If you watch police or military movies on TV, you may have noticed that the actors’ weapons are now employing laser sights. Well those beams of red or green dots are mainly for visual effect, but lasers are practical for home defense and personal carry as well.
We asked Michael Faw, media relations from Crimson Trace based in Wilsonville, Oregon, and a company who happens to be the nation’s leading brand of laser systems and tactical light combinations, about lasers and their practicality for today’s gun owners. Our first question was why a laser? Said Faw, “Laser sights help shooters become more accurate and confident with their firearm.” Faw breaks it down as follows:
Sight Alignment: Laser sights illustrate proper sight alignment by placing a visual indicator on the target in relation to iron and in particular, fixed sights.
Trigger Control: Laser sights offer a visual feedback on trigger control errors; they help shooters see the “surprise break” and “mashing the trigger” error.
Faw goes on to say, “Laser sights will improve your accuracy, especially in a time of crisis and as in these situations:
Awkward Shooting Positions: Laser sights allow accurate target acquisition even when the shooter is unbalanced, evading a threat or behind cover.
Tunnel Vision: Laser sights prevent tunnel vision – allowing the shooter to quickly identify the target while being able to capture activity around them.
Threat Deterrent: Laser sights can de-escalate a potentially deadly encounter simply by engaging the target with the laser.
Low Light: Laser sights allow the shooter to gain a sight picture and engage a threat when iron sights may not be visible.
Target Visibility: Laser sights drastically increase target visibility by helping the shooter do what is natural in a crisis – keeping their eyes on the threat.
Dry Fire Practice: Training with a laser sight helps show accurate sight pictures and sight alignments by offering a visual indicator to help the shooters self correct.
New & First Time Shooters: Lasers are an invaluable tool when learning the fundamentals. The added confidence will go a long way in diminishing hesitation in many new shooters.
Aging Eyes: As humans age, their eyesight and ability to focus between distances can decrease. Laser sights allow the shooter to place focus on the target with confidence. In addition, Faw reiterated that laser sights demonstrate exactly where the bullet will strike the target without taking a shot.
And now with Crimson Trace introducing green laser sights in addition to the original red ones, the question you may have which is better? Said Faw, “Crimson Trace red and green laser sights feature the brightest laser beam allowed by law (Class 3R). Red lasers are most visible in low light conditions and when armed encounters are most likely to occur. The human eye naturally detects green with great ease, allowing it to appear brighter in conditions and environments with higher ambient or natural light.” As per Crimson’s website, green lasers normally have a 2-hour battery life whereas reds last for up to four hours. Another aspect of green lasers is that their green diodes are more expensive to produce than the reds, hence they cost more.
As someone who was in law enforcement for 43 years, it was always taught during yearly firearms certifications that mastering your guns’ iron sights is critical, especially if employing a laser and the batteries should die at the wrong time. No argument there. That said, and in a test made with a Smith & Wesson 1911 pistol with Crimson Trace red grip sight, and in comparison to a Glock 30S with LaserMax red guide rod laser sight, the Crimson Trace red dot could be seen on the tan siding of a garage in bright daylight at 51 yards, but the LaserMax sight couldn’t be seen even on a utility shed at 20 yards. And the latter could not be adjusted as all Crimson Trace lasers are furnished with an Allen wrench for adjusting or calibrating. In this respect, Faw said they make laser sights for the military that can reach out to several hundred yards, which is impressive.
Crimson Trace has a long list of compatible lasers for a variety of firearms be it revolvers, semi-auto’s and AR type rifles. They also make a Universal sight for firearms that have a mounting rail. To check out their product line and have additional questions not answered here, go to www.crimsontrace.com.