I might as well assume that if I have a gun, I will never be quick enough to use it. However, I would like to understand why you feel that the BG will be allowed the opportunity to discover your laser. Have you noticed other individuals slow down because of the laser? Do you feel that you can see a laser beam that is pointed at your chest? How quickly do you feel you can discover the cherry of a laser that is pointed at your chest?...think you could find it before a possible round was fired? I ask because I have set up these conditions before and either (a) took far too long to acquire the laser cherry or (b) never found it at all. Perhaps your system is better than mine. If you know of a sure fire method to detect a laserbeam or notice a cherry 1/8" big from 20 feet or better, I'm all ears.
    If death is what we fear, our freedoms were never realized.

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    Senior Member Array Sarge45's Avatar
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    My opinion. They are great for the range provided you are indoors or it is very overcast.

    Lasers are not reliable enough for me for defense. Moisture can affect the electronics causing an outtage. Batteries go dead. Daylight renders them useless. I can go on, and on.

    Then, there's the training aspect. If you train defensively using the laser, you train your brain to seek the dot. The amount of time it takes to seek the dot is minute and debatable but here's my concern. A threat presents itself in daylight. You draw and instinctively your brain begins seeking the dot. The dot is neutralized by sunlight and your brain continues to seek the dot all the while the perp gains valuable microseconds. That short delay can be costly. Same scenario except for unit failure or dead battery. Costly.

    I train to flash sight. Although not as pin-point accurate as laser, the results in speed are phenomenal while still getting COM hits. I don't need pin-point accuracy at combat distance. My sights are ALWAYS there and there is NO risk of failure of battery, etc. And since they are Trijicons, low light shooting is no handicap.

    Many argue that the laser itself is a deterrent. I disagree and here's my rationale. If I have to pull my gun it is because things ALREADY turned potentially deadly. I don't have time to dissuade a perp with a light show. By the time the gun is drawn, my finger is seeking fire authorization, awaiting ok by the brain.

    If I have drawn my gun and I have time to show the laser and use it for deterrence, I have probably drawn my gun before I should have and for the wrong reasons. Resorting to a gun is a last ditch effort to save life, IMHO. If I have drawn my gun, and I don't have to fire, there was probably another option I should have put before this point to try and resolve the conflict. Every threat is different so this isn't meant as a rule.

    Resulting to the use of deadly force (drawing my gun) can only be legally justified (in my state) by the response to deadly force by another or the threat of potentially crippling injury. Drawing my gun in a threatening manner to show him my laser can buy me jail time.

    In summary, for me the laser is more a liability than a cure for a non-existant problem. The laser doesn't solve anything that good sights and sight training don't already address. Proper training, with good sights is invaluable. YMMV

    Thanks.

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarge45 View Post

    In summary, for me the laser is more a liability than a cure for a non-existant problem. The laser doesn't solve anything that good sights and sight training don't already address. Proper training, with good sights is invaluable. YMMV

    Thanks.
    I dont have anything else to add to this, I just thought it was worth repeating.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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