Rethinking Lasers

This is a discussion on Rethinking Lasers within the Related Gear & Equipment forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Recently Iíve been rethinking adding some laser grips to a few of my smaller carry guns. (LCP,LCR, J Frame). When I first got my Glock ...

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    Rethinking Lasers

    Recently Iíve been rethinking adding some laser grips to a few of my smaller carry guns. (LCP,LCR, J Frame). When I first got my Glock 23 I purchased a set of laser grips for them. All of my range sessions I noticed that I was focusing on the laser way too much and not using my sights at all. When I finally took the batteries out of it to shoot with the sights, I noticed that I couldnít hit the broad side of a barn with the night sights which caused me to ditch the laser idea. Iím a huge fanboy of using iron sights on any firearm you intend to use for defensive purposes. 4 rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan have taught me many things, but one is that batteries will fail and optics will always break in the middle of a firefight. So there is no excuse for not being intimate with your iron sighting system on any defensive weapon.

    Now why Iím rethinking it. I have a Ruger LCR which I like, however Iím not a huge fan of the Hogue Tamer grips. Huge fan of my Smith 638 J frame size and feel but not the LCR. Today I got to fool around with a friendís Wifeís 22LR LCR with the Crimson Trace Laser Grips. The feel was hands down better, and it makes it feel much more like my J frame. Having my .38 LCR with me, I took her grips off and put it on mine and it felt great.

    Previous to todayís shooting I looked hard at the Laser Grips for my LCR, and did a bunch of research on different scenarios that one could find themselves in having to use a firearm to defend oneself. I am asking for any comments and training exercises people use to ensure accuracy with both the sights and laser. I like design of the LCR grips with a master on and off switch. Taking the grip off my Glock and taking the batteries out then putting it back on is a pain.
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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Some of my CT lasers don't have an on/off switch...simple matter to tape over the laser. Or, just use less grip pressure and the laser won't turn on.

    I will agree that most of your training should be without the laser...with it, hits become too easy! Which is kinda the point.

    As far as training with a laser...

    Practicing with Laser Grips | Cornered Cat

    Good luck!
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Like always on this topic, you will get varried opinions on the subject.

    My opinion is that they have very limited use. Night shooting still requires the target to be illuminated for proper ID, which neither the laser or Night sights do, and if you can see a red or green dot on the target, you can see the illuminated front sight dot of the night sights too.

    We use them in LE for certain tactical applications, but in conjunction with others, working together as a team. But I have found no real practical use for them outside that.

    With both night sights and laser, trigger control has got to be used, or you will pull shots with both, unless they have laser guided bullets.
    And finally, the gun you are considering using it on, is really a pocket or belly gun meant for fairly up close uses, so I can't see any advantage there either.
    It has been said that a laser is good for taking a shot from a position that you cannot raise the pistol for proper aim. While this may be true, such a shot would probably only be taken with one hand, so I wonder how accurate most could be; but it is a viable, although not likely defensive scenario.

    But, it's always ones own money, and choice. I have no use for them, but that's the great thing about living in a free country.
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    I like the CT ones with the button on the front of the grip or such so just hold gun and they come on . I have a bodyguard and never use the laser just too much work. I have handle a buddies sig 238 that has CT they are great. Also the virivridan recate laser that comes on as you draw from holster is neat but I have not used it/

    For me I like them for low light ( I know they wont make the bullet magic but they help) and maybe just maybe if badguys is not too drunk and has seen a few action films he will relize that laser dot means bad things. Maybe it is just a physiological boast but it works for me..
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    One of the situations I think it would work really well is when you can't get the gun up to eye level for what ever reason. Example you are very close to the attacker, and have to draw and shoot for the hip. IMO I think the laser would help.
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    My S&W 686 has CT laser grips. Frankly, I can't hit the broad side of a barn if I try to rely on the laser for aiming. However, it is a terrific training aide. AND a couple weeks ago I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I heard something, reached for the 686, turned on the laser switch and found that the laser lit up the entire hallway outside of the bedroom with a nice bright red light - not just a dot. Not sure how that occurred but I thought it was pretty nifty.

    So, even though I dont use the laser for shooting it seems to be handy for other things and I'm glad I have it on one gun.
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    I have problems with lasers in daylight. I have a hard time finding dot if sun is up and if you train to use laser you may waste time looking for laser dot. Now red dot sights are different story and they work well both night and day. While red dot only beginning to be used on pistols, I believe, they are the future, not lasers.
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    I just did a quick house clearing exercise in my home. The major choke point in my house allows me to use the laser as my aiming device allowing me to expose less of my body. I either have to move further out in the open to use my sights, or go non dominant hand to fire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack76590 View Post
    I have problems with lasers in daylight. I have a hard time finding dot if sun is up and if you train to use laser you may waste time looking for laser dot. Now red dot sights are different story and they work well both night and day. While red dot only beginning to be used on pistols, I believe, they are the future, not lasers.
    Everything has pros and cons. Your statement about lasers in daylight is true for red lasers, not as true for green. If you train properly, it is not an issue. In bright light, I would not even bother looking for my lasers' dot.

    Red dots on pistols are not a panacea either. If the glass breaks, or gets obstructed in any way (dirt, mud, blood, etc) then you not only lose use of the red dot - but also your iron sights, as you can no longer see them through the red dot sight. Ooops... Lasers, in contrast, have zero ability to interfere with your iron sights.

    Quote Originally Posted by skysoldier29 View Post
    I just did a quick house clearing exercise in my home. The major choke point in my house allows me to use the laser as my aiming device allowing me to expose less of my body. I either have to move further out in the open to use my sights, or go non dominant hand to fire.
    Bingo. You can also fire from behind cover with the gun on one side, and your eye peeking out the other. Just one of the many potential advantages.

    Lasers are not a cure for poor fundamentals. Jerk the trigger, and you will miss no matter what. But scoring at the top of my class in low light shooting while using a little pocketed LCP showed me what an incredible advantage lasers can be. This despite using a gun that is derided as being "hard to shoot" with "useless sights" and a "terrible trigger" and a "grip that is too small" while doing a whole lot more reloads under stress than the other guys who were all shooting service sized guns carried on the hip.

    Really, IMHO those that poo-poo lasers do so because they just don't want to spend money on making the guns they have better - they would rather buy more guns, which are just big-boy-toys that are justified as defensive tools in their mind. In contrast, all my sidearms fill a specific niche, and they ALL wear CT lasers. My bases are covered, and I do not anticipate buying any more handguns any time soon. I train with what I have.

    As an aside, two of the students in my class attempted to mount rail-mounted lasers about halfway through the class. Both failed. One fell off, and the other would not turn on properly (not sure if the issue was the sight or the shooter). My CT laser ran flawlessly through the entire class (which is not to say that I have not had any issues ever, because I have - though CT has always fixed them). Bottom line, if you want a laser, get a Crimson Trace (and yes, I've had others before).

    If you want to read more about the potential advantages of running a laser, Kathy Jackson has a nice write up:

    The Case for Lasers | Cornered Cat
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    I think 10thmtn makes some good points for his opinion. As with anything else, people have varying opinions on things, which really boil down to personal needs and desires in what they use, and how they want it set up for those uses.

    Really, it can't hurt anything to have one. Ultimately it's up to you to decide if and how it fits into your needs, and if the additional expense is worth it to you.

    The only thing I disagree with is the statement that those who dislike them would rather buy more guns than make what they have more useful. Some people just find other options such as night sights or RDS more suited to their liking, or find that having different guns for different purposes more appealing. I'm in this category. My pocket or belly guns are j frames and PPK 's.

    So just read up on all the pros and cons , and decide which better apples for your purposes.
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    Senior Member Array patri0t's Avatar
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    I once handled a S&W J frame at a LGS with a CT laser. II never really thought much about lasers on sidearms, but that thing really made sense to me.
    I could draw from my waistband and instantly acquire a target at some distance.
    It remains an open idea to me for my .357Mag J-frame. In my experience for SD shoots, it 'probably' wouldn't be a factor at the average 4-6 feet.... but "probably" is a scary word.

    My first consideration is a 400 lumen light on my home defense sidearm (if I wake up to a shadow in the door......... ) Not enough info there to use deadly force. Need light.
    I have a light on my recliner sidearm and on my nightstand sidearm, both .45acp.
    My carry sidearm has no light or laser nor does the wife's.
    One of my SGs has a light and one of my ARs has a light & 3k feet green laser.
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    KoB
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    I have CT laser grips on: LCR 38 and CA .44SPL...but I don't keep the laser on. For the most part, I keep the CT grips on the LCR because it provides a smaller and slimmer grip. The LCR is my "deep deep cover" gun, so keeping a thin grip on it makes sense to me. I really don't know why I keep it on the .44SPL, I ordered some Rosewood grips for it, but can't seem to take them off.

    As far as why the laser is turned off, I didn't like the fact that when I practice my draw for pocket, I would chase the laser. Meaning, I would always look to see where the laser dot landed, and in a SD situation, I didn't want that to happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KoB View Post
    I have CT laser grips on: LCR 38 and CA .44SPL...but I don't keep the laser on. For the most part, I keep the CT grips on the LCR because it provides a smaller and slimmer grip. The LCR is my "deep deep cover" gun, so keeping a thin grip on it makes sense to me. I really don't know why I keep it on the .44SPL, I ordered some Rosewood grips for it, but can't seem to take them off.

    As far as why the laser is turned off, I didn't like the fact that when I practice my draw for pocket, I would chase the laser. Meaning, I would always look to see where the laser dot landed, and in a SD situation, I didn't want that to happen.
    I've been messing with my Laser Grip on my Glock. I've come up with multiple situations where I think a laser will help, but like you said their are multiple situations where a laser may hurt. It's all going to come down to training and understanding when to use and when not to use a laser. I do like the idea of at least having it if I need it.
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    It works very well on the j-frames and for shooting from retention as the you know where the shot gun is aimed, immediately.

    It is not a replacement for knowing how to shoot with sites...but it is a nice additional tool to have and it CAN be used effectively despite the conjecture.

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    IMO, Lasers are good training tools to learn to shoot where you look. Once you can do that, they become detrimental by slowing the response looking for the "dot" on threat. Having had people show up with lasers on their firearms in the course of fire, within a few hours they are taking them off or shutting them off for slowing the student down in their responses.
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