I’ve been using a Smith & Wesson Model 637 for sometime now and it has a Crimson Trace Laser on it that in the almost 4yrs I’ve had it, is still on the first battery that came with it. There are pros and cons to each laser design, whether it attaches to the trigger guard, the rail system, or is fired from the grip. With all of my experience, hits are what count and even shooting long range, I’m hitting steel plates and not so concerned about MOA. Getting the first hits is more important that group size and in my opinion, lasers are excellent pointing devices and people should be less concerned about trying to hold the laser perfectly still and putting every bullet in the exact same hole.
After reviewing several self defense engagements, I noticed that every one of them was at night or in very low light conditions. There’s a reason most handgun manufacturers have rails systems on them now, Glock, Sig, Springfield, Smith & Wesson because flashlights and lasers are very durable and are almost considered standard. There is always a certain amount of training and time you should have with a device to gain the muscle memory to deploy it properly but when I think of laser grips, it’s always Crimson Trace Laser Grips due to their time in the industry, warranties and reputation. Night Sights have come a long way and might cost about half of what a laser sighting system might be but lasers have their own illumination factor similar to what flashlights do and can “light up” a target in dark situations. Just something to consider when shopping.
There has been much debate over the last 20yrs, especially amongst Law Enforcement about whether or not lasers are an asset or a liability. Just like the debates over using flashlights and how flashlights can and will become target indicators in low light, lasers and flashlights have an on/off switch or an activate/de-active button. Nobody with functional brain should expect to keep a flashlight on at all times or always have the laser activated. Some think that putting a laser on a handgun means hitting your targets more accurately, but I’ve found that to not be true. If you don’t have good trigger control you aren’t going to shoot better with a laser. If you practice dry firing in a safe place in your home, you can practice seeing exactly how much movement your trigger finger is causing and then go back to the range and apply it. After training with it, you’ll improve but not the other way around.
From what I have read, Crimson Trace Laser Grips come from the factory zeroed in at 50yds and if you are using one for CCW, you should probable make sure that it’s zeroed in to the top of your front sight picture before you carry it. The statistics are that most robberies and attacks occur in low light and if your firearm is too small to have a light on it, high definition night sights or something from Crimson Trace is an added bonus. We see a considerable number of J-frame revolvers and Ruger LCP and LCR’s with lasers on them due to the fact that the line of sight is so short that lasers can give confidence in a point and shoot situation, and remember not every time someone pulls a gun in self defense is it necessary to pull the trigger, as a matter of fact, most of the time they don’t have to, lasers can give a good guy a level of confidence in close ranges, at low light while a bad guy will clearly know what is glowing on his chest.
One of the best analogies I’ve ever heard when discussing a Mini 14 vs AR15 debate over on the The Firing Line.com was a debate about how crappy the Mini 14 was and how it didn’t hold up. I remember a talking to someone that referenced that the difference between various rifles was the difference between a 9 iron, a wedge and a putter. The Golf analogy has stuck with me and have often used it in Training, even when people talk about different ammunition from M193 to M855 and the M262. Each one of those has a different velocity and terminal ballistics. When the discussion is about Trijicon ACOGS, Eotechs and Aimpoints, the same analogy applies. The AR15 is probable the most versatile firearm in existence and adding different optics and accessories to it can give you a short range advantage or a long range advantage and often, not both.
A good operator is going to know the limits of his firearm and push the envelope if even need be and the usefulness of Crimson Trace Laser grips isn’t going to be different than any of the previously mentioned topics. One thing that I have recently proven to myself is that green lasers have an advantage over red laser grips at longer ranges. One reality about firearm engagements is that “hits” are what count and being under stress is something that many never push themselves to train for. Lasers are good for I.D. Targets and if you’ve ever been in low light situations the ability to point, still defend yourself and know where your muzzle is actually at, Crimson Trace Laser Grips might give you an advantage in your home or in your line of work.
This is post is for the novice shooters out there because anyone in Law Enforcement is going to find this out on the first training day. Lasers have improved greatly over the years and I personally haven’t changed the batteries in my j-frame Crimson Trace laser grip in almost 4yrs. Lasers should hardly be used and a great asset for small firearms that have a short radius, most .380 guns or compact firearms. Lasers are used in movies the way a new shooter might thing they are but they are not going to improve your accuracy. All you need to do is have someone “try” to hold it directly on the target and just watch how much it shakes and bounces.
Lasers are probable used as pointing devices or high lighting targets more than they are used for precision. One thing that has changed in recent years, especially pertaining to Crimson Trace Laser grips for some autos is they are now mounted higher on the grip and if you buy the correct model, they are aligned more with the bore not off the side of the grip. The best location for a laser grip is above the bore or directly below it. For rifles, I’ve seen operators have deteriorating scores when transitioning from iron sights to laser sights, so just like flashlights, learn to use it the appropriate way. There are some good training DVDs and online videos on the Panteao Productions – Make Ready library so if you want to check those out before you accessorize too much.
There has been much debate about lasers, flashlights, magnification and other accessories on firearms being unsafe or useless in certain situations. Well, over compensating with the brakes on your car can cause you to loose control and crash if you don’t use it properly. What about the parking brake on your car if it’s not used properly? The same thing goes for any accessory you put on your firearm, whether it’s your Remington 870 12gauge shotgun, your Glock 19 with a TLR1 flashlight or your AK 47 with a laser on it. Sure a flashlight on your firearm is something you should not use to search with but if it’s all you got, your trigger discipline is what is going to keep you from firing on an innocent person if you are moving in a low light situation.
I have lasers on some of the CCW guns but those are for point and shoot or for intimidation if I were to be in a close situation. Lasers have pros and cons but Crimson Trace laser grips have sold very well and if you do a little training with it and think about all of the ways you can use it in some combat or self defense situations, it might be a tool that helps you win a fight. For team operations, lasers on firearms can be a way of communication for pointing to doors or for movement. If you can not speak and only are giving hand signals, how would you point to a team member or a family member on where the threat is. Laser pointers in classrooms are use for pointing to things on a wall so people can follow where they are at, same goes for other needs to communicate.
I got a good course in flashlight uses yesterday when a very well known Police instructor showed me how washouts and white outs occur when entering a room, there is such a thing now as too much power candle power. Everyone is getting shocked when they see the output from some of these new Surefire and Streamlight flashlights and probable 350 Lumens is about what the average Surefire or Streamlight flashlight can put out. I got a good review of some of the Pelican flashlights and it’s pretty obvious that the technology has greatly advanced. Having high output is useful outdoors but indoors it can be liability. Having a light that has adjustable output with a high and low is a good idea. Also, there are big differences between having a search light vs a point light on your firearm. Now go back to thinking about how much light you really need.
I have an LWRC M6A2 that I’ve had around for several years and recently had to make some changes due to my angled foregrip cracking. I have been looking over the Crimson Trace Laser grips and thinking about putting a laser on it. Using night vision in outdoor environments is a real possibility for me and I’ve learned to use lasers as pointing devices when working in team situations. Its much easier to put a laser on a door in a building to identify the threat rather than to yell out which color and how many doors down the threat is sitting in. Clearing rooms in a house after a domestic call or an alarm goes off is probable one of the most dangerous things police deal with and knowing how to use lights and lasers in those environment is very important.
We have had several police officers stop in here and pick up new gun cases, because many of the cases they used in the past didn’t cut it when they started putting lights and lasers on them. The same thing is happening more and more these days because so many people are putting lasers and lights on their guns that are constantly walking into our store with the problem of finding a holster. Elite Survival Systems holsters are usually our quick fix because the tactical nylon companies are much further ahead of the leather companies when it comes to staying on top of all of the new guns that come out each year and they were the first company that made the LC9 with the Crimson Trace Laser Grips.
I have always had mixed feelings about using lights on firearms, on rifles I’m much more open but for handguns I think a hand held light is a much safer option. I did break down a few years ago and picked up a Crimson Trace Laser grips for my S&W 38 Special and I have been very happy with it. It’s something I enjoy having with me in low light situations and also as a backup. If I needed to take a 25yd shot I can clearly light up my target with it. I have heard of absolutely zero durability issues with these and I have seen them on 1911’s, Glocks and Sig Sauer pistols for several years.
The whole laser and light debate seems to make people’s heads spin because so much of it is about scenarios or hypothetical situations. You have to train to use those tools and they can all be a liability. Just like hunting deer, you gotta watch how you move and worry about being downwind so you have a better change of getting your game, well being in the military or Law Enforcement, they are trained to use various tools like ballistic shields, flash bangs and breaching shotguns. Home owners should really train to use their firearms in situations that pertain to the dimensions of their houses. If you measure out areas where you might potentially defend yourself, you are being more practical and build muscle memory and confidence. If you don’t have that, you may want to switch firearms or put a laser grip or a laser light combo on your gun.
There are several products that we sell that each do things a little different so you might want to call or email us questions if you are not sure about various features. The reviews we have gotten on the Crimson Trace Laser Grips make it our number one most sold, but if you got the money check out Viridian or even the Streamlight laser light combos. Crimson Trace Laser grips can work well on revolvers for hunting (on private land) or for adding confidence to your CCW .380 or J-frame guns. You can also use lasers to point to certain areas and also to identify where a threat might be hiding. Don’t forget that even though you might have gotten in trouble in school for using a laser pointer, you can use them in the same way on your firearm, as long as you pay attention to the 4 safety rules.
I won’t talk to you like your an amateur and need to have trigger control explained to you but there are many people stopping into our store that have lasers on their guns but still don’t understand how to use them in a defensive manor. All firearms and accessories are tools that you deploy that can improve your ability or impeed on it. There are plenty of things you can attach to a firearm that you think might make your more accurate but many of these devices can slow you down if you don’t train to use them. We have several Navy Seals stopping in our store with their Glock 17 handguns and use Viridian laser light combos and they speak highly of using the green lasers. One of the main things they talk about is identifying targets in low light. For instance, 6 guys break into a house to clear it and lasers come in handy as pointing devices. Instead of hand gestures or spoken words, a tap of a laser on a wall means “shoot here” or “move here”.
You do have to be very careful about attaching lasers, lights and laser light combos on your gun because I’m a big believer in having holsters for every handgun that you use defensively. I have sold many of the Desantis Rail Dyers to guys that has the Crimson Trace Laser grips on their firearms because in the event they had to use their Glock 17, Beretta 92FS or Sig 226 late at night, being able to easily re-holster your gun gets easier if you use a holster device like this. Lasers should be used as on/off tools just like white lights, they can give you away in some situations and make you a target, or they can be tremendous assets to help you win a fight.
There are many things you can attach to your firearm, whether it’s a handgun or a rifle, will help you get the job done. Flashlights are a must for home defense but it’s up to you to decide if you want to attach it directly to your firearm or keep it separately. It’s not a good argument to shoot into the darkness, and I have to admit that I have heard of accidents where people shot family members or pets because they did not identify them. One tactic that is often overlooked in many situations is that a home owner can simply turn on the lights in their home and wiring your home to be able to turn on major rooms from the second floor of your home is something worth considering. If you did have your electrical wiring done like this, you would simply flip a switch and get more candle power than any flashlight would give you.
Lasers are something that we see more often these days and it’s mostly for the smaller frame semi-autos. I personally keep one of the Crimson Trace laser grips on my j-frame revolver because it gives me more confidence in hitting my target at close ranges, and in low light. The small radius of a .380 or a snub nose revolver gives reason to attach a laser grip. Laser grips and battery life have dramatically improved in the last decade and even the color has changed from red, to the widely used green lasers that the military has already been adopting. There are different flashlights that have laser and light combinations also worth considering.