Want to boost your accuracy without adding a heavy scope to the top of your pistol? Laser sights are some of the most popular firearm attachments in the industry. Here’s a quick breakdown of everything you need to know about these common gun enhancements.
Do You Need a Laser Sight?
What Is a Laser Sight?
A laser sight is a type of firearm attachment that you can use by itself or in conjunction with other optics and attachments.
Typical firearms’ sight pictures have three aspects that combine for the complete image: the rear and front sights and the target.
While this is fine for everyday accuracy, a laser sight can improve your target acquisition and result in faster sight alignment overall.
When properly mounted, a laser sight projects a red or green laser at an angle complementary to your rear and front sights.
You have to be careful to calibrate the lasers correctly so they actually hit the target where your shots will impact.
If done correctly, your accuracy will almost certainly skyrocket and you’ll be able to take rapid but accurate shots much easier.
Where Can Laser Sights Be Mounted?
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Laser sights have been around for long enough that there’s a ton of variety in terms of models and mounting options.
Pistols have the most flexibility – there are laser grips that attach to the grip of your favorite handgun and that feature switches on the back or side.
These lasers are often favored by grip masters since you have to have excellent grip discipline to use them effectively.
Most laser sights mount on the top of your weapon. Rear sight lasers take the place of your rear sights and work in conjunction with your front sights to provide better accuracy.
Others might be mounted on your pistol or rifle’s rail just like a scope or any other type of optic.
These are the most common types since there are literally thousands of laser sights suitable for Weaver or Picatinny-style rails.
Still, more laser sights might mount beneath the barrel of your gun or near the trigger.
These are normally suitable for rifles or shotguns, especially since longer guns might have additional optics on the top.
In this way, shooters can use both types of attachments in combination with one another to great effect.
Red or Green: Which Is Better?
The difference between these laser colors is not just aesthetic.
Red lasers are more common and are often cheaper to purchase because they have a wider temperature range.
These lasers are most visible and accurate anywhere between ambient temperatures of 15° and 120°F.
However, they’re not the best for daytime use since red light dissipates more easily in bright environments. Expect to only see the laser stand out for up to 30 yards or so.
Green lasers are more expensive on average, but they’re a lot easier to see during the day. It’s not uncommon to see a green laser for up to 100 yards even at high noon.
Keep in mind that these lasers drain more battery life faster, so they won’t last as long.
Furthermore, they’re a little more sensitive to temperature so they only work between the 40° in 100°F range.
In the end, both types of lasers can be worthwhile – just consider whether you’ll be using your weapon outdoors in the sunlight or for nighttime engagements when selecting a laser.
Are Laser Sights Worthwhile?
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It’s tempting to mount a laser sight to your favorite handgun or rifle and assume that you’ll never miss again.
But while laser sights can improve your accuracy across the board, improve is the keyword – they can’t make accuracy appear from thin air.
Your posture, grip, and control all matter just as much, if not more, than the type and quality of laser sight you add to your favorite firearm.
Someone who’s already terribly inaccurate with their pistol or rifle won’t become dramatically better just because they slap a laser sight onto their gun.
It’s important to remember that a laser sight isn’t a replacement for good training and dozens or hundreds of hours at the shooting range.
Laser sights are meant to be used in combination with training and marksmanship practices, not by themselves.
Laser sights are phenomenal attachments that can really improve the accuracy or any shooter, regardless of gun type.
We’d highly recommend selecting at least one to practice with on the range to see if you want to add more to your collection.
Are you considering using a laser sight? Why or why not? Tell us about it in the comments section!
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How mush are can and do they have to be installed by a professional?
I’m considering getting a pistol
Some lasers can be latched on to the trigger guard with just a small phillips screw driver. I have a laser made by LaserMax to fit well with my 9mm Ruger EC9s. Although, I just purchased the new Kel-Tec P17 22 LR pistol. This one is a really nice 22 thats very light at 14 ounces. And, at less that $200, you can’t go wrong. It comes with three 16+1 round magazines. Great for self defense. Check outthe videos on YouTube.
Must be careful of the law though, in some more socialist cities like Chicago for example, lasers on pistols are illegal and would make your weapon able to be confiscated by law enforcement whether or not you had a license to carry.
Sorry, I’m considering getting a pistol and don’t know what is kind is best for a lady to use? What kind of laser is best to get? How much does it cost to have it installed? I’m totally surprised that there is not one that is convertible from red to green.
I got the EC9s 9mm for my wife as it’s compact and very concealable in her purse or person, It’s very light weight and has a red laser that fits it nicely. Very accurate at 10 yards which mkes it great for self defense.
Your choice of a pistol should be driven by what is comfortable for you, what you will practice with, and what you will carry everyday. A lot of people try to tell women they “must” get a small pistol that is no larger than a .380. That is not true. Go to a range that rents guns and try a few to see what you like. In reality, there are so many nice 9mm pistols today that there is no reason to confine yourself to a .380. Just be sure to choose one that is comfortable to shoot. There are a lot of nice options such as the Taurus G2c or G2s that are reliable, easy to shoot and convenient to carry. Glock and Springfield also make similar affordable handguns. As for lasers, most are simple to install and can be done at home in a few minutes with minimal effort. Just remember that a laser is not a substitute for good shooting skills such as grip and trigger pull. If you jerk the trigger a laser will not do you any good.
I have a 9mm Beretta. I replaced the original guide rod with a laser light built into the new guide rod. No need to worry about adjusting and keeping it properly adjusted. If I switch it on, since it is the guide rod it is always right on target. It is also switchable so if I don’t turn it on, it cannot be seen.
From my experience with lasers and from the research that I’ve done for the last several years, green lasers have an advantage over red ones…unless you use a laser during the night. A green laser can be too bright at night compared to a red one. I have a green Crimson Trace laser/light combination on my Shield chambered in .40 because it was supposed to be my EDC or pistol for carry conceal. The red laser is for my home defense pistol which is larger and heavier. Crimson Trace gave me that red laser after purchasing my green on. The red one is a lot cheaper and it must be turned with your fingers using a small paddle on that’s on both sides of the laser. After gripping the pistol, you simply reach out with your index finger to turn the light and laser. The light is mounted separately right above the laser on a piccatini rail. But my smaller gun has an integrated laser/light combination, and it always switches on when I grip the pistol’s handles. The button is right in front of the pistol’s grips behind the trigger guard. So it’s very intuitive and I can program it to have either the light or laser go on or a number of combinations like strobe light and laser at the same time. As we get older, we need every advantage we can get, especially if our eyesight isn’t as good as it once was.
This might be a dumb question but I need to know. Can you use a laser on a revolver? Thanks for your time.
The author comments that the green laser will work as far away as 100 yards. Even if the green dot did appear on the target, I don’t think I’d be able to actually see it from that far away.
Unless someone is actually shooting at me, I don’t think I’d consider them a threat from that far away and therefore wouldn’t be shooting at them